Q&A: Life on tour with a rock ‘n’ roll band

October 31, 2014, Article by Tom in Culture, Music

What is life on tour with a rock band really like? We wanted to find out, so had a chat with session musician and songwriter Josh Carruthers…

Tell us a bit about yourself. What do you play and who are you currently touring with?

Josh, 24, based in London, touring keyboard player for pop artist Ella Eyre. You may know her as the voice behind Rudimental’s Brit-award-winning No.1 song ‘Waiting All Night’.

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How did you end up with this gig?

Many years of hard work playing in my own bands since the age of 13, alongside playing keyboards for a few other smaller artists. Then I guess a bit of luck; being in the right place at the right time when a friend who was asked to put together a band for a new unknown artist asked if I wanted to get involved. 18 months later it is now my full time job.

Walk us through your average day – is it all sex, drugs and rock n roll? We hope so.

We’ve spent a good majority of this year on tour so the average day on tour would be as follows: wake up early, go for a run to the nearest football stadium and take a photo (a habit I am alone on but try and keep up to stay fit), shower, lunch, soundcheck, dinner, pre-gig rituals (huddle, prayer followed by our own take on Matthew McConaughey’s chest beat chant as seen in The Wolf of Wall Street), performance, after party, bus call and set off, wake up in the next city. Repeat!

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What’s the best venue or festival you’ve played with this band?

The whole summer has been pretty crazy, so it would be hard to isolate and chose one. Highlights would definitely include performing on the Main Stage at the Isle of Wight and Parklife festivals, plus the MOBO Awards at Wembley Arena. Of course, my lifelong ambition of performing at Glastonbury Festival has to be up there too. The following day however our tour bus was involved in a collision with two other cars in Ireland, catapulting me over the upstairs lounge table and landing with a suitcase dangling precariously above my face. Luckily all involved were merely bruised, a little shaken and released from hospital in under a few hours.

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This was the start of our ‘curse’, including the following…

  • A tyre on the bus falling off in the middle of Belgium (totally different driver) and arriving at Pukkelpop Festival for our stage time by mini bus with seconds to spare.
  • Being stranded in Ibiza because of an overbooked flight.
  • Forgotten passports by various band members and crew.
  • Realising swimming pools and mobile phones don’t mix on three separate occasions by three separate members.
  • My keyboard falling off its stand on the last song of our Sundown Festival performance, one of the biggest crowds of the summer. I somehow managed to get it back on its stand and finish the song.
  • My personal favourite: our tour bus pulled away from UK customs at 4am with one of the backing singers still inside the building in her pyjamas! Luckily we didn’t get too far before realizing.

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And have you met anyone along the way you’ve been particularly star struck by?

After playing Glasto Ella was invited back personally to Worthy Farm by Michael Eavis to perform at a party thrown by himself to thank the local residents. He spent our whole set stood about 2 feet away from my keyboard, clapping his hands and dancing away. That was quite nerve wracking! Also, performing in front of Harry Shearer from Spinal tap live on Sunday Brunch, and in front of the legend that is Lionel Ritchie on Alan Carr’s Chatty Man were pretty scary.

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Away from this band, do you have other music projects on the go? How do you balance these with life on the road?

I’m currently working on my own project, and every day off I have I’m in the studio writing with different people. We’re about to embark on an arena Tour of the USA supporting Bastille which will take us through until the end of November with Ella, and after that we’ve been given some time off until the end of the year. The plan is to hit the studio hard and release some of my own stuff early 2015.

To keep up to date with on tour goings on and my own stuff, check out my
Twitter @JoshCarruthers_ and Instagram @joshcarruthers_