In this Tour Tips segment, the alternative band, happydaze, recommends advice for being a musician on the road. You can check out the tips below:
Touring is hopefully one of the main reasons you’re in a band, but it can be a long, smelly, uncomfortable experience if you don’t plan ahead and bring some of your creature comforts along with you. Almost every tour I’ve done has been in shitty, half broken vans, sometimes having to sleep on 11 hour drives through the night, having a very limited amount of space and almost always losing your most precious and important belongings under a pile of sleeping bags, Mcdonalds wrappers, empty water bottles and other human beings.
My top 5 tips for touring are:
1. Bring a Pillow, but don’t just bring one pillow. Bring 2, and put them in one pillow case. The comfort level this can bring, whether its against the side of the van wall, on the table in front of you or the strangers floor that you’re on for the night, is unmatched to using a towel or a pile of t-shirts that I’ve seen plenty of old band mates having to do.
2. Arrive early. If you don’t arrive early, chances are you’re going to spend your whole tour in service stations, venues and your van. That hour walk around a new city can change the perspective of the whole day and make the show even better. It’s not worth an hour’s sleep in the morning, that you can easily get back in an afternoon nap with your double pillow situation. But don’t go in with no plan.. which leads me to..
3. Bring a Tour Manager, or just at least someone who is organised enough to make sure you can get to where you need to be by the time you need to be there. Ideally they’ve looked at a map before and have some understanding of how a tour works, even better if they can drive, as another tip is.
4. Don’t go underprepared. Are you driving for 350 miles to a show the next day and the drummer is the only person who can drive? Should he really be loading and setting up, playing a show, packing down then jumping in the drivers seat for 6/7 hours. Probably not. Make sure the drives can be shared, plan stops in nice places that sell more than maccas. (hilariously, this was not written by a drummer)
5. Last tip is make sure you eat. If you’re touring Europe there is always a massive lot of fruit, cheese and meat - it’s not decorative, its nutrients that Maccas and service station meal deals don’t quite provide. In the UK they replace the fruit with crisps and one case of lager and a bottle of water per person, but theres always the meat and cheese, which is cool I guess.