Illustrations by Brian Standeford.
If you bring a friend along on tour and walk in on him totally nude from behind, standing at the foot of the queen-size hotel bed where your drummer is sleeping, don't startle him. He might turn his head around to reveal a baby mask that will be tattooed onto your brain for quite some time.
You may find yourself playing for a drunken audience that doesn't care for your particular brand of musical expression. This audience may also have several small, hard objects within reach—the kind that travel nicely through the air. In this case, it's always helpful to have a guitarist who can competently execute a flying jump-kick off a high stage while still holding onto his black Gibson SG. It puts an end to the situation—and does so with a certain Road House flair.
If you're 18 and you're the most sober person in your band, don't accept joints from strangers before you play. You'll probably spend half of your 15-minute set with a broken bass string, heckling your own band from the audience.
If the club has provided you with a mic stand with an extremely heavy base, don't swing it around. You might hit your guitar player in the head. And if you hit your guitar player in the head, don't let him ask the Murder City Devils for medical advice—they will only tell him that unless he lets them kick him in the balls, he will have a brain aneurysm and die. This may cause your guitar player to have a very real, very scary panic attack that ends with a very large, very tattooed, very shirtless Gabe Kerbrat running through a "hospital" with your guitar player swaddled in his arms like a baby before the police show up to inform you that you are, in fact, in an elder-care facility scaring the shit out of everyone.
If you are ever broken down at a gas station in Detroit and a homeless-looking man asks you for your knife, fucking give it to him. He will fix your van with it and get your ass out of there.
If you've been on the road for what feels like an eternity, and your drummer suddenly enters a "Rollins" phase—in which he wears only gym shorts and a psychotic blank stare—don't bother him with sound check. Leave him be. His only response will be an empty beer bottle directed right at your forehead.
When you are watching Mudhoney from backstage in London and standing next to Jack White, J Mascis, Billy Childish, and the Vaselines, you might get the urge to stage dive. Don't. You will only trip over an extremely expensive monitor, causing it to fall off the high stage where it breaks. Not only will this make you look foolish, but the stage crew will be searching for you the rest of the night.
On a related note, don't drink Mudhoney's rider. They don't fucking like that.
If you're deliriously drunk in a London hotel and Jonathan Poneman—the owner of your record label—takes an innocent jab at you, don't throw a pint glass at him. Chances are he's footing the bill for your room, and that's just bad form.
If you ever have the good fortune to open for Motörhead, and one of you gets the nerve to have the following conversation with Lemmy in their dressing room...
You: I just want to say what an honor it is to be playing with such legends.
Lemmy: Well, the problem with being a legend is that no one buys your new album.
You: You have a new album?
Lemmy: Grab a beer on your way out.
... grab that beer fast and get the fuck out of there. Lemmy is finished talking to you.