When playing local shows, it’s normal for band members to arrive at different times. Jobs, girls, and life tend to make it difficult to show up and leave as a unit.
If your band is playing first, and you have to leave before the other bands have played, don’t announce to the world that you’re leaving. Make it discreet, and avoid other bands thinking that you have more important things to do than watch their set. I’ll go as far as to text my band “goodnight,” and sneak out quietly. My day job starts very early, and I have to save as much paid-time-off as possible for touring. It sucks, but I try to make up for it by being the first guy at the club, and doing as much of the load-in as possible.
On the flip side of this coin are the band members that work later shifts in the day. They might not be there for load in, but can take care of the load out. The most important thing is to have a band member or two that can be there after the show to hang out with the bigger touring acts. This can sometimes be more beneficial than playing the show itself, if good friendships between bands are formed.
Just don’t wave and yell “goodnight!” in front of people that aren’t in your band; especially in front of touring bands.
Before you check your guitar amp, please tune your guitar. Especially if there are people in the room!
At lower levels of rock stardome, bands often need to perform a fast and dirty sound check, usually known as a “line check.” This is normally done while people are in the room. It’s akward standing on stage while people are watching, and not being ready to play.
Don’t noodle on your guitar. Don’t bang on your drum kit. Only make noise when the sound guy asks you to. It’ll make things go much faster, lessen the time spent standing quietly on stage.
The most amature thing that you can do is to dial in your sound, in front of people, with an out of tune guitar. It knocks your band down a couple notches on the professional musician scale.
When people are nice enough to let your band stay in their home, there are a few things you can do as a band to thank them properly.
The easiest thing to do is to leave them with a CD, T-Shirt, and a thank-you note (unless they’re awake.) I always love the sharpie on paper plate note myself.
To fit your band in their living room, you’ve no-doubt moved some furnature around. Be sure to put it back the way it was. Collect all of the beer cans, and pour out any half-empties. If you ate there, go ahead and do the dishes. If the whole band is envolved it’ll go extremely fast, and you’ll likely have a garaunteed place to stay the next time you come through town.
I have good friends all over the counrty that I met when my old band stayed at their house a decade ago. I’m glad we weren’t drunken assholes, and didn’t break their furnature or anything.
When bands first start touring, it’s usually accepted that they won’t be able to afford a motel every night. I just went on a short tour, and was shocked to find that the drummer hadn’t brought a sleeping bag, pillow, or even a small blanket. Where was he expecting to sleep?
Well, it turns out that he loves the feeling of being on tour, and not knowing where you’re going to stay. Apparently he was counting on staying in people’s homes who could provide him with a blanket. It was odd logic, and backfired when we were offered a restaurant to spend the night in. The rest of the band thought it was awesome. There was plenty of couches, a fooseball table, and even a 7-11 next door. The drummer complained about not having a blanket for half an hour, before finally passing out in the van (and it was colder outside.)
Don’t be like our drummer; Here is a list of things that you should think about bringing on tour:
Towel (that you don’t mind losing)
Bag for dirty clothes.
Painkillers / medications / vitamins
Car and normal chargers for your cellphone
Some sort of personal music device, or DVD player
Extra headphones and a splitter (so you can share with the drummer.)
Swimming trunks (It’s warm in Vegas any time of year.)
Hoodie or jacket (It’ll rain in Seattle any time of year.)
Ok, so I get picked on for bringing an air matress. It’s not very rock and roll. But most people don’t have five couches in their house, and it’s not healthy to drink until the floor is comfortable (every night.) So I bring an air matress, and sleep on it every night of tour. I get a consistantly good night’s rest. It doesnt even take up much room when packed.
Some bands have one or two comfy Places to sleep in the van, which can greatly increase the security of your gear. I think the best situation would be to put the loudest snorer in the van, plan on two couches, and bring air mattesses for the rest of the group.
Or you can bring money and pay for Motel 6 every night. I’d be ok with that too.
I remember touring with a gameboy, a diskman, and a huge CD case. In the van there would be a notebook filled with printed mapquest directions to venues and friends’ houses. I even remember lining up at pay phones, waiting to check in with significant others.
Recently, I went on my first tour with a smartphone. It more than replaced all of the things that I used to bring. I found myself reading the news, posting video blogs to Facebook, shouting out directions to the nearest Subway… It kept me quite entertained.
An interesting problem we ran into, was that with four smartphones came four different directions to the club. Different software combined with a bit of user error lead to some arguments about which exit to take on multiple occasions. We made it work, and only had to turn around a couple of times.
A huge benifit was the ability to not only trade contact info, but start a twiiter/myspace/facebook relationship with other bands almost instantly. It greatly sped up the proccess of getting on a first name basis, and playing more shows with the bands we liked.
The ipad just came out too. That would kick ass for movie watching in the van. Anyone want to donate one?
“Earplugs are like condoms; you should always wear them, but it’s never as fun.”
What a crazy weekend of shows! My body is sore and doesn’t want to move. I should drink some water, take a bath and a nap. I’m so rock-n-roll.
Remember to stretch out before each show. I didn’t, and am paying dearly. My neck is crying on the inside.
I was thinking about the fact that I haven’t been in a band with a girl since my high school concert band. It’s not been a consious decision, it’s just never turned out that way.
I’d love to hear from some co-ed bands about ways that it’s harder and/or easier when compared to touring in an all guy (or girl) band.
The show is over, and you’ve had a few to drink. Thankfully the keyboardist is sober and will get you somewhere where you can pass out untill you need to hit the road again. But who is making sure that your guitar is in the van? You’ll be two towns over before you realize it’s sitting backstage at the last club. Thankfully there are a couple of things you can do as a band to lessen the chances of leaving gear behind.
I am always one of two band members who can “tetris” the gear into the van. We pack the gear the same way every time. When the cymbals aren’t there at load out, I’ll know it and can send someone to find them long before the doors of the club are locked. It’s at the point were I can be drunk and still know that we’re missing a pedal board or a merch bin. If you’re not the van loading genius of you band, please help by handing him gear as he asks for it.
For some bands, the idiot check is the only method used to prevent leaving gear behind. Make a quick trip back through the club one last time, looking for any items you may have forgotten. Walk around the stage, look over the merch booth, and make a trip through the green room. Don’t assume that someone else has done it either. They were all busy talking to that cute bartender.
Usually you’ll find nothing more than the stray pick on stage, but finding an amp stand or kick pedal before skipping town can save you from frustration and the cost of replacement. Plus, there’s the unlikely chance of finding an untouched six pack in the green room. (Score!)
One last thing that more bands should do, is to have a list of all the gear that’s on tour. Include discriptions and serial numbers, and keep the list in multiple locations. If something (or godforbid everything) was ever stolen, the police will have a lot better chance of getting things back to you if you are able to provide the serial numbers.
I guess there’s always that rich kid band member who can just replace lost gear with Dad’s credit card. He’s just too big of a douche for any band I want to be a part of, so I’ll continue doing my best to not leave shit behind.
I prefer having a cooler of beer back stage. I don’t have to wait in line, and don’t need to worry about tipping. (You are tipping a buck with that drink ticket, right?) The only problem is when the other bands decide to help themselves to our beer. You probably have a six pack of Hamms waiting for you somewhere else, or the door girl has your drink tickets.
If you’re hanging out with us and ask nicely, yes you have one. Don’t ask if your girlfriend or ‘bro’ can have one. We’re not ‘dicks.’ We’re just trying to save a beer or two for the stage. (Unless you’re in Washington State and can’t drink on stage! WTF?)
Do you really want to piss off the headlining band over a beer that you can
buy accross the street and drink in the van? put on your singer’s tab at the bar?