On the Beat With Nate Arling of the Last Vegas and Urge Overkill: Top Ten Touring and Gigging Tips
Hi MD readers! My name is Nate Arling, and I live in Chicago, Illinois. I play drums in the Last Vegas and Urge Overkill. I also do studio work and have played 1,000-plus shows in fifteen-plus countries at clubs, garages, arenas, festivals, strip clubs, barns, basements, and theatres.
Here is a list of ten things I thought you should know when touring around and being a gigging musician. Some of it may be obvious, but like drums, music, and life, the simple things are important!
Drum roll, please…
- Have fun, try and practice every day, and work hard to be the best drummer you can.
- Be respectful and cool to fans, fellow musicians, and staff putting on the show. Everyone is working hard to put the show and no staff, no show!
- Bring plenty of drumsticks, gear, and everything you will need on tour so you don’t have to buy things on the road. You usually don’t have time to stop and it ends up being expensive.
- Know the stage and monitor system. A lot of times the “less is more approach” is the way to go if you are support or using the house engineer. Be realistic with what you ask for, with the time you have, and know you usually don’t have enough time with changeovers.
- Bring an extra kick pedal. Everything on a kit can pretty much break and you can make the band sound ok. But if your pedal goes down and you lose your kick drum, the band will sound really bad and be really mad.
- Sell used sticks and heads at an affordable price. Sign it, draw the logo, and be creative. It’s a good way to make fans happy with a unique souvenir and get a couple extra bucks for new sticks and heads.
- Don’t leave you sweaty drummer clothes lying around. And bring dry clothes to change into after the gig. Nothing is worse than being sick on the road and loading gear in sweaty cold clothes.
- Have cases, especially hardware case. You ever try to carry five-plus cymbal stands in your arms? It’s torture! It’s hard enough getting anyone to help load the drums, too, so make it easy on them and get some sort of cases.
- Once again, have fun and don’t sweat the small things and stress that can build up while touring and traveling. Remember why you started the band, which is usually to have fun playing with your friends.
- Read Modern Drummer magazine!