6 Tips For Touring That No One Ever Tells You

Here’s a few pointers I’ve picked from the few small tours I’ve been on.  These are things that no one tells you, but you end up learning the hard way.
  1. Don’t open a tab
    So you’re at a bar and you open a tab for the night.  The next day you realize you forgot to close out your tab and get your credit card back.  You’re also 5 hours away from that bar and will not be heading back there for the rest of your tour.

    Don’t do this!  Use cash always!!!
  2. Listerine has multiple uses
    The first use is obvously your breath.  Don’t underestimate this use.

    Second, use listerine to sanitize your toothbrush.  Often, musicians keep that toothbrush in a travel bag and use it outside the van.  Pour a little listerine on it to sanitize.
    Third, use Listerine to clean microphones before use.  You don’t want to get sick on tour, and you have no idea how many germs are on the house mics.  One club I knew of stored their mics where cats would hang out.  It caused a friend of mine to have a major allergic reaction during the show.  Even if you’re using your own mics, give it a listerine wipe down.
  3. Take off your shoes and socks
    Whenever possible and especially during long travels, take off your shoes and socks.  If not, your feet and shoes will smell up the entire van.  You should probably change your socks after a show, as well.  You just sweated up a storm in those bad boys.  There’s only so much a foot can take.
  4. Avoid hand cramps
    Touring can take a hit to your diet.  Dehydration and lack of nutrients can cause your hands to cramp up when playing guitar.  To avoid this, drink tons of water and make sure to have potassium supplements.
  5. Buy a case of bottled water
    It’s cheap to buy a big case of bottled water.  The benefit is having water easily available when you’re on stage.  If the bar is busy, it can be a struggle to get even a cup from the overworked bartender.  Which sucks when you need to get on stage in five minutes, and you’re still dehydrated from the night before.
  6. You have the right to remain silent and say no to searches.
    Cops love pulling over bands.  For them, it’s an automatic drug bust.  However, your 4th and 5th amendment rights will protect you.  First, be polite, but don’t talk to the police officer.  Smile and comply, but don’t talk.  If you talk, there are only two things you should say:  “Am I free to go, or am I being detained?”  and “You do not have my permission to search my vehicle.”  I did this and got out of a vehicle search.  Guess what?  We had open containers and marijuana.  We would’ve been screwed if searched.

    Learn more about dealing with police and knowing your rights by visiting FlexYourRights.org.
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11 Responses to 6 Tips For Touring That No One Ever Tells You

  1. Hey Chris you rebellious pot smoker! Love the way you stuck it to “the man” and his laws 😉

    I would add that you should get paid for the show before you play, otherwise you might end up covering the gas money if the promoter is a dick.

    Plus it’s always nice to get a big bottle of Jack Daniels on the rider.

    Speak soon.

    – Chris

    • Well, “the man” still stuck it to us with a speeding ticket and two tickets for not wearing seatbelts. (The guys in the backseat were sleeping and took off their belts.) Also, he made us an hour late getting to our show. But still, better than jail time.

      Getting paid BEFORE a show? Hahaha! What craziness are you talking? 🙂 The bands I’ve been in aren’t that big to get a gaurantee. Especially when playing a new city where we’re unknown. I always count my blessings if we make enough money to cover gas.

      But bigger bands with a consistent draw should definitely do this. Anecdote time. There was a local promoter here who somehow managed to get Lemmy Kilmister’s other band, Head Cat, to play a show. Their tour bus rolled in and Lemmy stepped out. The promoter was all giggly and went to shake Lemmy’s hand. Lemmy just opened his palm and said “3000 dollars.” The promoter freaked out and tried to get money from people in line, but only got about $100. Lemmy didn’t say a word. He just simply got back in the bus, and they took off to the next city. The promoter was left explaining to everyone who bought tickets that Head Cat would not be performing. Priceless moment.

  2. Pingback: 6 Tips For Touring That No One Ever Tells You | Promote Your Music

  3. As Chris mentioned, make sure to get money worked out ahead of time, if possible.
    At the very least, bring a printout of any emails containing conversations regarding your guarantee. If the promoter of a show suddenly claims he only promised your band $20 for gas, it helps to respond with proof that you are really owed more.

    • And that’s one of the many reasons I hate working with “promoters”. Most of them seem to be musical failures that rip off bands. I try to arrange shows with the club directly instead of using a promoter. If there is a promoter, I watch the door like a hawk to make sure we’re not getting ripped off. However, when you’re a new band trying to get your name out there, you don’t have much room for negotiation. You take it on the chin, smile, and keep on movin’.

  4. Love the Listerine tips! Great ‘outside of the box’ thinking!

    Jon

  5. Spooky says:

    I always bring a pair of brand new socks, too. I keep them only for if/when despair sets in. New socks changes everything and makes you stop wondering if you caught pink eye off the van floor.
    Cops suck. My tip to any band that plans on touring is to stay under the radar. No stickers or paint jobs on the out side of the vehicle. PWP’s van is a flat white unmarked utility van, common to the blue collar worker everywhere. Inside is a different story- it is a fully pimped out green room on wheels. We also don’t let our singer ride in the front as he is a cop magnet. It sucks for him- but life’s not fair. In the thousands of miles toured, we’ve been pulled over once. Other bands we have toured with, seem to get pulled over on every tour- largely, because their van is obviously a band’s van. The only time the van should be decked out on the outside is if the endorsement paid for it to be done by a professional.

    • Don’t forget brand new underwear as well. 🙂 Plus with your singer piercing himself all the time, probably good to have your stuff hermetically sealed!

      I agree with the decked out van. Not only is it a cop magnet, it’s also a thief magnet. “Oooo! A band van? There must be some expensive stuff inside I can steal!!!” I drive a mini-van with a U-Haul trailer. Completely under the radar.

  6. Pingback: 6 Tips For The Tour That Person Has Never Told You | Listerine Reviews

  7. Blaine Kleeman says:

    Potassium is very important for the regulation of blood pressure. I always regulate my potassium intake at optimum levels. “*.”;

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    http://www.prettygoddess.com

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