Among other managerial duties, the bulk of my recent time has been devoted to advancing the details for each show on the upcoming European tour while simultaneously planning next year’s US spring tour.
Planning a tour is like a jigsaw puzzle. I always route out the dream tour on paper, aiming to get the band to every major market in the States and abroad. With research tools in hand, I ensure that the logistics of getting from point A to point B are, well, logical. But when reality strikes and not every venue is available on my perfectly routed dates, then I must either research alternatives or completely scratch that particular market from the tour routing and hope that we can get there the next year. My days are filled with trying to reach (and convince) new promoters/talent buyers; many remain non-responsive, which usually means they aren’t familiar with the band. Creating a tour is truly a test of patience and flexibility.
And then there’s stamina…but not just mine. Dave is a stud when it comes to shows—he’ll sing and play for two-plus hours each night for four nights in a row without a gripe. Hell, he’ll even do an occasional five in a row without too much grumbling. But every stud-master needs a day or two off here and there (hello, laundry day?). My friend, Denise Martin (Eric Martin’s wife and manager) once joked with me that Eric would divorce her if she booked him three shows in a row. Every singer certainly has his threshold, and knowing what that is for many other professional singer friends I must say that I’m pretty damn lucky when it comes to managing this band and booking their tours. Dave’s rock-solid pipes don’t often fail him—not even on the fifth show of the occasional five shows in a row (sorry, dear). However, if I were to push that to six shows in a row, not unlike Denise, I’d be treading murky waters. lol
It’s tricky business, this tour planning, with so many pieces to consider. But once all the stars align with my tour routing, I can breathe a big sigh of relief….Until it’s time to advance each of those shows and create the tour itinerary.
Love reading your stories and the work that you do is awesome.
Thanks, Russ. Much appreciated.
If I read the stuff you are doing , it all sounds so familiar to me.
I work for an US artist and setting up a tour twice a year is allways a big jigsaw puzle . Our proffesion is under estemated.
I say : Salute to all the hardworking managers and bookers.
Kindred spirits! Thanks for the salute, Martin.
Yr welcome Jill , I have on my wishlist for you one thing : Can we book Dave with his solo Bluesproject in Europe ?
Or should I keep on dreaming on that ? lol
Keep up the good work.
Would love to, Martin, but I’m keeping Y&T so busy it’s difficult to fit Dave’s blues project into each year.
Yup. I agree. I spoke with Dave in 2010 at Trees here in Dallas after the gig and he had said that was the first time you Y&T had been through Dallas since 1986. So glad we are back in the mix on those tour dates. I remember seeing Y&T blow a headliner off the stage in 86! Nice to see em’ for two+ hours a night every year in big D now. I notice the crowds are growing every time!!! Ready for April 10!
Always curious about the finances behind club touring. I often go to shows in the clubs Y&T plays. Looking at the ticket prices, attendance, and factoring in beverage sales and merch, it’s hard to see how money is being made. Without going into too many Y&T specifics, what is the typical financial structure? How do bands like UFO, Saxon etc. come to the US or Y&T go to Europe playing clubs and make it work?
It’s tricky, Jeff, and I certainly won’t give away my secrets. 😉 As you can imagine, it’s a combination of merchandise, ticket sales, and careful preparation that makes it all doable. And reducing expenses, including transportation and accommodations, is key—it’s truly a delicate balancing act. Last year Y&T’s web designer sent me a link to a Fish post, where Fish explained his touring costs. It’s not Y&T’s situation but it gives a great example of precisely what you’re asking.
speaking of merchandise, you need to come up with things like used to be available in the 80s. lighters were great, and the robot chest plate was the best. tee shirts are good, be we want more more more….
There’s only so much we can carry. lol
Hi Jill, what I am wondering is the fact, that Y+T filled stadions in the 80s and weren´t around in Germany for 21 years since they came back to Balingen, Bang your Head Festival in 2003. I had tears in my eyes seeing them again after these years when opening for Ossy, who was in a very bad condition in 1982. And now they come to Germany every year and I have always tears in my eyes cause they are just the best. Very sad about Phil, miss him very much.
Hopefully they are touring a lot cause of fun and not needing the money. Is it cause of copying CDs and less buying. Congrats to Dave getting 60 and having the best voice still and ever. Looking Forward seeing them in Nuremberg, 20th Oct. and hopefully you, Jill, as well.
Great story, Gerd. I love seeing the passion that the fans have for Y&T—it’s one of the rewards I get from all the hard work that goes into managing the band.
We all sorely miss Phil. He left a huge hole in our hearts. Thankfully, his spirit lives on through the music and on stage at every show.
The guys tour because they LOVE to play live. They live for it—you can genuinely see that on stage. Dave needs to play live; it keeps him from being grumpy. 🙂
Hope to see you in Nuremberg.
Glad to meet you personally in nuremberg and celebrating phils birthday. Sorry for the few people, hope you book nuremberg again next year:-) three in a row then, dave !
Gerd, it was an excellent crowd for a Monday night, which is not typically a good day for shows. Great venue, great people! I will always try to work Nuremberg into the tour routing. 🙂
Great story Jill, love the little peak behind the curtain. What amazes me about Dave and the boys is that no matter how big or little the venue. The guys play with the same intensity and passion at each show. The only difference in each particular show is the crowd. if they are loud and vocal the guys really feed off it. Case in point I traveled the road following Y&T this spring in Pittsburgh, Cleveland, and Flint, MI. The Pittsburgh crowd was quiet and not to vocal, but the Augora show in Cleveland was amazing due to the fact the crowd was into the show from the first chord. Dave playing the end jam session on I Believe in You was the best. It left my jaw dropping to the floor. Thanks Jill for setting the dates and making sure the guys are prepared and having thing they need to rock us fans.
Thanks, Jody. And you’re quite welcome. You’ve hit on one of the many things I love about this band—they never phone in a performance. They live to play live for their fans, and it’s a different show every night.
Those guys are pros and so is the staff behind them.
Every single show I’ve seen (and thats lots)everyones
in great spirit, and Jill’s always smiling.
I often wonder about a Y&T fest, I even have all the
bands I would like to see at that fest. That would
be so awesome. 🙂
Keep up the fantastic work.
Thanks, Edgar. It’s truly a labor of love for each one of us.
do wonder how you do it sometimes – especially as Dave tends to get a bug once a year – normally in Nottingham
you must have the patience of a saint plus I know you have a bril memory as you always seem to remember all us fans – even if you only see us once or twice a year and you always have time for us
so well done and keep the guys on the road
see you in London and Nottingham
Aww, thanks, Dawn. And, of course, will do.
Psst…since the UK dates are at the end of the tour this year, hopefully Dave (and the rest of the band + crew) will be well over any bugs by the time we cross the English Channel.
Thanks for sharing !
Thanks for reading, Gary. 🙂
Four yrs ago my 14and 15 yr old sons and their pals decided to form a band. They had zero experience but plenty of Mountain Dew fueled desire and energy. Having played a little bit in my twenties I offered to manage them. As their skills improved I decided bbqs and bar mitzvahs were ok but these kids need to play some real shows.
I started booking theM at local shows (7 crappy bands for 5 bucks). These shows were great experience, but they wanted more. As manager and minister of propaganda for te band my philosophy was simple. Check local music calenders a few months in advance and look for BIG shows. Send press kits to the promotors doing the shows and just ask.
Closed mouths don’t get to eat.
Fast forward four years.
The boys have played with great white, junkyard, queensryche, quiet riot…and my dream come true..opened for my heros Y&T in Sacramento last month.
Your insight and advice regarding planning tours and booking shows is fantastic. Thank you for sharing your expert opinions and offering a little insight into touring with a band. The more we read the less overwhelming the thought of being on the road bookkng tours has become.
Our experience opening for Dave and crew was amazing.
Truly proffesional musicians.
Dave gets hit up a zillion times a day for pics and conversation I’m sure. When I asked him if I could bother him for just a second and pose for a pic with me and my sons, he told us it was not a bother at all. Thanks for making sure they came back to sacramento.
Sure thing, Phil. Sac is always a superb audience.
I’m sure you noticed that they’re all good guys. I’m one lucky manager on that front.
Loving the little insights into the behind the scnes stuff, Jill.
Been a fan of the band for far more years than I care to remember! The one thing that sticks out about Y & T is their consistency, in terms of their recordings AND their live performances.
Looking forward to the long trip from New Zealand to see all you guys at The Mystic in November.
Thanks, Tam. Yes indeed on consistency—Dave strives for excellence in everything he does.
Glad you’re making the trip. The Mystic Theatre weekend always seems magical.
Jill ~ You are my HERO !!! I have been a fan since before you took on the overwhelming job of manager and the change in AMAZING. There are so many more shows, not to mention other changes…THANK YOU.
I would also like to thank “the boys” for always being available to the fans. I know,for me,it ALWAYS makes me feel “special”
Did you get the pictures I sent after The Fillmore ?
I am a fan for life – you guys are the soundtrack of my life.
Thank you, Linda! It’s nice when someone notices. Yes, the guys really are great to their fans.
Hmm, sorry I can’t say for sure about the pix (we’re given so many photos throughout the year, and this year’s Fillmore show seems sooo long ago), but thank you, anyway. 🙂
I have been a fan of Y&T since In Rock We Trust. I actually drove from Greensboro NC to Baltimore and back, 16 total hours to see the guys for the first time. I was wondering why we never see dates in the southeast? Is it a lack of interest by booking agents or just not enough fan support? Would love to see you guys somewhere between Atlanta and Richmond, especially here in North Carolina. Thank you.
Fantastic, Jim! Thanks for making the road trip.
I do try for the Southeast every tour, but often the routing just doesn’t work out. I haven’t given up, though; I’m still working on the spring tour routing.
Thanks for sharing with us Jill. Love the little insights behind the business & the band. Looking forward to future posts! Hope to see y’all in the spring on the east coast.
Thanks, Wes. You surely will.
Thanks for taking such good care of Dave. He sounds amazing still after all these years. I go to The Mystic shows every year, and also The Fillmore. Its become part of our lives this routine. Thanks for sharing and letting us be a part of that. Y&T truly is a fan caring band.
Thanks, Rua. My pleasure! Agreed—in fact, I think Dave’s voice has improved over the decades, not unlike an opera singer or a fine wine. 😉
I was blown away in a good way with the show in OKC back in March of this year. I didn’t know what to expect since it was a weeknight in a struggling club (it has since called it quits…) and I was surprised Y & T was booked in there. I figured the boys would play 1:25 maybe and call it a nite. My friend and I were happily very tired the next morning as the band played over two hours for a smallish crowd. Dave’s pipes were in fine form as was his fretwork. He even handled the loose cable in his pedals very well, didn’t storm off like a petulant child. Everyone in the band was tight, smiling, and having fun. It was one of the better shows I have seen in a few years. And that comes from being well managed. I spent many years in the military (Air Force) and the key to making sure the job gets done is making sure the care and feeding of the folks doing the job is taken care of, no matter what gets thrown at them. Many folks have no idea what is involved with getting from point A to point B with all your gear and keeping the gypsies happy and healthy along the way. You have your hands very full but you are extremely good at what you do. Keep up the good work 🙂
Glad you made it to the OKC show, Mike. Many thanks for the kind words. Yes, my hands are extremely full, but seeing happy fans like yourself at the shows makes all of my efforts worthwhile.
So glad you’re branching out into the world of online social media, Jill. Bought my first Y&T album (Meanstreak) when it was released **cough** years ago. Great to get these insights into touring – I must admit I wonder how you do it – maybe you could plan my next holiday (vacation) for me and save me some money! My wife and I are looking forward to seeing the guys in Bilston again in November. Thank you very much for coming back to our neck of the woods.
As a long time fan of music with many friends who play in bands (including the incomparable Brad Lang!), the behind the scenes action is fascinating. Your job appears simple to those who read the back of a tour shirt with dates/cities printed on them.
It is far more tricky. I have had the good fortune to see the band at your first ever New Hampshire show at Tupelos and Dave was struck down (pun intended) by the nasty virus Rolf had. He soldiered on but couldn’t play an encore. Not one fan complained as the professionalism shined through.
Having seen the band in Italy as well, it is amazing to weave in and out of countries to make a show. The fans show up thinking the band was out all night and sleeping during the day. They may well have been but it was being out all night on the road driving and sleeping in the bus or van on the way to next gig.
Great blog and hope to say hello at the next show I am at. Maybe I’ll find my Jet Red shirt 😉
Thanks, Ken, for recognizing the immense work that goes into creating a tour and then the actual touring.
Definitely hunt for that Jet Red shirt! It’s fun to see people show up with JR vinyl for Brad to sign.
Ha! I’m sure I could, Martin, but then who will plan mine? 😉
I always love to bring the band back to the UK. In 2004, I was told a UK tour couldn’t be done….Ah, how I love a good challenge.
I’ve seen Y&T live twice so far… as long as they keep playing the North East, I will keep going to shows. I was lucky and snagged some of the last tickets for their Rhode Island show this year. I had been very ill and wasn’t sure if I would be able to make it, because I had medical testing that day, and it’s a several state drive, but decided to do it anyway at the last second. When I called the venue, the band was doing a sound check in the background… the guy taking my call had to tell Dave to hold on a second so they could take my information… a completely magical moment right there.
My usual policy is to buy tickets whether I can make it to the show or not. With two kids, it’s tough finding a babysitter sometimes when it’s an 18+ or 21+ show (the only reason I like The Palladium in Worcester, MA is because most of their shows are all ages, I can bring my kids if necessary, I recently brought my youngest to see Sonata Arctica, which she enjoyed). But it supports the band, and let’s them know, that hey, we WILL support you if you play the area. There are many shows I haven’t been able to attend in person, but have never felt bad for not being able to attend when I have bought tickets anyway. I am under the impression that a lot of bands make most of their living through concert ticket sales and merchandise… which I always buy a shirt as well because of this (and to have something physical to go along with the memories, a reminder you can see and feel is great). I wish more people would do this, instead of crying about tour dates and disc releases, but never putting their money to support their complaints.
For anyone else reading this: Bands have to make a living, if you love the music – support them.
Alanna, you rock! Thanks so much for your support. Hope to meet you when the band heads East next spring.
Very interesting read Jill, I must admit I find it disappointing that such a hard working and renown band has the same problems with promoters and venues as those of us on the lowest rungs of the musical ladder. Looking forward to seeing Y & T back in the UK.
Thanks, Mark. What can I say? It’s the music business. 😉
The first time I saw Yesterday & Today was way back in 19 seventy-something LOL The band was opening for Tower of Power in my beloved home town of Hayward CA. That night a life long fan was born … In 2004 I moved from the Bay Area to Colorado Springs CO. There isn’t much about the Bay Area that I miss, certainly not the traffic or pace of life …. but the one thing I miss more than anything is the Y&T shows. I grew up at Battles of the Bands, Days on the Green and Halloween shows at the Concord Pavilion! I cannot tell you how grateful that I was to be able to see them again this past spring in Lakewood Colorado – it was truly a trip back in time and not only left me with tears streaming down my cheeks but a lump in my throat. Thank you for all that you do and just know that if you ever grow road weary there is nothing, not one thing, that would prevent me from standing in for you for even 1 day! Many blessings to you and the band! Rachel
Awesome, Rachel. I love seeing fans so moved by the band’s performances.
Thanks for the kind offer, but ooh, you might not have many fingernails left after Day One. 😀
Thanks for a little peek behind the curtain. All your hard work is appreciated and noticed. See you at The Mystic!
Thank you, Tara. That’s always nice to hear.
See you at the awesome, annual Mystic Theatre weekend!
So somehow you manage to find time to give those interested a little insight in your hectic life 😉
Keep up the good work and see you on the upcoming Euro-tour!!
I don’t really have the time, Wim, but I’ll certainly make an effort to carve out just a little for this.
Will do. See you in the Netherlands!
Just wanted to say thanks for all you do, Jill. Love the band and am looking forward to more of your writing.
You’re very welcome. Thanks for noticing. 😉
Please come back to Cardiff again next time you visit the U.K.
Is this Halloween soon enough? 😉 Give a quick check of the web site tour dates, and you’ll see the band plays Cardiff on 31st October. Hope you can make it.
Looking forward to the Belfast show this year.Will you be selling the Y&T patches at the merch stand? Cheer’s . Bestie
Bestie, we’ll have them on tour, but I can’t predict whether or not we’ll have any left by the time we reach Belfast (which is near the end of the tour). As of this reply, patches/badges are currently on the band’s web site.
Great to see you writing about your experiences Jill. Hope you and Dave have been able to still do some hiking locally. 2 places you should go to if you have not already, they are relitively new parklands. Rancho Canada del oro down behind Calero, and Sierra vista behind Alum Rock. They have a new parking lot there at the top of Sierra road. Great views and beautiful sites at both places, are they are not swamped with people like Rancho San Antonio.
Thanks, Tom. And thanks for the suggestions; we’ll have to check them out.