Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Post Tour Rambles- Part One, Books and Art

Quite strange not to be on my way to a show. I feel at loose ends, and wonder if I should even blog. It's just one guy in an empty truck now. There's no show left to play. Here on Vancouver Island I've come north to Port Alberni, and then to Tofino, where I've cut a deal on a small cabin for a couple of days. I've got a bottle of California red, a little BC green, and the mood is quiet. Mostly cold and raining here, so I boot up the lap top and try to catch up. Tour spread sheets are complete. These I have updated daily over the last few months, but today I do a cross check with the paper merch records. Everything adds up, thank goodness. I use a spread I've developed in Excel to track all the shows, contacts, and revenue streams. It's not bad, but I think I could tweak it to make it even more helpful.

I've always kept personal and Tour expense records in a separate, account book with receipt compartments for each, and I keep a fuel/mileage log on the side. This stuff we need for balancing the books on a tour, and later for the taxman. Also, post-tour I do a detailed analysis of where revenue actually comes from, and the nature of the expenses incurred against it. Individual shows cost way more than one might think, so the linking of shows into a Tour make it all possible. In the past I've been able to do rough, on-route calculations as to how well the Tour is actually doing, but now that the Tours are— typically— 65- 100 shows, this is more problematic. Next time out I'll see that I have daily spreads on the expenses in all significant categories as well. I hate the calculator and bucket of receipts part of the wrap-up. I know pretty much what this tour has made after costs. I'll need to figure out the exact costs and gross when I get home. It's important that all financial aspects of a Tour are documented, up-front, and transparent. I never want to quarrel with my friends and associates about money, and great books are the way to avoid disagreements and misunderstandings. Good books maintain good relationships, so they are worth the trouble. It's just part of being a professional.

So what the hell happened to all the art? Oh, you mean actually hanging out and writing songs? I keep a notebook with me and jot stuff down, but as you may have gathered if you have been following the Tour, there's not really much dedicated time out here for an Indy guy. Today I get the National out, put it away again. I'm tired. I want to go outside and wander around. As I walk I'll think of which songs should go on the next CD. I wish my team was a little bigger. Bigger than one. I'd get so much more done. Now I'm going down to the local java joint to sit with the young surfers, buy a late breakfast and look at the ocean.

Tell me I'm not lazy, I'm just tired today. I bet Michael is in Crystal Beach, Ontario, asleep. We've earned a little rest.

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