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November, 2013

Touring Musicians

by Webmaster

Last month I wrote about the importance of attitude when you promote yourself.

Today, I'm in a bad mood. I am particularly affected by pain, lack of sleep, eating strange foods, bad weather, minor illnesses, annoying people, and unpleasant surprises.

When I feel bad, either physically or emotionally, I have the luxury of canceling events and staying home until my bad mood passes. I snuggle the dogs, write in my journal, write a song, eat healthy food, nap, take a relaxing bath, and cruise Facebook for uplifting and funny posts.

I have friends who performed in a concert nearby on Friday night. After taking down the sound system and loading their cars and trailers, at 11:30 pm they headed off for a 2-3 hour drive to a motel. They got up the next day and drove another 4-5 hours to a gig, where they set up, did sound check, performed, and loaded up. They spent the night there and had an 8 hour drive home on Sunday.

These people might have had pain, illness, lack of sleep, unhealthy food, bad weather, and no time to relax at all between gigs. They were certainly tired, physically and mentailly, by the time they got home.

What they didn't have was the luxury of being in a bad mood on stage.

Meanwhile, a band mate and I played a private party on Sat. night. Both of us were out late the night before. I was at my friends' concert and my band mate had a gig with other people. Friends of mine were supposed to play with us at the party, but they didn't show up. So, we hauled and set up extra equipement, and we were disappointed: reinforcements didn't arrive.

The show must go on. We did our best, but we made mistakes. The people at the party still loved us. And, we had a good time.

After many years, many bands, and many gigs, I've learned one truth: an audience will forgive you for making mistakes. If you laugh at yourself, the audience will laugh with you and everyone can have fun.

But an audience will not forgive you for being in a bad mood. That mood will tranmit itself to the audience, and they won't want to come back and hear you again.

I'm glad I'm not a traveling musician. I have a hard enough time these days doing 2-3 shows each month. I have the utmost respect for musicians who are on the road. My friends only had to do 2 shows this weekend. Sometimes they do a show in a different town for several days in a row, after traveling for days. They have to, to make it worthwhile. I can't even imagine what that would be like.

And to make things harder, sometimes they get to a gig to find it was canceled, or poorly attended. Even if there are only a few people in the audience, they still deserve the best show you can give them.

So, please, go see musicians who play live. Support the ones who have to go on tour to make a living. And, if they miss a note or two, forgive them.

You might be able to call in sick to work and spend the day in your own bed. Musicians on tour can't.

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