In this Tour Tips segment, the singer-songwriter, James Kennedy, gives you his tips for being on tour. You can check out the feature, after the break.
These tips are aimed at DIY bands who are doing pretty much everything themselves.
1) Service stations! When Kyshera started touring internationally & wanted to put every penny earned back into the band (rather than maxing out on hotels) – we’d start driving towards the next night’s show after we’d finished the show that night. As it would be late in the night, it meant that we’d gotten out of the city whilst the roads were clear (and not had to deal with crazy early morning city traffic, which we would have if we’d stayed at a local hotel) and also meant that we’d smashed a few hours off tomorrow’s journey whilst the adrenaline was still high. After a few hours, we’d be sleepy so we’d pull into the first 24 hour Service Station we came across and park up there for the night. Yep, we would sleep in the Van – BUT we were in the middle of a motorway, not a city, so we (and our gear) were safe AND when we woke up in the morning we’d have a Cafe, bathrooms (and shower!) and shops to stock up on supplies for the day. AND it hadn’t cost us anything to sleep for the night – unless you count the horror of sleeping in a van with sweaty musicians! Oh, and it’s pretty hard for someone to steal your equipment when you’re sleeping on it! And in Europe (especially Germany), the service stations can be incredible – for 5 Euros you can have your own entire bathroom for as long as you want. Save a ton of money & cut down your travel time by traveling at night after the show – learn to love the art of living in Service Station car parks! ;)
2) Take a map! Often times the Sat Nav is NOT your friend and takes you on the most bizarre and time-wasting detours imaginable. Try to avoid driving through major cities if you’re crossing country – use a map to get you on an alternate route and then let the Sat Nav take you from there.
3) Don’t be an asshole. Touring is fucking awesome but it’s also relentless and people get tired and need their space. Be a team player. Primadonna’s and Axl Rose wannabe’s start to grate on everyone pretty fast. Don’t be that guy. We ain’t saving lives out there…
4) See the world! It’s difficult when you tour, to actually see much of the places you visit because you go straight to the venue, soundcheck, get ready, do the show & go – but I always make every effort to get away and see a bit of the area if I can. It’s one of the perks of the game – getting to see a bit of the world. You’ve got plenty of time to sit around looking at your phone but you’re only in Milan for one day, so I always aim for getting to the destination as early as we can so I’ve got some extra time to play with – another reason why Tip 1 really helps.
5) Kick ass! Touring really does separate the men from the boys (sorry for the sexist analogy ladies but you get my point). Be prepared to be electrocuted, fall through stages, fall off stages, vehicle breakdowns, play with no monitors, have half your gear break down, promoters mess you around, egocentric musicians and a ton of other niceties – but you keep on trucking and every show you get bigger & better. Man, when we come back from tour, we are unstoppable. Doing it every night – and doing it whatever the obstacles or situation – turns you into a f***ing beast. Bands who bypass this essential rite of passage haven’t earned their stripes and it tends to show. That brief moment on stage is what all of us do this for – kick ass every night, every show and roll on to the next…