Some people pick up a guitar or a drum kit and think they can be a rock star, When they get a dose of reality they find it's hard work. Most will fail and go no farther than a few parties and gigs for friends. Others advance to the club scene. And, for a select few they get booked on a national tour and rarer than finding a talking cat in a pet shop, one or two of those bands become international acts. They tour all over the world. With them on that tour is the road manager. Veteran tour manager Mark Workman wrote the first book available on that subject. It is called One For the Road : How to Be A Music Tour manager.
Not everyone can play an instrument but they may have a desire to be a roadie or tour manager. Start now. In an interview, Workman said "There's a multitude of reasons I did this book, number one is to make money. The biggest reason is, that when I started in the music business back in 1983, I did not know a thing. I tried to con people the first two or three years into believing I knew what I was doing until I figured it out. It is the first and only book of it's kind" Workman said. In the book an example was when he was working for Keel and there was a show with Dokken. Workman tried to use all of the lights on the board , because he thought he was allowed to. He quickly found out he was wrong and got into a pissing match with Rick Sales , Dokken's manager. Within two years time, they had formed a great business relationship.
For those just starting out, Workman said "Go work for a concert promoter as an intern, or a music management company ,or a music business manager ( accountants), go to work for them", Workman said."You will make little money you won't start out making $3000.00 per week", he further stated. One thing you can do is not get arrested. The reason is when you are on tour and try to get into another country they will not admit you. For example if your band is touring Canada, and you have a DUI "It's a major problem, Workman said. "It's not insurmountable, you have to get a Temporary Residence Permit( TRP), you have to pay $200.00 to get it but you'll get in", If you have drug convictions, big problem in England or Japan", Workman said. It's the knowledge like this that makes his skill as a manager that much more in demand.
No singer is going to go from unknown to The Rolling Stones. Just like no aspiring tour manager is going to go directly to Iron Maiden or KISS. Mark Workman likes hard rock music. The advice in his book is universal. It applies to Shania Twain, to Justin Bieber to Slayer.
What makes this book valuable is that Workman has limited his war stories in favor of practical advice, things that an aspiring tour manager needs to know. Like How to do a tour budget, doing media requests, photo-passes and meet and greets. It is your job to insure the client gets on the phone with the reporter at the allotted time. All of the "how to do this" is written in plain English in the book. If you have never done any of the above, you NEED to know how to do it and this book WILL teach you that.
A tour manager does not need to be bonded. "You want to be picking up the least amount of cash you can, cause if you lose it or it gets stolen, it's coming out of your money", Workman said.
One bit of information in the book that is common sense is the fact that a tour manager is being hired as a problem solver. You do not want to burden the bands manager with mundane problems such as the wrong soda or a lost hotel room key. If you ask him to intervene in every little problem you may be unemployed. Workman said the best candidate for a tour manager is "Someone that is meticulous ,well organized and a self starter. It's not all glitz and glamor." In fact , Workman had recently tell some of the bands that one of their friends had been killed.
If you are a musician, you should read the book just to know what your tour manager is doing and what he or she has to put up with.
Workman will be in Philly later in November with Lamb of God and Testament. If you are going to the show or any show on the tour be sure to say hello to him.
To order the book go to Amazon or better yet Roadcrewbooks.com. .