Touring insights: In the van with the band

More summer touring insights from those acts plying their trade at a coastal pub or vineyard near you this holiday season ...

Wellington band, The Nudge. Photo / Supplied
Wellington band, The Nudge. Photo / Supplied

THE NUDGE - JAMES COYLE

What's your preferred mode of transport for summer touring?

Definitely light planes, preferably 4 to 6-seaters, but 12-seaters are great too. Last year I caught a great flight from Takaka to Wellington with an adventure pilot called Jim. I had to get to a gig in Hawkes Bay and I chartered his 1976 Cessna and we flew at sunset. It was magic! Most of this summer I will be in my friend Tim Prebble's 1982 Volvo Monarch station wagon - a completely luxurious ride.

Who does the driving and why? And who's not allowed to drive?

The Nudge has had a great tour manager this year called Fraser Ross, a fantastic driver and brilliant folk singer. Our singer Ryan Prebble has almost got his licence, so we will see how he goes behind the wheel. And our drummer Iraia is an expert in doing the hard drives - you know, the early starts. He is a machine.

What's on the vehicular stereo while you travel?

It's usually Ryan's iPod, which will always take you on a journey, but John Lee Hooker's It Serves You Right to Suffer is on high rotate.

If you had a talking GPS in the vehicle with, what famous voice would you want to get you there?

I reckon Isaac Hayes, keeping it really casual and smooth.

What is your favourite summer venue and why?

I love the Leigh Sawmill Cafe, both for the gigs I have played and the gigs I have seen. The Mussel Inn in Golden Bay has the right formula too: treat the bands amazingly, keep them well fed and watered and you'll always get a super friendly night with a great vibe for music and spontaneity.

Favourite spot on your tour itinerary which isn't a venue?

For me it would be Iraia's or Ryan's parents' houses in Hawkes Bay ... chillin' in the hot, hot weather.

Does the band have any New Year's Eve traditions?

This is actually the first New Year's Eve gig we will play together as The Nudge! So I will keep you posted. It's actually my birthday on New Year's Day, so sometimes I have cake at New Year's. I wouldn't mind keeping that one going.

What's the difference between a New Zealand summer beach pub crowd and a New Zealand winter city pub audience?

The summer beach crowd love to hang out after the gig, which I like ... nothing worse than coming out from backstage and everybody has gone.

What's this year's likely encore song. Is it the same as last year's?

I reckon its going to be a psychedelic, fruity version of Shook Me, the first track off Big Nudge Pie. That will definitely make the vibe kick in. So swampy it will be like wading through mud, the air so thick you can cut it with a knife.

Can you really call this work?

Yes sir, boss.

* Dates: Coromandel Gold, Dec 30; Black Barn Vineyard, Havelock North, Jan 7 (with Fat Freddys Drop); Tuborg Summer Sunday, Matakana, Jan 29; Splore, Tapapakanga Regional Park, Auckland, Feb 17-19.

DRAGON - TODD HUNTER

What's your preferred mode of transport for summer touring?

Slow car around New Zealand, re-visiting the places we spent our summers as kids.

Who does the driving and why? And who's not allowed to drive?

Bruce, Pete and I do the driving, Mark [Williams] just doesn't, I don't know why. He drives himself to shows but I can't remember him ever driving the band.

What's on the vehicular stereo while you travel?

Mostly silence. We spend so much time immersed in all types of music that it's very hard to find a consensus about what we want to listen to as a group. We do have a dumb game which goes like this: get the car radio to scan all stations and name the song and band and producer in the first few nanoseconds of hearing a song. We have done this for an hour or so at times. The other impediment to listening to music in the car is that Pete is usually doing his soundtrack work on his MacBook and Bruce is often playing the mandolin or banjo in the back and everyone is singing.

If you had a talking GPS in the vehicle, what famous voice would you want to get you there?

James Robertson Justice.

What is your favourite summer venue and why?

Favourite so far is Rhythm and Vines in Gisborne on NYE, but after this summer tour there will be many contenders for the crown.

Favourite spot on your tour itinerary which isn't a venue?

Lake Taupo. Love that lake. One must go there at least once a summer.

Does the band have any New Year's Eve traditions?

Go out, find the venue, play loud, then get the hell out of there.

What's the difference between a New Zealand summer beach pub crowd and a New Zealand winter city pub audience?

Everything is much looser and everyone seems much happier. Dragon started out playing community halls at beach resorts in the summer of '72 and this tour will be a real homecoming for us.

What's this year's likely encore song. Is it the same as last year's?

We always do Are You Old Enough. There is something final in the way the crowd sings it. It has turned from a salacious tale of Marc and Paul's adventures on Magnetic Island to an anthem about everything that has happened in the last 40 years.

Can you really call this work?

It's a bit of both really. It is a job as we are a working band. We don't have crew or management, so we do everything ourselves. Once we fly from Sydney, get the band to the show, get everything sounding good, get the band fed and watered then we can relax and just play. Then and only then is it not a job, it's the very thing we have all wanted to spend our lives doing and will do so for as long as possible.

* Dates (with Hello Sailor and Jimmy Barnes): Ascension Vineyard, Matakana, Dec 31; Coroglen Tavern, Whitianga, Jan 2; Butlers Reef, New Plymouth, Jan 4; Waihi Beach Hotel, Jan 6; Brewer's Field Mt Maunganui, Jan 7; Mangawhai Tavern, Jan 8.

CORNERSTONE ROOTS - BRIAN RUAWAI

What's your preferred mode of transport for summer touring?

A nice big comfy van.

Who does the driving and why? And who's not allowed to drive?

Naomi our bass player drives 'cos she's smooth on the corners and we all fall asleep. Everyone else drives too fast.

What's on the vehicular stereo while you travel?

Usually Kiwi artists on the iPod shuffle.

If you had a talking GPS in the vehicle, what famous voice would you want to get you there?

Snoop Dogg.

What is your favourite summer venue and why?

Leigh Sawmill or Yot Club in Raglan. Good vibes at both and good accommodation and punters in Leigh.

Favourite spot on your tour itinerary which isn't a venue?

Byronshire, NSW, Australia.

Does the band have any New Year's Eve traditions?

We make a resolution to be better than last year.

What's the difference between a New Zealand summer beach pub crowd and a New Zealand winter city pub audience?

Vibe-wise the beach gigs go off, winter can be fun if it's rammed because it ends up being toasty.

What's this year's likely encore song. Is it the same at last year's?

Man Killa. Same as last year, it's a crowd favourite and we get to have a big jam.

Can you really call this work?

No, it's not work, it's living.

* Dates: Ascension Vineyard, Matakana, Jan 2 (with Fat Freddys Drop and Trinity Roots); Ragamuffin Festival, Rotorua, Jan 28.

- TimeOut

- NZ Herald

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