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There are a number of things you need to consider when packing for our upcoming tour: 

SUITCASE: No instruments + no gear = no roadies. No roadies = you’ll be carrying your own suitcase. The more you bring, the more you lug. Most of the suggestions below relate to this.

Specifically regarding your suitcase, there are two ways to go: rolling (which is good on pavement, but annoying up old stone stairs and along cobblestone) and over-the-shoulder (which only works if you don’t have that much in your bag). For 3 weeks, you’ll probably want the rolling bag.

Consider packing for maximum access to everything and minimum disruption when you dig, as you’ll be in a different hotel each night. Also, plan each morning for a “bring my backpack into the club/theater, and leave my suitcase in the van, if it’s a long-drive-no-time-to-hit-the-hotel-before-soundcheck day”

CLOTHES: Austin will give you the scoop regarding our stage clothes. Bottom line: blue jeans are too casual for European stages (here it’s cool to wear jeans and t-shirts on stage, as it reflects a rock band ethos, but there it ain’t).

Often we have no days off (16 days, 16 cities, 16 shows), but I think right now we do have a day off about 2/3rds of the way through. This means one thing: laundry day! Count the number of days before the laundry day, and that’s either how many days you need to pack for (10 pair of socks, underwear, t-shirts), or you need to plan to do a little late-night Woolite scrubbing and towel wringing in hopes of a dry clothes by the time we leave on a short drive day (noon checkout). For this, silk or polyester is far superior to cotton or wool, as it dries in half the time.

Layers are your friend, as we’ll be spanning from the alpine foothills to the shore of the North Sea. Might be cold/rainy/windy one day, sunny the next (although the saying goes “It’s raining, it’s pouring, the House Jacks must be touring”). 

Slip-off shoes are a virtual necessity in Japan (land of the rising sun and frequent shoe removal), but in Germany laces are OK.

In addition, be sure to bring a bathing suit. In at least one place we’ll hit a therme (hot springs) and you’ll need it, until you hit the inner sauna sanctum where you’ll hear “he-ah ve ah nekkid” 

COMPUTER: Almost every hotel has wireless or ethernet, which means endless email, access to your fantasy football team, and essentially free international calling via Skype (I recommend bringing headphones w/ mic built in).

In addition, the rest of us have Mac laptops, and for the last few tours someone’s picked out a new game for us to learn and play while we’re on the road. No, I don’t mean computer sodoku: usually something where we can fill each other with lead or lazer blasts (N.B. We make a point of limiting our WWII European Theater games to Japan, so we don’t blurt out “Die Nazi!” in the middle of a Munich rest stop.

There’s nothing like a good game to pass the time in the van or backstage. Add to this the desire sometimes to watch DVDs (we all bring and swap). This means you’ll want an extra battery.

EXTRAS: camera, video camera, a few snacks (if there are specific dietary things you like, for long drives), medicine (when you need Pepto at 3 am, nothing else matters!), handkerchief (essential in Japan, where they have no paper towels in restrooms, not as necessary in Europe), ipod, books, throat lozenges, DVDs, headphone splitters (so we can watch movies together) 

And, of course, bring your mic. You’ll need that.