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tips and tricks for being on the road

Discussion in 'Band Wagon' started by Fink132, Mar 31, 2013.

  1. Fink132

    Fink132 Tele-Meister

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    Just curious of hearing some of your "tried and true" methods of doing things related to band setup/tear-down and basically any interesting tricks you may know related to gigging with a band!

    One that comes to mind for me is: learn the proper way to wrap cables. You will not only extend the life of the cable, but save yourself a bunch of time when all you have to do is grab one end of the cable and the rest of it unwinds cleanly (no tangling/knots) ... Planet waves has a great video on this
     
  2. Larry F

    Larry F Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    Since I'm partially paralyzed, I have been know to kind of ham it up a little at load-in/out time.

    The best tear down period of my life was when some guys from the Dead road crew were on break in Oregon. A couple of guys in our band went to school with them, so they came to a lot of our gigs. When the gig ended, and we were just sitting around, they couldn't stand to see the gear just sit there, so they would go up and pack it out to the cars in about 40 seconds.
     
  3. Sharp5

    Sharp5 Tele-Holic

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    If you play gigs where you wear suits or black slacks, wear black underwear.
     
  4. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    I bring stuff for some of my more forgetful band mates.
    I have a pair of drumsticks, acoustic stings, Fender medium picks,
    extra mikes, cords, etc.
    It seems like about every 3rd gig, someone else forgets something.
    Lest I sound like I think I'm better, I had to buy a new dress shirt,
    for a high price, in a small town because I left home without one.
     
  5. Bongocaster

    Bongocaster Friend of Leo's

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    Always keep free and clean. Wear your skin like iron and keep your breath as hard as kerosene.
     
  6. String Tree

    String Tree Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Consider buying a good quality hand truck. It may seem goofy at first, but your back will think you and your load-in's and load-out's will get faster.
    When you can't park as close to the door as you would like, it pays for itself!

    When you move your gear, think way ahead.
    When you get to the gig, what do you need first, second, ... last?
    Let that Dictate how you load and store your gear.

    I suggest: scope out where you want your PA, then the band.
    Set up your AC power so it runs from the outlets to where you need to be.
    Now you can bring in the Amps, Drums, PA ...

    If you were paying attention, the FIRST thing you brought-in was a box of Power Cords.
    One of the biggest time-wasters I run in to is when people move stuff, then they have to move it again.

    Make the First thing you need the last thing you pack so it will be the first thing you grab when you get to the gig.

    I can move almost everything I use with my Hand Truck. 6 trips to my Van and, back takes me on average about 20 minutes.

    Buy one of those handy Outlet testers. Get the one that tests for Polarity by plugging it in to the Outlet. IF it lights-up OK, go for it.
    If it shows a problem, use a different outlet. This can keep you from getting shocked when you hold your guitar and sing in to the Mic!

    Drink the local Brew and LOVE it.

    Keep in mind that even the nicest girls can have Psychotic, Axe-wielding, ex-boyfriends who don't think its 'over'.

    Remember which States still have Warrants out for your arrest.

    Don't drink anything you wouldn't want to explain to the Cop that just pulled you over.

    Don't ask him when the Village People broke-up.

    Don't ask him for change from that $5 bribe.

    NEVER try to Direct morning Rush-Hour traffic in Tulsa, Ok with your pants around your ankles.
     
  7. Bartholomew3

    Bartholomew3 Friend of Leo's

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    If your band has an ongoing farting contest eat lots of cheese so you don't crap yourself.

    My first good group did the Officers Club on an SAC base and played this vinyl LP over the house system on breaks ---- way back in the late Sixties.

    Had all the Officers doing it, caused a discipline problem and I got called into the Base Commander's office, almost lost the gig...

     
  8. JCSouthpawtele

    JCSouthpawtele Friend of Leo's

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    Keep a good spare tire in the band van or trailer. And the supplies to change it at 3am. A stack of shipping blankets not only protect gear but they might have to keep you warm if you don't.
    Learn to load the band van or trailer the same way all the time. Safe and secure so they don't get damaged going down the road. Hitch locks and multiple padlocks keep gear from walking,or rolling off.
    If you are traveling in the van with gear,speaker cabinets laid down and a plywood board over top,add a futon mattress and a few good blankets makes a decent place to nap. Sleep with your feet towards the front, driver slamming the brakes won't hurt as bad.
    The sound engineer is your friend not the enemy.

    Look up my thread Rules of the Road.
     
  9. Larry F

    Larry F Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    I read that the old pros who wore jackets onstage cut out the lining and pockets to make them lighter and increase air flow.
     
  10. macheesmo3

    macheesmo3 Banned

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    If you are going to be going out for more than a couple of weeks (or plan on doing lots of "mini tours") spend the bread and buy the road cases for your gear. Believe me, hand toting your Twin or Bassman starts to get old by about the 3rd day in a row.

    Plus, they look "professional" and really REALLY make moving stuff a lot easier.

    I borrowed mine from someone and never took the amp out of the bottom !
     
  11. vespa1

    vespa1 Tele-Meister

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    Drink as much water as possible, get the veggie sub and use handsanitizer.
     
  12. Larry F

    Larry F Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    If you ever play the Ratskeller in Government Camp at the base of Mt. Hood in Oregon, stay away from the menu item called a Ski Bum, unless you want to do a full cleanse.
     
  13. barney77

    barney77 Tele-Meister

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    Lots of aspirin and baby wipes.
    ( seriously)
     
  14. TEAM LANDRETH

    TEAM LANDRETH Tele-Meister

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    Don't move your tube amp until the tubes cool. Carry spares of just about everything. Striking your gear the moment you finish will allow that one last drink and visit, and then you can load the van. ALWAYS carry your own microphone, stand and cable. More often than not, your rehearsal gear is better than whats at the club.
    If you play bass, sell your SVT and 8 x 10 cabinet. Your band mates will love you for it...
     
  15. 1955

    1955 Doctor of Teleocity

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    "Management incompetence is the #1 reason businesses fail." Peter C. Knickles

    Don't waste time or energy on people, goals, or things that are not financially sound, congruent with good values (and your conscience,) and use common sense. It is not worth it to do a gig in Cleveland for 50 bucks, even if you live IN Cleveland.

    Avoid the "lifestyle" variety of "musicians" at all costs. Do pretty much the opposite of what they do, and you will probably do all right. Living the stereotypical Rocker life will kill you dead, make everyone hate you, make you worse as a player, make you broke, and make other people (more wicked than you) money.

    If it's too far to drive back the same night, you either just made a whole lot of money, or you need to plan better next time. Work smart, not all the time. When the only people that saw your band are the other bands playing that night, that's a sign that something sucks, and it probably means multiple things suck.

    People who have been drinking or using at the precise moment their life intersects with yours are dangerous and most likely completely FOS. And they likely have bad hygeine (and musical taste,) which does not come out of van upholstery or memories.

    If the primary bulk of your band's bread-and-butter demographic shamelessly promote an agenda via bumper-stickers or clothing, have breakfast, and RUN for your life!
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2013
  16. arem

    arem Tele-Meister

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    A practical one, if you use the same gear and same van/truck every time. On a non-gig day, figure out the most efficient arrangement of your equipment in the van and make a map of it on paper. Then you can hang it on the van door and make sure that your pack in/out goes the same way every time, with no last minute trying to squeeze in a case that won't fit. As a bonus, if you use the map you will know if you forgot something before you leave.
     
  17. klasaine

    klasaine Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    I like this one.

    I'll add ...

    Don't let a club owner/booker/whatever re-negotiate AFTER you've just played the gig (we didn't have as many people as we thought, the bar didn't do as good as usual, blah blah blah). Bull pucky - you have to pay me. We have an agreement.

    Spare mic clips, speaker cable and XLR to 1/4" transformers and a general all purpose DI.

    Don't store your dirty clothes in a plastic garbage bag. You need something that breathes ... so you can.

    I like to bring a glove and a ball.

    Have enough money on a credit card or in your bank account to fly or rent a vehicle back home.

    Don't read (or at least don't pay attention to) reviews.

    Absolutely 'DO' morning radio (the morning zoo or some such $h1t) if it's possible.

    If you need prescription medication get an extra scrip from your doc (if you lose the stuff you took with you).

    Same for scrip eyeglasses (I lost a pair of glasses on the road).

    SELL MERCH!!! T-shirts and CDs - folks buy this stuff.

    And as mentioned ... the sound guys are your friends. No matter how lame they turn out to be behind the board they most definitely are a big part of you returning to a venue. Just deal with it.

    Buy cheap socks and underwear on the road and then throw them away when they're dirty.

    Try to get some exercise. Take a long walk everyday. It's good for your head as well as your heart and lungs.
     
  18. Larry F

    Larry F Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    Remember when Bob Dylan was walking around before a concert with no ID? The cops didn't know who he was, and they took him to the police station. He seemed to enjoy it.

    1955, above, mentioned staying clear of people drinking and using. That was one of the things that soured me on the gigging life. I hated being a component of a drunk's good time by having to socialize with him. Stevieboy, from our forum, mentioned that Elvin Bishop always had a book with him. I used to try to find a place to practice between sets, although that was often taken as a message of alienation from the other band members. Finding the balance of how to act with the others in the band was not always easy, at least during my twenties.
     
  19. Cooper Black

    Cooper Black Tele-Afflicted

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    I ended up on tour in Germany having forgotten to pack underwear. For the sake of this story, I'll tell you I wear boxer-briefs (ones that have a bit of leg). Well, that style was not popular in Munich it seems. All I could find in the department store were "speedo" like briefs in gaudy print patterns. It definitely felt like I was in a foreign country!

    +1 for daily exercise (jogged each day)
    +1 for avoiding problem substances (smoked cigarettes each night)

    Eat and shower when you can.
    Bring earplugs (for sleeping on the bus).
     
  20. klasaine

    klasaine Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    Absolutely true. I have two jackets I've ripped the lining out of.
     
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