Life on the road: secrets of a musician on tour
Before you first head out on the open road with your bandmate(s) for the first time, you are likely under the impression that a touring band is all about one thing: the music. If the band is good and their songs are good and they have a bit of gumption, they should head out on the road to inevitably become successful touring musicians.
Although partly true, there is much more to the story of being a successful touring band. The most important aspects of a touring band (specifically) have almost nothing to do with the playing of the music at all. I know that sounds counterintuitive, but hear me out.
You see, once a musician reaches a certain level of proficiency (call it competency, if you like), there is little difference in how you choose a bandmate based on skill level. At a certain level, everyone can "play the part" that's written, or even add something musically that is going to make the songs better. As long as you have folks in the group that are always thinking song first, you can't really go wrong. There are a lot of great musicians out there who are able to play a lot of things - and they're willing to show the audience every one of those things - all the time. That's not someone who is thinking song first. It's not even an ego thing, necessarily, it's more about a different approach to music. This approach to music is best used at campfires or in basements with your ol' chums around you cheering you on to "play that one riff by that band".