Punk/rock band, The Swellers, has written a set of Tour Tips for us. You can check them out after the break!
1. Be smart with your money: When you’re starting out stay at friends houses in every city instead of hotels. If you don’t have friends there, literally ask people while on stage if they have a place to stay you can crash for the night. We’ve been doing that for years and saving 70 bucks a day RULES. Make sure you stay places that are in the same city or on the way to your next show, driving out of the way adds up pretty quickly and you start losing a lot of money.
2. Be respectful of the venue and its staff. If you are nice and courteous with the promote/sound guy, chances are they will return the favor. Sound guys will work harder to make you sound better, promoters will try to hook you up with water or food. Remember, they’re the ones in control of the show and if you piss them off they can purposely make you sound bad or screw you out of some money.
3. When you start touring, DON’T HEADLINE. Younger promoters/smaller venues have the idea that if you’re from out of state it must mean you’re a big deal. Don’t have an ego and accept that you are NOT a big deal. We always asked to play either right before the headliner or in the middle of the show, that way kids will be there for your set. If you get cocky and play after the big local band, chances are their fans will leave and you get to play to the staff. That’s happened to us before too.
4. Don’t ASK for favors from other bands. That is one of my most important outlooks on being in a band. You earn things, you don’t magically get them from asking. If we don’t know you and you ask to go on tour with us, chances are that lowers your chances of touring with us. It happens to us all the time and gets really annoying. To get bigger tours you work your ass off on your own doing small DIY tours, make friends with local bands/promoters, next time do shows with them and you’ll have a whole tour. Eventually you’ll catch wind of a cool booking agent or band that wants to take you on.
5. Have fun. If you feel like touring is more of a burden than a fun adventure then take a side step and think things through. If you’re going to put your band through the crappy scenario of sticking with them a few years then getting so burnt out that you quit a day before a tour… you don’t only lose a band, you lose friends. Music is an awesome thing and having the opportunity to tour the country and world is something to take very seriously. If you stick with it, don’t overwork yourself by doing 7 week tours to start, have good breaks in between the tours… you’ll be fine and your band will grow. We started out doing east coast and west coast tours separately, about 3 or 4 weeks tops each. It helps your sanity, morale and gets people stoked since they’ll have to wait a bit to see you again.