Tour Blog #2 / Industry

Oh man...we jumped right into full tour mode on the first day of shows.

Up at 6:45 am, showered, ate oatmeal and strawberries thanks to Anna, wrote a quick blog entry, and out the door a little after 8. We had to make it to Fresno by 11 to load in for the nooner at Cal State Fresno. Guitar? Check. CD's? Check. Good...we're off. It was a beautiful morning in the central valley. We enjoyed the drive for about 25 miles when I realized that we were headed in the wrong direction. North instead of south. The extra miles, plus a little traffic changed the drive from being a leisurely jaunt through California farmland to a bat-outta-hell mad dash down Highway 99. I made it just in time to hop out of the car, hustle over to the stage, plug in (thanks for the battery, D!) and start no less than three minutes after the scheduled show time. Yep, now this is a tour the way I remember it.

We had a few hours to make our way back up to Modesto...we took some backroads, stopped for burgers and a Blizzard, and got to the Fat Cat Music Hall right on time.

The club was huge...and empty. The audience was really just made up of the other bands and a few folks who came to see them. But the sound was amazing. It was a true pleasure to sing and play in that place, and by the second verse of the opening tune I was really into it.

After the show I talked to one of the other bands for quite a while. The Mainland is a rock band from Yuba City who really have a lot going for them. Their show is put together very well, and they play like guys who have twice their experience.

I got into a conversation with the singer about his goals for the project and he kept mentioning their plan to shop around for a record deal. I couldn't help but offer my opinion in the form of advice...Don't Do It!!!! See, his band already has everything a label might offer at this point. They have gear, a van, a record, a developed sound...for them to sign a record deal at this stage of their career would likely result in the halting of all momentum, and possibly the breakup of the band. This is the typical outcome...totally standard and to be expected.

The conversation called up lots of memories from my own experience with a major label. Honestly, I wouldn't trade it for anything. I am glad to have gone through it, and I don't feel like we were treated any worse than any other young band with a contract. Our A & R guys were great and would have helped us if they could, but the band broke up in the end and we never got to see our record on the shelves or hear it on the radio. As an individual, my life was enriched and enhanced by the experience. For the band, though, it was a disaster.

The lesson? Do it yourself. Make your own records. Book your own tours. Make your own goals and decisions. Build a fanbase. Develop a career. If you deserve attention from the big industry, it will come to you. Don't spend all of your time and energy pursuing their attention...get the attention of fans first. They'll be the ones buying the records and coming to the shows.

Speaking of shows, I'm playing a free one at University of the Pacific in Stockton tonight!


Pet Marmoset said...

Great advice Ehren. Are people really still waiting around for record deals these days? Wow...that's a scary thought.

Can you bring me back an In-N-Out Burger? I'll take a double stack, animal style. Chocolate shake.


gabriel said...

Enjoyed watching you perform at Fresno State the other day, bought your cd and enjoy it quite a bit. Keep on rocking man