Pro's Corner with Jake McVey Print
Wednesday, 22 July 2009 22:15
By: Jake McVey - GJD Contributor
Hello, GuitarJamDaily friends!

I recently opened up for country’s "new" artist, Darius Rucker. As many of you know, he is not new to this industry. He was with Hootie and The Blowfish. Of course I had to play a little prank and sent a letter to Darius saying, "Hootie, I have your blowfish hostage.” It’s always great to break the ice....

Well, from where we left off last time in GJD, once you get the right people on your team bus and put them in the right seats -- then what?

I have a number of people on my team that keep me on-track and organized. But the one thing I don’t have is an over-the-road tour manager. And, wow, have I had my eyes opened about how important that is! I have had the DIY (Do-It-Yourself) mentality for quite a while. But I’m learning about delegation day by day, and how important it is.

There is always the money factor, and every new job description means more money spent. In business you want to grow, but make sure that you do not grow so fast that uncontrollable situations develop, leading to that word that I don’t like to use: failure. It is tattooed on my bus as a reminder: “Failure Is Not an Option.”

Basically, you can’t have all that you want, but there are certain things that you must have. And if you’re opening for major acts in front of 12,000+ people, there are definite must-haves. I had to do this, do that, be here, be there, set up, move the bus, and then, of course, deliver a heck of a show.

Now a tour manager would have made things a lot easier. I could have delegated some of my tasks to make it easier for me to focus on my main job: Perform! And deliver a great show to all those people who spent $45 dollars on a ticket. So, in short, for a major event it might be worth your time to hire someone or delegate someone on your team to take care of a few things so that you can focus on what is the main task at hand.

Now I’m going to shift gears a little bit. Some of you might wonder why I continue to write here on GJD and where I would find the time, what with touring 300+ shows per year, getting ready to release a new album, and making good on all the media and promotion and appearances that are needed, and, oh yeah, continuing a “Pay It Forward” tour. (Every town that I perform in I give back a free 45-minute acoustic show to a nursing home or a children’s hospital.)

Well, first off, I love it. And, second, in this business you are going to have to make time for a lot of things and juggle a ton. I was in an interview one time and a guy asked me, “Jake do you have any advice for artists like yourself?” My response was, “Of course! Make sure this is what you want! In this business, if you want it, then go get it! But also be aware. Hard work, dedication, and sacrifice will be your backbone.”

And be honest. When you wake up on Monday mornings, and you know that your payroll will be met, and, after that, you get to throw yourself a little. And you take a look at your Google calendar and see the music you got going on this week. Well, that’s a good sign.

So, in closing:

For big shows, delegate. Have someone help you, so you can prepare yourself for the tasks that only you can do.

Work hard. Be ready for sacrifices. Remember that “Failure Is Not an Option.”

Until next time, safe travels on the road.

Jake McVey