Back in 2004, I went on my first tour. It was In Europe and I was the opening act on a 4 group bill. Basically, I dj’d while the doors opened and no one gave a shit. My first show was in London in a huge theater that could fit about 2,000 people. I was so nervous, i seriously almost shit in my pants while on stage. This was funny cause, well, there were about 25 people in the venue during my set. It looked like the crowd at a Nets game. Anyway, that tour got my feet wet and I eventually actually got to play for people who had heard of me. I’d be lying if i said I love touring, but it’s not as awful as i used to think it was. Whenever i vocalize this to people who have no toured , they look at me like i’m crazy. This is because ,when most people think of what touring is, they think it’s all fun , all the time and assume it’s some “party like a rockstar” shit. Well, i’m not the bassist in Nickleback, so shit doesn’t exactly roll like that. far from it. Sure, things can occasionally get very fun on tour but the reality is far from what many think of when they envision life on the road. The people who get it the most wrong are usually the people at the shows. Pretty much after every show I’ve ever done, someone asks a variation of the “where’s the party!?” question. I almost feel bad when they give me that disappointed look after tell them “we’re going back to the hotel so we can sleep for 3 hours and drive for 9 hours tomorrow”. Bummer , bro, I know.
Now, bear in mind, i’m a laptop show having douche bag and that’s obviously a huge difference from a rock band or even a rapper. Different crowds, often different venues…but still, here are some misconceptions and truths to touring. Allow me to list them in an orderly fashion::
1)It’s a month long party
i’ve heard that there are tours like this but i’ve never been near one. Honestly, i don’t think i’d want to be. You ever drink three nights in a row and not get any sleep? Fuck that shit. That’s like begging for diariahh and the delium tremons. The reality is that , unless you’re one of those “built to party” gladiator types, being hungover and performing sucks. It also sucks to be sitting in a crowded van driving for 5 hours and wanting to barf the whole time.
I did most of my touring as single man (IE: i haven’t had a serious tour in years) While i definitely have hooked up with girls while on tour, I wouldn’t call them “groupies”. In most cases, I had some sort of contact with them prior to that evening or I straight up already knew them. Even with those considerations, there haven’t been many. I realize this makes me sound like a total pussy but I’m honest. I wish i was lying.
The thing people fail to understand about touring is that, for indy artists who don’t have millions of dollars and lots of time off between shows, it’s MUCH harder to even coordinate than you could ever imagine. First off, A lot of these shows are “all ages”. I’m 33 now. When i was touring more, i was in my late 20’s-early 30’s. Every girl i saw under 23 looked 16 to me. I’m not trying to be on “To catch a predetor”. Secondly, the logistics. When you tour, you’re not alone. You have everyone else on that tour with you…all the time. We either all share hotel rooms or we all sleep on a tour bus in tiny bunks that are better suited for people the size of a guitar. In the case of hotels, unless a girl is willing to have sex with you while another dude pretends to read a book in a bed 3 feet away, it’s pretty much a no go. If your lucky, and she’s a real dime bag whore, you could possibly pull the bathroom escapade off but girls like that are few and far between…and they also most likely fucked ever band that’s been to that town in the last year.
With tour buses, we often would leave immediately after the show en route to the next destination. Unless a girl is willing to travel to another city AND have sex is a casket sized bed, that is a no-go as well. Not to mention, any girl willing to do those things is probably a disgusting groupie , which leads me too the ladies themselves. Groupies! By nature, groupies are gross. In theory, they’re the best thing on the planet for a single traveling musician. Good to go girls. Who doesn’t like that? I just can’t front, it’s fucking bizarre to meet someone who , as a stranger, is right off the bat , willing to let you put your penis inside them. You don’t know them for shit. You’ve never spoken. but regardless of all that, it’s a go. Eh…I’ll pass.
On a side note about groupies, the illest is when a girl is WITH HER BOYFRIEND at a show and trying to set shit off. I’ve only seen this a couple times but it’s brutal…Especially when the boyfriend is a fan of the artist. Rouch…That kinda shit can hurt your sales in the “lonely broken hearted masturbator” market and , as you all know, that’s a key demographic for most indy rappers nowadays.
3) Touring is living some sort of high life
The misconception that touring is some sort of jiggy experience is funny.
Touring is sporadic showering in hotels. Touring is getting a cold and sharing it with your friends. Touring is always being tired and rarely taking a good shit.
Touring is a lot of driving and a lot of shitty food. I basically sweat Cracker Barrel gravy around the fifth day of the tour. The crazy shit is, Cracker Barrel is the pinnacle of highway dining. When i was last touring, we sought that shit out. And you know what? It was pretty fucking good…for a few days. After two days of that, regular bowel movements were as real as unicorn pussy.
The thing is, touring is a grind. It some shit we as artists HAVE to do to support ourselves. It’s one of the least glamorous things you could ever do. Sure, the shows are often a lot of fun and there are parts that make you feel like a superstar. But for every thing like that, there is a 6 am wake up call in the hotel or a venue with no toilet paper and no doors on the bathroom stalls.
4)Fans are great.
fans ARE great. it’s cool meeting the people who love your music, But, like most things, there are rotten apples in the bunch. I’d say 95% of the people i’ve met over the years have been cool. Normal people who like music and appreciate an artists contributions. The other 5% however…fuck them. These are the motherfuckers who apperently were raised by wolves and never learned the simple rules of human engagement. They corner you and talk till you tell them to stop. They ask wildly innapropriate questions and feel justified about it cause they’ve illegally downloaded your albums. The worst are the ones who think they’re “cutting through the bullshit” by just saying some really rude shit to you as if they know you. Some shit like “dude, that new album kinda sucks…” or “you got fat, huh?”. I just don’t get that whole mind set. You came to my show to tell me that? Has that approach ever worked on any level in the history of the universe? Like i’m gonna be all “hey man, i appreciate your brutal honesty even though I ,in no way ,shape or form, asked for it. would you like to be my close friend and possibly make music together in the future?”.
Trust me, the best response one can hope for in that situation is “go fuck yourself dickface”.
I recently did a show with some of the best promoters I’ve ever dealt with. They were on point and hospitable to a point that really makes most everyone I’ve ever encountered prior to them, look bad.
It’s safe to say that the majority of the promoters out there are pretty much the worst people on the planet. Just truly worthless people who’s only talents are to be pushy and , occasionally, get people to come to a show. I mean, they usually do mean well. I’m not denying that. It’s just there seems to be particular kind of mind set that goes hand in hand with that job. That mindset is that of a complete dipshit. fortunately, when on an actual tour, they aren’t really an issue. You usually have a tour manager and he’s dealing with all that shit. It’s the random one off shows where these guys really show their true colors. They are the car salesmen of the music industry.
With all this said, I’m hopefully gonna be touring this year. Perhaps in the states, perhaps in europe. I dunno yet. But i’ll be sure to let you know allllllll about it when I find out.
Oh, and if I come to your town, I appreciate the offer, but I don’t smoke weed. But really, thanks for asking.