There was press. Christian did some photo shoot for Esquire or GQ–or maybe it was Details, I couldn’t remember–that was called “Beauty and the Beat,” and it was all supermodels paired with rock drummers and wearing Armani or whatever. He even got to keep the Armani suit, which was tailored for him. He looked good in it, if a bit like a mobster, especially with his hair in a pony tail. And Jonathan did another article about us, this one for Musician, using material that hadn’t been in the Spin piece.
He called to tell me about it. “It was supposed to wait until summer, but they had something else fall through, and it’s running in the issue that’s hitting the stands this week.”
“Cool. I even subscribe to that one.”
“Yeah. It’s the only way to keep up. I love that magazine. So what’d you say? I didn’t realize you’d got enough for a whole ‘nother article.”
“It’s a more technical article. More… musical.” He sounded a little unsure about something.
“Well, it is a more technical magazine. But you know you could’ve called me earlier to check if you were getting everything right, you know?”
There was a pause. Then: “Yeah, I know. But I took a lot of good notes. Your roadies gave me the rundown.”
“Ah.” Another pause. “J. You okay?”
“Oh, yeah. Just a little distracted here, sorry.”
I wanted to call bullshit, because he sounded exactly like me just then, but you know, I didn’t like it when people called me on my shit, so why should he? I decided I just couldn’t let things hang like that, though.
“Um, so, when are you coming up this way again?”
“Dunno. I might be able to get up there in a couple of weeks.”
“You want to go out and look for hot new bands? There are always a ton of shows. It’d be fun. If you come before we start rehearsing again I’ll literally have nothing else to do but show you around.”
He sounded tempted. “Huh, you know, that could work. I’ll have to check my deadlines but it’s a definite idea. At least for a weekend.”
That night I made Carynne go over all the numbers with me. We sat at the kitchen table while waiting for take-out Chinese to be delivered. Christian kind of looked over my shoulder while we were doing it, but didn’t say much, sucking on a beer.
“Okay, so here’s how much you’re going to end up netting from the tour you just did,” she said, showing me the number she’d circled on a piece of gridded computer paper covered with numbers. “You’re ahead of the game a little because Digger already set up your self-employment tax payments. And you already filed for last year and pre-paid the coming quarter. And most of this is going back into expenses.”
“So here’s how much actually landed in your bank account this week.” She showed me another number. It was an impressive number.
“Is that what each of us got, or is that to be divided?”
“Each of you,” she said. The number just got more impressive
“So you’re saying, yes, I can go buy some furniture.”
“Is it enough I could hire someone to buy furniture for me?”
Christian snorted into his beer at that point.
“I mean it. I can’t imagine much I’d hate more than furniture shopping.”
“Dude,” Chris said. “Picking out the couch wasn’t that bad, was it?”
“It took three hours, and we got into traffic on the way home.” I turned around to look at him. “Seriously.”
He shrugged. “See, straight guys just have their girlfriends do it. Go date an interior decorator and you won’t have this problem.”
“Yeah, sure, introduce me to one,” I shot back. I took Chris’s joking as a sign that he was a lot more comfortable with me now that he’d been the night I sprung the news on him.
Carynne tapped her pencil against the paper impatiently. I sat straighter in my chair. “Sorry, ma’am. Next math lesson?”
She turned the page. “This, meanwhile, is how much you stand to gross on this next tour. Gross, mind you. And this doesn’t include concessions.”
It was a much much more impressive number.
“Don’t get excited. Now here’s the rundown of expenses. This is really different from that trip to LA, where the tab was being picked up by a promo budget, and, Digger wangled this much in tour support out of them which isn’t coming out of album sales, but it adds up.”
I followed her finger down the list. Transport, housing, road crew, fees, equipment, insurance… An “A” tour took a lot more logistics and support than a “B” tour like the one we just finished.
I pointed to a line item. “Wait, we’re paying for backline? I thought the promoter usually handled that.”
“Promoter’s handle the rental and charge it back to us.”
“Did we look into how much it would cost to haul ourselves?”
“We did. Not worth it this time around. The sizes on the venues changes too much, anyway. It’s better for each place to provide what fits best.”
“Okay.” Even after all those expenses, though, the estimate at the bottom was also an impressive number.
“So even with being conservative about ticket sales, here’s what we ought to have to play with.” She pointed to the difference. “For example, do you want to rent a better rehearsal space next month to get ready for it, or are you going to keep playing in the basement here?”
“I don’t know. Should we?”
“Rent a place? Well, you’re going to be playing much much bigger stages, and I think it’s going to be worthwhile to practice everything, including equipment changes and if, well, if there’s going to be any…” she hesitated before saying the word, “choreography.”
Christian snorted into his beer again.
She put a hand on mine because I must have looked like I was about to pop a vein or something. “I’m not saying you should do something corny or fake,” she said quickly. “But when the audiences get really big, they don’t see half of what you do. You’re going to need to hit your light cues at least.”
“Light cues,” I said. It wasn’t a new concept to me. It was just the first time I’d really had to think about it for us.
“I’m not saying go all Michael Jackson with hundreds and hundreds of cues.” She put the pencil down. “But you’re talking about at least one important cue per song probably.”
“Okay. It’s not like we don’t have mic cues already, since everyone sings.”
“That’s another thing I wanted to ask you about. Do you want backup singers?”
“Oh hell no.”
“Okay, just asking.”
Chris came and sat then. “How big a place do we need? It’s not like we can actually rehearse with the light tech.”
“No, but you can do a couple of dry runs with him in the room, and map out the likely spots. No pyrotechnics, just lights.”
“Okay, set up a meeting with him. Let’s all meet him as soon as Ziggy gets back. That’s in like a week, right? Does this mean you’ve hired someone already?”
“Digger did, but he went with Remo’s recommendation and it’s the same crew Waldo and I have worked with a bunch of times.”
I didn’t remember a lighting tech from that time I’d gone out with Nomad, but then again that was a B tour, too. I’d never been on an A Tour before and it was starting to become obvious to me that it was going to be a different experience.
“All right. And what about the road crew?”
“Well, it’s mostly settled except for one thing, which is I made Digger hold off hiring a guitar tech.”
“Well, here’s the question. Do you want Matthew? I could get him for you, if you do.”
Talk about a loaded question. Or just one with a double meaning so lewd it almost made me laugh out loud.
I made a snap decision. “No. Get me someone else. But someone with good references. And let me meet them before you hire them.”
Yeah, an A Tour was going to be really different from what I was used to.