So back in 2013 I spent a few months tour managing W.As very own San Cisco. They signed to RCA Records at the end of 2012 and had a real crack at the biggest music market in the world. I thought I’d tell you a bit about what I learned from a fantastic few months on the road in the US of A!
We spent a total of 7 weeks touring the US. The first leg was 3 weeks long as the support act for UK band The Vaccines. The 2nd leg involved a total of 4 weeks; including 7 shows at SXSW (South By South West Music Conference) followed by 15 shows on the bands first ever headline tour of the US.
– We covered 9600kms of driving.
– Played a total of 35 shows.
– Played 5 showcase acoustic performances for radio and media.
– Scheduled in about 30 or so interviews through (Radio, TV, Face to Face, Phone, Email)
- Criss crossed from east to west coast 5 times.
- Sold out shows in New York, Minneapolis, San Francisco and L.A
Days off were generally spent driving to the next destination. There was no road crew and it was all hands on deck for every load in and load out. It also happened to be in the middle of a brutal US winter. Average temp -3 degrees.
I highlight all this because these are the sort of tours that generally break up bands or cause members to leave. This was certainly not the case with San Cisco and their steely resolve really impressed me. Jordi, Josh, Nick and Scarlett kept their spirits up when they were tired and kept putting in 100% night after night, playing great shows across the country and winning over new fans. This a West Aussie band just like you guys that are following their dreams and succeeding. If they can do it. You can do it too. At the foundation of what makes San Cisco so great, is a water tight friendship between the band members.
The Importance of Friendship
In my view friendship within a band is critical for long term success. Unfortunately it sometimes takes a back seat because its hard enough just finding a few like minded musicians that share the same music taste’s, goals and ambition as you. San Cisco met in high school and have been forging their friendship for years. It really shows.
You have to work consistently hard for a long time, to ultimately achieve your bands goals. Unfortunately longevity in music is almost always impossible if you don’t have a firm undercurrent of friendship between the band members.
In the beginning its manageable as you still have your own lives outside of the band. Once the touring kicks in, its the 4 (or however many are in the band) of you each and everyday for long stretches of time. The tension and arguments increase and touring becomes hell.
I’d really encourage all bands especially in the beginning stages to spend time getting to know their fellow band members on a really deep and meaningful level. Get out there and do things as a band that have nothing to do with music. We made a point of this across the San Cisco tour, by going Paint balling, Go Karting, Yoga and hitting the Gym. We created memories and shared experiences outside of daily band life and it strengthen our resolve when the going got tough on the road. Not only will this make being in a band more fun and enjoyable, but it will help develop one of the most important elements of any band. Its Chemistry.
Improve and Grow Your Bands Chemistry
As I have said before Chemistry is the beating heart and soul of every band. It shapes a bands personality, style and sound. It allows bands to keep writing great songs year after year. It’s your secret recipe that no one can steal from you or replicate.
I think its something that can immediately be felt; for instance the first time you and your band mates jam in a room but its definitely something that ebbs and flows and grows over time. We need to respect it and do all we can to nurture it.
Band chemistry is something you can cultivate through improving and working on friendships in your band. An obvious flow on effect from this is the gradual improvement in your bands songwriting. Put simply.
Stronger, Tighter Friendship leads to a greater inter band chemistry and understanding which results in smarter, more interesting songwriting. (Which then hopefully leads to you guys living the rocknroll dream and remembering my little blog posts when your in the back of the tour buss travelling from L.A to San Fran)
A band is a beautiful thing. The friendships and memories you create, can shape you for the rest of your life. I had the honour of being the best man at our singer Dans Wedding. Zoran our lead guitarist helped me build the second Hen House Studio and Brad my bass playing brother has worked at The Hen House as well as made me a much more creative drummer thanks to his amazing bass lines.
So get to know your band mates…Become comrades with them…heck treat them like family. You’ll laugh a lot more and you’ll have a lot more fun. Your chemistry will improve and hopefully just like San Cisco you will write amazing songs that take you over to the US for some touring. I’ll Tour Manage you!
All the best
The Hen House Rehearsal Studio’s