Lets see...what can I say about traveling on the road as a musician? Always be prepared for just about anything. Take time to research and learn about the places you are going. Never assume you know about a place or its people based solely on what somebody else has told you. Don't get discouraged if something doesn't go to plan or something goes wrong. Fall in love with the process.
As musician folk, we can fall into a mundane pattern of show-to-show city-to-city tunnel vision when touring on the road. I commend the focus based around the main point of putting on a killer show but I do believe there is a lot to gain between the dots. For instance, taking some time to find out what a town has to offer, besides just the venue you are playing at can be quite rewarding for all involved. While we were touring through St. Louis we had researched and decided to visit The City Museum. Best idea ever! This place was literally an interactive art piece designed to be a playground for all ages. I hadn't felt that free since I was 7 years old. There was a point I was clapping my hands smiling and screaming weeeeeeeeeee as I slid down a couple story-twisting slide in the midst of a beautiful sculpture. This shared experience brought us closer together as a band and made for a killer show later that night. If we didn't take the time to understand the city we were in, we would have never found this place. I recommend it to all.
We had never played in Detroit until we scheduled a show as a stop for this tour. I heard so many stories and opinions about Detroit prior to our arrival. Stories of deluged danger. Let me tell you, don’t take to heart everything you hear. The people of Detroit were some of the most enjoyable, kind, generous and easygoing folk we’ve met on this tour. All those stories we heard turned out to be 100% not applicable. I am so glad we didn’t listen to outside opinions and stuck to our gut, which was telling us “Go…go to Detroit.” It made for a wonderful memory with wonderful people.
Sometimes things do not go to plan when you’re on the road but don’t freak out. Our show scheduled in inner city Chicago was a wash. Let’s just say it wasn’t worth the efforts we put into it and leave it at that. Discouraged by the evening, we drove back to where we were staying in the burbs. When we arrived back to our place of rest for the evening, our friends 2 smiling faces greeted us with some good news not knowing the horrible night we had. They had sent out to a local record shop to see if we could play an in-store while we were in town, they had accepted and it was all set up. This off the cuff show was a great success! We met many wonderful people and now have the proper connections to have successful shows in and outside the city next time we come through. The road has many hidden gems if your open to the flow of what it throws at you.
In conclusion, what I am trying to say, is the more you open yourself up to the diverse possibilities of the road the larger your chance of developing the ability of widened perspective. This will aid in the successful capturing of once elusive beauties and new points of view. If you take time to notice life as you are living it, you will always have more than you started with. I believe, as a musician, it is important to gain these experiences, as it is essential for creating music that gives back to your audience with the honesty of true experience. Taking the good with the bad, learning and never letting it defeat your forward motion of predestination - that is life on the road.
-Thoughts on the road brought to you by Iz Stone of The Grayces somewhere between Pennsylvania and New York City-