First and foremost I believe that you get out what you put in. Three key factors in surviving the rigors of tour life as a drummer;
In order to do your job well you need to do your homework and be prepared. For me this means having the right tools with me on the road to help sustain good health and energy to last the duration of time I will be away from my home base. Just being away from home presents it’s own challenges. Unfamiliar environments, weather conditions, your normal routines are disrupted etc… you will experience sleep deprivation and maybe have nourishment issues as well as health issues that you may not be used to. Obviously finding fresh local food is most important for maintaining good health on a long tour however for emergency food or those times when there may not be any food sources available, I always travel with a supply of snacks. Nuts like cashews and almonds are a great source of energy when you need something quick to help sustain you until your next meal. Eating at regular times and finding good food are personally my biggest challenge on tour. In a foreign country you may not be able to find food which satisfies you… options may be limited to varieties of food you are not familiar with or tastes which you may not particularly enjoy, but you need food so you have to learn to adapt. I also carry power bars and these are an excellent ‘go to’ in a rush or at times when finding a complete meal is not possible. You need to understand the importance of having some minimal food resources at your disposal because when you are traveling with a group, your own personal needs may not be in the best interest for the group as a whole and to prevent you from crashing (physically or mentally), having a stash of your own protein is crucial.
#2 KNOW YOUR JOB
I always prepare and practice my music in advance. I work with many different acts so anytime I go on tour I make sure to update my charts (talk to the MD to see if there are any changes to the arrangements) and I practice the set(s) in song order to solidify my moves. I want to be assured that I won’t be surprised on stage by any technical parts of a song or repeat signs etc. By practicing the music in advance you’ll be able to concentrate more on performing for the audience. Also by putting in several days of 1 to 3 hours of practice will increase your endurance level which is super important. All the practice in the world will not prepare you for the energy you will need to access in a live performance in front of an audience with high expectations. You don’t want to get tired or lose energy on stage (mental energy too). So these two elements of preparation (food and performance) are super important for you to have a successful showing for your band mates and the audience
#3 VITAMIN SUPPLEMENTS
With the added stresses of the modern world, touring has become an even harder way of life. The affect of Coronavirus in our everyday lives is highly magnified with travel. Get informed of the guidelines and possible restrictions or requirements of the places you will be traveling to in advance, before leaving your home. This is essential… usually the job of a tour manager but not every touring band has these luxuries. Since 2020 I have begun a daily routine of vitamins and supplements which I take every morning. This helps to boost my immune system and can be the difference of having a successful tour or a disastrous event on the road potentially far from home and many times in a foreign country. Be responsible for your health and you will be rewarded. My daily supplements consist of the following:
Hemp Oil (CDB) Quicksilver full spectrum, Nano enhanced, sublingual Hemp Oil (message me for more info)
I also travel with a small first aid kit which includes Neosporin, band-aides and Advil. Because I am a drummer and many times have cramps in the middle of the night due to heavy hitting in performance I also take with me a (prescribed) muscle relaxer. Something which also helps me to adjust to new time zones and long travel is a sleep aide. I may take an Ambian for sleep on the first night after a long travel day so I will be able to sleep through the night and wake up at the desired time in the new time zone. This helps me to adjust to a new time-zone right away and I usually don’t have any affects of "jet lag".
These are some important tips I have learned from my many years of touring in far away places. The better that you can prepare yourself, the better you will perform and the people around you will notice and respect you for it. You will earn the reputation as a trustworthy, road-worthy warrior. Someone your band can count on to handle the tough mental and physical challenges and conditions of life on the road.