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.