Alien Typewriter

Old school booking agent.

I’d eventually like to write some grandiose manifesto about how to form a team to back an independent musician for guaranteed success in business and life…but in the meantime I have some thoughts for folks out there who either:

a) don’t know what a booking agent does
b) want to know if they need a booking agent / if they don’t
c) which booking agent they need if they need one

These are all of my own opinions and not gleaned from anywhere else, but I’ve been doing it for 3 years now and these are the situations I have encountered.

1. Booking agents book shows for musicians to play and to make money. This involves tour routing (so you’re not driving 10 hours, back-tracking, playing too close to other venues, etc). This takes a lot of time, and each artist’s needs/wants/circles are different. Some like to play every night, some don’t want that. Some tour north, some east, some in Texas, some never in Texas, some all of the above. Some play solo some play with a band. All of them should, ideally, make money doing it. I mean PROFIT, not just break even. That’s the ideal…there’s situations that counter that assertion but they are special and always an investment for a higher goal.

2. You need a booking agent when it gets too crazy to do it yourself. Not that you just don’t WANT to do it yourself…most people who are sane do not want to book themselves (see above, it’s hard) but should do it anyway. When you are at the point where your schedule is too intense and your other artistic obligations are inhibited by the time spent booking (because your shows are successful and your fan base is growing and it’s getting crazy!)…THEN you find a booking agent. Don’t think a booking agent is going to advance your career if you are not ready. You as the artist must to the work and prove that you need the agent…your shows are crowded, your fan base is growing, there’s buzz. Booking agents don’t create buzz; they find venues appropriate for your buzz level.

3. Here’s the deal – sometimes I get asked to book artists because I have a good reputation from working with who I work with. This is fabulous and affirming and flattering. Sometimes I get asked to book artists I have never seen or heard before. Like I said, it’s flattering…but you don’t WANT me booking you if I don’t know you. You want your booking agent to be so 100% on board that they are begging you to let him/her book you. You and your band are probably great, but if I’m not on the train, find someone who is…even if they are not a full on booking agent. Enthusiasm and willingness are worth a ton, even when experience is lacking. Experience comes. Enthusiasm cannot be forced or faked. The other thing artists need to do is pick the agent who has experience with the things they need. I book solo artists mostly…sometimes a band gig comes up, but I don’t typically book toward venues who only take bands. That’s for another agent. I don’t book rock music, or jazz, or country. I book singer-songwriters, who have a particular culture, set of demands, and venue set that I have gotten familiar with over the past few years. Find the right fit! Interview, investigate, ask around. People love to talk about good folks they have worked with and encountered out there.

That being said, and I know I sound cranky but I just want y’all to seek the right fit, I DO love talking about any sort of booking, and I probably do have ideas. Never be afraid to hit or anyone up who works in this business because there will be some good nugget of knowledge gained, I’m sure.

Now go out there kick some butt. We’ll be knocking on your door before you know it.

I’ve been slow at editing this, at blogging at everything. We hit the road for a month yesterday so I spent all week trying to prepare for it. Tying up loose ends at home, mostly, but those never get completely tied. I’m like a beginning shoe-lacer, where I get it to look ok and then after a while it usually comes undone because I didn’t tie it tight enough. Nothing horrible, just hard to plan for a month away. BUT! This tour will be good and we are going to the Pacific Northwest and I packed a HOODIE! Yay!

In the meantime – part 2 of my July 4th escapade in Amarillo (where I am now, actually…again, not still).

My friend and awesome singer-songwriter Katie Lessley does a stellar rendition of my song “Ritalin.” We have been threatening to make something for Youtube since before Youtube was invented, I’m pretty sure…here it is!

I unwittingly caused a ruckus from my very caring and helpful Facebook community by posting this photo and titling it “Busted Door Panel.” Which it is, exactly. We were walking through downtown Springer, NM (maybe I was trudging, I don’t know)…and I have this Hipstamatic app on my phone that makes everything look cooler. Some abandoned building had a vandalized door, and I loved how it looked.

Interesting Door

Now I see how it can be misconstrued as “we had our car door panel busted in OH NOOOO,” but did not have that thought go through my mind at all at the time. Then we drove off and lost service for a while and the next time I checked Facebook people were freaked out. It’s nice to know folks will rally.

No lesson here…other than maybe I need to be more explicit like “THIS IS ART” and “THIS IS AN EMERGENCY.” I’m planning on posting a lot more art and no emergencies, though, so there’s that.

Can you see the outline of some awesome karate kicking girl in that photo?

I’ve posted on this topic before, but hey. You drive, you play, you eat…ideally, anyway. (We always do, we are lucky). Anyway, food and beverage is of big concern when you sit in a car a lot for whatever reason.

I am trying to kick the Diet Coke habit once and for all – the soda habit in general, really. This is hard, because I have been drinking it for years for it’s no calorie attributes. However, now my mind is more focused on beverages with “no poison” attributes as well, so goodbye aspartame and sodium benzoate. I have read my last article about how DC will kill me.

I started on the 1st, and I’m on day 12 now…so far so good. It’s more of a habit thing than a caffeine thing, because I am still drinking copious amounts of caffeine through coffee and tea. Round about 2 PM I am pretty sure I absolutely NEED the lovely fizzy bubbles only a Coca-Cola product can offer, and I can’t drink coffee because it’s HOT and oddly enough NOT EVERYWHERE HAS ICED TEA AAAAH! And I feel stuck, because I don’t want plain water, I want FIZZ! Or flavor! Or flavor AND fizz!

Buying Water in Taos - Frou Frou

Luckily Susan is a road champ and we stopped at the frou frou grocery store in Taos and stocked up on a ton of various beverages that provide either fizz or flavor or both an don’t contain poison. Imagine that. We looked like we were stocking up for a very dry, very yuppie nuclear winter.

While we are trying to eat healthy and not in excess on the road, I make an exception for New Mexico. In fact I make a demand for New Mexico…if we’re in a 20 mile radius of a breakfast burrito, that’s what’s happening. The Taos Diner is our breakfast home and they did not disappoint this time. That’s red AND green.

Breakfast Burrito

Suz went a little healthier and ate tiny little…strawberry-blueberry people? Yum. Look, I’m turning into a food blog. Stop me now.

Breakfast in Taos