Tuesday, 6 October 2009

And So I Watch You From Afar: Chris's Tour Diary

Here's the latest from the ASIWYFAmobile, this time from Chris:

I get woken up about 10.30 by some of the boys getting out of the van but I'm not usually out of the bunk till midday. I have to climb over Rory to get out, the top bunk is massive so me, Johnny and him can fit in it pretty comfortably. I get dressed, put my contact lenses in and venture outside, we're usually parked at a truck stop so I'll dander over to the shops and find Tony and Johnny outside supping coffee and smoking fags.

Everyone in the tour crew gets a daily allowance to buy food and whatever else that'll get us through the day, most of this gets spent before we leave, sometimes we have left over food from last night's rider, fresh fruit and energy drinks being my breakfast of choice.

After everyone's fed and watered we set off, this tour's been great in that the gigs are conveniently close in distance so it's never more than a few hours drive, the European tour next month's going to be totally different!

The new van is great, rather than being stuck with nothng to do we have a dvd player so films occupy us on the drives, if I'm driving I'll have my iPod in listening to music or learning Polish with one of those listen repeat programs (we'll be touring in Poland on the European tour so I'm making myself useful as the interpreter!)

When we arrive at the venue, Brian our tour manager is out searching for the promoter while we get the gear out and touch base with the sound engineer. I'm always breaking drum sticks, so I just buy big packs of cheap ones, by the last few dates of tour they're getting taped together or being played upside down, the drum heads I'm using at the minute were leftovers nabbed at the Explosions In The Sky gig a few weeks ago in Belfast, cheers dude!

After we get set up, soundcheck is pretty straightforward, having no vocals means most sound engineers love us, nice and easy to mix and we can go nice and loud. This will be the last tour we do using in-house guys because our Full time sound guy Andy Coles is hooking up with us soon, completing our 7 strong crew, us four in the band, T.M Brian, Merch and Photos done by Graham and Sound cranked up by Andy.

We're living pretty close to the breadline this tour, part exercise of restraint, part neccessity! But as well as our daily allowance from the tour fund, most venues either provide us with food on arrival or give us cash to go get stuff ourselves (Highlights so far have ben a vegetarian chilli in Sheffield; lowlights, a fried chicken disaster in Portsmouth which ruined my performance at the gig later that evening!). Food's very important in my pre-gig preparation, greasy food is terrible before a gig. So all you aspiring drummers out there, eat good carbs a few hours before a gig, leave the burgers till after you play!

The single hardest thing about tour, and I'm sure I'm talking for everyone, is the fucking waiting around! If you consider that on average, we play for 40 minutes or so a night, that leaves a lot of time in between of waiting to play. You are occasionally subjected to the horrendous '5 band bill'. Playing after three support bands is tiring enough, but four is a strain for us, as well as the most enduring of crowds. All the waiting is hard to put up with, but at the end of the day, we choose to be in a band and accept all that comes with it, good and bad.

When we play a show, whether it's in a tiny basement room in a random town, or to several thousand people at a big festival, we use that time to put in every ounce of passion we have for playing music and for people to experience it. And hopefully if we do that in enough cities, to enough people, for long enough, we might just look back on it and realise we made a career out of what we love doing.



We're back on tour in the UK shortly with 'This will destroy you', and then embark on a European tour with our long time touring buddies MAYBESHEWILL in November, returing home just in time for our headline show in the Ulster Hall in Belfast on December 18th. Tickets are on sale from the Ulster Hall box office, as well as HERE. Full Lineup will be announced within a week or so, hopefully see you there!

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