The “TM” Diaries

Hey all you Archetypes,

So I’ve just returned from a trip around the world with a band who took a huge leap of faith by adding me to their roster as tour manager. 20 Shows, 11 countries, 12 flights, 1 tattoo and a case bronchitis later, I write to you from my couch in McLean, VA. To say I was out of my comfort zone during the tour is an understatement, but we can only grow when we are thrown far away from what is familiar, what we feel we are already capable of doing. I have to thank the whole band and crew for helping me along the way and, without their support, criticism and encouragement I would have not made it through the tour.

Just to put it in perspective, the crew has worked with bands/artists like Panic at the Disco, Manchester Orchestra, Anthony Green, Circa Survive, Atreyu and Kimbra. Then I come along as tour manager with only a handful of national tours with my local ska band under my belt. Talk about intimidation. They all suffered through my journey along the steepest learning curve I’ve every experienced, and I owe any amount of success I had to those three dudes, who were my lifeline.

There are too many stories for me to go into detail about, but I can give you a play by play of a typical show day from my perspective, as many people have asked me, “What exactly does a tour manager do in a given day?”

  • Arrive at the venue/festival. I’m first off the tour bus to locate the venue representative and artist liaison.
  • Get the band’s credentials, meal passes, wristbands, etc. and locate the dressing room.
  • Make sure the rider is stocked and ready.
  • Find the stage manager and find out when load in, setup, changeover and set times are.
  • Show the awake members of band/crew where dressing room, bathrooms, showers and stage are located.
  • Then I help the crew load in all the gear (it’s a shit load of lighting rigs, cabs, amps, drums, guitars, tools, microphones, etc etc) and begin building the stage.
  • Coordinate transportation for the band to the stage for sound check.
  • Coordinate transportation for the the band back to hotel/dressing room after sound check.
  • Make sure the opening act(s) are on schedule and do not run over their set times.
  • Confirm the setlist with the band, and print copies for band and crew.
  • Get 20 stage waters and 10 stage towels for the band’s set.
  • Hurry the opening act off stage and hustle through changeover.
  • Coordinate transportation for the band to the stage in enough time (but not too much time that they are standing around) and make sure they are awake (a challenge for the New Zealand and Australia shows).
  • Signal the front of house to the start of the set.
  • Stay stage side to fix fallen microphones, mop up spills, swap amps/guitars and navigate any performance issues.
  • After set, apologize to the stage manager for broken gear (I was physically threatened once!) and pay them for any legitimately broken equipment.
  • Make sure the band has their after-show food and showers ready.
  • Pack up and load out all the gear.
  • Coordinate tomorrow’s venue contact and schedule.
  • Beers.

Repeat this schedule for a month with the odd day off and you can get a decent picture of my life on the road with the Dillinger Escape Plan. Truly an amazing group of people.

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