Valley of the Sun Tour Diary: The Wonders of Gaff Tape

Today, I wanted to write about something that all five of us share on this trip. Something we all cherish, hold close and respect more than anything. I want to talk about something that holds us all together on a daily basis. The love of Rock & Roll.

Ha ha! Just kidding, I’m talking about gaffer’s tape.

Some of you may be asking what gaffer’s tape (aka gaff tape) is. Others of you may be saying that gaff tape is just like duct tape. To the first group, I will say that gaff tape is a wondrous roll of tape with properties that make it perfect for a touring band’s needs. To the second group, I will say, “Shut up, no it isn’t.”

Gaff tape comes in a large roll similar to duct tape, is generally black (shiny or matte) and adheres to just about anything. The non-stick surface and a Sharpie is a match made in heaven. And when you go sticky side to sticky side, nothing short of The Hulk (or a knife) will get that stuff separated.

But there is one attribute that makes it invaluable: it rips off the roll super easily. Anyone who has used duct tape knows what a struggle it is to get that stuff to part with the rest of the roll. OK, it’s not super hard to do, but when you’re half asleep, in some random European city, with 15 minutes till doors open and an entire merch area to set up, convenience is crucial.

To give you an idea of just how versatile gaff tape is, I want to share with you some of the myriad ways we’ve put gaff tape to work.

The first is makeshift signs. When you have to advertise what sizes we have left in stock on a shirt, gaff tape comes to the rescue.

We also use the black gold to hang our merch when no hooks or other devices are present.

 Sometimes we use it to keep our expensive tour banners from falling over.

Other times, we use it to patch together our expensive tour banners when a certain inexperienced merch guy breaks them.

Or even to just hold a water bottle and weigh down a set list on stage.

These are just a few of the many uses that gaff tape can accomplish. It truly is a tool that can be applied to almost any problem. I’m pretty sure that we could use it to close a grievous wound and I’d have confidence that it’d hold till we reached a hospital. And that’s accounting for the fact that none of us can say “hospital” in German, Italian, French or Swiss.

So here’s to you gaff tape, the one thing on this tour that’s always there for us (at least until we run out).

CityBeat contributor Nick Grever is currently traveling Europe on tour with Cincinnati Rock band Valley of the Sun. He will be blogging for citybeat.com regularly about the experience.

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