There’s a lot that goes into organizing a tour, putting the pieces together and keeping everything running smoothly. Truth be told, it’s hard to tour with grace, because there’s very little about hauling ass across the world that’s graceful. Luckily, we’ve learned a lot over the years, and are finding ways of making this crazy life feel more stable and sane as we hit our late 30s and our second decade as a professional band.

Sharing a room in Halifax, circa 2009

In the early days, we learned the hard way. Sleeping on lots of floors, accepting alcohol as a form of payment for a show, eating shitty bar food, putting up with terrible sound, and not asking for enough money. In those days we packed our sleeping bags, after learning that there was no guarantee that we’d be sleeping in clean sheets. Always learning. Learning to lock doors and windows in sketchy band rooms above and beneath bars. Learning to stick together at the merch table to avoid roaming hands and dark corners. Learning how to win a sound “guy” over when he had zero interest in a three-part harmony “girl” group. Learning about our need for personal space, and that drinking the entire rider was not good for our voices.

Even though those early tours were hard on our bodies and hearts, they were also exhilirating because we were so excited about playing music every night. After all, we had quit our jobs to be musicians – this is what it meant to be a musician, right? Living hard, playing hard and sucking it up.

Sue & Mark testing out the rider

Well, at some point that gets old. Really old. When the reality of our the touring life began to sink in, we started asking for what we needed. More money, hotel rooms, better monitor mixes. Healthy food backstage. Better tour routing. We started to realize that if we were going to make this work over the long term and NOT burnout, we were going to have to make some changes to our tour life. In short, our trio gained road resilience because we started setting the terms.

But with those changes came greater expenses. That’s our reality – sanity and grace on the road cost money. First it was making sure we could rotate having a room to ourselves for some much needed alone time. If the venue wouldn’t cover this expense, we would. Then came saying no 10 hour drives on a show day and a bassist to round out our sound. We made sure we were eating right, which also cost money. These are all legitimate expenses that affected/affect our bottom line.

Our lovely bassist Steve Zsirai eating some healthy pre-show food

Then came the first of the band babies, a total game changer. When Annie joined our touring team, I (we) started learning the value of “NO.” With a child in tow, we had to look hard at how we were touring, and what opportunities were worth taking, and which ones weren’t really helping us out as a band and as people. That being said, we toured like mad in her first couple years of life (you can read about some of my experiences as a touring Mom in those early years HERE. And note, it is woefully out of date because I have two kids now hahaha).

Jadea Kelly and Sue’s little boy Henry hanging out at the hotel while we play a show

Over time, our sound has evolved and our team has grown. We are currently on a 10 day tour of Minnesota and Indiana, and we have 7 adults and one toddler as part of our Good Lovelies team. On drums we have Mark Mariash, on bass there’s MJ Dandeneau, our sound tech is Aleda Deroche, and our tour Nanny (and fantastic musician in her own right!) is Jadea Kelly. It is an extremely satisfying tour from a sound perspective – our show is full and exciting and sounds killer. This is the show we want to put on every night. It costs a lot, but it is what we want.

Mark, MJ, Caro, Kerri, Aleda & Paul Bunyan

One of our goals now, as a band and as a business that employs people, is to make for a positive and healthy road life for everyone who tours with us. We want to take care of our team, and make sure their needs are met. If we could afford it, we’d get everyone their own room every night and gourmet meals and a personal trainer and a backstage masseuse. Thankfully the folks we tour with want to see us survive and succeed and put up with sharing rooms and squishing into a minivan. We are open about our needs, and hope that they can be too. We are so grateful to them.

And truth time: without the support of funding agencies like FACTOR, The Ontario Media Development Corporation and Starmaker, none of this would happen. We quite honestly wouldn’t be able to take all these folks on the road and bring our music to all corners of the planet. And…we’d definitely be burnt out by now, probably back at those day jobs we quit a decade ago. THANK YOU SO MUCH, CANADIAN TAXPAYERS! YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW MUCH WE LOVE YOU!

Our goal is to be making Good Lovelies music for many more decades, and that means taking care of ourselves and our team. So, if we ever say no, it’s because we’re doing just that – making sure we’re able to do this for many years. All that being said, we’re on a crazy tour right now and hope to see you at one of our upcoming shows in USA/AUSTRALIA/CANADA. Check out our tour dates here: http://goodlovelies.com/tour-dates/

We’re keeping it real out here!

Thanks for reading,
Caroline

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2 thoughts on “Tour Life, 11 Years In

  1. Sherrin Nicholson 4 months ago

    When we take care of ourselves first , the rest will follow. Keep singing, keep loving and keep healthy. We , too, are looking forward to decades of more Goodlovelies music. Take care of each other!

  2. Monica Brase 4 months ago

    Loved your show tonight in Indy, and I hope you enjoyed/enjoy Cafe Patachou tmrw (Thursday). Your music is a blessing, so stay healthy and happy you lovely Lovelies!