So eight years of an illegal war has not only impacted our world standing, it has profoundly impacted and perhaps bankrupted our country.
Regardless of which side of the political fence you sit on, there is no denying that the last eight years have been a disaster for America and probably the world.
So speaking solipsistically, how has this impacted me, the traveling musician? Same scale of profundity is my experience. It is more and more difficult for even the lone musician to travel the country and perform due to the severe increase of the cost of everything, coupled with the fact that we are still getting paid the same thing we were decades ago.
How do we handle this? What do we do? Give up touring? Become amateur dentists? Start doing virtual concerts on the internet and charging for them? That is until power itself becomes so expensive we have to give up electricity? Maybe, but not yet, dammit.
Let’s look at what we CAN do to lower our costs as traveling musicians.
Booking in advance seems to be an obvious choice. Get your ticket and your seat early in the game.
Secondly, they are charging for bags now at about a $50 a bag. It is cheaper to ship your CD’s by ground to the first place on your tour and pick them up before your first gig. In a digipak format a regular 6x11x24 cd box will hold 140 cd’s and costs around $20 to ship across country by ground.
Thirdly, when you rent a car, pick a little one that gets great mileage. Let the corporate suit rent the gas guzzler. His company is paying for it. For the long haul though, you must consider how exhausted you will be in a little car. Find the mean there between comfort and cost effectiveness for your particular situation (that is, how much money are you making on this tour?).
Many venues have places for the artist to stay or have arrangements with local hotels for a reduced rate. Inquire about that stuff immediately and make the reservations or arrangements right then when you book the gig.
You can also impose on your friends. It is a time honored fact that musicians will sleep on anyone’s sofa. If you have to go out on the road (and you DO!) then don’t be proud. If someone can help you defray the prohibitive costs of traveling and touring, graciously accept their hospitality. Just make sure that you are the model house guest. I’ve written several posts about how to do that. Just type in house guest in the search engine there on the left and it will pull up all the articles that pertain to that.
Meals are another place that you can cut some corners. I have always treated myself to good meals on the road, but now we have to find good meals and great prices. Here are some recommendations for good fast food—the Arby’s MarketFresh sandwiches. Great taste and great price (www.arbys.com). The sandwiches are big enough so that I can eat half before a gig and then when the gig is over and there are no restaurants open or convenient, I still have half a great sandwich to eat. Can’t do it every night but it’s good to know that it’s out there. Tacobell (www.tacobell.com) also makes a few things that seem to be fresh, good for you, tasty and priced right. The Gorditas are what I usually go for when I must.
Also remember to get as many fresh vegetables and fruit into you as you can. Carry apples and bananas in the car, and almonds as well. Any market will carry that. And in the fall in the northern climes, you can get some great apple cider to keep in the car (the cold will refrigerate it). Plenty of energy and healthy for you too.
Try to stay away from the fried foods, the heavy fat ladened things and old dead food. Otherwise you come back from the road looking like Cartman after playing a computer game for six weeks. (www.southpark.com).
And once a week, if you can swing it, do take yourself someplace nice. You deserve it. It’s a jungle out there.