Going on tour for the first time with your band is an incredible feeling. You’ve sorted dates and sold tickets, you’ve got a setlist together, and everyone is well-rehearsed. It’s time to take your talent on the road and show the world (or maybe your neighboring district) what you can do. It could be the start of years of madness to come.
Going on tour is quite profitable if you get to the top level as a metal band. Bands like Metallica and the Eagles made tens of millions of dollars touring in 2018. For new bands, however, it’s not about the money, but the chance to perform your music and get your name out there. Going on tour is also a real test for your band, for every individual within it, but also, for the entire group. It could make or break you, and you all know it.
So, how do you survive the first tour? There’s no single answer. You must work out the group dynamics and ground rules for yourselves. You also must look after yourself as an individual.
It can be tempting to go crazy and party too much when on tour, and this is a mistake many will make. Aspiring musicians should prioritize their careers and look to build their audience and reputation. To do this, you need to put on the best show possible, every time, no excuses. You should get plenty of rest in between shows, eat healthily while traveling and do whatever physical and mental preparation required to make sure you are in top shape and form.
When it comes to your tour, be on time and on budget. You will keep your fans happy and group morale high if you can make a schedule and manage to stick to it. You know that you can make your money, or at least not lose any, if your tour remains on budget.
This balance is key to a smooth operation. And if you think schedules are “not rock ‘n’ roll,” listen to the wise words of Slipknot percussionist M. Shawn Crahan (Clown) in his recent interview: “We have a schedule, and it’s f**king hardcore.”
Finally, if disputes do arise between band members, you must learn how to deal with them. That takes a great deal of respect and understanding, so if one or more members can’t behave in a way that is resolute, the band is at risk of crumbling. Address conflicts as they happen, and take space when you need it, and hopefully, you can not only survive on the road but thrive as a band.