Words by MAXO.
Initially, for this article, I was going to take you and the guys at Happy Mag through a gear rundown of what I bring along to my shows while touring, but since I have been doing a lot of solo shows lately with just my guitar and stompbox, it wouldn’t be much of an article. So here are 5 processes/rituals/superstitions I go through for each big show!
Fresh off the release of his latest single Light It Up, Canberra-based artist MAXO shares a list of five pre-gig processes, rituals, and superstitions.
Stringing the Guitar
This one is not too fascinating, but I have been caught out a few times only having one guitar and breaking a string or several on stage, even finishing a set with 2 strings left. I play pretty hard, so I’ve upgraded to thicker gauge strings and changing them before a BIG show is always a must!
I begin this process as soon as I start getting ready for a gig, which is, of course, jumping in the shower. Nothing better than warming up the body and the vocals at the same time. I continue the warm-ups on the drive in and then just before hitting the stage.
Black Skinny Jeans
Or should I say black undies, as my favourite pair of black jeans have begun to wear a hole right through the crotch. It takes me a while to get used to new jeans, as I definitely grow attached and there’s nothing worse when they stop getting made or you can’t find them in the shops anymore. If you find yourself at one of my shows soon don’t look too closely (or do), as you might find yourself staring at some bright pink or pineapple printed undies… if I’ve run out of black ones.
This one’s a weird one and I’m trying to phase it out, but it offers such a comforting feeling for me which definitely helps the nerves, especially for the big shows. You ask what I’m talking about? Well…. I was over in the US on tour at the end of 2017, directly smack bang in the middle of a 10-show tour, I was crashing at my manages place and was helping him with some housework. Long story short, I had a nail hooked with a hammer, it snapped, my Thumb smashed straight into the roof and ripped off my thumbnail (the one I strum with). One fake nail, a bit of superglue and some electrical tape later, the show went on (you can head over to my Instagram for a nice, pretty video of the thumb). It took a long time for the nail to fully grow back and I still think one of my biggest fears is catching my nail on a string and hitting the nerve on the down strum, but I’ll still wear black electrical tape sometimes for a sense of comfort.
Nothing better to calm the wolves and smooth the voice.
MAXO’s new single Light It Up is available now. Listen here.