20 Things Every Band Should Know About… Touring

A cast of names from the world of Rock Sound offer their pearls of touring wisdom. In a band? This article will teach you a lot!

01. Get Your Hands Dirty
“Many bands these days feel like they need to rely on a full touring crew, people to change their strings, carry their equipment and do a lot of the legwork. Don’t be afraid to give it a go yourself. I am the guitarist in the band, also the manager, booking agent, driver & tour manager most of the time. If you feel like you have the skills, motivation and maybe ‘balls’ to take on these extra roles, you can learn a lot, which could transfer you into other areas of the industry later in life. You’ll also save yourself a buck along the way.”
Jona Weinhofen, guitarist for I Killed The Prom Queen

02. Don’t Believe The Hype
“Touring is fucking great fun in the respect that you get to hang out with your best friends (unless you hate your bandmates), hang out with cool bands (usually), and travel all over the place (unless your van breaks down). That said, you’ll still struggle to get paid, you’ll smell even worse than normal, you won’t sleep, eat or shit normally and you definitely won’t get laid.”
Luke Davis, vocalist for Wicked Snakes

03. Don’t Be A Dick
“There’s a thousand and one tips and tricks to make touring a fun and easy experience but you know what? Just be nice to everyone. The promoter, the sound guy, the dude buying your shirt, the driver, even your bass player – if it wasn’t for every single one of these people you’d be back in the office. In the words of Bill and Ted: be excellent to one another!”
Harry Johns, vocalist for Brawlers

04. Never Forget The Show
“Warm up your voice. You may look stupid backstage but you’ll look more stupid ONstage when you sound like a pre-pubescent twelve year old.”

05. Touring Is Like Marriage
“The most important thing to learn when you on the road is that it’s a give and take world. Most people can’t stay married to one person. Being in a band on the road is like being married to three or four people. You gotta learn to respect each other and that some battles aren’t worth fighting. Key words are give and take. Cheers and good luck!”
Vinnie Paul, drummer for Hellyeah!

06. We Didn’t Tell Him To Say This…Honest
“Make sure you keep a copy of Rock Sound in your bus/van. Their compilation CD’s are awesome!”
Ken Koie, vocalist for Crossfaith

07. Be Prepared
“It may sound boring but the thing that’s improved my life touring the most is being prepared. Always find out the postcodes for all the venues, hotels and anywhere else you’ll be going before the tour. And write down who wants guestlist beforehand. The five minutes you waste staring at your iPhone looking for addresses could be five more minutes spent chatting to fans, having a beer with the other bands or having a chai latté in Starbucks!”
Andé D’Mello, guitarist for Fort Hope

08. Pick Your Moments
“Tensions will be high, so keep your tour pranking to a minimal, also execute it in a tactful manner. Waking up on a scummy floor with only your trusty Spiderman duvet for comfort and the house owners smelly dog licking your face is often a bad start to the day. In such a fragile state, getting shot at with a water pistol full of gravy might just push you over the edge.”
Lewis Williams, drummer for Press To Meco

09. Don’t Be Too Precious
“Flushable wipes = Portable showers. Do it.”
Isaiah Radkey, bassist for Radkey

10. Love The Vehicle
“The most important thing about touring is the bus/van, love and respect it as you will spend more time in the bus than anywhere else. We have had some shady vans, most with holes in the floor and some with exploding wheels but if you’re lucky you may have a toilet. Don’t shit on the tourbus isn’t just a guideline, it’s a lifestyle.”
Jimmy Jagger, vocalist for Turbogeist

11. Leave The Venue
“Touring is what you make it! If you sit in the van the entire time instead of actually going out and doing stuff around cities you’ve never been to before then you won’t enjoy it. Do the opposite and you’ll come home with no money and a shed load of fines but you’ll definitely be left with incredible memories that you will never forget, that’s why we love being on the road.”
Dan Moss, drummer for The Valiant

12. Don’t Get All Your Gear Nicked
“Having had equipment stolen from vehicles while out on the road, we learned quickly that people are out to acquire your gear. One time was our own fault, when we left a bass on show in the van in an NCP car park for a whole 20 minutes in Manchester. At the moment in a bid to reduce attention we do our touring in a pizza van, which is a double-edged sword. Nobody expects a few thousands worth of equipment in the back, but you are frequently reminded of how little you’ve had to eat that day. So keep your equipment safe and out of sight, if you must leave it in your van/ unattended, ensure it’s well secured.”
Sam Humble, bassist for Morain

13. Pack It In Mariah
“Always treat the other bands you are on tour with respect. Everyone is in the same boat and there is no room for egos on tour.”
Ken Koie, vocalist for Crossfaith

14. Love ALL Sound People
Befriend the sound guy and all the employees of the club. Remember their names. Remember their names when you come back to play a year later. These are real people, not just temporary fixtures in your life. The Hush Sound built real friendships with a ton of different club promoters, sound guys, lighting guys, etc. When you show that you care, they want to make your show better and maybe down the line, when you need to hire someone, you might be able to hire someone you know personally and know they can do a good job.”
Bob Morris, guitarist for The Hush Sound

15. Clean Socks Heal Wounds
“Everyone goes a bit nuts on tour, and that’s fine. When the going gets weird, just grin and bear it. A little later when you’ve slept and are wearing clean socks, you’ll wonder what the fuss was even about!”
Tim Rowing-Parker, guitarist for Woahnows

16. Know Thy Gear
“There have been countless situations in which I have come across some of the nation’s best engineers working as a production manager/house engineer at a venue on our tour and they have been more than happy to let me pick their brain. A good, consistent sound comes from one who knows what the band wants, how the equipment is going to react and what they want out of their gear.”
Nick Fuelling, guitarist for Pop Evil

17. Have A Great Team
“Always having a good road team is key – a band is not only about the ones who play instruments and sing. No matter what situation or stage set up you are in, enjoy playing music every night!”
Masato, vocalist for Coldrain

18. Local Fans = Local Tourist Office
“Tour is definitely the best way to travel the country. Make the most of the new places you get to visit! Be sure to give yourself enough time before load in to explore the surroundings, see the sights and experience the local cuisine – gotta have those deep fried Mars bars in Glasgow. If you have no idea where to go – ask your local fans for tips!”
Jamie Finch, guitarist for Anavae

19. Stagedive Strategy Is Needed
“If you’re gonna stagedive, try to aim for the area with the most amount of strong looking people. Think before you jump. Girls will participate, and while we can’t speak for women, we’re just assuming that they don’t like it when you jump on them. At least most of them don’t.”
Isaiah Radkey, bassist for Radkey

20. This
“It was a cold as fuck night in Gothenburg, Sweden and we had just finished a European tour. We catching up with Fredrik Nordstrom who took us out for dinner and drinks. While we were at dinner they were feeding the whole band shot after shot alongside a constant flow of beer so it safe to say we were all beyond drunk. On the way to the Avenue (where all the pubs and clubs are) I was lagging behind everyone crossing a road at a pedestrian crossing when a car sped up and slammed on its brakes barely missing me. I flipped the bird, went to the window of the car and said a few not so nice things to the driver. As I turned away he pulled a light out of the car, stuck it to the roof and sounded a siren, it appears I had just gone psycho at an undercover Swedish police man. Soon enough I had seven cops and three police cars around me while standing on the main street in handcuffs, they took me way out of the city and dropped me off in the middle of nowhere as punishment for me, apparently it’s a regular thing they do to get out of paperwork instead of officially booking me at the station. Turns out they dropped me a street away from Fredrik’s studio! Tour!”
Brett Anderson, frontman for Buried In Verona

21. We Break The Rules For Dez
“Touring rules are simple: 1. Get sleep 2. Hydrate 3. Isolate (or wash your hands every hour) 4. Remember to eat! 5. Stay away from hard drugs (they’ll take you & the band down in the end) 6. Watch out for Yoko Ono style girlfriends or wives. They’ll take the band down faster than hard drugs. 7. Never fight over money (that’s not what music is about) 8. Give 100% every night 9. Learn how to shower in a sink. 10. Learn how to shit in a bag.”
Dez Fafara, vocalist for Devildriver

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