How does one tour, you ask? Touring is kind of like packing for a long vacation, except you will work harder than any job you’ll ever have. For many years I’ve kept the same regimen. Pack two weeks worth of clothes because you never know when you’re gonna come near a washer and dryer. I calculate this by figuring how many times I plan on showering in a week. Yes, there is a science behind this. This may or may not work for everyone, but for me… it’s worked like a charm and allowed me to travel light. If you’re only allowed two carry-ons and one checked baggage on an airplane, there is a reason for that.
Before the days of the iPod or a personal computer that would hold more than 20 gigs, I used to travel with unnecessary DVD’s and CD’s in those oversized Case Logic cases. Remember those? At the end of a tour, I may have listened to a few and maybe watched one movie (it’s difficult to convince your band mates to watch gory horror films with absolutely no plot but death and dismemberment). This wasted precious space in our wee little van and made me wonder, what the hell am I doing traveling with all this crapola? Today, you have Netflix and the “cloud” so fill your iPod with all the things that make your world go round. Put all your unnecessary horror and guilty pleasure films in the cloud where you can watch merely anywhere, anytime. Ah, the digital age surely makes traveling a lot easier.
A Few Touring Do’s and Don’ts:
–Don’t get hammered drunk every night. 6 out of 7 nights is ok. (Not really).
–Eat at least one bowl of fruit a week or everyday. Let’s go for everyday kids!
–Stay away from Chicken Fried Steak at 3am or Waffle House for that matter. Playing shows with food poisoning is no bueno, even if you’re John Mayer (once cancelled an entire tour due to food poisoning).
–Take your vitamins and work out. Having the flu while traveling is no fun. Plus, your jeans will get tighter from all that Chicken Fried Steak you’re eating.
–Don’t text and drive.
–Be nice to your fans and everyone you meet. The energy you put out is the energy you receive.
–If you disappear and leave the van, it’s your responsibility to find the rig before it departs the next day. Your band mates aren’t your baby sitters. If Aliens have abducted you, then you’re forgiven.
–Call your loved ones at least once a week minimum, but if you have a girlfriend or boyfriend, then every day, every hour, every passing minute, before and after shows, during movies, parties, press conferences, radio interviews and even in no cell zones. It’s difficult, but you can do it. Now, since there is Facetime and Skype… the possibilities are endless. Just make sure you are alone ; )
–If you’re single… have a good time!
–Sleep and rest. It takes energy to rock out with your…
–Pay your bills and make sure home life is secured. Having an eviction notice while touring is not fun to deal with, nor are declined credit cards.
–Most importantly, HAVE FUN and cherish the people you will meet! You’re living a dream not many people get to endure.
Of course, not many people can travel with a group of people day in and day out. A lot of bands break up because they simply cant stand one another, but the bands that have surpassed this are the ones still making music today. These are just some examples of how I tour Indie style, stay tuned for more sage advice.
– Billy Driver
p.s. My views don’t always represent how my band mates travel, but this is how I roll.