In your band, you’ll know there’s not a single thing better than the rush of sweet ecstatic euphoria from standing on stage, being applauded by your fans. It’s true then, that every band wishes they could go on tour. The wild call of the open road, the joy when you wake in a new city, the echo of your fans sweet screams as you strut onto the stage is an experience parallel to none. It’s easy to get caught up in extreme excitement, but of course, there’s a number of things you must consider before you head out, which is why we’ve put together this list of the do’s and don’ts of being on tour.
DO – Insist on a lockable dressing room and access to a clean toilet.
Although we know you’re tempted to throw together some funny rider requests; it’s much more beneficial to everyone if you use this list of essential requirements to your advantage. Top of your do’s and don’ts of being on tour list should be somewhere safe to put your stuff; and somewhere clean to relieve yourself. Truth is as well, no matter who you are, people will still steal your stuff (or, at least, your beer). Make it hard for them.
DON’T – Expect to come home rolling in money.
Even if you’ve got incredible merchandise, and fans with loads of money – you’ll probably still only make enough to live hand to mouth. Once you begin to factor in hotel room costs, food, paying the driver and the odd drink, you might be counting pitiful pennies instead of pounds. A good way around this is to budget before you leave. Remember, you’re doing it for the music, not for the millions.
DO – Watch the other bands on the bill.
We all had to start somewhere. A good point on the list of of do’s and don’ts of being on tour, is don’t get too Ziggy (Stardust) with it. The highs and lows of touring dictate that you’ll play a few gigs that are more car crash than cymbal smash. Sometimes your only audience may be your allies in other bands. Make sure you make time to talk to them as well, because who knows, a minds-blown collaboration might be exactly how you find fame.
DON’T – Complain too much.
Touring is a micro-environment, and the tour bus is it’s petri-dish. Whilst you might be tired, cold, hungry and missing your pet cat – remember, you’re doing this for the rush of being on stage, and the glory of meeting your fans. These in-between bits are a harsh reality, and you’ve all learnt to lump them – but your band mates probably don’t want to be reminded of them every day. That being said…
DO – Keep your health in check.
Gigs can be health-nightmares, filled with beer, bar snacks, and 4am pizza. It’s impossible to avoid this part, so make sure you balance out your subtle snacking by choosing the healthy option elsewhere. If you can, ask for fruit backstage instead of sweets and crisps. Make sure you keep your mental health in check too. If you feel like things are getting on top of you, talk to someone. If there’s no one on your tour you can open up too, try any of these resources.
DON’T – Cheat on your partner.
Being on tour might make you feel like you’re in outer space; but trust us you haven’t left the earth. What happens on tour does not stay on tour. The biggest on the ‘do’s and don’ts of being on tour’ list is do not cheat on your partner. Your mates will know, and even if they don’t tell your partner – lying on tour is virtually impossible, not to mention immoral. Social media makes it hard to cover your tracks, and anyway – who wants to live with that sort of guilt?
DO – Plan your routes with military precision, allow for breaks and delays.
Petrol isn’t cheap. Neither is a driver. Neither is the reputation of the band that always turn up late. You’re going to cover many miles in this van; so, the quickest and cheapest way to veer to the venue could mean you pocket extra pounds. Account for delays, and bathroom breaks. There’s not a venue in the world that would complain that you arrived too early. Keep them happy, and they’ll invite you back.
DON’T – Let other people carry your own equipment.
Honestly. Do you remember what we said before about your ego? Top of the do’s and don’ts of being on tour is the fact that you have to carry your own equipment. It’s part of being in a band, and no one is above it. No one.
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Also published on Medium.