Sometimes the quest for tours is insatiable. Sometimes you just have to take matters into your own hands and go right to the source. That's when the going gets tough and the tough get ugly.
You want the good stuff, like dates for Luther Vandross, Andrea Bocelli and Jazz Mandolin Project, and you know they're not going to give it to you because they like your face. That's when you gotta stand up to the man behind the curtain, the guy who runs the "big picture."
You look both ways, then behind you before ducking into the alley. The "X" on the Dumpster marks the spot. Your mind recalls the code you committed to memory before eating that last communication from your informant. Kick twice on the side, then pound out a medley of Type O Negative's greatest hits on top. You know, just to get his attention.
Suddenly, there's a rustling from inside the Dumpster. The lid pops open and a grizzled old man holding a bottle of MD 20/20 rises up from the trash. He flicks a banana peel off of his shoulder, lights up a discarded cigarette butt and says, "Oh, it's you."
That's when the silence hits. That uneasy moment when you think the entire deal is about to go south. Finally he takes one last drag from the butt and washes it down with a slug of Mad Dog. "I guess we better get started. That is, if you can handle it."
He continues. "I added some dates to the Euro schedule for Crash Test Dummies, he says while wiping his finger along the inside of an empty sardine tin. I also have a new tour for Dashboard Confessional, plus new dates for Tori Amos, Jive and Sha Na Na. Is that enough for now?"
You give him your best cold-blooded glare for an answer. He goes on, rambling about Sol Y Canto and two touring companies for Trans-Siberian Orchestra, East and West. You toss him a 40 ouncer and a pack of non-filtered Camels. The pre-agreed upon fee. Then you hit the road.
As you walk away you chuckle to yourself about the grand charade played upon the public. About how the concert industry is made up of thousands of booking agents, promoters, managers, venue operators and support crews. But in reality, it all boils down to this one man. This old guy sitting in a trash bin in an alley in downtown Fresno, California. And as you're about to walk out of the alley, he yells out a warning.
"Remember, now. If they catch you, you don't know where you got this stuff. Tell them you found it on the street. Tell them you found it at the bus stop. Better yet, tell them you saw it on Pollstar.com!"