We’ve been talking about touring a lot lately. We found out how to stay organized in between shows, and how to keep from getting bored. Now we’re getting some tips on keeping the creative process flowing while on tour. Michael Lindner, lead singer and guitarist of the rock band 28 North, has helpful tips to get you inspired and ready to write when you have some down time….
1. Have Your Instruments Ready
Your instrument should always be easily accessible while on tour. A beater guitar and a tambourine could make all the difference when it comes to having your next album written by the time tour is over. So often, that perfect riff will hit you from the ether in which songs are written, and I assure you, having your guitar handy is the catalyst to capitalizing on a moment of inspiration!
2. Look Out the Window
Texting your girlfriend and your mom is definitely important, but the muse we require for songwriting exists all around us. Every tree, street corner, strip mall, coffee shop, state line, and flower is a story just waiting to become your next single. Keep your eyes open and find your next song in the beauty and freedom that exists outside your window.
3. Listen to Music
Keep that iPod charged! Being a touring musician allows us so much downtime between shows to throw on the headphones and listen to what our musical inspirations have accomplished. Without the countless hours spent listening to music in our younger days, there would be no touring and no writing, so never ever lose sight of what brought you into this wonderful world of songwriting: other peoples’ music! Let it move you to write. Can’t get that P-Funk riff out of your head? Write about it! Also, make sure you’re listening to all the CDs you get from the bands you share bills with—there’s a reason your promoter decided to group you together. Listen to music!
4. Meet as Many People as You Can
Some of the most interesting people in the world are music fans. They are the adventure seekers. They are the ones who want to be moved by your passion. Shake your fans’ hands and remember their names. They will inspire you so much as you continue on your journey. Friendships and love are the most powerful forms of inspiration. Our field allows for fast and strong relationships that are as meaningful as they come. Write about them! Bring them into your world. Being in a band is like having an ever- growing family. Songwriters are storytellers. I always ask people to tell me their most interesting stories upon meeting them—this is a huge source of inspiration while on the road.
5. Record Everything
You are at the helm of your technology. If you aren’t a constant smartphone user, odds are you aren’t in a touring band. Our phones are FILLED with voice memos that more often than not turn into full-fledged songs. GarageBand for the iPhone is a must for a touring musician—we can do complete arrangements and recordings with this app. Make sure you are recording your ideas and sharing them with your band. This is a great way to keep your songs alive and at the forefront of you mind. Record your shows as well! Soundchecks are a great place for a band to work out a riff. Make sure you keep that recorder running!
What helps inspire you to write new songs on the road? Share your comments below.