A shorter entry this week. This came up on my Facebook newsfeed the other day and I wanted to share it. Intronaut (www.intronautofficial.com) is one of my favourite bands. Saw them a couple years back at Lee’s Palace in Toronto. The following year they opened for Tool at the massive Air Canada Center. This year they’re playing small shitty clubs while supporting a new record and traveling across Canada and the US in brand spanking new Ford Econoline van. For a small / medium-sized band, touring is the farthest thing from glamorous. Even for some of the bigger bands the road can be especially grueling. A cross-country tour can almost assure you of experiencing dubious shyster rip-off artist promoters, a steady diet of gas station hot dogs, Slim Jims and peanut butter, an inconsistent laundry and shower schedule and at some point and broken tour van requiring hundreds of dollars in repairs causing multiple missed shows.

Another thing you can bank on when touring with your band is having some great memories and meeting some awesome people that will last for the rest of your life. How do you stay positive and keep your sanity through it all? Sacha Dunable, Intronaut’s guitarist/vocalist recently summarized www.digitaltourbus.com the finer points of how to not just survive, but thrive as a struggling touring musician. As he says, it’s all about looking at the big picture and doing whatever you can to NOT sweat the small stuff. Read some words of wisdom, after the jump…

1. Have fun.
At the end of the day, you are in an underground touring band. You are not important. You are doing something that is completely selfish and immature, and it will probably never be your full time job, so don’t take yourself so seriously. Realize the absurdity of what you are lucky enough to do and embrace it. Don’t get so caught up on the business side of things that it becomes worse than any regular job you’ve ever had, because everyone will think you are boring.

2. Stay organized.
This is totally boring, but its true. Always losing stuff in the van or at a venue is super annoying for you and everyone around you. Touring is such a cluttered, claustrophobic shit show, so great peace of mind can be had by keeping everything (luggage, computers, gear) neatly organized.

3. Do things that promote good health while simultaneously doing really unhealthy things.
Drinking, smoking, irregular sleep and weird eating schedules can all contribute to poor health while on tour. You should still do them though because at the end of the day your priority should be to have fun. Things like drinking a lot of water (like 5-6 bottles a day), eating real food (fruit, vegetables, non processed meat) with every meal, and maybe even light exercise if you’re into that kind of thing will keep your immune system boosted.

4. Don’t ruin the party for everyone else.
Everyone gets in a bad mood sometimes. Nothing wrong with that, but negativity spreads quickly and easily in a touring group, so keep it to yourself. Man up and either check your attitude or keep your mouth shut while everyone else has fun. It’s also important to remember that most of the time while on tour you will be at the mercy of whatever the group collectively decides is happening and when it happens, so a lot of times decisions in regards to extracurricular activities, food, or places to stay will be made for you whether you like them or not. Again just be a man, check your attitude, and go with the flow.

5. Take performing seriously, and having fun even more seriouslier.
- Obviously the number one purpose of being on tour is playing music. You should be serious about warming up, practicing, gear maintenance and all that. But when its done don’t be the wiener who goes to sleep in the van every night or Skype with your girlfriend for three hours. Obviously you will have some nights where you’re burnt out and need rest, but many experiences pertaining to the real world that will help you grow as a person await you in bars, Walmart parking lots, strangers’ homes, and Flying J truck stops. Chances are your shitty band will fail and you won’t get on any more tours and then in ten years when someone asks you if you’ve ever been to Lancaster, PA you can either say “maybe, I don’t remember” or “fuck yes, I sang karaoke after our show there with a bunch of my friends and then I swam in some guys pool and ate shitty pizza.”

So bottom line, it’s about recognizing what you have, how lucky you are and making sure to look at the big picture. Have fun while it lasts (because it never does).




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