The great northern tour 2015: part 1

This year my band sleepmakeswaves is on a massive tour across multiple continents playing 55 or so shows during March, April, May and June. This blog hopes to capture some of my experiences and let my girlfriend, friends, family and whoever get a peek into what its like being on the road in a touring band.

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Thats me. Apparently my tongue is abnormally long.

Before the tour there is a lot of preparation involved and literally thousands of emails sent between band members, promoters, booking agents, managers, press, hotels, drivers, backline companies, music suppliers, merchandise manufacturers and multiple record labels we work with.

A lot of it is being done by our tour manager / sound engineer Mr Brett Tollis and our band manager Mike Solo.
I’m responsible for making sure a lot of our music gear and supplies are being sorted out and that we have the right equipment to take on the road. Since we are taking 9 long distance flights on this tour its important we reduce the weight of our luggage where we can as this can literally lead to savings of tens of thousands in excess baggage fees.

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57 sets of guitar strings.

Day 1:
Everything is packed, we all say our goodbyes to loved ones back home in Sydney and Brett sends taxis to pick us up from our houses. It’s hard for me to say goodbye to my girlfriend Julie because I’m going to miss her a lot. Its nice that we live in an age where communication over the net is pretty convenient but even then, it’s hard being apart.

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Thats Julie studying on my bed with our cat Pusheen.

I get to the airport and meet the other guys, we’ve done a baggage count and we’re missing a guitar. Instantly I know it was me who forgot one of the backup guitars my bandmate Otto uses, it’s sitting at home in storage and there’s no time to rush back and grab it. I feel like such an idiot, oops sorry Otto! Luckily we can get by without it.

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Sydney Airport

That’s 17 check-in items and 8 personal bags that we take with us everywhere we go around the world, I think we travel fairly light compared so some others but its still a lot of stuff to travel with.

We are flying to Amsterdam via Kuala Lumpur so that’s two flights with a 4 hour stopover. The first flight is really great, no screaming babies and good seats.

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Thats me and Tim enjoying the Malaysian Airlines flight.

We get to KLIA and head to a restaurant at the airport called Old Malay Kopitiam. I get chicken rice, it’s pretty good. Alex enjoys his Laksa.we all get lychee and iced milo drinks. Tim being the adventurous type gets a coca cola.

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Milo Ais (iced milo) and Laksa

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Tim prefers cola.

The next leg of the flight to Amsterdam is a bit longer. Usually we are put on a new airbus A380 double decker plane but for some reason this time its an old 777 from the 90’s. I dont think the internals have been updated (or cleaned) since ’94. The flight sucks, we are in the worst row of seats on the while plane, its the row at the back where the seat number configuration changes from 5 to 4 and so our seats don’t line up with the TV screens on the chairs in front, actually my seat is the only one on the plane that has no TV screen at all…. great. Plus we dont have proper tray tables, we get those ones in the arms that are half the size instead. The seats are dirty and uncomfortable, something sharp is digging into Alex’s back and so I donate my pillow and blankets to him.

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My centre view, all flight.

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Otto is upset.

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Cool TV screen bro.

I have trouble sleeping on flights, 2 beers and 3 Valium’s later I manage to get 2 hours of sleep, I think…

For some reason when booking our flights they put all of us down for Indian curry on every meal. I dont know if someone at Malaysian Airlines was trolling us that day but EVERY meal was Indian curry. So 4 curries later I dont think we could stomach another curry for the final breakfast meal.

We arrive at Amsterdam and are pretty happy to get off that flight.

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Happy to be off the plane at last.

We meet our Polish driver Wojtek and load our gear into his tour van. We had Wojtek as our driver on our first Euro tour and we are happy to have him back in the team again. We were surprised he agreed to have us on board again because last tour we broke him, he said it was the hardest tour he had ever driven in his life. Let’s hope this one is a little easier!

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My view for most of this tour will look like this.

Onwards to Leipzig Germany!

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