The TLP Network

Sharing the Hate, Spreading the Pain: On Point A to Point B

by on Nov.08, 2007, under Articles, Sharing the Hate

There are several factors involved with scenes dying around the United States, and the trend seems to worsen each year. On top of this trend most bands think they can get more exposure and find a better scene by touring around the United States hitting pocket popular cities for a two to three week period. Most of these bands break up by the end of the tour.

When you tour, you basically become a brand new band in each of the new towns that you visit. People will not know who you are for the most part, and they will not come out and see you thinking you are just another local band. While other bands on the bill might treat you well, after having several shows that flop in a row, you will start to hate the tour. You will start to hate the tour until you come up with fake excuses about why those showed failed, and that false hope becomes the lie you want to live with.

Think about how hard it was to generate a buzz about your band in your home town. Now try to create a buzz in large cities with established bands. Now try to create a buzz across the United States without the ability to street team. Now try to create a buzz on driving long hours in cramped conditions, which physically and emotionally drain you. Welcome to your winter tour 2007 or summer tour 2008 where you picked your touring locations because you have a relative/friend in that town where you can crash at their place.

Am I saying don’t tour the entire country? Think about the following before you answer that for me.

Can you name all the venues in your home town?
Have you played them all?
Can you name the venues in the next town 15 to 30 miles over (1 hour drive)?
Have you played them and noticed the same crowd?
How many major cites are within 150 miles (3 hour driving) from your home town?
Can you name the venues in these towns?
Are you on the local radio shows/college radio shows in all these cities?
Are you so well known within 150 miles that your band can sell out a venue?

If you answered No to these questions then you have perfectly good venues to play at in your surrounding areas that you can hit once a month. You do not have to drive across the Country to fight for rank in strange places. Just drive an hour instead on the weekends.

In fact, if you cannot answer yes to all of these questions then there is no point to booking a cross country tour. You can use the massive effort you spend putting this tour together to promote your band in your region. Booking a tour would be on the top of the list of things that breaks the simple rule of “Book smarter, not harder.” Nothing is harder than booking a tour for a band in towns that have never heard of you. Now try to coordinate these bookings in a logical row to make it reasonable to drive from Point A to Point B night after night.

Excuse Cards to not playing locally:

The scene sucks:
If you say that there is no scene in your town for your style of music then you have a choice to make. You can either move to where there is a scene, or you can try to create a scene through the buzz of your rising popularity. When you find your scene of like bands, then you just lost your originality and differences you claim that you have.

People do not like us here:
Perhaps you need to focus on what they do not like. Ask them for reasons and specifics. Usually they will be happy to unload on you everything they see is wrong from their perspective. Most of the time when you ask someone what they thought of your set, they will lie to you. If you find those that did not like it, and will honestly tell you, take that advice seriously.

The existing venues suck:
Have you played them all within your town, the next town over, and within 3 hours of driving? If you keep playing the same two venues and you are not going over well at them, try two different venues in your home town. You will get exposure to different bands, fans, and make new friends.

The existing venues suck, pt 2:
Have you thrown a house party with two other bands? Did no one show up to your kegger?

The local bands suck:
The problems with local bands not helping each other out, not promoting their events, and canceling from the show at the last second are not just in your town. Now, you are relying on bands you have never met to disappoint you in ways you never knew were possible. The sting of a 15 person show is a lot more painful when it takes six hours to get there.

We have nothing better to do:
You could calculate how much money you will spend on touring. You should figure it costs you around 48.5 cents per mile driven, and $15 per person for food per day minimum if you want to eat nothing but junk food. Then you should factor in miscellaneous costs to fix your vehicle when it starts to break down. On top of that, factor in half the venues will stiff you from your guarantee (if you were smart enough to get one in the range of $50 to $150.)

Once you figure in all that money, consider going into a professional studio and recording. When you come out of the studio you will have a professional product to push at shows and to local radio outlets.

or

You could tour the United States, break down on a highway in the middle of no where, play in front of hit or miss audiences, and break up shortly after you get home.

The choice is yours.

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