TalkBass Tour Network: A Crazy Idea...but is it just crazy enough to work?

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by Wissen, Feb 21, 2019.

  1. Yes!

    3 vote(s)
  2. Nah...

    2 vote(s)
  3. Interesting idea, but it would never work. AKA the Wet Blanket.

    5 vote(s)
  1. Wissen

    Wissen Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 11, 2007
    Central PA
    So my band has aspirations, but they are realistic and ultimately rooted in the reality that none of us is going to quit his day job to pursue them full time.

    But what if we wanted to put together a mini tour? We'd need a trailer, all our personal gear, a PA, extra insurance, and a bunch of other stuff that would make this post longer than it already is.

    Or would we?

    I'm sure many TBers are in similar situations where we have a musical project we are passionate about, but real limitations on time, money, and other resources. We have everything we need to play any festival or venue within a day's drive of us, but if we wanted to play a festival in Nevada, how would we make that work? Do we fly with just our instruments, show up for that one gig, and fly home? If we drive we could carry more gear, but we'd have to stitch together some shows along the way for gas and beer money.

    So what if we created a Talkbass Tour Network? Here's what I'm thinking:

    A collection of TBers who have access to 1) Gear, 2) Sound, and 3) Venues to trade services. If you are coming through the Philly/Harrisburg/Baltimore/DC area, I can provide a PA and backline and run sound for you, or your band could hop on a bill for a show we already have, something like that. Then, when my band comes through your area, you can return the favor or pay it forward to another member of the network - strict quid pro quo would get messy pretty quickly.

    This way, a band who will never have label support can put together a smaller tour in another part of the country without having to haul every last piece of equipment for a DIY gig. Pack your instruments, pedalboards, and asses in the van and drive to the next town. The cost savings would be tremendous, and horizons ever more expansive.

    This would require commitment, obligation, and investment in the community, not just a list of numbers you can call. If you join the network and someone calls, you'll do what you can to help them out (within reason, naturally).

    There are a thousand details to work out and rules to craft, but it's an idea, right? Does something like this already exist and I just need to know the secret password to be granted admission?
  2. I'd need more details, but I could at the least plug a band coming through into my network of local players and sound people.
  3. BassCliff


    May 17, 2012
    So. Cal.

    A perfect idea for a utopian society! :)

    This ain't a utopian society. ;)

    Not to rain on your parade but this idea is so logistically complex as to make it unworkable.

    Thank you for your indulgence,

    Last edited: Feb 21, 2019
  4. mrcbass


    Jan 14, 2016
    Sacramento, CA
    With Cliff on this. Great idea, but I doubt it could ever really work...
  5. I have tried something similar in the past promoting and co-promoting shows regionally and initially it was successful because we had a group of semi professional, adult musicians that were interested and respectful of the other bands and were all willing to put in the effort to make it work for every one. We were able to cover expenses; venues, advertising, travel, equipment, accommodation and even pocket a few dollars in the end. Several bands even got signed and moved on to bigger better things. As time went on we ran into problems with bands not doing their parts to promote shows or in some cases just not following through with arrangements.

    Ultimately the end came when a mini festival we had in Austin got ripped off by a crooked club owner leading me to cover one weekends expenses out of my pocket because a crooked club owner split with the money 5 minutes before time for me to settle up the money for three sold out shows and a busy bar. It was an ugly scene that I regret to this day because in my anger at my friend the club manager stuck covering for his crooked boss got put through a wall and door.
    Oddly likes this.
  6. BassCliff


    May 17, 2012
    So. Cal.

    Yeah, well, I'm just an old curmudgeon that sees all the things that can go wrong. But if these young'uns can pull it off, more power to'em. I might even come see a TB sponsored show if one were to make it out here. ;)

    Thank you for your indulgence,

  7. Oddly


    Jan 17, 2014
    Dublin, Ireland.
    It's a cool idea for sure, but I'd think it'd be hard to find enough people willing to commit whole-heartedly to it, over a wide enough area.
    Or maybe not...after all, seems like the bassplayer is generally the logistics & sound dude in a lot of the bands here.
  8. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    You are also gambling that some stranger has both the gear and the expertise to do the job.
    Mr_Moo and MrLenny1 like this.
  9. MrLenny1

    MrLenny1 Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2009
    New England
    Dream on.
    Wissen likes this.
  10. SLIV


    Jul 16, 2009
    North Carolina, USA
    Welcome to the 90's and the indie-rock world (or the 80's and the punk rock world). Aside from the expectation of sharing equipment, this is how it worked. Word of mouth all built around music on mixtapes. You'd pull up into town having never seen these folks before, knowing you were going to sleep on their couch and floor. The cost savings wasn't in equipment but lodging. The locals did the show booking and promotion.

    It was all pretty exciting when I was in my 20's. Not so attractive now that I'm in my 40's.

    But if it's just about gear, I'd lend an amp and cabinet to a well known TB member in a heartbeat.
  11. Dont we have a gig swap thread that is essentially this?
  12. Really cool idea.
  13. Wissen

    Wissen Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 11, 2007
    Central PA
    You would definitely have to limit the scope of what is expected in this arrangement. I think it would be:

    1) Host agrees to provide PA equipment and run sound for the night for a Band-friendly fee. This is about helping each other out, after all.
    2) Backline. I know drummers are reasonably concerned about other people using their stuff, but that's something you could work out case-by-case.
    3) If Host has a slot on a show already in the works, plug 'em in
    4) A list of contacts for venues to call in your area

    What would not be expected in this arrangement:

    1) Host promotes, coordinates, or otherwise "puts on" the event - unless, of course, it's your show to begin with
    2) Host provides Band with a place to stay

    The Band is responsible for booking the show and working with the venue on promotion. Host shows up to run the sound for the night. The way I see it yes, the Band and the Host would talk ahead of time about what gear the Host has, and it's up the Band to agree to it and work with the Host. If you say you have a $20k system and show up with a Bose stick,'re a terrible person. I don't think of it as gambling, I think of it as trusting. But I am generally a trusting person.

    Obviously this isn't necessary when you are working with a venue that provides sound, but in our neck of the woods, those are difficult to just call up out of the blue and book. But I know about ten bars that'll let you come in for $200 and set up your own thing. If I don't have to haul a six-piece band's worth of gear and PA, that low number is suddenly at least doable.
  14. twinjet

    twinjet Powered by GE90s; fueled with coffee. Staff Member Supporting Member

    Sep 23, 2008
    No passwords needed.
    The Gig Swap Thread
    knumbskull likes this.
  15. Oly Spart

    Oly Spart

    May 20, 2015
    Canary Islands
    It's a great idea. Specially for a big country like the us.
    Everything that implies human collaboration include risk, but if we don't try everything will stay the same.
    You can't expect things to change if you're doing the same every day.
    Oddly likes this.
  16. Oddly


    Jan 17, 2014
    Dublin, Ireland.
    Doesn't look like it ever really caught on...a shame, as it really is a fine idea.
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