It is not uncommon for people to dream of being a famous rock star, selling out arenas like Fall Out Boy. That’s the dream — and then there’s the reality of what it takes to actually be a successful touring band. Alex Smith knows this reality all too well. As tour and merchandise manager for up-and-coming pop-punk band Sleep On It, Smith lives and breathes this reality on a regular basis.
The Merch Life Tour Journals are the ingenious brainchild of Smith. In his second Tour Journal chronicling the recently completed Road To Riot Fest Tour that featured Bearings, Sleep On It, Homesafe and State Champs, Smith takes the reader behind-the-scenes and offers insight into what it is like to head out on the road and complete a successful tour. It outlines everything that happens in between what the public usually sees: the actual concert. Smith’s writing is honest and straightforward. He doesn’t mince words or sugarcoat things. The result is a reliable summary about what life on the road with a touring band is actually like.
The Road to Riot Fest Tour traversed from Southwestern Ontario, Canada to some of the Northern United States to Western Canada. Besides picking up on Smith’s love for a good Arnold Palmer (a mix of iced tea and lemonade – take one to him at a show, he’ll very much appreciate it), the reader learns of all of the ups and downs of touring life from which meals provide the best value for one’s dollar on the road, to vehicle malfunctions, to being part of Sleep On It’s biggest performance to date at Riot Fest in their hometown of Chicago. It is clear that although the touring process can be grueling, Smith is passionate about what he does and that his role is indispensable. It really is key to the success of the band he is working with.
The Merch Life: The Road to Riot Fest Tour Journals is now available in book form and can be ordered here. Smith is also writing tour journals during Sleep On It’s current tour with Waterparks and readers can sign up to view them in real time here. If one thing is clear after reading Smith’s account of Sleep On It’s tour, it is this: Smith is just as talented a writer as his friends in Sleep On It are musicians.
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