In this Tour Tips segment, Kyle Morris of the rock band, The Unlikely Candidates, gives you their tips for being on tour. You can check out the feature, after the break.
1. The Waiting
Tom Petty said “waiting is the hardest part”, while out of context, the sentiment rings true for touring. It’s easy to feel like an astronaut adrift in space and time while on a long drive in the middle of nowhere. You are always waiting for the next drive shift, the next gas station stop, the next city, the next show. It can be as exciting as it is anxiety inducing. That’s why at a certain point you have to stop waiting for the destination and just be. Treat the experience like you are in your room hanging out or that your world is the van. Your impatience will fade and you can enjoy the trip. I know it all sounds very weird and zen. It basically is, but it has helped me out quite a bit.
After a few days, the layers of sweat and alcohol with begin to accumulate. When reentering the van from a stop, you will recognize a musk of man stank greeting your senses. It is difficult to find a shower on the road. I don’t really want to say how long we have gone without showering before, but I will say it was more than five days. There are ways to mitigate this uncleanliness. Sink showers. You go into a venue or restaurant bathroom, then wash your pits and business area with soap and water. Baby wipes. Same as the sink shower, but…with baby wipes. Shower ninja. You may find yourself at a party or at a show where the big headliner band has a shower. Usually, you can ask someone to use the shower, but if there is no one to ask…shower ninja. Show up to the show early to sneak into the headliner’s shower, then slink out into your dressing room. For the other, sneak your towel into the party and pop in when there is a lull in the bathroom line. Thankfully I have only had to do the latter twice. Usually, you will find a fan, friend, family members house to shower at, but in times of need: Sink shower, baby wipes, and shower ninja.
One of the greatest perks of this job is getting to meet random people across the country who go out to their way to make your stay in their city an amazing time. You start seeing these people every time you come into town and before you know it they are friends. They are your road family. They breathe fresh air and energy into the band. They make you remember why you are doing this in the first place, to connect with people and share your story via music. Meeting people on tour who love your music is the other end of that conversation. You get to hear their stories and make new ones together.
I have found that at least every four or five days on tour, we will have one day that is completely insane. All hell will break loose, and then we’ll ride it through the streets of the city. Usually, involves alcohol. Here are some helpful tips to make sure you survive these special evenings. CHARGE YOUR PHONE. In fact, just bring a charger with you. One time in Colorado I did not charge my phone and ended up in semi-random person’s house asleep long after bus call. Jared had to track me down using only his limited memory of the city and his paternal instinct. Cole also got separated from the pack one night and ended up in another reality where everyone used Android phones, and no one for miles had an iPhone charger. He wandered around looking for the van till morning. DON’T WRECK PLACES WHERE THEY HAVE YOUR INFO. Rock and roll, right? Shit is expensive the next morning. In hotels we have broken lamps, been sick on walls, smoked in rooms, etc. They have your info for incidentals and you probably don’t have money to pay for that, as fun as prospect of destruction seems. If you have money, though. Go for it. MORNING AFTER. Make sure you already have lots of water, medicine or “medicine”, a dark place to crawl into, and another beer waiting for you in the van.
Probably shouldn’t have to tell anyone this, but play every show like it’s your last. Does not matter if you are in a five hundred cap venue and only ten people are there, or a ten thousand cap venue and ten thousand people are there. You drove all the way from wherever you were and went swimming through a sea of fast food and grime to be there. Leave it all on stage and give people a show that will make them feel good about coming out on a weekday when they have work or school at eight in the morning. Do it for yourself, do it for them, do it for the future of music itself.
Cheers and good luck to you.