Going On Tour? Plan For Space Travel [Martin Atkins]
Touring can present a number of challenges, all of them made harder by the pressure it puts on your ability to think. Here we look at how planning ahead and treating the tour as if you're going into orbit in space can help prevent disaster on the road.
Guest post by Martin Atkins of Tour:Smart | Bus Edition
They say, “stress makes you stupid.” There are all kinds of reasons for that having to do with fight or flight responses and biological stuff that happens – but, the road makes you stupid too. Smart people make the mistake of believing that they can think and strategize through it, so there might be an air of confidence. That in turn, creates the illusion that “easy things” will just get done on the road. This is not the case.
Laundry + Murphy’s Law
Right now I am less than 20 feet from a washer and dryer (and come to think of it now my brain is in ‘road-mode’) and a toilet. On past tours, I have spent several days lugging around a heavy and increasingly radioactive bag of stage laundry, soaking wet with sweat, spit, blood and sometimes milk. Did you know that my stage laundry gets hot after a couple of days? What is going on with that?
So, in the road law/lore of increasing effort and diminishing returns, it gets to the point where, despite the fact that I KNOW the Wednesday Pittsburgh show is NEXT DOOR to a laundromat with TVs, vending and coffee, I HAVE to do laundry in Charlotte, 12 miles from the venue. That's just the way it is.
It is only after you have lived this that you will KNOW: Even though a laundry situation is not desperate (yet) you need to take advantage of the close proximity of a laundromat when it appears. Murphy’s law interfolded with this means that an important item (lucky underpants or distinctive stage wear) WILL be left behind thus necessitating an extra trip for the bus, a street teamer, and then, potentially, some kind of FedEx nightmare that will take the better part of a week to unfold.
See, there, you just thought, “FedEx? Surely, it will be sorted out the next day?”
The road warrior knows that something can and will go wrong and there will be a mistake. The club owner will sign for the package then leave it at his house and forget to give it to the tour manager who forgot to ask for it. Then you’ll be calling two shows back to the venue that's closed for two days but as soon as they get back they will FedEx it back out…
This leads me to:
ANYTHING THAT CAN BE DONE BEFORE THE TOUR STARTS BETTER GET DONE NOW – ONCE THE TOUR STARTS – EVERYTHING TAKES TEN TIMES LONGER.
Whatever can go wrong will go wrong wrong wrong in high definition.
Anything that can be done before you leave home has to be done otherwise it could take you the length of the tour to get sorted out. I’m serious. Shoelaces, headphones, a charger cable for your whatever, socks – buy them now. And a trip to the store? Fucking forget it.
Pretend you are going into orbit in space. Take the things you need because the rocket ship isn’t going to pull over at the 7-11 or turn around because you forgot your boots. The rocket will not waiver from its course. You might think, “But, the bus will.” I can guarantee that if it does you’ll sleep through it or something else will cause you to miss the stop entirely.
However, if the one thing you need is a 24” high 12v light-up cross, don't worry, they have that at most truck stops.
Be awesome and you will be awesome!