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David Hazel Discusses His DIY Touring Experience
Posted March 27, 2018 by Seth Johnson
WRITTEN BY
Seth Johnson
ON
March 27, 2018
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(Poster by Graham Brown, photo of David by Joanie Youngman)

Musical Family Tree is excited to announce its first event of four in an educational series for Indiana musicians in 2018. This lecture and panel discussion will explore details on what to do after a musician or band has saturated local markets and is ready to start touring. Attendees will be able to learn how to get started from experienced local musicians, while also finding out what to expect and watch out for while on the road.

Longtime Indianapolis musician David Hazel will be one of the featured speakers at this event officially entitled MFT's Smarter Scene Vol.1: DIY Touring how to thrive on the road. Get to know David via this blog post, and also be sure to get your ticket to this Thursday’s event at the LO-FI Lounge in Fountain Square.

 

Seth Johnson: Give me some background on yourself and how long you've been making music locally.

David Hazel: I am a multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and producer that has been playing in Indy since 2001 with Extra Blue Kind, then Beta Male, and currently Bullet Points. I had a record deal with Extra Blue Kind and toured full-time for a while, and a few years after that I did some European tours as the drummer/backup singer for the Lemonheads.

SJ: When did go on your first tour, and what was that experience like?

DH: In 2004, I went on my first real tour — a two-week tour of the Southwest with Extra Blue Kind. We were lucky to have a tour manager, driver and a booking agent, but we did a horrible job of promoting ourselves and had a pretty bad booking agent. Still, the experience was amazing and got me hooked on touring.

SJ: What are some things you wish you knew before going on your first tour?

DH: I wish we had been more humble about the experience and realized that we needed to actually work hard to make it a success. We were young and felt like we were set just because we were musically skilled, felt we had great material and some outside support. We should have treated it more as a precious opportunity or as a job, rather than a rockstar vacation. Also, it's good to grow some thick skin...you're going to be somewhere you've never been on a Tuesday night in the middle of nowhere playing to no one but the bar staff at one in the morning. It can be an ego blow, but if you impress the bar staff, you might have a great Tuesday night the next time through town. Those people apparently talk to the people who actually go to shows!

SJ: Since that first tour, how many times have you gone back out on the road?

DH: A couple years after that first tour, I toured full-time for more than a year with Extra Blue Kind all around the Midwest, East Coast and the South, and toured Europe a few times with the Lemonheads. Aside from that, I've done numerous weekend trips with other groups.

SJ: With the experiences that you've had to this point, what is the biggest key to planning your own successful DIY tour?

DH: DIY doesn’t have to mean all by yourself. Get as much help as you can from wherever you can. It’s really tough to be a writer, performer, recording engineer, graphic designer, booking agent, publicist, tour manager, etc., etc., etc. all by yourself. I wasn’t able to do it alone. Don’t be afraid to share the wealth if you can find good people that can actually help make good things happen. 15% of 0 is 0. If someone can book good shows or get solid promotional opportunities or sell your swag, give them a good cut.

Head here for more info on this Thursday’s educational event on DIY touring.

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