The information found on this site follows 25+ years of experience in music, and its business, mostly live. The ideas expressed here are those of the artist, the fan, the brand, and the consumer.
I can’t call myself a live music expert unless I have lived through the entire process. From the audience to the stage.
I started making money in music at fourteen, playing drums. In high-school I went to mostly rock shows, like Bush, Smashing Pumpkins, and Silverchair. I got to chill backstage with Silverchair at two shows, one as a paying customer, and one as their guest. I played drums in all the school bands, and went to college on a drumming scholarship. After just two years of college I was ready for the Big Leagues, or so I thought. I moved to Nashville to pursue music, but quickly realized that the saturation of musicians made it hard to turn that into immediate income. After only three months I found myself tour managing. translating (Spanish), and driving for Susana Baca, instead of playing in a band. I still wanted to play music, but felt good about this gig, and knew It would afford the chance to learn a different side of the live show business.
The next gig I took was selling merchandise for Brian McKnight on his Back At One tour. During this time I found myself moving up the ladder in his organization, from tour assistant to personal assistant, and all before twenty-one. Brian then offered a full-time job, room, & board in Los Angeles. I took it, and worked there for almost four years. Still a drummer, it was during this time that I recorded with Brian on his U-Turn album. Learning different aspects of music, and still getting to drum was key to continue to pursue music.
Following an almost four year stint in Los Angeles, I moved back to Florida, and went back to college. I took the every growing computer courses being offered. I learned a good bit about excel spreadsheets, and by mid-semester I had received an offer to tour with Angie Stone, so I took it. This was during the time where online courses were becoming popular, and I was going to have to finish exams while on tour in South Korea. (I don’t recommend this path, as due to the thirteen hour time difference, one of my papers was late reaching the professor.) I tour managed Angie for almost four years, and saw many countries I had never seen before. Soul music is international.
Another four year gig completed, and I was ready for a break from the road. I went to work for Universal Studios in Orlando as a Stage Manager, but during the non-concert season I decided to go on the road again. This time Tour Managing Sean Kingston, and seeing more of the world. Remaining with Sean for just under two years, in 2010 I started touring with Paper Tongues, then Ralphie May, followed by Mint Condition. In 2015, and after fifteen years, I decided to fold the tour management business, and focus on some other ideas that caught my interest.
In off seasons, or the winter, I often drove also buses for artists. Carrying a CDL License for twenty years, it was yet another way to stay around live music, without necessarily playing it. I was mostly a relief driver, or a deadhead driver, and rarely hauled people, but when I did some of them were Sister Hazel, Mary J. Blige, Dave Chappelle, Alice In Chains, and Quest Love. The tour bus industry is a good way to understand routing, and logistics as well as build a network of tour professionals. I recommend learning how to travel if you plan to be in music.
If I were to describe all the areas I have experienced in Live Music, and detail them here, you wouldn’t have questions. Some of those roles included Tour Manager, Stage Manager, FOH, Monitors (IEM’s), Video Background Extra (MTV Cribs, Nelly/Brian McKnight video), Drummer, Singer, Rapper, Merch Man, Bus Driver, Van motorcade driver 2x for a Vice President, Booking Agent, Music Manager, Bartender, Lighting Designer, Foreign Language Translator, Band Rehearsal Director, Producer, Single Picker (Labels call it A&R), and Life Saver. More stories to come.
After handling all that I knew I needed time to search for the next phase, so I laid low, and set up my drums again. The itched remained, and I continued to follow music. Since 2017 I have been renewing my live music expertise, performing solely as a drummer/singer. With over one hundred shows completed as a solo act, my goal is to offer others a chance to navigate the music business world from someone with boots-on-the-ground experience. Never have I not pursued some form of music, and today I entertain crowds as a one-man band. Again, I cannot call myself a live music expert unless I am playing live music.
If you are an artist, don’t become discouraged when you hit a barrier, just try something different that involves music. Keep your vision, but change your plan. The internet provides exposure, but it does not provide development. On-the-job training is what is required in the music industry (Apprenticeship). I produce, manage and develop artists. I also work with venues, and offer Mentor and Consulting services to Artists, Roadies, Producers, and Tour Managers. If you would like to retain my services, it starts with a simple form. In this form you can ask any question about music, and you’ll get an encouraging answer. It is this industry which has has sustained me for over twenty-five years.