Musicians' Greatest Stories on Tales Of the Road Warriors / by Teagan Kuruna

This interview with the host of Tales of the Road Warriors is part of a series highlighting podcasts participating in Philly Podfest 2019. See the full line-up of live shows on our Schedule page.


Podcasts were not new to Hal Aaron Cohen when he started developing Tales of the Road Warriors. His sister and niece had their own podcasts. He had even been a guest on the former’s. But it was after a conversation about podcasting on Thanksgiving, when Hal began to put it all together. He had built websites since the ‘90s and after decades of working as a musician, he had all these stories, friends who had their stories . . . and the ability to build a platform on which he could share them all. 

Like Marc Maron (Hal’s podcasting role model), Hal allows his guests a wide breadth to explore a fairly easy yet complicated question: what’s your story. Part of his inspiration came from a previous project: 

“I had people submit their stories about the gigs from hell, the funny things that happened on their gigs, the horrible situations, the club owners that don’t pay them, or one guy who was on tour with Linda and Paul McCartney who talked about her after she died. So I’m thinking, why don't I make Tales of the Road Warriors into a podcast. I lived all these years in California and I know some really good people with great stories.”

And this isn’t a fib. The people Hal talks to have great stories. They’ve been through ringers. They’ve waited their turns. They’ve made a life in music work for them. But the title of “road warrior” often means little recognition. “Road Warriors aren’t about the McCartneys – it’s about the support networks, it’s about the boots on the ground getting gigs, it’s about the camaraderie formed by those also doing the thing they love in front of 5, 50, 150, 1500, and more people.”

Inadvertently, Hal is also building a really cool archive of stories of these road warriors whose labor and stories might otherwise be discounted or unheard outside of these small friendship networks formed by musicians. But his goal, like any musician’s, is to invite the audience in:

“I want to bridge the gap between the musician and the audience. . . I want the stories to be compelling enough for so that people go ‘I always wondered what it was like to be to be on the road . . . The stories shared articulate just how small the world of musicians is – working at the same clubs, with the same musicians, and sharing the same road warrior life style. Listening kind of feels like listening to musicians improvising – it’s hella playful, with intriguing tangents, and a sense of community.”

To catch this festival of words, catch Hal and his road warriors at Tattooed Mom on July 21st at 3:30 pm.