Here are some things that have served me well while on the road. Some of them are useful for folks just starting out; other things are great no matter how much touring you’ve done. They’re in no particular order:
- Learn some basic auto repair and get regular oil changes every 3,000 miles. (no vehicle = no tour)
- Avoid fast food like the plague. Local diners are where it’s at, or take a cooler with you and get ice everyday, stock up on veggies and healthy stuff at grocery stores. You’ll feel better and look better.
- Keep track of your merch, your sales, your numbers, as much as you can. If you want to take touring and playing seriously, you gotta develop some business acumen
- Pronounce the name of the town you’re in like the locals do (i.e. Lafayette = “laugh-e-yet”, Prescott = “press-kit”). Get it right.
- Keep a log of good places to eat, good local radio stations, and good, independent music shops all over the country.
- Have a lot of material. Sometimes, especially when you’re starting out, you’ll need to cover two or three sets, or an entire night, so learn some covers, write a lot of originals, and just be versatile.
- Bring extra everything (cables, strings, mics, foldable merch table).
- Don’t bring instruments you care too much about or that are irreplaceable, and don’t be careless with your stuff.
What are your top touring tips? Share them in a comment below.
If you missed part 1 of Life on the Road, check it out here.