This new set of Tour Tips was written by heavy rock band, Emperors and Elephants. You can check out their tips for being on the road, after the break.
1) Actually get on a tour
While it’s fun to get out of town and play, anyone can spend $1000’s out of pocket and go look like a rock star. You need to make sure what you’re doing makes sense, particularly from a business standpoint and building your brand. Consider if the return on your investment to go out on the road will justify what you gain? Ideally touring should be self-sustaining, with enough coming in to get you to the next town. Part of this includes making sure contracts and riders are in proper form to guarantee this .
2) Stock up on baby wipes, extra ramen noodles
You never know where your next shower may come from so unscented baby wipes come in handy to help “freshen” things up. You also never know what you’re going to get to eat, so maybe not ramen, but stock something non-perishable to get you by in a pinch. I’ve had amazing fajitas and home cooked meals provided at venues, and then the next day we were literally given a jar of Goober grape peanut butter and a loaf of bread. For 7 people.
3) Remember the keys to your trailer locks
True story: First day out of town and when we arrive we can’t get in the trailer because the lock keys are on our bass player’s key ring back home. The reason being is that we normally use his vehicle to get to local shows, but were borrowing a more fuel efficent one for this run, hence he didn’t need his keys and left them behind. So the lesson here is figure out what you need to operate your vehicle and checklist it before you head out. BTW, we used a tire iron to pop the locks off, so I guess make sure you bring that too!
4) Get a AAA or other auto service plan
Despite how much prep you put in, vehicle problems are an inevitability. Roadside assistance can get you up and going again without missing a show and If it’s something more than a simple flat. It will at least save you the cost of an expensive tow.
5) Thinking is bad. Try not to think
There is a high degree of chaos involved in doing this. Driving across the country you are isolated from your home base and any number of things can happen. At the shows, it will be dark, noisy, with people running around and you will most likely be drinking? That is not the time to be figuring things out and doing problem solving, if it can be helped. Simplify things as much as possible and get into a routine. Don’t add new pieces to your live rig that you don’t know how to operate. Make your rig as “road-proof” as possible. Make sure people within your organization know what their job is when they arrive at the venue.