There's a lot of clichés when it comes to the rock star life: thousands of adoring fans, exclusive after-parties, traveling around the world... changing your son’s diaper on the tour bus?
Jillian Lauren is the author of the new book “Everything You Ever Wanted,” where she writes about her journey on the road with her husband Scott Shriner — the bassist for Los Angeles's own Weezer. They're also on the road with their adopted son Tariku. In the book, Lauren reveals the not-so-glamorous lifestyle for a traveling rock-and-roll family, and how their son has affected their life both on and off the road for the better.
The Frame talked with the couple about what it’s like when the night’s big encore is your kid asking for another bedtime story.
What was tour life like before you adopted Tariku?
Shriner: Well now, before I adopted Tariku, I'd get on stage and my lovely wife would hand me a sandwich, a towel. She's like, "You're such a stud. Let me give you a back rub..."
Lauren: I know it sounds like he's being a little sarcastic, but he's not!
Shriner: It was really what it was like. And then, it went from that to, basically, all day chasing my son around parking lots with trucks and all kinds of mess. And I'd get off stage and I get handed this baby, 'cause [Jillian] would just be done.
She's like, "All right, I've been chasing him around for two hours while you're up there goofing around. So here, take him. I'm going to have a drink." So then I get off stage, covered in sweat, exhausted... like nothing. Here's a kid.
What are some challenges people don't know about when touring with a family?
Lauren: Well so much of life on the road is the minutiae of every day living, and handling it in this very contained space. Of course, with a kid there is exponentially more minutiae. Trying to give a baby a bath when there's no bathtub.
There's just a grody shower that the entire NHL has just been in, and I'm trying to hold him up, not trying to touch his precious little feet to the gross bottom of the shower. So it's stuff like that you don't think about in advanced. It was hard when he was little. It's really fun now.
What does your family do on the off-time on tour?
Shriner: Once in a while, we get a couple days off in between stops. But I was thinking of when we were on tour and we had two or three days off in Cleveland and we decided to go to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Lauren: Which has a big lit up, giant Weezer "W" hanging over the gift shop. So we were like, "Oh, Weezer. We're so welcomed here." But Tariku at that time was having some very challenging behaviors, and he was a bolter. You'd put him down somewhere and he would run. So this is why tour was so challenging when he was young.
So we were in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and then we were in the room that had John Lennon's piano on a platform in the center of the room. And I really just turned my head for a second and the next thing we knew, he was under the ropes and banging away on that piano.
It must have been 15 security guards came running, and I ran for Tariku and threw him over my shoulder, and Scott was standing in between us and the security guards. He was like, "Wait! We've got it. We're on our way out. It's OK! Don't touch my son!" And they paraded us out and we walked out right under the Weezer sign. We got 86'd from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Shriner: For being very rock and roll. For just going up and playing the piano.
What is Tariku's favorite Weezer song?
Lauren: "The Good Life" was his very first favorite Weezer song.
Shriner: Yeah, and he loves "Tired of Sex." He has no idea what it is or why you would be tired or what sex is or anything.
Lauren: I just wonder what his friends' parents must think that we're listening to songs like "Hash Pipe" and "Tired of Sex." You know, he's a rock baby. What am I gonna do? It's his dad's band.
Does your family like being on the road?
Shriner: It's a great life. It is really amazing. So in it, it can sometimes seem hard.
Lauren: The touring life isn't for everybody, but it's always been for us.
Shriner: It's part of our spirit.
The band, and family, are currently on tour around the U.S., and Lauren’s book, “Everything You Ever Wanted,” is out now.