There are so many cool bands out there. I have a list on Twitter of several hundred bands. I’m pretty sure that In the Whale is on my Twitter list. They’re a couple of dudes from Denver who absolutely rock. Their new single “Highways” is out on June 29, which is today, so check it out. There’s a handy link to the single at the bottom.
They also agreed to do a guest post for you to read – here and now.
The ABCs Of Touring In A Small Band by In The Whale, a hard rock duo from Denver, CO
A– always ADVANCE the show. About a week before, we reach out the venue via email and go over all the logistics such as what time to arrive, how long we’re playing, what the deal is with money, parking, etc. There’s nothing worse than showing up to realize you’re tho only band playing and they want you to play four hours. Or not being able to find a parking spot, parking two blocks away, hauling all your gear down to the venue only to realize you have a reserved parking spot behind the building. These things can be avoided with some simple communication with the people putting on the show beforehand.
B– BANKING. Every few days, make sure to deposit any money you’ve made. You definitely don’t want to be walking around with a big ole wad of cash in your front pocket. #WalkingTarget
C– CRACKER BARREL is not just for Christians and old people. It’s delicious, fresh, well-made food and insanely cheap. No, they aren’t sponsoring us. It’s a fact! Agent Orange introduced us to this food chain, while we were on a two and a half month tour with them. Thanks, guys!
D– stop DRINKING so damn much! We’ve toured with bands that get hammered every night and they look like they got hit by a bus every day. A seven-hour drive with a hangover after sleeping for 4 hours in a van? No thank you. Take a break from the booze every now and then. Your body will thank you.
E– get some EARPLUGS. It’s not punk rock, but if you’re on a long tour, your ears get punished from hearing loud music every night. I (Eric) don’t wear them on stage, but I wear them when the other bands are playing. My ears used to ring at the end of the night. They don’t anymore.
F– make FRIENDS. Everything is a little bit easier when you make friends. That sketchy promoter isn’t going to want to short you on money if he likes you. That bartender may let you upgrade to a non-well drink for your drink ticket if he likes you. Hang out in the venue and talk to the people that are there. You just may make a friend you can hang out with the next time you come to town.
G– GOLD BOND. If you know, you know.
H– sign up for HOTELS.COM. If you book 10 hotels, you get the 11th for free. #NoBrainer
I– ILLNESS is almost unavoidable if you’re on a long tour. And being in an enclosed space for long periods of time with a sick person means you’re going to get sick too. Take multivitamins, drink tea, take DayQuil, and try to eat healthier. Are we getting less and less punk rock with each paragraph?
J– Flying J truck stops are a guaranteed clean bathroom. #NoBrainer.
K– KLEENEX. Traveling a lot means being in a whole bunch of different atmospheres every day. This can destroy your allergies. We keep a box of tissues in the van and use them often.
L– utilize a packing LIST. Did you get an hour out of town on the way to your next destination and realize you left your backpack at the Super 8? Now you have to turn back and hope to god no-one stole it. Left your backup guitar in Jacksonville and now you’re in Pittsburgh? Good luck getting the promoter to ship it to you! We have a packing list in the van and we check it every night. OK now I know we’re getting less punk rock.
M– bring your own MICS. Not because you’re a douche nozzle with a golden voice that has to sound them exact same way every time. Why? Because, how many lips do you think have touched that mic? Thousands? When was the last time that mic was cleaned? Do you think it has ever been cleaned? This is another thing that Agent Orange taught us. Bring your own mics and wash your hands frequently, and the tendency to get sick is much less.
N– get a case of Cup O’ NOODLES. Picture this: you had a late load in, the bar you’re playing only has snacks and is in an area where there are no restaurants around. You finish playing the show, load out, and it’s 2:30 in the morning. Nothing is open. You’re screwed. Have no fear! Grab your Cup O’ Noodles, ask the person who’s couch you’re sleeping on if you can use their microwave, and you got a full stomach baby!
O– OLIVE GARDEN. Unlimited soup, salad, and breadsticks. $11.49. #NoBrainer
P– PODCASTS are a great way to stay entertained on the road. Some of our favorites: Sword And Scale, The Jasta Show, The Ex Man with Doc Coyle, vintage Loveline shows, and The Joe Rogan Experience
Q– seriously QUIT drinking so damn much! We’ve seen too many of our friends quite literally drink themselves to death.
R– ROLL with the punches. Being flexible is an extremely important thing to remember. So many unexpected things happen out on the road. Blown tires, people vomiting on your van, people pissing on your van, the stage being the size of a postage stamp, hotel bedbugs, having to replace your engine, the venue making you pay for water…. all these things have happened to us and then some. Try your absolute hardest to roll with it and keep a positive attitude. You might go crazy, otherwise.
S– SELL the crap out of your merchandise! Have good looking shirt designs on soft shirts, and a variety of different items to choose from. This is a very very very important part of how you make money. Don’t just throw up a Gildan shirt with your band name on it, a burned CD, and a few stickers. Take pride in the merchandise you sell, put time and effort into it, and get your butt back there behind the merch table!! Do all this and I promise you it will pay off.
T– get some TRAFFIC CONES. Found the perfect parking spot right in front of the venue? Wanna go get some dinner but wanna keep your spot? Traffic cones.
U– be UNDERSTANDING towards your bandmates. If your bass player gets anxious in traffic, don’t make him drive during rush hour. If your drummer is a hot head, don’t make him handle the money. If your singer hates pop country, don’t play Florida Georgia Line in the van. If you’re the only smoker in the band, definitely don’t blast a bunch of cigs in the van! Know everyone’s buttons and don’t push them. Trust me, it will make things less stressful.
V– VAN MAINTENANCE is key. Our running joke in In The Whale is that the van is the highest paid member of the band. This is still true to this day. Keeping your van in working order is absolutely imperative. Being plagued by van troubles is possibly the most frustrating thing about touring. If you have to take a little less payout to get the tires rotated and the oil changed, for gods sake do it! And get the high mileage oil!
W– WATER. Drink it. A lot of it. Buy a case and put it in the van.
X– bring XTRA socks and underwear. Especially if you’re touring in the summer. We are sweaty boys. Do I need to elaborate?
Y– YOLO! Don’t forget that you do this because you love it! Touring is hard and stressful, but you experience so many different things and meet so many amazing people. You get to travel around and rock faces across the country. How awesome is that!?
Z– ZIGZAGS are a great promotional tool at festivals. Buy a bunch of rolling papers, write your band name and set time on it, and pass them out. Boom! You’ve got a flyer that won’t get thrown away.
Catch us on tour this summer: www.bandsintown.com/inthewhale