We here at AP know you internet denizens love lists. And we know that folks in bands have other interests beyond cranking out decibels. So here’s Friday Fives, a column that solicits a list of five subjects from a number of various rockers.
This week, KOJI gives us five positive and easy life changes touring artists (or anyone) can make in the coming year.
It’s that time of year again when people are thinking about new year’s resolutions. For this week’s Friday Fives, I thought I’d share some things I got on paper and put into action in 2012.
Life on the road can take many forms. For a lot of bands it goes something like van, “Mexican” fast food, venue, diner, floor you’re sleeping on, repeat for months on end. This year, I went back to square one and asked myself what I wanted tour life to look like. I answered with a holistic touring strategy that recognizes the connectedness in all things and how making time to be intentional about the small stuff can add up to health and happiness.
1. You are what you eat—and how you eat!
You don’t need to be vegan or vegetarian to be healthy. I decided to be tour-veg and sometimes vegan to help reduce my carbon footprint and be more thoughtful about my food choices. Whole food vegetable protein equals high energy, which means more creative/positive energy you have to put back into the world. Family style (home cooked is a plus) meals are one of the most grounding ways to (re)connect with people you’re on the road with or meeting along the way.
2. Exercise is essential.
To avoid atrophy from all day/all night drives, you must be physically active. Bringing a skateboard on tour or doing rest stop push-ups are some of the many ways my crew and I have employed to jumpstart our metabolism, increase energy, and combined with diet, keep our minds right.
3. Socialization is the next building block after diet and exercise.
Keeping good friends on the road and traveling with people who push you to achieve your goals is one way to spur personal growth. My drummer D Fang (Mindset, Turnstile, Diamond Youth) is an Olympic lifter and was our in-house trainer during my full band tour. Similarly, our bassist Corey (The Attending, Defeater), a barista/espresso tech, taught us the art of hand pours. Skill sharing with friends stimulates the mind and enriches those relationships.
4. Be a lifelong learner.
Before every tour, I learn a new skill and refine it as I travel across the country. This takes me out of my music bubble and gives me a new set of eyes to engage with the world. This year, I got into rock climbing and spent all Warped Tour getting off the grounds to gym climb. Over time (and usually at meals), I connected with other climbers (Jamie from Title Fight, Mikey from Streetlight Manifesto among others) on the tour and we eventually started going together—kind of combining everything I've talked about so far.
5. Volunteering may be the most rewarding part of being on the road.
On past tours, I’ve sung in youth psych wards, lead workshops at art magnet schools and colleges, participated in neighborhood cleanups, organized food drives and lobbied on social justice and environmental issues. There are a lot of other great examples of people using their time and talent for good (Hostage Calm, La Dispute and just about any other band that came up in punk/hardcore). Engaging and giving back to communities you visit (and who support you) is definitely something that is good for the soul—and might even be our duty as humans.
Happy New Year!