Without doubt, one of the silliest gigs and tours mistakes I ever made in my music industry career was when I was 19 years old. I put up some money to help tour a guy called Alex Patterson from a group from the UK called The Orb.
What a mistake that was….
If you think you’ve made some boo boo’s doing gigs and tours wait till you read this. I hope that the lesson you can learn from the following mistake will save you from going crazy one day.
I never really trusted the guy and I had just lent eight thousand dollars to him (which in itself is a pretty silly thing to do). After I leant him the money I insisted that on the night of the show we set the girls up at the door with ticket counters so we had a way of knowing how we were traveling in terms of takings and numbers.
As the night progressed, we received more and more walk ups which was expected because the show pre-sold quite poorly, another reason I was adamant about getting these girls to use ticker counters.
To cut a long story short I had to go to the hotel pick Alex up, take him to a radio station and do a whole bunch of stuff which kept me away from the venue for a couple hours. When I got back to the club, my shifty crooked partner took me into a private room and threw a few thousand dollars down on the table and asked me to count the money.
It was at that moment that the penny dropped and I felt like the biggest idiot in the world!
I’ve been on the road for a while and have been apart of many gigs and tours, however when someone behaves like that - throwing down a massive pile of cash on the table and asking you to count it - it’s a serious sign that something just aint kosher!
As I started counting I began to understand just how stupid I really was. I asked my partner “Do you actually know who these door girls are?” His reply was rather vague.
When I finished counting I realized that there was much less money in front of my eyes than there should have been and my problem was that I had absolutely no way to prove that this guy and his friends at the door had totally screwed me blind!
Ok, I can laugh at it now and make some fun of it but it was probably one of the most stressful nights of my life and it really opened my eyes up to collecting money at gigs and tours. Granted, I was only 19 years old and still on a serious learning curve but I had no doubt in my mind that this guy robbed me blind and took me for a ride with the help of his friends at the door.
Ok, so let’s get to “the moral” and the lesson. The moral of this story is very simple -
Whenever you headline your next set of shows and are responsible for the cash at the door - pay someone you know and trust to handle all the money! Do not make the same mistake I made.
Do not just get a good looking girl to sit there and look good. Do not get a friend of a friend to do you a favor either. Do not get someone from the bar you spoke with who seems like an honest person.
Trust me, if you do that, you will almost certainly not walk home that night with the right amount of money your band made. All these people might be good honest people but unfortunately it takes just one person to ruin the trust.
If you’ve made the effort to promote your own gigs and are relying on that door money to pay your sound guy and everyone else involved - you better make sure you’ve got an honest and reliable person working the door for you.
Be very careful next time you play live and are expecting a strong crowd. If you’ve managed to convince a couple hundred people to part with $10 or $20 to see you, at least be smart enough to make sure that the money ends up in your pocket and not in the pocket of some low life who is stealing from you at the door.
Make sure that on your next round of gigs and tours this doesn’t happen to you
Well, I guess you live and learn….