It’s 6:30 am and the bus is finally pulling up at the hotel. I have called ahead and got the rooms ready, all we need to do is show up at the front desk, collect the key cards and take advantage of a few hours of real sleep. Let me correct that, the lucky ones get to sleep. I have to take the singer and guitarist to a radio station for an interview and a few acoustic songs. We have a van waiting to take us, so we grab the two acoustic guitars, jump in and head to the station. It’s a big market so we agreed to the morning show.
My job is to be the asshole. If the singer doesn’t feel like singing then I am the one who has to make up a story while he pretends he wants to do it. The radio reps know it is a game, we know it is a game yet we play it anyway. The van pulls into the underground parking, we get out and head to the elevator to head up to the third floor. The station manager is there to greet us and let us in on the plan for the 30 minute appearance. We are taken to the station cafeteria to tune up and prepare. I take a seat at the table and see a promo copy of our latest CD lying in their “free” stack. I could cause a scene but I chuckle and shove it mid pile. In my early years I would have flipped out at the station manager, loaded my guys back in the van and headed to the hotel. I have mellowed. I know that if the singer saw it he would be bummed for the entire interview. I also know that if I called the station manager on it then he may not add the next single.
The interview and 2 song performance were a big hit. The band posed for pics with the staff afterwards and made sure each one of them got the time they felt they deserved one on one. Back into the van and they are off to sleep. I wish I could do the same but I had to take the bassist and drummer to do a few print interviews. We would usually just do them at the hotel or later pre-show at the venue but today was a little different. Our drummer had to stop off at the local music store to meet with a few reps. A good relationship with reps is important when it comes to endorsement deals. You would think that a popular musician would be endorsing the product but, in reality, it is the other way around. The artists gets endorsed by the supplier.
There are different level of endorsement deals. A lesser known musician may get their gear at a discounted price. Your mid level acts may get a limited amount of free gear and then have to pay the discounted price for any overage. Your full out stars get what they want and when they want it. The drummer in question was firmly stuck between mid and premium and was always massaging the right people to bring his discounted price as close to zero as possible. He was also able to sweet talk music stores into free sticks or cymbals by hanging around signing autographs and taking pictures.
With the schmoozing and interviews done we are finally heading back to the hotel. It is 2pm and I have the choice of catching an hour of sleep or skipping the nap and advancing the show tomorrow. I will get into what goes into advancing a show another time as I am already way too many words into this one.
I chose the hour of sleep and woke up with the heavy head that always seems to accompany a nap that, while needed, was always way too short. I feel like I have taken years off my life by being shocked awake by an alarm multiple times a day but that is the price you have to pay to keep the show on the road.