Hey guys, so I've recently been filling in for a band who lost their drummer (sacrilege I know...) and it looks like I'll probably be joining. An opportunity has arisen to go on tour with a reasonably popular US band on their UK tour near the end of the year, but I'm looking for some advice. The most I've ever really done (apart from last week, supporting a UK band in Glasgow) has been standard little local gigs.
The trouble is that this is a "Pay on" opportunity, to the tune of about £900 each + gas, food etc. for the whole 12 date tour. I'm not in a great situation for this financially right now, but it's hard to say no to an opportunity like this. Presumably there would be the chance to sell some merch/CDs to offset the costs somewhat, but I would assume we wouldn't be getting any cuts whatsoever of the door takings or anything like that.
So I'm wondering if any of you guys have experience on these types of tours where you pay to get on the bill, or just touring supporting a much larger band in general? What would your thoughts be if you were in my shoes?
Drummer jokes are optional
Bands buy on to tours so they can get exposure. It needs to be looked at as an investment that might pay off in the future in terms of higher record sales, more merchandise sales and better concert attendance. If you are just filling and you won't be around when any of the potential pay offs are realized, it might not make a lot of sense to do it. However, you can use it as a resume builder - meaning if you want to get higher profile gigs, it would be a good way to network and get your name out there. If you teach, you can use it as a way to get new students "...as seen on tour with xyz". Also, there's nothing wrong with treating it as a holiday... you get to travel around the country and do something fun every night.
As to your question about the door... that will depend on the contract, but often times the support bands are paid something. The buy on just guarantees that the headliner is getting paid, regardless of ticket sales.
I'd recommend being very clear upfront about merch sales on the tour. If you are having to pay in 1000 squiggly things for 12 days, make sure you know what cut of any income generated you get - particularly since you're not a full time member of the band, and I assume you didn't contribute to the cost of making the merch.
Did you hear about the drummer who locked his keys in the car? It took him five hours to get the bass player out.
Do you know how to get a drummer off your front steps? Pay him for the pizza.