What happens on tour?

21:30, May 24 2010

Last week, I was lucky to be an invited guest of what has quickly become my favourite Kiwi band. The main reason I'm such an avid supporter is because they're taking a "just do it" approach to chasing their dream, which I relate to and respect. In addition to being super-talented, they're a super-nice and super-fun bunch of people to hang out with for a few days. That's the context for the following questions I pondered when I went "on tour" with Supermodel

The phrase "what happens on tour, stays on tour" came to mind while I was away and it made me wonder about something. Do people who spend long periods away travelling do things they'd never do at home? It could be sleeping with someone (or everyone), getting wasted or just doing things you'd never get away with in normal surroundings. Do you feel the temptation to misbehave in a foreign or distant place? Perhaps that's why some rock stars throw TVs out of hotel windows or why some "Brits abroad" behave so shockingly.

Personally, I don't think geographical location permits the rules of behaviour to change, but maybe I'm just being a little pedestrian and, dare I say it, boring. Until last week, I had only briefly met lead singer Mark after a Supermodel gig and had certainly never been on tour with a rock band so I didn't know what to expect. I also didn't know what I might or might not be able to say about it. Mark told me if I'd been on tour with them six months ago then it would have been a very different experience, but that was back before Supermodel got serious - serious about success, that is. Judging from the album material they've been playing on tour, they shouldn't have much to worry about when they return from a self-funded trip to the UK to record it later this year. The San Francisco Bathhouse is in for a treat on Saturday night!

If you've ever thought being on tour is easy, it's not. Unless a band has a crew of hundreds, the band is setting up themselves, sound checking, playing until late before having to pack up again and travel home or stay in accommodation. They're often having to get up early the next morning to do interviews after just three or four hours' sleep too.  

One thing I found evident from being around Supermodel band members Mark Hanify, Rose Hanify, Tony Kemp and Michael White for an extended period was that they embody something I call "the three P's" - passion, professionalism and precision. There's an energy about this group of people that is inherently exciting and strangely inspiring to be around. It might just be that I love being around creative underdogs following their dreams with focus and determination - then again, maybe it's something I can't put into words? 

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When asked during a Radio NZ interview if they had backup plans if following the dream didn't work out, they said they had none. Their response was that fulltime jobs and spending the rest of their lives playing covers gigs would probably cause them to end up slowly dying on the inside. I found that comment particularly relevant to me because there have been a few times where I've considered giving up my own hopes and dreams to focus on a "proper job" and career. 

However, l've met people who have done this in the past and found that broken dreams so often create broken people. It's like a glimpse into your own future and it made me determined not to become a broken person myself.

As I've said before, if you have dreams then you should follow them and never give up - I am of the opinion that those who give up merely by choice rather than forced circumstance didn't want it enough. I don't want to wake up one day and find myself saying "I was a filmmaker once".

Life is short and you only get one shot - so for me and Supermodel too, it seems, there are no backup plans and no giving up the dream; the dream is what we live for. 

When you travel away from home, does that somehow change the rules of what you can and can't do? Do things that happen on tour, stay on tour? Have you or has someone else you know given up on a dream and if so, do you have any regrets?  

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