Model Stranger is an independent rock band from the Chicago area who has done numerous D.I.Y. tours in their van and trailer! In their hometown, they have played some of the most prestigious venues, including: Congress Theater and The Metro. They have also opened up for national acts like Sister Hazel and Neon Trees. The band wrote an awesome set of 5 “Tour Tips” exclusively for us. Check them out after the break.
1. Invest in proper sleeping gear –
A lot of bands will spend a portion of their nightly earnings on a room for the evening. In order to significantly increase your tour profits invest in sub zero sleeping gear and sleep in your transportation (hopefully van or bus). The sub zero requirement is obviously only for the colder evenings but during the Summer months make sure you have your a/c charged and working. If you’re able to crash on peoples’ floors that’s even better but always be prepared to rough it. You can also use betterthanthevan.com or couchsurfing.com to make arrangements and meet wonderful kind people all over the world. BUT…always be prepared for the worst and you’ll appreciate it when you’re going over your profits at the end of your tour.
2. Bring your own food –
Bands waste A LOT of money on unnecessary things while on tour: hotels, drugs, food… Instead of getting fast-food that will give you rot-gut and dropping all the money you’ve made into fine-dining, spend an hour at your local “buy-in-bulk” store and stock up on protein heavy foods and snacks before hitting the road. You’d be surprised at how much food one could eat with $2 a day.
3. Baby Wipes! –
Baby Wipes can and will be your best friend when living on the road. A hot shower is not always going to be available and part of this business is presentation. If you and your band roll into town looking like a wandering rag-a-muffin and smelling like a baby’s rotting diaper filled with Indian food, chances are people will want to keep their distance from you; let alone open up a place for you to shower or lay your head. Baby Wipes are a quick and easy solution for washing off the previous night :)
4. Be friendly –
You are a guest in someone else’s hometown. Be friendly to the bartenders, door guys and most importantly the fans. If any of your band member’s act like an asshole you are likely not going to get invited back. There are thousands of bands waiting in line to take the stage next.
5. Don’t get discouraged –
If a show gets cancelled just call around town and let them know you are willing to play. You may be able to pick up another show, learn something about yourself and make a bit of cash. Just see how we handled our last cancellation here.