Friday, April 17, 2015

Tips for Touring Bands from Touring Bands

To any of us that are not in a band or that have never gone on tour before, the whole idea sounds pretty awesome. You get to travel, meet new people, go to shows every night, and share your music with people across the country, or even the world. Although there are of course great things about being on tour, sometimes it's not all that it is cracked up to be. You're away from home for days, weeks, or even months. You're stuck in a van for hours on end with a bunch of other people (usually a bunch of dudes, and dudes can get smelly). You're stuck in a van for hours, period. You sleep on floors a lot and don't always get to shower. And you're at shows every night, which is pretty awesome, but we're sure can also get pretty tiring.

Even though we just listed a bunch of cons, touring definitely has its appeal, otherwise bands wouldn't continue doing it. There are upsides and downsides, but it's an amazing thing to be able to experience.

Well, touring season is upon us and a ton of bands from Detroit and elsewhere will be hitting the road soon. Some of them will be heading out for the first time, while others have been doing it for years. We decided to check in with some guys and gals from Detroit that have done the touring thing a time or two in the past to get some tips from them. Find out what a few of our favorite rockers had to say about life on the road, surviving the tour thing and making the best of it.

"1. Let things slide. if it doesn't directly harm you, it's none of your business. 2. Fast food = shitty feeling. Shitty feeling = shitty playing.  3. Party after you play." 
- Rob Nowak (Against the Grain)

"Gold Bond and don't be a dick - ever." 
- Jason Spencer (Wilson)

"When in doubt, get a side salad. And if your singer downloads a beat machine on his phone make sure you crank your radio loud enough to drown it out."
- Louie Badalament (Axe Ripper, Crumble, Rawdogs)

"1) Be early for everything! You never know when there’s going to be an unexpected set back or if the person who’s supposedly navigating happens to be slacking off. A wise man once said, “if you’re 10 minutes early, you’re already late” (that wise man is Shades, our tour manager). 2) Go to every record store and bookstore possible and bring a record player! One of my favorite parts of touring is going into brand new record stores and finding new albums you’d never find otherwise. I always bring my portable turntable because we get really excited about our finds and don’t want to wait until we get home to listen to them! 3) Always be kind and respectful to the people you’re touring with. There’s nothing worse than being stuck in van all day with people that don’t get along! Eric Allen, the bassist, Kyle Schanta, the drummer, Shades, tour manager extraordinaire, and I are a power team. We have so much fun together and love being around one another, which makes touring the best time! 4) Set aside some time to explore the cities you’re playing whenever you can. Being able to see new places is one of the best parts of touring. It gets tiring only seeing the inside of bars, hotels, and the van! 5) When loading equipment in and out of the van, remember S.F.W.E.F.T.: same fucking way every fucking time (more wise words from Shades). 6) The final and most important rule by far: If somebody needs to break wind in the van, it’s their responsibility to say “window” so everyone else can roll down their windows as quickly as possible. Don’t wait until the genie is out of the bottle!" 
- Blaire Alise & The Bombshells (Blaire Alise & The Bombshells)

"Sometimes when you're out there for a while it begins to seem like a waste of time, playing to no one, getting screwed over, leaving your loved ones at home. Then you start to think about all the other squares back at home working the jobs they hate and it makes it all worth it." 

"Headphones, tooth brush, deodorant are most def luxurious items we can all afford that would make your trip better not only for yourself, but the other van residents as well. Odd item that makes everything 100 times better: an inflatable pool raft. One big enough for one person. It works the same as an air mattress, cost $5, and you can easily break it down and get it out of the way. We also utilized it at a seat in a van with only two captains chairs. Other than that, you're fine. If you have $200 and aren't an idiot with you're money, you can be out for 10 days and be a okay."
- Vincent Troia (Cheapshow)

"Tip one, if you are touring to become rich and famous then you are in the wrong world. I only say this because it's for the adventure! The drive! God I love long drives anywhere, mountains, deserts, forest, cities sunsets and a sunrise from an overnight drive. Do it to meet people and to open your eyes to the rest of the world. Hear awesome music chances are you would have never gotten to hear. Make a best friend or friends! To learn.... It may keep you forever young, but it really does make u grow as a human if you let it." 

Definitely some good advice from some great people! You'd be wise to take their advice. If you're heading out on tour this spring or summer, our tip is to have fun, but be safe! We want you to spread your music to the masses, but we also want you to make it back to Detroit! And, we know the people listed above aren't the only ones from our area that have spent some time on the road. If you have some advice to give, feel free to comment below! We imagine heading out on the open road can be pretty intimidating, so why not spread your knowledge and help out other bands? 

A huge thanks to everyone that shared their input with us so far! We here at Hip In Detroit have certainly never been on tour and really can't imagine what it would be like and don't know how we would survive. So, we hope these words of wisdom come in handy to a few of you out there! 


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