I have a really cool interview for you guys. I have been very blessed and have been able to interview quite a few bands, but today I have a very special interview with a Tour Manger named Johnny Ellett. I hope you guys enjoy this interview and I hope that you are encouraged, who knows....maybe after you read this interview you will decide that you want to be a tour manager.
My questions are in Orange and Johnny's answers are in Grey.
1. How did you become a Tour Manager?
You could say I was in the right place at the right time, but to say that, I would be lessing the power of the holy spirit. Looking back on how I ended up where I am, I see a series of random events that are not so random in the end. I'll start with my passion for music. I led worship for my youth group for 4 years. After that, I moved to Nashville, TN to study Marketing/Music Business at Belmont University. I did an internship. I met a friend. We played music together. He started working for a band called Building 429. A month after graduating, I was asked to Assistant Tour Manage for Building 429. Nine months after that, a band called Tenth Avenue North asked me to come work for them, where I have resided for the past year. On paper, it seems like a logical step 1, step 2, step 3 and I got the job, but it wasn't. There were a lot of little, subtle things that where seen and unseen that have led me to tour managing. One thing that I have learned through my journey is that God's dreams for you are bigger than your own and if you allow the holy spirit to lead you, you will be amazed at the things you get to do in life. By the grace of God, I am a child of His, who happens to make a living tour managing.
2. What is your favorite part of your job?
I enjoy getting to travel, meeting new people and experience new things. I think my favorite part of my job is just being a part of creating a memorable experience for the fans.
3. What does a typical work day look like?A typical work day is about 16-17 hours long. We always start off with a 'walk through' of the venue. We see where we are loading in, where dressing rooms/catering/production office etc. are located. We connect with the promoter/venue/runners and discuss the days activities. Shortly after the walk through, we mark where everything is so people know where to go and begin loading in all the equipment. Load in and set up usually takes all morning. Once the equipment is set up, we have sound checks. Before the show, the band will usually have a meet & greet or Q&A with fans. Then the show happens. After the show, we undo everything we did in the morning. Throughout the day, I check in on the band/crew and make sure everyone is ok and make sure they are where they need to be, when they need to be there. Occasionally, we get a little break to play some basketball.
4. What is the hardest part of your job?
Having to tell people no. On occasion, a tour manager will have to play the "bad guy". Now I believe you can say no, and still be a nice guy, but sometimes requests come in that are just not feasible or someone believes one thing should be done one way and someone thinks it should be done another way. It's usually the tour managers responsibility to resolve the problem, which can leave someone unhappy. A lot of times, there is a solution that works for all parties and everyone is happy. I find great joy when I get to be a part of finding that solution. I sometimes joke that all tour managing is, is creative problem solving.
5. What tips do you have to keep God your focus?
Community. Surround yourself with people who believe the things you believe. If that is a youth group, a small group or a few friends that you meet once a week to talk about stuff, do it. Invest in it. Don't be afraid to tell each other your struggles. Build each other up.
Also, something that I have been trying recently, is in the morning before I check e-mails, facebook, twitter, I read one chapter in the bible and pray for a few minutes. I hate reading in general, but when I start my day off with talking to God and reading a little, my walk is stronger, bolder and God is my focus that day. If I don't, my struggles are harder and I've gone through a day forgetting why I am really here on this earth.
If you like twitter, follow @dailybible. It tweet's a verse a day. When I see it, I take a moment to pause and pray.