Last week I had the chance of travelling to the wonderful land of Ireland for the 5th time in my life. I was very fortunate to be playing for the Simon & Garfunkel Story at the Gaiety Theatre in Dublin, sharing the stage with some really talented musicians that I’m now lucky enough to call friends.
I’ve been on tour a few times, travelling around US, UK and Europe, but it’s not something I do very often as I’m mostly committed to remote recording and gigging locally. Certainly I wouldn’t call myself someone who has a huge experience touring, but for the few times I’ve been out on the road I learnt a small number of things that have served me well. Here are 4 points that I think are worth mentioning:
Prior to start playing for the Simon & Garfunkel Story I didn’t know any of the musicians involved in the musical, except for the bass player who I had met on another tour last year. Walking in and meeting new people is not the most straightforward thing in the world, but it’s important to establish a good and easy going relationship with everyone in the crew from the start. You’ll be spending 24/7 for the next weeks or months with these people. Ultimately your tour days are probably made of 1hr setting up and sound checking, 2hrs playing and 1hr packing things up and go to the hotel or drive to the next town…the other 20 hours of your day are made for hanging out with your tour mates. Being a recluse in your hotel room and not hanging with them before and after the gig won’t help…so just hang as much as possible!
I’m not someone who drinks a lot (after a pint I’m already dead drunk), but I can eat a LOT..and when I mean a lot I mean that I can eat the amount of food that 3 people normally have. I just love food so much that if we’re at a restaurant or buying food on the go I wouldn’t look at how much I’m spending, I would just buy anything that looks tasty. After my first tour I came back home and realised I actually didn’t make any money as I spent most of it on food. Even though it’s important to hang out and enjoy your time with the rest of the crew just make sure to be mindful of your wallet. Try to save up what you can. At the end of the day you’re also touring to make some money out of it and trust me, coming back home with less cash than when you left is not a nice experience.
When it comes to performing, it is vital to be in the best shape possible, both physically and mentally. You are asked to give your best performance every single night and touring can be hardcore at times, especially when you’re constantly driving from one town to the next. If you’re lucky enough to have a gym in the hotels where you’re staying, use it as much as you can. Otherwise just go for a run with your fellow tour mates as this is a good way to both stay healthy and hang out. Limit as much as possible the use of alcohol and try to avoid junk food. Your performance will depend on your physical and mental state, therefore the more you stay in shape, the more chance there is for you to play well and have fun on stage.
-BE ON TIME-
Last but not least, punctuality. If there is a call for a rehearsal, a band meeting, soundcheck or whatever, YOU MUST BE ON TIME. There is nothing more annoying than having to wait for someone who’s late. I used to be very accustomed to being late all the time, until I missed out on work because of it. Once you’re late a few times, people will obviously think that you’ll be late all the time. To try and change that image that people portrayed of you being a laggard is one of the hardest thing to overcome. My recommendation is to always aim to arrive 15min earlier than the given time, so that at least you can be sure people won’t have to wait for you.
Do you have any recommendation for living life on the road? If you do, I’d love to hear all about it.
‘till next time!