ProGuitarShop

Touring Tips

August 20, 2013

By PGS Fitz 

We’ve been sharing tips on gear for a long time here at PGS—this week we’re casting a wider net and talking TOURING. If you’ve ever been on tour, whether it was a two-week jaunt or a three-month marathon—you know how hard it can be on a person. Thankfully it’s also usually a lot of fun and these days, it’s nothing short of necessary for the success of a band. If you’ve never been on tour, these tips are some good rules of thumb for you to rely on when you’re on the road.

 

1.     Keep It Together: you’ll be in close quarters with your bandmates at all times, so hopefully they’re people that you love and more importantly that you LIKE. Even so, you’re going to get irritated at some point—just remember to stay cool and work together to get through the tougher times of touring. Commit to taking care of one another on the road.

2.     Make a Budget: tours can end early if you run out of money. Canceling shows is a great way to never get more shows. As you’re planning the tour, figure out exactly what your costs are going to be. Map out your route, estimate your fuel costs, account for the cost of the vehicle and its insurance, etc. Booking accommodations outside of major cities will often save you money—or you can couchsurf. Know ahead of time what the tour is going to cost and stick to your budget, even if you start making money at the venue or your merch booth—you’ll want to save that money for the eventual disaster that happens on every tour!

3.     Merchandize Your Merch Booth: make sure to get fully stocked up on merch. The better your merch looks, the more it will sell. Invest in creating a great looking merchbooth that is mobile and flexible—venues have different sized areas to post up merch, so it’s smart to have something that can adapt to any sized merch area. Find a way to be able to take credit/debit cards—this can be done nowadays with any smartphone and a card reader. Make it as easy as possible for fans to buy your merch.

4.     Don’t Party: try your best to be healthful on the road—try to limit your drinking, stay hydrated, and if you can, avoid fast food. It’s tempting to grab a couple $0.99 burritos or burgers, but your body will thank you if you eat some fruit instead! Try buying some bulk foods from grocery store to cut down on costs. Any foods that you bring with you will be more healthy than what you get on the road and come in pretty cheap if you do your homework. 

5.     Use Earplugs:  ALWAYS. :)

6.     Every Show is Important: whether you’re playing in Pittsburgh or Pocatello, every show is a chance to sell your music and merch and to get FANS. Take every show seriously, play your best, and remember that we live in the internet age—you’re probably being filmed at every show. Give the people something fabulous to see/hear.

7.     Stay Positive: something crazy is going to happen on your tour. Your van might break down, your drummer might break his finger, your hotel might catch fire. Something always goes inexplicably awry during a tour—stay positive and lean on one another to get through. Sometimes creative solutions are needed to the weird things that happen on tour—just stay cool and let it come at you, bro. In the end you will have had the time of your life…

 

 

I haven’t been on tour in 6 years so I’m a little rusty, maybe—what are some tips that I didn’t get to?!! Let ‘em out in the comments! Thanks, as always, for reading!

Comments

  1. Steve Fairhurst says:

    ...‘Don’t party’ - who writes these things?!? Hahahahahahaha. And ear plugs are for pooftahs

    posted on August 20, 2013 at 7:28 am
  2. Jarrett D says:

    Steve must not play music much if he doesn’t use earplugs ......come on dude

    posted on August 20, 2013 at 7:37 am
  3. Will Hicks says:

    ear plugs are for (deaf) pooftahs

    posted on August 20, 2013 at 7:37 am
  4. wotsernane says:

    how come jarratt posted a come nt on steve, before steve posted a comment?

    posted on August 20, 2013 at 7:44 am
  5. Barry says:

    For many years I never used ear protection at 55 years and still playing and my hearing is good but the ringing can be painful.

    posted on August 20, 2013 at 7:46 am
  6. Daniel F says:

    Wow, unfortunate to see the first comment combine homophobia with pure idiocy.  Glad that folks called it out.

    posted on August 20, 2013 at 7:49 am
  7. Vic says:

    WHAT’S THAT STEVE?  COULDN’T HEAR YOU…

    posted on August 20, 2013 at 7:50 am
  8. Andy Dalton says:

    It’s smart to always have someone sleep in the Van at all times. Vans, trailors, or both, are not impervious to theft on the road. I’ve read too many incidents of bands getting their entire van and trailor stolen while sleeping in a hotel room (again, avoid big cities!)

    Don’t be afraid to ask the audience for a place to sleep for the night. It’s cheaper than a hotel and beats sleeping in the van (even if you have one of the nice 15 passenger Ford E350s).

    Have insurance that has roadside assistance.

    Carry maps. TONS of maps. GPS can take you along stupid routes, and doesn’t work in cities with tall buildings. They can also run out of juice - just like a phone. At the very least, keep a US highway atlas on you at all times JUST IN CASE you need to McGyver your way back to civilization.

    When driving through Deserts and Mountains: Fill up on gas every chance you get. Some places don’t have gas for 200+ miles at a time, so don’t get caught on “E”!

    Leave an hour or two before you need to. Traffic can get backed up easily and always happens when you’re pressed for time. No one ever hated a band for showing up early!

    DON’T LEAVE YOUR CASH IN THE CAR! Whenever you stay anywhere, keep the cash with the most trusted band member or tour manager, don’t flaunt it, and make sure it’s there when you go to sleep and when you wake up.

    Don’t cross the border into Canada. They’re dicks at the border. If you have to - be honest with them. They’ll take you for every dollar they can if they think they’re trying to get away from you. No one likes buying their merch back at the cost of the entire tour’s profit margin. =(

    posted on August 20, 2013 at 7:52 am
  9. TO says:

    The ‘Don’t Party’ point is not a joke! Although it applies more if you’re on the road for months at a time. Same thing with wearing earplugs. And may I add: masturbate often. Unless you’re somehow managing to get laid every night, you will be bottling up all kinds of sexual tension that will begin to make you act, let’s say… weird.

    posted on August 20, 2013 at 7:53 am
  10. Andy Dalton says:

    My last one about Canada was poorly written. Should have been:

    “They’ll take you for every dollar they can if they think you’re trying to get away with something.”

    posted on August 20, 2013 at 7:55 am
  11. Rex A says:

    TAKE THE BEST TRUCK / VAN / VEHICLE YOU CAN!!!!!!!

    Pawning your gear for a bus ride home after a motor blows up in BFE is a crappy memory to have of your tour!!

    Toured the country for 20 years! Been there, done it, got a T-shirt!

    Rock On!

    posted on August 20, 2013 at 8:01 am
  12. j says:

    And never trust the drummer when he says he locked the van :P

    posted on August 20, 2013 at 8:09 am
  13. Mistor Sparkle says:

    I can’t see using plugs unless your doing festival shows and old schooling 100 watt amps most people using in ear monitors now peeps. tour much?

    posted on August 20, 2013 at 8:28 am
  14. dan says:

    1. use condomns
    2. carry new cables and strings
    3. park your van with doors against walls, always think of ways of making thieves lifes difficult.
    4. say yes to insurance.
    5. be nice to the soundman, give him a t shirt if you can, don’t be bossy, just ask him how can you make his work easier.make him feel important.  there is nothing worst than a pissed sound man.
    6. avoid provocative political stickers in your van, if cops stop you, tell them you are a Christian band , and do not get defensive.  leave your beligerance for the stage.
    7. don’t d anything illegal.  8. if you can have an already assembled rack , when you just plug and play. great.  9.  you don’t know what the club owner, promoter will do, so have various setlists ready.  the 15 minute one,  the half an hour one, the one hour one.  10 . plan in advance what you will say between songs,  the classical “are you having a good time” gets really old after the third song… add spontaneous short comments, make it sound un planned..  just like the solo, but with words.  11.dont eat crap   12. get enough sleep     source, I was a roadie for a lesser known metal band in south America.

    posted on August 20, 2013 at 8:29 am
  15. Dean Massalsky says:

    To quote the great Neil Peart “adventures sucks while you’re having them”.

    posted on August 20, 2013 at 8:30 am
  16. Junebug says:

    DEFINITELY DON’T PARTY!!!  Are you a bunch of chuckle heads, or conducting yourself in your career.  It’s not a frakkin’ party, it’s a business.  More importantly, it’s YOUR business.  Stop looking like an idiot, and please, god, please, stop making such a bad reputation for the real professionals out here so club owners will stop thinking they’re doing us a favor when they give us free beer instead of free hotel rooms!!!

    And make sure everyone has a damn cell phone in case something happens unexpected when you aren’t all in the same place! Gah!

    posted on August 20, 2013 at 8:30 am
  17. KL says:

    Uh, most pro musicians and engineers I know use ear plugs at least from time to time, some religiously - why blow your ears out for the two sets before yours on tour - and “pooftahs” is a laddish schoolboy put-on macho slur that has no rightful further place in the world, so seriously, get your s—t together and stop fronting, son. It ain’t 1972 and nobody is putting up with that crap anymore. You have no safe audience for that stuff here.

    posted on August 20, 2013 at 9:02 am
  18. Paul Needs says:

    ‘healthful ‘? Is that REALLY a word?

    posted on August 20, 2013 at 9:30 am
  19. J-Pizzle says:

    Rule # 1   No #2 on the bus ( #2 not meaning rule # 2)
    Rule # 2 Throw your stinky ass socks away every night ( send the runner to Walmart for new.)
    Rule #3   The Monitor dude should be held with kidd gloves if he (or she) is not on the tour pay role.
    Rule#4 Remember the name of the city you are in. ( Thank you Clev-ago-alanta-poertlando good night)

    posted on August 20, 2013 at 9:36 am
  20. Scott Grove says:

    No room in my ears for ear plugs with my in ear monitors.  Your ears are to LISTEN, not to block out all the great tones you’ve spent so much to create.  I simply call “bad article”.  The commenters are putting out much better “REAL WORLD” tips than the article did.

    posted on August 20, 2013 at 10:04 am
  21. Lem G. says:

        Who keeps track of the gate money ?  Who mans the merch table ?
        Who keeps track of the band’s expenses ?
        Why do you ALWAYS need a contract at a more well known venue ?
        Why should the venue get a % of your merchandise sales ?
        Why would you drink away all your profits at a bar gig ?

    posted on August 20, 2013 at 11:06 am
  22. Mojave Johnson says:

    Pretty general, but very sound advice (take or leave the pun).

    If you’re not a slob or an asshole, couch surfing has more benefits than just saving a few bucks on accommodations.  It also gets your fans involved with the life of the band, which can strengthen their loyalty and expand your fan base.

    Make your merch available through your website, too.  If you record a few extra songs when you’re in the studio, they can be used as bonus EP’s - “sure, you can buy our CD online, but if you buy it at the show tonight we’ll give you a free bonus EP with “unreleased” songs!”  It works.

    Whether you like KISS or not, they have a great philosophy when it comes to playing shows - “give the audience the show you would kill to see.”

    Advertising your band on the outside of your tour van, especially if you’re traveling out of state, is like putting up a neon sign and begging cops to pull you over!  Cops assume that bands are traveling with drugs, and lets face it, a lot of them are.  Don’t make yourself a target.  Even if you’re all drug free, a police stop and search can delay you for several hours or more (potentially making you late for the next show), and the cops will not be gentle with your expensive gear.  They’ll pull it all out of your van or trailer and throw it on the side of the highway, leaving you to clean up the mess.

    Know your gear inside and out, and be ready for the sound guy.  Don’t hesitate or fumble when he comes by to set up mics.  Be assertive with how you want things miced, but DON’T BE AN ASSHOLE!!!  Pissing off the sound guy is the quickest was to ruin a show!!

    Assume every venue will have NO GEAR! 

    The house sound guys have certain sound requirements they have to meet, i.e. noise levels, noise curfews, etc.  They’re going to mic your amps whether you’re using a 5-watt practice amp or a 200-watt stadium killer.  Using a small, low power tube amp will allow you to crank the amp to get great tone without deafening the neighbors down the street, and the sound guys will appreciate it because it allows them to control the house sound more efficiently.  Doing this will also take up less space (and weight) in the van (or gear trailer), so you’ll save on fuel, too!!

    I could go on and on, and I see a lot of others also had great ideas, but the best way to learn is by doing!!

    posted on August 20, 2013 at 11:32 am
  23. Abbacus says:

    Enjoy the ride: these are the good old days. Guard your guitars!  Think twice about picking up hitch-hikers: aside from the “Criminal Minds”  psychopaths, there’s the guy the cops are looking for real hard and you get pulled over with them in your bus in Macon County roadside drama!  It’s good to not go to jail for any reason while on tour.

    posted on August 20, 2013 at 11:37 am
  24. Phinex says:

    If you’re in close quarters with a drummer and lots of high pitched guitar solos one ear plug can be serious relief on a long gig. Crashing cymbals get old real fast. But do make sure you have the nice ear plugs that simply trim the top edge off the sound and volume instead of muffling everything.

    posted on August 20, 2013 at 12:34 pm
  25. Moneyshot says:

    Let FZ explain a few things.
    http://youtu.be/TWXUatVuxQg

    posted on August 20, 2013 at 1:27 pm
  26. Moo says:

    Good tips. Here’s mine:
    1) Have extra EVERYTHING.  You need backups of every potential thing that can break, and that means everything.  Always have a “Plan B” - today that could be iRig with your iPhone - whatever, but have it worked out and TEST IT before you head out.  Keeping your stuff up and running applies not to just your band equipment (but that too) - also your vehicle(s), your camping gear - whatever.  And - if you have to tap into your spares,  get your original gear fixed as soon as you can.

    2) Pro touring acts carry a complete tool kit with all the jacks, extra tubes, extra cabling, extra whatever needed to keep every piece of gear up and running.  Use tape echos?  Then have extra tapes and capstan rollers.  Use digital programs or computer files in your act?  Then have backups at the ready that you can restore in seconds if you have to.  It’s also smart to have what you need to tap into whatever source of power you encounter, and I’m not talking about a couple of $5 outlet strips.

    3) Drummers: You are NEVER prepared - please get it together.  Carry extra heads, an extra bass drum pedal, an extra high-hat stand, and an extra stool.  If you’re miccing your own kit, carry extra stands and mic clips so to be as versatile as possible.  Of course have extra sticks and whatever else you need to make noise.

    4) Guitarists - buy your strings in bulk and change them every 8-10 45 minute sets.  That’s every other night if you do 4 hr gigs,  once a week if you play one set per night - etc.  In addition to all the stuff you need to carry - buy a couple extra DRUM KEYS.  That’s right - drum keys.  Nothing makes a band sound better (or worse) than the way the drums are tuned,  and drummers are notorious for never having their drum key.

    5) Bassists: In addition to all the back-up stuff a guitarist needs to do - you need to carry several DI boxes for different situations.

    BONUS POINTS: Every musician who uses a plug-in instrument of any kind (including a microphone)  should know how to use an ohm meter to find a short - and how to soldier a new jack on a cable. 

    6) This is a BUSINESS: Your job is to have people from all walks of life love you and your music - an almost impossible task.  So stay 100,000 miles away from all of the following areas whenever you are offstage (and probably when you’re onstage too). 

    - RELIGION.  Trust me NOBODY cares about your belief system. Nobody.  Unless you are Christian whatever band,  and even if you are, no doubt how you recite the “Lord’s Prayer” won’t be exactly how someone from some other cult…er, denomination recites it.  NEUTRAL is the key here. Christian bands can put “Jesus” stuff on their truck and gear - everyone else - NO.    BTW - “The Environment” , “Veganism”, and other secular humanist endeavors are the same as religion, and if fact are many peoples’ religion.  Embrace cultural differences but DO NOT comment on them.

    - POLITICS:  Same thing.  You’ll never be right and you’ll never win.  Don’t talk about it, don’t put stickers on your truck/cases/gear Stay 100% neutral.  BTW - “The Environment” , “Veganism”, and other secular humanist endeavors are the same as politics.  Did I say that? 
    The confederate flag is as offensive to a black person as a Nazi swastika is to a Jewish person.

    - RACE, SEXUAL ORIENTATION, FETISHES, etc.  : Live diversity and treat everyone 100% as equals - YES, that goes without saying.  But keep in mind the civil war is still being fought in large sections of the USA, and some of the MOST racist places you’ll uncover are north of the Mason-Dixon.  People particularly hate big black guys with hot white chicks (Remember the Kanye-Taylor Swift debacle?).  And nobody wants to see PDA whether it’s Hetro, Homo, or a mixed bag.  Keep your hands off your “lover” until you’re in your hotel room and you’ll be much better off.

    - JACKASSES, DRUNKS, DOPERS:  Need not apply.  Don’t hire them, don’t encourage them, don’t work with them,  keep them away from your organization.  Period.  Substance abuse is so 1970s - and it’s still the shortest path to losing everything you’ve worked years for. 

    MIND THE MONEY:  Finally - have a trusted third-party associate take care of the money for you.  A business manager who you ALL trust like he/she is family - or maybe more than that.  Develop budgets as others have mentioned - but if you start slipping below your expected revenue for the tour - FIX IT while you can.  Re-negotiate the door… raise prices a buck… find a couple of afternoon gigs - whatever.  But catching it quick and getting back on track quickly is what will save your tour.

    SOURCE: Spent my 20’s on the road in various touring bands  

    posted on August 20, 2013 at 2:32 pm
  27. Moo2 says:

    One more thing….

    Develop “outposts” along your route - that is know where the best guitar shops,  the best pro sound places,  the best vehicle repair shops are located.  Don’t wait until you’re out there with something broken… make some phone calls before you head out to introduce yourself and maybe even set up in-person meets.  When I was touring-  certain shops along the route took my butt of a sling more than once. 

    Guitar Shops and the like are great PR/Merch opportunities -  Maybe do a drum clinic at the drum shop or a guitar clinic at the guitar shop along the way.  Establishing this “web” of relationships can literally double the impact of your tour.    Good luck

    posted on August 20, 2013 at 2:43 pm
  28. AJB says:

    Dont mean to preach but .....Listen the article states facts and the comments, well! most anyway have truth to them. This is a ‘business’ and until you land in the BIG TIME and your able to have managers, techs and roadies, etc., you better treat it as a business or you’ll be looking for a 9-5 very soon. Nothing wrong with having a good time or fun along the way but do some research look at the ONES who are TRUELY successful, hey they aren’t perfect BUT they are where you want to be and yeah some are a**holes so pick your mentor wisely. I believe the saying goes ’ a wise man learns from a smart mans mistakes without having to go through them himself’ something like that, don’t quote me on that but hopefully you get the point. There are so many successful artists out that are not the party animals and shirt or pants chasers you think, I’ve met a few along the way they love what they do believe its an honor to be in the position they’re in and treat it as such because it takes talent, yes but 90% is hard work they treat they success with honor because they LOVE what they do.  Example, like him or not Steve Vai attended one of his Alien Nation guitar clinics is extremely successful has a incredible work ethic, very intelligent, funny, treats his career with respect and honor. So if you think it’s a big party go for it but learn another trade along the way you’ll need it.

    posted on August 20, 2013 at 7:39 pm
  29. www.electricblackhorse.com says:

    ALKA SELTZER!
    SPARE TIRE!
    WATER!
    GAFFERS TAPE!

    posted on August 21, 2013 at 12:02 am
  30. David Souza says:

    Just one more thing, don’t do the chic singer! We all know why.

    posted on August 21, 2013 at 12:11 am
  31. Joshj says:

    Make sure you have more than enough Blak Tar for the trip. I go through about ten balloons a day so youll need at least 70 per week of touring. You can get away with a little less though. Trust me youd rather go on stage only feeling a little sick rather than full on withdrawl. Also make sure you bring more than enough rigs, an extra spoon, an extra lighter and plenty of cotton. If someone in your band is smoking the stuff, make him switch to the needle asap cause smoking its a big waste and its quicker to shoot.  Believe me theres nothing worse than going on stage when your withdrawling. Before anything else, make sure you have enough junk. This is another thing to ask the fans for, at the same time your asking for a place to sleep, make sure to ask if anyone there has a good connect. offering a free ballon to anyone who helps is a good gesture. THE MONEY YOU GET FROM MERCH SALES SHOULD ONLY BE USED FOR JUNK!! this is the biggest mistake up and coming bands make, they dont have money put aside in case uou run out/lose your stash of blak, a good way to make sure you never go without is to always designate the merch sale profit to this use only. So now you know how to be a heroin addict whilst on tour. SOURCE: Been on Heroin since 2004.

    posted on August 21, 2013 at 12:24 am
  32. geoff jay says:

    I am impressed with the quality of advice from “those who have been there”.  As a 35 year veteran in the music biz…  I am convinced that having great chops is just not enough, to make some music in this money business.  (I borrowed that from a friend, who works as a producer in Nashville)  Besides years of learning and practicing your craft, planning, forethought, observing how the successful guys do it, a great attitude, and just a dash of “dumb luck”, all combine to make a career that has legs.  It’s easy to get distracted by any number of influences.  Some of them are obvious (ie booze, drugs, women)  Sad that we learn too late what joy there is in hard work, friendship, and love.  Keep your eyes open, your mouth shut, and let your love of music shine for all to see.  My best wishes for your success!

    posted on August 21, 2013 at 12:45 am
  33. Dean says:

    Earplugs are good.  Not playing so damn loud is better…!  Seriously, I realize some of the ‘heavier’ stuff will always be loud (it is what it is, so be careful..), but I always cross paths with people playing smaller venues, struggling to keep the volume under control, and still get the sound they want.  I generally use a 15-20 watt amp, can crank it up and get a great sound, and have sound guys and other musicians thank me for making everyone’s life easier.  Plus, smaller amps are easier to pack when I have to hit the road.  There is no shortage of great sounding lower powered amps these days.

    posted on August 21, 2013 at 12:48 am
  34. geoff jay says:

    So sad that Joshj has nothing better to offer than a rant displaying his knowledge of a deadly diversion…  Some readers may not “get” what you are NOT saying.  Grow UP.

    posted on August 21, 2013 at 12:52 am
  35. Michelle Rose says:

    We’re all adults here, right? Okay, here’s one that was missed: Don’t f**k the help. Seriously. If that cute little waitress or bar-maid keeps giving you the eye and adding an ass-wiggle, smile vacantly in her direction and DON’T SLEEP WITH HER. Consider: she might also be friends with/sleeping with the manager/owner of the club. If you do and she says she’d really like to see you again and you give her the typical R&R stud response: “Baby, I gotta girl in every port,” you probably aren’t going to be welcomed back at that club. As for us ladies in bands: whatever you do, do NOT flirt with or imply availability to the bartenders or club management, even if they imply that the only way you’ll get a return gig is to sleep with them. Don’t do it. It’s unprofessional and it WILL give your band a nasty rep. This is especially important for women in bands.

    F**k the help and you WILL regret it.

    posted on August 21, 2013 at 1:47 am
  36. troy says:

    don’t party?? Lulz.  What are you going to do with the drink tickets??!!

    I think dan had lots of great points… here is another for guitarists. when you have to pile your gear in the venue corner, take a bike chain and loop it through your amp handles and guitar case handles and lock it. Its harder to steal an entire rig that is all tied together.  Its easy for someone to pick up a guitar case and dip out the side door.

    posted on August 21, 2013 at 2:23 am
  37. Jake James says:

    I learned a great lesson from Dave Derr of Empirical Labs back in the 70’s   use 1 ear plug   either the ear closer to the cymbals   or the one closer to the amps   thanks David

    posted on August 21, 2013 at 6:56 am
  38. Ken says:

    Although I’m just learning to play I’ve spent time hauling my friends gear around, helping set up, tear down, running mixers in small clubs with no help and run around like a chicken with my head cut off relaying messages to the house sound man, and more importantly,... putting hands on cans. Every good band has good people helping them out here and there. Yes there are plenty of cling ons and hang arounds and they can be annoying as hell, but don’t confuse them with the people who are there to help you succeed and maybe learn something in the process. Treat them well. These folks are giving their time away for free to help you succeed and at the end of the night they don’t get paid. And you never know, maybe in a year or two you might be playing with them!

    posted on August 21, 2013 at 8:17 am
  39. Bob says:

    In response to Joshj’s comment :  Dude,this is meant to be a forum for musicians to share their experiences and advice, not to glamourise your own self-destructive habits. I am a touring musician of nearly twenty years and when I was a naive and inexperienced twenty one year old I found myself in a major label band and I would party way to hard constantly (and who wouldn’t in that position?) but this caused me to loose band members and many friendships along the line and resulted in a lifelong battle with alcoholism. I’m not proud of it, it’s cliched and it’s certainly not alot of fun. It seems that some people have forgotten the real reason we’re all here- The sheer love of making a beautiful racket with a plank of wood and some strings and the emotional release of being in a band.
    All things in moderation.
    And remember, never ever run out of gaffer tape!

    posted on August 21, 2013 at 10:02 pm
  40. Joshj says:

    Your mistaken, your implying that i started using heroin because i was on the road with a rock n roll band, but thats not the case. I was hooked when i was 12 years old, and ive been having a great time ever since! theres nothing like waking up at 4am every moring soaked with sweat, then throwing up and sitting in a corner shaking till your connect calls….dont fuckin wine to me about this shit and dont try to tell me its not fun, cause ive been through and came out on the other side, so i can joke about it all i want. I started loosing friends to smack when i was 14 years old so fuck you and your “major label band”. And also dont act like i dont know why we all do this, Guitar saved my life. This is my advice and expirence. plus i was joking, And i have the right to cause ive actually lived it.

    posted on August 22, 2013 at 12:06 am
  41. Playa T. says:

    Good, sound advice. Love it. Especially diet and hydration.

    posted on August 22, 2013 at 5:40 am
  42. Ken says:

    Bob, thanks for sharing your experiences. When I first got involved with a band which my room mate was sitting in a bassist for, I met a very talented country guitar player. He was fast enough to play the most intricate progressive rock you can imagine when he was sober, and oddly enough could play the music his band played hammered. But it took a heavy toll on his personal life. I met him in ‘82 and he died of cirrhosis of the liver 8 years later. The road can be hard and lonely. For a good looking guy it can be great with the ladies. But it’s not worth destroying yourself to party every night. That’s why Andy suggested find people you like to be around. Best of luck to everyone and break a leg!

    posted on August 22, 2013 at 6:13 am
  43. Gavin says:

    6. Dont smell, Theres no reason this day and age to live like a bum on tour. You can shower at most venues and alot have washing machines so make it a habit. No one wants a stinky band hanging round or sweating all over them each night. And lets be honest you feel a million bucks putting on clean clothing each day and your van/bus/dressing room/ hotel will smell alot nicer.
    7. Sorry but theres no room for partners on the road - until your famous enough to have your own tour bus each or hotels and flights. An already cramped van is alot more cramped when someone suddenly wants their partner to ride along for a while.. plus no one really wants to hear you two argue over stuff the whole trip!
    8.Always take all left over soda and water from any rider back to your van/ hotel. why pay $4 for a mini bar coke or water when you leave 4 bottles at the venue.. And on that note its so not cool to go “tax’ another bands rider . unless they offer and there actually handing you a beer its not cool to go sift thru there dressing room while they play and drink and eat all their rider. Again its back to respecting peoples spaces.
    9. Make a note of all local laundries, hardware and guitar stores. If you wanna be real professional prepare a “Tour Book” before you leave with the shows and dates and days off and if you have travel days so everyone can be planned with the days and weeks and months ahead. Nothing gets more tiring faster than everyone constantly asking whats happening the next day. In these you can also list important cell numbers, and contact numbers for places like chain music stores or even radio stations you can try hit up to promote your in town..
    10. Get a clear and professional looking Stage Plot and Input list you can send ahead (Advance) to venues and promoters and also carry paper copies on the day so when you rock up with little or no soundcheck the local crew can see in an instant what your band is made up of and who stands where and who needs what. This is a lifesaver on festivals where your one of several bands in and out that stage.
    11. Still keep being nice to people!
    12. Find a friend of the band thats hard working and loyal and not a doper, drunk idiot and see if they wanna join your tour as crew- they can learn as they go. Some of the best techs out there started as simply that friends of the band that wanted to go hang out for the tour and just take each day as it comes. You may not pay them but feed them and give them some floor space or a van seat. But you’ll start to build a crew and it will make your life easier and as you grow so will your crew.
    13.Selling Merch is essential to keep money rolling in - But you can double your sales if you push it from stage on the mic and let people know you’ll be at the merch table right after you play. Fans new and old love seeing there favourite bands and any band that would rather sit in the dressing room or go try pick up from the crowd is a bunch of idiots. Go stand on the merch table and talk to new fans, make up a free things you can give away like stickers or something. and push your band as hard as you can. Merch wont sell it self and lets be honest who wouldn’t wanna buy their band t shirt from the sexy lead singer rather than the usual merch person.. 
    14. Always try have fun, touring is a business and you have to take it seriously if you want any longevity but if you have a day off and your not travelling then why not round up all your band and crew and maybe other bands on tour and go hit the water park or carnival, or six flags. Some of my best days on tour have been taking off my work hat and acting like a kid riding roller coasters with 3 bands from the same tour. It can help bring a stretched and tired band back together and help cement new bonds with new bands for the future.  it doesn’t even have to be that crazy. Maybe just find a local swimming hole or lake or beach. do something as a group thats not music related and you’ll soon see what magic it works. Bing stuck together on tour is tough so its nice to be reminded just why it is you hung out with these crazy people to begin with.
    14. Junk Food everyday will kill you. sure its fast but you wont feel fast after you eat it.. remember rocking out is a pretty cardiovascular activity so remember this mantra SHIT IN = SHIT OUT.  it doesnt mean you have to live off salads. but it means you dont eat maccas’ 3 meals a day 7 days a week.
    15. Capture as much as you can for posterity. Try get a recording off the front of house mixing desk. Invest in a little tascam or zoom portable recorder with XLR inputs and because you were NICE to the sound guy at the venue he should be able to record it so you can sync it to a video or just release live shows on your facebook and myspace pages. Fans love this kinda stuff. ( be careful if your signed to a label, what you can and cant release.

    posted on August 22, 2013 at 9:58 am
  44. Gavin says:

    I earn my living on the road on tour. Ive been a guitar tech, Drum tech, Stage manager, tour manager and more recently nowadays a Production manager. So heres some tips I hope i can add.

    1. Respect each other and your spaces and your property. Whether your couped up in a van or a tour bus or even shared hotel rooms living in each others pockets can take a toll. What you think is trivial one day- say borrowing someones deodorant can with if done time and time again build up to world war three- and it has nothing to do with what you do just that everyone needs to know there space and possessions are respected. Especially if cash is short and someone is replacing stuff everyone else is stealing.. This also covers things like if you do bring “friends” back to hotels or vans or buses be respectful that you share those spaces with other band and crew mates so if they are sleeping dont be a dumb ass- if they want some peace and quiet and you barge in with the afterparty in tow that may strain stuff.
    2. Time. this has been mentioned before but i can tell you from fact, THINGS WILL GO WRONG! vans and busses even brand new ones can break down. Connecting flights can be delayed or cancelled . if your just getting anywhere on time then your less likely to be able to roll with any sudden catastrophes that amy crop up. leave ahead of schedule. Force people to learn that lobby call is leaving time. Not getting out of bed.  I know first hand of a band that was late to a lobby call, so was late to the airport, so missed the flight in turn missing the important college gig that was contracted for $26,000 ! all because the guitarist couldnt get his ass out of bed.

    3. Watch each others backs.. Just cos your a big fish in your town does not mean some a-hole wont roll you for your smokes down the back alley of the venue . If your in a new city or town then i say always take a buddy for those late night walks to stores or going to get the van to load out. I have had guns pulled on me as I walked into someone elses fight and luckily one of the venue security had heard i had wandered off alone and knew i was an idiot -hey i was young back then.
    Also alot of venues these days are forced due to noise restrictions to move into the derelict parts of towns so they are always surrounded by some of the worst areas.. and i can tell you people from out of town do stick out.
    4. Be Nice!  Nice bands and crew get loaned gear when there only guitar snaps, Nice bands ans crew get a lift on the bigger bands tour bus when their shitty van breaks down. Nice bands make nice friends who then tell other Nice bands to book them for their shows. Word of mouth is everything in this industry. If you act like a Prize Winning Cock Smoker- Word will get round and other touring bands looking for supports and managers and promoters and radio stations and facebook will find out and you will have cut your own and your bands career short. Be nice to the the Venues, be super nice to the dressing rooms, No ones impressed with your cliched “trash the room bullshit” be nice to all radio and promoters you meet and be nice to the local crew and backline people you may hire off. Hire companies dont like cig burns on there amp heads they hire you or beer spilt down the cabs..
    5. Dont be a whining Bitch.. Touring is tough, like real tough. There maybe days and days without sleep, gigs where the sound check you were promised never happens as the main act needs more time to test new gear, Festivals where your given ten mins to setup and try get your shole show going- which is impossible I know but it can be done. catering that sucks, Showers at venues that don’t work. Cancelled flights, No dressing room, parking for the van is miles away and you have to push your gear thru the rain, snow, sun, hail, lightening.. All of this is a normal and hopefully rare occurrence but it happens. Suck it up. Be a man/woman. your whinging will only drag everyone else down. Try lift peoples spirits..Be the person to get everyones enthusiasm back up and ready for the show. a Terrible day touring is still better than packing sandpaper at a factory or packing groceries at wall mart- no offence meant- Tours could not survive with wallmart and such institutions.

    posted on August 22, 2013 at 10:02 am
  45. Ken says:

    Take a repair kit. Take tools, soldering iron, a full compliment of vacuum tubes for all the band’s amps including backups, extra cables and anything else you can think of. And don’t forget a flashlight or two. Take a supply of fresh batteries for all of you pedals even if you used wear supplies. You never know what will go wrong on tour and your audience doesn’t appreciate waiting for you to go on. Learn to repair your own equipment so you don’t have to pay someone on the road. You never know can go wrong until it does and if you’re prepared for as much as possible you might improve your take.

    posted on August 22, 2013 at 10:41 am
  46. j-Pizzle says:

    Make the monitor guy happy and so will be your life. simple as dat

    posted on August 22, 2013 at 1:01 pm
  47. Timmy Spillane says:

    One point that most have completely overlooked, but is *huge* when it comes to fostering good relations with your fan base…always be willing to SIGN YOUR MERCH AND ANYTHING ELSE YOUR FANS WANT SIGNED!  Meet and greets are a killer way to make that all imporant personal connection to the people who are giving up their hard earned cash so you can play rock star,.and they have expectations from their favorite bands!  Nobody *really* likes the “I’m too cool to be bothered writing a blurb on a CD cover” bands…in fact, it pisses fans off when they ask for an autograph and get some lame excuse instead.  Be willing to take the time to sign ANYTHING (CDs, posters, obscure lyric sheets gleened from the internet that you may or may have not written, body parts, whatever), and speak to these people like you actually LIKE THEM while doing it.  The fan base is your bread and butter, make them feel loved and appreciated and they will return that feeling tenfold!

    posted on August 28, 2013 at 9:45 pm
  48. Bill says:

    Mints. Gold Bond medicated spray.

    posted on September 1, 2013 at 2:35 am
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