In this Tour Tips segment, the instrumental rock artist, Chris Fury, recommends advice for being a musician on the road. You can check out the tips below:
I recently had an incredible touring experience playing guitar with an artist I closely work with and produce, Jehry Robinson. We toured and went through 14 states on the west coast of the USA opening up for Hip-Hop/Country star Jelly Roll’s “Son of a Sinner” tour. The entire tour was sold out and is featured in Jelly Roll’s recent documentary on Hulu. Since there was a solid buffer of time when the doors open and our set time, we wound up playing to gigantic crowds, including an unforgettable sold-out Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado.
I have then since focused on my solo career and finished my new upcoming instrumental rock album “A Game Worth the Candle”, which releases June 23rd, 2023. I hope these following tour tips serve you well in your musical touring endeavors.
My top five tour tips:
1. Cultivate good health.
Travelling takes a big toll on your body, both physically and mentally, so being prepared in this regard should be the top of your list. If you take care of yourself, you stand the best shot at having the best possible experience. First and foremost, sleep whenever you can. A solid neck pillow was a life saver for me for sleeping anywhere. Especially in airports, vans, green rooms, throughout the various time zone changes.
On the road, there were times we were in a van for 10+ hours. Just remember this: A body in rest stays at rest, and a body in motion stays in motion. Stretch, or walk around when you can at rest stops. Even some simple push-ups to maintain your body is better than nothing. Before tour I got my body in shape by a combination of intermittent fasting and a daily exercise regimen. But on this recent run, we didn’t have the luxury of hotel gyms, so if you don’t either, do what you can to stay fit. At Red Rocks, I climbed to the top (192 stairs) which was an awesome workout and view of the venue before the show.
2. Be mindful what you eat / drink.
It is so easy to eat fast food or gas station junk food when that’s all you are passing on roads during the day. I recommend going to a big box store and getting some healthier options like fruit, cereal, and granola bars, which also saves gas because you don’t have to stop as much. I also supplemented my diet with some vitamins to keep my immune system up. Being in a vehicle for lengthy times can also dehydrate you, so much sure you drink more water than you’re used to, to stay extra hydrated.
3. Know your gear (really well).
Even with all the roadies and techs in the world, take responsibility for your own gear. It will help you fix or diagnose problems, get the job done more effectively, and if something happens on the fly, keep the performance going. Sing? Know your microphone you use; what brand, cable, how it works, etc. If you are a guitar player like me, make sure you know how to do a full setup on your guitar, including a full truss rod and bridge adjustment, and string change.
Make sure to have backup gear or a backup plan in case things don’t go according to plans. I had to learn how to use a new MPC to trigger tracks on this tour. One show, the MPC got disconnected and lost power during the set. Thankfully we had a battery backup, so the show kept going without skipping a beat.
4. Being nice goes a long way.
In an industry renown for inflated egos, make sure you check yours at the door. Anyone on a professional working tour situation carries the same goal; A great show, and for things to run as smoothly as possible. Try to not have a huge footprint, and tread lightly.
Sometimes just by using polite words like “please” and “thank you” might be the difference between getting your priceless guitar in the nice airplane closet or thrown around with all the other baggage. Once, my guitar didn’t fit on a flight, and after politely explaining to the flight attendants the importance of my gear arriving safely, they were extremely generous enough to let me put it in the empty seat next to me. That normally would cost the price of the seat. Also, by being a cool hang, maybe you’ll get the call back to work again.
5. Be here now.
One of my favorite pre-show rituals is to see what the local area is all about. It may be a food or drink like Seattle coffee, or a sight to see like walking around Las Vegas Fremont Street. It’s also great to do this on your own, especially if you’ve been couped up with the same people for a while. For me it always re-energizes me and confirms my thrill for adventures.
Embrace both the good, and the bad; come what may. Give it your all on stage and also know that some of the hard times on the road will pass. By staying in the present moment always, you’ll be able to embody the touring experience, and be prepared for what comes your way.
I hope these tips are helpful for you. By keeping them in mind I sincerely hope you all have unforgettable experiences out there on the road.