In this Tour Tips segment, the indie pop duo, Sleeping Wolf, recommends advice for being a musician on the road. You can check out the tips, after the break.
Well, when we were asked to write something for Digital Tour Bus we were excited. In an unprecedented insane year to be able to talk about one of my favorite things was a welcome distraction. So As I sit with the din of election news blaring behind me I’m going to bring up better times.
I think that going on tour in a band is the closest thing in modern life to going on a quest. You and a select few friends set out on a road trip to find treasure. In this case, it’s the love and adulation of strangers. Nothing is guaranteed, people may not show up, your van might break down, unsavory bullshit might occur. Even in the midst of all those risks, some of the most primal and spiritual moments can happen. Music is the lifeblood of the human experience. It’s the most spiritual act one can commit outside of a house of worship. And we’re the custodians. It’s a weird rare honor, even more of an honor if you can pay your bills with it.
So for my tour tips, especially for the year 2020, I’d recommend a few things.
ONE- We don’t know when we’ll all be able to tour again, when the opportunity does reveal itself make sure it’s safe not just for you but for the audience. No show is worth letting the ‘Rona spread.
TWO- Don’t eat like a twelve-year-old on the road. Yes, it’s all exciting and new, and calories don’t count outside of your zip code, but after a few days of eating like a baby with money you’re energy will tank. Find a grocery store and commit to always having real food on hand, even if it’s just nuts and fruit. Takis and Chicken fingers turn you into a walking turd. This job is amazing but to do it right, REALLY right, you need your health. Which leads me to…
THREE- try to get decent exercise 3-4 days a week, yes sweating your life out on stage every night feels like a great workout, but maintaining a positive mental attitude is key to actually enjoying living the dream. Elliott Smith, Kurt Cobain and Ian Curtis were living geniuses, but they died in the midst of living their dream because they couldn’t find hope in anything. Help your body make serotonin and it will feed your mind. Exercise. Eat right. And Also…..
FOUR- Don’t play with people’s hearts… It may seem really fun to have some casual dalliances, but you leave behind real people with real feelings. Don’t be a cliché. Be mature, stay in communication. True story, on tour with another band I had a friend who for years sowed wild oats, he’d float into a town, have some crazy sex and make implied promises, then leave. One night outside of Cincinnati it all came to a head and we had a poor woman openly weeping outside the bus looking for him, she was completely destroyed emotionally (at least it seemed like it at the time). Again, don’t be a dick. Life is too short, your youth will fade and you’ll be left with a great amount of regret or a calloused heart.
FIVE- be kind to sound guys and crew. Don’t bite the hand that feeds the monitors. In fact, be kind to as many as you can. You wrote some songs in your bedroom and now you’re playing them to a room filled with strangers who’ve loved you from afar for months and years. It’s a privilege and an honor, and while you think you might deserve the adulation and attention, the truth is also that you are a lucky lucky bastard who gets to make modern-day magic.