Most major national music tours require a bus full of people and a shedload of instruments. Playing shows all over the country requires a team of people and a bunch of vehicles negotiating a ton of moving pieces. That is, unless the country is in the grips of a massive viral pandemic and you want to play free acoustic sets for healthcare workers in outdoor venues. Then you can pack everything you need for a 13 day 17 stop tour on the back of your Ducati Multistrada. That’s exactly what rocker Franky Perez did.
When the pandemic closed the entire world down earlier this year, Franky Perez didn’t want to sit still and do nothing. While he was in quarantine he set about recording a new album. Perez decided that the resulting acoustic album “Suddenly 44” released in mid-June needed a tour, but obviously not a traditional tour. Partnering with local venues for safe small gatherings and socially distanced free shows, Franky put a bunch of miles under his tires to make sure it all went off without a hitch.
“Music is meant to be shared and while digital distribution makes music so much more accessible now, there is no substitution for the live experience,” said Perez. “The feedback and relationship between artist and the audience is vital when performing music that is so personal, but with the normal approach for a new album release no longer possible I called my friends from famed Italian motorcycle marque Ducati to help me develop a completely different approach to touring.”
I’ve put a few hundred miles on Ducati’s wonderful Multistrada myself, and let me tell you, I wouldn’t mind doing 4,000 miles in 13 days. That sounds like a dream. The seat is as comfortable as they come, and the riding ergonomics are a delight. Add in that it’s the perfect bike to gobble up highway miles and then blitz a few good roads along the way and you’d be hard pressed to find a better machine for this trip.
Perez had his Ducati outfitted with a carbon fiber guitar case, and hit the road on this epic tour of the U.S. The “Crossing The Great Divide” tour left from Perez’ home in Las Vegas, cut up the western coast of the country before cutting inland across I-80 to Chicago, then up to Detroit. Down to Washington D.C. and back up to New York with a few stops in Pennsylvania. I’ve done most of that route myself, but always in cars, and it’s super smooth and easy.
There are so many things in modern society that are worth giving up in the face of a global pandemic, and in general live music is one of those things. Staying alive and healthy is an incredibly important ingredient to having a good life. Safe and responsible entertainment is vital to retaining your sanity, and it’s nice to hear that some artists are contributing to the community with significantly limited crowds, outdoor venues, and safe practices like this.
Cool shit. More of this, please.