239. The Heat is On

We’d had months to get ready, so why were we rushing around like chickens with our heads cut off the final week? That’s just how it is, I guess. Carynne had us doing a list of errands, and there was packing, and laundry, and equipment checks, and eight billion other things, plus phone interviews with some press. It was exhausting and we hadn’t even left yet.

I was just back from the mall, where I’d gone to buy an actual new piece of luggage, the day before we left, when Carynne caught me on the phone.

“So what did you tell Digger about renewal?” she demanded.

“I haven’t told him a thing.”

“So he thinks he’s expired on July first? You’ve got less than a month to figure this out.”

“No, he doesn’t think he’s expiring. You know him. If I never say anything he’ll just carry on like nothing’s changed.”

“Is that your plan, then? Say nothing?”

I was silent.


“Yeah, you got me. I have no plan. So my plan is do nothing. Just keep everything the same until I get up the nerve or he fucks up enough for me to fire him. Why is that a bad plan? It wasn’t really a plan before, I was just being lame. But now that I think about it, why can’t that be the plan?”

She made a frustrated noise. “It’s just a bad idea.”



“That’s not a reason,” I sing-songed.

“Look, I know I’m supposed to confront my shit and be a responsible adult and all that, but think about it. If nothing’s going to change and I’m not ready to actually fire him because you’re not actually ready to take over the job, then where’s the incentive to talk to him? What’s the advantage?”

“Hmph. When you put it that way, you make it sound like my fault.”

“It’s not your fault. And right now, he’s not fucking up.” I lay down on the futon with the cordless phone to my ear. “Is he?”

“I was on the phone with him and Mills about the video, you know. Shit, Dar’, your dad could sell ice to eskimos and make them think it was their idea. He not only got Mills to pay for every cent of the video costs out of BNC’s promo budget, he got Mills to up their commitment for the next one, too.”

“The next one? Video? Or album?”

“Album. He’s already laying the groundwork for your next contract.”

“I can’t think that far ahead.”

“Which is why you need a manager.” She sighed. “I wish we weren’t leaving at the crack of dawn. None of us are good first thing in the morning.”

“But it was that or the red-eye? We end up grumpy at one end or the other.”

“Yeah, true. At least we’ve got a full day to set up and test the light rigs and everything.”

“Should I even ask how much that costs?”

“To rent the venue for a rehearsal day? It’s not that bad, actually. The place in Seattle is a municipal auditorium, used to be an ice rink. It’s not even ten thou for the extra day.”



“I can’t even tell if that sounds like a lot of money or a little, actually,” I said. But I kind of did some math in my head. If a place like that seated five thousand people, and it cost ten thousand to rent the place, and tickets were twenty bucks each, that was… a hundred thousand in ticket sales, minus ten thousand in venue costs… $90,000 profit. Okay, I know that wasn’t really it. There were probably another $10K in expenses for staff, utilities, backline rental, etc… and then advertising, another $10K easily. That left $70,000 to be split between the band and promoter. I couldn’t remember what the split was, but even if it was 50/50, that would be $35,000 for the band, split four ways… I rounded it up to $40k so I could say $10,000 each.

Ten thousand dollars for one night’s work sounded like a lot. Especially when I considered if I worked full time as a sound engineer at a place like the Aquarium, for example, twice that was about what I could expect for a full year’s salary.

That was probably what I’d be doing now, if Remo hadn’t walked into the Cage that night. I’d be living in a rundown student apartment in Fox Point and playing $50 gigs every other Tuesday.

“Daron? You there?”

“Huh? Yeah, just thinking.”

“What are you thinking?”

“That this whole business is kind of nuts.” Just imagine, I thought to myself, if that’s the math on a place that seats five thousand, what is it on a place that seats fifty thousand like Shea Stadium? “And that I need to buy some furniture.”

“Well, that’ll have to wait until you get back.”

“Thank goodness. Quick give me the rundown.”

“Seattle, San Francisco, Santa Barbara, Inglewood, San Diego, Mesa…”

“That’s enough, just kidding, jeez. Do you really have the whole thing memorized?”

“You don’t?”

“I don’t. I have a photocopy of the fax taped inside a guitar case.” Very suddenly, I didn’t feel ready. But it was probably better not to say that. “Call me to wake me up in the morning? What time is the van coming to get us?”

“Van will be there four-thirty a.m. I’ll call you at, what, four?”

“Sounds good. I’m going to take a shower now so I won’t have to later.”

“And the guys are all staying at your place tonight, right?”

“Yup. Even Michelle.”

“Okay. Anyone who’s not there has to get their own ass to the airport.”

“They’ll be here.” Well, everyone but Louis, who had actually flown ahead earlier today. “In fact, I hear people downstairs. I should go see what we’re doing about dinner.”

“All right. See you in the morning.”

“Yup. You sure you don’t want to come sleep on the couch?”

“Yes. I’ll be seeing enough of you as it is. See you at the airport.”

I hung up the cordless with a beep and then lay there, listening to the voices coming up from downstairs. Sounded like Ziggy and Bart. Time to get moving.


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