802 Bookshelf: The Touring Musician

by Hal Galper, Billboard Books, 2000, 250 pages, $16.95 trade paperback

Volume C, No. 9September, 2000

Bill Crow

Hal Galper has created a valuable manual for road musicians. If you want to know the ins and outs of putting a band together and taking it on tour, most of your questions will be answered somewhere in this volume. Galper has divided his book into two parts, “Preparing Yourself to Run a Small Business” and “Booking Your Tour.”

Part one contains six chapters titled “Getting Your Attitude Together,” “Evaluating Your Assets and Creating Your Action Plan,” “Organizing Your Business,” “Setting Up Your Office,” “Selecting and Packaging Your Band” and “Managing Your Time and Information.” Part two has seven chapters titled “Researching Your Venue Contacts,” “Contacting Venues and Negotiating Gigs,” “Managing Tour Routing and Budgets,” “Arranging Travel and Accommodations in North America,” “Arranging Travel and Accomodations in Foreign Countries,” “Organizing Your Tour Finances” and “Conducting Your Promotional Activities.”

Blessed with an organized mind, Galper speaks with the voice of experience. He gives clear examples of situations that one will encounter, and easily understood advice on how to prepare to meet each challenge. His thorough dissertations on each subject should help the novice bandleader understand all the things that need to be taken care of in mounting a tour. (Of course, the book may also cause some musicians to decide not to get involved in such a demanding endeavor.) And veterans of the road who wonder if they could be handling things more effectively will surely find food for thought here.

Side musicians will also find this book interesting. It will help them understand the problems of the bandleader and road manager, and may give them some ideas about how to help make the road trip a success. It may even give some of them the courage to start groups of their own.

Galper’s book offers organizational worksheets and checklists, samples of calendars, budgets and contracts, and step-by-step instructions. He uses amusing personal anecdotes to illustrate many of his points. His section on negotiating with bookers is especially insightful and amusing. As is stated on the cover, this is “an invaluable survival manual for musicians.”