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  •  The EvO:R-Pedia Musicians Tips Section


    Welcome to the EvO:R Tips Section. We call this section EvO:R-Pedia because it is like a complete reference library for Indie musicians...Just about every tip has been used so you won't find false promises and a series of books to buy after reading each tip. This section was put here by musicians so that people that followed can take this knowledge and use it's power.



    The Great Greyhound Bus Tour!
    by Rob Walters

    If you get nothing more out of this then you shouldn't trust a manager/promoter who's nick name is Sam the Mule, then I have accomplished something. When all this happened, I was young, somewhat innocent and all I saw before me was a contract to record. I was going to be a star.

    Portland, ME. in 1973 was a gathering place for artist of all sorts. I had arrived in the summer of that year from my CT birthplace, carrying a beat up old guitar, and some slick songs, and a stage hype name of Ripped Weed. One of them "Burntout Bert" quickly became popular with the party set, which I was sure to be at, guitar in hand, providing the entertainment. My first formal gig in Portland was at a place called "The Rook & Pawn" a simple happy hour set, afterwards I was approuched by the owner of the club, the aforementioned Sam the Mule.

    Sam was a shady character to be sure, his favortate expression being "I don't really give a *&^%" and although I personally couldn't say I liked him, he offered to manage my then very new carreer and since he owned or was a partner in several other clubs from Portland to Boston, he could gaurentee me work. All sounded good to me, he also had access to excellent drugs and made it clear that by signing with him I would never be without. Now in 1973, for me, that was a deal that was hard to pass up.

    Things went well at first, I teamed with another guitar player, and we started playing at all his clubs in the area. Occasionally we were given a "package" to deliver here or there with strict instructions not to be nosey. We weren't, actually we were way to stoned to be anything but high. Then after a month, Sam called me into his office, and showed me a contract for me to record on London Records. He claimed he got the offer from a connection of his in the city. (For those who do not know "the city" on the east coast is New York) Alls I had to do was sign the contract and at the end of a 34 venue tour of the east coast, London would bring me into the studio in New York and record 3 albums of my music. I could have just about shit right there on the spot, and of course I signed for a gaurnteed $380.00/week, which in those days was big money. Never even asking how this tour was going to take place.

    It wasn't till two days later, on a morning with a hangover, that Sam the mule showed me the plans for the Greyhound Tour. Sam had a brillent idea that since each of the venues were in citys along the Greyhound line we could travel by the bus from each one. Before me sat an agenda, with dates and times, bus stations and numbers, all blurring together in my befuddled brain. Part of me wanted to scream "What are you insane." but instead I just asked, "Can this work?" and of course his answer was sure see all the times fit, you leave tommorrow on the 2 o'clock for Boston. A mixture of fear and excitement went though me as I walked out of his office, still very unsure how this would work, or what Mike, who played with me would say, but I knew that by 9pm tommorow I was going to be playing in Boston. To Be Cont.

    Part 2 of the Great Grayhound Bus Tour- read below..


    Part II
    If you get nothing more out of this then you shouldn't trust a manager/promoter who's nick name is Sam the Mule, then I have accomplished something. When all this happened, I was young, somewhat innocent and all I saw before me was a contract to record. I was going to be a star.

    I had met Kat when I first came to Portland. She also worked for Sam The Mule, at one of his clubs as a topless barmaid. I had been living with her for the last month and my partner Mike had been crashing on her couch. When I told her I would be touring for the next three months, she didn't take it to well. She wanted to know who was going to baby sit her two year old daughter while she worked, and why did Mike have to go with me. All in all she was pretty pissed, and although she agreed to bring us to the bus terminal, I knew whatever we had was over. I couldn't help thinking about an old joke. "What do you call a musician that breaks up with his girlfriend?" Homeless is the answer.

    Mike and I only had a bag of clothes each and our guitars. We were doing acoustic sets. I know in both our cases we were carrying all we owned. Sam The Mule had $200.00 spending money and a 1/4 pound of red columbian pot dropped to us along with bus passes allowing us unlimited travel. As I sat in the car on the way to the bus terminal ignoring Kat's pissing and moaning, I felt secure and confident in what I was doing, even when she pealed out three seconds after we got our stuff out of the car.

    We had an hour before the bus was leaving, so we grabbed a locker and put up our stuff, went to the men's room to roll one and took a walk, smoking as we strolled; getting our heads right for the two hour trip to Boston. Back at the terminal waiting to board, Mike and I decided to bring our guitars on the bus with us and to store our bags underneath, so we were just sitting there jamming, drawing some attention, of course there were the business types who were complaining about the hippies on the bus, but we were stoned and happy, no cares at all. As we got on the bus, the driver gave us the eye, and we headed to the back. The bus was only half full so we took seats across from one another and stretched out.

    Within a half an hour I started realizing that this wasn't going to be a lot of fun, and Mike says to me "Where are we spending the night?" I told him I didn't know and he started to freak, grabbing the agenda Sam The Mule had given me, and with eyes that looked like they had been struck by an electric bolt, he started naming off all the 34 venues, making special note where there were two or three days before the next gig.

    I quickly rolled him a joint to smoke and sent him off to the toilet in the rear to calm down. As pot smoke drifted out of the rear of the bus, I hoped Mike wouldn't bail and decided we'd better get what sleep we could on the bus. I wasn't sure when I'd be seeing more money since Sam The Mule was getting my checks from London Records and had mentioned he would forward money to me along the way. I wasn't to sure what that meant and realized now I should have looked into this more before I signed. London signed me because I had been a pretty well known modern Poet as a child. When I got to my teens, I learned the guitar, sang for a few bands and co-wrote a couple of songs, mostly because I knew Poets starved. London thought they could turn me into the second coming of Bob Dylan, but this thing with Sam The Mule was going way to fast and I was locked in with no way out. Mike came out of the bathroom with a cloud of rancid smoke clinging to him like a London fog. He sat down across the aisle from me and said, "Well we better find a hotel before we go to The Door." We were playing The Cellar Door, opening at nine p.m. The address was written down, Sam The Mule said it wasn't far from the bus terminal, but I wasn't sure what "It wasn't far" meant and I wasn't going to tell Mike I didn't know how to get to the gig, at lest not just yet.

    As the bus pulled into Boston, I gathered all the confidence I had, which wasn't easy since I only had about $200.00 on me, gathered up Mike and our gear. There was a decent hotel within site of the terminal so we headed that way. I paid out $120.00 for a double room for the night, found out from the desk clerk that the Cellar Door was about three miles away, so I knew we needed a cab, and to make matters worse Mike was getting hungry.

    >>>To Be Cont. Opening Night, Broker then Broke<<<<<


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