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The toll of touring
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Author:  Veracs [ Sat Nov 17, 2012 5:11 am ]
Post subject:  The toll of touring

Touring obviously requires a lot of planning, man hours, and sacrifice in order to travel across the globe to play the music that we all adore. But what are some of the most telling examples of sacrifice a band has had to endure in order to play overseas? Whether they be good or band what are some stories of the toll tourning and playing shows has taken on bands, and have some musicians been irreparably damaged or benefited a great deal from the experience?

Author:  Terri23 [ Sat Nov 17, 2012 5:35 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The toll of touring

One of the more obvious ones that comes to mind for me is the musicians that chase the dream for 10 years or so and fail. At which point, you're left with someone who is the better part of 30 years old, with no real skills or education to move on with, especially those who might want to persue a career out of the performance art industry.

Author:  Ilwhyan [ Sat Nov 17, 2012 10:33 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The toll of touring

Many profilic metal singers' voices speak volumes of the costs of touring. Bruce Dickinson, Rob Halford, and perhaps most notably Mark Shelton obviously bear the scars of overuse in their voices.

Singers with lacking or unorthodox techniques are especially prone to damage from overuse (Chris Barnes, perhaps Mikael Ã…kerfeldt). Singing voice is easier to manage when playing one-off gigs and letting your voice recover properly from damage (although recurring misuse is bound to take a toll eventually even if it's merely occasional). Touring puts singers in a position where they have to choose between saving their voice and delivering less than 100%, or subjecting their voice to overuse.

Author:  Dragunov [ Sat Nov 17, 2012 10:56 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The toll of touring

The most obvious toll of touring is the one that is taken on your bank account, in my experience. Not every musician is lucky enough to have a label pay for all of their road expenses. It makes it all the more aggravating too when venues promise a certain amount of money to bands, and they don't live up to it.

Author:  Subrick [ Sat Nov 17, 2012 12:25 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The toll of touring

As someone who's done tours before (as I'm sure plenty of other people on this site have), I can safely say that touring isn't all it's cracked up to be. It costs a hell of a lot of money, it takes a lot of time away from work, and the financial remuneration (or lack thereof, most of the time) just doesn't make it worth it most of the time. The fact that so many bands are willing to work for free is what's really screwing it all up.

Author:  DaBuddha [ Sat Nov 17, 2012 1:21 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The toll of touring

I've never been on a long tour, but I've done a couple weeks worth of shows here and there, and I really enjoy it. Sure we didn't get payed much, and we lost a lot of money, but it was a helluva experience. My goal now is to be able to one day go on full tours. But I'm also going to school so if "the dream" doesn't pan out I can still have a good job while continuing to play music.

Author:  Riffs [ Sat Nov 17, 2012 4:16 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The toll of touring

Lots of people brought good points already.

It's not really glamorous to tour and depending on how much you tour, how far you reach (regional, national, international) and how big is your show, there are different hurdles.

Since your question is about bigger overseas tours and the like, let's run with that. There are different concerns.

Routine: Forget about your normal life. if you're the type who enjoys waking up at the same place and doing exactly the same thing in the morning and have your little rituals during your day and taking the same path to home every evening, touring is not for you. Lots of people will feel homesick, even after a 2-week vacation.

Family and loved ones: This will take a huge toll. If you have a wife or girlfriend, expect this to be a big challenge on your couple. If you have children, this will also be torture. You will be missing huge chunks of their lives. You will also face the possibility of being absent when these people need you the most. Your dad is the hospital after a heart attack, your wife is growing increasingly distant and had befriended the asshole at the sales department, your son is struggling at school with bullying and a learning disability or your 15 year old daughter is at risk of getting knocked up by a local wannabe gangsta? Tough shit, you've got a gig in Athens tonight and then you're off to Scandinavia for the next two weeks.

Friends and band mates: Some of your friendships will be tested. You won't be there for them and they won't be there for you. Some friends may become distant. If there is friendship between band mates, this will be put to the test by the proximity. Infighting, jealousy... some people start literally hating each other. You're stuck with those people in enclosed space for long stretches, you may have to suffer their moods, opinions, egos, etc... this is exacerbated because like you, they are going through the hell of this long list I am making.

If you have no loved ones and few friends, you're avoiding a lot of those issues but you have no network. Forget having pets or plants... your main issue will be finding where you sleep or who picks the important mail home. That's if you have a home. I've known roadies who basically lived a lifestyle close to itinerancy. They disappeared off the map and came back years later with basically no home and little possessions except what they were carrying. They have to start over their lives from scratch.

Other than those personal concerns, there are three other very important types:

Legal: The world is a really strange fucking place. You will absolutely want to avoid getting in trouble. You may not even know it when you are breaking the law because you've been programmed a certain way by your surroundings. Some legal systems are totally alien and scary as fuck. You will not have the benefit of being a citizen. A tour that was supposed to break even can cost you several thousands of dollars in legal fees or ass-fuck you to a dirty jail where they have a vague notion of what exactly are human rights. If you have a criminal record, expect even more hurdles. If you're a regular drug user, be very fucking careful.

Professional or educational: The more time you put as a musician, the less time you will put in a career or education. It is not likely that your career will make you rich and famous and last a long time. You will need to plan appropriately. Ironically, you'll never need as much money as while you're a musician.

Medical: You know how many people go on a 1 or 2-week vacation in an exotic resort and come back stressed out, extremely tired and sometimes really sick? Well, touring is like that but ten times worse! You will be constantly jet-lagged, eat things you're not used to. Your body and mind constantly adapting to new surroundings. I can't stress this enough. If you have already have a medical issue or recurring health problems, touring may make your life a living hell. I have a friend who is a doctor at a clinic specialized for travelers. There are horror stories that have taken lives or changed them forever.

Basically, touring it's not what it is cracked up to be most of the time. It's expensive and everything that could go wrong in your life leads to extra difficulties when you're on the road. You will want to be insured and take every precaution every step of the way.

Naturally, there are ways to make touring a lot better, especially if you don't do it extensively and leave room for a personal and occupational life. You have make smart choices and you'll probably sacrifice career goals in order to have more of a "normal life".

Author:  FJ Receptor [ Wed Nov 21, 2012 1:20 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The toll of touring

Riffs wrote:
Lots of people brought good points already.

It's not really glamorous to tour and depending on how much you tour, how far you reach (regional, national, international) and how big is your show, there are different hurdles.

Since your question is about bigger overseas tours and the like, let's run with that. There are different concerns.

Routine: Forget about your normal life. if you're the type who enjoys waking up at the same place and doing exactly the same thing in the morning and have your little rituals during your day and taking the same path to home every evening, touring is not for you. Lots of people will feel homesick, even after a 2-week vacation.

Family and loved ones: This will take a huge toll. If you have a wife or girlfriend, expect this to be a big challenge on your couple. If you have children, this will also be torture. You will be missing huge chunks of their lives. You will also face the possibility of being absent when these people need you the most. Your dad is the hospital after a heart attack, your wife is growing increasingly distant and had befriended the asshole at the sales department, your son is struggling at school with bullying and a learning disability or your 15 year old daughter is at risk of getting knocked up by a local wannabe gangsta? Tough shit, you've got a gig in Athens tonight and then you're off to Scandinavia for the next two weeks.

Friends and band mates: Some of your friendships will be tested. You won't be there for them and they won't be there for you. Some friends may become distant. If there is friendship between band mates, this will be put to the test by the proximity. Infighting, jealousy... some people start literally hating each other. You're stuck with those people in enclosed space for long stretches, you may have to suffer their moods, opinions, egos, etc... this is exacerbated because like you, they are going through the hell of this long list I am making.

If you have no loved ones and few friends, you're avoiding a lot of those issues but you have no network. Forget having pets or plants... your main issue will be finding where you sleep or who picks the important mail home. That's if you have a home. I've known roadies who basically lived a lifestyle close to itinerancy. They disappeared off the map and came back years later with basically no home and little possessions except what they were carrying. They have to start over their lives from scratch.

Other than those personal concerns, there are three other very important types:

Legal: The world is a really strange fucking place. You will absolutely want to avoid getting in trouble. You may not even know it when you are breaking the law because you've been programmed a certain way by your surroundings. Some legal systems are totally alien and scary as fuck. You will not have the benefit of being a citizen. A tour that was supposed to break even can cost you several thousands of dollars in legal fees or ass-fuck you to a dirty jail where they have a vague notion of what exactly are human rights. If you have a criminal record, expect even more hurdles. If you're a regular drug user, be very fucking careful.

Professional or educational: The more time you put as a musician, the less time you will put in a career or education. It is not likely that your career will make you rich and famous and last a long time. You will need to plan appropriately. Ironically, you'll never need as much money as while you're a musician.

Medical: You know how many people go on a 1 or 2-week vacation in an exotic resort and come back stressed out, extremely tired and sometimes really sick? Well, touring is like that but ten times worse! You will be constantly jet-lagged, eat things you're not used to. Your body and mind constantly adapting to new surroundings. I can't stress this enough. If you have already have a medical issue or recurring health problems, touring may make your life a living hell. I have a friend who is a doctor at a clinic specialized for travelers. There are horror stories that have taken lives or changed them forever.

Basically, touring it's not what it is cracked up to be most of the time. It's expensive and everything that could go wrong in your life leads to extra difficulties when you're on the road. You will want to be insured and take every precaution every step of the way.

Naturally, there are ways to make touring a lot better, especially if you don't do it extensively and leave room for a personal and occupational life. You have make smart choices and you'll probably sacrifice career goals in order to have more of a "normal life".


Meh, cry me a river....What you are speaking about is the price of fame and living one's dream. If you get lucky, and have the talent, just maybe it will pay off, and, if not, well then you are either worse for the wear or back where you started. Now, I realize in the extreme metal realm, living off a band is much harder than say living off a pop band, but we've all known this for years. I mean I've had many well paying jobs that absolutely sucked the syrup out of a maple tree, but provided me with stability. I can't say though that I've seen much of this country, or the world for that matter, like band members say in a band like Napalm Death. There are trade offs in every aspect of life.

Author:  Kveldulfr [ Wed Nov 21, 2012 2:07 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The toll of touring

Subrick wrote:
As someone who's done tours before (as I'm sure plenty of other people on this site have), I can safely say that touring isn't all it's cracked up to be. It costs a hell of a lot of money, it takes a lot of time away from work, and the financial remuneration (or lack thereof, most of the time) just doesn't make it worth it most of the time. The fact that so many bands are willing to work for free is what's really screwing it all up.


This is my experience as well. Nothing worse that being without a penny in the middle of nowhere cause 'promoters' that won't pay, since the venue is not full packed (as if the promoting job were ours) and cause 'there are so many bands willing to play live for a couple of beers; people stealing instruments, shitty places where to sleep/eat, lack of family contact, etc.

Once I got married, I stopped touring altogether. It doesn't worth at all, unless you're Iron Maiden or something. Since I know how hard is to tour, I do my best to go to every gig a band that I like does.

What I do is to play some shows from time to time, but going hellbent on touring? not for me, at least.

Author:  Wrath_Of_War [ Fri Nov 23, 2012 3:18 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The toll of touring

I would love to tour, but only for about 10 days. Anything longer than that, and I think I'd go crazy. I love to be able to relax and get a good night's rest, etc. Not a whole lot of that going on while on the road.

It wouldn't take a big toll on me as far as family goes. I'm in the military and have been deployed for 8 months at a time. 10 days, plus having a cell phone, wouldn't be too hard.

As far as putting the relationship within the band to the test, I think I'd be fine. My band consists of only me and one other person, and we get along great. We haven't toured, but we did play a show 9 hours away, and the trip was a blast.

The money thing would be a pain. I'm pretty good at saving money, and would have to save up before the tour started, because I know I'd go in the hole.

That lack of rest thing though... I just don't think I could handle these month long tours that so many people do. I would do it if the opportunity came up, but I don't know if I'd do it more than once! :lol:

Author:  EmeraldEdge9832 [ Fri Nov 23, 2012 5:34 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The toll of touring

Heheh...well I never toured overseas, but I did travel to a metal festival in Germany and the toll it took on me was definitely not worth it. I drank so heavily that by the end of the festival I passed out by the road and the ambulance had to take me to the hospital to recover. It was probably the worst, scariest, most uncomfortable experience of my life. Getting home was a real pain in the ass. At least I'm still alive and learned a valuable lesson. Never drink in that type of excess.

As for playing shows with my band, I loved it and as soon as I get another band I can't wait to do it again. Playing shows night after night is my dream. I'm glad I got to partially live it, eventually I hope to live it to an even greater degree.

Author:  FrizzySkernip [ Sun Nov 25, 2012 1:56 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The toll of touring

I've never really thought about any of this shit. This reminds me of the 'Band members who are nice/assholes' thread, as maybe some of the assholes were stressed out of their minds from some of the excuses posted in this thread.

Author:  ShaolinLambKiller [ Mon Nov 26, 2012 7:48 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The toll of touring

I know all these problems that happened while touring... esp the lack of funds for us playing... it actually what ended up dissolving the band that I did the most touring with cause the guitarist/vocalist always wanted to do a tour in always new cities, never hitting up the ones that we did very well in, and he didn't care if we made at least the gas money. Only one tour we went on out of 6 years was where we actually made more than enough money to cover the gas. It was fun and all back then but later on when I needed to save towards a house and all.. yea not so much where I can't take off a week or 2 weeks every other month just so he could hang out. Everyone else in the band felt the same so it just stopped.

Author:  Erisgaroth [ Thu Nov 29, 2012 2:46 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The toll of touring

All of this seems very bad. I've never experienced something like the things you describe, so it's gonna getting hard to me! But i think it's worth the price, when you enjoyed it.

Author:  ShaolinLambKiller [ Thu Nov 29, 2012 7:10 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The toll of touring

It was def worth going on as long as you aren't expecting anything else aside from getting to play in new locations and hopefully meeting some cool people... to expect to make money and be worshipped on tour is setting yourself up for disappointment. it also helps if you aren't going to be dependent on the funds you will be out. things like buying a house and being away from your immediate family for extended times and possibly losing your job that you might need will def change your mind on if you want to devote a large chunk of your time to touring.

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