So, we’re 7 gigs into our tour – Green Brook, Toledo, Chicago, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Wisner, Boonville – We’re having all kinds of fun, meeting up with so many wonderful friends, and making new acquaintances all over the place.
Bizarrely, 3 of the gigs so far have been in art galleries. That wasn’t planned, it just happened, and for that we’re happy and grateful. Playing music surrounded by great art is a real honour, and a deep inspiration.
The Minneapolis show was particularly good for that – it was at I Ching Art Studio, and was during ‘Art-A-Whirl’ – a city-wide weekend of open studios, with people checking out art and meeting the artists. Geoff Bush, who makes incredible I Ching-inspired art, invited us to play at his studio, via his son Jason, and between them they sorted out a lovely little afternoon soiree, populated by fascinating people. I got a 50 minute improvised recording out of it that, if all goes to plan, will be available on bandcamp before too long, and with physical CDs available from Geoff at some point in the future too… We’ll see how that works out.
So much of this tour was last minute – we weren’t sure how many gigs we were going to be able to do, what with travelling with baby flapjack as a toddler – and we’re amazed at how well the shows have gone. Most of them have been small but perfectly formed, and attendees have been generous to a fault. It’s part of the wonder of this new touring environment that house concerts makes possible, that it’s much harder to actually ‘lose’ money on tour. The costs are so much smaller than the days of sending out endless CDs and posters for ‘promo’, of renting backline or vans, paying tour crew and merch people. It was easy to lose thousands of dollars a week on a tour that was, say, hit by bad weather or that clashed with too many other big name bands being on the road at the same time (or even with a big sports game or reality TV show finale… srsly).
Now, we can go out and travel in a normal car, take our own PA (speaker technology has come SO far in the last 5-10 years, it’s eye-watering), we stay with our hosts more often than not, the internet + a mifi makes booking cheap hotels while driving a cinch, Skype makes international calling as cheap as a cheap thing and facebook and twitter mean that letting people know about shows no longer requires a $300 budget per show for posters, flyers, newspaper and magazine ads…
So we’ve played, total, to less people than we would in a single sold out medium sized theatre, but have made a little money – enough to cover the cost of being here so far – and, thanks to having a new album out, we have a reasonably stocked paypal account for booking hotels, which offsets the cashflow…
No-one’s getting rich and we’ll still need a handful of packed rooms in the 2nd half of the tour – or a flood of new album sales – to go home with any sensible money, but we’re having a great time, breaking even, and telling musical tales to fascinating people. It’s a fabulous way to spend one’s time.by