How Marianas Trench Prepare for a Tour: ‘There Is Only So Much Square Footage in a Suitcase!’
Following pop-rock group Marianas Trench's tour throughout North America in support of their latest album, Phantoms, we only have one question on our mind: What exactly went on behind the scenes?
Before any band hits the road, there are countless things that have to be strategically planned and rehearsed before cramming gear into suitcases and road cases. Basically: Any given live show is not all in a night's work.
Thankfully, Marianas Trench are sharing the secrets behind their long-standing success when it comes to wowing crowds across the globe, something they've been doing since 2001.
So, just how do all four original band members get along in a tour bus after spending almost nineteen years together? Below, ahead of their European tour dates, guitarist Matt Webb talks about how he and the band prepare for a major tour.
Do you have any rituals for when you leave your pets or family for a tour?
I try to cram in a few awesome family days before I leave. This time we hit up the Vancouver aquarium to look at jellyfish, poke squishy aquatic creatures and eat fries. A f----n' dolphin got my fries wet!
Is there a specific way you pack your bags?
Strategically. You need to bring a lot of crap on tour. I own more socks and underwear than any man should own. There is only so much square footage in a suitcase so you really need to think long and hard about the most efficient way to pack. I start visualizing my pack 1-2 weeks before tour, then slowly piece it together.
Weather is the real issue. We’re starting this tour at the end of summer, but it will finish in the fall. What level of jacket insulation do I require? How many shoes can I fit in this suitcase? Will it be overweight at the airport and subject to the $75 oversize baggage fee? Probably. And as I type this, I am sitting in New Jersey as a hurricane passes by. I was not prepared for a hurricane. Either way, there is always Walmart—unless it gets destroyed by a hurricane.
What stays with you in your bunk or lounge at all times?
I have a bus bag with 2-3 days worth of clothing, a gym outfit, running shoes, a warm sweater because the bus is always arctic, 86 different charging cables, stolen hotel towels and slippers. Whatever is on the ground of the bus, I do not trust.
What goes into creating your production?
Thought... and then money.
How do you go about choosing a set list considering there are four different opinions to consider?
It’s brutal. We have such a big catalog now, five albums worth of material. It's a complicated decision. You have to play the singles and audience faves, but we also want to introduce new songs and album tracks that are fun to play. Unfortunately, there isn’t enough time to satisfy everyone, but we certainly do our best.
What essential instruments do you take on the road, and how do you decide which stay back home?
For the last few tours, I’ve been playing exclusively Duesenberg guitars because they are absolutely legendary. They sound beautiful and are built like tanks. The perfect road warriors. I also like to rotate in a few wild cards here and there. I have an original 1963 Gretsch Jet Firebird (same year as Malcolm Young) and a 1972 Fender Telecaster Thinline that absolutely slays. I never leave home without ‘em.
How involved are you with creating or designing your merchandise?
Very involved. Like, we do it all!
What's the first thing you do when you get on the tour bus for the first time?
Stuff my belongings in all the best drawers, jockey for prime suitcase bay position, investigate video game console systems, and then complain about the lack of peanut butter.
What's the first thing on your mind or first thing you do when you arrive in a new city?
Where is the coolest restaurant that is open at whatever time of day it is? Where is the cheesiest tourist spot nearby where I can send a photo of myself to my mom? And where can I get a croissant?
What phone apps do you use to pass the time while traveling?
I try to stay off that damn thing as much as possible.
What's the first thing you do when you get home from a tour, aside from sleeping and laundry?
Touch my naked body to the wall of my shower. You have no idea how incredible it is to not shower in a venue shower. If you want to see dead rodents and get strange rashes from the shower curtain, then road life is definitely for you.
Check out Marianas Trench's European tour dates, below:
November 6 – Newcastle, UK – Riverside
November 7 – Manchester, UK – Club Academy
November 8 – Bath, UK – Komedia Bath
November 10 – Birmingham, UK – O2 Institute2
November 11 – Sheffield, UK – The Leadmill
November 12 – Glasgow, UK – St. Luke’s
November 14 – London, UK – Scala
November 15 – Brighton, UK – Chalk
November 18 – Amsterdam, Netherlands – Melkweg OZ
November 19 – Hamburg, Germany – Uebel & Gefährlich
November 20 – Frankfurt Am Main, Germany – Zoom
November 22 – Munich, Germany – Feierwerk / Hansa 39
November 23 – Cologne, Germany – Luxor