Hello, everyone. With the start of summer tour season right around the corner we wanted to bring back this classic piece from our friends in The Venetia Fair. A new year may be upon us, but the advice offered in this column is just as pertinent to artists today as it would be to any talent in the last ten years. The Venetia Fair tour all the time, so if anyone knows how to survive those record-setting heat waves without killing your band mates or losing your van it’s probably them.
Everything below The Beatles quote your about to enjoy was written by Mike Abiuso. We love him, and so should you. Stay tuned for more Summer survival tips in the weeks ahead.
“Here Comes the Sun and I Say It’s Alright” – The Beatles. Errrheard?
Good day everyone, Mike Abiuso of The Venetia Fair, SwitchBitch (Records/Studio/Magazine) and Behind The Curtains Media. I feel like I practically live here at Haulix, which is a good thing, so thanks for having me back team!
I don’t know if you’ve read my last “Winter Tour Survival”, but if you haven’t, let me just reiterate the essentials that go for both seasons: (If you have, you’re going to be very bored, so just follow these ZZZZZZZZZZZZ’s)
Vehicle and Paperwork must be up to date:
-Driver’s licenses are legit
-Oil change (up to date and kept up to date on the road)
-Someone should have AAA for roadside assistance
If you have a van and trailer:
-Be sure the separate breaking system is functioning
-Under stand the low and high gears for up and downgrades
-Get a ball lock for your hitch incase you need to drop the trailer to park in heavily populated cities
Touring in general:
-Try to keep the tank above ¼ tank or have and to be safe have an extra reserve gas tank
-Get reflective cones and/or flares to put out incase you breakdown
(ZZZZZZZZzzzzzz hey wake up, you still there?)
Ok, moving on to “Part ll – Summer Tour Survival”…Now that we don’t have to worry about actually freezing to death, we mainly need to focus on keeping a good amount of food and water for survival and the rest is mostly comfort or “luxury”. Water is a given…get it in bulk and go, but food is way different this season. Can’t buy frozen food and keep it in the trailer any more unless you like eating a “mushy mold, fly graveyard sandwich” which I’ve heard has recently been labeled “exclusively for vegans” as of today. It’s all about those sealed cracker snacks and canned goods, which unfortunately, the ones that taste decent are awful for you. Click here to take a look at a year round specialty of mine that I like to call “tour-derves” (judge me? – dead to me)
So what we have here is a base coat of seared (aka canned) tuna, topped with peanut butter and/or cheese filled crackers with a light glaze of Sriracha to take away from the food portion of the meal. All served on the finest store brand paper plates. You get the idea, moving on.
When speaking in terms of water, this is where luxury comes in. Now I hate drinking water, but knowing it’s an essential I found a luxurious way to get around slamming that bull-shit of a drink. Umm SodaStream! Wootwoot, sound the alarm and flash the lights cause that jam keeps me alive. We (The Venetia Fair) usually get a case of water for the van, a back up case in the trailer and I also get a gallon jug of water to pour into a sodastream container, pull the sodastream from my drawer and just BLAST it w/ CO2. (Don’t know what a sodastream is? Know what google is?). Yeah, so seltzer for days.
Continuing on the topic of drinks. Alcohol always seems to find it’s way into a musicians life. It might have to do with having 6 hours to kill at a bar after load-in, but what do I know? Well, I do know that in the summer, if you’re 15 drinks in and feel amazing passing out in the van, that in a mere few hours that same van will transform into a human incinerator, so particularly after consuming alcohol, a few things you may want to keep near your van bed (or the place you sleep when touring is: A) water (seltzer) B) a battery operated fan and C) a $.99 spray bottle of water. These things I haven’t had lately on tour, but when The Venetia Fair did Warped Tour, I definitely had that jones going on.
While on the topic of sleeping situations, it’s a great idea to keep the van doors and windows open at night to keep air flowing. While that’s a great idea it also provides a free buffet for bugs and mosquitos, so you’re going to want to grab a few cheap bud nets to throw over all openings.
Being that this is beginning to get quite lengthily and I don’t want to bore the readers that made it thus far, I’m going to close out with showering. Every musician smells like the thickest festering shit syrup all the time. To reduce this in attempts to be a part or real civilization I would suggest three things. 1) pick up a sunshower which is a bag you can fill with a spigot, set on the roof of your trailer to warm up and shower with the power of gravity. 2) pick up a camping shower which is a bit more expensive, but basically it’s a pump version of the sunshower similar to the way your grandmother fertilizes her tomatoes, but with water instead. 3) Get a planet fitness membership and shower there.
Ok folks, as always, don’t do anything anyone in The Venetia Fair would do, and hope to see you this summer!