Life on the road may be something that many musicians aspire to, but no one ever said it’s an easy life. Instead of listing the litany of horrific things we’ve heard from friends or lived through ourselves, we figured we’d gather some tips from Alicia Bognanno of Nashville grunge rockers Bully on how to survive the touring life.
- Exercise. You probably sat in a van all day, go move around. Run, walk, do yoga, whatever works for you. Find a routine. This will help normalize tour and keep you grounded.
- Go to sleep. Party at the show and after, but know when to call it. A couple days of bad sleep will stack up quickly. You have to do it all again tomorrow and you probably can’t take the repeated abuse. Plus, nobody wants a sleepy driver.
- Bring a backup - of everything. Pedals, guitars, heads, amps, cables. Everything will break, be ready for it.
- Be on time. Don’t be the one holding up the show. Being late puts stress on the promoter, show staff, bands and makes you look bad. You want all the soundcheck time you can get. Be professional.
- Don’t look at all the candy in every gas station. It’s all the same and it will always be the same. On that note...
- Don’t eat fast food. It is terrible for you and you will feel terrible. End of story.
- Go to local record stores. Maybe they will consign a few records for you, maybe you will meet some folks going to the show. If you have time, make the extra effort. It will pay off.
- Bring a laundry bag. It’s a much better feeling when you wake up and open your suitcase and your dirty clothes are separated. Also it makes going to a laundromat on the road a lot easier.
- Be nice to your van. Get the oil changed. Get new tires. Put fun stuff in it. Take as much of the risk out of driving as possible. You gotta live in it, be respectful. And finally...
- Be respectful and kind to everyone else on the tour. Don’t be a dick. It is harder than it sounds when you are two weeks in, it’s raining and cold and last night’s show didn’t go well. Stress makes more stress. Remember, everyone else has to be around you non-stop as well. Try to be chill.
Make sure to catch Bully this November and December as they (happily) rock their way across the US. Tour dates here.
Their new album, Losing, comes out October 20, 2017 on Sub Pop and is available for pre-order now.
Anna Blumenthal handles Sales and Artist Relations for EarthQuaker Devices. She lives in Brooklyn, NY, plays guitar in Party Lights and bass in Sit N Spin, DJs 60s soul and R&B at various Brooklyn bars, and has seen Cheap Trick over 30 times.