In this Tour Tips segment, the indie rock band, Motherfolk, recommends advice for being a musician on the road. You can check out the tips, after the break.
Tip 1: The Driver is King
The driver gets domain over what the entirety of the van gets to listen to. If you’re driving, you get all the DJ power. You can listen to music, your favorite podcast, or if you want some peace and quiet then you can turn down the volume and just listen to the wheels on the road. It’s entirely your prerogative. There are, of course, exceptions to this tip. Namely, the exception can be applied to your drummer who has the worst taste in music of anyone you know. The kind of taste in music that makes you think he’s being ironic. Makes you ponder whether he’s actually taken up comedy and is doing a bit by playing Cher for three hours straight. If this happens… the person in the front passenger seat is allowed and even encouraged to revoke the driver’s music privileges and find something more suitable to listen to.
Tip 2: If You Pass Gas… Open a Window Fast
As a band that has now toured across the country for over five years, we have learned that humans possess a great capacity to stink. Some of our band members stink more than others, but alas odor is a trait of simply being alive (or dead for that matter). Thus, we came up with the rule to require rolling down a window if you think you might be a little stinky. This is a great tip for bands, but really for any regular people that spend lots of time in a vehicle together. If you fart or haven’t showered in a while, it’s critical that you roll down a window as to relieve those inside the vehicle from your offensive stench. We do not, however, recommend this tip while driving past a large cattle farm or landfill, as that can let the undesirable smells from the surrounding outside area fill the inside of your van or vehicle. Duh.
Tip 3: Get to Know the Other Band
While touring with another band, it’s important to get to know them. After all, you’ll be spending a good deal of time with them for the next few weeks or even months. Get comfortable with them. Learn their strengths as well as their weaknesses. Be sure to walk the very fine line between friendship and competition. If a band is direct support for you, make sure to compliment them. Let them know how grateful you are that they are there every night putting in the work. But do this in a way that is confusing to them and makes them question your sincerity, as well as their skill of musicianship. For example, instead of telling your support that they played well and sounded really good, say something like, “Wow, I liked your set tonight, very fun.” or “I loved the energy tonight, guys!” If, by chance, you’re the direct support for a bigger band… do not use these tactics. Just kiss ass as much as possible.
Tip 4: Prepare For Tour Pranks
Listen, a tour is only as good as it’s pranks; just as a pig is only good for movies with spiders in it. Before leaving for tour, make sure that in addition to your music gear you also have some tools for pranks. These can and often do consist of small fireworks, sex toys, whoopee cushions, saran wrap, etc. Pranks are great because you can use them on anyone: strangers, other bands, sound guys, or even (get this!) your own bandmates. Motherfolk’s favorite prank is small but really fun and super easy to pull off. It’s the “Pop-It” prank. All you need is “TNT Pop-Its” (the little white wads of paper you throw that emits a tiny explosion upon impact). Simply buy a pack of these, choose your moment wisely, and throw! We suggest picking a time when there is a lull in the conversation or when traffic is bad. Throw the pop-it at the dash of the car to startle the driver and then yell “Popped Ya!” And there you go, prank done.
Tip 5: Have Fun!
This last one is pretty simple. Have fun on the road. Just remind yourself that these days of touring are the best days of your damn life. Whether you’re playing a sold-out show or you’re playing at a dive bar somewhere in Iowa (don’t tour in Iowa), you could have worked at a desk all day, running the numbers and putting more money in your 401k. Honestly, who needs a 401k anyway? Why is that even a thing? Oh yeah, like I’m about to take the money I could spend right now and put it into some weird account where I can’t access it until I’m sixty-four? Nice try, corporate America. You’re gonna have to try a whole hell of a lot harder than that to trick this band.