Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Life and living on the road

So the Sliotars summer tour is done, and I am trying to get used to the life back in Dublin. The tour was brilliant, probably the best we have done and I am sure once I make some sense out of it all in my head, there will be loads of stories to tell.
But the past month got me thinking, Has any one ever done a research on the effects touring life has on bands? Especially independent artists, who do everything on a bit of a shoe string budget. Now I must say, life as a member in Sliotar is not always easy... But the good times still make up for the not so pleasant moments. And we do have only our selves to blame for the half of it anyway, as I mentioned about the good times;-)
But at the end of the day it comes down to this: when you are on the road, you are working, and to make any money you need to spend as little as possible. Also often you are rushing from one place to another. These things put together, you can imagine the diet on the road is not the healthiest. It's really two extremes, restaurant food, or crap from petrol stations. Also if you like your long sleep, I would recommend completely different career. I am lucky, I can manage on six hours sleep pretty well for a quite long time. For me personally the big secret of how to stay float business wise, is to make personal contacts and relationships with venue owners, festival organizers, promoters, sound engineers, chefs (always important!), bar staff (also important;-)) and so on. But this leads to lots of late night drinks, and partying and again to less sleep. I can hear you say "why don't you just go to bead earlier?", but if I would do this I don't think I would have such a great working relationship with so many important people. I have seen it all around, bands who come to festivals, stay to them selves and just rush off after the concert. These people are not the ones who are asked back year after year.
Now don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining. I love what I do, even with the bad diet, hardly any sleep and lack of any real exercise... well... apart from carrying the equipment from the van to the stage and back. I am just trying to explain that most of the time this is the reality and there is not much we can do about it.
But this all does have an effect on ones body, and mind. And when I get back home, it is usually few days of sleep, pretty strict diet for about a month, and a serious break from the drink. When I get home I always feel bloated, and usually gained few pounds. But this usually is mostly just water retention, as this time I lost most of it in 12 days. I do try to do as much exercise as I can on the road, but it is very limited at the best of times.
I think this subject would make great documentary/reality show, which we all love to hate an secretly like... you know you do;-). But even more so it would make an interesting medical experiment... Get a full health and fitness check before and after the tour, and then maybe few months after the tour as well to see if you have recovered. But then again, do I really want to know?