September 8, 2014

Anonymous said: I was wondering if you have any pointers as to how a band would get on warped tour? I have some awareness as to what you need to do, but over all, i could still really use some advice from someone experienced. Thank You!

The advice I’m sure you’ve heard before still applies. Build a social media presence (a real one, don’t buy followers), play shows, get people talking about your band. Warped wants to break bands, but they also want to book bands that are going to bring fans who purchase tickets. It’s business. I believe Warped has a link on their page where they’ll accept submissions during certain parts of the year. But you want to make sure your band has the best possible shot when you submit: that you both kick ass musically, and that you offer them something in return: your fanbase coming out to see you play.

Disclaimer: I’ve never been on the side that books artists for Warped or other tours, so I can’t offer an answer from that perspective. I can only offer an answer based on what I’ve seen friends and fellow tour peers experience.

June 25, 2013

Anonymous said: I really wanna work for warped tour next year but I don't know where to get started. Any advice.?:/

I answered a question similar to this with a pretty in-depth response awhile back. If I missed something, or if there’s anything else you’d like to know, feel free to ask.

Also, We Are The Kids is a great resource to read through.

June 19, 2013

Anonymous said: Quick question: I signed up to volunteer at warped tour for American rag and then later forgot and signed up for fueled by ramen who i told no to b/c i realized i was already signed to someone else but in the future i really want to be an intern for a record label so did i just mess up and tell the wrong person no? Thx

You didn’t mess up at all. Funny thing about the music industry and life in general is sometimes the most unexpected place or time is when you’ll make that great connection that’ll help you get to where you want to be.

You’re still volunteering at Warped Tour, which is a great place to be if you want to work in music. Volunteering with a record label doesn’t necessarily make it easier to later intern at that label. So do a rad job volunteering for American Rag, definitely befriend the other volunteers (who knows what they’ll end up doing in a couple months, y’know?), and check out all the labels that have booths at Warped during your break(s). If you’re looking to intern at a label soon (in the next year, before Warped rolls around again), ask the tour reps at different label tents if they know of any internship opportunities with that label. They might be former interns who can help point you in the right direction.

Hope that helps.

June 10, 2013

The world lost a beautiful soul with the passing of Arturo Vega. He was so full of life and excitement about art, music, people - absolutely everything - that you couldn’t help but be filled up with love and amazement every time you saw him or listened to his stories or simply just sat in his presence. Just hearing him talk made you want to conquer the world. Just seeing him smile at you made you feel like whatever you were doing was the right thing. I know I’m a better person and musician just for knowing Arturo and it’s with a very heavy heart I say goodbye. I’ll never forget the first time I met Arturo in 2009 on Warped. He watched my band play in front of not so many people and afterwards came up to our friend Greg who was selling our cds at the stage and he handed him a $100 bill and said “I would like 10 cds please” and Greg said, you want 10?? and Arturo said “yes I want 10, people need to hear your music, these kids who can’t afford to buy a cd need this music in their lives” he then proceeded to hand out our cds to kids nearby who didn’t have the money to buy one…that was Arturo Vega. RIP — Written by: Brian Marquis / Photo by: Erin Caruso.

The world lost a beautiful soul with the passing of Arturo Vega. He was so full of life and excitement about art, music, people - absolutely everything - that you couldn’t help but be filled up with love and amazement every time you saw him or listened to his stories or simply just sat in his presence. Just hearing him talk made you want to conquer the world. Just seeing him smile at you made you feel like whatever you were doing was the right thing. I know I’m a better person and musician just for knowing Arturo and it’s with a very heavy heart I say goodbye. I’ll never forget the first time I met Arturo in 2009 on Warped. He watched my band play in front of not so many people and afterwards came up to our friend Greg who was selling our cds at the stage and he handed him a $100 bill and said “I would like 10 cds please” and Greg said, you want 10?? and Arturo said “yes I want 10, people need to hear your music, these kids who can’t afford to buy a cd need this music in their lives” he then proceeded to hand out our cds to kids nearby who didn’t have the money to buy one…that was Arturo Vega. RIP — Written by: Brian Marquis / Photo by: Erin Caruso.

May 24, 2013
Vodka comes in a reusable canteen with carabiner.
Stay green, summer tour friends.

Vodka comes in a reusable canteen with carabiner.

Stay green, summer tour friends.

April 23, 2013

Anonymous said: So I was reading the question someone asked about doing sound in college and I'm actually going to do radio production major at a college in LA. Im wanting to do sound and tour with bands as well along with interning, but it raised the question, in your opinion, do you think there are a lot of opportunities to do these things with this major besides radio stations? Thank you.

Let’s preface this with: I have not studied audio or radio production, so my response is based on what limited knowledge I have of what a radio production major studies in college.

Are your classes teaching you solely about radio, or is it more audio based? Is there an audio program in which you can take classes?

It goes back to the last question about radio/college, your major doesn’t necessarily dictate where you go from there. However, if you want to work in sound, and there’s an audio program available, is there a reason you’re choosing radio production over audio? If you’re looking to tour, especially as a sound engineer, audio training will likely never hurt your chances. Unless you’re the kind of person unwilling to learn anything outside of what you learned in the classroom, even from those in audio for twenty, thirty years. Don’t be that person. Local sound guys can get real mean, real fast.

There are a lot of opportunities in LA, period. You just have to be willing to work hard and sacrifice any semblance of a life for awhile to get that base foundation down. Since this is a city of networks, if you have the opportunity, major in the field you want to be in. Especially since you’re at college in LA. Many teachers can help, your fellow students are great people to keep in touch with, and the opportunity for guest speakers in your desired fields which you can network with is key.

One thing, be careful about programs that are set on teaching an industry in the way it is right now. For example, and I’m dating myself here, one film program I was in would only teach undergrads about news broadcast production using film cameras. They wouldn’t even consider discussing the inevitable explosion of digital production, which was on the brink that year, and spent months making sure we knew every facet of a physical piece of film. So now people who finished that program had a wealth of knowledge which was basically useless within a year or two. Had the same experience in a music industry class which taught us about the mainstream record labels, and how it was only a matter of time before indie labels folded. Teacher hadn’t ever actually worked in the music industry.

Just keep in mind: Fundamentals are important to learn. But make sure if your college program isn’t keeping up on the current industry, that you are.

April 21, 2013
The Nine Circles of Vans Warped Tour by Geoff Rickly - The Talkhouse

The most honest, truthful, flat out best description of Warped Tour I’ve ever read by Geoff Rickly.

Blood on the Dance Floor makes me feel old and irrelevant.  Why? Because I don’t know what the fuck it is.  It’s electro-pop-scream-metal-violence in goth drag that celebrates “cumming” on the audience with giant foam canons and has one of the most positive, inspirational record inserts that I’ve ever read.  It’s either horrible nonsense or next-level art.  But it’s truly made me realize, I don’t know the difference.  So the singer with red hair and scary make-up told me that Thursday’s song, “You know,” he says, “the car crash one” changed his life.  Luckily I was wasted and said, “How can I change it back?” Rimshot, dad… Am I right?

Originally snagged from AbsolutePunk.

April 17, 2013
If I understand your ask correctly, you want to double major in 1) Film, with a concentration in Radio Production, and 2) Theatre, with a concentration in Sound?
I’ve got a question for you… why the heck do you want to sell merchandise for artists?
If you are just looking for a way on tour, and figure that’s the easiest path, I understand. We’ve all been there. There’s a small percentage chance it could work. But if you double major in what you say you want to, you’ll potentially have so many crazy awesome opportunities available to you once you get your name out there and a couple years of experience under your belt, selling merchandise will seem like a distant, youthful desire.
Now I’m not shaming merchandise. But if you want to work in the sound department, why would you focus on becoming known as a merchandise seller?
One thing I wish everyone would understand: Your major in college does not dictate where you go from there. It really doesn’t. There are millions of people working in fields they did not study in college. There are millions of people who returned to school to study in a different field, in which they did end up working. There are people who never attended college and have their choice professions.
You don’t need your college to give you permission to take a music class. There are workshops, seminars, classes at community colleges, and so on, that will allow you to learn the information you may not have access to at your college. Going to school in Northridge, you’re close enough to Los Angeles that there’s no excuse for not taking advantage of every educational opportunity available in the city. There’ll be a lot of driving. There’ll be many sleepless nights. You’ll get tired. But it will all be worth it. And if it’s not, you’re aiming for the wrong goal.
You reach your end goal by not giving up. Ever. You want to intern at a record label? Apply to every single one, knock on every single door, until someone says yes. You want to do sound at a venue? Ask every single venue manager and theatre manager if you can intern and prove yourself, in exchange for future consideration when they’re looking for a sound person. Intern at a radio station. Radio Disney, KROQ, and other local LA stations are always looking. And most often you can receive college credit. Intern with non-profit organizations throwing benefit concerts. Ask to shadow their sound engineer. Always keep working, learning. Always be that person ready to go, reliable, and with a good attitude. People that can help you recognize a good work ethic when they see one, and they remember the people who are always there, ready to work, and pleasant to be around.
You are young and you have all the time and energy in the world. Don’t waste this opportunity.

If I understand your ask correctly, you want to double major in 1) Film, with a concentration in Radio Production, and 2) Theatre, with a concentration in Sound?

I’ve got a question for you… why the heck do you want to sell merchandise for artists?

If you are just looking for a way on tour, and figure that’s the easiest path, I understand. We’ve all been there. There’s a small percentage chance it could work. But if you double major in what you say you want to, you’ll potentially have so many crazy awesome opportunities available to you once you get your name out there and a couple years of experience under your belt, selling merchandise will seem like a distant, youthful desire.

Now I’m not shaming merchandise. But if you want to work in the sound department, why would you focus on becoming known as a merchandise seller?

One thing I wish everyone would understand: Your major in college does not dictate where you go from there. It really doesn’t. There are millions of people working in fields they did not study in college. There are millions of people who returned to school to study in a different field, in which they did end up working. There are people who never attended college and have their choice professions.

You don’t need your college to give you permission to take a music class. There are workshops, seminars, classes at community colleges, and so on, that will allow you to learn the information you may not have access to at your college. Going to school in Northridge, you’re close enough to Los Angeles that there’s no excuse for not taking advantage of every educational opportunity available in the city. There’ll be a lot of driving. There’ll be many sleepless nights. You’ll get tired. But it will all be worth it. And if it’s not, you’re aiming for the wrong goal.

You reach your end goal by not giving up. Ever. You want to intern at a record label? Apply to every single one, knock on every single door, until someone says yes. You want to do sound at a venue? Ask every single venue manager and theatre manager if you can intern and prove yourself, in exchange for future consideration when they’re looking for a sound person. Intern at a radio station. Radio Disney, KROQ, and other local LA stations are always looking. And most often you can receive college credit. Intern with non-profit organizations throwing benefit concerts. Ask to shadow their sound engineer. Always keep working, learning. Always be that person ready to go, reliable, and with a good attitude. People that can help you recognize a good work ethic when they see one, and they remember the people who are always there, ready to work, and pleasant to be around.

You are young and you have all the time and energy in the world. Don’t waste this opportunity.

April 9, 2013
Every person I’ve met on the road has shaped my life in some way.

Every person I’ve met on the road has shaped my life in some way.

April 2, 2013

Anonymous said: Thank you for your insightful information on the process of becoming a roadie for warped tour. I know I am late to the party in asking, but do you know of any not-for-profits or bands seeking a person to hand our 'merch' on tour this year? I am just about to finish up my Masters in Poly Sci, but can't seem to shake this lingering desperation to be a part of something that completely defined my childhood before I enter the adult world. Maybe I have 'Peter-Pan Syndrome?' Thank you for your help.

You’re welcome. And congratulations on your upcoming graduation! Currently I do not, but if I hear of anyone publicly looking, I’ll make a post.

Have you looked into volunteering at your local stop? Traveling to a couple shows nearby and volunteering at those? It may be a way for you to fulfill your tour desire, and have a great experience along the way.

Side-note/rambling moment: ‘Peter-Pan Syndrome’ is a tricky phrase. On one hand, it’s a genuine thing. There are people who tour not for the love of it, but to avoid growing up. Then there are the people who are full-fledged adults with lives and families at home working in the touring industry. No PPS in effect, they simply love the profession.

So don’t worry about Peter-Pan Syndrome. If you want to tour, get out there and make it happen.

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