- things have definitely become easier with the insane level of "social networking" available to is in this day and age. Two summers ago I booked a tour for two bands. it was both bands first tour. This was during the height of the "gas crisis" and there were stops where we were paying almost $5/gallon. Believe it or not, this was the easiest tour I ever booked. The high gas rates made it seem less enticing for a bunch of chumps to half-assedly get in a van because they were concerned about losing money. Fewer bands on tour equaled better turn outs for those of us still risking it.
-i am absolutely the "man with the van" in my band(s). theres something about it, i cant describe it, but i love it. my last van i had i ran into the ground. it was getting pretty bad by the end but it got me through every trip i attempted to take it on with very little issues. I kept in on the road and drove it until it wouldnt accelerate over 30mph. we both knew that it was time for it to go but i had a hard time admitting it to myself. I ended up scrapping it and actually stood and watched as it was smashed in front of me. more than one tear was shed. i have a new van now, but it doesnt seem like its going to live up to the old one unfortunately.
-the first tour i ever went on was easily the worst tour i have ever been on to date. it was very emotionally and monetarily draining, full US tour in 40 days, and i was just along for the ride, not even playing. the trip ended up turning into some sort of version of SURVIVOR. members of the band dropped off the tour, people were attempting to fill in on instruments that were not their main instrument. it was a disaster. to top it all off, we had countless van issues. our van was leaking 4 quarts of oil every 60 miles. we had to stop to refill oil more frequently than gasoline. after this tour finished, a band i was in had already had plans of doing our first tour and i was terrified by the thought of it. We ended up going on it and it was wonderful, no issues whatsoever. I think all in all it was good that I had a tour that was a non-stop disaster to start off my touring life. nowadays no matter what is thrown at me I feel like I'll be able to take it in stride.
-There are few things in this life that we as individuals have full control over. Hitting the road and playing our crummy juvenile style of music for people is one of the few things that is fully ours. I don't get to tour nearly as much as I once did, but I still look forward to any opportunity that I get to do such things. There's truly nothing like it. Piling in a crummy van with your good friends and barreling down the highway towards your destination. The amount of incredible friends and great bands I've met while doing this for the past ten years is enough to keep me always going back for more. Touring for me now is a great excuse to visit friends from different cities, most of whom i never would have met were it not for such a thing.
-Traveling with sleeping supplies is the second most important thing to bring with you on the road (the first being a travel coffee mug, think about it, $1 coffee refills almost EVERYWHERE, best thing I started bringing on tour). I bring a somewhat bulky sleeping bag with me which is rated down to -10 degrees F. I'm usually the van sleeper, gotta guard that gear, but if we're parked in a decent neighborhood and everyone is feeling good about it, I'm a sleeping bag on the ground kinda guy. When I am in charge of guarding the van and the weather is permitting it, I like to climb up on top of the van and lay out my sleeping bag on the roof of it. This is especially helpful when you're in the middle of a long drive and need to sleep at a rest stop with everyone in the van. Theres something about laying on top of your van while taking a break during a long drive, staring at the stars until you pass out that is making me miss life on the road right now.....