A start up tour. Warts and all.
Ok, to call 5 dates spread over 2 weeks in Southern Ontario a "tour" might be a bit of an exaggeration. But it was a first for me as a solo artist. I'd played a few of these cities in the past, but usually as one offs, and by invitation of other acts.
I'll level with you here. We're all friends, so I feel like I can be frank with you. I have a fear of booking shows. While, in general, I'm a pretty socially active guy, I have to overcome certain personal anxieties. The idea of calling a bar owner in a town I know little about terrifies me. It's pretty irrational, I know, at my age this sort of thing should be old hat, but alas, here we are.
So I mustered up some courage and booked this thing, with the help of a few people, including Graham Nicholas who I shared 3 bills with, and Anthony Damaio who I shared 2 with. I put together 5 dates in Hamilton, Peterborough, Toronto, London and Guelph.
Touring is such an interesting experience. I learned a lot traveling east with Olenka and the Autumn Lovers. Although comparing the two is really night and day. First off, all I had to do was show up for that tour, Olenka did everything (and the things she does for that band makes me sick to my stomach. No one works harder than that women. No one), secondly, it was a group of 6... actually, I don't even know why I bring it up, they are exceptionally different experiences... less night and day, more like night and truck.
Back to my thing. I did a bit of writing over the last two weeks, and assembled a little tour summary. Some of my points are as follows:
- 5 Shows
- 8 other acts on the 5 night bills
- $200-$250 made overall
- Over half of that went to my guitarist (and driver for 4 of the shows)
- $20- 30 for GO bus travel from Peterborough and to Guelph
- 1 6 pack of Steam Whistle Pilsner for a ride up to Peterborough, my only solo outing
- 0 CD's sold
- 0 T shirts sold
- 8 CD's given away (maybe more)
- 2 shows that felt good
- 2 shows that felt awful
- 1 undecided
So it's not exactly a pretty picture, but it wasn't exactly under my expectations, so no harm there. I found the experience somewhat humbling. It's nice to get an idea of where you stand, and what you have ahead of you... sometimes. It's a long and dusty road, it's a hard and heavy load.
What I really did enjoy on this tour was the amazing acts I had the chance to share the stage with. Please check out Jos. Fortin, Graham Nicholas, Anthony Damaio, Sarah Jane Scouten, Martha Meredith, Little City, Patrick McCauley and Matt Lamers. You can just click on their names, and hear some of the wonderful music they've created.
I was also very happy with the hospitality that was provided by the various clubs. Especially from Dave Tobey at The Spill and Ron and Judith at Artword Artbar. Really wonderful experiences.
And a last thank you to the people who attended the shows! Hopefully you liked what you heard, and you'll try to make the trip out to the next one.
Stay tuned, very soon I'm going to get back out of my comfort zone and book another Southern Ontario tour. Hopefully I up the ante to at least 7 venues this time! At this rate I'll be a star sometime before the end of this century.
Me, Mark and some baby-makin' music
If you have any more questions about these events, or if you just want to talk music, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org