Bobby Simmons


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?


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.