The Concert Tour: Tour Plans
Oct. 10th, 1991
Gap or no gap, the tour is a go. I call Billy to find out when we leave. The first date is on Friday the 18th, somewhere in Louisiana. I'm figuring leaving Wednesday night, get there Thursday night, sleep, play Friday night. Wrong. In my experience (remember: the vans, low pay, etc.?) we would pile into a van, and take turns driving straight through until we reached our destination. I have done this to Miami (20 hours), New Orleans (24 hours), Houston (30 hours), Colorado (36 hours), and even once to Seattle (48 hours!). (Yes, I know: those are miserable conditions. But at least the pay was lousy!)
Anyway, wrong. You can't just "take turns" driving a tour bus. With a bus comes a professional driver who gets paid by the day. He drives a maximum ten hours per day, as it should be. So, we won't leave Wednesday night, but rather that morning. Beth is going to be so pleased.
Oct. 11th, 1991
Another message on the machine. I return the call and Billy tells me three things: 1) The record company has agreed to give us "tour support" (i.e. money) so we can definitely have a bus. (I'm thinking "We can definitely have a bus? You mean we might not have definitely had a bus?") 2) The booking agency is trying to extend the tour by booking dates after Austin City Limits, so that we might work our way home (instead of driving without work, which is inadvisable as the band still pays for the bus, driver, fuel and hotels). Though this will cancel a planned dinner celebrating my recent marriage, causing a problem is out of the question. 3) The money from the record company is not enough to cover all the bases we had hoped so Billy is canceling our per diem. The per diem is money paid to cover daily living expenses while on tour. Food is the largest expense; a typical per diem is approximately $25. Billy is in the difficult spot of having to budget a small amount of money and still pay everyone what was promised. But the bottom line is now smaller by a few hundred dollars. The up side, he points out, is that we will hopefully be working more dates, and ultimately grossing more dollars. Billy can tell I'm not happy losing the per diem and offers to reinstate it. A generous offer. But even as a freelance I was never comfortable making more than the others. And besides, I'm still delighted just to be on the gig.
Next: the plot thickens, as Day One gets underway
Day One || Day Two || Day Three, pt. 1 || Day Three, pt. 2
Day Four || Day Five || Day Six || Day Seven
Day Eight || Day Nine || Days 10-11
Epilogue || Feedback