Sometimes, I miss being on the road, touring and drinking beer with the bands. Then I remember why I hate being on the road and suddenly, I am kind of grateful I don’t have to go tour anymore. Sure, after a couple of years, like with any memories, only the good ones remain. The bad ones seem to filter out and hide somewhere in the brain, ready to pop out only when it’s too late. Why is it so? How come it’s harder to remember the awful showers and crappy toilets of one place, than the warm bed and the great breakfast of another? Well, I can’t really say, but a few months back, a young friend of mine was going on his first tour ever with his band, so I decided to give him a few hints and pointers, so he could get the most out of his first tour experience. Today, I figured “what the hell, why not share with the rest of the world as well?” and so, here goes:
When going on tour with your band (unless you’re playing in Metallica or Iron Maiden), there are a few things you might want to keep in mind, if you want the most out of your experience.
First up: finding your bunk on the bus!
If possible, chose a bunk as far away from the toilet as possible. Depending on where the toilet is located, you probably want to bunk way up front in the bus or way, way back. Why is this? Well, imagine 25 people on a bus with one toilet, at least half of these people will get drunk every night. When intoxicated people go to the bathroom, do they aim well? No? Then add the bus driving while the drunken moron is trying to take a piss. So, the guy with the bunk next to the toilet will, without doubt, wake up each and every time someone opens that door and choke on the wonderful scent of vomit and piss. As. Far. Away. From. The. Toilet. As. Possible.
I’ve played at places where you actually have to throw the paper from your freshly wiped ass in a fucking bin next to the toilet, instead of flushing it. “Bad pipes, it will clog and everything will come back up, overflowing the floors”. I’ve been to places where you take a dump, standing up in a tiled box with nothing but a hole in the floor, and no, I actually didn’t dare to take a crap there. So, as soon as the tour bus stops and you’re supposed to unload your gear, find the toilet and take a crap. Remember, you’re rarely on tour by yourselves, and crappy toilets might be crappy, but what do you think it’s going to be like when all the bands on the tour, along with the crew, has been there? Get off that fucking bus and make a run for the toilet, whether you need it or not!
Also, invest in a bottle of disinfectant, preferably one of those spray-bottles. If you can find it, some places sell paper covers for the toilet seat; go buy some before going on tour. Remember, some toilets don’t even have seats, only cold, dirty and disgusting porcelain. Oh, and don’t forget the toilet paper.
Next up: food!
Often, there’s a dinner included at the place you’re playing. Mostly, it will be something cheap, but still edible, although sometimes you will find yourself looking at something you can’t even pronounce, nor even figure out what in hell it actually is. The easiest way to avoid this is to make sure the contracts states that you a) are a vegetarian (then again, why the fuck would one do that?) or b) are allergic to things you really, really, really don’t like. For instance, fish and sea food in general.
However, this doesn’t automatically make everything ok, so the next step is to keep your eyes open and start looking for the nearest McDonalds or Burger King, about half an hour before you arrive at the place you’re playing. This safety precaution has saved my ass quite a few times.
Also, stocking up on chocolate bars and candy might be helpful. Do, however, avoid pre-made sandwiches and the like at the gas station, especially when the sticker says things like “Texican sandwich”.
Yes, most often, you will get free beer backstage. If you’re one of the supporting acts on the tour, congratulations! Just hit that box of bottles. If you’re headlining, make sure the fucking support bands doesn’t drink all your fucking beer! One time, after headlining a gig, we came backstage only to find our locker room full of people we never seen, drinking all of our beer. “Friends of the owner”. Yeah? I don’t fucking care, give me my fucking beer!
And remember kids, drink responsibly!
Why? Well, too much to drink might interfere with the second step in this guide and also, it might render step three pointless, since you won’t be able to eat at all. Imagine being hung over like fuck and really, really needing to take a huge crap and finding yourself in a tiled room with a hole in the floor. Sounds fun? No?
Well, I could actually go on and on about this, but I will leave it for now, the four most important things have been covered. That will have to do…
And remember, kids, music is fun! Never forget that!
Written by: GJ