Surviving and Staying Sane on Tour:
A few tips on staying sane on the road with The Quick & Easy Boys.
As a touring band making a name for ourselves across the country, we’ve definitely seen our fair share of ups and downs. Hopefully some of these tips can both spare hardships as well as provide insight on how to survive the road:
1) When setting out on any tour longer than a couple of weeks, learn to pace yourself as far as partying goes. Though you have little responsibility on the road other than showing up and playing, there isn’t a lot of room for being too hung-over to play. We’ve had people come on the road with us and hit it really hard right away, not thinking they still have multiple weeks to go with more than enough opportunities to party, and they were absolutely destroyed by the end of the run. The road does take years off your life, so knowing how to manage and maintain is a must. Not that we are advocating staying sober – you are on tour, have fun – but just realize that you still have to play the next day in a new city, while all your friends from the night before get to sleep it off and not do anything the next day.
2) Eat well and stay hydrated! This ties into the first tip, but try to stay as healthy as possible while living an unhealthy lifestyle. Water is your best friend on the road, so drink plenty. Even when you don’t think you need it or are too hung-over to make the effort, just do it. You will thank yourself later when you don’t feel like shit 10 minutes before you have to play. Also, it’s way too easy to get caught up in fast food, or bar-type food like burgers and fries and pizza since lots of venues feed their musicians. Opt for the soup and salad from time to time, or instead of McDonalds get Subway if you are in a hurry. Again, you might be good for a couple days, but if you are on the road for a month your body will hate you unless you eat smart.
3) There’s nothing wrong with spending money on hotels, but don’t let it always be your first option. We are (un)fortunate enough to be able to sleep in our van if we need to, but we also have friends and family across the country that have extended their hospitality many times. Even in cities where you don’t know anyone, it’s not hard to meet somebody who will offer you floor space to crash on. Just don’t be afraid to talk to strangers at the bar/venue and you might score a free place to crash – or if nothing else hopefully a new fan who will bring folks out next time through town.
4) Kind of tying into that last point: don’t be discouraged if there aren’t tons of people at all your shows. You have 3 realities to always keep in mind when touring: 1 – You’re going to have to play on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday somewhere. Sure those are ideal nights off to rest and travel, but eventually you are going to play on a night where people just aren’t going to be out at 1:15 in the morning to catch your set. 2 – Just because you have press behind you or are touring with a bigger act, it still doesn’t guarantee large crowds. On paper everything can make sense as to why it should be a raging night, but that’s just how it goes. And, 3 – even if you do have a good draw somewhere, there’s a good chance that a bigger, better act is playing in the same city and is going to draw people away from your show. This has happened to us and other bands time after time, but whatever. Ideally, you are still pulling people away from other things too, so that’s just the nature of the beast. The only expectations you should have on the road (or in general) are no expectations. You only can get down if you get caught up in what should’ve been. Take every gig as a building block, and if you do your job right and network, you’ll see your fan base increase at all the cities you’ve been playing.
5) And a final piece of advice to surviving the road – learn tolerance toward your band mates!!!! I cannot stress this enough. Whether the people in your band are your best friends or hired guns, give everyone their space. The van gets smaller as the tour trudges on, and little things that have never bothered you about someone can start eating away at you. Control the urge to make shitty comments or pick on someone!!!! We can tell you from experience it does not end well. All the basic rules of being a good travel partner apply, but you can’t just bail on the band for a couple days like you could if you were in a different country with a buddy. We aren’t saying don’t address major concerns or things that genuinely bother you, but think about everything long and hard (you got the time) before you voice concern. It’s totally cliché, but just remember “to each, his/her own.” This will help prevent stupid arguments and black eyes, though black eyes make for good stories.
Hopefully this offered some insight on how to maintain while on the road. Take all that into consideration, but most importantly, HAVE THE TIME OF YOUR LIFE. You’re on tour – think about it. People would pay to the have the experiences you are having, but you are getting paid to do it. Not a bad deal (unless you’re not making money). But either way, enjoy yourself and stay open to all the good/bad/weird experiences – there will be plenty and all well worth it.