COVERING THE BASSES
BROOKSY ADVISES ON
OVERSEAS GIGS FOR YOUR
s I write, I'm over 2,000
miles away from the UK
in the Middle East on a
one-month contract, so
it seemed particularly
pertinent to write a column
on working abroad. Residency
contracts can last anything from a
week or two to a year or more, and
when the opportunity first arises, it
can seem particularly enticing - a
change of scenery, better weather,
regular work and financial benefits.
But there are several factors to
consider before you take the
plunge: can you cope with being
away from home, do you have
family to consider, can you survive
without your home comforts?
Then there's the question of being
in your bandmates' company for
long periods every day. Seeing
each other a few times a week
at gigs is one thing, but basically
living in each others' pockets
for a prolonged period of time
can be draining, annoying and
destructive to the band.
If the band agrees to the trip,
what do you need to consider?
First of all, ensure you have a
signed contract. Read it thoroughly
and raise any questions you
have regarding flights, excess
baggage, accommodation, meals,
refreshments, the number of sets per show, days off, payment and particularly what equipment is being
supplied. If flights are being provided, don't assume that the contract will proceed until you have the plane
tickets in your possession.
No matter how long the contract, take plenty of music, films and/or reading material with you, as I can
guarantee there will be plenty of downtime. As enticing as bars and pubs can be, you are there to work -
performing intoxicated will be viewed negatively, however you look at it. Modern technology has made downtime
far easier to handle, that's for sure. You may also find it a great opportunity to rehearse new material or to brush
up on songs that the band stopped playing long ago. After all, songs that work in one country don't necessarily
translate to another country, regardless of whether they were huge hits worldwide - so do your research.
Performing on a long contract can be a great way to save money, especially if everything is paid for while you
are away. Eating well, getting plenty of sleep and staying fit may seem obvious, but it can be easy to fall into a
sloppy routine without the rigours of home life. Always bear in mind that your sole focus should be your show
that day: it's the reason you're there, after all. You can find yourself performing multiple sets for six or seven nights
on the spin and over time, that schedule will take its toll mentally and perhaps physically. The local temperature,
humidity and general well-being are all factors and by the end of a long trip away, it can feel as if you're grinding
through the gigs, almost like a war of attrition to the end. Expect your energy levels and enthusiasm to ebb and
flow over the length of the contract: some days are easier than others. Everyone has his or her own way of coping
with being away from home.
Don't forget that in hot countries, air conditioning is everywhere, and this brings its own issues,
particularly for singers. Remaining healthy abroad is a challenge: as a precaution take plenty of cold remedies
and lozenges for sore throats. One final piece of advice, which, once experienced, is never again forgotten:
take Imodium with you!
E l i x i r
S t r i n g s
f o r
B a s s
D r i v e n
P e r f e c t i o n .
D e v e l o p e d
B a s s i s t s .
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