Bands on the run – the reality of being on tour

“Just play live. Honestly, if you’re good at what you do people will recognize that. I really believe it. I really believe that going out playing good songs live as a great live band will make you successful. I really think it will, it doesn’t matter if you’re at the shithole down the street or you’re on the side stage at Bonnaroo or you’re headlining Lollapalooza. If you’re a great band with great songs people will notice it. That’s it, that’s all it is, it’s that simple.”

Dave Grohl

Ever wondered what is it like to be in a band? Many of us probably envied the glamorous lives of pop and rock superstars, envisioning ourselves performing on stages all around the world, earning huge sums of money and enjoying many screaming fans. Unfortunately, behind all the fame and glory are hidden many years of hard work, hectic lifestyle and the most important thing – the road.


It does not really matter if you have 10 people in the crowd each show and only 500 fans on Facebook; or that you are playing in a successful band that is filling venues and festivals. As the cliche goes, it’s not the result that matters but the way. But in that particular case, the road is the most important thing for a band. As record sales constantly declining all around the world and with the absolute dominance of file-sharing in the music industry, a live show remained as the one last thing that musicians have left to offer.

While starting a band is hard enough, touring is a whole new world for musicians. To begin with, the road is indeed a harsh mistress – it does not suit everyone. Being on tour could be rewarding for you as you travel to new places, meeting and making new fans while getting paid (sometimes) for doing the thing that you love the most. However, the road is also a discovery about yourself and about your bandmates. Touring could be a curse as many turmoils, twists and turns happen. Driving hours over hours to far away shows, the constant carrying of heavy gear from place to place, sleep deprivation and occasional fatigue (not all supermarkets are open 24 hours). A tour can break up a band apart or it could bond it even stronger, making it work like one well-oiled machine.


Many musicians had also experienced the phenomenon known as the post-tour depression. Despite all the downsides of it, being on tour is a constant hyper-adrenalized ego trip. Touring is almost like an addiction, and once the tour is over ordinary life and actions seem pretty banal afterward. Another familiar difficulty is maintaining a life outside the band. Although it comes with the territory, traveling away from home for long periods of time could cause friction in relationships and families.

To sum it up, the road could be a wonderful experience to any human being. But other than that, it has it’s highs and lows like every other job in the world. Hoping to see you rocking out there some day!