In this Tour Tips segment, the indie pop/rock band, Sarpa Salpa, recommends advice for being a musician on the road. You can check out the tips, after the break.
1. The show is EVERYTHING
Don’t forget why you’re on tour. Have fun, party all you want, do what you gotta do, but remember the show is EVERYTHING. If you don’t prioritize your performance, then you might as well stay home. Why travel all that way to give a rubbish performance? If people are spending money to come to see you live, make it worth their time so they’ll want to come back next time with friends!
2. Time management
When you’re on the road time management is everything. Hotel check-ins, soundcheck, doors, stage time, curfew are all factors to remember. There’s no better way to get off on the wrong foot with the sound guy than being late to the gig. Get there EARLY! And when you are there BE NICE! You’d be surprised how many arseholes these people have to deal with on a daily basis, so make their life easy. It will make for a better show if everything is running on time and means you can actually get out there in between soundcheck and doors and explore the new city you’re in!
3. Get your soundcheck down
You should be able to complete your soundcheck within 15 minutes (excluding set up time). Make sure you know which songs in your set are the best for you to soundcheck, ie a track that uses every possible element on stage (all guitars, keys, all vocals, drums & fx). This makes it easier for the sound tech to check the levels of all the instruments at once and makes you SOUND BETTER! You shouldn’t need to run through more than 2 songs at most.
4. Go straight to your merch table
As soon as the show is over make your way over to your merch table. If the show went well people will want to talk to you and they may even want to buy some merch! If you all head to one place then it means any fans that do want to come to chat with you or take a photo to know exactly where to go. When you are playing small venues the likelihood is that your fee isn’t going to cover everything so any money you can make on merch will be hugely welcome. Also, get a card reader! Honestly, who carries cash these days? Make it easy for people to support you and they are much more likely to do so.
5. Don’t leave gear in your van unattended
It can be very tempting after a long day driving around the country then playing a show to leave your gear in the van overnight. DON’T.
Even if you reverse up against a wall, in a CCTV car park for a few hours I still know loads of bands who have had their gear stolen. As a musician, you build up a lot of expensive gear you’ve accumulated over years however you also don’t earn much money so replacing that gear is almost impossible. I’d recommend to every touring musician to get insurance on their gear but even so, don’t leave it in the van overnight because it’s just not worth the risk!