Alpine’s Guide to Touring
[Eds. Note—In case you haven't been cramming for your "Swedish Influence on Australian Indie-Pop" final, we've got a bit of extra help for you. There's this band called Alpine we're all really into, mostly because of this really stylized, sorta sexy music video they made for a song called "Hands." It featured a bunch of babes in a modernist mansion in weird situations, like making out with their hands and fishing in a pool. It made us feel really weird, but we haven't gotten the band out of our heads since.
We just sort of assumed they were "faire folk," and didn't exist in the real world. But this week they sent us in a guide to touring which definitely makes us think that they're probably realer than we are. Here is Alpine's guide to hitting that old thing called "the road."]
Everyone at the airport hates bands. The check-in attendant is mad at you for taping three guitar cases together inside a massive plastic bag. The baggage handlers hate that you have 15 pieces of luggage that weigh 30kg each, yet are still somehow marked as "Fragile." The other passengers are angry that you used all the trolleys and are swearing in front of their kids. Stay away from airports as much as possible. I know driving for 10 hours at a time sucks, but at least all your gear will stay with you, instead of being sent on a five state tour of lost property warehouses before being returned to you two weeks after the tour's over. Thanks, United Airlines!
You don’t need eight guitars. You’re not Thurston Moore. Learn how to change a string quickly instead. Same goes for excessive keyboards, cymbals, effects pedals, and floor toms. Look at your gear and ask yourself, “Did Nirvana need this?”
Also, don’t bring anything you can’t replace at any generic music store on a moments notice. Your ’66 Jazz Bass is beautiful and amazing, and that’s exactly why it shouldn’t be on the road.
Weird things happen at shows, and you should be able to just deal with it like a champ. If someone fucks up onstage, don’t stare at them, stop the song, or laugh. If someone falls over onstage, just ride it out. One of our singers once accidentally burped right into our guitar player’s open mouth mid-song, and they both finished the set without mentioning it. There’s no way to prepare for that sort of thing at rehearsal.
You should be sharing all the time. Cigarettes, painkillers, drinks, chargers, songs, sedatives, books, sweaters, food, rooms, sleeping pills, shirts, driving duties, and toothpaste. In fact, share everything except illnesses and feelings.
HAVE A BAND-SPECIFIC GAME
This is a real thing. All bands have a game, usually with overly complex, bizarre rules. Some bands play frisbee, some play soccer, some hustle dice.
Our game is Binball, where the objective is to kick a cheap soccer ball into a garbage bin while completely wasted. It’s way harder than you would think. It’s basically the only exercise you’ll get on tour, so be creative with it.
Seriously, this is the only way to burn through your hangover. Try Hydrolyte, Hydrodol, coconut juice (the kind with actual coconut in it), fresh oranges, sports drinks, and, you know, water. Then when you’re good and hydrated, hit the wine and do the show. Then start over the next day.
Alpine's new record, A Is for Alpine, is out on Votiv May 21. You can preorder it right here.