I thought I'd write you a little letter from over here on tour in America. Life is good so far and we want to write some words of encouragement to all the bands back there in the UK.
We decided to tour America at the beginning of last year and set about planning where we could and organising everything off our own backs. We felt like we were being choked by the UK rock scene and it was becoming frustrating as we fought against not only other bands but venues too. Most people in the Manchester live music scene seemed only out to use the musical reputation of the region to rip musicians off. It's not what music should be about, bands shouldn't be in competition to dominate a scene but should work together to strengthen and enliven local scenes.
It took us over 7 months to plan the tour to the point of catching the plane. We used the internet everyday, bought a black-market list of all the American university entertainment contacts, registered with a cheap-international-calls company (namely Onetel) and then personally phoned every college throughout New York, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts. We kept detailed records of every venue and university we called and followed up every lead we were given until people either told us to go away or offered us a gig.
Half way through the planning we realised we'd need valid work Visa's or face the possibility of getting into some serious trouble – after all, if you're touring then technically you are working. So we paid the money required for Visa application after satisfying the 3 shows a month requirement. After this the gigs seemed to pile up as venues contacted us asking for press packs and CD's. Yes we blagged it sometimes to get our foot in the door but we were fully confident with our product and at the venues which asked for a large crowd we offered ourselves for support just to play our music.
We're now into our second month on tour. It has taken a while to get used to some of the customs, we've had a lot of strain on our relationships too. But at the end of it all we're now playing our songs to audiences throughout East-coast America and riding on the fact we are touring from England. Touring kicks some serious butt, don't sit complacent in the scene waiting for a contract to be pushed through your letterbox – get out there, make some noise and don't listen to people who tell you that you'll fail and should get a 'proper' job. There's always people wanting to hear your songs and who are the start of making this your career and not just your hobby… yes I get charged when I talk about this kind of stuff but I'm not saying this from my bedroom. I'm touring America right now with a group of friends and musicians, playing my own songs to appreciative crowds. Check us out at link and feel free to ask us any questions about self-.backed tours.