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Belle and Sebastian's Stuart Murdoch has secrets for surviving while on tour

Belle & Sebastian's Stuart Murdoch performing at Roundhouse in London on May 2011.
Belle & Sebastian's Stuart Murdoch performing at Roundhouse in London on May 2011.
Aurelien Guichard/Flickr

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Belle & Sebastian are not new to the touring scene. The Scottish indie-rock band has been together since 1996 and playing shows around the world for just as long. Stuart Murdoch, the singer and songwriter of the group, gives some insight on how he's managed to keep his sanity while on the road. 

Interview Highlights

The suitcase essentials: 

One of them is gaffer tape. You call it duct tape here and I use it for all sorts of crazy things. 'Cause I hate air conditioning, the first thing I do when I get to a hotel is tape all the ducts. Also I take a sleeping bag everywhere with me because you never where you're gonna get stranded, like in an airport or you're gonna get stuck on the bus. And the best thing to do is get inside your little sleeping bag and just try to disappear. 

How Murdoch relaxes on the road: 

I put on my noise-canceling headphones, I put on my laptop and that'll get me [relaxed]. I have a "Seinfeld" obsession. It feels like they're my other family. And so when times are tough, I gotta watch "Seinfeld" just to snap me out. The episodes are short so if you've got an hour between sound check and the gig, or if it's been a stressful day, I'll spend 30 minutes with the gang... and everything will seem a little bit better.

Who is the enemy?:

When we're on tour, the enemy is never the band, the enemy is never the crew. The enemy is just the tour itself... it's inconveniences. It's just being uncomfortable. It's being in a place you don't wanna be. Some people can play the show, drink until 4 [in the morning], sort of stumble into a stupor and then wake up in time for the next soundcheck at 3 o'clock again. I can't do that. I wake up every morning at 8 o'clock and I want someone to talk to and I want a healthy breakfast. And these things are difficult to get on tour. 

How various crowds react to Belle & Sebastian's live shows: 

Audiences are different all around the world. Japan, we get a super polite audience. Everybody knows the songs. They wait 'til the end to clap. You could go to Brazil or Argentina and they'll rip your trousers right off you. I mean seriously, that actually happened in Mexico. They ripped my trousers right down the back. I just held on to them. 

Belle & Sebastian play The Theatre at The Ace Hotel on Oct 6 and 7. The band's new album "Girls in Peacetime Want To Dance," comes out next January. 

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