It’s about this time that I lose track of what the date is. I actually would have to consult a calendar to get that info. It’s Monday. Fourth night. We crossed into Germany without getting stopped by customs agents. We had a good show and sold plenty of CDs. Dinner was amazing again. I think for today’s post I’m going to take you through a typical day in detail. So, here we go. “How to Tour, According to Me.”
1. It’s sometime between 8 and 10 a.m. Wake up. Shower. Shave. Brush teeth and hair. Floss! Get dressed in the same clothes you wore all day yesterday. And by the same, I mean the same underwear and socks too, unless you’ve been wearing them longer than three days.
2. Practice your guitar. You have gigs coming up after you get home and you need to be ready for them. Plus you must always practice scales.
3. Go downstairs. Have breakfast. Chat with Kevin and Serge. Discuss your plan for the day, which basically boils down to “When do we need to leave?” “When do we need to get to the next town?” “Should we hit the hotel or the venue first?” “Do we run our own sound?” “When should we do laundry?”
4. Pack up the van. This task is simple because you rented a nine person van and there are only three of you. Plus two guitars, an electric bass, an upright bass, a bass amp, a guitar amp, two small powered speakers, a small mixer, seven mic cables (some functional), five mics, speaker cables, at least 6 power strips, various adapters, guitar cables, power cables, three mic stands (some functional), 2 speaker stands, a pedal board (Serge’s) over 100 CDs, various bags of gear, and luggage for three. And a bag of almonds, but not a real bag of almonds. It’s actually a bag of hazelnuts that you are pretending are almonds.
5. Drive to the next town. It’s only 1-3 hours away. Listen to music or get lost or talk about Miles Davis. Or all three. You must listen to Rock’nRoll Animal and Revolver at least once on this tour. Go to the hotel room and practice again. Change out of your stinky driving clothes and into your less stinky gig clothes.
6. Go to the venue. Unload the van. Set up the PA. This takes a long time, but is exciting because you brought gaff tape and when you’re done running cables you can tape them down. Resolve to always have gaff tape as it makes you unreasonably happy. Set levels, begin sound check. Run a few tunes. Adjust the threshold of your compressor with the help of Kevin. Work out some more harmonies.
7. Sit down. Eat. Dinner is always provided and is usually delicious. Often it’s mostly local. Have some wine, beer, whiskey or tea (please just pick two).
8. Play. This is why you’re here, right? Stay focused. Don’t miss those harmonies. Don’t second guess yourself. Be completely present at all times. Play the thing that needs to be heard and don’t play the thing that gets in the way. This task should be easy after 36 years but it seems like something always distracts you. Do better.
9. Sell CDs. Sign CDs. Talk to old friends and new friends. Keep an eye on the gear since some people don’t understand that it’s not ok to touch your stuff. Do not be afraid to get up and say, “Hey, please don’t” in a loud voice. Who touches an upright bass without permission? Germans, that’s who!
10. Pack up the gear. Load up the van. (see step 4). Drive back to the hotel and bring in some of the gear. Call someone, like your kids or one of your partners, for example. Send texts and emails. Notice that it’s nearly 1 a.m. Write a quick blog post. It’s late. Go to sleep!
Repeat steps 1-10 until you have played all the shows.