Sunday, 18 December 2011

2006 and Business is Booming

it's 2006
and it's a machine now
i've got my sister on daily operations
i've got one of my best friends - johnny b - road managing and blowing bass
i've got another one of my best friends booking me - steve butler!
and i've got the best musicians working with me

my dynamic with everyone feels good
i'll never quit the road
i like being with everyone

i realize that to many of the musicians
i'm their main source of employment
it's my decisions that shape the company
and keep musicians working
i start to pay strong attention to this

then i notice my dynamic changing
and i'm the boss
that takes some getting used to
but i got a good track record
and the shows go off
one after another
note for note - cut for cut

i started mixing the shows
it was the final step in my quest for absolute control of everything CAL
a lot of people don't realize
that what they hear in the audience is controlled by the sound-man
one day i just looked down at the sound board
and said i can do this
and began mixing the shows

i'd mix the eastern tours
that's where i learned about sound
in the maritimes
first with the zep band
then with the wall tour
i've always been hands on with the musicians and their sounds
i began to implement different changes they would make into my mix
i don't know of many techs that do this
our shows constantly change
different line ups
different gear
i can anticipate things with sound
the hardest thing to do is build the perfect 3 part harmony
each voice has to sit pretty
and the butter has to melt

i trust very few people with the mix
rich hagen is the best there is
he's got the gift of sound in him
and he's graceful if i have to bark instructions about a mix mid show
that says a lot
with rich there is no feedback
other than 'nice mix'

I also began to rethink how i do business
our shows are void of creativity
our boundaries clearly defined
so i thought i could be creative with my business dealings

it started with my bank
i was standing in line
in the business line
i pay a premium price to stand in the business line
it's supposed to move faster than the non business line
but i'm waiting
so every time  i'm in line
i get the receptionist to clock me in and out
and make a note of it
then i bill my bank $1200
i sent them an invoice
they phoned
i explained my situation
the bank manager said 'Well, Mr. Martin, we're not in a position to pay this. Is there something else you want?'
yes i said
wave my bank fees on all my accounts for a year
they agreed
right on

i began to apply this to other parts of the business
i get a business visa card with high reward miles
and i put my entire life on it
i pay it off entirely each month
i never payed a cent of interest
in fact
they're paying me now
i have a ton of air miles saved
this is good for the series

spending a lifetime on the road
teaches you the value of money
i keep things tight
i'd rather pay the musicians top dollar than another tech
we can load our own gear
we're not precious
we're strong and resilient

make sure to read the chapter on the imperial swan hotel (posting soon)
my god
we stayed dives
in a way i forced some of the players to pay their dues
growing up some us who gigged in the 70s and 80s
knew the lay of the land when it came to hotels
staying at the swan was slumming it for some of us
for others it was a throwback to another time
we all got through it together
i have many good memories connected to staying in dives

the best thing about a bit of success
is sharing it
musicians are honourable people
and CAL is a warm place for them to land
i aspire to employing more musicians
and paying them top rate for their work
isn't that a good reason to get up in the morning?
other than parenting
i can't think of a better one

revised on december 18, 2011
guinness and apple

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