Touring with a band rules – there are few feelings better than being on the road with friends and playing your music to fresh audiences. When I graduated college I said I’d take 1-2 years off to “do the music thing” before putting on grown-up pants and going to neuroscience graduate school. That was 4 years ago.
Much to my own chagrin, there are no signs of me stopping doing “the music thing” anytime soon. I just keep joining/starting new bands and getting thirstier and thirstier for the road. Of course I insist on playing difficult music that only niche audiences are ever going to like, so it’s not like anyone is chomping at the bit to be my booking agent and bust their ass to make 10% of the $60 that we guilted indifferent punks into ponying up for the show each night. No, that burden falls squarely on the shoulders of me and my bandmates. Touring might be magical, but BOOKING tours is tedious, mundane, and soul-crushing.
There is a fun component of booking, where you become a detective sleuthing around another city’s music scene via Facebook pages, venue calendars, and alt-weekly blogs to find the cool bands, venues, and promoters in a given town. I’ve actually found some of my favorite bands via this process, but the frustration sets in when you attempt to contact these “artists” and find out that every insulting stereotype about musicians being lazy flakes is COMPLETELY FUCKING TRUE. My life is an endless marathon of sending carefully worded messages to bands that get marked as “seen” but never responded to. A curt “no” is always much more appreciated than complete silence, because then I know to move on, instead of waiting for a reply just in case they’ll get back to me the next day.
If you hit up a venue, the venue asks if you have any local bands booked. If you hit up bands, they ask if you have a venue booked. If you hit up a promoter, they’re often too swamped with shows to help out your weird-ass band that is stupidly trying to tour in August, the busiest time of year for DIY touring.
But it’s not all bad – I’m making connections with other weirdos all across the country, and it’s gratifying when a band you admire actually instantly says they think you’re cool and wants to play with you. It also gets easier the more you do it because you make a connection here, a connection there, and eventually you’re only a degree or two separated from someone who organizes shows in any given region. It helps if you return the favor and put on shows for touring bands back in your home city, too.
Now in Friday Flush format –
GOOD: Making new friends across the country.
BAD: Me – “halp me wit show pls, i luv u”
Them- “ seen Thursday at 10:17 AM”
UGLY: It’s summer which means it’s muggy af in Minnesota which means it’s eternal swamp-ass season for full-time cyclists like myself.
YOUR TURN NOW, ‘SUP Y’ALL????