Tour Necessities Q&A: Bonnie Blue on See Me Tonight tour
California-based emcee Bonnie Blue is wrapping up her See Me Tonight tour, along with Nat The Lioness, Zzay, Rics Rumble, and Razor, so I thought I’d ask her some questions about it and touring, in general. To give you a *little& bit of background, Bonnie released a collaborative album with Rics Rumble and Razor under the name Bushwall Junkies, back in 2013, called Black Eye Blue, and then released her debut solo album All Things Considered early last year. If you caught Issue 4 of our magazine, you would’ve seen her name and picture in my “Do The Ladies Run This Motha…” article, where I talked about some talented women in music whose names you should’ve gotten to know (it’s not too late). Since then, though, she has been performing a lot (especially throughout California), working on new music, and, basically, kicking ass and taking names.
So, go ahead and read over this Q&A, where you will find her talking about packing for tours, what she’s been listening to on this run, travel necessities, Hot Cheetos and cheese dip, what a full day of touring generally consists of, tour riders, some memorable experiences, touring advice, and more.
TIFFOLOGY: You are currently on the See Me Tonight tour, which started earlier this month and ends two weeks into December. How did this tour come together and what can you tell me about it?
Bonnie Blue: Nat The Lioness and I have been talking about doing a tour for a while and we did a song called “See Me Tonight”, which is one of the songs on our upcoming collab project, so we decided to name it after that. Rics Rumble, Razor and Zzay joined for a few dates just from being homies and great artists, and we have special guest performers unique to each stop, which has been awesome.
Who is with you and what is the relationship like between you all?
It’s me, Nat The Lioness, Razor, Rics Rumble & Zzay. I know Nat, Razor & Rics really well and have worked with them already, and been doing a lot of shows with Zzay recently, so everyone is really vibing and getting along great.
What is the main mode of transportation?
It’s been a combination of borrowed cars, rides and public transportation. It’s been a little hectic on that front and wasn’t the initial plan, but everyone is working it out.
I don’t need to know exact GPS locations, but where are you sleeping during this tour?
It’s a combination of hotels, studios, and houses of friends or artists at every stop.
If any, what’s your least favorite thing about touring?
Keeping a schedule. It’s just hard because I love to travel and just wander and sight-see, but you can’t do that when you have 3 shows in 3 days, 400 miles apart. But I also love the hustle of it all when it is really fast-paced like that.
How many bags did you pack for this road trip?
We each have 1-2 bags and a couple boxes of merch.
When you pack for a trip, do you pack just enough clothes for the amount of days out, or extras just in case?
I bring a mix of stuff and usually don’t bring enough lol. I tried to minimize my stuff to make sure I had room for merch, props and stuff like that, though.
What albums have you been listening to while on the road?
We’ve all been listening to different stuff and sharing music. That has been really amazing. I’m listening to a lot of Oddisee, Mike Eagle, Tokimonsta, Alabama Shakes, and Solillaquists of Sound. We listened to a bunch of 90’s & 00’s music on the way to SF. It’s been different every trip.
Tell me about your top 5 travel necessities.
Comfortable clothes & shoes
Some honorable mentions would be good company, good music, and gas money lol.
Tell me about your top 5 snacks and beverages for the road?
Hot Cheetos and cheese dip made its way into the rotation heavy on this tour lol
When you’re looking for meals on this tour, are you more likely to eat from a fast food spot for convenience or eat at a sit-down restaurant? Also, what type of food have you been craving on this tour?
Definitely depends on how much time we have. We’ve done both. I like finding little local diners to check out and I’m always craving Thai food, but some good home cooked meals along the way, and fresh protein shakes and smoothies have been nice treats from some of our hosts. We definitely try to keep it as healthy as possible, but that is difficult sometimes.
When you’re in the city for the next show, what do you like to do before it’s time to arrive at the venue?
Shower and rehearse, if possible. This past weekend we went from San Francisco to Ventura without showering or anything, and it was a little rough. We woke up and immediately got on the road.
If you can, describe a full day in this tour, from the moment you wake up until you go to sleep.
We generally will wake up and eat something or have some coffee and start getting ready to head out on the road. We’ve had a variety of things happen throughout the day, at different stops, but generally we are freestyling for a while at some point, packing up the merch, visiting local spots we’ve got in mind, and getting outdoors if we have enough time. Then, we get to the show, check in, set up merch and wait to start hosting the show. Nat and I have been cohosting most of the stops. We all perform and we have done quite a few cyphers along the way, either to kick off the show or end it. Generally, will chill for a bit, hang with the fans and whatnot, and then pack up and either go to the studio, a hotel room or wherever we are being hosted for the night.
Do you have a tour rider? If so, what kind of things are on it? If not, will you ever be the type of artist that has something weird and/or extravagant on the must-have list?
There were no tour riders for this tour. I’m not sure. I have a feeling some of the artists on the tour may someday have some weird shit lol. I imagine Nat having all kinds of stuff on it, like crystals, tea, sage, incense and stuff like that… but, then again, she probably will just always travel with that stuff anyway. Rics, I’m guessing would just have like a pack of blunts and pound of herb on his lol. Not sure about Razor and Zzay. And I really don’t know. I’d probably request a solo dressing room, hot tea and nobody disturbing me for 10 minutes before performing.
What merch have you brought to sell?
We have tour tees and sweaters with the artist’s names listed on them, Ganja Chica (our sponsor) tees and tanks, my All Things Considered album hard copies, Nat The Lioness’ Original Thought Jewelry (handmade by Nat), and a selection of vintage and resale clothes picked by Zzay and myself.
Tell our readers a little bit about this tour, and what they can expect at one of the shows.
The energy that the tour has is entirely genuine and creates an awesome show. In addition to the impromptu cyphers and performances from local artists, you can expect to get a great experience and a once in a lifetime show as these shows will never happen the way they are now. It’s a full spectrum music, art and shopping experience.
What songs have you been performing and/or what songs have been getting the most crowd reaction?
I’ve been doing a different set at each stop. I’ve been acting as the DJ at most of the stops, so I’m just selecting stuff at random from earlier projects that never dropped, songs from my album All Things Considered, and a few new songs from the upcoming album. I think the one getting the most reaction is the newest song, called “Wake Up”, from my upcoming album that is not out yet, but I plan to release before the year’s up. Artists and fans alike are really responding to it, so that has been really exciting.
With Razor and Rics Rumble with you, how has it been reuniting to perform as The Bushwall Junkies? Will there be more music with the three of you at any point?
We actually have yet to perform any Bushwall Junkies stuff, which I know is a little surprising, but we haven’t been able to yet. I really hope that we do, and I don’t know if we will make an album. I want to. I think they want to, and I know the fans want it really bad, but coordinating everything to make it happen has been a little challenging. I believe we will, but I might just be wishful thinking.
It might be a bit early to ask, but what has been the most memorable experience while on this tour so far?
That is definitely really difficult to pinpoint. There has been so many moments along the way. Every stop has its jewels and every stop has been unique. Rocking LA with the East of The River camp, West Coast Avengers and Besatree, and chilling afterward, cyphering for like 2 hours with Mad Macks and some other homies. Rocking a show at LIE (Learning Is Endless) studios in San Marcos, hanging with Linda (the owner of Ganja Chica) and then going to IHOP and then the hotel at like 3am, and staying up with Rics, freestyling to beats for a couple hours for me was awesome. I get so much inspiration by being around him. Nat, myself and Marlon D hit the studio after the show in Camarillo and made a track for me and Nat’s upcoming project. That was super fun. Going up to San Francisco with one of our special guests, Marlon D and catching up with an artist from the 805 that I’ve known for several years, Mic Doja, was awesome. The local artists in SF were incredible, S/O to Unlearn The World, One Werd & Herbie One. Rocking at The Lab in Ventura and meeting my #1 fan, a 6-year-old girl named Xochitl, was so priceless to me. She made me a card and drew me a picture and I took some pictures with her. She was so sweet. Seeing Inzom and Kap K (805 residents) rock was awesome. Before we left there, the father of the venue owner made us the best fruit/protein smoothie I’ve ever had. There are a lot.
Most of your stops are throughout California, with one in Arizona and another in Nevada. Is there a particular stop that you’re looking forward to?
I think because each show is so unique, we’ve been looking forward to all of them. But, for me, I’m really excited to rock Arizona. I haven’t performed there in a few years and I have a lot of friends and family there, so I’m looking forward to it.
Whether from the business side of putting a tour together or from the artist / performing side, what are 3 tour-related tips you’d give to other artists?
1) Always be prepared to adapt to changing circumstances, as an artist or tour manager. Things happen quickly and you have to think and act fast in the midst of all the madness.
2) Take care of yourself. It can be difficult, but plenty of water, as much good sleep as possible, eating healthy as much as possible and if you can exercise – do it.
3) Have fun and be cool. Nobody likes an asshole with a temper, especially as a leader or tour manager.