Many of us occasionally get a bit of jaded roadie syndrome. Maybe we get grumpy, and homesick, and miss our folks, and dammit if we hear that song one more time….. When life on the road feels a bit uphill, here are some of the great things about touring to remind ourselves of.
– You get to travel the world and get paid for it. Sometimes, if you’re lucky, you find yourself in some crazy places that you just wouldn’t ever visit as a tourist, and become richer for the experience, both literally and figuratively.
– You get to do this with a bunch of like-minded people who often become good buddies. Sure there’ll be one or two who aren’t your cup of tea, but that’s just life, and there are lots of others to hang with. Camaraderie is one of the best things about life on the road.
– Music! I’m guessing a love of music led you down this path in the first place, and now you get to work with that love. With a bit of luck, you like the band you’re touring with, and it can be so fulfilling to be part of that creative process.
– You don’t have to clean the bathroom THE WHOLE TIME YOU’RE AWAY!
– Or go to the supermarket.
– Or cook.
– Or do your own laundry…. You get the picture.
– Lovely people cook lovely food for you. In fact, you may need to pack your willpower if you don’t want to come home with some unwanted tour swag…. Especially when the load-out food and drink fairies visit the bus!
– You get to be ‘in flow.’ If you’re directly involved in the show, you can’t be thinking about anything else for that couple of hours… you have to be present because if you’re not, you’re going to mess up. And we all know what that means – Taxi!
– Every day is dress-down Friday. Except when you put on normal-person clothes to go out for dinner on a day off, and everyone looks really smart, and it’s all a bit weird…
– You know that thing when you forget where you are? (Umm…. stage left?) Well, that happens, but it’s sometimes because you haven’t looked at the day sheet beyond timings and so you genuinely don’t know! Which is kind of surreal….
– Sometimes you get to stay in really swanky hotels. The rooms are usually ready pretty fast because a bunch of crew tumbling off the sleeper bus in their pajamas isn’t quite the look the hotel staff had in mind for the lobby.
– You get to try some really weird and wonderful local cuisines and customs on the more far-flung legs of a tour. If you’re prepared to step outside your comfort zone and embrace the adventure then it’s never dull!
– There’s that cool little rush of adrenaline before a show, and the happy sense of satisfaction after a, particularly good one. Heck, even on those shows when everything that can go wrong, does, there’s that ‘blitz spirit’ of everyone pulling together to make this thing happen!
– You make your living by contributing, in some tiny way, to the sum of human happiness. See all those shining faces in the crowd? You’re a part of that.
– Finally, when you get home after a long tour there’s nothing quite like it for making you truly appreciate life’s little pleasures. Early nights in your own bed; a proper cup of tea in your favourite cup; making whatever you fancy to eat; your own shower; catching up with home-friends; and of course the biggie of seeing your loved ones…. these things take on a new level of joy, and that alone is worth hitting the road for!
Becky Pell: Becky Pell is a monitor engineer with over 20 years experience in the live sound industry. Since 2012, Becky has been a registered yoga teacher and leads retreats and workshops when she’s not on the road, as well as teaching the artists and musicians she tours with mixing monitors.
About Becky: Becky started her professional life as an apprentice at RG Jones Sound Engineering in London, where she swept a lot of floors, cleaned a lot of cables and loaded a lot of trucks, gradually working her way up to become an engineer. After going freelance in 2001, she toured as a monitor and RF tech with Black Crowes, Travis and Kylie Minogue, before moving behind the desk to mix monitors for artists such as Aha, Muse, Westlife, Anastacia and Take That. She also runs monitors annually on the main stage at the world’s largest festival, Glastonbury.