Advice for on-the-road tour survival is very popular at the moment. Dr.Wendy Fonarow (aka ‘the indie professor’) posted this article on touring rules and etiquette. I’m glad to see my advice on letting the sleeper bus driver know you have left the bus is mentioned. There is also some information about surviving touring from a musician ,giving some pretty stern advice for dealing with touring in a van and playing smaller shows.
I’d like to add my own advice for dealing with strange gigs and long tours:
- Make sure you learn how to nap—sleep anytime you possibly can.
- Buy earplugs and eyeshades to enable you to sleep anywhere, especially on the sleeper bus.
- Make sure your cell phone has the loudest alarm known to (wo)man.
- Get a backup alarm as well.
- Never rely on hotel wakeup calls.
- Drink plenty of water all day.
- Make the tour manager strike meats and cheeses from the rider deli tray. Meats and cheeses go off pretty quickly in a warm dressing room. This can cause food poisoning.
- Don’t store any food in the bus fridge. Food left in a tour bus fridge tends to stay in there for a long time because no-one is responsible enough to tidy up the fridge. Eventually this old food will go mouldy. Mould can contaminate other food, again causing food poisoning.
Finally, touring is murder on relationships. Friends, family, and significant others get resentful of the amount of time that you are away. The worst part is when you promise to call, and some disaster takes place on the tour, and you end up being super busy when you should be calling home. This does not go over well.
Work hard at keeping your communications current—an e-mail or text message twice a day will keep you in people’s heart and minds.