We arrived in Philadelphia in the late afternoon, and upon entering the hotel, I felt a strange sense of deja vu. Turns out, Channing, Quinn and I had not only stayed at this particular hotel a few months earlier, but the lobby was filled with what seemed to be the same wedding party that celebrated back on that earlier tour. Perhaps the groom, who looked exactly like the previous groom, had his earlier wedding annulled, and remarried the maid of honor. Either way, it was a drunk fest, Philadelphia style, with the air weighing heavy with potential fist fights, over who spilled beer on who or who the hell is that 6 foot 5 dude with a millennium mohawk and I’ll bet I can take him down in one punch. Regardless of the danger, I needed another drink, so we all checked in and went to the bar.
With all nine of us taking up two tables, we were probably the loudest of the bunch that crammed into that little hotel lounge. The laughs continued as we started throwing out new ideas for the kid’s rock show. I thought it would be really funny to introduce ourselves to the kids like this: “What’s up all you Mother fffffathers!” And someone suggested we should do it before a break. “We’re going to take a short break - Now all you motherrr ffffathers get out and buy some merch!” Perhaps it was the bad bourbon or the encouragement from the rest of the guys, but I was convinced that this would be a really funny, cool thing to do. I’ll try it at the World Cafe Family show tomorrow morning!
Fortunately I came to my senses, and did not yell ‘mother fathers’ on the mic at the kid’s show.
This was the last show on the tour, and it was a kid’s show, so there was a pretty good chance that we could make up for the week’s losses and put some people in World Cafe at 11am on a Sunday. After all, Sirius XM played the hell out of our kid’s stuff and the promotion from Lincoln Center the day before had to help. But when 10:30 a.m. came around and about 20 people were in the place, I started to get nervous. This was strictly a ‘door deal” meaning there was no guarantee. We would get whatever money they took in as admission. Turns out, even with all of the promoting we did for weeks, we couldn’t bring in more than $145 in ticket sales.
Could Sunday morning, 11am, have anything to do with it? Sure. But the reality is, this is the business we are in. No guarantee for the kid's show, means just that.
So we ended the tour on a sour note.
On the long drive back to Michigan, I had to do some hard thinking on what it meant to tour with a group this size, and what it meant to play in places we don’t play on a regular basis, know we will lose money. We hadn’t been to Pittsburgh, and NYC in ages. We’ve never been to Pawling NY, or the radio station in Long Island.
I asked everyone to send me their pictures so I could post them on social media when I got home, but leafing through them on the drive from Philly to Grand Rapids, I saw what I needed to.
It cost the band a loss of over $4k to pull this tour off, but we had a blast. Can we afford to do it again? No. But will we do it again? Well…
Next week Monday we’re in Nashville, Tuesday in Chicago, Wednesday drive to Tulsa for Thursday show, Friday we’re in Dallas. It’s what we call the “Dartboard Tour” where the agent closes his eyes and throws darts at a map while blindfolded. South to Nashville, back north to Chicago??!! Again south to Tulsa, then Dallas?!?
And what happened to the Joplin, MO show that was supposed to happen Saturday on the way home? That was the big money festival show that was going to pay for this whole tour.
As it happens, the promoter pulled out, stiffing us on the deposit as well. Hotels booked already, Sprinter van rented again, plans made, all the while thinking that for once, we were going to tour and come back a few thousands of dollars ahead. And then an asshole cancels a huge show, and you’re losing money again.
Odd thing is, I’m looking forward to it.