Tuesday, May 20, 2008
The Pains of Booking a Tour
As a person who works in a variety of creative industries, publishing, language eduction, social networking, I can attest that by far and without a doubt, the music industry, especially on the low level I experience it, is the worst goddamn lousy excuse for a business there is. It's also the only industry I work in that has any fun. It is both my favorite and least favorite.
The last tour longer than a week that I booked was when I was 18 and it was quite a project. I didn't think it would be that hard this time. Just 12 shows. Plus my band is gimmicky so it should be easy to book, right?
Well, about 3 months after starting the tour continues to own my life. My freelance output has slowed almost to standstill, my friends are asking where I am, and honestly, I don't have an answer for them. That's the thing about booking a tour. It sucks all your time but in no particularly tangible activity. I guess I spent the last couple of months writing hundreds of emails.
But I write hundreds of emails all the time for everything I do. I don't know what it is about the live music business, maybe the fact that it's funded by alcohol, but finding reasonable human beings within it is difficult. They're out there, sure, but they're out numbered, and the rest waste your time.
For instance, my buddy Sequoia, who recently put out our record on his label, is a good guy. There's even a reality show about how stressed he gets when he puts on shows. But last Friday, a mere 19 days before a show in San Diego that I had had booked through him months ago, I get this message:
That was incredibly frustrating. But how mad can I be? I mean it's not his fault. It happens to me all the time. I'm sure the venue and his friend are retarded. I mean, they're in live music.
So then I was left trying to fill a hole which is really hard to do in southern California when you're a nobody band. I mean, all we really offer a venue is a chance to promote us, which, as I mentioned is easy because of our gimmick. But anyway, I had already spent the previous month filling another hole in the same area, trying both bands and venues.
But then that random stroke of good luck came around, the one that in the past has enabled me to book the Troubador and opening slots on shows with the Dropkick Murphys and Dead Kennedys. Spaceland would have us, one of the most legit shows on the tour.
So now it's just mailing fliers and following up on PR, which has been suffering since it took forever to get this thing booked. Anyway, here are the dates, knock on wood none of them fall through.
5/28 - Boise, Idaho, at the Neurolux with Mr. Gnome. 9 pm 21+ $3.
5/29 - Salt Lake City, Utah, at Burt's Tiki Lounge with The Bueno Avenue String Band, Sound and Shape, and The Butlers of Chateau Greyskull. 9 pm. $7. 21+.
5/30 - Albuquerque, New Mexico, at STOVE with Half Stache, Made in Bangladesh and the 54 Pages of What. 8 pm. $5. All ages.
5/31 - Albuquerque, New Mexico, at Atomic Cantina with Brave New World. 10 pm. Free. 21+.
6/1 - Tucson, Arizona, at Club Congress. 9 pm. 21+. Free.
6/2 - Laguna Beach, California, at the Sandpiper with Ah...Some '80s and Dave Oliviri. 9 pm. $5. 21+.
6/3 - Los Angeles, California, at Spaceland.
6/4 - Long Beach, California, at DiPiazza's. 9 pm. All ages. $8.
6/5 - Long Beach Harbor, California, on a boat. 9 pm. All ages. $10.
6/6 - San Francisco, California, at Kimo's with Thunderhorse, WyldChyld Lady Superior. 9 pm. $tba. 21+.
6/7 - Arcata, California, at the Alibi with thirtythreeandathird. 10 pm. $6. 21+.
6/8 - Eugene, Oregon, at the Samurai Duck with Purple Rhinestone Eagle, Speculative, Harmony Volunteers. 9 pm. $tba. 21+.
Now that I got the bitching out of the way, so much love and thanks to everyone who helped with any of those dates. It's going to be a crazy 3800 miles!
Since, like I said, I ain't been writing much, I'm going to turn this blog into a tour diary while we're out.
As a final thought, how the fuck do people book full national tours? I could imagine booking another week or two on top of that, but how do people do these 90-day marathons? Seriously. Do you just spend every minute not driving or playing on your computer putting out fires on the shows down the road?
Photo: A little pop punk humor from my old band, Question the Answers, on tour in Santa Rosa, California in 2002. Photography and direction by Kevin Dill.