For those who ever considered going on the road - concert touring, here's an article I wrote a couple years back: It's not pretty but it's hard core truth
Don't anyone take this offensively, I'm taking time from figuring out my float to give some "insight" to anyone who "wants" to work "on the road" read on.......
Do you have a: family, pet, wife, kids, home, disgusting habit, desire for lots of sleep, diet that consists of water and tofu, motion sickness, inability to lift more than 75 lbs (just to name a few), if you ANSWERED YES TO ANY OF THESE, Stay at Home because you won't make it out here and what you had left will be gone when you get back. While you're thinking of your woman getting porked by your neighbor or Fido running into traffic as well as your kids telling you about your long lost brothers who sleep over while you're gone. After whining to us about your $1000 cell phone bill, I don't want you dropping a shackle from the grid, tipping a PA stack over, electrocuting a lighting guy or puking in someones bunk, which may lead to getting yourself in deep horsepuckey.Thers nothing worse than having to pick up a slackers slack. (Especially when preventable)
Think you're a good candidate?? Hardcore???, ready for battle?? Read on
Schools are a good foundation for jobs in "enhanced enviroments", no school can simulate a 18,000 seat bldg or teach you how to lift a console, or pull cable, stack, power up, repair, without hurting yourself or someone else. As well as making it sound good, look good, or get there in one piece. If you have the money go for it. But don't think for a minute a sound or lighting co is going to make you a trade mag worthy engineer overnite. After you spend 30 grand and get your first gig,guess what? You'll still be stacking pa, trusses, pulling cable, loading trucks, driving trucks, busses,etc. There is no substitute for experience, but in a school you will learn some basics. Edicate, Practical Application, and knowing what the f*ck to do when something goes wrong will come with experience. Unless you're ignorant or lazy.
The Big Green Book of Rock'n'Roll
This book is not for sale. It's never been published, you'll never see a copy. Excerpts have been handed down (the same way Moses got his) as follows:
Page 1- The GIG comes first
Page 2 - You will never see anything in this book that tells you this job is fair.
Page 3 - Don't be late, if you are bring a copy of your obituary
Page 4 - First time it's a favor next time its your gig
Page 5 - On the way up, those you stepped on will sh*t on you, as you come back down
Page 6 - The Band will always win
Page 7 - Know what to do when something goes wrong or else.
Page 8 - Be nice. Being an asshole will only get you a window or aisle seat, one way.
Page 9 - No one gives a rats ass how you did it with xyz band.There's a right way, wrong way and our way.
Page 10 - Don't fix it till its broke
Page 11 - The wheel has already been invented, sometimes it needs new tires or a little bit of air,have a workbox ready,and an airhose and know how to use em. Trying to reinvent the wheel may cause you to get locked in a workbox with a hose up your a**. Take Care of your sh*t.
Page 12 - The rumor you started will end - see page 8
Page 13 - Everyone gets paid to do their job. Want more money? Get another job,or be best at what you do, learn your "boss's"job.
Page 14 - Call girls make good money, #OOPS#s get screwed for free, don't get caught with your pants down.
Page 15 - Trust and respect are earned.
Page 16 - Thou shall not lie. Thou shall shut up. Eventually the truth will come out, you may earn respect or get a choice of seats.
Page 17 - Bandmembers wives, girls etc have passes for one reason know who you're dealing with in all aspects.
Page 18 - Don't be stupid, check and double check,or someone may not live to see their next check.
Page 19 - Tour managers /Production managers do exactly what their title says, They arrange travel as well and always have cash and credit cards. Piss them off and you'll find out what else they can do.
Page 20 - Nothing is secret or sacred on the road. We will find out eventually.
Page 21 - ASK IF YOU DON'T KNOW - Just don't ask the wrong person.
Page 22 - What goes on on the road, stays on the road.
Page 23 - Understand politics, but don't get involved with it.
Get the picture???? Eventually you will.....maybe....keep reading......
The prostitution theory and touring (note: both boys and girls can be prostitutes or #OOPS#s for the purpose of this analogy)
Prostitution and #OOPS#s have been around for a zillion years. In the touring industry, the concept of performing gracious, skilled, professional tasks happens daily. Just like cheap #OOPS#s and well paid prostitutes. There is a difference between a prostitute and a cheap #OOPS#. A Top Shelf Prostitute looks good,is clean,smells good,knows how to handle herself, stays out of trouble(or tries), does things in a business like manner,and is loved by many,as well as hated by a few. She gets what she wants because of most of the above and doesn't have to work as hard as a #OOPS#. A good prostitute can charge a premium rate, and if someone doesn't want to pay that premium,she simply walks away with a smile as someone else will have her (remember she's good at business) and she provides a much needed service. If she has to do something out of the norm, she charges more and gets it, if one is not willing to pay they get nothing. A good prostitute knows that the customer always comes first (no pun intended) and will always have work.
A #OOPS# may do things for thrills, bartering or a few quick bucks. She may need a bath, have a history with the health dept in every major city, dress like sh*t, and be physically offending Cops always lock her up, she pisses people off, may have tons of bad habits, but still provides the same service as her upscale rival. She has to work twice as hard,charges less,is a major pain in the ass, has a ton of "baggage" and won't do anything special but basically gets the job done. A #OOPS# has a short life expectancy for different reasons,and usually disappears as fast as they came on the scene. Sometimes a rude awakening will send her off to the clothing store, doctor, makeover shop, and a bathtub, and she may break out of the ragged image she's taken on.It takes twice as much hard work to get "back on top", with early retirement, or physical problems ending her career.
DON'T SELL YOURSELF SHORT. IF YOU WANT TO BE A PRO, KNOW YOUR SH*T AND ACT LIKE A PRO and you will reap the rewards of repeat work, better money and a decent life - DON'T BE A #OOPS#.............
If you really want to work in the touring industry,find a touring related job. Go to a sound company, lighting co, trucking co, pyro company, bus co, and apply for a job. Go to a local show and get on the "Call", get hired, pay your dues and you will be partially on the road to success. Shut up listen and learn and have no fear of manual labor. No one will hire you from job corps,the newspaper,or lottery. If you want this job YOU have to get it. It rarely gets handed down (there are a few exceptions like band members families in "other" types of music but that doesn't last long). Yes, really.
The #OOPS# you put up with in the beginning will educate you for the latter, school or no school. We don't want snivelers,whiners,or crybabies. Ex- Military folks do well on the road and adapt quickly. Wanna know why??? Discipline, familiarity with sh*tty conditions, knowledge of team work and organization. Learning how to go through a chain of command, and above all learning to be an expert in their field, and understanding unit comraderie. There is no grievance board,or company nurse, sick days, or foo foo baskets on birthdays. The tour is the nation, with different ranks, rules and policies. Many are unwritten (go back to the green book files). This Isn't just a job, it's a different way of life. Be good at something. If that something is desirable you will always be working. Don't sell yourself short. If you can't live on what someone wants to pay you, find another job.
You want my job??? Get the f**k off your ass and do something. Don't just sit there, do something, open a phone book, look in a newspaper,or pollstar,or a schedule, and do something. Don't just sit there, DO SOMETHING!
Epilogue: On another note,"touring can be like boyscout camp with girls,liquor,and __________."
After the work is done. NOW GO!