Dear Hunter: Episode 16 — Tour Hacks
I’m never content. It’s been as much of a blessing in my life as it’s been a curse. It’s a blessing because as an artist it keeps me hungry. It’s a curse because I spend a lot of time, perhaps too much, ruminating.
When it comes to touring, there are so many situations I come across on a daily basis that makes me stop dead in my tracks, scratch my head and say “What fucking year is it?”
There are far too many ass-backward ideologies that really need to go. We’ve spent a lot of time analyzing how we tour, what we spend, when we move, and whom we do things with. We realize that by viewing everything under a microscope, collecting data, and rearranging to promote efficiency ultimately helps us prevail and improve on a regular basis.
While I have no interest in giving away all of our secrets — we are capitalist pigs — I don’t mind sharing a few things to help bands get more out of their day, and enhance the touring experience.
1. Smart phones: If you are one of those dudes that “refuses to deal with technology” or “doesn’t have a data plan,” you are fucking up and fucking up bad. There are so many apps out there that can streamline your day and make your life easier. We are Android users because we believe in open source and not over paying for outdated technology.
Some of the apps we use religiously are:
Foursquare — Helps you know what businesses are near by. Need to take an emergency dump? Find the nearest hotel and pretend you’re a guest. Also, a lot of businesses offer free incentives just for checking in.
Fun Fact: Sean Z was awarded Foursquare’s illustrious “Douchebag” badge.
Google Now — This is hands down one of the coolest features to come out in a while. This is a one-stop shop for keeping track of your flights, calendar events; weather, nearby events, or nearby food. I love saying “Google…Dispensary near me.”
Google Calendar — Take charge of every hour of the day. I fill my schedule up so I don’t sit around with my thumb up my ass. We schedule our day to maximize the most out of it and improve weekly by cutting the fat.
2. Miles/Reward Points: Musicians travel all around the world in all sorts of ways. The other night the six of us were crammed into a mini van with all of our gear. Dudes had guitars on their laps. But when we paid for that shuttle, I did it with a credit card that gave me miles.
If you’re going to be on the road, learn how to combine all of the points and reward cards. You’d be surprised how quick that flight to Jamaica to smoke tree spliffs will come for free. If you’re real creative, you’ll learn how to hack it so you’re doubling and tripling your earnings.
3. Travel light: For years, I sat on a bus filled with bags upon bags of shit nobody needed on the road. I used to bring an over-sized suitcase with me just to fit my entire DVD collection at the time. What the hell was wrong with me… Less is more. I bring a smart phone, a tablet on occasion, headphones, a small carry on suitcase and a backpack. The less you have the easier it is to keep track of and the more courteous you are to your band mates.
By the way, Brita portable water bottles will save you money on buying bottled water at the gas station, or worse…having to deal with Nestle water that the cheap promoter bought you.
4. Take the cash: When you are the headliner you’re given a catering budget. My advice is to take the cash and do your own shopping. Venues over charge for water, beer, towels — which are usually bar washrags — and they suck at shopping. I certainly don’t want them “cooking” for me either. When you take all the cash, you can stretch it further and control what you put in your body.
ALSO, learn to cook on the bus or in the hotel. I made bacon in the hotel room last run. The towel was blocking the bottom of the door for TWO reasons this time…
5. Utilize the fans: Stuck in the middle of nowhere? Guessing one of the fans there has a car and would absolutely kill to take you anywhere. Why wait on a runner? We’ve had rides to the gym, malls, restaurants, Best Buy and anywhere else you can think of. Our fans rule, and hanging with them in their hometown can be extremely rewarding.
But watch out for the creepy ones…