[00:00:00] James: Welcome to episode 160 of the Bandhive Podcast. It is time for another episode of the Bandhive Podcast. My name is James Cross. I help independent artists Tour smart. And I'm here with Matt Hoos of Alive in Barcelona. How are you doing today, Matt?
[00:00:14] Matt: You know James, I am doing fantastic. It's another beautiful day in Colorado. Nice brisk weather, sun, shiny, pretty much the perfect Colorado combination, so I am ecstatic.
[00:00:24] James: That does sound amazing. It's kind of dark and gray here in Vermont today, which I don't mind necessarily, but I'm actually really happy about something because this is episode 160, which means that as of three days ago at the time of this episode, airing the Bandhive Podcast is three years old. Happy
[00:00:44] James: birthday to us, Matt.
[00:00:45] Matt: Absolutely.
[00:00:47] James: And for those of you math experts wondering how is 160 episodes three times 52, we dropped three episodes on our first day, which was December 17th, 2019. Interesting timing to launch a podcast all about touring. [00:01:00] That was possibly the worst timing we could have ever chosen, but we powered through, we made it through the pandemic or the the previous stages of the pandemic. And now here we are, three years and three days later, I guess there's a a 3 0 3 reference in there somewhere. But Matt, it's been a pleasure having you here on the show for these last three years. Thank you for being here. Yeah. And you're from the 3 0 3, you're from the Denver
[00:01:25] James: area,
[00:01:26] Matt: It was meant to be. you were meant to make a comment about this today,
[00:01:32] James: Uh, Anyway, yeah, it's, it's been great having you here. It's been great having Aaron on the uh, past episodes, the first 50 ish or so episodes. I just wanna say thank you man. Thank you for being on this show with me. I really appreciate it.
[00:01:44] Matt: James, thank you. Thank you for putting in so much hard work all the time and always being an incredible cohost and carrying the team like you do. So, anybody out there listening should definitely be taking James advice. He's got a lot of wisdom tucked under his large head of hair, so uh, definitely [00:02:00] glean as much of that as you can.
[00:02:01] James: Oh, thanks man. same for you. Like, it's so easy to have you as a co-host. And that's not to say anything against Aaron. It was very easy to have him as a co-host as well, But I've seen co-hosts on other podcasts who are not easy to deal with at all.
[00:02:15] James: So
[00:02:16] James: I appreciate you bringing a lot of information and knowledge and being extremely easy to work with.
[00:02:22] Matt: Of course, man, I, I appreciate the kind words. My mom told me to always listen whenever there was being compliments thrown around, so,
[00:02:28] James: like I'm saying, just wanted to give a little shout out of appreciation here for everything over the past three years and We're gonna have a good episode this week, I think, because, or not, I think I know because we always have good episodes. sometimes the guests, I get nervous and we haven't really had any bad guests. Like we've been really lucky to have great guests, but if it's the two of us, it's just gonna be a good episode. I don't have to stress at all. I know it's gonna be good. And this week we're kind of doing part two of what we talked about last week, which is health for musicians.
[00:02:55] James: Last week we covered mental health, and this week we're going to cover [00:03:00] physical health. And this goes back to the old saying of you are what you eat. That's the first thing we're gonna talk about, which is eating healthy, especially when you're on tour. But anytime, really you wanna take it away, Matt?
[00:03:11] Matt: Yeah, absolutely. So for me, this is a really big, subject that I'm pretty passionate about. And that is because I have family members who all have health ailments that have all basically come from like poor nutrition over the course of long periods of time. You know, there's this wonderful dynamic between feeding the world and feeding.
[00:03:29] Matt: Nutritious food to yourself and each and every individual person out there is responsible for finding that balance in their life. for touring musicians, there's a lot of physical demand. Obviously we, we talked about the mental demand things like being away from family and friends and a ever-changing routine kind of hard to solidify some type of normalcy in your life.
[00:03:50] Matt: And so that's why it's important to control as many of the things that you can control. And one of those is physical health. And really it's all about inputs and outputs. You know, [00:04:00] your guitar does not work when it doesn't have the proper input. Your body does not work when it does not have the proper input.
[00:04:05] Matt: You're putting yourself through extreme physical stress, and so you have to be making sure that you are putting in the best possible inputs for your body. Now, I'm not gonna get on here and tell you that there is one specific diet that is universally best. I personally do not believe in a one size fits all, anything.
[00:04:23] Matt: for some people vegan diet's gonna be fantastic. For some people. A ketogenic diet's gonna be fantastic. For some people, a paleolithic diet will be fantastic. For some people, a carnivore diet will be fantastic, and it's up to you to kind of figure out the paradigm that works best for your life.
[00:04:37] Matt: The things that are, are really going to compliment your schedule, your timing, and really how those foods are really making you feel. I know people who like can't process meat. And so if they were to eat meat while on tour, They would render them incapacitated. and inversely, I know people that have a really high caloric. Intake necessity. And so like people on a vegan diet, they wouldn't be able [00:05:00] to maintain their full level of capacity either. So this is why we say it's important to eat healthy on tour, but it's also important to eat healthy, not on tour, because when you're not on tour is when you're really gonna need to be identifying these things.
[00:05:12] Matt: Discovering, you know, what your food diversions are. The last place you wanna discover a food allergy is on tour. when you're 200 miles outside of Portland and you have another 150 miles until you gotta get to the next major city, you know, these are all things that you kind of have to know about yourself, and in reality, it's something that kind of everybody in your band needs to know about.
[00:05:30] Matt: For me personally, I have a guitarist who's deathly allergic to dairy of any kind. for us, it doesn't matter if we like dairy, we just don't have dairy. Inside of the van at all. if somebody stops at a gas station and they wanna buy milk, tough luck because we're not gonna let my guitarist go into anaphylactic shock, it's so bad that we have to give him an EpiPen and then take him to the hospital. this is what we call like dual control, you know, where there's more than one mind that is focusing on solving the one problem.[00:06:00] We have played festivals where people are making burgers and they, you know, go put a piece of cheese on a burger, or they put piece of cheese on a burger and they leave one off for my guitarist, but then they use the same spatula.
[00:06:10] Matt: And a lot of the times, like these cross contamination and things like that you don't even think about, but nothing will end your tour as fast as a trip to the hospital. So it's really important just for everybody to kind of be a collective and focus on the health food together, whatever your health food is.
[00:06:26] Matt: it's pretty universal, going out eating Taco Bell every day in McDonald's and you know, in Burger King, if you're eating a bunch of fast food all the time, that is unhealthy food. Now, I'm not shaming you in out of that. Sometimes that is a necessity. Sometimes you absolutely have to do that because it's like, Hey, DoorDash will only deliver Taco Bell.
[00:06:42] Matt: Or, we played super late. We, we didn't get paid until 1145 you know, when we settled up finally. And the only thing open is Jack in the Box and Taco Bell. Sometimes you have to. But the thing is, plan ahead for that. try to be a little bit conscientious of the fact that that might be the case.
[00:06:58] Matt: you wanna make sure you're eating multiple meals a [00:07:00] day. You wanna plan, if you need to have a Coleman grill with some propane in your trailer, I highly recommend that that's something that we have done for years. Not only does this help in terms of monitoring your, health inputs, your nutrition but it also really helps with your budget too.
[00:07:15] Matt: it's much easier for you to go to the grocery store, pick up some whole vegetables and, you know, a small pack of, whatever it is, your dietary restrictions, need. you go to the grocery store and you get those things, and then you cook them together as a band.
[00:07:27] Matt: And when you're cooking together as a band, you really start to understand the intricacies of all of your dietary restrictions and things like that. who is more consistently hungry on a regular basis whose mood is getting regularly affected by the amount of food that they intake.
[00:07:40] Matt: if this isn't something you've ever even heard of or it's like food affecting the way I act and feel and all this stuff, it's like, it is very, very real and very, very prevalent when you go on tour.
[00:07:50] James: Oh yes. The first time I ever heard the word hangry was on Warp
[00:07:54] James: Tour.
[00:07:54] Matt: hundred percent man, especially out there in the a hundred degree weather.
[00:07:56] Matt: I mean, you're out there, you're working in the mornings, you're, you're driving through the night [00:08:00] and that is one of the most physically demanding tours on the planet. And then I would see people as like Wouldn't eat, it didn't even matter what they would put in their system because they were like so nutritionally starved And even just eating like the pizza would literally just be like, oh my gosh, I feel like a whole new person. and when you're monitoring the really important inputs packing nutrient dense food into your system, that is when you really are like, ah, I feel like I can come to life.
[00:08:24] Matt: food and mood are so closely related. food and mood aren't the same, but they're definitely cousins. And so it's important for you to focus on the inputs that are going into your body so that you can control the majority of the outputs. a bad output is what puts off everything.
[00:08:40] Matt: and you're gonna have bad outputs. Nobody in the history of any tour has ever gone through an entire tour, without getting a little bit pissed off at one of their band mates or, you know, like, I've thrown fists at some of my band mates before because we've just been at each other's throats for too long.
[00:08:54] Matt: And we were, nutritionally deficient, we'd go to White Castle and buy 70 burgers for everybody to [00:09:00] smash little tiny burgers, and then we, drink a crappy beer at the end of the day.
[00:09:03] Matt: And I was like, well, no wonder we got in a fight, we were pumping ourselves with all this garbage. because touring is physically stressful, your life will become instantly better if you know what inputs make you feel better and what inputs make you feel worse.
[00:09:18] Matt: if you're starving and you're like, I gotta go eat this loaf of bread, but you're eating a loaf of bread before you go and play, You're gonna bog yourself down. You're gonna feel like puking. You're not gonna wanna jump around. and there's gonna be all sorts of different examples, like, you know, for me, I would never go and eat a 16 ounce steak before going in performing.
[00:09:35] Matt: That sake is gonna end up all over the stage.
[00:09:37] James: especially on a hot tour like Warp Tour.
[00:09:39] Matt: Oh man, I can't even imagine. It'd be terrible. touring and performing is exercise. And so it's like, just like you wouldn't, eat this big, huge, giant meal right before you go and exercise.
[00:09:49] Matt: You also shouldn't eat this big giant meal right before you go and play. all of these things kind of like play into each other as far as like, if you get to the venue and you know that you have loaded at a certain time and you [00:10:00] know that you don't play for X amount of hours, you know how big your window of time is for you to like, go and eat and digest and let that food settle.
[00:10:08] Matt: let your body start to absorb those nutrients and then you can actually go ahead and move on and be like, Hey, I feel good now I can perform. one of my last tours, even this happened to me where, I ordered food super early via DoorDash. And then like the first guy couldn't find the place and so he like canceled the order.
[00:10:27] Matt: Oh, literally. And my food showed up 15 minutes before we were supposed to go on. an hour and a half late, cuz my plan was to eat an hour and a half before the show, then go walk around for a little while 10 to 20 minutes to let help myself digest.
[00:10:39] Matt: But because it showed up so, close to the show, I said I can't eat. And I'm sure that I was cranky and I'm sure that I was undesirable and nobody wanted to be around me until after I ate my food. But I ended up not being able to like, eat dinner until like nine 30 at night, 10 o'clock at night.
[00:10:54] Matt: Which really, really, really sucked, even though like I tried to plan accordingly, there were external forces that kind [00:11:00] of limited that. Which is why I really, really, really preach a Coleman grill with some propane inside of your van, because it is a lifesaver for you to be able to pull out something, throw a little oil down on a skillet, grill up whatever you need to grill some vegetables, some, some fruits, some some meats.
[00:11:18] Matt: you need to actually have the ability to prepare these things yourself. Not only is that going to put more of your touring scenario in your control, but also just going to be monitoring the foods that are going into your body. we don't really know what's in Taco Bell meat, we have no idea. exactly. You know, for all we know, there's meat in there. We know there's textured vegetable protein in there, and there might be yoga mats in there, like, who knows? . But when we eat it, we're like, oh, this is so good. This is great. But then after we do that for three and a half weeks, we're like, oh, why do I feel bloated?
[00:11:49] Matt: Why am I so tired? why is it hard to wake up in the morning when you cook your own food? you know what the foods are. And so you're eliminating a lot of like the poor ingredients that are going into that, which are really gonna be [00:12:00] nutritionally detracting from the goals that you're trying to achieve.
[00:12:04] Matt: And really the goal on tour is to maintain a happy mood and a healthy body. So, all of these things kind of tie together and the easiest way to do it is to monitor your inputs. You know, every one of you guitarists, you guys know exactly how your pedal boards work.
[00:12:18] Matt: You all know exactly where all your quarter inch cables are supposed to go. audio engineers, same thing. L dms, same thing. Your body is another system that you also have to know how to work cooperatively with. the last thing you want to be working against is your body. So your body is a fantastic tool that if you treat it right, you will do yourself all manner of favors in the long run.
[00:12:44] James: absolutely. And to me, there's no doubt that, like you're saying, your mood and your energy ties so closely into food. And you know, we're recording this the Wednesday after Thanksgiving. So Matt, you can probably relate. Friday, I did not [00:13:00] feel good. I mean, Thursday night I did not feel good. I felt great while I was eating, but then afterwards I was like, oh, I ate way more than I should have.
[00:13:10] James: And I'm literally up two pounds compared to a week ago. that has had a lasting effect on me. Now I'm sure I'll lose it just in time for Christmas, and then I'll gain it right back. But point being, it's not just what you put in, but also how much
[00:13:27] James: the quantity
[00:13:28] James: matters as well. And it's just like a mix. If you're mixing a song and the snare is way too loud, it's gonna be distracting. If the snare is way too quiet, it's gonna lack that punch of the rhythm. So you have to have the right balance, not just in what elements are there. So not just the arrangement, but also the levels and how those fit together.
[00:13:52] James: It is like puzzle pieces. So you want to have nutritious food in moderation. You want have enough that you have energy, but not so much that you [00:14:00] feel like a slop.
[00:14:01] Matt: Amen.
[00:14:02] Matt: this might sound like some really weird advice. For some of our listeners, because you guys might be young. your body is like really good at masking. what nutrients are good and what nutrients are bad. When you're younger, you know, you don't start to notice a lot of the things like your joints or, how well you're sleeping or your mood.
[00:14:18] Matt: But as you start to get older, you do, and you start to notice things that really have a, means of swaying something. It's like, you know, like, oh, why did I have such like a bipolar fit right there? It's like, oh, well, now that I'm realizing it, I haven't eaten in, 12 hours. And the last thing I ate was a gas station, TTO filled with a bunch of absolute garbage then I, I had to sleep and I didn't get the best sleep and blah, blah, blah, this.
[00:14:44] Matt: And so it's like, and then you get this cocktail and you do that for, for three weeks. you live in a shoebox with people who. M might also be experiencing those same emotions, and then you guys are all interacting. And then on top of that, if one of you gets in a bad mood because of that, you know, moods [00:15:00] are infectious.
[00:15:01] Matt: you have this deteriorating mood that is going to be contagious to your other band mates. it can really quickly turn into this snowball effect of like, everybody in the band is in this bad mood. Like somebody wants to go home because they just like miss their wife because they're tired of everybody like complaining all the time.
[00:15:17] Matt: All of these things are symptoms food and rest. it can really be summed up to food and rest. These are two things that you have what I like to call, extreme ownership of.
[00:15:29] James: Good book by the way.
[00:15:31] Matt: You own your food that you put into your body. Nobody can make you put a different food into your body.
[00:15:37] Matt: I can't make anybody do anything. Nobody can make me do anything about the food that goes into our body. I can't make somebody else sleep unless I'm gonna go put them in a, you know, choker hold, also not cool. Don't recommend doing that to your band mates.
[00:15:49] Matt: but rest is the other and rest is like a really, really hard thing to get while you're on tour. And so another thing that I find very, very important is to have [00:16:00] a consistency of scheduling as far as like rest goes. If you have a plan, and it's something that should be talked about between, you everybody in the band or at least everybody who drives obviously we all know things like bus call.
[00:16:12] Matt: We all know when the bus is supposed to leave, but it's important for everybody to know earlier on in the day that maybe the next drive is six hours versus the last drive was only three hours. Why is this important? Well, because you might wanna pull off in a parking lot and sleep without the vehicle moving for a few hours because you're gonna get worse rest while the van is moving, than while the van is parked.
[00:16:34] Matt: for us, a lot of the time, what we will do we find a Planet Fitness and either stay there at night so that we can wake up and be at the Planet Fitness in the morning, or we sleep where we're at, and then we wake up in the morning and then travel to a Planet Fitness close to the venue.
[00:16:50] Matt: Now, this doesn't always happen. we're not always able to go to Planet Fitness every day, but it is absolutely, positively a game changer and can be the difference [00:17:00] between sanity and insanity while you're on the road
[00:17:02] Matt: getting
[00:17:03] Matt: enough rest, I cannot. harp on this enough. I know I've mentioned it before.
[00:17:07] Matt: My, my drummer has sleep apnea. when we weren't getting rest because Chase was snoring essentially he has no control over this and he would snore loud and like none of us would be able to rest. And with sleep apnea, it's like a total roll of the dice.
[00:17:20] Matt: Sometimes it's happening, sometimes it's not. basically each and every night going to sleep was like a veritable Russian roulette with our sleep health and so there were a few things that we all kind of started to implement as a means to control the inputs that we could control.
[00:17:38] Matt: You know, that's an output. We can't really control that, that's somebody else's output. And so the best thing we can do is be supportive friends and understand that he can't control that. And so we control our inputs. Last week we talked about. Noise canceling headphones. Noise canceling headphones are a fantastic to have for multiple reasons.
[00:17:55] Matt: Number one, to block out snoring. Number two, to have some alone [00:18:00] time. Even if you don't have anything going in your headphones, it's nice for, you know, if you have a personal meditation that you like you're religious and you want to pray, you are tired and you want to sleep. Maybe you just need you time, or maybe you just wanna watch a movie on your phone. Either way, it's always gonna be best if you have something that kind of allows you to be inside of this solitary state you know, a safe place. you're touring in a van or you're sleeping on bunks, I highly recommend noise canceling headphones.
[00:18:28] Matt: And I also highly recommend having a cloth that covers your bed, because that will be the only privacy that you get while you're on tour. And sometimes that solitude can really, really help. if you can control those things, you know, if you can control things like not sleeping in weird positions for those of you who don't know, there's something called sleeping suicide.
[00:18:47] Matt: Now what sleeping suicide is, is when your head is facing the head of the bus rather than your head facing the back of the bus. And the reason they call this sleeping suicide is because what happens [00:19:00] if a deer jumps out in front of the van, you slam on the brakes.
[00:19:02] Matt: What happens when you slam on the brakes? Everybody starts to slide. Well, what happens if you're headfirst? Well, then you're literally sliding headfirst off your bunk. And that's why they call it sleeping suicide, because it's not a wise way to sleep ever. I've met plenty of people that have banged their heads sleeping inside of tour bus cubicles, or people that have just been seriously injured because they weren't sleeping in a correct position.
[00:19:25] Matt: So, The best way to sleep is on your back, with your feet facing the front of the van not a bunch of excess stuff in your bunk or anything like that. You really wanna make sure that you can get as much rest as possible. sometimes you're not gonna get the best rest sometimes you have an eight hour drive or you know, there's external forces.
[00:19:42] Matt: maybe you're stressed about money. Maybe there's things that are gonna keep you awake at that point. When you show up to a venue and you're at four o'clock loading and that show doesn't start till seven and you don't go on until nine. Go find a green room and take a nap. Go find a nice long couch.
[00:19:56] Matt: Go find ground that's not shaking constantly. [00:20:00] all of these little tiny things, it's like, yeah, if you step on one rock, it hurts. And then if you step on two rocks, that also hurts. And then if you step on three rocks, that really hurts, and then you step on four rocks, that's even worse. and just imagine with every step that you take, you're just stepping on a different rock.
[00:20:18] Matt: it's miserable. you're not going to be able to maintain. everybody has like their own thing, this savior for me. Fresh pair of socks. A fresh pair of socks. I've said it before. I'll say it again. I'll say it until the fricking cows come home.
[00:20:31] Matt: A fresh pair of socks will keep me from tearing my band mate's head off. So every single tour when I leave, I go and I buy a brand new package of socks. Why? Well, because when I'm stressed and I haven't showered in a couple days, or maybe I haven't had a chance to go, you know, get a good meal, or I haven't had a chance to exercise and I don't get those endorphins, and that's serotonin going, well, putting on a brand new pair of socks is enough to make me feel like I'm walking on a cloud, and that can alleviate a whole bunch of the [00:21:00] stresses that might be caused by, you know, being away from my family or being around my band mates too much, or, money being tight or whatever, whatever the, the hurdle may be.
[00:21:10] Matt: figure out kind of what works best for you. Maybe for you, your, your therapy is, writing more music or maybe it's talking on the phone with your loved one, which are all things that you should be doing on a regular basis anyway to help with your mental health. But, it's really important for you to identify what works best for you and then seize it. Say, once you have that, then you can start building systems in your life that really allow you to expand on that and say like, Hey, look, this is a really good thing in my life. I know that I function well off food and rest.
[00:21:37] Matt: Okay, cool. What can I do to benefit the food and rest? I can take a food supplement because we never have breakfast. So maybe I'll take a supplement so that I make sure that I have enough nutrients in my system to get me through breakfast. oh, I don't sleep too well. Well, maybe Magnesium is really going to be a fantastic supplement because I'm gonna be drinking more water and then Magnesium's gonna help me relax and help me [00:22:00] sleep better.
[00:22:00] Matt: maybe these two simple things are gonna help you with food and rest, and that will be the difference between killing your band mates or leaving the tour early and having a tour that allows you to thrive while you're on the road the more you thrive. The easier it is to get back out on the road.
[00:22:15] Matt: So, develop these systems while you're at home, figure out the foods that make you feel bogged down, figure out the rest patterns that don't work for you. You know, if you know that you don't get good rest while there's music being played, then you really need to have a nice pair of noise canceling headphones so that you can counteract maybe the driver playing music over the loud speakers.
[00:22:34] Matt: maybe the driver needs music to help him stay awake. You don't understand how many of these small little externalities are going to exist. You know, a curtain is fantastic because your bunkmate next to you might, might be on their laptop and they a bright screen and it's nighttime and you wanna sleep.
[00:22:49] Matt: atomic Habits is a good book. It's all about making small changes that. Have really big lasting impressions.
[00:22:56] Matt: if putting up a curtain is a little tiny thing that you [00:23:00] can do that helps you stay on the road for a month, then that's something that is drastically valuable to your situation that's when you say, okay, this is good. Can it be better? can I have a, blackout curtain here that is actually gonna do this?
[00:23:13] Matt: Or if I get a heavier curtain, is that gonna cancel out some of my bandaid, sleep apnea, or whatever it needs to be. You know, if you feel like you need more privacy, then do that. If you feel like you need less privacy, then do that. Do what works best for you. But the big ones that I really will harp on all day every day is making sure that you're getting good quality food inputs and making sure that you're getting enough rest each and every day.
[00:23:35] Matt: Especially if you're a singer. If your voice has to be, well rest. And you like, stay up late or like drink beer the night before, and then you just like get crappy sleep. It's like you wake up and you're just like, I feel bad. It's like, oh yeah, cool way to represent all of your band mates. for me, that's something that's always at the forefront of my mind. I would love to, have beers and, hang out with all the touring artists after every show. But sometimes you have to sit [00:24:00] there and say, oh man, do I wanna seem like I'm cool to these other touring artists and then my band sounds like crap every night?
[00:24:06] Matt: Or do I wanna sound awesome every night and do I wanna forrow some of the social interaction, all of these will lead to that physical health. the people who perform the best are physically healthy. I couldn't tell you how many people out on Warp Tour they're out there in a hundred degree weather.
[00:24:23] Matt: They're performing in the middle of the day. they're waiting an hour and a half in line for food. They might not get showers. And these are all extreme conditions. and what do they do? They're out there lifting weights, they're out there doing pushups on the dirt in a hundred degree weather.
[00:24:37] Matt: And it's like, you know who the ones are, the ones that are doing that? The headliners. it's not the little tiny guys on, the, on the Ernie Ball stage. It's, your all time lows, you know, it's like, oh wow. Like this headlining artist, oh, they're out here working out every day.
[00:24:51] Matt: It's your August Burns Reds, who are going to a daily fitness class. is your Aaron Gillespie of Under Oath who are running a [00:25:00] mile in every town that they're in, so that they can help acclimate their voice to the altitude. Amateurs practice until they get it right.
[00:25:08] Matt: professionals practice until they can't get it wrong. And that goes the same for how you prepare for a show, how you exercise, how you eat, how you sleep. This is a lifestyle. I heard a story about Derek Jeter on his birthday, he treated himself to a salad and a glass of wine for his birthday.
[00:25:27] Matt: Well, what does that tell you? It means that this person literally wants to operate at the top 1% of the top 1%. And he's willing to make a sacrifice that says, oh, even though it's my birthday, I could get drunk and I could party and I could have all this stuff cause it's my birthday. No discipline.
[00:25:42] Matt: He had a salad and he had a glass of wine. he found a system essentially that works really, really well. He knows that having that glass of wine on his birthday is not gonna detract from his ability to make millions upon millions of dollars a year playing baseball.
[00:25:55] Matt: And so because of that, he allowed himself that small grace. But if that's [00:26:00] the grace that he gets on his birthday, like how vigilant do you think he has to be every other day of the year? He has to be very vigilant. the same is true for you?
[00:26:09] James: absolutely. And I think what you mentioned there about having a system is really key because all of these things are elements of your life that you can systematize, whether that's formally or informally. So for example, eating healthy can just be a rule that, hey, when we're on tour, we're not gonna do any fast food.
[00:26:28] James: We're gonna find out healthy local options that meet these dietary restric.
[00:26:34] James: One year I was on Warp tour, our bus driver, which the bus driver kind of like clean up the counters every day they'll just, when we park they'll go in, wipe down the counters real quick. And he had some really bad allergies like you were talking about with your guitarist.
[00:26:48] James: If I recall. I think it was bananas and strawberries. So he just said to us, Hey, if you have bananas and strawberries, please do not put them on the counter cuz I cannot clean the counters. Then like, make sure that you put [00:27:00] them away and if they touched the counter, wipe that area down. Cause otherwise the next morning when I go to wipe it down, I might have anaphylactic shock.
[00:27:07] James: So that was a system then was, hey, if anybody gets these fruits, they go directly into that person's storage space under the couches or up high, wherever it was. And it does not stay on the counters. Another system you were talking about bunks. What I did, I'm five eight, so I'm not the tallest, which meant I had plenty of room in my bunk and. I would have my laundry bag down at the foot end, which is the front end of the bunk as an extra cushioning in case we did hit the brakes, I would hit the laundry bag. I also had my backpack and like laptop bag down by my feet, but off to the side cuz I didn't want to crush my laptop. And then my clean laundry, I put that instead of in my suitcase under the bus.
[00:27:51] James: I put it under the edge of the bunk by the aisle. And that way when I wanted to get fresh clothes out, I just hop outta my bunk, lift up the mattress and pull [00:28:00] it out. This had the added benefit of creating a little natural rise at the edge of the bunk that tilted me inwards, so I couldn't roll out so easily at night.
[00:28:09] James: That was my system to sleep. And then I also had, like, I, when I was on Warped tour, I wore a hat every day, a baseball cap. And so my wallet and my pass and my phone would go inside my hat upside down right next to my pillow. if there was something going on, like the day our bus blew up. . I just grabbed my hat with all my stuff and I had it literally all my stuff that was important.
[00:28:30] James: My ID and my phone and my money were all right there next to me. So I had this system of being in this little cocoon and honestly, I slept better on the, on a bus than I ever have at home. I think it was partly the noise in the rocking motion, just like the motor humming. It was so nice. And the other thing you were saying is about going out and partying.
[00:28:50] James: I remember in Arizona in 2015, it was like 114 or 117 degrees, I can't remember exactly, but almost our whole team ended up going to the med tent at one [00:29:00] point or another during the day. it was at least half of us. And here's the thing, there were three people who definitely didn't go to the med tent that day, and that was the people who were straight
[00:29:09] James: edge. I'm not saying everyone who wasn't straight edge went to the med tent, but I'm saying that every single person who was straight edge
[00:29:15] James: did
[00:29:15] James: not
[00:29:15] James: have to go to the Med 10.
[00:29:16] Matt: They were hydrated.
[00:29:18] James: right, that was the thing. This was after our first day off. So what do people do on a
[00:29:23] James: day? Off
[00:29:24] James: they party? Especially the night before the day off. it's exactly what you said, Matt. If people go out and drink and party, they're not gonna be in
[00:29:32] James: the prime physical condition like Jar Jeter.
[00:29:34] James: They're going to end up with a hundred fifteen, a hundred fourteen, seventeen, whatever it was, degree of temperatures, and get heat
[00:29:42] James: stroke. we literally had one person who went to the hospital. It was so bad.
[00:29:48] James: I don't know if that person was drinking or not. They definitely weren't straight edge, but no matter what, they went to the hospital and they
[00:29:54] James: went home
[00:29:54] Matt: They didn't set themselves up for success. That's right. it's very, very easy to overlook [00:30:00] a lot of these things while you're out on the road. You know, you don't realize how, things like food and sleep and exercise can really, really change everything. Even something that is just as simple as water.
[00:30:09] Matt: the amount of water that you lose while you're on ah, summer tour is ridiculous. I mean, the amount of water you lose while you are performing is ridiculous, So I think that the endurance athletes lose something like 5,000 milligrams of sodium per like hour while they're running. So if you're playing like a 30 minute set, you know, you're losing so much salt while you're like sweating, not only do you need to replace that water, but like you also need to replace a lot of that salt. the minerals that you're losing are very, very important.
[00:30:38] Matt: And if you're not replenishing those with good foods or, you know, like mineral added waters and things of that nature, just go work out every day for a month with bad inputs. And, and you'll know exactly how you feel.
[00:30:48] Matt: Your joints are gonna hurt. Your sleep is gonna be worse, your mood is gonna be worse, we do have exercise on our list which is the next thing that we'll get to because it is important, but it's also important to understand the caveats that come with exercise.[00:31:00]
[00:31:00] Matt: you know, if you are consistently on a low ORIC diet, you know, doing these hyper, intensive workouts might not be the best for you because you're also gonna be essentially doing a high energy workout while you're performing. Maybe you only need to do like one of those a day. maybe the best idea for you is just to like, Once you get to the venue, take a light jog around the building a couple times, before you go on and play, maybe you do some light stretching and a few jumping jacks.
[00:31:23] Matt: a few small things that you can do to kind of help keep your body limb, stretching. I cannot overstate. stretching is so, so important. Play a show, stretching, play a show without stretching. The benefits are immediately noticeable. You get to the end of your set when you've stretched and you're like, oh man, I feel great.
[00:31:42] Matt: I could play more songs where you get to the end of a set where you haven't stretched. You're like, dude, I feel like I just got hit by a bowling ball. Like, it doesn't feel good.
[00:31:49] James: it's really such a game changer to just get a little bit of activity in there before you're set to make yourself limb and it's night and day. to just quickly go back to what you're [00:32:00] saying about water this might be tmi, but
[00:32:03] James: on Warp Tour, I would drink about a bottle of water
[00:32:06] James: per
[00:32:06] James: hour,
[00:32:07] James: a good probably 16 ounce bottle per hour. I would not go to the bathroom from about. 7:30 AM till eight or 9:00
[00:32:15] James: PM
[00:32:16] James: even though I was drinking 16 ounces of water every hour. And then we would end up in a city like Portland and I would keep consuming that same amount of water out of habit, but it's like 75 and cloudy, and I'm in the porta potty every half an hour,
[00:32:31] James: And that just goes to show how much water was entering my system and just getting sweated
[00:32:38] James: out immediately.
[00:32:40] James: But what you're saying about exercise is absolutely on point too. And really this is something you should do every day. Like I have a habit, I give myself a break on weekends, but every morning I wake up at six 30 and I hop on the stationary bike that is literally in my room.
[00:32:55] James: I have it in my room so I can wake up, get out of bed, take like five steps, and I'm on [00:33:00] the. And I sit there for half an hour, and I don't know about you, Matt. You probably have the bad habit that I do and everyone else does. You wake up and the
[00:33:08] James: first thing you do is look at your phone, So for a long time I didn't do that, and I was very happy when I didn't do that, but now I'm, back in that habit, but I've turned it into, I'm going to get up and pick up my phone and I'm gonna get on the bike, and that's when I'm gonna check all my notifications that came in overnight, all the emails, all the messages, the texts, whatever. And that way I don't have that guilt of, oh, I just wasted half an hour sitting in bed looking at my phone when I could have gotten up. Instead, it's, oh, I just rode the exercise bike for half an hour, and at the same time, made sure that no important messages came in that I'm not replying to.
[00:33:47] James: And that mental shift has been huge for me.
[00:33:51] Matt: James, what you just described right there, and I can dive into a, a little bit of the, the science behind it. But in reality, what that is, is instead of starting your day [00:34:00] with blue light, which upsets your neural pathway, That's what blue Light does. It is starting the day off with endorphins and serotonin, which are both things that make you feel good.
[00:34:11] Matt: starting your joints off by moving and by eliminating blue light first thing in the morning, you're actually allowing your brain to like slowly wake up the way that it's supposed to. blue light can be very disruptive. red light is a lot healthier for you.
[00:34:22] Matt: a lot of people love LEDs for the brightness, but in for red light or uh, incandescent light bulbs are actually much more beneficial for your brain. But the big thing in the morning, you know, is to say you're talking about waking up and starting this, exercise bike for the first thing in the morning.
[00:34:38] Matt: That is one of the most fantastic ways that you can make yourself feel better in the morning. lot of people are, are hyper restless because they don't spend enough time in the sun and they don't let their body produce vitamin A or retinol, which actually helps you sleep at the end of the day. how many of us have ever been in the sun for a long period of time and you're like, you get outta the sun, you're like, man, I'm so tired.
[00:34:58] Matt: That's because the facility is [00:35:00] doing its job. Your eyes are producing retinol and that's helping you sleep. So, you know, when we forego that and we start off by immediately going in front of our phone screen and staying tucked into our dark bunk and like not going outside and not exercising and not getting vitamin D, you are again setting up that sleep pattern for failure.
[00:35:17] Matt: if you want to feel better for the whole course of your day, wake up in the morning if you have a morning beverage that you make sweet, make your morning beverage, watch the sunrise if you're up early enough. Having the sunrise while you're reading a book is literally one of the most tranquil ways that you can relax.
[00:35:34] Matt: And really it's one of the most tranquil ways that you can wake up. And it just kind of sets the grounding, try it for a week, wake up every day at the same time before the sun comes up and read a book. get to the end of the week. And I challenge any one of our listeners after a week of doing that to contact me and tell me that it didn't work for them.
[00:35:52] Matt: Tell me that they felt worse after doing that. None of you will do it. It doesn't exist after three or four days, everybody's gonna be so excited about, you know, [00:36:00] the way their body feels about how much stuff they're learning, about not realizing the benefits of waking up early. so many different vectors that you can attack this from.
[00:36:08] Matt: If you're a day person, that's the best thing ever. If you're a night person, then, and that's cool too, but you need to know that about yourself. make a journal, go. Get yourself a little dollar composition notebook from Walmart and write down what you did.
[00:36:20] Matt: If you woke up at 5:30 write down, you woke up at 5:30 If you read a book, write down that. You read a book. If you drank coffee, write down that you drank coffee. And then on the other side of the page, write how it made you feel. if you take that journal and then you kind of just consistently do that, you're gonna find these patterns inside of your life that are really gonna help you grow and say like, oh, like, turns out that, like, reading a book didn't really help, but the morning exercise really did.
[00:36:45] Matt: Or maybe it's the inverse. You know, maybe you're like, oh, I find that when I drink coffee early, that actually has made my day a little bit worse. And don't be afraid to test things. Don't be afraid to remove variables. Don't be afraid to add variables. maybe you function really well eating breakfast.
[00:36:58] Matt: Maybe you don't function [00:37:00] eating breakfast. maybe you're the type of person who gets bogged down after eating a big breakfast. Maybe you just need a light breakfast. all of these things. It's just gonna help you kind of fine tune your systems and help you understand how your body works, how your circadian rhythm works.
[00:37:13] Matt: And then you can use that as a harness rather than working against your own cyclical features. working against yourself is always the worst thing ever. It's like there's only one thing more pointless than working against yourself, and that's like working against physics your body operates off the laws of physics.
[00:37:28] Matt: So really it's just a subset of that. set yourself up for success by getting yourself good food and good rest and exercise. James, you have some great ideas as far as getting that exercise. So why don't you dive.
[00:37:40] James: Yeah, definitely. So one of the favorite things I've seen is you get out of the van and you just run around the van. You do a lap. It's probably like, 50 feet, a van's, what, 25 feet long? So 50 feet, maybe 60 across the sides. You do a lap around the van, just one, and [00:38:00] you do that at a jog or sprint, whatever, just not a walk, And you do that instead of just walking into the gas station or the store or wherever you are, and then walking back out and getting back in the van. You do that one little lap, get your heart rate up for a few seconds and that's gonna give you a burst of energy later on in the day. Doesn't matter if it's a hundred degrees outside or if it's 20 degrees outside, although watch out for ice. If it's 20 degrees outside, make sure there's no ice. Then you're gonna wipe out and then you'll feel really bad. But also, make this fun. Say something like first person to complete a lap around the van gets a free snack, a healthy snack. some kind of bananas and fruit or whatever. when I was on tour, I always had the worst snacks.
[00:38:43] James: I love those Munchos chips. The ones that are like $2 a bag with the big thing. And like those chips are good, but they are so greasy and so salty. I always felt terrible after I ate them. there was one tour, I was the driver, and I loved those chips cuz I could just get a bag and munch on [00:39:00] them as I was driving.
[00:39:01] James: That was nice. But looking back, that was possibly the worst thing I could have eaten. I could have had anything else and it would've been better for me. But the other thing is you could even take that competition and say something else instead of like, Hey, you get a free snack, but say last one back, guess what?
[00:39:20] James: You're the next driver. So if you're slow, too bad, you get to drive the next leg, Basically, you'll just see all the seats fill up and then you get back and you realize, oh, the driver's seat is open. I guess that's me
[00:39:33] James: now.
[00:39:33] Matt: This is also a really powerful tool for harnessing like that one band member who, likes to get off the bus as everybody else is getting back on the bus. it just kind of slowly but truly builds a system for them inadvertently that says like, Hey, like if you don't want to have to be the guy stuck driving, if you have to go to the bathroom, Then the second that we're pulling up to the gas station, you better already be unbuckled and halfway out the door, like your shoes on, your pants on, and like halfway through a tour, [00:40:00] man, the van will definitely get dirty.
[00:40:01] Matt: Things start to get thrown around. It might be hard to find your shoes, plan for what you need to do while you're not needing to do it.
[00:40:07] Matt: that's basically the simplest rule about success in life. If you have to do something plan ahead.
[00:40:14] Matt: We all know that Christmas comes around on the same day every year. we all know that the gas tank needs to be filled, right? We all know that your belly, that tank needs to be filled, right? So if we have open, honest communication, clear set expectations, an incentive, let's say, or in the case of driving maybe a disincentive to actually get out of your bunk and to go get what you need to get done, done.
[00:40:36] Matt: It's gonna be better for everybody. You know, a rising tide raises all ships, and we are only as strong as our weakest link. So if there's a time crunch and you've got one guy who decides, he always has to go to the bathroom as everybody else is leaving, it's like, cool. We just lost so much more momentum.
[00:40:52] Matt: And you don't realize how much momentum you, you lose by stopping at a gas station. It's not just the, oh, well, we're only at the gas station for five minutes. [00:41:00] Yes, but you were driving 70 miles an hour down the highway, and you had to slow down and take the off ramp. Then you stopped at two traffic lights you made right hand turns.
[00:41:08] Matt: All of these like little tiny things cascade into this big, huge, giant problem. And then it's like, oh gosh, that. Five minute gas station stop actually turned into like us arriving like almost an hour later because of X, Y, or Z. Bill had to get his funions and then Jimmy had to go to the bathroom, And then of course, as everybody was ready to go, Steve just then found his shoes. It's like, no, don't do that. and the worst part is, is like you have no control over traffic either. So like, focus on the really important things, cuz if not, you'll end up like my guitarist we've like made him go to the bathroom in a bag on the side of the road in bumper to bumper
[00:41:49] Matt: traffic.
[00:41:51] Matt: he was embarrassed and all of that could have been avoided by him just being like, oh, you know what? It's been a while since I've gone to the bathroom. Maybe I'll have to go to the bathroom. And [00:42:00] so, plan for what you need to do while you're not doing it.
[00:42:02] Matt: Cause you can't plan something and do it at the same time. multitasking is, it does not exist. There's no such thing as multitasking. There's something called rapid tasking where you can quickly do small subsets of tasks, but the human brain cannot physically focus on two things at the same time.
[00:42:18] Matt: That's one of our powers of attention. So, Plan. You know, this is why things like a day sheet, if you don't know what a day sheet is, they're incredibly important to have. where you can say like, Hey, look, that's what bus call is. Like, there's some interesting things around here.
[00:42:32] Matt: You know, if you have people with dietary restrictions, I'll use an extreme case. Let's say you have one carnivore and one vegan on your tour bus, An important thing to have on a day sheet would be like where a vegan could find food. And an important thing for a carnivore would be like, where a carnivore could find food.
[00:42:48] Matt: And an important thing for a workout person would be where they could find a Planet Fitness. these might be points of interest for like, individual NAS and things that you and your band mates might like. But it's also gonna have details like where the [00:43:00] venue is, what time you play, what time, bus call-ins.
[00:43:02] Matt: those small details will really allow you to figure out exactly Where your jumping off point is when you build your systems and you say like, oh, well, we gotta be at the venue by four. Well, what time is it now? Well, it's noon now, and I'm thinking I might have to go to the bathroom sometime soon.
[00:43:16] Matt: okay, cool. So go to the bathroom at the next possible chance you have, not at the last possible chance you have. it might seem like common sense, but I'll tell you what, when rubber hits the road, it turns into a show. it's
[00:43:31] Matt: very easy for these things to get lost.
[00:43:33] Matt: So personal systems work great.
[00:43:34] James: absolutely agreed. and we're gonna kind of wrap up this episode, but we have two more quick points. The first one is lift from the knees. You slob because Matt's dying cuz he's coughing and
[00:43:48] James: laughing at the same time.
[00:43:50] Matt: not monitoring my inputs.
[00:43:52] James: When you're your own backline tech and your own stage hand, you're gonna be doing your own load in, you're gonna be moving all that heavy gear.
[00:43:59] James: You do [00:44:00] not want to throw out your back. So lift from the knees, do not bend your back and then lift like that. You keep your back straight and bend your knees and. Straighten your knees to stand up. Once you've picked up whatever it is, that is how you lift properly. It is really important you do that and you will thank yourself later.
[00:44:19] James: So I repeat, lift from the knees. You sl. I'm referring to myself by the
[00:44:25] James: way. When I say you slob, cuz I have that bad habit.
[00:44:28] Matt: whenever James and I record a podcast, we're literally here just staring at ourselves like in cameras. So it's like when we say something, it's like, you have to do this. Like, just know that we're literally staring at ourselves, pointing our finger at ourselves. don't think that we are some perfect people who are like, yes, I have all these perfect systems.
[00:44:45] Matt: I eat perfect food all the time. I work out every day, and I get enough water and enough sleep. We are telling you these because of how much we have suffered in the past, and you can choose to learn one of two ways. You can either let somebody who's made a mistake teach you, or [00:45:00] you can make that mistake and let life teach you.
[00:45:02] Matt: Life is seldom the gracious teacher, so just do yourself a favor. Test some of these things, figure it out. what it is for us. Like, I have to have a new system all the time. My body weight changes. sometimes I'll go and spend time on the East coast and I'm with my Italian father-in-law, my Polish mother-in-law, and they just literally give me all the food that, Eastern Europeans eat, which is lots and lots and lots of carbs.
[00:45:24] Matt: And I love it cuz it's delicious. And then I find myself after spending a few times, like 20 pounds heavier, and then I have to, to entirely adjust my diet again. And so, like, don't do that. That's me trying to then plan while I'm doing stuff and it just doesn't work. I end up feeling bogged down, tired, exhausted, fat.
[00:45:41] Matt: and on top of that, like my eczema gets worse, it bleeds over into these other things. And then once my skin looks bad, like my mental health is bad, Our performance gets worse because I feel self-conscious about how I look and I'm the front man of a band and I can't look like Freddy Kruegger.
[00:45:56] Matt: you don't realize, again, I know I keep saying it, but these things cascade. They [00:46:00] really do. If they snowball effect and they get bigger and they get bigger and they get bigger, and then you eventually get to a point where you say, I cannot lift the snowball.
[00:46:06] James: Yeah. the last thing, which kind of ties into all of this, because you've mentioned EpiPens, it's like the core of the snowball that you need to have to keep the snowball small in an emergency, and that is a first aid kit.
[00:46:19] James: So just some basic stuff, you know, like alcohol wipes, I'm gonna take out splinters.
[00:46:25] James: That's
[00:46:25] James: always handy.
[00:46:27] James: An EpiPen and
[00:46:29] Matt: if somebody has asthma, albuterol is a good one. If someone has skin conditions, then you know, you might wanna have some hydrocortisone neosporin things for clearing, infections alcohol wipes. These are all like, super, super important. splinters, very real.
[00:46:42] Matt: Your trailers are generally made of wood. Another really bad one that can suck is if you have a piece of road gear that's like ever been dinged at all, and maybe you get one of the little pieces of like, metal flashing chipped. little slide on that. Boom, you'll, cut joints right open.
[00:46:56] Matt: this is why you see Roddy's always wearing gloves because the bottom line is you're [00:47:00] at the mercy of whatever uh, elements you're around. a first aid kid is absolutely fantastic. And then another really big one for health also.
[00:47:07] Matt: Planet Fitness, I know we've talked about it before. Planet Fitness is incredibly important. Number one, it's a cheap place to exercise. You can get a Black club membership card for, I believe, $25 a month now. I think they just upped their prices for $25 a month and that allows you to bring in one friend.
[00:47:22] Matt: two of you can use the one black card membership to shower. Showers are a huge, huge thing when it comes to just like staying healthy in general. Overall hygiene makes a huge, huge difference when you can go shower and then go put on a brand new pair of socks. man, you feel great, but really you feel like a million bucks.
[00:47:39] Matt: And then on top of that, some of the planet fitnesses have hair dryers and all sorts of stuff and you, you can actually go and like get ready. So one of the nice things is like if you finish a show, you go get in the bus, you start driving in the next city and you sleep at a Planet Fitness, you wake up in the morning.
[00:47:54] Matt: You go get on that exercise bike for 30 minutes, you get those endorphins at serotonin, you do a little weight lifting, you feel really good. [00:48:00] Then you go shower, you wash off all of your disgusting yesterday's nests off of you, and then you go and you do your hair. you're already in the town where the venue is.
[00:48:09] Matt: And so like now, not only are you set up for success, like you look nice, you don't have to worry about getting yourself groomed for the show, but you're clean, you feel good, you feel healthy. this is the part of physical health. It ties directly into mental health. And it's like presentation matters.
[00:48:25] Matt: How you look will affect how you feel. set yourself up for success. Do yourself every favor in the world. Give yourself all of the tools. Build all of the systems, surround yourself with other people who are gonna push you to do the same. And when you get to the end of the tour, you might say, damn, I'm ready to do that again.
[00:48:43] James: That does it for this episode of the Van Hive Podcast. Thank you so much for tuning and listening. I really appreciate it, and I hope that this episode has inspired you to go out there and improve your physical health, because that will not only improve your mental health, but also your performance, your capability as a musician to [00:49:00] be good at what you do, not just be good, be great at what you do.
[00:49:03] James: So go back through this advice and take it to heart. Find which areas you need to improve on the most, because no one's saying you have to do all of them at once. No one is saying that, but you should chip away at it. Start with one, get proficient at that, then go to the next one and grow a snowball in a positive.
[00:49:22] James: So you can really just keep the ball rolling. if you fall off in the future, that's fine, you still have the other ones going for you. So go out there, make sure you're eating the right foods, make sure you're getting enough rest, proper rest. Make sure that you're getting exercise.
[00:49:38] James: All of the things we talked about. These will add up to better physical health, which means better shows and more fans because it's easier to impress people when you're playing well than when you're playing terribly. One side note is at the very end there, Matt mentioned some gloves and when I go flying, I actually have a really good set of gloves that I got on Amazon for I think $13.
[00:49:59] James: So that'll be [00:50:00] in the show [email protected]
slash one 60, that's the number one 60. it's like a rubber palm glove with a cloth back. So it protects your hands. And personally I just use 'em for when I'm like checking the oil of the plane and that kind of stuff. Because oil does not come off, but it also works really well if you need to lift things or you're handling sharp objects or anything like that.
[00:50:19] James: So again, Bandhive.rocks/one 60, the link to those gloves and everything else we mentioned in the episode will be in there. aside from that, we'll be back next Tuesday at 6:00 AM Eastern with another brand new episode of the Bandhive Podcast. Until then, I hope you have a great week. Stay safe, and of course, as always, keep rocking.