Road Rules

So you’re about to tour for the first time, and are wondering what to expect. Well you visited the right blog. After talking to some friends and colleagues I’ve collected a list touring do’s, don’ts, and downright delightful advice. So whether you are going to be gone for weeks, months, or just a weekend check out what the pros have to say.

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Gordy Knudtson (Drummer for Steve Miller Band):

The basic rules would be: “Take care of business, no excuses; take care of yourself so you can take care of business; and travel light. Bring only what you need. You can always buy extra clothes if you need them. Unfortunately it usually takes a few trips to learn what you really need to have along with you.”

Anthony Wellington (Bassist, and Bass Tech for Victor Wooten):

“So much of having a successful tour is the attitudes of the personnel. We, as musicians, spend a lot of time perfecting our craft but a lot of people are good with interacting with other people. In a 24-hour day you’re only on stage a couple of hours. That leaves about 22 hours of just being able to deal with other people on a personal level and have other people put up with you and your idiosyncrasies. A famous musician I know once said to me, “Show me a musician who practices 8 hours a day and I’ll show someone who’s hard to get along with”.

We need to spend as much time learning how to deal with ‘human’ component. If a ‘well known’ musician holds an audition for a bass player and 20 players show up, generally all 20 will be good enough to play the part. No bass player is gonna’ show up to a Chick Corea audition who can’t play. But other things he may consider is: will be I be able to get along with the guy on a 12 hour bus or plane ride? Is my family safe around him? Does he abuse drugs? Will he get involved with underage females while on tour? etc…”

Charles Gehr (Tour Manager):

“Don’t spend too much money, don’t use credit cards, and make sure you sleep.”

Kai Eckhardt (Bassist):

“Watch your stuff when on the road.  The way not to loose things is to keep them all in a cluster.  Never spread out.  Don’t spread out in the hotel room and don’t spread out on stage or backstage.  Keep your shizznit so tight that things actually touch each other.  Coming home with out losing something is a major challenge.  Just see for yourself…”

Dess Darling (Hip Hop Artist):

“Drink in moderation; wear earplugs, invest in EmergenC, and be gracious to everyone you work with.”

Chris McHugh (Drummer for Keith Urban, Rascal Flatts, and Carrie Underwood):

“Number one tip for heading out on the road for the first time is ‘protect your hearing at all times!’ Wear foam earplugs when using wedges or if you’re using in ear-monitors, keep the volume on your pack at 5. Once your hearing goes it doesn’t come back!!!!!”

The Break Down:

  • Save Money
  • Be Healthy
  • Protect Your Hearing
  • Watch Your Gear
  • Be Personable
  • Sleep
  • Travel Light

Hopefully these bits of advice calmed your nerves and gave you a little bit of an idea of what to expect. Heads up for any body who liked this article or any of these players, this is just the tip of the iceberg. My upcoming blogs will feature full interviews with some of these artists plus many more.

Until next time,

Adam “Dirty Money” Durand

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http://twitter.com/DirtyMoneyD

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