Stay at people's houses This will very quickly enable you to simultaneously understand how good-intentioned yet completely fucked people can be. It's the best way to really capture a "slice of life" everywhere you visit. After your initial excitement of "being on tour" wears off and you have talked to enough people about how different ____ is from ____ yet all people are actually the same and sat there in awe for a while, just thinkin about life, you'll start to be able to group people into a few categories and predict what kind of living situation they have crafted for themselves (and you!).
Make a checklist of experiences or play "Fan's House Bingo" or something:
sleeping in cat turds,
encountering the "we collect garbage" subculture,
"you can sleep here" with awkward glance at brown, stained, caved-in mattress with mountain of smashed, striped clothing, pepperoni pizza bagel bite paper microwave trays from 5 months ago, assorted crumbs, and Hot Topic lingerie, all topped with cat fur explosion (and you graciously thanking them and saying "no dude, this is totally good" so you seem like suuuuch a chill dude, bro),
"Oh, I meant I HAVE cats, but they are super clean",
the moment of discovery that the most disgusting possible girl is 100 times more sickening than the most disgusting possible guy (bathroom carpet made out of 2 years worth of abandoned, trampled, period-stained hello kitty panties with rotting elastic from two weight gains ago, glitter, more miscellaneous crumbs, spilled litter box with black turds, Lipsmackers variety pack strewn about, sink caked with 1/8" of solidified makeup goo and crushed containers of various beauty products, hair straightener surrounded by pile of burnt, ripped hair stuck in sparkle toothpaste globs, 41 bottles of nail polish, communal mug of toothbrushes, moldy sink and toilet, tampons everywhere),
being stolen from,
having cats that "will be in the other room" walk on your face all fucking night,
"quiet, spacious, clean apartment" is a dorm room or squat,
having some big kid with a flat-brim hat sit in the corner all night and stare at you while you sleep,
tweaker horny mom,
a fucking stinky ferret,
20 most retarded looking kids at the show standing outside the house when you arrive,
aqua teen hunger force marathon 4+ nights in a row,
getting woken up to talk to people on your host's cell phone,
surprise I live with my parents and didn't tell them you were coming yet,
in-depth local scene genealogy,
some glaring bitch,
I live 5 (45) minutes from here,
hot flirty hostess has awkward monosyllabic cell phone conversation followed by "my boyfriend is coming over",
cat piss smell detectable outside of house,
"oh, you can't park your van in this neighborhood",
walls are red and black in host's bedroom,
possibility of an FBI raid in the middle of the night,
girls you are staying with "hate drama",
really nice house with amazing bathroom, cool smart kid, and the mom makes you breakfast in the morning, etc.
Eat animals and their various products (and take part in the local culture)
You can be a vegetarian at home in your silly little microcosm but out in the real world there's too much culture and history to miss out on to bother with that shit. I mean, seriously, it's not like YOU figured out what's right and wrong out of the 6 billion different opinions. After all, even with all the reading you have done on the Internet, you are probably pretty ignorant in the "grand scheme of things", right? Plus it's fucking annoying hearing you talk about how no one knows what "vegan" means outside of LA or New York and how shocked you are when they ask if that means you can eat fish. It's not like you know anything about their culture except that you like "Tofu Pad Thai" and have seen The Beach starring Leonardo Dicaprio, so go fuck yourself. Or, try their food and save your morals for when you get home.
Live beyond your means
Place yourself in crippling debt or else you will get too boring to be around. Nobody likes a poor person.
Wear your seatbelt
Dying on tour is sad. I mean, when it comes down to it touring is pretty silly and self-indulgent. No good reason to die.
Take care of your shit
Grease your trailer bearings, change your oil, get good locks, get insurance, deposit your money. When someone steals from you it says "I am stupider than crackheads and security guards" = no sympathy, dummy.
If you don't sweat while you play or feel tired after your set you are in a band for the wrong reasons.
Stand on the monitors and look out into the audience with a far off look in your eyes/smoke on stage/use beer as a prop/say "thank you" before the audience has responded to your song
Lower your standards to lower than they have ever been before
When you start laughing in the midst of a horrible, mind numbing, financially devastating, morbidly depressing and pathetic situation, you are living at the top when you're at the fucking bottom.
Be a pussy
Really no one cares about you, and especially not your problems (unless they're their problems too) just take it and don't constantly be complaining or trying to get better shit than everyone else. It really doesn't matter. And everyone notices and talks about you behind your back.
Get caught up
No one will care about your band in 2 years. If you are really lucky maybe you'll get a decade out of it before all your fans are mentally retarded.
Bring your girlfriend
Unless you need an excuse to break up with her, feel like being a porter for the next few weeks, want to listen to crying every night, and see your girlfriend balloon like microwave popcorn and somehow start dressing more horribly than you could ever imagine in less than 10 days.
Sleep with someone you're on tour with
Sleep, in general, much
Sleep is much better spent sprawled across tile or jigsawed between benches in airports, or drooling on yourself upright in the van than "during the night". Nighttime is for living. Daytime is for regret/sightseeing.
Yeah everyone gets you're in a band. You can take your vest/little hat/buckle shoes off and stop walking around purposefully all the time. I mean, at first I couldn't believe I actually saw you backstage and you're playing tonight and busy walking around with your little costume on and your hair all greasy. But I got used to the idea after the second day.
Say the same thing every night
You are supposed to be pretending to be an artist.
Treat touring like a job
The reason you're in a band is so you don't have to work at an office for a boss and do the same thing every day. So, never get so caught up in the financial and business and corporate aspects of the music industry that all of a sudden you're working a routine 24 hour mobile desk job combined with manual labor and endless, pointless driving.
Special Edition for American bands on tour in Europe:
The way to make Europeans like you is to pretend you feel horrible for being an American and nod your head with a look of grave regret as Europeans (especially Germans, Island faces, and Scandinavians) sagely explain America's problems to you. They have been there, they know.
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