You are on tour. I told you it wouldn't be easy. You're tired, you had to drive the first 50 miles right after the show so you could sleep into town that morning and you kept waking up because the damned roads are bumpy and they suck. Or, you linked up with one of your show mates who put on an after party for you and the rest of the bill. You partied too hard, and now you wake up with a sore throat, still tired and you have a show this evening!
These things either make us machines or break us down and send us back home scared to try anything like that again. Even the most hardcore gangster rapper will want his mommy if he had to plan and execute a grassroots tour and succeed.
We're not saying nobody will succeed, but before the tour is over; if it's a long enough tour, everyone will want to go home at some point. Fight through it. That's all I can give for advice in that matter.
You should try to get into each
town the morning of the show, because you might be able to get into the venue mid-day and drop off your things for the show... If the owner is more about music than liquor, you'll probably get a sound check right then. If the owner has a sound guy, and he/she themselves deal strictly with the bar, you'll have to wait. But find out when that will be and be there ON TIME for it.
Try to make sure your show mates in each town can meet you during the day as well. Not everybody can do it. But it helps when you can at least act like you've known each other forever when you're on stage doing shout outs to each other. A little inside joke you can laugh at makes you all seem like you've been around the scene. And that makes the crowd respect what is going on. They understand its a tour and they now think every act they're watching is a touring act. This instantly raises your stock with crowds. Not by a mile but it goes up a little, everyone is waiting for you to mess it up, really.
Double-check the posters and online promo during the daytime and hopefully you've contacted some type of media and the lineup can all go to the interview together. Also looks good to show united fronts. Do your best to engage everyone you meet leading up to the show time. It doesn't take a flier, just flirt with the drugstore clerk or gas station attendant while your buying smokes or juice and let them know your from out of town and your performing tonight at the whatever bar. Even if they don't go, your skill in engaging people is always needing to be sharpened.
Take a short nap
Use the bathroom (even if you don't think you have to)
Be on time for the sound check.
If there's a doorman there during sound check, see if you can convince them to get emails while they check ID's, they may want money; 20 should do it.
You will need a first-aid kit (even a mobile one)
Drink plenty of water an continue to buy big cases of bottled water (especially on longer trips)
Supplementals: A lot of venues have poor lighting, so you should invest in a "wash bar", an LED light bar they cost about a hundred dollars and they are extremely transportable. If you want to be able to visually record your show, you need at least spectacular lighting going on. It really looks more professional.
If you are doing your own DJ'ing while your on stage. PLEASE line your files up on an audio editor like FL, adobe audition or pro tools, or mixcraft or whatever you use to record your music, you can use it to organize your set list.
Feel free to put buffers in between your songs, buffers like thunder or gunshots or a funny sound clip. I use the sound clip from "Half Baked"! "F**k you, f**k you, f**k you... You're cool, and f**k you I'm out!" folks laugh and its light enough humor.
PLEASE stop going over to the laptop to change songs, that's whack city. Even if you are your own DJ it doesn't have to look like it. Leave a blank space in a few spots so you can talk to fans and engage them, tell 'em a joke. BUT TIME IT!!! Fucking Rehearse, man!!!
I was told not to do it, but I have not seen a failure rating on this: Self-Deprecating Humor works!!! Make your self the joke sometimes, then people won't take you for a douche-bag.
It helps you build the reputation that you're a humble and modest artist, and people like that
When you are done on stage, don't leave. Stick around and talk with people. IF you were good, they will do all of the talking, "That was amazing! Where you from? I have a couple friends that tour too, where's your next show? When are you coming back here?"
Sell them something! A shirt, a CD, a CD package complete with shirt, a sticker, a button, a hat, shoelaces, SELL THEM SOMETHING!!! They are looking to see what you want from them because you just gave so much a few moments ago.
Stay out of trouble, smoke your greenie weeds close to the venue, but not IN the venue, unless there's a green room. (I wrote this before half the country legalized weed) After the show, either leave town, or go directly to your crash spot. Don't hang around on the streets.
The rule is: The TOUR gets the money.
***UNDERSTAND that if you aren't the tour, and it doesn't go as profitable as planned, let them have at least the bullshit that becomes GAS MONEY, and don't look for the cash. You'll get your turn to tour as well.***
I agree, but only to an extent; the TOUR should get most of the money, but you should share some of it with the show mates who have maybe taken a day off work to show you around and help with last minute promo. Brought their crowd to see you both perform, etc...
But the TOURING ACT does need the money more, they are on the journey, and need the fare. Finally, you need to have an equipment checklist, we have a comprehensive checklist for members, so...