On the Road: Casey McPherson
Alpha Rev frontman Casey McPherson gives us some advice for maintaining healthy mental and physical habits while traveling.
“Fast food will kill your mood and your health while traveling, so we stay as far away from that as possible.”
Austin MD: How do you stay healthy on the road while playing multiple shows?
Casey McPherson: Well, touring presents a few different challenges physically and emotionally. Often, you’re sleeping four to six hours a night, and you have very little time to eat. In Alpha Rev, we will stop at Whole Foods once a week and pick up organic, healthy foods for lunches and breakfasts — lots of fruits and veggies. This keeps us from ordering fast food because of time constraints. Fast food will kill your mood and your health while traveling, so we stay as far away from that as possible. I usually workout every morning at the hotel, which keeps my mental capacity up. People don’t realize what being confined to small spaces all day long can do to you if you can’t get out all your energy! Lastly, I call home. A good network connection at home keeps a healthy mind and body on the road.
AMD: What’s your routine on the road, in a general sense?
McPherson: My routine would be 5 to 9 a.m. wake up in my hotel room, and I search Google Maps for the nearest coffee shop. From there, I drink coffee, workout at the hotel gym and head to the lobby for van/bus call. We usually travel five to nine hours a day, load in the venue around 3 p.m., sound check, scarf down dinner and shower and change for the show. We’re done with the show, fan pictures and load out around 1 to 3 a.m. every night, and do it all over again the next day.
AMD: What kinds of things make it difficult to stay healthy as a musician?
McPherson: Things like access to healthy food is a big one. People don’t realize that in rural areas, there’s not much more than a McDonald’s or other fast food place to eat at. Also, sleep deprivation and shaking hands with fans take a huge toll on your immune system. It’s not uncommon for colds, flus and other bacteria/virus infections to hit one guy and run through the whole band by the end of the tour!
AMD: Have you had any medical issues related to your profession? What are some of the health issues you think musicians are particularly susceptible to?
McPherson: The biggest health issue I’ve ever faced on the road is addiction. I had a very serious drug and alcohol addiction, and touring made it incredibly difficult to heal from. As of Oct. 31st, with the help of AA and the county jail (which I don’t recommend), I’m seven years without that! The other medical issues are weight gain and depression. Those, though, can easily be mitigated with healthy food, exercise and a quick call every day to the family at home.
AMD: Have you found any home treatments or have any routines that help you stay healthy with lots of travel?
McPherson: Yes! I use the Alpha Stem for depression and mood stabilization, I take Kavinace to help me sleep and I try to get out of myself and give back. I’m privileged to be on the board of Austin Child Guidance Center, and being a part of an organization like that actually helps me stay a much healthier person. I would love to plug them and say they are an incredible organization that provides mental health services to kids and families in our city. We’re so lucky to have them! Lastly, if you do travel a lot, remember to eat well, exercise, call home, sleep as much as you can and stay grateful. Those five things can do wonders! Safe travels.