Kofi's hat

Kofi's hat

MP3s, music news and reviews, and a sprinkling of pop culture. Named by Aqualung's Matt Hales, after his son.

My Photo
Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

Ink in my blood, a song in my heart. Metaphor is my middle name.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Opening Acts: Pay to Play and Still No Doughnuts?

Interesting UK article about the assorted challenges opening acts often face on tour, from hostile crowds to the denial of doughnuts from the backstage crew. Yet some bands pay headliners for the privilege of touring with them, even if though it means risking such abuse. It may seem shady and it's definitely expensive -- as much as £30,000 (the equivalent of $52,123.85 in the US, or $63,426.11 in Canada), to buy your way into two weeks touring mid-sized venues with 2,000-3,000 capacities). There's also extra costs for crew, travel, and such. However, it's paid for by a record company advance against "possible future royalties." Extra incentive for the tour to go well, then. There's a definite ick factor about this pay-to-play business... But however a band gets on stage, the crew should have to at least fake some respect, or at least share the doughnuts. Artists deserve treats. They will also perform better when fed. At least when fed sugar-laden stuff; it may make them hyper.

Another dirty little secret-to-some: bands who select an opening act they hope will make them sound better in comparison. The article suggests that this practice is likely not very common, as awful opening acts would reflect badly on the headliners.

Interesting article, disheartening in some ways, but much sweetness and light shines through. An opening slot presents a band or artist with the opportunity to have their music heard by people who (hopefully) love music. Heckling and unreceptive crowds suck, but learning to deal with them is necessary. A grueling thing, this touring business. When there's some camaraderie between bands, it must make a huge difference. The White Stripes are singled out as especially friendly, and U2 praised for paying their support bands "a fortune" and giving them no sound restrictions.

mp3:The White Stripes - We're Going to Be Friends (have posted this before, but it fits the article...)

mp3:U2 - Electrical Storm (I wish it said "no light restrictions, but you can't have everything. It has been "hot as hell" here and I've been listening to this song lately)


Post a Comment

<< Home