Get in the Van! If your band has decided on renting or buying a van to take on the road, then you’re already doing something right. You’ll be saving money on gas, and you will all be forced into your bandmates’ company for at least a few hours – what’s not to love?
We’ve prepared you a list of handy do’s and don’ts to make full use of your van, and to make sure it’s an experience you’ll remember for the right reasons, rather than the wrong ones.
Touring is usually a logistical nightmare, no matter how far you plan ahead. Getting a van instead of traveling with three cars has given you the upper hand here so you don’t leave your gear scattered. We recommend big and bulky equipment first to lay a foundation, and then the smaller boxes and cases one after the other.
We know, we know, it’ll be a chore, but taking your van into the shop between your tours and shows will save you the irritation of eventually breaking down. Is your engine running smoothly? How’s the wear on your tires? Checked your light recently? When was that last oil change? Get the standard checks out of the way, and you won’t have to worry about being stranded along a freeway far from home and help, or being pulled over unnecessarily.
Designate a driver and set a few rules
Decide on who’s driving, and for how long – prepare a schedule if you must. If your drummer’s just driven for five hours, it’s time they had the most comfortable corner in the van. It could be the seat in the back to lay down on, or one that allowed him to at least lean. When it’s your turn to drive, you’re then obviously in charge of the car stereo. Win-win!
You need to plan your tour apparel and schedule all important cleaning stops. A lot of time in your van across state lines means a lot of time between showers and opportunities to do laundry. Bring along a couple of spare laundry bags to hold in the week’s clothes, and a few smaller plastic bags for sneakers and shoes too – you’ll thank us for this.
Do a bit of housekeeping! The van’s going to be your home for the duration of your tour – you wouldn’t leave trash around every corner of your home, would you? Have a communal garbage bag to dispose of your trash, and clear it all at every stop along the way. The cleaner your van is, the clearer your minds will be, and everyone in there stays happy.
Text & Drive
Try to keep phone and tablet use in the van to a minimum. Don’t use GPS as an excuse to use your phone while driving, it will be quite easy to get distracted by promoters and old friends you’re catching up with while on tour. Plus, there is no worse way to kill the tour vibe than everybody in the van endless scrolling through social and not soaking in the full experience.
Traffic is likely to slow you down, and usually at a time when you least need it. Make up for lost time along the way by planning your stops. You could be stocking up on your snacks, or stopping for a toilet break – just make sure all of your band participates. Frequent stops, however short you think they may be, won’t get you to your shows and soundchecks on time!
Create a central folder in the cloud for video footages that all band members have access to and can drop in clips as they go. Use time between gigs to edit videos and photos together on the road to share with friends/family/fans. You’re going to be forming a lot of close bonds in your van, so don’t miss the opportunity to create and capture some memorable moments – it’ll be great to look back on in years to come, and obviously, road trip montages make great music videos! If you’ve already shot some moments on the road worth sharing and would like to contribute to articles like this, post them with the #MONOontheroad hashtag and we’ll check them out!