Friday, October 24, 2008

Learning From History

You know how they say it takes half the length of time you were in a relationship to get over the breakup? That's how it feels with this tour we just finished. We were gone almost two months so judging by how I am today I'm thinking some time near the end of November I may be normal again.

When we dropped our equipment off at the storage space in Cleveland, I managed to pack up a box of personal items - books, clothes, master tapes, photos, etc - to send back to France. One of these days, when we have some money, I'll break down and get a container shipped over but in the meanwhile, this is my completely impractical way of moving. Anyway, back in Cleveland I have this big box of journals I've kept over the years and with every box I ship, I toss a few random ones in. I can't conceive of ever sitting down and reading through all of them, but one at a time can be interesting.

So the box came yesterday, and instead of unpacking a suitcase full of dirty tour clothes, I cracked it open and this morning looked at one of the notebooks. It's from the period of time just after my first solo album came out, 1996/97.

There's a list in there of things I needed to do after coming home from a tour. One in particular looked way too familiar: Find a way to pay bills (how?).

It isn't always like this, but sometimes you go out, do all that work and come back realizing you lost money. You go through all the things you should have done differently (booked less shows...booked more shows...pushed the merchandise harder...charged more - duh...hit the blackjack tables at Sams Town in Shreveport and doubled our money...planned a tour when there wasn't a) an economic crisis, b) an election, c) any sporting event of any kind).

Another entry on the same list in that old journal goes something like "Stop beating myself up. Don't be so hard on myself. Have more confidence."

So in order to learn from history, and not keep making the same mistakes, the thing is not to wail (as I'm inclined to do) "Why am I still not making money at this?" But instead acknowledge that everyone is in financial distress right now. And feel some sense of accomplishment that we are actually selling records and have reviews all over the place, including this one two days ago on NPR, that puts us alongside Paul McCartney and Oasis (who probably aren't feeling the crunch, come to think of it). And to have no doubts that we did kick ass.


Norma said...

You kicked ass here for sure. I was talking to one of the local record store boys (well, 50-year-old men) yesterday who said it was one of the best shows he's ever been to. It's quickly becoming a 'wrong London' legend!

Non, Je ne regrette rien said...

this topic is so déja vu for me ... #1-I too mine old journals and track my progress (or typically lack thereof) ... and #2 - I would love to have a long chat about the topic of money and bills and the fuckers that rule with them. Mainly because I'm plotting my own fin'l revolution, if the corporations can cry skint and bail out, why shouldn't we? bastards.

In any event, when are we doing lunch or better yet, lots of drinks? ha !

Rosie said...

good review..I had a listen to the track and a great sail about in ya ship...

everyone always feels used up at the end of a tour, you'll be bouncing back before you know it

Non, Je ne regrette rien said...

by the way, I really enjoyed the review on, nice one!

Andy S said...

But you're out there living the rock n roll dream (sorry if that sounds corny) and keeping your head above water, that good enough for me!
(I'm just downloading the All Songs Considered podcast )

Non, Je ne regrette rien said...

well, I'm pissed I didn't go to Chalus last night, I spent 2 hours wandering around in the countryside outside of Jumilhac looking for La Rhue and then I just went home because I was on fumes . fucking hell.

hope it was a good night for you guys.

Carter said...

Agreed. You did kick ass in Dallas. I have waited to see Eric for 30 years, and the two of you together was indeed one of the greatest gigs I've ever had the privilege to experience. It's a night I'll always remember.

"Thanks" seems so inadequate, but I mean it sincerely. And I cannot thank the two of enough.

(Love the new CD, by the way!)

travelling, but not in love said...

Making money? money schmoney I say (or something ridiculous like that).

You're living the dream girl. How cool to be able to go on tour - in the states or europe - and know that tickets will sell, venues will fill, people will want to hear you play. I only wish my life was that great.

KudzuCarl said...

I missed you in Atlanta, I can't find the record, and am therefore no help with your finances. Please accept sincere apologies and tell me where I can buy your CD.

poppyrobbie said...

Glad to hear you're back safe and sound. I hope you two had a good time out there - we certainly had a blast in Austin!

Speaking of which, we've still got to get a copy of "that picture" from you guys haha.

Long live 'Gordon and the Chocolate Firewatch'! Ha!

amy said...

Don't worry Robbie, that photo is coming! Hope you got back into Beaumont? It was great fun in Austin with you two.

Carl, sorry we didn't see you in Atlanta. It was one of the best shows of the tour (but I'd say that about Dallas too, thanks Carter).love the Star Bar. PS you can buy the new album through my website now...

Kim we'll make it to La Rhue together I hope.

TBNIL, it's funny cause I always think YOUR life sounds so glamorous.

Norma I'm glad we made it over the border - very memorable (and my foot is better)

Thanks Andy, and Rosie - you said it!

Andrew said...

If it makes you feel any better, your song "Men in Sandals" has inspired me to want to go out and buy your entire catalog. In addition, you guys played a dynamite show in Philly. Yow.