One of my daughters has run away and joined the circus – The Warped Tour that is. Although, she is no stranger to the road, it is the first time she is out there on her own, getting paid, being part of a crew. As the date to leave approached, she asked if I had any wisdom to part with her. I knew what awaited her – but if I passed all my knowledge to her – she would never get on the bus. It’s kind of like talking to parents of newborn twins – You have to tell them it will get easier – you can’t take away their hope. The truth is it never gets easier – it just changes.
That’s the way it is with touring, it always changes. Some tours are easier physically but may be more mentally challenging. Some are grueling physically and mentally. Some are just about surviving the day, and others feel like you are getting paid to be on vacation. Some are boring beyond belief, and some bring new challenges each and every day. They are never the same.
So what wisdom did I part with? Just the basics
- If you aren’t 15 minutes early – You are 15 minutes late – Don’t miss bus call
- Don’t lose your passport, laminate, and in her case credit card
- Stay hydrated and have sun protection
- If you are outside – be prepared for rain and weather. Don’t wait until it starts raining to get visqueen.
- Pack lots of socks and underwear
- Make sure you have deodorant and tampons
- Change your shoes during the day – You will feel like a brand new person
- The tops bunks sway; the middle bunks are my favorite, the bottom bunks have soothing engine noise.
- Make sure someone knows you got off the bus at a truck stop
- Peanut Butter is your friend – Don’t like Peanut Butter – You are screwed.
- Always have a book to read
- You are going to get a nickname – if you don’t like it – don’t show irritation with it – or it will stick.
- If you are unsure about something – Ask
Those were the basics – I tried to pass along some technical tips
- How to chart channels – (she has an analog Venice and probably ten acts a day).
- How to clean microphone grills
- Keep an eye on monitor EQs – don’t dig yourself a hole
- Sound would change through the day – with the temperature
I visited her on the third day of the tour. As I stood behind her and watched as she attempted to work with a musician with a bad sounding acoustic guitar, I knew there was only so much knowledge I could pass along. She was just going to have to figure it out on her own. Especially on a tour that moves as fast and as hard as Warped Tour does. It was time to step away and let her go.
A couple of years ago, we toured the University of Washington, and she was attempting to decide on a major. As we went through the course catalog, she told me what she wanted in a career. To be part of a team, that works under really stressful conditions to solve or complete something and then starts on a new project or problem. I told her she needed to be on the bomb squad or go on tour. Then I told her if she wanted to tour – she needed to do Warped Tour. (Everyone that thinks they want to tour should do a Warped Tour, Van Tour, or even a month-long back to back South American Stadium Tour).
I don’t know if she is going to follow in parent’s footsteps, but I do know this – she is working with a team, under stressful conditions, and they will complete it. The team will be stronger than when they started and ready for the next tour. In the meantime, she is going to have an amazing summer camp experience, with new exciting challenges each day or even hour. She will make life-long friends. See, the country – yes you can even get a vibe of place and culture by only seeing the fairgrounds. Gain a ton of road experience, and no matter what come out stronger than she was.