Canadian Musician - May/June 2017 - Page 42

By Liam Duncan These days, it’s al- most assumed that bands hit the road and lose their shirts. The image of the starving artist is a tired cliché, but one that many people buy into. In fact, many artists also end up believing that they can’t make money touring. This perceived risk often prevents them from ever trying to hit the road. Before I get into why I think this is false and you should be tour- ing, let me first say that some artists are wise to wait. For example, profitably touring a seven-piece band is very difficult. Only you can know if you’re ready to get on the road and take the financial risks involved. “I’m not a big fan of touring for the sake of touring,” explains Tim Jones of Pipe & Hat, an artist management firm and record label from Winnipeg. “To me, you end up losing money if you’re chomping at the bit to get out there and end up going on a tour that doesn’t make sense.” That said, I’ve been profitably touring with my original band, The Middle Coast, since I was 17 years old. I also interviewed Mur- ray Wood of Edmonton folk-tinged indie pop trio Scenic Route To Alaska. After releasing their album Long Walk Home last fall, they toured for literally three months straight. Nobody would do this if it was losing them wads of money. “The way we did it right off the bat was to do what was eas- iest first,” shares Wood. “We started with smaller tours in Western Canada, built up those markets, and went from there.” Similarly, my band’s first tour was 10 days long and we came out with $400. Our second tour was 18 days long, and we came out with around $800. We weren’t exactly rolling in it, but all of our food was paid for, all expenses covered, and we didn’t really lose any money except in lost wages from our part-time jobs. And we were young, so that didn’t matter. y i d touri ng 3 PART 42 • C A N A D I A N M U S I C I A N BUDGETING FOR THE ROAD