From beer buckets and private-plane afterparties to Greek yogurt tubs and early bedtimes, these elder-rock statesmen have figured out how to be both economical road warriors and AARP members. How?
Step 1: Fire your tour manager.
Step 2: Ban booze backstage.
Step 3: Retirement is not an option -- yet.
The Allman Brothers Band
The Allman Brothers Band Ages: Greg Allman , 66; Butch Trucks, 67; Jaimoe, 70 Touring since: 1969-1982, 1989-2014 Then: In 1973, when the Allmans hit No. 1 on the The Allman Brothers Band with Brothers and Sisters, they requested two cases of Mateus Rosé nightly, which was promptly placed on a truck. "At the end of the year, they'd unload the truck and have wines for parties for weeks and weeks," says manager/tour manager Bert Holman, 63. "At their initial height, they chartered the plane Led Zeppelin used for touring. They used to go to the airport every night and party on the plane."
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The Allman Brothers Band
Now: The b...
The Allman Brothers Band Now: The band's extravagances have drastically changed. "They play a show, have something to eat and drive all night," says Holman, who reports that no beer is allowed backstage today. "Room service is the big luxury in The Allman Brothers Band. And so is a washer-dryer in the hotel so you can wash your own clothes, which many of the people in the band do themselves. You will be amazed who you see at 2 in the morning at the washer-dryer."
Mick Jones of Foreigner
Mick Jones of Foreigner Age: 69 Touring since:
1964 (with Johnny Hallyday and Spooky Tooth), 1976 (with Foreigner) Then: Within a year of its 1977 self-titled debut, Foreigner began playing arenas, and continued to do so until the late '80s. Back then its tour rider required champagne nightly. Now: Jones has been with Foreigner since 1976, except for a year off after a 2011 bypass surgery. This summer Foreigner co-headlined with Styx (former Eagle Don Felder opened), which had health benefits. "When you go second, you can go to bed earlier," he says. "I like to eat vegetarian-based diets, low fat, non-dairy sometimes."
Don Brewer of Grand Funk Railroad
Don Brewer of Grand Funk Railroad Age: 66 Touring since: 1969 Then: From the very beginning, the members of Grand Funk were road warriors. Their Capitol Records contracts stipulated two albums a year, with 40 shows to support each release. "It was grueling," says drummer-singer Don Brewer. Now: Since 2000, Grand Funk has only played weekends and flown to every concert. "If we had a van and a manager, they'd ask us to drive to the next show," says Brewer, who now leads the five-piece with original bassist Mel Schacher. "And guess what? They'd add another show along the way. We're not going to do that."
Rod Argent of the Zombies
Rod Argent of the Zombies Age: 69 Touring Since: 1964 Then: In the band's original incarnation, The Zombies lasted for five whirlwind years, charting with hits like "She's Not There." Back then, its tour rider's highest priority? "Buckets of beer." Now: In 1999, keyboardist Rod Argent and singer Colin Blunstone reunited and have toured regularly since 2002. "At 69, you have to pace yourself," says Argent, whose rider requests a Greek yogurt tub, a veggie platter and a ripe avocado. "When it's eight in the morning, you have to have the self-discipline to say, ‘I could do 45 minutes in the gym instead of spending another hour in bed.' "
Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull
Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull Age: 67 Touring Since: 1967 Then: Few acts stuck to schedules as excruciating as Jethro Tull in its arena-touring heyday. The 1972 North American tour for Thick as a Brick, Tull's first No. 1 album on the Billboard 200, featured 31 concerts in 31 days during April and May, and 29 shows in 29 days during June and July. Now: Anderson will play 38 shows in the U.S. between Sept. 12 and Nov. 10 in support of his latest album, Homo Erraticus, before heading to Europe. "Alzheimer's is not an option when you do what I do," says Anderson. "I got rid of a tour manager when the Internet made researching flights and hotels reasonable."
Lee Loughnane of Chicago
Lee Loughnane of Chicago Age: 68 Touring since: 1969 Then: One of the biggest rock acts of the 1970s has found success over the last decade sharing bills with acts like REO Speedwagon and Earth, Wind & Fire. The band has done 100 concerts per year, to make each trek profitable, for 25 years. Now: "It's important to give them something they haven't seen before as well as what they expect," says Loughnane. "Booze is the biggest item that was in the riders," says Loughnane, 68. "Now we wanted to make sure our crew has a hot meal for breakfast, lunch and dinner. By the time we get to the show, we need amenities and a hospitality space."