March 8, 2015 Liverpool, UK flying home
Many thoughts of reflection about this tour. I must get as much of this down now (in the Manchester, UK airport) before I get home and my regular life returns.
Fripp once told me a formula for keeping a band together. I think he said it was Michael Giles who came up with it, though it might have been some other character from his past. To my memory it goes like this.
You have three elements:
Any two and the group will stay together. Any less than two and it won't. All three is bliss.
Funnily enough, I haven't had too much experience with category 3 minus 1 or 2. Perhaps, that is why I am often strapped to the edge more than is comfortable.
But with The Security Project the formula is clear. The Music and The People. And these two in a very strong dosage. Even though we haven't written any of this material, we all really love it. It breathes inside each of us in a real way. And further to this, the audiences respond so incredibly strong to the pieces. Much stronger than I ever imagined was possible. In fact, whenever I am feeling grim about this work all I have to do is remember the audience's love for this music and everything falls back into place again.
The People. There is such fantastic camaraderie between all five of us. Really strong. Lot's of respect, one to one between each of us. And such great play as a group, on and off stage. How important is that, really? Well, in practice it is critical. I have only been in one group where I grew to detest one of the members. And as soon as our work was complete, I severed my professional relationship. (According to the formula, an offer of big money playing super great material with them would put me back into the situation. Possible? Mmmm....yeah, actually.) But The Security Project truly makes me happy and enlivens me to just be around these guys. And the current road crew, as well. Is that valuable to the musical experience? Of course. Does it translate to the stage and into the performance? Absolutely. And for that I am grateful. As I know the others are.
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In regards to the professional work of this tour. It was, quite honestly, very hard. And with little reward. We came to nearly every gig with very little promotion and very little interest in getting people to the shows. There were exceptions – Poland, France, and a few more – and all of these shows did better than the others. It was an uphill battle the whole way – with money, driving, days off that cost us time, money and energy. And all along the way people involved have pointed out mistakes that someone else had done, or not done, to be the justification for things that didn't go as planned. Not one person stepped up and said “I didn't quite do my job as well as I could have and the result was that something was lacking.” What we heard over and over again is: you need to be doing “this”. “This” being something that they don't handle.
We have done some serious debriefing about how to improve for the future. We have also strategized with everyone all along the way about how to tour and be truly successful at it. With promoters, agents, publicists, other musicians, etc... You name it, and we spoke to them about how to tour this project successfully. And we are not without our own experience.
And here is my final take on all of these discussions: No one knows what the fuck to do. They all have their opinions and they will tell them to you. Just like I do. But the gist of it is, if they knew what to do they would either be taking care of it for others or be doing it for themselves. And they would be successful at it. And most aren't. Without question there are some folks who are pulling this off and doing it successfully. (And by successful, I don't mean they are rich. But they would be covering all their costs and making a decent, sustainable living.) However with those folks, it is necessary to calculate in the factors of:
Incessant years of touring, and
The first one, just isn't in the cards for me. I don't want to give up my life to that degree. And the second? Well, if you can will good luck then I need to go back to school. Oh wait, I am back at school. But they don't seem to be offering that course.
So, it is back to the drawing board about how to tour sustainably and successfully. I, for one, won't be doing five weeks again for a very, very long time. But, we do have ideas about how to tackle this.
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March 9, 2015 – Seattle, WA
Finally back home. 48 hours after leaving Liverpool. My first flight through Iceland was delayed and then cancelled. I, along with 7 other lucky connectors, stood in line for over 6 hours as they rebooked us and tried to get us a hotel. Finally after being at the Manchester airport for 10 hours we took a bus to a hotel. Spent half a night in Manchester to wake up at 4:00am to go back to the airport. Then a flight down to London and a flight back to Seattle. At least it was a non-stop from London. And not so crowded. At this point any direction that was leading home was a value to me.
And now the fuzziness begins setting in. Back home after 5+ weeks away. Eek, what to do now. Especially, after all this forward momentum day after day after day. Recover, I suppose. Bring life back into my house. Go back to the dojo. Hang out with my friends. Ponder my paths. Realign my aims accordingly. But for now, sleep.
previous tour diaries