Collect Call From ... Daughtry
Each month, one lucky rock star phones Blender HQ every day for a week, just to, you know, share. Now on the line: Grunge-rockin’ Idol alum Chris Daughtry.
By Jonah Weiner
Blender, October 2007
August 4, 4:02 P.M.
In the midst of a string of headlining gigs, Chris Daughtry phones from Biloxi, Mississippi’s Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. The day before was the band’s first day off in a week.
“Most days off are pretty boring, but we had a good one yesterday. We partied and gambled at the Hard Rock, and they kept giving us free drinks. Blackjack’s my game, but I’m not that savvy. I broke even, because my tour manager was whispering in my ear, telling me when to bail. So that kept me up till about 4:30 a.m. That’s my typical bedtime, but we’re pretty tame guys. I usually opt for a beer and a Gatorade. I gotta save my voice, you know? Normally, we just watch TV on the bus. We’ve got the flat screens, the whole setup. It’s pretty sweet, but of course it’s a bunch of dudes, so it smells like ass and feet, there’s crap everywhere — you get up in the middle of the night to take a piss, trip on some shoes and totally eat it. Last night was 100 percent injury-free, though!”
August 5, 4:45 P.M.
Daughtry calls from Montgomery, Alabama. He doesn’t sound too good.
“The concert went great last night, but I’m not feeling well, man. After the show, I skipped the beer, and had some Gatorade and a Nyquil. My glands are swollen and whatnot. Gotta get some antibiotics. I do 15 minutes of light vocal warm-ups before every show. They’re pretty easy to make fun of. I start with this lip-flapping thing [blows raspberries up and down the scale at a very loud volume] and end with this ahhhh! ahhhhhh! ahhh! mating call. Even worse is the monkey face I make when I’m doing it.
“Right now I’m looking at water; I don’t know if it’s a lake or what. It’s like 110 degrees out, but we’re gonna try and do some fishing in a bit. We just sent out for poles.”
August 6, 2:34 P.M.
En route to Little Rock, Arkansas, Daughtry checks in.
“Well, the poles never showed up. And after the show, we saw the most massive catfish skimming the water. [Sighs.] Oh well.
“We’ve been doing some dates with Nickelback on this tour. We’re on our own now, but we’re getting back with them in a few days. They’re great. I just write whatever comes to me, but you can tell that they sit around for months just coming up with the wittiest, most thought-out things.
“They fire off T-shirt cannons every night, and we’re the ones that shoot them into the crowd. There are always people in the front row like, ‘Me! Me!’ and it’s like, ‘You’re six feet away. I can’t fire this at you. It’ll smash your face, buddy!’”
August 7, 2:58 P.M.
Daughtry hollers from his bus, stationed in front of a Little Rock Toys ‘R’ Us.
“It’s another day off, and here’s the plan: I’m gonna sit on my ass for a long time. Get back to people I’ve been ignoring for the past week. I’m sure my family and friends think I’m the biggest jerk. My wife and I have been married seven years. I call home every day — I gotta make sure the kids still recognize my voice. My son’s been going to a science camp this summer. Or something. That’s the kind of thing I get wrong. There’s a Toys ‘R’ Us in the same parking lot as our hotel, so I’m gonna go get some presents for the kids later on.
“Also, I’ve been pretty lazy about shaving my head — you can actually see my whole hairline — so the razor’s coming out tonight. No hand touches my head but mine. I do my own facial hair, and if I choose to wear eyeliner, I do that, too. I got my own little makeup in my own little man-purse. I’ll admit it: I own a man-purse.”
August 8, 2:40 P.M.
On a stretch of highway between Arkansas and South Dakota, Daughtry rings.
“Our fridge is looking pretty gnarly. We need some cleanup in here. The door is full of Red Bull, mayonnaise and mustard. Inside there’s Gatorades, sandwich meat and a take-out box that we’ve been scared to open for weeks. Coulda come from T.G.I. Friday’s, but I’m not opening it up. In the freezer there are Hot Pockets calzones. That’s my poison, every night.
“I didn’t make it to Toys ‘R’ Us, but I did head over to the mall. I was shopping for clothes at Buckle, and next thing I knew there were hundreds of people asking me for pictures. It’s weird when strangers come up, looking at you like they’ve known you forever. I’m grateful, but when they know your daughter’s birthday and say they wanna get her a present, it gets creepy. The craziest thing is when people ask me to sign a body part, and then they show up at another show and they’ve had it tattooed on to them. I’m like, ‘This is permanent! What are you gonna do when I suck in two years?’”
August 9, 2:31 P.M.
Daughtry calls from Sioux Falls, South Dakota, amid peals of laughter.
“I’m sorry, we’re watching Chappelle’s Show, the sketch about a family with an interesting last name that I’m not allowed to say. Some people get offended by Chappelle, but I think he just says what everyone’s thinking. He’s a genius.
“I got to meet him last year. He was real mellow. Like, having-a-good-time mellow. He did a surprise set at the Laugh Factory, and my friend Dane Cook tipped me off. I’ve known Dane since I was in L.A. doing Idol. I was out at Hyde one night and he came up to me like, ‘I’m a huge fan’ — this was when I was still on the show. I couldn’t believe it.
“So, yeah, yesterday we stocked up on entertainment. Went to FYE, got a bunch of Chappelle DVDs and a PlayStation 3 for the bus. Finally! Just trying to get away from the monotony.”
August 10, 3:33 P.M.
Ensconced in the climate-controlled back room of his bus, Daughtry dials in one last time.
“Dude! We’re in Sturgis, and it’s 200 degrees outside. We’re playing at this huge bike-rally thing tonight. There’s a massive shooting range, with every gun you can think of: AK-47s, M16s. It seemed like a fun thing to try, so we did. The coolest thing I shot was this World War II anti-aircraft gun. It had two barrels and sat on this crazy contraption. I shot a ton of bullets, really fast.
“The crowd was crazy last night. Somebody launched a Red Bull can at me, but it missed. I saw it fly past my head and slide under the drum kit. I wanted to say, ‘Missed me!’ — but then all the other dickheads would start winging stuff. I’ve learned to control myself. Don’t get me wrong, though, if a situation arises, I can handle myself. I just hope dudes don’t read this and make a run at me now. If so, I promise I’ll call you from the hospital.”