This new set of Tour Tips was written by Gustav Burn, of the alternative band, Atlas Losing Grip. You can check out their tips for being on the road, after the break.
1) Practice before going on tour. Needless to say, practice your ass off and imagine the venues that you are going to play. Visualize the best show you can imagine. Are you bringing anything special, like ego-risers or maybe you can stagedive from your amp cases? Just try to prepare for the best show ever. A lot will sit after 100 shows, but you have to do the ten first shows first, and they have to rock as well.
2) Warm up before the show. Not very much depending on if you play a 30 minute hardcore punk set or a two hour sitting-down-playing-cello, warm up your body and joints. Practice your crucial youthcrew split jump – do a few pushups, get your blood flowing so you can give it all from the first song. Singers – warm up your vocal cords, there are great tutorials on youtube, I do a chromatic thing in a major triad from B to B and back. Anyway – just warm up so you can perform your best!
3) Give it all. You travelled 1000 km from home to stand infront of the audience and look at your fretboard or your shoes? Don’t think so. Be fucking all over the place – all the time. Your fans payed to see you, and unless you actually are a shoegaze band – fucking give them all you have, you will get it back times 1000, I swear!
4) Be humble. So you are headlining after all those years supporting other bands? “But Fat Mike ate my after show pizza when were supporting them, so I’m gonna eat yours”. Fuck that shit. Treat your support bands as you wished you were treated. It’s a dirty bizniz, but fucking be the first good example. It will get you farther than you think.
5) Bring vitamin pills and healthy stuff to eat. You will always be getting a bowl of Snickers and small bags of crisps and candy in the catering, but please take care of your body. Eat the dark bread everyone in your band is refusing, take the hummus instead of the nutella. You have two weeks of touring ahead, and you will not be treating your body well jumping around – drinking heavily – losing sleep etc, so do what you can, and start with the food. Bring some pills and c-vitamin to try and help your immune system from getting you sick.
6) Use offdays wisely. Try to do something the whole crew, it’s good for the morale. Being on tour can be exhausting and people can easily get on each others nerves after spending time together really tightly in a tour bus or van. Go swimming or bowling if you don’t have to travel during your dayoff. Visit something cool and old. (Easy for American bands in Europe, since everything here is probably older than your country). Actually my local pharmacy is a hundrer years older than your actual country is. *Teasing.
7) Dress comfortably but only in the tourbus. Too many times have I seen german and american bands in the nightliner-tuxedo which is grey sweatpants that has totally lost it’s shape after intensive wearing. Pleaes change for jeans before exiting the tour bus. We know it’s really comfortable, but PLEASE dress in style. Damn it.
8) Bring lots of merchandise and prepare it. Being a touring band could be the only way to actually try and make ends meet as a indie musician these days. The more designs you have, the more likely it is that you have something for everyones taste, and have cheap items too such as coffee mugs/patches/stickers or pins, how cheesy it might seem, people always have a euro or dollar in the pocket that they would love to spend on you.
Prepare the merchandise well, and if you can, prepare a foldable wall or something so that you don’t have to actually set everything up from scratch every day, instead spend the time on preapring your boxes with sizes, and see what you have. Count in every day and count out after the show. Have a friend do the merch, its gonna be worth it and might actually bring in an extra € or two.
9) Bring spare stuff. Like Noahs ark, bring two of everything. No but seriously, bring a spare guitar and have it tuned and ready by the stage, bring a spare transmitter for your wireless system. You get it, you dont want the show to stand or fall with you not bringing spare stuff. BRING SPARE STUFF!
Have your guitars and basses set up by a pro before the tour.
10) Bring two gig shirts…
…and see if there’s a venue with laundry machines along the way, maybe half way.
That way you can pack lightly.
11) Canadians and Northern European bands: Tour in the southern hemisphere during fall and winter. That way you can have summer all year long =)
12) Choosing bunks: If you are touring in a vehicle with bunks, the on on the bottom is the one you want during summer, and reverse in the winter. Or do as I do and choose the middle bunk, that way you can always have the same and won’t have to fight with the rest of the band who’s freezing and who can’t breathe nighttime.
Did you find these tips useful? Let us know in the comments below!