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Tour Manager Profile - Bobby Simmons

on Wednesday, 02 April 2014. Posted in eventric, blog, master tour

bobbySimm

 

How long have you toured and for what bands?

17 years.  I joined my first tour in 1996 at age 20 as a drum tech for Jars of Clay. Living in Nashville, especially during the 90’s, the two dominant music industry genres were Country and Christian or “CCM”.  I spent many years in the CCM industry touring with Jars of Clay, dcTalk, Michael W. Smith, Amy Grant, Kutless and many more. My first Country tour was with Jo Dee Messina as her Production Manager followed by a seven year stint with Little Big Town.

What do People constantly ask you when on tour?

Generally: Do you know the band?  Do you get to travel with them? 

Tour Entourage: Where’s catering?  What’s for After Show food?

What’s Your favorite city?

London

What’s Your favorite venue? 

This is impossible to answer.  I don’t necessarily rate a venue on how easy the load in goes or how difficult it maybe to work at.  I rate them more about the entire experience, especially the actual show it’s self.

I mean, anyone who’s ever been to Red Rocks can’t say the show sucked!  It’s just not possible!  I mean, no matter how hard it is to load a show in and out of there, that all falls by the wayside once the band hits the stage.  At that point, it’s all worth it.

So, all that being said, my top 5 are (because I can’t choose one)

  1. Red Rocks
  2. The Gorge
  3. Royal Albert Hall
  4. Hollywood Bowl
  5. The Paramount Theater Seattle

What do you do when you’re off the road, not working?

Play with Princesses, go to the playground and watch only Disney Junior on TV. I have two children under the age of 4.  So I do pretty much whatever they want me to do.

You switched from being on the road to more of a management role, what do you like, miss with this change?

I loved the road.  I thought it would be a really tough transition, but turns out I really love being at home too!  My life has changed drastically in the past four years with the addition of too little ones that look up to me and ALWAYS want me around.  I mean they even freak out when I have to leave each morning to head to the office!  So being at home and having the ability to see my kids grow up and not miss anything is priceless.

Even as a young child though, I’ve always had a wanderlust spirit.  It’s always been hard for me to sit in one place for a long time.  I have made some great memories in cities across the world and not going back for a while is disappointing at times.  But the way I see it, now I get go to the places I want to now and more on my own terms.

From a business stand point, I miss having the ability as a Tour Manager to go right into the dressing room and get an immediate answer from the Artist about something.  Being in the office, you have to rely on the Artist responding to your email, text, voicemail (because you know they never answer the phone when you call) to get an answer.  It can be very frustrating at times!

Do you make/keep friends from the road?

Absolutely.  Some of my life long friends have been people I have met on the road and/or toured with.

Is it hard to switch to a different tour/band?

Not really.  There’s always that “first day of school” feeling when you’re getting to know everyone, but it doesn’t take long too long to fit in.

Dream tour if you could time travel?

The Beatles or Led Zeppelin.  The Beatles, just to be a part of a phenomenon that had never really happened before in touring in the USA.  I mean, people went nuts when they came over to the US for the first time.  It must have been surreal to be a part of that.

Led Zeppelin, just to be a part of one of the most amazing rock bands in history.

Where do you call home?

Nashville, TN.

Do you have any lucky objects you bring on tour? 

Nope.  Don’t really believe in luck.

Do you keep any odd souvenirs from each tour you go on?  

Nothing really odd.  However, I used to always try to get something unique from each new country I visited.  I still have most of those trinkets in the house.  They always bring back memories – mostly good – of the tour I was on at the time.

My wife hates the little troll I got from Norway.  It freaks her out.  So maybe that’s the one odd souvenir I have!

What the best advice regarding tour for a band just starting out?

I’m not going to say this is the best advice, but it’s my advice.

  1. If this is what you want to do and you feel without a doubt that this is what you were called to do in life, then NEVER GIVE UP.
  2. You have to want it and you have to work for it. Nothing in life is free and that applies to touring and the music business as well. Nothing will ever just be handed to you. You have to work for it.
  3. Know your place and be thankful for every opportunity presented to you. You may hate the headliner that you are opening for or think the dive bar you are playing in should be condemned, but you have to start somewhere. Every experience should be a building block to better your self.
  4. Stay involved in your business! It is the music business after all that you are in. A great Manager, Accountant and Agent are valuable and essential to your success, but your input is valuable as well. If there is something going on that you don’t like or agree with, then speak up!

How long have you been using Master Tour?

Since 2007

How have the responsibilities of a Manager changed since you’ve been in the business?

I don’t feel the overall responsibilities of a Manager have changed in the past two decades or even several decades.  The job of the Manager has been - and always will be - to develop the career of the Artist.  You can’t ever rest on your laurels.  If your Artist gives you a Gold record, turn the next record into Platinum and then Multi-Platinum record.  Now, the tools and resources a Manager has at his or her disposal have definitely changed.  There is this new amazing marketing tool called “Social Media!”  That alone has changed how a band can be marketed and their brand developed.  Technology in general has changed everything.  We are seeing this monumental shift of power from the Record Label to Management.  When the labels used to have all the power, now the Manager has way more leverage to broker deals and guide an Artists career.  Album sales are no longer necessarily dictate what an Artist can and can’t do.

What are your favorite features of Master Tour?

The Mobile App.  In this day and age, I think we can all agree that things change all the time.  The physical tour book has become virtually obsolete.  Even by the time day sheets are all hung up in a venue something has changed.  Getting a tour entourage in the habit of using and going to the app for schedules, venue, travel, hotel and overall tour info is invaluable.  As a Manager, TM, or PM you can make the change from the desktop app, sync, and everyone has the update instantly!

What did you do/use before Master Tour came along?

FileMaker Pro

Which features do you want to see the most in Master Tour?

A full featured Mobile App.  I’m usually never far from my laptop, but I might only have my phone or iPad available and need to make a change to sound check or show time.  That would be extremely helpful.

HeadCount.org on the Road

on Tuesday, 11 March 2014. Posted in blog, master tour

We’ve recently partnered with HeadCount.org, which is a non-profit organization that helps register voters at live music events. They've also been working behind-the-scenes to help musicians and the touring community sort out their health insurance options under the Affordable Care Act. They’ve set up a 24-hour hotline at 919-264-0418 and will help run a workshop at SXSW for anyone with questions about health insurance.

If you're not insured by March 31st, you face a penalty of 1% of your income, so get informed and get covered. To take advantage of anything HeadCount has to offer, including voter registration services for your fans, visit www.HeadCount.org or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

 

dmb soundoff

Master Tour Testimonials

on Thursday, 06 February 2014. Posted in eventric, customers, blog, master tour

“Master Tour has saved me countless hours both at home while advancing, and on the road. The artists love the real time updates and I love everyone always being in the know on the details and changes that happen every day.  Master Tour has become just as essential to my touring as my laptop and cell phone.”
-Jason Hecht - FUN., Guster

 

“Master Tour is an invaluable tool for our tour to stay organized with people in multiple offices and locations.  Our schedule is always changing and Master Tour allows us to keep everyone updated without 8 million questions everyday.”   
-Curt Jenkins- Production Manager - Lady Antebellum

 

"Master Tour is a wonderful tool for organizing our tour and communicating with all 120 member of our staff. It is highly recommended.”
-Alan Floyd - Tour Manager, Beyonce

 

"Incomparable.  Nothing else in the industry holds a candle.  I've converted 30 year tour veterans to using their phone instead of hard copies for day sheets and tour books!  So user friendly that anyone can figure it out!”
-Misty Roberts - Production Coordinator- Metallica, Bruno Mars



“Master Tour by Eventric is AMAZING! gonna be using this on the upcoming Spring 2014 Epic Proportions Tour!!!!”
-Gabe Kubanda - Epic Proportions Tour

 

“Master Tour simplifies road life. It keeps our tour organized and efficient and keeps the band and crew updated on all info.” - Tim Krieg - Tour Manager - Mötley Crüe, Lady Antebellum


“From the Eventric staff to the software, Master Tour Database is awesome.”
Donovan Haney -  Tour Manager - The Expendables

 

“Master Tour is a great tool in the office as well as on the road. We love master tour, it finally gives us a way to keep ALL of our clients information in one place with easy access for anyone who needs details. The customer service from the master tour team has been beyond exceptional.”
Vince Schultz - Bill Silva Management

 

“I used your program on last summers Big Country Tour(80's Scottish Rockers) and again on a Fall run with BoDeans. I will not tour with out you in my computer and phone!!  You make life very easy!! Love it!!”
Jan P. Janvier - Tour Manager

 

“I love Master Tour, been touring with it for over 6 years!  It’s so easy even our bus drivers use it!”
Matthew Petroff - Tour Manager - Jonas Brothers, Jackson Guthy

 

“It is both user friendly and also an economical way to organize a tour…. Master Tour is currently the best thing out there!” 
  - Tim Combs - Winter Jam Tour

 

“I think Master Tour is an amazing program and I tell everyone I see on the road to use it.”  
 - Stuart Berk - Tour / Production Coordinator - Young The Giant

 

“I use Master Tour with every tour I work with.  Wouldn’t leave home without it!”  
- Scott Cadwallader - Tour Manager/Accountant Jack Johnson, Pretty Lights

 

“I’m not even sure how I kept things organized before I was introduced to Master Tour. I have three different artist in play and having all of them in the Master Tour system helps me keep up with routing, guest lists and advancing with out having to shuffle tons of files and paper. I also love that we can move our tours towards being green and not fussing with multiple binders. Building day sheets is easier than ever, and having our staff lists available in the phone app is great for things that happen on the fly.” 

- Adriane Biondo - Production Coordinator - The Black Keys

 

"Master Tour has absolutely changed the way we tour.  From schedules to guest list, everything is done far more efficiently and green then ever before. From the staff to the software Master Tour Database is awesome."  - Donovan Haney - Silverback Management 

 

"Master Tour is hands down the best way I know to keep everyone else in the loop and myself organized on tour.  Band members have instant access to their schedule, management can add guests to the list directly, and I have all my contact info on hand each day.  These factors alone save me tons of time and help keep things on track.  Much more under the hood." - Chris Phillips
Tour Manager- Afghan Whigs, Sky Ferreira, Squirrel Nut Zippers 

 

"Master Tour by Eventric is an integral part of my touring. I have replaced tour books with the app you can download for free. It keeps my band and staff completely up to date on all touring and travel information. I cannot recommend this highly enough to all tour/production managers."
Stephen Shaw-Buckcherry/Backstreet Boys


 
"No matter what size the tour has been, I have relied on Master Tour over the past years to keep my tours organized and rolling.  The fact that Master Tour keeps my clients, crew and management all on the same page with all the information of the tour and the changes makes Master Tour an invaluable tool and I highly recommend it.  I have even started to incorporate Master Tour with my advances for the regional shows with the promoter I am working with now."
- Christopher Fox - Jillian Michaels "Maximize Your Life Tour 2014"-Production Manager/FOH

 

"I’ve been an advocate of Master Tour Database (MTD) almost since its inception.  I’ve used the various versions and watched it grow as did the technology it took to support MTD, especially as industry driven technology grew.  I’m now using MTD on a regular basis and feel that the technology has finally caught up to MTD as MTD has always been way ahead of its time.  Now with the wide use of the iPhone and iPad apps, I even have artists themselves using MTD as a daily tool.  MTD is the only live touring tour database application that can cover all aspects of what tour managers, production managers and tour accountants need to make their jobs streamlined and give all positions on the tour including the support crew the ability dial into the minutia involved with a successful tour.  I applaud Eventric, and I’m extremely happy with the impact it has made on the live touring industry.  Keep up the good work!"
- Judd White Tour Manager - Tour Accountant KANYE WEST

Tour Manager Profile - John Warren

on Thursday, 12 December 2013. Posted in eventric, blog, master tour

Mr. Warren has been a loyal Master Tour user longer than most of us can remember.  Way back in the early 2000’s, John mastered the original FileMaker based “MTD”, and was (and still is) instrumental in helping us iron out bugs and figure out new features.  We caught up with Mr. Warren as he guides the Lumineers around Europe. Here are this thoughts... 

john warren

 

Is there anyone you'd like to work with someday before you retire from TM'ing?

Honestly, I have been very fortunate to have already worked with so many artists and support people that I have admired and respected my entire life, that if I retired tomorrow I would be very content and happy. I guess if had to chose one .... it would be "Spinal Tap" .. I mean, come on ... who would ever turn that down!!!

What do you do when you're off the road?

I am not sure I understand that question ... what is this "Off the road" you speak of????!!!!

Do you have any GO-TO food places while touring?

I am always a fan of seeking out the local culture and neighborhood "Local" hangs. I like to go wandering and find the place that "Smells Good" and has a good vibe, I do keep a database of good finds for future reference. (Note to Master Tour… Might want to add restaurant database … just say’in)

Of course, Starbucks around the globe is always a comforting "Home" beacon to find especially when you are abroad, I know its not the best coffee / tea out there but's always a nice connection when you get home sick.

How long have you been a tour manager? How did you get your start?

Hmmm ... I guess 20+ years now. I started as a Keyboard Tech in the late 70's. I just paid attention, asked a lot of questions and learned by watching and by example from my peers. I eventually started Stage Managing, and then graduated to Production Management and Road & Tour Management. Since most TM jobs entail settling shows and tour accounting, I learned that too, starting on the club level and working my way up-wards.

Who have you worked with in the past?

As I said Above I have been very lucky to have worked with some of the greatest people in this business: Currently: The Lumineers, Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Browne, The Dead & their Various side projects (Furthur, Phil and Friends, Ratdog), Lady Gaga, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Carole King, Brian Wilson, The Beach Boys, Crosby, Stills & Nash, The String Cheese Incident, Keller Williams, Keb Mo, Taj Mahal, and many others going way back. I affectionately call it the "Granola Circuit" .. well except Lady Gaga ... LOL! It has been so very good to me all these years. I was a Crew Member with most, not all, of these artists and worked my up in their organizations.

What's the best venue to play in?

Coming from a Tour Accountant point of View .. any one that's Sold Out!!! Settlements are always more fun when the seats are full. From a Fan point of view I would have to jump on the collective Band Wagon and say Red Rocks, it's like a second home to me.

What's the best city to have a day off in, besides Chicago of course?

I do love Chicago .... Great Food and Great People ... All in All though I would have to Say Tokyo is # 1.

What the best advice you can give to a tour manager just starting out?

- Don't be afraid to ask ask questions ( I am still learning out here)

- Always own your mistakes and learn from them.

- Learn to separate your personal emotions from your on tour ones, I have been yelled at by more than one artist, it's a hard life out here for everyone and you need to be the calm voice of reason in it all. It's a tough skill to learn, but all of the best TM's have it and that's what makes them the best.

- Get on top of your accounting game. Most TM's are expected to settle shows these days, learn about foreign tax, develop a strong relationship with your business management.

- A Great Travel Agent is your best weapon, one that understands your Artists needs and quirks.

- If you haven't come up from the crew realm ... get a good handle on the basics of production, this way you know and understand the needs of your crew. Listen to them.

- TAKE CARE OF YOUR CREW!!! Don't forget your Bus and Truck drivers .... Those folks are the backbone of your tour and your support. (Remember where you came from) This is where things like Mast Tour Mobile are essential to today's touring. You can now keep your people informed 24/7. No more paper day sheets to get lost or tour books that we find under bus cushion or jammed in a workbox. My Tours are all now 100% paperless and 100% Master Tour driven when it comes to information distribution.

- And of course always have Master Tour open on your desktop 24/7


Who's your mentor in the business?

There really isn't just one for me, I learned from all of my TM's as a crew member, I was surrounded by the best of the best in my formative years, Chris Littleton, Tim Bernet, Bernie Boyle, Mike "Coach" Sexton, Chris and Tim Lamb, these were all guys that I looked up to growing up in this business and they all were wonderful examples of how to, get it all done and treat people well out there on the not so easy Road. Today I still reach out to and rely on my Tour & Production Manager brethren, Philip “KY” Cabot, Richard Glasgow, Robbie Taylor & Chris Charucki, for advice, love and support.

What was the first tour that you used Master Tour on?

Well I AM user # 8 .... I was 1st introduced to MTD (as it was called then) back in 2003 when I started as the PM for the String Cheese Incident, I have been a user and believer ever since. Paul and the team were so supportive right from the start and so willing to listen to input from all of us out here using it and implementing our ideas and change requests as they could. Master Tour is really OUR application built by those of us out here in the trenches. I have put every single tour I have worked on since then on it if they weren't already.

What feature do you use the most on Master Tour?

E-Itineraries, E - Day Sheets, Venue Sheets (Yes, I still print these) and of course the best thing to ever happen to an iPhone: Master Tour Mobile.

How is the touring business now, compared to 10 years ago?

It's more of a "business" that's for sure. Bands need to make a living touring these days since music is essentially free now. It used to be the other way around. We toured to sell records. Now most bands grind it out for more days on the road to make a living, which puts a lot more on the shoulders of crews and management.

Without naming names… what’s the most unreasonable task you’ve been instructed to perform as a Tour Manager?

I don't think I have ever been asked anything all that unreasonable, but I have had to pull some rabbit's out of my hat on many occasions. i.e. Checking 85 pieces of Luggage twice a week around the world, with only 7 or 8 passengers on the flight (That’s a load of laughs ..!!) I have had to have furniture rearranged in hotels etc., dealt with artists pets on the road, whacko fans, whacko girlfriends .. You know, the usual day in a TM's life. It it makes your artist's life on the road better and more comfortable then, all the better for you and the tour.

Besides the obvious, cell phones, internet, laptops, how has technology effected the way you tour since you started?

Obviously, for the better, I I think this is where I am supposed to say that Master Tour has changed my life ... Well it has made my job way easier.

Have the responsibilities of a tour manager changed from when you started?

Not really, shifted a bit maybe. In these days of fickle economy's I think we have all been asked at one point or another to double up on responsibilities, especially on smaller tours.

Tour Manager Profile - Solana Rivas

on Tuesday, 12 November 2013. Posted in eventric, customers, blog, master tour

Solana Rivas has been out on the road touring for over a decade now and has traveled all over the world with Beirut, The Faint, and Fischerspooner, to name just a few. We caught up with Solana recently at the Riviera Theatre here in Chicago on one of Animal Collective’s stops on their Fall tour. 

solana rivas

How long have you been a tour manager? How did you get your start?  

I have been tour managing since 2007 and touring seriously since 2001. I started by accident with the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s, who were old friends of mine from New York. They invited me on the road in Europe while I was living in Paris, during one of their first few tours from the Fever to Tell album. What started as a fun trip with friends to help sell t-shirts and load gear, turned into a 3-year gig and what I would now call my career.

Who have you worked with in the past?

I have been very lucky to work with incredible and super-opposite ends of the spectrum, artists such as The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Faint, Fischerspooner, Beirut, CSS, Simian Mobile Disco, Animal Collective & many more…

What's the best venue to play in?

Hands down, The 9:30 Club in Washington DC. They are just so welcoming and they have a really hardworking crew. I also really love the Fox Theatre in Oakland. But, that said, there some really incredible venues spread across America that go the extra mile for bands and that really helps you feel relaxed. As a tour or production manager, you know that you don’t have to worry about your day when you are pulling up to those places.

What's the best city to have a day off in, besides Chicago of course?

Ha ha! Well, Chicago is pretty sweet…But my favorite days off are usually the ones in the middle of America. I am a sucker for the all American kitsch factor so I love stopping in those little mom and pop towns. Either that or some sweet nature spot in the desert or a national park. I was just out with Animal Collective and we had a day off in Amarillo, Texas. We went to eat at a steakhouse that looks like it is from another era. They have a 72 oz. steak eating contest that is just so nasty and so American. Another great stop is White Sands desert. Tour buses can drive there and you can plan a day off in the incredible white dunes of New Mexico.

What do you think of Miley Cyrus?

Honestly…I have had so many conversations about her over the last couple months, and I feel like she is just figuring her shit out. Imagine being sold out to the Mickey Mouse Club and then becoming a tween millionare. I am sure she is just trying to find herself at this point in her life and maybe twerking and “molly” are just part of the way the super rich young stars are doing this. I don’t really have an opinion about her twerking or drug use. She seems to be smart enough to pull her head out of her ass at some point either way. That said, I actually really like her two current singles “Wrecking Ball” & “We can’t stop” from her Bangerz album they are great pop songs that reflect what pop music is right now in the year 2013.

What the best advice you can give to a tour manager just starting out?

Being a tour manager is a demanding, hard job that takes a lot of multitasking and organization skills. I think it's really important to make the band feel like they are being taken care of on a level that doesn’t make them feel like they are being singled out as needy. As a tour manager, you should just do this and it should be a really smooth everyday thing that makes people feel they can trust you and rely on you. Besides that, it is really important to be calm, relaxed, and good at accounting!!

Who's your mentor in the business?

Gabriel Gonzalez. Best dude ever. He always believed I should be doing what I do now. He really pushed me into making this into a career. He is also the guy who got me into using Master Tour. I think I was the 1600th user… Just sayin’.

What was the first tour that you used Master Tour on?

First tour I used Master Tour on was with The Faint in 2007. But I had been on tours that were just starting to use it before that. I have to say, I have been a big fan since the beginning. Even when it was all PC-looking and not as Apple friendly, It is such a genius program for the job all of us on the road are doing. It makes life WAY easier and streamlines things like accounting, tour books etc. and nowadays it has improved 200 fold! I am looking forward to more updates and more improvements.

What feature do you use the most on Master Tour?

Itinerary/Tourbooks, Guest List, etc. Although I would love to start getting into using the accounting section more often and John recently came to se me in Chicago and showed me how to make customized day sheets and add logos so that is exciting. I also just started toying around with the set lists section. I will use this more often on my future tours as well.

Which features do you want to see the most in Master Tour?

I would love to have a merchandise section. It is really the only thing missing from the program from a tour managers point of view. If there was an organized streamlined section for nightly merchandise reports, then band managers could easily log onto the program and see nightly updates, on merchandise, accounting etc. This would save for the hassle of sending this all out after shows every night. Next step would be convincing managers to all use the program ;)

How is the touring business now, compared to 10 years ago?

Oh man, well I think the touring industry has changed SO much even since the mid 2000s it has gotten way more hands on, professional and serious. Not to say it wasn’t before, but all the big changes with major labels or labels in general and the way the music industry does things now compared to the 80s and 90s…I mean, let's be honest, no one is throwing money around, bands are not really selling records, and tour has become crucial to making serious money as a band. Besides working your ass off as a band and putting on a superb live show, a big part of being on the road now is having a kick ass crew that you can trust :) I think bands are smarting up about touring, management, and money managing. Bands are having to sort of take a step back and see the industry as a whole and analyze what will work best for them and where they want to take their music (as far as it being a career) and still maintaining their style and artistic creativity. 

What Does a Tour Manager Do?

on Friday, 01 November 2013. Posted in eventric, customers, blog, master tour

Not sure how to succintly and thoroughly explain exactly what it is that a Tour Manager does? Well, veteran Tour Manager and Master Tour user Andy Reynolds breaks it down, explaining the many hats that a Tour Manager often has to wear.

Andy breaks down everything from Advancing shows to Budgeting to a Tour Manager’s day-to-day workload. Check out the full article here at his Tour Concepts website: http://www.tourconcepts.com/what-does-a-concert-tour-manager-do/ 

Interested parties can even download a complete set of budget, advance, itinerary sheets and example contracts and riders here.