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  • Francis James

Before the Tour: Madness

Updated: Jul 29, 2020

I don’t know exactly where to begin here but let’s start with the not-so-great, and end on a high note. Not-so-great was this bullshit booking agent that I reached out to on Facebook. The guy posted in a music Facebook group about being able to book shows and help bands and artists on tours. I think I reached out to the guy in November or December 2018, and spoke a few times via email, and eventually in January 2019 spoke on the phone with the guy, and Jordan too. The guy totally messed up. Horrible service, could barely get the guy to answer emails, phone calls, texts… and whenever he did his response was “didn't you get the updates?”, and when we said “no, we’re not getting any updates at all”, his response was “I’ll send an update later today”. He also charged us $270 and obviously we've never got a refund - even though the "contract" we signed stated that if he didn't uphold his part of the deal, we get a refund. His part of the deal was to guarantee us five shows in the year 2019. Literally said those words in the contract, and he couldn't figure it out. So much for "I got connections all over man". Clown. So we took the hit, and at this point who cares, $270 isn't going to make or break us at this point.

We had planned on our first tour show being at the end of July, and by the time May rolled around, we had no shows booked - in fact, this guy once had said he was booking a show at a venue in Florida, that was closed down… out of business. So we said forget this guy, we’re doing it ourselves. We gave the guy like six markets we anted to hit and he was trying to get us to play shows hours away form those markets.

So we proceed to book all of the shows on our tour, with the help of some awesome friends (especially Corey from Nashville, you rock dude!), some personal connections at venues we’ve played at before, and we got booked some shows courtesy of our bassist "Dude", Dan Morin , who is surprisingly good at interacting with people despite his claims otherwise. Booking these shows was a bit stressful. Not only did we have a time constraint, but some of you guys who know how tough the Northeast is for original music (the NE tends to like cover and tribute bands a little more than original artists). And we were a new band, with no official track record of our own. So we have venues asking us if we can guarantee ticket sales in excess of 50 or 100 tickets in some cases. I think our best turnout may have been Philly, the room was packed and most of the people there were to see us if memory serves correct. It was tough but we did it. Got turned down quite a bit, got put on the back burner, got ignored - you know, the usual "new band trying to tour" stuff.

We had The Delancey in NYC, a venue we had played at before in a prior band. We got The Brighton Bar in Long Branch, NJ - again another place we;ve played extensively in a prior band. I’m a big fan of that venue due to its size and the stage height and orientation in the room. One of my favorite spots to play a good, packed out show. We played in Philly, at the illest living room-sized bar, called The Tusk on South Street, shoved up above another bar called the Woolly Mammoth. That place reminds me of my hardcore days: small rooms, 50 or 60 people packed in like sardines, and all jamming and having a killer time. I like when the space is packed and the energy has to almost overflow onto the stage, and everyone is in it. I thrive on that kind of environment. It’s exciting and allows for intimacy without it getting awkward. Our next leg of the tour was in Tennessee. We got slots at Little Harpeth Brewery and a Memphis spot called RockHouse Live. Our last leg was in Florida, home of Dan “Dude” Morin, our beloved bassist and primary mixing engineer. We played three shows there, one in Orlando at Full Sail University Live, and two shows in Tampa - Brass Mug, and Hooch & Hive. We had a great time at all these spots.

I think by the time the beginning of June had come we had all our shows booked… but we had no official drummer. So now it was time to either find a stand in, or find our guy, our official drummer.

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