Here’s some unsolicited advice from Scotty McCreery: If you ever find yourself crashing on a bus bunk bed, then sleep with your feet facing the front of the bus. “If you’re not and the driver suddenly brakes, you’ll be slammed into the wall.”
Though he's only 22 years old, McCreery is already a tour bus veteran. The baritone-voiced American Idol winner-cum-country-music-superstar is currently in the middle of his fifth U.S. tour. On the road, he shares his sleeping quarters (a row of on-board bunk beds) with a dozen crewmembers and bandmates. “It’s not as bad as it sounds,” he says with a laugh. “Everyone’s usually pretty tired and falls asleep easily.”
McCreery has reason to be tired. In addition to going on tour, he's written a memoir, “Go Big or Go Home," and is hard at work on a new album. McCreery hopes his latest single, “Five More Minutes,” which he wrote in honor of his late grandfather, will appear on the tracklist.
We spoke to McCreery this morning about life on the road, Elvis clocks and bringing a personal pillow wherever you go.
You’re in Nashville at the moment, right?
I am. We have a show tonight at the Grand Ole Opry, and then we’re on the bus tonight heading to Virginia.
This is your fifth tour now. How’s life on the road been this time around?
The road life takes a while to get used to. I mean, I was just your typical kid playing high school baseball and bagging groceries before all this started. Now, even though I’ve been on the road a bit, I never really get used to it.
Oh, well you just kind of have to get rest while you can because it’s a lot of work. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a lot of good work — it’s just that it doesn’t start until late at night. But the good news is that I always fall asleep easily. Especially nowadays because the schedule can get pretty hectic and the days are long and exhausting, so when you’re finally done it doesn't take much to fall asleep.
And are you the type of person who can sleep anywhere?
I’m one of those guys who could sleep on a crooked rock if I had to. I’ve never really had trouble sleeping.
You sleep on the bus, right?
Yeah we’re on the bus and we sleep in bunks. There are 12 of us and it’s not big at all, but its dark, and when you close the curtain you don't know if its 2am or 2pm so I think I’ve gotten to the point where I sleep better on the bus than I do in my own bed back at home. The darkness is great and the engine’s just kind of humming you to sleep. It’s pretty nice.
But 12 people? That's a lot to share a sleeping space with.
It’s a closed-off area so you just hope that nobody had beans for dinner or anything like that because it all kind of stays right there. But it’s all good. Occasionally you’ll hear somebody snoring pretty loudly and you’ll just bang on their bunk real quick and they’ll shut up.
Is there anything you bring on the road to make yourself more comfortable?
For me, number one is, I try to bring a pillow from home, which gives me some familiarity with where I’m sleeping.
Aside from sleep, how is your current tour different than your previous ones?
It’s definitely gotten easier over the years, but it doesn't get any less nerve-wracking. I still get nervous, but we’re more confident and so we’re just trying to put on our best show. I mean, once the show’s over, we’re back on the bus critiquing it and figuring out what we can do better. We’re trying to get better everyday.
Do your nerves ever bring about any anxiety or recurring dreams?
I sometimes have the falling dream or the underwear-in-the-classroom dream. But for the most part, I’m not really dealing with any recurring dreams.
What we have found in your childhood bedroom?
I had a few Boston Red Sox pennants and posters — a lot of that, actually. I had a big Elvis poster and an Elvis clock that was on the wall that had two legs that hung down and swiveled back and forth, which was pretty cool. I loved that clock.
Does the Elvis clock still have a place in your new bedroom?
I have a clock but it’s a different one. Now my favorite part is my platinum record for “See You Tonight,” which is one of my prouder moments. That’s up there and always cool to look at.
Finally, just to play off your latest song, when was the last time you needed “five more minutes” in the morning?
Oh pretty much every morning. Shoot, I woke up to play golf this morning and I still wish I had five more minutes.
Not a morning person.
Not at all. Don't come near me in the morning. I’ve gotta get my coffee and food in there. Then I’d be good to talk to. But until then? Watch out.