This new set of Tour Tips was written by singer-songwriter, Adam Zwig. You can check out his tips for being on the road, after the break.
No matter what level you’re touring at, whether it’s in a van or a tour bus, corner bars or stadiums, there are some crucial factors that make or break the tour:
1. If you want to enjoy the tour, spend as much advance prep time to organize every last detail. The more business planning you do the more fun you will have. Want to park your bus in front of the venue to unload your gear? You have to reserve the parking meters months in advance. Want drive your van across the country? Calculate your gas costs way in advance. Want to not be stressed before a gig? Have directions to venue, sound check time, etc., planned out to a tee. Want to get paid for the gig? Have a contract in advance. Want to flow happily through the day? Have a set itinerary printed out for each day that says where everyone has to be and when.
2. Make sure you get along with the people you’re going to travel with. If someone bugs you a bit at home it’s going to get amplified on the road. People will be taken out of their comfort zones, out of their routines, and that’s when things get weird. Some folks deal with being on the road just fine, but some people melt down and reveal their dark sides. Do your best to assess and discuss this together.
3. Each day on tour involves a few hours of playing music and a lot of downtime. Have some other things you’re interested in on tour or you will go psycho. Reading, writing, recording, meditating, jogging, whatever…just have something you can do each day that takes your mind off the tour.
4. Make sure everyone has a positive attitude. One negative person can ruin a tour. Playing to the bartender? Great! Have as much fun as you can, and be grateful you’re doing what you love and not sitting behind a desk somewhere you don’t want to be. Van broke down? No problem! More tour stories to write about. And one more thing: if you have a problem with someone, never hold in your feelings and gossip to the other band members behind his or her back. That’s a prescription for disaster. Find a way to respectfully resolve your differences as quickly as you can. Keep the big picture in mind: you’re on tour!
5. Drugs and booze: some people can handle it and some can’t. If a band member has a tendency to get wasted and show up late to rehearsal, or not at all, that’s not a positive omen for touring. The rule is: whatever people do, or however they behave, they will do more of it on the road, and this goes for taking substances too. The road isn’t for everyone, and there are a lot of other avenues for musical expression if traveling around with a bunch of lunatics isn’t your cup of tea. But if you have a group of musicians who know how to balance fun and business in the right ways, touring can be the experience of a lifetime.
Did you find these tips useful? Let us know in the comments below!