Here are We Butter The Bread With Butter guitarist Marcel Neumann’s tips for touring the U.S. — from the perspective of an international band. (We Butter The Bread With Butter are from Germany.) And speaking of touring, the band hits the road in the U.S. next week. Check out all the tour dates right here.
01. Expect the unexpected!
If you fly to a foreign country, you won’t be able to bring all of your own equipment. Of course, you think you know exactly what equipment you've rented, but in the end it’s often totally different — a different color, different tune.
Or you get an amp that has no gain. What are you going to do when you play metal? There are two options: Go to the next music store and buy the next-best distortion pedal — or play the whole afternoon with this s---ty amp till your fingers do what the amp needs. I prefer option 3: Tell the rental company you can’t deal with it, and have them find an amp that was made for the music you want to play.
Guitar renting is also a big deal because you really need to get to know your new friends. These guitars will react totally different than the ones that stayed at home. It’s another kind of feedback, different handling and so on. Very important: Make sure you take the right adapters with you!
02. The bigger the better?
When you, as a non-American, take your first steps into a real American Wal-Mart, you won’t believe your eyes. Everything, and I mean everything, is bigger than you'll ever see in another supermarket. In fact, it’s not a supermarket. It’s more like a giant megastore where you can get everything you've ever dreamed about (or not!). There are wagons that chauffeur people through the hallways. I'm serious: They don’t even need to walk when they “go” shopping.
At the entrance, you can choose your favorite XL milkshake and, of course, there's an extra-large drink holder in the wagon that gives you a ride for your shopping tour to make sure you don't burn extra calories that day. The hallways are bigger than in every other supermarket. The products you can buy are bigger than anywhere else. There are ketchup bottles twice as big as my hand. Everything comes in a family package. But what should you do if you only need to feed a single household?
03. Climate change is happening right in front of your door
If you wonder about the climate change everyone is talking about, just drive for two weeks with an American bus and American crew through the U.S. and you will experience a whole different level of climate change. It doesn’t matter if it’s totally hot, medium warm or cold outside. There is this little thing called air conditioner that is everywhere you go.
If you just want to have a break in a nice little restaurant with your band mates, make sure to take a pullover with you — even if it's 110 degrees outside! And of course, If you're always in the middle of a climate change, you will get sick. So here's some advice, something your mother would tell you: Eat your vitamins every day. Which leads me to another point ...
04. The land of fast success, fast money and fast food
In Europe, they tell you America is the land where you can get rich even if you start as a dish washer. It’s fast and easy — like their food. I think that is one of the things where the prejudices are true. Fast food surrounds you everywhere and every day. It’s hard if you care about your nutrition and you need to go to a fast-food restaurant every second day. If you're lucky, you can order vegetable sticks instead of the fifth burger in one week. It’s also very funny if you can explain to one of your crew members that oranges and lemons could help him out with his cold — which he obviously got from the air conditioner in the bus!
05. Be special or go home
There you are: You've finally landed on a stage where all the great rock stars of the 20th century started their career, ended up with it or showed their justification to be one of most famous artists or bands in the industry. And then you ask yourself: What can I leave behind?
In the U.S., you are really often confronted with these situations because there are many locations that made history. You cannot just play there and drive forward. You are on a mission. You carry responsibility.
So every night, especially in these historical locations, you should force yourself (and your band) to be special, to create something new, something people wouldn’t expect. Maybe it’s corny, but you can really leave an impression if you dare to be different. It’s one of the things that really came back in my mind by touring the U.S. because there are such beautiful historical venues where you can feel the breath of the old rock stars!
Guitarist Marcel Neumann is a member of Germany's We Butter The Bread With Butter. For more about the band, check them out on Facebook.