BlogDecember 2, 2014 2:01 PM ET

Old Man Gloom drummer explains how to make money touring

Old Man Gloom drummer Santo Montano op-ed

Old Man Gloom drummer Santos Montano has penned a worthy op-ed for Pitchfork titled "You Can Make Money Touring (But Not If You're Pomplamoose)." If you're confused by that title, it's probably because you've yet to hear about Pomplamoose, the indie act who recently published the financials from their latest tour; they had $136,000 of income, but $148,000 of expenses, meaning they lost nearly $12,000. Amidst support and empathy from their fans, the band was taken to task by others (including blogger Bob Lefsetz) for poor budgeting, planning, and money management.

Montano is the latest to point out the problems with Pomplamoose's approach. After evaluating the various components of the band's expenses, he goes into a bit of detail regarding an 2012 Old Man Gloom tour in which each member of the band pocketed roughly $2,500, despite playing to smaller crowds than Pomplamoose. Here's the relevant excerpt:

"Here's a brief example of a tour I was on, and I hope my bandmates don't get angry at me for revealing our secrets:?? Old Man Gloom toured the west coast in 2012. I don't have every figure, but I can estimate. We are 4 people, plus a front of house sound guy. We played 6 shows. We played the Echo in L.A., Bottom of the Hill in San Francisco, and other clubs in Portland, Seattle, San Diego, and Chico, all at around 350-capacity. All of the shows were sold out, or very close. We each paid for our own plane tickets, around $350. We rented a van from another band in Seattle. Here's the thing about vans: a lot of bands have them, and for the most part they sit and wait for someone to take them on tour, which makes it easy to rent them from another band (assuming you know other bands). We also rented our gear from other bands on the west coast. You always assure the person that if anything happens, ANYTHING, it will be fixed, and they will get it in the state they gave it. Same goes with vans. We stayed in hotels every night, even while rehearsing, and paid our front of house guy what he asked for (including airfare). We sold our own merch, and gave per diems. We didn't have a tour manager. Normally one of us does the tour managing duties. No biggie. At the end of the tour, we each walked away with around $2,500. Playing in bigger rooms, to more people, well, that means you make more money, as nothing really needs to change when you're bouncing up to 700-1,000 capacity rooms. We're happy in our place, and feel lucky to still be playing to people. We're also totally stoked to walk away with that much money for a weeks' worth of shows. Even adding a tour manager and a person to sell merch, which are reasonable things for people to do, shouldn't affect your bottom line too much when going to the 700-1000 size rooms."

You can read the full piece here.

4 comments

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anonymous 12/2/2014 1:28:13 PM

wow, bands dont have common sense if this is a secret

anonymous 12/2/2014 2:34:47 PM

the whole thing was a publicity stunt for the dude's new company.

birdman_prrr_prrr 12/2/2014 9:02:14 PM

musicians are generally retarded when it comes to making rational life decisions

anonymous 12/5/2014 9:59:39 PM

haha too true ^^^