And now, time for some actually useful advice from seasoned road dog and tour manager to the stars (the Hold Steady, Drive-By-Truckers, and others—but who’s asking?) Dave Burton. Today’s inquiry: What do you do when the club promoter stiffs you?
There are so many variables out here on the road, so many curveballs both hanging and in the dirt. Sometimes the bingo card is filled by noon, sometimes not. Challenges are teaching moments. It ain’t easy out here. It’s not all sustainable cold brew and farm-to-toilet fare in a mid-century modern setting. Every once in a while, it’s death by decaf and gigatoni on a paper plate. When the road gives you lemons, make limoncello.
Say you’ve spent the winter recording and mastering your magnum opus with money skimmed from your grandfather’s money-laundering operation. This financial windfall has enabled you to record on the best home studio equipment in the back room of the East Nashville Skee-Ball club across the street from your house. You paid some heads to play all the instruments, with you taking all the credit. Thanks to FaceSpace and a legion of former fraternity brothers, you’ve secured your band a string of shows opening for viral sensations the Spectacularly Unremarkables. You’ve been accepted to play a showcase at South by Southwest at 1 a.m. on closing night, so you book some warm-up shows to play en route before hooking up with the proper tour in West Texas a few days later.