Doing this is hard. Like, straight up. I don’t think people understand this. I’m sitting on my third long flight in as many days, having been in Perth on fucking Tuesday and now about to land in New York Shitty on Thursday. Somewhere in between, I took a half dozen meetings in Los Angeles. That is what this lifestyle looks like. A baby is screaming, there’s a guy standing in the aisle who looks like a guy I used to tour with who killed himself, my fucking neck hurts. Don’t get me wrong, I feel fortunate for every day I get to help bands and work in this business. I just wanted to get into the nitty-gritty of why this business sucks sometimes and what you need to emotionally prepare yourself for if you’re trying to get into the music racket for real. Continue reading
It seems like the journey to Toothgrinder‘s I Am (Spinefarm Records) has been one full of trepidation and behind the scenes issues. Vocalist Justin Matthews has certainly been open about his demons in the promotional materials stating: “My alcohol and drug use were pretty prominent on the last two albums and on tour.” And nothing but the utmost respect to him for being able to put those demons behind him in the lead up to their third proper full length. Continue reading
Falling In Reverse have released another new single and video Slipknot and Stone Sour frontman Corey Taylor on the track ‘Drugs’. The clip has two special cameos in the clip, so be on the look out for them. The song is the third and final track in the band’s recent trilogy of standalone songs, which also includes ‘Losing My Life’ and ‘Losing My Mind’. Falling In Reverse is about to head out on a headlining North American tour in April and May. The tour kicks off on April 20 in the band’s native Las Vegas and wraps up May 24 in Los Angeles. Joining Falling In Reverse for this cross-country trek are Ice Nine Kills, From Ashes to New, and New Years Day. Continue reading
Nearly a quarter-century into his career, Marilyn Manson continues to explore the grimy underside of humanity that makes other artists shy away to safety, and enthralls his fans. This is not an easy task and while his missteps have been very public, it would take a very jaded listener to find fault with the recorded consistency he has put down, especially of late. I’m not sure why 2015s The Pale Emperor (Hell, etc) took so many off guard; as if the man wasn’t capable of holding our attention any longer. That album exuded a mature brilliance; an almost “an elder statesman of rock” type of vibe. A modern classic rock album, the type we used to get often, but are now scarce since real rock gods are dead or in hiding. Manson is not ashamed to swing his sticky rock star dick around, but it’s his writing, lyrics and vocal delivery that really sent that album over the top. In some ways he has actually done one better on the follow-up, Heaven Upside Down (Loma Vista/Caroline International). Continue reading
Lots of people enjoy the sheer glam-rock fun of Steel Panther’s music. But seeing the band in concert, where there songs almost come to life, is another story entirely. In an age where most music fans, especially rock and metal fans take themselves too seriously, “The Panther” only want you to live in then ow, with lust in your heart. The most mirthless, hardened guy or gal would have a hard time not laughing and smiling up a storm when “feeling the steel”! Rock music hasn’t had a group this crazy or dangerous since the heyday of Van Halen was all original members or Guns `N Roses were still in their skinny jeans, The band recently returned home to the House of Blues in Hollywood on the Sunset Strip to a sold out crowd and a heroes welcome. The floor was a sea of people singing along the entire night. When they were still and underground phenomenon and an every week thing, fans might have started swearing off the hair spray and the spandex was put away. Now that they are a big international hit, the band can do a show like this and feel new again. Captured here by Nick Phelps of MasterPhelps photography you see the band in all of their glory (hole) and the crowd was too!
Over the last few years, I’ve been roadie and slinger of fine cotton goods for a number of bands on tour, and each touring experience has afforded me many great opportunities.
My last tour tenure was as a merch maven with Ghoul, Phobia, and Nekrofilth; on this trek out, I decided to take special note some of the subtle nuances that make touring both challenging and rewarding.
Ghoul, by Hillarie Jason Photography.
At times rigorous, at times entertaining, touring requires a bit of savvy: below, I share some of what I’ve learned on how to survive on the road, as well as some solutions to common tour challenges.
First, Do Some Prep Work
Before you take off for tour, make sure your home shit is set—pay the rent, take out the trash, make the bed. The preliminary prep work ensures a peaceful return to clean, tightly swaddled sheets.
It also affords peace of mind and full focus while on the road: no back-home calls to landlords or bill collectors—when you’re on the road, full investment in the experience makes for a successful journey.
Then, Get In the Van
Most bands tour in vans: buses outfitted with showers and coffin-sized sleep stalls are a precious rarity.
Tours carried out in eight-to-twelve seater vans can quickly become packed and stacked with gear and personal belongings, so space is at a premium. Moreover, weeks of unshowered bodies and food, sweaty clothing and booze, turn most tour vans into acrid hauls of sour smells.
In light of this, I came up with a couple of simple solutions for surviving in these overstuffed stink tanks for a more comfortable ride.
Navigating the Funk
Post-gig funk is pretty palpable: Showers are scarce, and unwashed armpits donate a hefty scent—it can be quite heinous.
The Solution: Use deodorant, take an Irish shower, use soap.
Although showers may not be readily unavailable, Speed Stick solves at least the odor issue; baby wipes neutralize odor too.
Liquid Dial soap kills bacteria, so washing hands, face, and pits in the venue bathroom sink cleans you up well enough to cut the funk. Then, when possible, change your clothing. If all else fails, spray cologne or perfume on clothing, body, and hair to cut back the odor.
Getting Gas. Finding Food. Landing Lodging.
Scrapping by on a tight budget is pretty much par for most band courses: schlepping merch for tips, I’ve learned to hang up my penchant for hard to find, expensive, specialty vegan foods (fresh-pressed juices and gourmet treats) in favor of easy staples (Starbucks green tea and apples).
Even if you’re not vegan, find road-friendly, nutrient-dense staples, and stock-up on them.
Find foods that can nutritionally sustain you, like oranges, bananas, yogurts, as well as those that will hold-up in a variety of climates, like granola, cereals, protein bars. Clean fruits and store them well (bring a good-sized cooler), and wedge in a serving or two once or twice a day.
Alcohol is another purveyor of the potent, pungent stench of van gone wrong. Cheap booze, expensive liquors— it doesn’t matter: beer spills and post-binge drinking thrills mar the olfactory—it’s enough to turn the tum of even the most adept imbiber.
The Solution: Febreze
Spray it, embrace it, love it— Febreze neutralizes most odors while imparting a pleasant powder-fresh scent, which helps settle the nausea-inducing pong of puke marinating in the cargo space.
Be sure to check back here tomorrow for Part II of Lindsay’s touring primer, helping you rule the killing road or touring life, and not die with your boots on.
Follow Lindsay O’Connor’s adventures on the road through her Instagram at OSPREY_MM.