Ever wonder what goes into the tour your favorite band just went on and the show they just played?! Check out what the tour manager for a fantastic live band had to say about her job and the day to day aspects of touring!
I originally created the spotlight category when a band (The Word Alive) caught my attention by doing something many do not, they put on a live performance that was above and beyond. Recently someone who plays a vital role in the music industry as she oversees entire tours has caught my attention and deserves to be recognized. This week the spotlight is on a woman who is constantly on top of her game and always ensures that things run smoothly and as they should; this woman is Jenny Douglas, the tour manager for Chiodos. I’ve worked with her a few times in the past few months and each and every time she has been extremely professional, polite, and gone out of her way to be helpful. Many people do not see all of the handwork that it takes to set up tours and ensure that everything goes as planned. This is why I asked her if she would be kind enough to do an interview to give fans some insight into the day to day behind the scenes aspects of touring from the eyes of someone who oversees it all. Much more goes into every day then most, including myself, understand and it is important as fans that those who enable us to see our favorite bands live get the recognition and appreciation they deserve.
(A picture I caught of Jenny running sound for Chiodos with a big smile on her face, be sure to thank her for her hard work if you see her around!)
Many people do not realize just how much work goes into tours behind the scenes, can you tell fans what your position is and give them a brief run down of your responsibilities?
“Hi. I am a tour manager. I deal with everything. From Booking a bus for a tour, to making sure there is enough toilet paper in the bus, to advancing shows, to making sure the band is on time and has a schedule, to dealing with press, to making sure the band eats, and settling money. I also do sound, so it’s like I have two jobs. I set up microphones, and run a sound check, and if you have been to a show since April of 2013, you probably heard me mix the band at the show. I make sure doors open on time, and that each band knows how long they need to play, and I make sure the bus driver has a hotel to sleep in, and I make sure that the merchandising is getting stock on time, to finding and scheduling shipments. You name it, I have done it.”
What is the most difficult aspect of your job?
“The most difficult aspect of my job is dealing with people.”
What is the most rewarding?
“The most rewarding part of my job is traveling to places I have never been before. I have been to Greece, and all parts of South America, Egypt, and all of that was possible in some way, thru bands. If we weren’t playing a show somewhere crazy in Chile, then we were jumping off the rock cliffs and swimming in the south of France. You just try and make the most of your days abroad, and visiting a castle down the street makes it all worthwhile!”
What is your all time favorite aspect of your job?
“My favorite aspect of the job is the travel, even though it’s exhausting some times.”
Can you share some things about yourself, where did you go to college and what for?
“I went to college for marine science, I started at the University of Hawaii, and I left home right after high school. I was so homesick, that I wanted to come back to the continental states, and I ended up back at Missouri State University. There I started working at venues and going to school full time. I was going to metal and hardcore shows while I was in high school, and Hawaii wasn’t getting any music like that, I missed going to shows SO much. After I returned home, I got an apartment, and started working a couple jobs, just so I could pursue my passion for music. I never wanted to have a “real” job.”
How did you get into the industry?
“My sister was going to shows at a young age, and if she stayed out late, I got to stay out late. So I always hung out with her, and she got a car for her 16th Birthday. She was selling merch at a venue and fortunately, the venue let me hang out. I started hanging out with the sound guys so they could go get drunk and they would just leave me at the sound booth. Working at a small place in Springfield, MO is how I got my start, and I will never forget the people that took a chance on me, the guys that owned the Outland Ballroom, The Juke Joint, and The Rockwell. My biggest mentor was a sound guy/bartender named Yankton Southern in 2002.”
How did you end up as a tour manager?
“I ended up as a tour manager because the bass player of the band I worked for, selling merch and doing sound, he didn’t want to do it anymore. It’s a constant barrage of questions, and harassment from other band members. No one really wants the arguments or to do the planning. It’s a 24 hour a day job, and not a lot of people are up to it.”
How did you end up working with Chiodos?
“I ended up working for Chiodos, after the manager emailed me four times. I was busy with New Found Glory at the time, and when it was time for me to leave New Found, I just said yes to the job. I didn’t even need references, I just kept getting recommended for this gig.”
What’s it like being on tour and with one of the most respected and well known names in the scene?
“I don’t know who you are referring to when you are asking which name in the scene, all my friends had no idea what a Chiodos is. It’s no different than any other band. The fans are just as crazy. The show clothes are just as smelly as any other band. I think that everyone forgets that this is my job and I have six bosses. Try pleasing one boss?! I have six!! I just try and do the best I can.. add a label, management, publicist, an accountant. I now have ten bosses. It’s Insane!”
What is the most challenging aspect of being on the road for extended periods of time?
“The most challenging aspect of this job is trying to stay sane mentally. I am literally concerned with other people 24 hours a day/7 days a week. So I often forget to brush my hair or look in a mirror in the morning. I will look at my phone and realize I haven’t heard from my boyfriend in three days. I consistently lose touch with people I care about, and I apologize profusely to my family and friends. I go insane because everyone is constantly asking me questions, and it leaves me no time for myself. If I want to be alone, I literally have to turn off my phone and leave the sight of the people I work with. I am often too tired to even watch a movie before bed, but i have to try and turn off work once in a while, or I start to hate everyone. I love to ride motorcycles, and I miss that the most about being gone so much.”
What is it like being a woman in a predominately male dominated industry?
“Being a woman in a male dominated industry is probably like being a goth kid in high school. No one you know is doing it, and you are just the wierdo that no one takes seriously because of their appearance. But, in fact, you are intelligent and tell great stories, you just happen to have female parts. It’s tough being different, but if everything were easy there wouldn’t be progress. I constantly try and change people’s minds about this industry, I’m efficient, I hate doing things twice, and I just want everything to run smoothly. If I come off as harsh, it’s by accident because I am trying not to waste any breath.”
If you were to give those looking to work in the music industry crucial advice, what would it be?
“My critical music industry advice would be to stay in school. All this will be waiting for you when you are done with college. This industry isn’t going anywhere, and maybe you might learn some valuable life advice in dealing with other people in college. You at least will be well rounded and always have an education to fall back on. After that, the world is your oyster, chase your dreams.”
Be sure to catch Jenny hard at work with Chiodos on the current Devil’s Dance Tour and give her a smile and a thanks!!