This new set of Tour Tips was written by Jim Barrett, of the rock band, Young Buffalo. You can check out their tips for being on the road, after the break.
1) Have that one thing you do by yourself. Whether you’re in the van, loading in/out, sleeping, eating, etc you are CONSTANTLY surrounded by your bandmates and people all the time. Whether it’s walking around the city you just pulled into, or finding a place to read a book or just simply avoiding contact with folks for a little bit, privacy doesn’t really exist on the road so we think it’s essential to get out of the nest a bit and be alone.
2) Bring a sleeping bag. This, you may think, would be a no-brainer. But alas, our own Ben Yarbrough not only doesn’t own one but he hasn’t owned one ever since we started playing shows in 2009/10. I honestly think now he’s just trying to hold out to prove a point.. I have no fucking clue what that point would be. If it’s to not be comfortable or courteous to the folks you’re staying with, hey! You’re driving the point home Benny! But seriously, when you’re constantly sleeping on floors/couches/bathtubs and even if you can grab a hotel for the night (there are 5 of us so someone’s got the floor even in a hotel!) sleeping bags insure you have a bed for a night wherever that may be
3) Be prepared and organized. I know this is pretty Boy Scout-y of me but to hell with the scouts I was only a Webelo and this shit’s true. Putting a plan together, and then having everyone on the same page is tough but necessary to make sure you stay on schedule. Tour managers are good here, if you can swing it. Unfortunately, we cannot! This tip is not one of our strong suits, but with everyone pitching in to keep the tour going and organized, you can pull it off even when you’re scatter-brained and perpetually late person like myself.
4) Spend off-days/free time wisely and enjoyably. There are those lucky days where you don’t have anywhere to be and nothing to do. Those days can be spent one of three ways: a) Very hungover from the night before because you knew you had an off day so you all get drunk as hell, b) Hungover and in the van all day because you have 1 day to get from Chicago to Denver and you knew you were going to be in the van all day so you got drunk as shit the night before, or finally c) A little hungover but nothing a coffee couldn’t fix and also get you up and out of your friend’s house to go experience some of the local color. I think c) is the best choice always. I’ve definitely probably experienced more of a) and b) on the road but they really take away from the travel and ADVENTURE of the damn thing. Go to a museum, a park, a theme park, I dunno! Have some fun and let the locals tell you the best places to eat, drink, and visit. They won’t lie.
5) It’s OK to be rock n roll, but don’t be a dick. This our 5th and final tip for ya’s. This one is probably something we didn’t take in to account when we were younger, but growing up a little bit and playing shows in places we have played before with the same folks working them can put things in perspective. When you’re playing a show, you are basically a guest. A guest and also a colleague because you’re working at playing a show, and everyone else is working to put the show on. You are not better than anyone at the venue, so make sure the staff (sound guy/girl, production manager, bartenders, etc) know you don’t believe that. Be nice, respectful, and helpful and leave some music with them. Chances are you’ll probably be back. Leave a good impression.
Did you find these tips useful? Let us know in the comments below!