How the pro drummers do it? night after night?

Overg

Senior Member
Lately There was some blitz of good rock bands touring my country, and I was looking where they are going to preform next, and it always amazes me that , for example metallica, come for one night to preform and the day after they are already in other country preforming.
How they do it?
How a drummer (and a musician,,,in general) can preform night after night, every day, different country, without the annoying feeling you have when you land in foreign country after 10 hours flight?

I for example can barley do something when I land after 10 hour flight, how they do it????

I would love to hear from the pro people here (and those who preform night after night, not necessarily in different country :) )
 

con struct

Platinum Member
Actually playing night after night makes it very easy to play night after night. That's not to say that every night is a good one, though, but it's what you do and after awhile you just don't think about it too much. It's your job, hassles and all.

The thing that's always amazed me are these guys you'll see on airplanes wearing business suits who have to go to some big meeting as soon as they land. At least musicians get to check into their rooms and relax a little bit before having to get to work!
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
Actually playing night after night makes it very easy to play night after night.
Correct. Stamina develops, and for a couple of hours you're just on the job. Doesn't mean it's not tiring in-between, but a smart band makes sure they don't get too fatigued by traveling extreme distances between shows.

But don't forget that traveling from country to country in Europe (for example) isn't too time-consuming. Britain one night, Paris the next, and Frankfurt the night after that is no big deal, even though it's 3 countries in 3 days.

What can get tiring is traveling 500 miles or more every night between shows, and is typical of many tours in just one country: the USA!

Bermuda
 

con struct

Platinum Member
Correct. Stamina develops, and for a couple of hours you're just on the job.
Not only that, you really start looking forward to playing. I mean, playing the drums is a great job and when you're playing every night you're really living it.

That's why I very much mourn the demise of the nightclub. After being on a gig for three months running you're walking around with all that drumming in your body and in your mind. You're there! Sure, maybe you're a little crazy but you're living it, night after night, and there just isn't any better way of getting your chops up.

Having to get up early to get all your luggage and stuff together and then drive or fly to your next show, that gets bloody old very quickly. But then you're so fired up before you go on that you just forget all that. And that's how it goes, day after day.

But I haven't done that in a very long time, and to this day I absolutely hate being on the road, hate it. The food is lousy and you spend so much time just hanging around with nothing to do. All there is to do is play the show, and that's what you live for.
 
T

thatguykalem

Guest
I really don't have any experience with proper gigging, but whenever I play I just wish I was playing in front of an audience. I'm not sure if I could do it, but I think I'd enjoy it, and that'd probably help.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
for example metallica, come for one night to preform and the day after they are already in other country preforming.
How they do it?
There's another aspect to this.

The crew works a lot longer (and harder) than the band, starting much earlier in the day and finishing much later in the night than 'the talent'. It's one thing for the band to have maybe 20 hours per day (apart from being at the venue and doing the show) for travel, sleeping, relaxing, visiting with friends, shopping, visiting local landmarks, whatever. But the crew is on the job at the venue for 12-14 hours - sometimes longer - so they have only 10-12 hours to accomplish the same things. Travel is typically done overnight, so they get to sleep at the same time. But by 10am, they're back to work. No checking out the local pawn shops for cool gear, having their favorite Indian or Japanese of Peruvian cuisine for lunch or dinner, etc etc.

I always marvel at those who think being a tech is either easy, or some sort of paid vacation.

Truly, even on modest travel schedules, it's the crew who's exhausted doing their job night after night.

Bermuda
 

Aeolian

Platinum Member
At the high levels, you walk up during sound check, after your roadie has already played a couple songs so that they really have already checked everything, then you run down anything the MD wants and go have dinner. Get dressed and go on for the show. Maybe you catch a redeye after the gig or maybe you get to sleep a bit and fly in the morning. The big shows have two or more stage set ups leap frogging each other. While one crew is setting everything up in one venue, another crew is tearing down the other rig from last nights show and packing it for tomorrow's show. With the staging, lighting and sound on today's shows, that is a really grueling job.

On the 'chittlin' circuit where you're driving a van from gig to gig with maybe another truck full of gear, or a trailer behind the van, and you're setting up your own stuff every night, tearing it back down, tossing it in the trailer and trading driving duties while everyone else tries to sleep, that's the brutal "on the road" life. Truely a young man's game. Although I remember opening once for this rockabilly legend named Sleepy La Beef. He booked an extra night in a local club before he was to play the Filmore up in the city. Guy was 70 years old, playing 250+ nights a week and traveling around in one of those small busses rental car agencies use at the airport. When I mentioned that it must be hard, he looked at me with this puzzled grin and said "I wouldn't have it any other way." Amazing cat.
 

mcbike

Silver Member
I learned along time ago to grab sleep whenever and wherever I can. It has helped me out alot, and I can sleep through anything now. My band actually resent me now because I can sleep through anything. I once famously slept from houston to orlando.

That being said I just did a tour in Ireland, and the first day was pretty grueling, we left houston at around 10 am friday and got to dublin at 6 am saturday (their time) we stayed up all day till the show and played 2 sets the last set ending at 2 am dublin time, then we went to eat, and then got back to the hotel at 4 am. so that was a 34 hour day! I probably caught 2 or 3 hours total in naps on the flights over. The only thing that made it possible is adrenaline and being excited. Also renting backline and not having to set up any gear. Basically just showed up played and left the gig with out having to carry anything.

Thank god for audiences, if it wasn't for a good receptive crowd I don't think you can pay anybody enough money to do this.

I have done the longest possible drive ever playing seattle one night, leaving at 10 pm right after the set, driving 24 hours getting to the next show in denver at 9 pm (mountain time) and playing another show. any further and it wouldn't have been consecutive days! That tour was just 3 guys in a van too, no roadies or drivers so we had to take turns napping, driving, navigating.

I actually personally hate days off on tour. They are boring, I start to get lonely and homesick. Usually you are in some strange city, with nothing cool to do, probably broke, and all your friends are back home. I would rather stay busy on tour playing gigs and making money. The only time I like a day off is if it's in a cool city like nyc, or hollywood. Usually on days off I do laundry and take big walks exploring cities.

It might take 3 days to get in real tour shape and then you can play every day no problem. It is only really hard on singers voices, especially if they talk alot, or don't get proper rest.

I know big bands like U2, Metallica, Rolling Stones, etc. have multiple stage set ups that leap frog each other. So the first show is on stage 1, the 2nd show is on stage 2, and the 3rd show is on stage 3, then the 4th will be on stage 1 again. The complex set ups take alot of time to build so they have 1 day to build, 1 day break down, and 1 day to travel to the next stop.

If you really want to see a crazy tour dvd watch iron maiden's flight 666. they went all over the world in a 747 that their singer bruce dickinson FLYS. they have all their gear in the back of the plane it's really impressive.
 

mcbike

Silver Member
also not to complain about sleeping in hotels, but it is really annoying getting to sleep at 6 am and getting kicked out of the hotel at noon, or driving all night and getting to the hotel only to find out check in isn't till 3 or 4 in the afternoon. that part really sucks. It is better than sleeping in the van or on somebodies floor, but I just wish hotels would keep rock n' roll check in/check out times.
 
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