Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Guest Post: Band Leaders & Managers by Melanie Tushmore

"I've already spent ten years of my life apologising for that band. As their manager, that's all I really did. Apologise." ~Doc McGhee, Mötley Crüe, 'The Dirt'

In my time with bands, I've gone from die-hard fan to rock-girlfriend, to co-manager, and finally to promoter and tour manager. (This is what happens when you start organising people; they just give you more work to do!)

People may read Crucifox and think, "wow, what an arsehole manager Doug is", or "what a bossy guitarist Sky is". Let me play devil's advocate. What most people are blissfully unaware of is the sheer stupidity that sane, rational people – much like myself – can be subjected to on an almost daily level. We're all human, and sometimes a few too many straws back the old camel's back, as they say.

Here's one small anecdote that didn't make it into Crucifox. My home, which was centre of town, was regularly used as a storage facility for band equipment – unfortunately for me – which meant that before any gig or tour, the band van would have to stop by my place to pick everything up.

One would assume that the rest of the band would help, but often they'd just come in, sit on my couch, and stall, hoping someone else would do the work. Like one ex-bassist in particular, when I noticed there was some shit smears on his jacket. The exchange went as follows:

Me: "Why is there shit on your jacket?"

Ex-bassist: "Oh, I had a poo in the park last night and picked up what I thought was my phone to put in my pocket... only it wasn't my phone, it was actually my poo."

Me: [horrified] "So why are you still wearing the same jacket?"

Ex-bassist: "I scooped most of it out..."

Me: "Get out of my house."

(Yes, really. I'm not exaggerating.)

That's just one example. The poo-pocket bassist had to borrow my then-boyfriend's snakeskin jacket for the weekend. I believe that was also the show where he had a huff because the band wouldn't let him tell a joke onstage between songs. They later told me his words after the set were: "How dare you interrupt me when I'm rocking out," said in all seriousness.

[Guffaw] Meanwhile, I was enjoying blissful peace and quiet on my own.

I used to think touring was fun, and then I decided I'd much rather let the smelly men all get on with it together, and leave me be. Thanks to the power of telephones, I could coordinate [nag] them wherever they were.

I started off not knowing much about behind-the-scenes in the music biz, only what I'd read from biographies and watched in documentary's. (Sharon Osbourne, I've decided, is a goddamn saint.) I worked in theatre as a performer, and gradually started working more backstage than onstage and learning the ropes there. It was a natural progression to be a promoter and put on my own productions, and then band gigs, which I co-promoted with my then-boyfriend, who was – still is – a musician and sound engineer.

So it went from there. I've seen some... er, interesting things. I don't drink or smoke; I'm more or less tee-total. I've watched adult men drink their own body weight during gigs, chunder it back up, and do it again the next night. All in the name of rock n' roll.

We used to do after parties and club nights, where I'd sit on the door, stone-cold sober, taking money from punters and watching all hell break loose around me. I should have taken more photographs, for blackmail.

Recently, I met up with a band I used to promote at their London gig, and we reminisced about a particularly messy gig with an even messier after party. In the club, I remember seeing one singer bitch-slap some boy from another band, because he was drunk, just as someone else leapt off the club's balcony, thankfully landing on his feet with no damage. I had wanted to shout 'everybody sit down and be quiet!' except the music was too loud. Security were throwing people out left, right, and centre. I was mortified. But my friend told me about something I'd missed. He said, 'Yeah, that annoying band, their guitarist was outside in the alley, with his dick out, trying to pee into his own mouth'.

I'm so grossed out. And I thought stories of that particular night couldn't get any worse.

So next time you think to yourself that the manager, or the band-leader, appears to be a killjoy, bossing the others around, bear in mind that it's hard work being the ring leader for a circus of goons!

I'll leave you with another quote that we often bring up, remembering another ex-bassist.

Me: "Why are you late for band practice?" Him: "I was cooking a quiche."

Yes. Really.

He also hid his eyeliner in the arse of an inflatable sheep whilst on tour up north, so no one would make fun of him for being a massive tart. (Why they had an inflatable sheep, I don't want to know. What happens on tour... well, almost invariably doesn't stay on tour!)

Crucifox #1: The Green-Eyed Monster is now available from Storm Moon Press for just $7.99 (ebook)! Go get your copy for some true rockstar fiction!
Sky Somers is an ex-traveller; the son of a folk musician and a new age hippy. Sky's form of rebellion is electric guitars, and he wants his own band. His desire is to set the world to rights through music. Brandon Cruikshank is new to London, recently arrived from Glasgow. Charismatic, charming; a natural born performer. Brandon is openly bisexual, with a penchant for dressing in women's clothes. His desire is to be adored.

From the moment Sky meets Brandon, he knows he has to have him. Brandon, in turn, wants Sky. But that's when it becomes clear they both have very different desires in mind. Brandon wants Sky as a lover, yet Sky only wants Brandon as a singer in his band. Misunderstanding set aside—or apparently so—Brandon and Sky become firm friends. To escape equally troubled pasts and families, they change their names. Now, Brandon Fox and Sky St. Clair are ready to take over the world.

As the years roll on, Brandon's desire for Sky still simmers, waiting. Then a chance night sharing a hotel room sparks the desire between them, and this time, Brandon wants it all. Sky has never explored his desires before. Now, the passion and jealousy Brandon has unleashed in him threatens to shake the whole band apart.
Author links
Website: http://www.melanietushmore.co.uk/ 
Twitter: @melanietushmore


Go ahead and talk to me!