Hey Modern Drummer, Ryan “Legs” Leger here from Buffalo, New York, hardcore band Every Time I Die. I was born and raised in Cornwall, Ontario, Canada, but currently reside and spend my off time doing session/studio work in Toronto.
Rather than give you guys my life story or rack tom sizes, I’ve decided to offer some tour etiquette and tips to make life on the road go a little smoother.
Whether or not you’re making ten dollars a show or a thousand, do yourself and everyone else a favor by going to Wal-Mart and buying two twenty-packs of socks before heading out. This way you can throw away your socks every day and not have a giant pile of socks in a corner of the van/bus or have a suitcase that smells like garbage.
No matter how big your band is, treat all crew and club staff with respect. Henry Rollins said it best: “They were there hours before you, building the stage, and they will be there hours after you leave, tearing it down. They should get your salary, and you should get theirs.”
On the topic of club staff, you may not be aware of this, but the sound guy is not a judge on America’s Got Talent. He doesn’t care how fast your blast beats are or if your gospel chops are up to par. Give the poor guy a steady beat and let him do his job.
Cut the sleeves off of your shirts. It will add an extra week to their shelf life, allowing you to not only pack lighter but giving you the chance to show off the cool Wizard tattoo you just got at some sketchy parlor in San Antonio.
Set aside a separate outfit for performances, and for heaven’s sake do not leave them in the bus/van. Hang them in the trailer or leave them in your drum cases. I’ve known guys that will go to bed in the same clothes they’ve played in—trust me, I was one of them. This only leads to pink eye, athlete’s foot, and a lack of friends.
Practice hard, and be grateful for everything you receive. Whether you are playing basements, clubs, or arenas, there are always a bunch of kids that would kill to be in your position. Don’t ever forget that.
If you get lucky and have an early load-in, take my advice and use the women’s washroom. It tends to be cleaner and has more stalls. Use this tip at your own discretion, as I am in no way responsible for you in the off chance a woman walks in.
Hopefully these tips help out some of you newcomers and refresh some of the veterans. Last but not least, tip your bartender!
Ryan “Legs” Leger uses Vater drumsticks, Evans heads, SJC drums, Meinl cymbals, and Gator cases. For more, go to www.myspace.com/everytimeidie.