This new set of Tour Tips was written by the rock band, Eva Plays Dead. You can check out their tips for being on the road, after the break.
Soft Furnishings: A necessary evil. When on tour, chances are you’ll be in a small van travelling very long distances in uncomfortable positions, so you need to learn how to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. Pillows, duvets and blankets can help ease the pain of trying to sleep in the foetal position or some other horrible variation of said position. Although they do take up A LOT of space in the van, I think it’s something that’s proven useful. Also, they come in handy when some random guy offers you his living room floor to sleep on for the night.
Not drinking every night: I know it sounds boring but depending on how long your tour is, if you get shit faced at every show, you will eventually burn out and/or piss some people off. If it’s affecting your performance you need to stop drinking, simple as that.You’re on tour for a reason and if you’re playing guitar like a dog with epilepsy then it’s time to put down the Red Stripe.
Technical difficulties: They are inevitable, your shit will break, and you will feel really fucking dumb for not having prepared for such a situation, which brings me to my point; prepare for as many situations as you can. Broken string in the middle of a song? Have your spare guitar tuned, strapped and ready to go. Pedal power supply dies? Be able to bypass all of your pedals as quickly as possible so you can keep going, because in all honesty, no-one in the crowd cares about your £300, handmade in a shed somewhere in bumfuck nowhere Idaho fuzz pedal, so just find a way around it.
Vehicle choice: There’s a reason every band uses a big van, and the simple fact is that it’s cheaper to rent a van and pay for the fuel than it is to cart all your gear around in 3 cars. Another benefit is that only one person needs to be driving at a time, rather than having everyone driving their own vehicles and crashing due to exhaustion. Another good thing is that everyone turns up to the gig at the same time, rather than guitar, bass and vocal turning up an hour before the drummer who got trapped in traffic due to a farmer trying to move his sheep across the road.
Promotion: If you’re going on tour, chances are you’ll be playing cities you’ve never played before, so the sensible thing to do is plan ahead – use social media to your advantage and try and introduce your music to people in and around the cities you’re playing. Talk to friends who might have moved there for studies/work. Get a bunch of flyers printed (nice ones, not on the cheap recycled paper in your mums printer at home) and then go around the venue handing them to everyone you don’t recognise in the hopes that they’ll stick around for your set. Maybe they will, maybe they won’t, but you put the effort in, which is more than can be said for the Kobain clones smoking a spliff behind the bins outside after they played to 3 people and a dog.
Food: KFC and Maccy’s every day might seem like a good idea, but it’s not. The greasy shits you have to take at the venue will prove this. If you want to wake up not feeling like a small rodent crawled into your mouth, had a gang bang and then died a horrible death inside then try eating relatively clean for the duration. Go to Aldi, spend a few quid a day, discover vegetables again, make a nice sandwich, maybe even have a barbecue on the side of the road, who knows, the world is your oyster.
Did you find these tips useful? Let us know in the comments below!