3hree Things: On Getting Ready for Tour (Or Not)

Watch out for 3hree Things every Tuesday, in which Riley Breckenridge, drummer of Orange County's favorite local alt-rock band Thrice, gives his take on life in Southern California as an OC native.

I leave for tour in two days. And I'm not ready. Again.

You'd think that after touring for about a decade now, I'd have the whole “getting ready for tour” thing fairly dialed-in at this point. But I don't. Not really. What I do have “dialed-in” is a fine-tuned, highly organized exercise in inefficiency, procrastination and anxiety.

I'm in the midst of that exercise at the moment, and since I should probably be “getting ready for tour” rather than sitting here with my face glued to my iMac, I thought I'd use this week's 3hree Things to: a) share “How Not to Get Ready for a Tour or Long Trip” in the hopes that you won't make the same mistakes I do; b) detail how badly I'm blowing it right now, which will hopefully motivate me to get my ass in gear IMMEDIATELY; and c) get this piece done so I can get the hell out of this house and be semi-productive.

1) List-Making

I make lists. Long lists. Lists with things on them that I've been meaning to do since we last toured but never got around to doing. (Sell stuff on eBay.) Lists with things on them that are entirely unrelated to touring and/or preparing for a tour. (Sell stuff on eBay.) Lists with things on them that are so vague that I end up staring at them for 20 minutes to try to figure out what the hell I've scribbled down in indecipherable shorthand. (“PS Felt BO . . . maybe road.” WTF?) Then I make lists about those lists, and lists about the lists about those lists. And ultimately I get about 30 percent of what is on said lists accomplished.

Lists are wonderful because they're detailed physical reminder of how unproductive you've been. See these Post-It notes? They're a paper trail that leads to failure.
Also: What you're reading right now is a list. Another. List. MAKE IT STOP.

2. Overpacking
In my defense, it's not all that easy to pack for a Fall/Winter tour that sends you around the U.S. (with two stops in Canada) for six weeks through a ton of different weather conditions. It'll be hot in the Southwest, humid and rainy in the Southeast, chilly and rainy in the Northeast, potentially snowy at some points up north, and generally unpleasant in the Midwest and Northwest. I can't pack for every possible weather condition, but damn it, I sure try. All those jackets, hoodies and long-sleeved shirts; boots and thick socks; and hats, scarves and gloves take up space, space that should be taken up by things that I most certainly will need, regardless of the weather conditions, such as toiletries and underwear. But that doesn't keep me from mulling over taking less of things I will need just so I can stuff another jacket or two more pairs of shoes that I might need every time I pack my suitcase. I must be a slow learner.

And even after packing my suitcase so thoroughly that it's literally bursting at the zipper, I always, ALWAYS forget something essential. Ah, yes, a toothbrush would have been nice. Six weeks with out a phone charger? Not gonna work. One shoe? Really?

3) Procrastination
Got a ton of stuff to do? Sounds like the perfect time to read a lengthy piece on catchers framing pitches over at Baseball Prospectus and fall into a giant wormhole of baseball stats. Why not try to squeeze in some hoops up in Venice tomorrow? It's the perfect morning to spend an hour looking at fantasy football and baseball rosters. Got a haircut a week ago? Let's get another one. How about we re-string that baritone guitar that'll sit in your room for the next six weeks while you're on the road playing drums. That seems productive. Sure, you can write two pieces in the ever-shrinking two-hour window you've set aside on Monday afternoon. Ooh, I know . . . let's make another list. Did I really just do nothing for an hour? Again?
And that's that.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got another list to make.

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