Past One Day One Wheel Tours were a test of musical endurance. People from both sides of the street were left in my wake and treated to either a community service or an aural attack on their lives, depending on where you stood. A park tour with a specified start and end time, and an invitation for fans to come and join the charade is something…different. Playing a park is now a musical performance. I am not just riding/playing by someone walking their dog. I’m doing circles around lovers on a picnic table or a lake full of paddle boats. The presence of the music-making is nonstop and experienced for longer. The fans who join the musical showcase can experience the full one hour show, if they keep up.
One-man band tours are no walk in the park, though literally they could be. You're not in a van with a band cruising to your next venue. You’re not on a house tour with your eye-candy boyfriend. And you’re not on a cruise ship playing with the house band by a pool. You’re on the street playing for food. In this case we’re on a unicycle, in a park. And we have instruments strapped to our body, head to toe. Don’t forget the clown bells jingling against the left breast. This is the cacophonous sound of circus music made by the Scream for Help! Park Tour. In route, and recovering from falls, I learned a thing or two about one-man band performances and park tours. Not a lot of things, because it was too damn hot and half the time I was discombobulated and seeing double. But some things were learned. Here is the ballyhoo: 21 one-man band tips to tour by.
Focus on the hocus pocus of the music. Everything else should take a back seat, or be tied to the bumper.
Arrange your fit-for-no-instrument music to fit the range of your collection of instruments. No one will know but you, if you keep your mouth shut.
Tune your instruments if there’s time, not for the hell of it. Tuning is for stuffy orchestras. #Apitch
If you’re on unicycle or stilts, run people over. You’re on a musical mission and can’t be stopped.
Bring water. Unless you want to overheat and pass out mid-tour, leaving yourself open to robbery or dog pee in the eye.
Play with knives. You’re the security guard. Protect your instruments, tip can and music-making ass. Lurkers are everywhere.
Confetti cannons are a waste. Don’t blow your wad and don’t throw candy. You’re not Miss Dairy Days in a parade. #wastenot
If homeless people pass by, make friends and pick their brain. They’re pros at shaking people down for poppy seed.
If you’re feeling extra bold, rattle some rhinestones and busk the local golf course. They’ll pay you to leave. Say it with me, lunch money. #golfsucks
Busking for one hour is pointless. Spend the day/night. Pack a pint. Put in the time and wear people down. They’ll break and dollar bills will fall out. #getpaid
Snap pics with kids and give them a sticker or kazoo, then tell dad, “That will be a cool $20.” #itsahustle
Take calls between sets and songs, or fake it. People will think you’re in demand. Use a flip phone to keep it creepy. #callme
Stay in fighting form. If you need to take a break, but don’t want to appear out of shape, then run in to a car on your unicycle or fake a cramp.
Stop and fight hecklers, you have music to defend. Unless you're grossly outnumbered. Then hit-and-run. Live to make music another day.
If people see you and scream, pat yourself on the back. The musical spell is working.
Busking is a pennies game. Play the biggest crowds at the busiest times for the most bang for your buck. #hustlesmarter
Memorize a long set list. Accosting people with song-repeats is worse than assault with a deadly weapon. #savelives
Instruments are the camel’s hump. Play them loud and proud. But don’t forget your natural instruments: whistle, yodel, snap, gargle, flatulate.
Treat every tour stop like a job and people will tip like it. Fart off and you’ll be hired to clean porta potties. #workit
Post tour blues are real. One week after your tour they’ll show up at your doorstep with razor blades and rope in-hand. You’ve been warned. #SuicideWatch
Rehearse, rehearse, improvise, improvise. obsess over every detail, then forget about it and break a leg. Ride out in front of a car. #nopainnogain
Will I do another park tour? Probably. I got some big tips from supporters. plenty of business cards and the experience of putting on a one-man band show, no matter how…different.
Note: If anyone is injured or maimed during their one-man band park tour, don’t blame me. This is merely a community service. Tour at your own risk and risk to others.