Hey there everybody, I hope you’re all doing well out there in not-here-land. I’ve not been very dilligent on Bitterman or the podcast through the holidays and into the beginning of the new year. I’m now in the last day of a wonderful visit from my Mom who came in from NoCal and I’m wondering if there is anything worth sharing with you here at PIBC.
This is the dead zone for road folks. Unless you are with an act that planned on working through the winter when they scheduled their tour (you know, those acts that actually book and sell dates more than 3 weeks in advance), are plugged in with a baby band who’s doing the ski lodge circuit or are in the studio helping the band create the fodder for the next touring cycle, you’re gonna be in for a long winter.
It’s tricky to piece together work this time of the year. Local production work, industrials, weekend warriors and Belgian one offs… you try to bring in enough dough to keep the wolves from the door and not book a 3 day job that will cost you a 6 month tour. No management types are showing their hands in January, no band that worked last year is worried about paying their bills this month (unless they’ve seen their credit card bills from Christmas!) and your production managers are looking too but have enough restraint and experience to not look desperate in this month of mirror avoidance and coupon clipping.
Remember this: you’ll probably find something the same time as everyone else does, April and May. When the work (indoor and outdoor) drops by 60-70% in the winter, it seems that the top 10% of the guys get that good work and the $600 a week kids are doing the rest. Does anyone remember per diem? Stay out of the music and gear stores, make your coffee at home, your disposable income is gone.
I’m straying mentally. Just stay willing to work, do the footwork, call people who may have some info or too many things on their plate and in this time of networking, avoid bulk :cc e-mails to everyone you know in the business. Try having a conversation with people in the business without being caught in the fact that you’re only calling about work. The key to always working in touring is your personal network of contacts and there is resentments when you only call when you’re scared… though you probably still will. We’re more alike than different.
Tips for work: use your internet connection to keep up on tour announcements with Pollstar and Billboard as well as other smaller databases; check your previous clients sites for activity and reach out. Use a news aggregator to get multiple info sources funneled into a single readable page. Don’t always talk to the people you know have work, check with people beyond the top ten calls you always make. Take local dates and don’t think you’re above working a labor call or a special event; I’ve made some great contacts with local companies and touring people while working as a stagehand.
Tips for other stuff:

If you’re not listening to the Ricky Gervais podcast, you should. Try episode #2…

Though sometimes annoying and snarky, the Lefsetz Letter e-mail list often has interesting takes on the music biz and some insider information. Try this keynote rant podcast in Manchester to get a taste of Bob’s view…

Read this article on the third morgage taken out on the band korn in the NY Times

There is a podcast coming before my 1st year anniversary… by hook or by crook. Thanks for stopping by after such a long period of inactivity.