Tour Guides From Hell: Abolishment of Flesh’s Top Ten Touring Tips
To celebrate our sponsorship of Origin’s upcoming U.S. tour with King Parrot, Beyond Creation, Abolishment of Flesh and Your Chance to Die, MetalSucks will be presenting one guest column penned by the members of each band. Today all the members of Abolishment of Flesh share their collective top ten tips for successful touring — what to bring, what to do, what to eat, how to act — which they’ll certainly put to good use come August. Aspiring bands, take note!
1. Pack Lightly
Pack only whatever fits in a backpack that you can easily grab and go! Dirty laundry zip-lock bag, extra socks (keep your feet dry and clean to prevent infections and getting your ass beat by your bandmates!) and extra underwear (just in case!). Put shampoo, etc in small zip-lock bags. Bring toilet paper and a roll of napkins. Bring sleeping bags! And always bring a light jacket or hoodie! Even in the summer if you travel coast to coast you WILL experience temperatures from low 50s to 120 degrees in a matter of days or even hours.
One small cooler for drinks, another small cooler for meat and perishables and a compact propane grill. Remember, dollar menu is never a dollar and it is unhealthy! Getting sick on tour makes for an extremely miserable experience. If everyone were to pitch in $3 you can buy some really cheap food to grill. We usually shop Wal-Mart. Try local food: if you’re gonna spend more money on food spend it on new experiences. Bring a small baggie with antacids, vitamins, ibuprofen, and breath mints.
3. Bring Entertainment
Mp3 players, laptops, movies, football, frisbee, etc. But don’t let artificial entertainment keep you from enjoying the scenery that is naturally displayed beyond the confines of the vehicle. Bring headphones because no one else wants to hear your shitty music!
4. Everyone Pitches In
Financially, physically, load in, load out, run merch, run errands, etc. Don’t hide in a corner or green room cause you’re too busy being on Facebook or texting. Talk to the all the bands and fans and show them you care, because without them it’s all for nothing. Build a network by interacting with members of other bands.
5. Bring the Right Equipment
Downsize equipment; it saves gas, time and money! Full stacks are not necessary, especially if you’re just the opening act of a tour. You’re either gonna play in a small venue where a full stack is too much or a large place where you could mic up a combo amp and be fine. Half stacks are perfect. Have an instrument cable ready in case your wireless fails.
6. Bring Plenty of Merchandise
Always have plenty of shirts and CDs. That is the bread and butter for touring bands and sales will most likely be greater than your guarantee. Especially for new bands, merch is a form of promotion. Give the fans something to remember you by.
7. Stay in Pairs
Stay together for safety, always have phones fully charged, always answer your phone even if you don’t recognize the number, always tell your band members your whereabouts. Carry a flashlight and a small knife for protection. Don’t run off with some skank and be late for sound check, load in/out, etc!
8. Stage Etiquette
Respect the sound guy! The FOH sound person will make sure you sound like ass if you piss him off. Fast set up and tear down. Tune before it is time to set up; it’s very unprofessional to tune during sound check (or at least be discreet if you must). Don’t be a little bitch about your monitors. When you’re done with your set hurry up and get your shit off the stage and out of the way. Keep your stage volume to a minimum. Most of the time your monitors are drowned by excessive stage volume. Less talk, more music. Everyone hates long-winded vocalists that think everybody really cares about the dumb shit you have to say! Unless you are funny as hell or capable of captivating the crowd by what you say, just shut up and play. Bring a backup guitar and bass. You look stupid in the middle of your set asking other bands from the stage if they have a guitar or strap to borrow: LAME!!! Change your strings before tour and bring extras.
9. Stay Clean
Respect everyone in the vehicle by keeping yourself clean and njever pass up a chance to shower and do laundry. Get a small box of detergent. Remember that there are others that need a shower as well so make it quick! If a person is kind enough to let you stay at their home be courteous and clean up after yourself.
10. Respect the Van
The tour van is your temporary home so keep it clean! Clean trash out every time you make a pit stop. If you have smelly feet DO NOT TAKE YOUR SHOES OFF. Roll your damn window down when you fart or burp after drinking tons of beer and eating Doritos and beef jerky.
See you out on the road!