Guitar 101: Tips For The Road

img_1547This year marks the first time my “old band” the Box Tops has been on the road in six years. It also marks the first time we’ve toured since our lead singer, Alex Chilton, passed away in 2010. In this configuration of the band, Bill Cunningham (bass) and myself (guitar) are the only original members in the band. We have three excellent sidemen with us: Ron Krasinski on drums, Barry Walsh on keys and Rick Levy on guitar. Bill, Rick and I share lead vocals now. I can’t tell you how grateful I am to be able to play music for a living at the age of 68. I started playing professionally 50 years ago in 1966 with a Memphis garage band, the In Crowd. I think I made $12 for my first gig at a local roller-skating rink. Then I joined the DeVilles, which turned into the Box Tops. We toured and recorded from 1967 until 1970, broke up until 1996, then recorded Tear Off! in Memphis and toured until Alex’s death. Now we’re playing again with many of the same acts we toured with in the ’60s: the Turtles, Felix Cavaliere and the Rascals, the Association, the Cowsills, Gary Lewis and the Playboys, Tommy James and the Shondells, the Yardbirds, Peter Noone, Gary Puckett, etc. A few of the situations that come up on the road are unique to an oldies band, but most are things any band on the road encounters. Even though I’ve been on and off the road for many years, I forget to do some of the most basic things that any traveling musician should do. Most are just common sense, while others may border on obsession: 1. Insure your instruments. In 1968, our van was stolen in Boston with all our equipment in it. Our manager, “The Crook,” had assured us that everything was covered. However, that was not the case. I personally lost a ’60 Les Paul, a ’64 Strat, a Coral... Sign In to Keep Reading

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