This new set of Tour Tips comes from Stefan Pruett of Peachcake. They are a electronic/pop band from Phoenix, AZ. Stefan has some awesome, well-thought out tips to share with you. You can check them out after the break.
1. Be grateful to perform and kill it – The only reason this edged everything out is because I looked at music like the taste of food. At the end of the 3-5 minute mark on your iPod, what’s the one thing we all thinks about? The music. Or the song. Or the quality of how it sounds. Now, every now and again, we’re going to have pretty tough nights and things may not always workout as we rehearsed and imagined, but for the most part, it’s absolutely imperative to get up on that stage and be grateful to be on it in the first place. Let that gratitude beam in your performance toward your fans, and permeate not only the stage and your other players, but also the venue and ever corner of it, because when you do that, that transcends rehearsal, and moves into a real genuine Greatness. It’s within all of us, we just have to tap into it. It’s your job to deliver a great show, so no matter what the odds or the circumstances, show up, be present, be happy and grateful, know your venue and boundaries, and be a consummate professional with delivering the best show you can muster in that moment.
2. Don’t be a dick to your bandmates – This one is huge. It was almost number one for me, so it’s really pretty much a tie, I just can’t type the number 1 twice without looking like a bumbling idiot who doesn’t know his way around the keyboard. This one is pretty self-explanatory. No matter how much you lead the band, or are in the limelight over others, because maybe you’re the main squeeze of the whole deal, or it’s your project, or you’ve been in the band since the start, or whatever manufactured bullshit story you come up with to justify your cool factor above the others around you, you need to be as one with your band and appreciate them. You’re all in it together, and don’t act like you’re not. There’s no way in hell that anyone can play every instrument it requires to do what you probably want to do with your live music, that is, if you want it to be performed live and not tracked, or perhaps lacking things by making it a one-man band. Those things can be cool if you can pull them off, of course, but if your objective is to be a band, or have a live band for the music you made one fateful, brilliant night on your laptop in Logic, or better yet, Fruity Loops, where you guessed right as you were so fatefully drawing all the lines on your chord progressions correctly (I promise I say this without angst), then be awesome about it, be cool with your band, appreciate them and their contributions, listen to them and their ideas, and be friends. Again, you don’t know how long you can ride the crest of the wave, so do it looking like a badass that everyone loves. Instead of loves to hate.
3. Be nice to your fans and pay attention to them – They are the lifeblood of your entire operation. I know we think it’s always cool to seem aloof, above them, or mysterious, unpredictable, or “weird” in some ways, but it’s not. I mean, those things are all fine if you’re not being a contrived asshole about it…but seriously dude/dudette, they’re the reason you’re even out there, and they have things they want to say to you, and they want to let you know how much what you’re doing and your art means to them and how it makes them feel, just like you feel you have things you want to say to them, and stories to tell and songs to play to them. That’s a very special exchange, and it may only even exist for so long, perhaps even that moment. Relish it, enjoy it, and be in gratitude over it. It’s not cool to act like your fans don’t matter, I don’t care how young, silly, or old and unexpected they are to you to be liking your music.
4. Know your venue/try to always have a sound check of some kind – For the band I’m in, Peachcake, I can’t tell you how many times we’d show up to a venue and have a difficult to disastrous set and treacherous time trying to figure out what went wrong and how to fix it because we weren’t aware of the venue specs and/or sound specs. A lot of times, no matter what size band you are, and even what size venue you’re playing, you’ll run into issues simply due to your lack of knowledge and consideration of details for a venue. When I was in college I took a choreography class (and I’m certainly no dance major), and the one thing that stuck with me above everything else I heard or saw in the class was when my teacher said, “Know your venue.” I really believe it’s important to figure these things out and be conscious of them as a band, no matter what your style is. It’s your job to deliver a great show to your audience…as another teacher I once had always said, “You’re only as good as your last gig.” Don’t let someone else or someplace else potentially ruin that for you, or worse, your own ignorance.
5. Experience the places you’re going – I know as a touring musician that we don’t always have much time in a given area to see it, explore it, taste it, revel it, really imbibe it and take it in. However, if you find yourself with a little extra time on your hands, and the things that worry you have been figured out and hopefully at least mostly subsided, do yourself a favor and get off Facebook or the phone and get to know the area. Figure out what’s around and go enjoy it. Who knows how many times any of us will have the opportunity to tour and for how long it will last; this world’s a magnificent and magnanimous place, and I believe it’s important for those of us who are in such fortunate positions to not take it for granted.