As promised, here’s that interview with the Martin Atkins we wrote about last week. This man knows about touring after spending most of his adult life touring with bands such as NIN, Pigface, and Killing Joke. Check out his advice below.
- When should a baby band start touring? (How big should they be before they take the touring plunge?)
It’s difficult for a band to stay in their local market for too long – after a while familiarity breeds contempt – although that might be a bit harsh – you get what I mean. THERE is always something NEW, cooler to see. the BEST way for a band to EXPAND and grow in its home market is to leave for a little while – it enables a ‘going away show!’ sending of pics and video to fans from the road (“Here I am with my head in an alligator!” etc) and most importantly – a welcome home show. EVEN if it’s just for a week – this kind of activity is important. You can start to tour just on weekends (the flower petal plan works well for this) and gradually build up your skills before stringing a few weekends together.
- What’s the best/easiest way for a band to save money on tour?
First – a band can get three jobs each to save money FOR a tour. The best way to save money is to protect the shows you have by making sure as many people as possible show up – this protects the ‘guarantee” (ain’t no such thing!) the shirt sales etc etc – have a tip jar! ($15 a night) have a RANGE of shirts DONT DONT DO NOT stay in hotels – stay with willing fans who will become friends – they will help you avoid horrible mistakes in promotions.
- How often should you contact a venue to get a touring gig?
It’s a fine line between contacting, following up and STALKING. MAKE SURE that you have GOOD relevant INFORMATION to your promoter – like – we play to 85 people a night usually – and although we have never been to Chatanooga – after this first slot opening up for __________we will be able to be a great resource for you promoting other national shows……..
ALSO – make sure you say “WE DONT NEED ANTHING FROM YOU EXCEPT THE OPPORTUNITY TO PERFORM, WIN OVER MORE FANS AND PROVE TO YOU WE ARE worthy of this opportunity. You don’t need to pestering anyone about ‘how many cases of beer do we get???’ NONE!
- What’s the most effective way to promote your gig in a far away city?
Open for a larger more successful local band!
- What kind of budget should a touring band invest into advanced promotion?
The investment should be in strategizing and time. if you have decided to (and succeeded in booking a show in Cleveland – then there must be a REASON?? Put up a digital re-mix tape, ASK fans where they are?? LOOK AT YOUR information on Reverbnation, TopSpin, You Tube etc etc and GO WHERE YOUR FANS ALREADY ARE!! the gig is he culmination of many months of effort – NOT the first event in a chain…….OK???
If you want more great advice from Martin check out his awesome book Tour:Smart.