New Noise Magazine reached out to a diverse group of artists and asked them to speak about their personal experiences with dealing with their overall wellness. The topic of being in good physical and mental is an exclusive spotlight coinciding with Issue #32 of the print magazine, deemed The Wellness Issue. Each artist speaks with a refreshing transparency on the struggles they face and how to better go about their own health.
Biters frontman Tuk Smith
Atlanta-based rock ‘n’ rollers, Biters, describe themselves as “Electric Playboys in the Disposable Age.” Formed in 2009 and influenced by the likes of Cheap Trick, David Bowie, Alice Cooper, and Slade, the boys in Biters—including frontman Tuk Smith, guitarist and vocalist Matt Gabs, bassist and vocalist Philip Anthony, and drummer Joey O’Brien—released their debut full-length, Electric Blood, in August of 2015 via Earache Records. Their follow-up LP, The Future Ain’t What It Used to Be, is due out May 19, also through Earache.
Health On The Road
Being healthy and staying on top of your game while doing extensive touring is definitely not the easiest thing, especially if you’re in a van and are not getting catering from the venues. (Europe is amazing when it comes to hospitality and healthy catering, so it’s a different ballgame.)
Long stretches and hundreds of miles of American highways are dedicated to shitty gas stations, McDonalds, and truck stops, and they can become a habit if you don’t keep yourself in check.
Here are some things I do to stay as consistent as possible onstage every night. (Weekend warriors can disregard these suggestions; these are for 30 to 40-day grown-ass man tours.)
• Sleep Deprivation
This is the number one cause of going downhill fast on tour. There is never enough time to sleep on tour ever. Four to five hours a night is standard, and sometimes, you get zero hours of sleep. Instead of partying like an animal on my days off, I always try to use them to reset my sleep schedule and start feeling human again. Also, the less you sleep, the more your body craves shitty food. You’ll find yourself eating all the bread and sugar you can find, as your body is trying to get the proper sustenance it needs to make up for the overnight sleepless drives or cocaine-fueled all-nighters. Naps can put a Band-Aid on it for a few days, but get some proper rest!
Beer and liquor are in endless supply when it comes to rock ‘n’ roll, but if you fuck around and let yourself get to dehydrated, you’ll feel like a lifeless bag of shit and look like a mummified Egyptian cat. If you are a singer, this is essential to not losing your voice. Staying fully hydrated will do wonders to prevent raw or overworked vocals. Also, sometimes healthy food is not available, and eating junk will clog you up. Nothing worse than sitting in a van for six hours straight and not being able to shit when you finally stop to get gas. Water will keep it all flowing, baby. Drink water!
• Shut The Fuck Up
Now, I have seen some rare cases of pure rock ‘n’ roll animals who can party, socialize, and drink like a motherfucker and still keep their voices fresh as hell. I wish I was one of them, but unfortunately, I am not. If I sat and ran my mouth to every person at the venue and tried to be Mr. Funny Guy—cracking jokes and acting a fool—my voice would last about four days. Singing along at the top of your lungs to the DJ or jukebox post-show or the stereo in the van after having a few drinks is the quickest way to damage your voice. So, sometimes, it’s better to just shut the fuck up. If you’re feeling a little off, don’t talk during the day. Your band members will think you’re mad or being a dick. So what? Post-show, keep the talking to fans and friends minimal, but enough to not come off as a dick. You end up figuring out your body’s threshold and what to do to stay at the level you’re comfortable with.
• Vending Machines
If you want to see a gelatinous lump grow on your gut over the course of a few tours, then make sure you eat concession-style bullshit food. Pump your body full of sodas, chips, and gas station sandwiches to soften the blow of your cider hangover, and see how fast you turn into a human grub worm. If you don’t give a fuck about appearance, then you should fully enjoy the delicious, processed snacks as much as possible. You might become a limp-dick beta male in the process, but at least you’re enjoying yourself. As much as I’d love to feast on Grape-A-Ritas and nachos every day, it just doesn’t fit into my job description. My pants are way too tight as it is…
• Give Yourself A Break
Even if you are trying to do everything right and ride the line of professionalism, you’re still gonna have bad nights. Your voice still might fuck up, you might be tired as hell onstage, fighting with your band, etc., but stressing about those things only makes it worse. Whatever problems you’re having are only going to get worse if you dwell on them. I see it happen all the time. Nerves and stress magnify the problem. So, take a breather, chill out, and give yourself a break.
Change your fucking socks and wash your feet. No one wants to smell that shit. Yuck.
Biters 2017 Tour Dates:
May 19 – Chicago, IL @ Cobra Lounge
May 20 – Indianapolis, IN @ State Street Pub
May 21 – St Louis, MO @ Fubar
May 23 – Hamtramck, MI @ Smalls
May 25 – Toledo, OH @ Frankie’s
May 26 – Rochester, NY @ German House Auditorium
May 27 – Poughkeepsie, NY @ The Chance
May 28 – Cambridge, MA @ Sonia
May 30 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Smiling Moose
May 31 – Brooklyn, NY @ Saint Vitus
Jun 01 – Baltimore, MD @ Metro Gallery
Jun 02 – Harrisburg, PA @ Abbey Bar
Jun 03 – Philadelphia, PA @ Voltage Lounge
Jun 30 – Tulsa, OK @ The Vanguard