Tour Tips From Tyson MeadePosted by Admin on March 17, 2019 Blog | | No comments
This article was featured on Digital Tour Bus.
My rock-and-roll-hoochie-coo-wham-bam-thank-you-Sam touring journey started in the mid-1980s with my college band Defenestration and then continued into the 1990s with the more abrasively perverse Chainsaw Kittens. Now over thirty years later, I don’t tour as much as I once did but I still get a thrill traveling those long stretches of highway, stopping at desolate rest areas, and eating at those all-night diners in the middle of the desert. I’m thrilled Digital Tour Bus asked me to advise. Some things are common sense. Some things are no brainers. And, some things you learn the hard way.
1. If at all possible, start a band with people you like so that touring – and life in general – does not become a huge drag. Granted, this is not always possible. Sometimes success does funny things to people. I myself had my days where I am sure band-mates wanted to throttle me but that probably had more to do with my vodka intake than who I was as a person. Remember, every member of your band and crew is an extension of you.
2. Enjoy the city you’re in. Go out and see the sites. I love rifling through books at old bookstores and hitting record shops. Often the Kittens would show up at a venue and have hours before we were set to sound check or perform. Being the Kittens front-man, most of the time someone at the venue or fans hanging out were more than happy to take me around to show me the city. This also gives the fans a great story. However, try to stay away from fans that might chop you into pieces. Dismemberment is forever.
3. Carry duct tape. When I wore a hole in the soles of my prized gold distressed Paul Smith boots, I layered small pieces of duct tape over the hole. That was over a year ago in Detroit. My boots are still dry and comfy in the cold wet weather. Eventually, I will re-sole them. Eventually.
4. If you are the front person, you will be photographed a lot, especially now that everyone has camera phones. This may be my vanity speaking but I like to be prepared as possible when the cameras start clicking. Bring an article or two of clothing that you can tramp around in but is photo ready. For me, this is an old Emporio Armani black suit that’s not pristine, a little beat up, and even has a Dylan vibe to it. I top it off with a vintage Saks Fifth Avenue Trilby hat. I prefer a white long sleeve ironed shirt if possible but sometimes I must make do with my Mott the Hoople t-shirt – or the 1970s rayon Mickey Mouse print long sleeve button up that can be wadded up and put in a bag but doesn’t wrinkle.
5. Be nice! Be nice to everyone. Recently, I was staying at a Marriot in Kentucky and there were some difficulties with the maid service. I was there for a few days. My room didn’t get made up one day. I didn’t get upset. Now that I’m writing about it I am making it seem like a big deal but it truly wasn’t. When I checked out, both women at the front desk told me they thought I had been very nice and thanked me for being so nice. They told me they wished everyone were as nice. Yes, I have seen people freaking out at waiters, at hotel staff, at tour managers. At the end of the day, this does no good and is just bad karma. I try at all costs to not be that person. The other important, and maybe the most important thing about being nice, is that we are all traveling in circular orbits going in and out of each other’s orbits. You never know when you will see someone again, be it a promoter, a waiter, a waitress or a dishwasher. Naturally, this carries over to other performers too. Chainsaw Kittens got signed in part because of my friendship with Fetchin’ Bones, a band that Defenestration toured with and we all became very close.
Most importantly have fun! Enjoy life. Try to write it all down and have a record of it so that you don’t forget this really special time, which may be a fleeting time or like me might be your legacy, your life’s work, your sonic Eifel Tower spiraling up into the sky.