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Preparing Yourself for Touring

I can remember back in the days when I was doing “heavy” touring, you know the kind that takes you away from home for 4 months, or where you go away for 2 weeks and return for one, and keep repeating that pattern, just how hard it can be on someone. Not to say it doesn’t have its many rewards, because it surely does, but one must learn to tour in as “healthy” a manner as possible. This is important, because touring itself is notoriously un-healthy!

I think with the advent of being in a much more health-conscious era these days, young touring players would be a little more self-preserving then the folks I recall touring with back in the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s! Although, I must admit, the running craze really caught on in the ‘70s, and a lot of us used to love to make running a part of our road regimen. That was also fun because we’d get to know new places, cities, rural areas, whatever it might be, and we’d be able to explore them with the jogging we’d squeeze in whenever we could! It actually got kind of addicting, and we’d challenge and compete with each other.


This all means of course, that the better shape you’re in before you tour is critical, and that if you can maintain an exercise discipline during the tour you’ll simply keep staying in the right shape. Rest is critical, and you never really know what kind of stress and high-energy you are putting yourself through until you eventually come home, and notice how you’ve really changed! I can recall after my first truly extended tour in 1975, with John Prine, a grueling episode for sure, I came home like a different person. I was short-tempered, snapping at everyone, and was physically and mentally a wreck! And most of the time I thought I was just coasting along. Truth of the matter was I was under enormous stress and tension, the likes of which I was even too young to recognize at the time! The other band members were shutting me off, the music was basically terrible due to them, and I was not digging the musical blend of me with them at all! This also translated into personality clashes as well, and nothing can make a tour more unbearable than that!


Obviously, it would be good to get along with each other, and I mean really get along, because even the best of buddies can end up fighting and clashing with each other on the road. It’s just something that happens from the close quarters, close performing and other factors. Being on the bus for extended periods of time can also really take its toll, especially when it’s the bus where you’re very often going to sleep. It really took me some getting used to sleep on a moving vehicle while being in a crowded bunk. It was like always having to get used to sleeping lightly, as opposed to sleeping deeply and soundly. So I got used to really trying to catch up on “real” sleep whenever we were lucky enough to have a real Motel or Hotel to stay in.


So all I can say is I want to make sure you don’t have to go through so much of the hardship I had on the road. I’ve done it all, from sleeping on the floor of my band’s van, to staying in 5-room suites with Simon and Garfunkel, and I hope you get to experience the full spectrum of touring, especially the good part!

Posted: 5/24/2011 12:01:00 AM with Comments | Add Comment | Email Link | Permalink
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