Published Apr 09, 2007Brendan Lynch is a tour manager who works with Amy Millan, Jason Collette, Stars, Feist, Metric and Broken Social Scene.
What should a band do to get organised before heading out on the road? Get all your contracts and any venue information you have, get all that stuff together. Make copies and put it in a folder or binder with any advance information inside. Make Mapquests Mapquest sometimes sucks, but maps suck too and its a good source of arguments. If you go to the States, make sure you have all your visa shit together. Too many tours get sidelined because one guys visa isnt in there. [For places to stay] use any contacts you have like that aunt you havent seen in five years get in touch with her.
As a road manager, what's the first thing you do in the morning and the last thing before you hit the hay?
The first thing I do is sleep in as long as I can, then drink some coffee, check my emails, then get on the road. The last thing: I call somebody, like a friend back home, and give myself 15 or 20 minutes thinking of anything but the tour.
What are some essential items you take on the road to keep it together, both organisationally and recreationally?
I hate technology, but it amazes me that people ever did this before computers. So I take all my communications stuff, like my computer. Id be screwed if I lost it, so I make hard copies and keep a backup of the folders, maps and everything on the computer. I have a Mac, so I use it to listen to music, surf the net for weird websites, and watch movies. [With Broken Social Scene] we travel in a 15-passenger van with a trailer, so there are bench seats, which are a great place to take time away from each other. My sister gave me a TempurPedic pillow, like a NASA space pillow, that I really love. The best things to bring are those adaptors you can buy at Canadian Tire that plug into the lighter socket, so you can plug anything into the van. And bring anything to help you keep fresh and clean, or maybe even better, to keep the people around you fresh and clean.
Care to share some road secrets?
If you ever play the 930 Club in DC, you have to go for the soul food on the campus of Howard University a couple blocks away. If you play the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco, dont get stuck in there when they turn the lights out. And last, as much as it seems a good idea at the time, dont bring people from city to city. It might seem like a good idea at two a.m., but its not so good the next afternoon.
What's your best advice to a band about to hop in the van for their first big tour?
Do all the organising in advance. I know that musicians and organising dont really go together; the first time, everyones really excited to go out, but do all the organising beforehand and youll have a better time. The more you have done in advance, the more fun youll have with the people you really want to be with. Tour with people you love and youll have fun. If you dont love it, you wont be good at it. The most important thing is, when youre on the road you cant control many things regarding your health. So take care of what you eat. Dont eat at Harveys every day. Thats where I spend the most money maybe $40 a day on organic food. On the road youre putting enough toxins into your body and pushing yourself to the limit, and youre probably going to get sick. So wash your hands and eat organic food.