(Check out yesterday’s “future of DGC” post and discussion! I want your feedback about a bunch of things! -ctan)
We met up with Barrett and Ziggy at the WTA offices, which were on a couple of floors of a midtown high rise not terribly far from the BNC and WTA offices. Not quite Rockefeller Center but only a few blocks south of there. Their lobby had modular white leather chairs shaped like kidney beans and photos of Weiland Thomas with Mickey Rooney and Dolly Parton. Elvis. President Kennedy. They were not all his clients, but the photos weren’t labeled to tell you who was and who wasn’t.
Barrett came out to meet us himself and then led us past the cubicles of secretaries and junior agents to his office, which wasn’t a corner office but had large windows and was spacious enough to seat six around a low glass coffee table. There was a magazine in Spanish on the table with a photo of Ziggy onstage in an inset box on the cover. I resisted the urge to pick it up. Ziggy was already sitting in the chair in the deepest corner.
“Can I get you something to drink?” Barrett asked as I shuffled across to sit next to Zig. “Lemonade?”
“Hard or soft?”
He chuckled and buzzed the intercom, but when no one answered he went out of the office and came back with a pile of glasses and an ice pitcher full of lemonade like we were having a picnic. He poured a round and then went back out and returned with a bottle of Jack Daniels and poured a splash into his own glass.
Okay, sure. I poured a splash into my own glass because it would’ve been rude to make him drink alone. (Neither Carynne nor Ziggy had made a move toward the bottle.)
“So I hear Ziggy settled the question of who’s opening,” Barrett said as he sat back in his chair. “I’ll be honest. It won’t be glamorous to be first on the bill in these places where they’ve never heard of you like Venezuela.”
“I’m not exactly taking the gig for the glamor,” I said.
“Yeah, didn’t think so.” Barrett sipped his lemonade.
I rotated my glass in my hand, forcing myself not to drink it yet. “So what do we need to work out, exactly?”
“Contracts. Miss Handley, you’ve seen them already, but they don’t include the opening act part of the deal.”
“Carynne,” she corrected him. “Would you prefer to write a separate deal for that or add it as a rider to this?”
“Well, given that some of the terms will be negated, I think it makes sense to add it as a rider. For example, the standard opener’s deal requires the opening band to pay a lot of their own way, but obviously it would be an utter dick move to require that when if you weren’t opening for us we’d be paying your travel as staff. Although I’m sure there are some who would no doubt try it.”
Carynne’s smile showed her teeth. “I’m so glad there’s no one like that here today,” she said pointedly. “We’ve had our dramas with opening bands before.”
“So I gather.”
“I’m curious, though, how does tour support work with overseas tours? Is the South American album being released on another label? Do they make a financial committment to tour support?”
They were starting to get technical on rights issues and territories. I zoned out for a bit and when I focused again I realized my there was only an inch of lemonade left in the glass. Fortunately they had settled on some kind of understanding and it was time to talk logistics.
“The plan is for about a half-dozen South American dates, and about a half-dozen Japan and Australia, which doesn’t sound like a lot but it’s all a shakedown cruise for what we hope will turn into a major thirty or forty cities the States next year and maybe two dozen stops in Europe, too. So we’re going out with full production, a team of eight dancers–”
“I thought we said ten,” Ziggy interrupted.
“Ten if you include you and the choreographer,” Barrett amended. “And you’ll–” by which he meant me “–need to probably listen to the album and tell me who we need to hire in terms of backing musicians, but guitar, bass, drums, keyboards, for sure.”
“Horns?” I asked.
“The horns on the album are all samples but live, maybe. Backing singers? Maybe. Like I said. You tell me.” He waggled his finger between us. “Both of you.”
“Tomorrow the aesthetician’s in to go over some concept drawings with us. You’re welcome to sit in on those meetings,” he added.
I hated meetings, but I admitted I was curious. “If Zig’s there, I’ll be there.”
And on it went. We eventually came back around to the subject of money, various budgets were hammered on, and Barrett refilled my glass.
In the end everything was agreed but nothing was signed until we got the definite thumbs up from Bart and Christian that they were in–at least as opening band if not as Ziggy’s band. Which gave me another question to bring up about hiring.
“So is this going to be a clean crew? I’m assuming it is, but I don’t know how clean.”
Barrett and Ziggy exchanged a glance that told me they’d discussed it before. Barrett spoke. “No drugs.”
“Does alcohol count as a drug?”
“No illegal drugs, I suppose I should say,” Barrett clarified. “And that includes prescription drugs unless you’ve got an actual prescription. Last thing we need is some light tech falling from a catwalk because he took one too many percoset, you know? A little drinking, okay, but in these South American countries they’re literally fighting drug cartels in the streets for control of the government. We’re steering clear of all that. No weed, no pills, no nothing. Anyone who can’t get on board with that, we shouldn’t hire.”
“Not a problem. I was actually asking because Christian will flat out refuse to come if he thinks it’s going to be a druggy environment. I’m glad I can tell him it won’t be.”
Barrett nodded. “We don’t have to be, like, evangelical about it. But yeah, keep everyone away from temptation. I get one whiff of a roadie with a pot stash or anything and they’re gone. I know what Ziggy went through and I’m not going to chance it.”
“Good.” I felt a greater sense of relief than I expected. Barrett knew what Ziggy had been through and wasn’t going to let that happen again. That was way better than I was expecting. I was expecting a little lip service and then sweep it under the rug, leaving me and Zig to deal with it on our own. Gee, who do you think I got that expectation from? I wondered if Digger was in jail, the hospital, or the morgue yet.
The actual signatures would happen the next day on actual paper after we’d confirmed with Bart and Chris and things had been drawn up to Carynne’s satisfaction.
I still didn’t know what to call the alt prog rock trio but I figured that could be the agenda for a different meeting. Or maybe the right name would just come to me in the middle of the night.