In this Preshow Rituals segment, the singer songwriter, Billy Shaddox, shares what they do before every show. You can check out their rituals, after the break.
If you’re not resourceful with your time while touring, you can find the days to be long and full of driving and waiting. These are the things I fill my days with routinely as my pre-show rituals while on traveling to avoid getting into a slump on the road.
I try to get some form of exercise every day when I am on the road. Walking, hiking, and sightseeing are great, but one thing I really enjoy is scouting out skate parks when I am traveling. My skateboard is easier to pack than a bicycle and more fun than running. I usually find myself pretty exhilarated after an hour of pool or ramp skating and ready to face the remainder of the day, whether I am in the town I need to be in that night or have a day’s drive ahead of me.
No day in my life is complete without coffee. This is a ritual that doesn’t get skipped. I have a camp stove, hand grinder, and French press in the van so that I can avoid overpriced java and weak gas station versions of the drink. I like to find a peaceful spot to park and make my coffee then sit and enjoy my beverage. This is usually the time where I mentally prepare for the show that is ahead. It’s a good time to start crafting a set list, change guitar strings, play a few songs, maybe write a song, clean up the van or even write a postcard home.
I’ve got two little boys and the way I take them with me on the road is through stopping into souvenir shops to pick up trinkets from my travels and sending them postcards. The postcard is a fun way to write a couple of sentences about my day to them and let them see a photo of where I have been. We usually talk on the phone every day but writing a quick message to them helps ease the distance between us when we are apart. I try to do this every day.
Food is an important part of the pre-show ritual. It can be really challenging to eat healthy when you are traveling in the USA. The roadside offerings are usually not that attractive, and you can really break your budget if you’re eating out 3 meals a day for weeks on end. I approach eating on tour a lot like eating when camping. I pack a cooler with vegetables, cheese, sandwich meat, and a kitchen box with utensils, plates, and cups. I rely on my aforementioned camp stove to heat things up if necessary and I do grocery runs as needed to keep things stocked. Some of my staples while touring are oatmeal in the morning, PB&J sandwiches (though on the last tour I stepped things up with a George Foreman grill and made toasted turkey sandwiches) and noodles for dinner, or a baguette with cheese and salami. If I’m not being fed by the venue, meeting up with friends for dinner, or in the vicinity of a good carne asada burritos, I’ll typically be making my dinner in a scenic spot before heading to the venue.
So now I’ve gotten my exercise, had my coffee, written my postcards, and eaten dinner… it’s time to make my way to the show! This routine keeps me feeling healthy, creative, enthusiastic, and connected with my loved ones. When all these things are going for me as I walk into a venue I am prepared to give the performance my all and put on a great show for everyone there.