In his recommended new book Tour Smart and Break the Band,
about the real deal of touring as a band or artist, longtime drummer Martin Atkins
(PiL, Killing Joke, Ministry, Pigface,
etc.) tells it like it is to be on the road in a rock band, or in any band for that matter. These days the busy author runs a record label, invents new types of drums, books bands, and teaches a univeristy course in Chicago at Columbia College about the business of the arts! The 592-page book (which is in stores Sept. 1st but available online
now) exhaustively explores every aspect of touring. The highly informative and entertaining how-to book is written and edited by Atkins, who invited about a hundred music biz experts (from bus drivers to bass players) to voice their tales and experiences of life on the road for touring artists. Topics include making contracts, sketching itineries, pros and cons of drug use on the road, the importance of merchandise, sound checks, and dealing with everything from club sound checks to handling radio interviews and driving a tour bus 330 miles in unfamiliar conditions at 4AM after just leaving a gig. Atkins' guest contributors include Henry Rollins, Steve Albini,
and Kevin Lyman
of the Vans Warped Tour
. Lee Frasers
of Sheep on Drugs
describes the difficulty of being on stage tripping on acid and playing his guitar, which felt to him like it was made of sponge rubber, and trying to somehow keep in the (onstage) moment.
I recently caught up with author Martin Atkins via email, to ask him about the book and also the exhibit entitled The Religion of Marketing
that he just wound up in New York City at Fuse Gallery
on 2nd Avenue. It featured items that are included in the illustration-heavy Tour Smart.
: What exactly was at your recent exhibit in New York that tied in with the new book?