The KVLT of Personality
While most people in bands like each other to a good extent, being in proximity to anyone for an extended period of time will test boundaries—pet peeves become liabilities, as everything is amplified.
Navigating different personalities requires a bit of shamanic savvy: I pull my advice on this from don Miguel Ruiz, author of The Four Agreements.
The Four Agreements is tome of Toltec wisdom that can be applied to many different situations, but I find it especially useful when touring.
It is a little hippie, however, so please bear with me:
1- Don’t take anything personally
“Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.”
In the midst of drunken verbal banter, it may be hard to call up your inner yogi and mentally levitate above the din, but it’s necessary.
Most of the time, someone’s beef isn’t about you—they may be tired, hungry, lonely, scared—touring pulls out many insecurities, and being in proximity to people at their most vulnerable can be challenging.
So, if someone lashes at you, take a deep breath, walk it off and let it go—according to Ruiz, it’s not about you anyway.
2- Always do your best
“Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.”
There will be bad shows with low attendance; you’ll make no merch money; you’ll get drunk and fall down; you’ll lose sleep and be hungry.
The key is to show up, look nice, and, to throw in a little mom wisdom, just do the best you can.
Forgive yourself and forgive others for bad performances and drunken stupors—over look the things you can’t change.
3-Be Impeccable with your Word
Do what you say, say what you mean If you’re going off on a beer run before sound check, tell someone—and let them know what time you’ll return.
Touring is a team effort, one that requires every one person’s cooperation and communication, so be clear and concise—if you need some alone time, say something and then go clear your head.
Also: don’t be afraid to ask for what you want or need—you’re better off confessing you need breathing room or a burrito than carrying on begrudgingly.Merch tables at MDF 13, by Hillarie Jason
4-Don’t Make Assumptions
Don’t assume the GPS is right; don’t assume the promoter will pay; don’t assume your shows are solid—and don’t assume your set time is.
Double check everything—call ahead and confirm: you’ll avoid many a-misery by simply ensuring everything is as it should be.
Most of all, remember to keep it light: you’re there to have fun! You’re there to bring music to the masses, get laid, maybe get paid—you’re doing something most never get the chance to, so look on the bright side to stave off negativity.
In keeping some of these Toltec tenants in mind, you can keep your cool, and as a result, you will find you’re better off and that your interactions with everyone else will be better too.
“Ride Like the Wind”
Inevitably, touring will simply wear you down: you may catch a cold or run on fumes. Equipment may break or morale may be low.
The solution: Play “Ride like the Wind.”
“Ride like the Wind,” the 1980 Christopher Cross masterpiece, carries in it the energy and inspiration to raise your spirits. Play it when you feel down or tired; play it at the start of each journey. Cross’ wise words and soft, affirmed vocal delivery is a comforting call of victory—an encouraging reminder that you. can. do. this!
Touring is a fun and challenging, unique experience. More than a simple test of will, it’s a lifestyle for many—for me, it’s a lifestyle I greatly enjoy.
My next stints include a summer and autumn excursion, respectively, with some great bands I’ll be sure to soon disclose.
But of all the things I’ve learned when touring, what I note most is how much I enjoy meeting new bands and Metal-head fans who quickly become new friends. I feel deep sense of camaraderie, as if part of a clan. Thus, being on the road is a kind of homecoming—I look forward a family reunion soon.
*Special thanks to Zack, Justin, and Jon of Neckrofilth
Follow Lindsay O’Connor’s adventures on the road through her Instagram at OSPREY_MM.
Miguel, don Miguel. The Four Agreements: a Practical Guide to Personal Freedom. November 7, 1997.