I didn’t really manage to keep a good tour diary on this last European tour… call it lack of motivation, call it the ability to download and watch TONS of films from Netflix on my phone. Either way, I still feel the need to put something down before it ebbs from aging and already addled mind: at least to learn a few lessons. Yeah, we made some mistakes on this tour, but fuck it; it really was one of the most easy going tours I’ve ever done with a crew that managed 0% slacking and 100% laughter.
There’s no real need for tour stories here; we all had a good time with relatively few crazy adventures. Most of the tour stories would just be us talking about old cartoons or cult movies while imbibing lots of alcohol. So let’s try a list of errors we made and how to correct them.
1. Really Prep Your Luggage
We intended to put on our biggest show in Europe ever, which meant a lot of costumes and a lot of luggage. And a lot of fees. We tried to be smart, we really did. But failed on some counts.
First of all, make sure your roll on bag is actually small enough to fit in the overhead bin, ya dum dum. That was one extra piece we had to check (for $100). Most of the costume stuff was packed well and weighed, but we fucked up on the vinyl. We brought two boxes that weighed like, 25 lbs. and 35 lbs. Stupid. We should have re-packed the vinyl into bigger boxes closer to the weight limit and brought more vinyl. Did I mention we TOTALLY ran out of vinyl while on tour?
We did this all too late to reserve luggage space, which had a cheaper fee than just showing up and checking it. The website said I had to do this 24 hours before our flight… the small print mentioned that the clock measuring that was not my clock, but GMT. Fuckers. I missed the window for cheaper luggage fees by an hour. We ended up with $760 in luggage fees, more than any single passenger ticket.
2. Make Sure You Actually Have Shows Booked
We trusted our new agent that he was actually working on holes in the tour schedule. He may have been, but he pretty much failed. We ended up with a Friday and Saturday off on a tour with a very tight budget. Fuuuuck. We should have just gone ahead and filled those holes ourselves before we left Trumplandia.
It kind of worked out, because on that Friday, we got to stay at the new house of one of my best friends in the world, Frau Cobra, and had a great night drinking, grilling, and face time.
The next night we actually did pick up a show in Berlin which had cruelly been left off the tour schedule. With four days notice, Frau Cobra’s sister really went to work and landed us a gig at the historic Køpi squat. This was on my bucket list of venues to play. With two days promotion, we filled the place and had one of the funnest gigs of the whole tour.
There was another cock up when a show in Leeds was cancelled and then rebooked that we should’ve taken point on. And our first gig was also a last minute booking, and frankly… it did not go so well. The poor lads in Lincoln had little time to get a gig together and we found out we were ill-equipped to even start the tour, because…
3. Make Sure You Have the Right Gear
We rented from gatetohell.net and they did send us what we asked for. That was unfortunate, because we apparently were not specific enough. When poor Justin started unpacking his drums, we discovered they sent us a Tama Speedcobra drum pedal. One. Because we didn’t specify “double.” Poor Justin had to borrow pedals for a week until we we got to the continent and really felt like he was caught with his pants down.
And I guess it was up to us to let them know we were spending a week in England, because the gear only had European plugs, no adapters. And I guess we needed to specify that we needed speaker cables? That was a new one to me. Bring cables! Lots of extras! They cost a fuckload in Europe!
Finally, I really should’ve asked for a 4×10 cabinet, because the requested 8×10 in a road case became a huge pain in the ass and well oversized for the clubs we were playing. Overkill is a great band, but not always a great philosophy on life.
4. Be Prepared for Emergencies
This is a bit of a catch all, but bear with me.
Having at least one phone in the band with European connection is a good idea. I spent $30 on two texts to our driver. That is dumb. And while we were bereft of any wifi for a couple days, our poor friend Denise was trying her damnedest to get ahold of us so we could confirm that Berlin show! We almost missed out! Then there was this:
They thought it was funny in London to smash our god damn rear view mirrors. We were lucky that everyone was on time and we were leaving early, so we got the problem fixed and were able to change our ticket on the Chunnel to get to the show just minutes before doors opened. Also, we didn’t know until the night before that we even had to BOOK our own Chunnel pass, as we were defacto tour managers for this operation. It would’ve been cheaper to book it much earlier.
5. Get Good Sleep
This is essential to not feeling like shit and playing crappy for a few weeks. So first off, just remember to go to bed, but also: sleeping bags. BRING THEM! Only two of us were smart enough to do this. Mostly we didn’t need them, as Europeans are pretty generous about making sure you have a place to sleep. On those nights when we did need them, however, two of us slept great and four other dudes shivered through the night.
There’s plenty of sacks that pack super small for this style of urban camping, like my Snugpak Jungle Bag.
And speaking of sacks… Sean lost the one for his head and only realized this five minutes before our show in Wrocław. LUCKILY, Scott had a spare he’d been using as a bag. I usually try to bring extras on tour, but we’ve had so many fill in players lately, I ran out!
And that was tour.
I had a really great time this go round with very little actual stress. I got to see a lot of friends throughout.
A big highlight was playing three sets with three bands at the Netherlands Death Fest: an actual hat-trick! It was great to have all the people I play music with hanging out at one festival. And the staff at the 013 are some of the most fucking awesome and accommodating people on the planet.
We also got to visit the Games Workshop museum in Nottingham and marvel at the awesome Warhammer shit. I highly recommend stopping by.
So yeah… uh, no real good closing paragraph. Just looking forward to doing it again with some more wisdom and even more fun!