Life on the Road: Top 8 Touring Tips from Smooth Hound Smith

Smooth Hound Smith, the foot stompin' American roots duo who have travelled over 80,000 road miles and played over 500 shows in 30 plus states, shared their Top 8 Touring Tips with us. From learning basic auto repair to eating healthy, these tips will help you plan a successful tour.

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.

JustinLife on the Road: Top 8 Touring Tips from Smooth Hound Smith


Join the conversation
  • Halley DeVestern - April 6, 2016 reply

    – Get lots of sleep if you can. Don’t stay up all night after the gig drinking. Go the F to bed.
    – Don’t book too many shows in a row, especially for the singer’s sake. Use your “down” days to rest or travel.
    – Be completely sure that everything is worked out money and per diem-wise with everyone in the band before you hit the road. Road arguments suck.
    – Drink lots and lots of water.
    – Keep a first aid kit in your vehicle for minor mishaps or injuries, including Benadryl just in case someone has allergic reactions to bee stings or whatever. If it gets bad enough, get to the hospital or call 911. Don’t think you can “tough it out”.

  • Dino Danger - April 13, 2016 reply

    This younger generation has it so easy….I was on the road in the early seventies to mid eighties. No computers or cell phones. When playing small towns, there’s no place to eat after work (back then) except 7-11 stores. We praised the day when they got microwave ovens! LOL I wrote a book about it……

    Casey - May 19, 2016 reply

    It’s crazy how much times have changed, Dino! We bet you have some great touring stories!

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