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The Tour Book: How to Get Your Music on the Road Paperback – July 3, 2007
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About the Author
Andy Reynolds is an international concert tour manager and audio engineer, working on an average of 200 shows a year for such bands as All American Rejects, House of Pain, Machine Head, Nightmares On Wax, Pavement, Roots Manuva, Super Furry Animals, Skunk Anansie, Squarepusher and The White Stripes. Andy has also toured with such acts as U2, Whitney Houston, Manic Street Preachers and the Foo Fighters. His touring experience encompasses stadiums, arenas, theatres, pubs, bars, clubs, outdoor festivals, rooftops, subway stations, cruise ships, mountain sides and very, very muddy fields. He is a Senior Lecturer at Buckinghamshire New University has taught sound engineering and modern tour management at Liverpool University and City College Manchester.
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- the dude in the band who is in charge of keeping everything together
- the dude in the band who keeps his or her eye on money
- the dude in the band who is clueless about everything except the music, but who really cares about the set-up on stage and getting things done in rehearsals
- the budding band manager
- the person who loves music but figures that he or she really might end up as an agent/producer down the road
- the boyfriend or girlfriend who isn't in the band but ends up talking to the people at the clubs all the time and who has to solve every, single, bloody technical emergency
And let's face it. For a young band, there is often really no promoter, really no agent, really no technical director, so musicians end up learning a lot of this stuff whether they want to or not. This book is intelligently designed so that someone can dip in, get the information they need, and use it in the real world.
Finally, this book is fun. Live music should be fun. So that's a good thing, too.
I will tell you straight out that most bands and musicians will never make it to the level of success this book describes. If they do, their managers and the promoters will most likely handle the majority of the areas detailed here.
Having said that.. this isn't a bad book. If you want to be a manager or promoter, this represents a decent look at the business of touring for those that have no experience in it. You'll learn a lot more when you intern or hire on as an assistant to an established management company or promoter, but it doesn't hurt to know a little going in, right?
Positives: I believe chapters 2 and 3 will be the most useful to those interested in being promoters and managers. If you're unfamiliar with some of the terminology and roles, you'll find what you need to know here. Keep in mind that it will be different from region to region (I've never seen a rider like the one in this book, for instance), though. Chapter 6 (Equipment) may also be useful if you know NOTHING about instruments and the equipment bands use - most musicians preparing to tour, however, will already know this.
There are a few chapters I think are unrealistic and truly terrible, however. The biggest of these is Chapter 8 - How to Get the Shows. A line on page 221 reads, "Too many bands try to play live at too early a stage in their formation," then goes on to bash playing "Out-of-the-Way Venues" (page 226). Unless you have a ton of money (either from the lottery or a trust fund, at which point you can buy your way into a tour spot - something else I don't recall reading about), the first thing you are going to do after practicing to the point where you can put on a show is PLAYING SMALL AND OUT OF THE WAY VENUES. At first, it will be to grow your audience; then it will be because they pay. It builds from there. Chapter 8 continues in that unrealistic vein throughout, and was frustrating to read.
Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars. Recommended for future promoters and managers - not recommended for struggling musicians that could better spend the money in other areas. This book will not get you a show.
The author is British and has done a lot of work in the UK and elsewhere as it seems like he knows what he is talking about - touring is hard work and if you do not approach it like that, then you are in for a rude awakening. If you are in a band, then job one is to work on your music and please your audience by connecting with them and telling stories they want to hear.
Job two is to try and make some money off of it - at least don't wind up costing yourself money. The first part of job two is be prepared - make sure you understand what the different jobs are and what the place you are playing in requires you to provide and what they provide. The author can help out a lot with the non-music stuff by helping you help yourself to not make rookie mistakes. The second part of job two is to be on time for your load-in and sound check especially if you are a support act / opening band. Pretty much any band that has made it big got experience and exposure opening for someone else, so if they did it, so can you.
But it all still boils down to practice, practice, practice and perfect your music and everything that goes into your show - including what you should do if something goes wrong.
Oh, and don't forget the towels!
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