The ups and downs of touring part 2

sliotartourbus2On the first part of this blog post, I talked about how being on the tour can get quite lonely from time to time, and how this even make people depressed, you can read the first part HERE. Many of you shared with me your experiences of touring and how you had gone through something similar. It can be hard to explain to the outsiders who only see the live shows. Even though as a musician the live show is your product, most of the time that is the fun part. It is the traveling, lugging the gear, sleeping in a different bed every night away from your loved ones, living out of suitcase that is the hard work.

But lets put things in to perspective. I am just back from a successful tour, having my breakfast and coffee that I cooked in my own kitchen (seriously, it is the little things you start to miss) and even though the tour had its downs, right now I am straight back into planning a new tour. That is how much I love playing shows at festivals and venues to new and old crowds. But lets look at one of my earlier tours, just to give you bit of perspective.

Back in 2006 Sliotar did almost a seven week tour with our old tour bus. For most of the tour we lived in the bus. It was all functioning 1980’s Mercedes 608, that had been lovingly converted by Des, our drummer, from a school bus into a tour bus. It had bunk beds, fully working kitchen with fridge and cooker, it had toilet and shower, and it got us around Europe at the top speed of 80km an hour 😀 It was a learning experience. We Played in France, Italy, Austria, Czech republic, Germany, Belgium and Holland on that tour. We slept in our tour bus in the coast of North sea, Adriatic sea and the Celtic sea. We drove over the Alps (slowly), we got stopped by the German customs, yelled at by the Austrian toll road pay point operators, and eaten alive by the mosquitoes at the Neusiedler see (actually a lake).

This tour though us a lot. It was the beginning of building our own touring circuit, which we go back to still today. There were specific lessons we learned to do with scheduling and budgeting, which I will write about more in my Quick tips. It also gave us faith in our own abilities. For the first time we knew we could do this on our own, without the backing of a record label. We were independent and proud of it.

When I got home from that tour, even though I knew we had just done something amazing, I felt like I never wanted to tour again. That feeling lasted for about two weeks, and I was back planning our next tour. So I wanted to finish this two-part post by making the point that even through the hardest times, the joys of playing music in front of a great audience keeps us going. We love what we do, and would not change it for anything. And right now, I can’t wait for the next tour 🙂


The author J.P. Kallio is a singer songwriter
To get EIGHT of his songs for free go HERE