One horrible fall day in Canada, on a particularly mind-numbing second day of a drive from Calgary to Vancouver, after being nearly lost in snow oblivion the previous night driving an 8 hour stretch across the Canadian Rockies through a blizzard with a failing battery and faltering headlights, we had an idea. The idea was that Agency Group booked, label sponsored, magazine advertised, banner ad, corporate, package touring was fucking stupid. And that nearly dying to arrive at shows “on time” (2 pm) to avoid a feeble complaint phone call from whichever headlining band’s tour manager to our manager was not worth not being dead.
We remembered our first tours… Self-booked journeys that mainly involved staying with psychos, showing up to shows 30 minutes before we had to play, visiting national parks and historical locations during the day, and making friends with promoters and all the people who took the time to help us not because it was their job, but because they wanted to.
We were done playing to mentally retarded Gwar fans to “expand our fanbase”. We started a band to play music, stay friends, see the world, and meet really beautiful, smart women. We hadn’t toured internationally since our first self-booked tour to Europe 3 years before. No one in the music industry thought it made financial sense. We realized that since we hated all of those people anyway and thought they were painfully stupid, we should have never even taken their opinion into consideration. So we would go back to Europe, and go as far as we could, and to go to every country in the world that had ever emailed us asking us to come play a show. And to go to countries where no one had even asked, just because we wanted to see them if we could. We made a list of everywhere we wanted to go and everywhere we thought we could go on a napkin. We played 5 more shows, got home, went to Mexico for a week, kicked out Baby Horse, broke up with our girlfriends, called Jon Karel, and booked Earth Tour for 3 months straight.
The hell of booking this tour, finally, is not worth going into. The most that can be said is that it took David and Erik 3 months, 7 days a week, at least 8 hours a day, writing emails, researching immigration laws, looking up flight prices and weight regulations, figuring out the cheapest and most efficient routings, changing them at least 50 times, applying for credit cards and loans, researching electricity in 45 countries, trying to find reliable contacts, looking for publicity and sponsors, ordering merch in like 10 different countries, getting our CD released in 8 countries, restraining ourselves from flying to New York and murdering the employees of KOCH Records, responding to mean comments on message boards, developing a treatment for a reality TV show, having sex, renting movies on Netflix, meeting with production companies, tracking down a media team (Gary and Sarah- who we hung out with in Vancouver the night we thought of Earth Tour and who filmed and photographed this interview that night, weird), and getting vaccinated.
In the end our record label at the time, KOCH Records, dropped us after a bunch of fights over licensing our CD in foreign countries like China where there was no money to be made for them. We were very happy.
We maxed out 5 credit cards: 2 for the band, 2 of David’s personal cards, 1 of Erik’s, and took out a $10,000 loan. This totaled around $60,000 and covered all the flights we bought up front for the tour party of 7. Over the course of the tour we spent another $40,000 or so on merch, gas, drivers, hotels, ferries, equipment rental, food, souvenirs, and limousines. In the end we made just over $99,000. 45 countries, 4 continents, in 3 months, at a cost of around $100 per member.
When we got to New York City we put $30,000 cash in 22 currencies into a paper lunch bag and took the subway to Bank of America.