Life on the Road: Good Graeff

From booking their first tour on their own to touring the country nonstop for the last three years, twins Brooke and Brit of indie-pop duo Good Graeff know a thing or two about living life on the road. They just premiered their music video for “Good Touch” on Galore Magazine and shared their go-to touring tips and rules for indie bands with us. If you’re about to hit the road, read on for advice from the ladies of Good Graeff.

Brooke and Brit here from Good Graeff!

We’ve been touring consistently for the last three (ahhh almost four!) years, the first of which was a three month tour we booked ourselves (Yikes!). Now we try and keep it to six weeks and under. Here are some tips we’ve learned, and some rules we have. Not to say these will totally resonate with you and your band, or work for every band… EVERY BAND IS SO DIFFERENT. Also, most bands are all guys, which I think also changes what can drive you crazy. So these are guides for an indie touring band. If you are about to embark on your first tour, there is a big learning curve I think, and you will have awesome highs, and probably a few tour lows, but hey! That’s kinda what it’s all about.

  1. Pack light.
  • Because you stay with people and friends, you end up being able to do laundry a lot, and you kinda end up wearing the same two or three shirts the entire time anyways. Sweatpants are always great!
  1. Bring a pillow
  • Hung out with a band on their first tour and every single one forgot a pillow. Sleepy time is during every long drive… and having your own pillow is always comforting.
  1. Rotate seats every time you get gas
  • This was a band, Black Taxi’s, rule and we adopted it. I know my Body Sings electric drives a cargo van, and they have all declared their own bench, which I also like. We tour in a rented mini van, so changing seats helps you not get stuck in one spot that might suck. Also co-pilot in our van has A LOT of duties. No sleeping, whatever the driver needs, being on top of navigation – and that seat sucks… so it’s nice to change it up.
  1. No hootin’ and hollerin’ in gas station
  • This just means, don’t draw attention to yourself. You have LOADS of equipment, why make it known you’re a band on tour.
  • **SIDE NOTE** Getting homeowners insurance covers your stuff when you’re traveling. There is also band insurance that is cheap and SUPER worth it.
  1. EAT FOR CHRIST SAKE // THE FOOD BATTLE
  • Hangry is very real, and getting food on tour might be the single most annoying and frustrating thing. Fast food sucks, there’s never enough time for something better… eat as healthy as you can (apples, broccoli, and carrots do not need to be refrigerated), stopping at grocery stores is great, if tensions are high, usually it’s because someone… or everyone, is hungry.
  • We also have a rule that we will never backtrack, or hit something more than 2-3 miles off the highway… which a new member learned the hard way when we were guided 10 miles to a Five Guys that no one wanted to begin with and took over 30 minutes to get to in New York rush hour traffic.
  • It’s a marathon, not a race! – so don’t party super hard every night and get sick. Remember to designate your driver at the start of the night! I used to party A LOT harder than I do now, and now I don’t get sick on tour. Pick your nights, and plan ahead. 
  1. Zip up your bag
  • This is a courtesy thing, if someone has to move your bag and all the stuff spills out, you have a wtf moment.
  1. Plan for time zones and traffic
  • Thank god our bassist is The Time Man. So many forgotten time zones and traffic problems. Having someone in charge, or everyone in charge helps!
  1. LEAVE THE HOUSE THE WAY YOU CAME
  • NEVER trash someone’s house you are staying at! If they put an airbed out for you, either fold it up properly, or leave the bed made. Don’t leave dishes, if they have dishes in the sink, do them, don’t take a 40 minute shower, when all your bandmates need to shower, then leave a towel they let you use crumpled up in the corner. They just did you a huge solid and saved you at least $50 for lodging- so be an awesome houseguest!
  1. Politeness RULEZZZZ
  • We saw a documentary about how in military submarines they are extra polite because it reduces tensions, SO TRUE. We are sticklers for manners, and it really does help. You’re basically in a land submarine that’s way smaller, but sardined with equipment and people. Simple “thanks you’s” and “sorry’s” go a long way. It’s also always nice to feel appreciated, so if the person driving just sleighed a seven hour drive, let them know you appreciate it.
  • Sometimes at gas stations, getting scratch-offs for everyone, or surprising a band mate with their fave thing, makes everyone happier.
  1. Your equipment is your equipment
  • In two tours I lost $300 in equipment – All totally my fault. No one touches my gear now, (unless pre-decided), so it’s no one’s fault when something goes missing but your own. Idiot check every place you leave. Wallets have been left, clothing, food, equipment, you name it! 
  1. DON’T FORGET TO GET PAID!
  • A few times we’ve hit the road, and we both did the “You settled out right?” and we hadn’t or we both plum forgot in the chaos of parking, loading, etc. So always try and remember to get paid before you leave.
  • In the mention of parking – read parking signs… especially in Philly **shakes fist at sky**
  1. Always play your best
  • I know this seems obvious now, but getting too drunk or too stoned, really doesn’t make you sound better. And when you play to that empty room (which you will… a lot)  and you just wanna throw your stuff in the garbage, slamm all your drink tickets, and go home, still play your best. We once got a $300 tip from one of 4 people in the audience… He just admired that we played like there was a packed house. And we really needed that tip because it was a split door deal hahaha
  • (This might be just a band tip), but also don’t get mad at someone for messing up. It makes the audience uncomfortable.

 

Watch Good Graeffs new music video for “Good Touch” on Galore Mag and discover their music below:

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