The biggest gig I didn’t get
I knew Ian and Ben a bit through high school, they went to a nearby school and the punk scene was pretty small in Streetsville in the 90s. When I say I knew them, it was more like we could pick each other out of a crowd as opposed to being friends. They had a band called Pez, and they played shows with another band called Snapper we were all sure was the next Pearl Jam. When I went to college in Toronto I ironically lost touch with the music scene back home as I immersed myself in the scene downtown. Instead of doing a studio internship I sat beside Bo for about 6 months learning how to mix live music. One night I was lamenting that the PA company gigs had dried up and we couldn’t all make a living off Clintons. He sent me up the street to Lee’s Palace to talk to the house tech there. Subbed in for a few shows there, and at the Rivoli. Then an opening came up at the Horseshoe for a junior sound guy, and they asked people from three separate venues to recommend someone and they all pointed to me (I was flabbergasted). About six months after I started working there Ian walked up to me at the board and said “hey I know you! We’re playing here, are you mixing here now?” I said I was and it was good to see him. He said they just changed their band’s name and I asked what it is now, and he responded “Billy Talent, do you get it?”
I said not really and he chastised me for not having seen Hard Core Logo yet, and I promised I would get to it. They played the show and it was impressive to say the least. At the end of the show Ian came back to the board and said they just got signed to some management contract in LA and we’re going on a tour, and would I be interested in working for them. As a young man I can’t think of anything I would have rather been doing than being on the road with a punk band so I said sure. He said their manager would be in contact. I figured that was probably the last I would hear about it.
Their manager called me to my surprise, asked me a few questions, and said “well, the guys like you and think you’re a pretty good tech, I could see this working out.” Then he asked if I had any tour management experience. I said I didn’t, but if he told me what to do I could pick it up quickly. He said he would let me know, but a few days later he called to say they were going with someone else only because he had tour management experience and was already in Vancouver where the tour was starting so they wouldn’t have to pay for his plane ticket, but he would keep my info around in case they could use me in the future.
Tour management is sometimes difficult but not really all that complicated. I often wonder what would have happened if I’d just lied.