There’s no secret that doing gigs and being on the road can really take its toll on an individual. It of course has its amazing rewards too, and that’s what we do it all for in the first place, but it’s so important to learn to “pace” ourselves in this lifestyle, so we can literally survive it!
I can recall that in my earliest days of touring I always seemed to immediately get sick the minute I hit any long stretches on the road. I really don’t know if this was from sheer fatigue wearing down my immune system, being in and out of strange hotels and motels, being “homesick” (which I was, very often!), or just not enough rest. Whatever it was, it was totally consistent, and it made things very difficult for me for a long time whenever I did tour. I suppose it was also the close quarters of always being on a bus with the bands, not to mention how we all know how sick we can get from that awful recycled air on planes! I can even remember refusing to move into certain motels if I couldn’t open a window in my room for some fresh air!! In one city (won’t name it!) they actually couldn’t find ONE hotel in the whole town where a window could be opened!!! So, I didn’t do the gig there!
There’s also a tendency to always want to “blow off steam” when you are on tour, because whether you know it or not, you’re going at a very frenetic pace on the road, even if you think you feel like it’s normal. It is most certainly not normal! As musicians we sacrifice an awful lot to be able to be out there and play our music for the people, and unfortunately, they think we are living some kind of lavish “easy street” life while playing out there….meanwhile, they have no idea, nor do they really care, just how tough it all is, and what we go through just to end up on that stage in front of them!
As time went on, I realized being on the road was not about all the “socializing”, the girls, the jamming after hours, and all the other stuff that comes with it. Instead, it was far more about pacing myself, getting the right amount of sleep, getting some exercise and eating right. And most of all, staying in touch with home as well, so as to feel a “connection” and a “balance” between my life “out there” and my life at home. So, take my advice on this, and while you’re still starting out, or very experienced, you can always benefit from these pointers and from pacing yourself on the road. No matter what, it’ll always take its toll on you, it’s just important that you make it as positive a toll as is humanly possible!