I have been performing and touring for over forty years. And yesterday I got another lesson in how much I don't know, or didn't remember. I was scheduled to play a great club in a great American city. I booked the date, a co bill, last may. I put it in my calendar and then I put it on my websites and I never gave it another thought.
Months later, my cobill friend, got an offer that couldn't be refused and she sent a post to me about her not being able to do the gig. And she sent the club owner the same post and suggested that I co bill with someone else of equal expertise. I never got the post. Lost in the cyber ether somewhere.
So I have been blindly going along thinking that I was performing Saturday night with her. Yesterday as I drove the length of Florida, I thought, "it's funny I haven't heard from the club or my friend" so I called the club, but only got a recorded response.
Last night I went on line and looked at their calendar and discovered that I wasn't performing there. This was a cold shot I must admit. I emailed everyone involved and then thru a series of emails we discovered that she inadvertently sent the original declination to the wrong address. And she thought she had let me know. Because the club onwer thoguth she had contacted me, he didn't contact me. Because I know these folks and their professional reputations are impeccable, I never rechecked. Their word is truly their bond, as is mine. If anyone of us had followed up, there would have been no confusion.
I received emails of profuse apologies from both of them and offers of sharing the cost of a llight back to Los Angeles, but I respectfully declined their generous offers. The fact is, it was my gig. It was my responsibility to ascertain that everything was as I thought it was. In the final analysis, it was my fault. It was my gig. The club owner gets bombarded with emails about booking.
I am only handling me, it was my responsibility.
So the short message today is a simple one. When you put things together, be it a recording session, a writing session, a gig, or even an vocal agreement of how to divide up credit. Get it in writing and follow up down the line.
Do all that you can do to ascertain that everyone involved is on the same page. And it's not anyone else's job or responsibility. It's yours. Follow up. Follow up in a month or so to remind everyone of what you think is going to happen and what your part in it is to be.
About three months out, contact them about their media list. Even if they have sent you one when you first agreed on the gig. Contact them and ask them if there are any updates to the media list. That is a subtle reminder that you are playing for them.
And as you get closer to the gig, about six weeks out, contact them again with offers of posters and such. If you send them too early, they will be misplaced by the time you get there.
In everything you do, you must follow up. I promise you that it will save you time, money, embarrassment and friends. Follow up. You'll be glad that you did.