So the trip home was, you guessed it, uneventful. My ass hurt from sitting and we all kind of dozed in and out of sleep on the bus. However I think this is a good time to let folks know why I do what I do with the band on things like these sorts of trips. I’m not “needed,” that’s for damn sure.
I’ve “managed” five a.m. for jeez, like 10 years. I’ve seen them go through so many changes and so many times where I (and they) thought it was all over only to see something keep them going. I’m not the greatest manager. My expertise lies in the Sonoma County region and somewhat beyond. I also am not good because I take rejection very personally when it comes to them. Be it a club that blows us off or a band talking shit, I don’t let it roll off my back. I file it away and await the day for retribution. Those days of payback rarely come.
Managing-or booking more like- a band is an exercise in frustration as well. The first band I managed was an 11 piece funk and soul outfit so that was a real trial by fire. Trying to get 11 free spirits together for a show is nucking futs. Five a.m. are much easier to corral and I think they’ve missed like, one gig in 10+ years which is amazing. No, the tough part of managing them is trying to kick down these doors only to have them be locked solid or slammed back in my face. I’ve seen more bands and clubs come and go in this area than most readers of this blog can name thriving bands and clubs. But we keep on persevering and there’s something to be said for that. I believe five a.m. is a great band and that the guys should be able to make a living playing music. Damn it.
My point that I’m getting to is that when the band gets a great gig or a big break that I had a hand in, I like to be there to see the fruits of my labor (or whatever) come to fruition. Such was the case with the Sister Hazel tour. I’m always scouring newspapers and the internet for bigger bands that are touring through so I can try and get five a.m. on the bill. There’s several classes of clubs here and probably everywhere and you would think that after 10 years in an area, the A-list clubs might cut the band a break but that’s never the case. The big, A-list clubs won’t book you unless you have a big draw. But the other clubs that will book you don’t really draw anybody because everyone seeing live music goes to the big clubs. For instance…if you have the choice to pay $8 to see 4 bands you’ve never heard of (and 3 of the 4 are guaranteed to suck) in a dingy bar or nightclub OR pay say $12 to see a big touring act with a hit song you might have heard…which would you take?
To me it feels like this scene in “Boogie Nights” where Dirk and Reed Rothchild are trying to get their demo’s back from the studio (only we aren’t coked out)
If these clubs would just give us a chance to play in front of a crowd that paid to see music, these people would like us and we could build a draw. Instead, we get relegated to meat markets and shitholes that will be closed within the year and thus mean nothing to an A-venue booking agent.
So again, back to my point. I’ve been trying to book five a.m. at The Independent for like, 4 years. Finally we got on tour with a band headlining there, so we got our chance. Oh, that’s the other thing. Most big bands that tour bring an opening band so local bands get squeezed out Nation-wide. It’s a fun business I tell ya.
The show in San Francisco was outstanding and we all saw a lot of familiar faces. I got drunk and then got home, slept 4 hours and woke up to be with my daughter. Very nice, but very weird feeling. Next stop, L.A.!