So you’ve hit the big time (or maybe just big enough) and have decided to go on tour with your band. Veterans and newbies alike need some guidance before they put rubber to the road.
Define Your Success
Dreaming big is great but it’s also important to acknowledge reality. Not everyone is a headliner at Coachella or playing to sold out stadiums. You carve out your own path. Everyone starts somewhere. If you ignore the smaller gigs you’re letting ego get in the way and that causes unpleasant friction within the band. Audiences can pick up on that, too. Get your band together and discuss what your goals for the trip are. Is it selling merch? Creating more local relationships? Having these common definitions maintains harmony and fuels greater success down the line.
Don’t Forget the Marketing
Tour buses are unavoidable. Make the most of the cramped quarters and turn them into a marketing opportunity. 3M commercial vehicle wraps are printed vinyl sheets that wrap the vehicle in a thin film. Design a logo for your band if you don’t already have one. Then decide where on the bus you want to put it. The sides of the bus have the most “canvas” space so you should definitely use those. A full wrap covers the entire vehicle. A partial wrap may only go along one side, under the windows, and above the tailgate. By using a wrap, you can advertise your band wherever you go.
It is unfortunate that some more recreational substances have had a negative impact on both tours and the lives of musicians. It can impair someone’s ability to play and enjoy the music. Set aside that particular temptation if possible and focus on making shows safe for everyone. While the thrill of partying and recreational substances might seem like inherent parts of the music scene, remember that putting your health and safety first will make things easier for you down the road.
Diet and Exercise are Critical
A road trip doesn’t necessarily mean fast food, and indeed it really shouldn’t. Pack plenty of healthy snacks as well as fruits and vegetables. Try and swing into a grocery store as often as possible. Avoid becoming too sedentary as well. Get out of the bus or van to stretch and do some light cardio. That can just be running around for a minute or two to blow off some extra steam. You’ll come back to the drive with a clearer head and more energy for your shows.
Touring is an exciting step and can signal a big turning point in the trajectory of your band. Enjoy the ride.