Getting Paid To Play.

As a musician who spent over 10 years in LA I got very used to being mistreated by music venues. Most of the bad deals offered by the clubs and venues in LA county have been chronicled in previous blog posts. The nefarious practices of “pay to play” and “advance ticket sale” deals are among the worst and as a songwriter who plays mostly original music I’ve been subjected to the most degrading and financially disastrous music business deals of all time.

So now that I am living on the road and performing night after night in venues all across the country (far far away from LA county) I am consistently shocked when venues offer a few hundred dollars in exchange for booking my act. I feel a bit like a domestic violence victim whose first instinct is to flinch when someone leans in, arms outstretched to give a hug.

As a result of getting paid (not a grand fortune mind you) in addition to selling the odd CD here and there, I find myself for the first time in many years making steady money from my live performances. It’s not yet covering all the expenses of touring, but every little bit helps me get from gig to gig and every so often I get a blessed email notification that someone has donated via paypal to my tour. My current tour is donation based and whatever people donate goes direct to offset the tour costs (food/gas$$) and whatever folks donate to my tour, I in turn donate a portion of those donated funds to the charity of my choosing (a different charity for each leg of the tour). I’m sending a portion of donations from this leg of my tour to charitable health organizations that are working feverishly to contain the frightening Ebola virus in West Africa.

All of these fiscal streams really help but more often than not the expenses outweigh the amount that I receive and the lack of funds have occasionally stopped this tour dead in its tracks. Each time I run low on expenses I am forced to take a day job or a seasonal gig wherever I happen to be on my journey. For example last Nov/Dec I joined the crew at the Dickens Christmas Fair in San Francisco in order raise $ for the tour. As I write this I’m employed as a wine bottler at a winery in Branson Missouri. I have 4 weeks of employment left at the winery and then I hit the road heading back to LA.

I’m looking forward to returning to LA however I currently have no place to stay and I also had to give up the music studio I was renting in order to afford to be able to tour. I will very likely only be in the South land for a few days to visit dear friends (and perhaps play a show) before I jet off to San Francisco to re-join the Dickens Fair crew for another season of work.

I do not mind the life of a vagabond, and I am thankfully well suited to the itinerant musician lifestyle. It is my goal to eventually (hopefully sooner rather than later) be able to make enough money from my shows/Cd sales/digital downloads / tour donations to not have to take on any other side work. If I can build upon the contacts and paid gigs that I have already done, I might be able to parlay them into more and more shows year after year which would keep me on the road until further notice, but at least I can now more or less survive on the gigs that pay which is more than I can say for my entire gigging experience in LA.

I’ve 6 more shows in the Ozarks before I hit the road back to California. It’s been a grand adventure so far and I am looking forward to what is in store for the rest of 2014.

Upcoming Kindness of Strangers Tour Dates

Upcoming Kindness of Strangers Tour Dates

Advertisements

“Siren” is officially released as the new Brian Travis Band single.

My producer and I have been pushing “Siren” as the new single from The Coyote & The Crow now that the music video is out. We’ve released the video on both Vimeo and Youtube and it’s been getting a fair amount of views, however I feel the video is really great and should be getting more views than it is getting. If you have not yet seen it, please give it a watch and feel free to share it with friends. Please comment on the youtube page as well. We love to read your comments.

Here is the link to the video on youtube:

Watch. Comment. Share. Thank you. πŸ™‚

I’ve been playing a lot of gigs in The Ozarks and last week I traveled to Colorado for a few shows in Denver and Boulder. I also performed live on the radio in Grand Junction on KAFM Community radio on Boyd Franklins show Broaden Your Bandwidth. KAFM was a really cool station and it was a pleasure to perform a few acoustic tunes on the air and to chat with Boyd about my tour.

A few days later I got word that “Siren” was played again on KAFM during a morning drive time americana/rock radio show alongside such legendary heavy hitters as Neil Young, Led Zeppelin, & Tom Petty!

Check out this epic playlist…I’m in good company y’all!

playlist

I’ll wrap up this entry by posting the latest Kindness of Strangers Tour Episode. This Episode was shot by George Landress at our music video screening at Bar Lubitsch. It was a really great night and my last show in LA before hitting the road on the second leg of the tour. I hope you enjoy it. More tour episodes coming soon.

Sprockets International Music Video Film Festival in Athens GA.

Last Thursday morning (5:30am) I hastily packed up a backpack of clothes, my acoustic guitar and some BTB CD’s and business cards and hit the open road for a 13 hour drive to Athens GA. The Brian Travis Band music video for our song, “Siren” (directed by David Barlia) was an official selection this year at Sprockets International Music Video Film Festival. Sprockets is the longest running film festival dedicated exclusively to music video film making in the United States. It was a real honor that our video was selected and I was not going to miss the chance to see the video premiered on the big screen.

filmathens

I was also very excited to spend a few days in Athens Georgia as I had never been east of the Mississippi river before. It was great to be around so much rich American history. There is something special about crossing the Mighty Mississippi to spend time in the original colonial states.

IMG_3160

I had arranged to stay with my friend Laura from LA, whose family has a nice lake house in Hartwell GA. It was a little north of Athens, but it was well worth the extra drive time to see Laura and kick it on her family’s pontoon boat. It was drizzling rain all weekend but that did not stop Laura and I from taking out the jet ski for a spin on Hartwell lake. It was thrilling to open throttle that thing on the open water!

IMG_3175

Later that day we got showered and ready to hit the town. We had to go to Athens to pick up the wristbands for the film festival at The Flicker Theater and Bar right next to The 40 Watt Club. We got there around 8ish and grabbed a few drinks and met all the other film makers and artists who were milling about. The Flicker Theater became quite a scene and a few drinks turned into a few more. Later that evening one of Laura’s friends, Mandy, showed up to have drinks with us. We all ended up at a small gathering of friends at someones house where we continued socializing until the wee hours. In the morning Laura and I caught a ride back to my car from her brother. Laura went home to get more rest while I wandered around downtown Athens killing time before my hotel allowed me to check in later that afternoon.

Laura and I

Laura and I before our night on the town

I took a few pics while walking around Athens:

IMG_3184

IMG_3204

IMG_3205

IMG_3206

IMG_3207

Once I checked into the hotel I showered and took a nap. I woke up in time to make it to the pre-screening VIP reception (once again at the Flicker Theater and Bar) where I ran into an artist named Brooklynn from Atlanta Georgia. We had a nice time chatting over a few beers and then we headed over to The 40 Watt to see our respective music videos premiered on the big screen.

Brooklynn & I.

Brooklynn & I at the Sprockets VIP reception

IMG_3210

All the videos were great! It was an honor to see “Siren” on the big screen along side so many well made and entertaining pieces. It was a long night and after the awards were given out (sadly Siren did not win one of the three well crafted trophies made by a local sculpture artist) I walked back to my hotel room and caught some well needed sleep before the long drive back to the Ozarks the next morning.

Even though our music video did not take home a trophy, it was still amazing to be part of the event. It felt good to have the film screen properly at a film festival. Now that our video has had it’s exclusive premiere as an official selection at Sprockets, I am excited to release it worldwide via the internet.

Without further adieu, here is “Siren” by The Brian Travis Band. Directed by David Barlia. Featuring Renee Kay (as the mermaid).

New Tour Video and pics from The Ozarks.

Howdy y’all.

I hope everyone had a great fourth of July. I managed to get bit up pretty bad by mosquitos while taking a swim in a nearby creek, but I also managed to collect enough big rocks to finish up my fire pit in the backyard behind my little yellow house.

Firepit!

Firepit!

On the way home from the creek we bought festive holiday explosives from a tent on the side of the road…Having spent most of my adult life in California it was a real kick to be able to just pull off the road and buy things to BLOW UP on the fourth. I’m pretty sure there is some sort of law on the books that specifically require one to be buzzed before setting off fire works, so I made sure that I was at least 2 beers into my night before we got started.

Festive Holiday Explosives.

Festive Holiday Explosives.

We lit a fire in the backyard and had those few pale ales and then set off the contraband. I scorched my thumb pretty badly on a fuse that shot out the heat of a thousand suns as it burned. I could not get my thumb out of the way fast enough after lighting it. It was only a second degree burn but I kept it submerged in a cup of water the rest of the night.

The highlight of the evening was a little ladybug explosive…such a cute little firecracker. I thought it would simply spin and shoot out a plethora of colored sparkles, but once lit, it screeched like a demon from hell riding atop a wailing banshee nightmare spinning out of control. It kept spinning faster until it shot up into the night sky like a super sonic alien spacecraft returning to the strange solar system from whence it came…

I spent most of today recovering from the previous nights festivities and finishing up all the editing of the next Kindness Of Strangers Tour installment.

This is episode 8. Enjoy!

The next episode will document the Siren music video private fan screening we did back in March in LA. I have all the footage and I just need to carve out some time for the video editing.

Speaking of the Siren music video…I have BIG NEWS to share. The video (directed by David Barlia) got accepted into the Sprockets International Music Video Film Festival and is up for “Best Music Video”. It screens on the 18th and 19th of July and is also up for Audience Choice Award. I am currently in Kissee Mills, MO but Athens, GA is only an 11 hr drive away, so I will be headed there in about 12 days from now. I’m super excited to attend and see my music video screened publicly.

Sprockets_2014_Facebook_banner_EVENT

siren

That’s about all the news I have for now, but 2014 is turning out to be a good year for my music career and I am very thankful for all the great things that have been happening lately. I’m still in the trenches and giving it everything I have, but this year I am experiencing more and more results from my efforts. It’s been a real flurry of good news in the last few months and I hope the trend continues. In the meantime I’m doing my best to stay focused on the positive and to invest in my career and to work with my team to keep these results coming. The immortal words of Bon Scott have never been more profound then they are now, “It’s a long way to the top if you wanna rock ‘n roll.”

Radio Airplay and a Lexus ad placement in Ireland.

A few weeks back I was lamenting my finances and struggling to pay for repairs to the little yellow house that my grandfather built that I am currently living in. The house is built on land in the Ozarks that has been in my family for generations. The sweeping vistas and idyllic landscape that surround the property are nothing short of spectacular. The repair costs of the plumbing, the water heater and the acquisition of propane are not as spectacular, and it was these particular expenses that I was lamenting as I crossed the highway to check my mailbox.

When I opened the mailbox flap, to my surprise I found what seemed to be a check from ASCAP. ASCAP, for those of you who may not know, is a songwriting society for composers that tracks broadcasts of artists original compositions and collects royalties for the transmission of the artists work. I was staring at a check for $194.29

ascap

I was somewhat astounded because after being a professional songwriter for many years and releasing many albums of original material I had yet to receive a check for airplay from ASCAP. I combed over the statement (there were 3 pages of info) and found that the royalties were from a cable re-transmission royalty from a television spot that was aired in Ireland. Apparently the spot was re-aired all over Europe. The statement listed 43 countries!

What the statement neglected to say was what the TV spot was for. Was it an Irish TV show? Was it a game show? Was it a commercial? I had no idea. Also, no entity had contacted me regarding a licensing fee to use my music in an international television spot. I called the ASCAP office in New York to glean more info. They told me that they had to send a request to the international division of ASCAP to find out more specifics. In a few days I got a response which said:

ascapemail

2011!?!

LEXUS!?!

Holy crap!!

How did Lexus NOT contact me to use my music in a commercial that was aired in Ireland!?! This is crazy news…and now a bit of a headache because I have to follow up and find out all the details and eventually I need to contact Lexus and confront them about a licensing fee. Don’t get me wrong, I am SUPER thrilled to have my music placed in a Lexus commercial that aired overseas, however if they are using my music to help sell their expensive cars, then I am owed a licensing fee by law. Since they did not secure a licensing deal with me in the first place I am not sure what the legal ramifications are. I have some homework ahead of me and some fact gathering. My producer told me that I am for certain owed a licensing fee and he also said that I should look at this as a good headache to have. πŸ™‚

A few days later I received an email from an LA music supervisor who asked me if I wanted him to submit my song “Evaporate” for a new show on History Channel called “BIKER BATTLEGROUND”. My producer and I told him to submit the song and now time will tell if it gets used. We have to wait until we see the cue sheets to find out how much of the song will get used. If it does get used then another royalty check will be in my future! Fingers crossed…

Later that same week I get an email from KPIG radio sales department telling me that they are going to feature my bands new CD on a new music segment called “Fresh Pork Chops”. The segment is a full week long and features two Brian Travis Band songs every night at 7pm. The segment also gives away 2 CD’s to callers who call in to win nightly. This is super exciting news because my music got exposed to new fans via radio FOR AN ENTIRE WEEK! I managed to record one of the segments off the KPIG app and uploaded it to soundcloud for y’all to check out:

The DJ, who is originally from the midest, was very tickled about the lyrics in “Taney County Town”. Hopefully tickled enough to play it in regular rotation on his shows. It sure felt good to hear Brian Travis Band on the radio!

So now I am just kicking it in The Ozarks, enjoying the fact that I now finally have internet connected to my little yellow house in Kissee Mills. The weather is gorgeous and I’m performing at the Taney County Fair tomorrow night and will be rocking The Classic Rock Coffee Co. in Springfield this Saturday, June 28th at 8pm.
Classic Rock Cafe

Here is a pic of myself and Sean Lighter playing acoustic at The Backstage Cafe & Wine Bar patio in Branson, MO

BT&sean

I’m very happy and enjoying a very different kind of life than I lived in LA. I’m discovering that traveling and performing all over the US is generating more and more interest in my music and I am very much looking forward to my upcoming Nashville adventures.

In the meantime, now that the midwest outpost of BTB ground zero is fully functional, here are some more pics for you:

ozarks

Thanks for reading everyone! Please support this blog by re-posting and sharing it with anyone you think might enjoy it. I appreciate all the support and am feeling very satisfied with all the good things that are happening for The Brian Travis Band in 2014!

A Long Overdue Tour Update…

For the last 8 months now I’ve been on the road in support of my new CD, “The Coyote & The Crow”. The concept behind this extended road adventure is something I’ve coined “The Kindness Of Strangers Tour”. This is part radio tour to promote “The Coyote & The Crow” in new markets, part road trip to visit very dear people in my life who I’ve not been able to see for many years, part live rock ‘n roll performances and part charity fundraiser.

So far I’ve performed countless tour dates and performed at venues in Santa Cruz, Vallejo, Berkeley, Mill Valley, San Francisco, LA & Joshua Tree in California; Cottage Grove, Eugene & Portland in Oregon; Grand Junction & Boulder in Colorado; Oklahoma City in Oklahoma; Hollister & Branson in Missouri. More dates are being scheduled in Colorado, Georgia and Tennessee coming up this summer and fall.

The concept behind The Kindness of Strangers Tour is this:

In the modern era of being a career musician, financial security from CD sales and touring is lower than it has ever been. For artists like myself who primarily write and perform all original songs with an original sound (artists who pursue their art rather than performing covers or performing as a “tribute” band playing the songs of past successful acts) the outlook is grim. The average music fan is not spending money on physical product (CD’s) and if people have never heard of you or your music, it’s very hard to make a living on the road as a touring performer.

Playing music locally is your best bet, and after a great deal of hard work and effort you can garner a local fan base. The Brian Travis Band have done exactly that in LA, and we are very close with ALL of our fans and we appreciate all of the AMAZING support our fans, friends and supporters have given us over the years. Having played nearly every venue in LA for over 10 years (aside from a few successful tours to The Bay Area, Europe and the UK in the early 2000’s) we’ve not been able to afford to tour as much as we would have liked. In 2013 (in an effort to promote BTB music in places where people have never heard of The Brian Travis Band) it became my goal to come up with a concept to make touring in the modern era possible.

I made a decision to embark on an open ended tour with no set end date. It has become my mission to tour all over the country with a video camera, my acoustic guitar, my songs and very little else. The tour is being funded and supported by the fans I’ve made over the years (you guys!) and the “strangers” I meet (and perform for) on my journey. I let each audience I perform for know that I am touring without the support of a big record label and that all tour expenses are being covered by donations. I am filming each portion of my journey and editing what I capture down into 5-10 minute tour episodes so that the people I meet (and people back in LA) can follow along with the adventure. The videos are posted on my official website at briantravis.com. Here is the most recent one chronicling my experiences in Portland, OR.

Below the videos there are paypal donate buttons where you can contribute to “tour support” to help keep this show on the road. There are incentives and rewards for “tour support” donations and 20% of all tour donations go to the charity of my choice. I choose a different charity for each leg of the tour. The first leg raised funds for Typhoon Hayian relief efforts. This leg of the tour is supporting Mike Peters’ Love, Hope & Strength Foundation for cancer research. The 3rd leg of The Kindness of Strangers Tour: (The Kindness of Stranger Tour Leg 3: No Direction Home) will chronicle my return trip to California and a third charity (yet to be determined) will be supported.

If you have always believed in my music and my dogged determination to make this music my life now is a great time to support me in a tangible way with a contribution to The Kindness of Strangers Tour. Tour donations fund food, gas, lodging, guitar strings, promotion costs and other various tour expenses while on the road. If you happen to be at a show on this tour or see me busking on the streets of Nashville, Branson or Boulder Colorado this summer any kind of donation is accepted. IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE MONEY. It could be a safe and warm place to stay, a home cooked meal, or anything that you feel you would like to give in return for my music, talent and performance.

Tour rewards:

If you donate $20 or more to “Tour Support” you’ll receive a limited edition signed and numbered tour poster with all the tour dates listed.

For a donation of $50 or more you receive a limited edition tour poster and a custom MP3 of the BTB song of your choice recorded for you in a stripped down solo acoustic format along with a personalized dedication recorded especially for you and sent to your inbox.

For a donation of $100 or more you receive the tour poster, the personalized MP3 of your favorite BTB song and I will spend a day to sit down and write and record you a brand new original song that incorporates details of our relationship in some personal way so that it is a unique musical representation of our fan/musician connection.

As a result of my tour efforts so far, radio stations up and down the coast of California have begun to play cuts from “The Coyote & The Crow”. Most notably, KPIG radio in Watsonville has BTB music in moderate rotation and will soon feature us on an on air promotion called “Fresh Pork Chops”. KPIG’s Fresh Pork Chops will feature a few cuts from our new CD every night for a week at 7pm and will give away one copy of our album each night to a listener who calls in to win.

I will also be featured on KAFM’s live music show “Broaden Your Bandwidth” at 88.1FM in Grand Junction Colorado on August 13th from 5:30 to 6:30pm and am booking more radio appearances across the country this fall. If you would like to help get Brian Travis Band music on the airwaves by requesting songs from The Coyote & The Crow please contact Camryn Graver-Dowd @ camdgd@gmail.com to find out what radio station to call to request our music.

To those of you who have already made a contribution, thank you all so very much for all the support you have shown to my success so far. I honestly would not be able to continue to be a performing musician without the support of each and every one of you. It has been a true blessing to be able to write the songs that are in my heart and to express myself as a musician. I have been very lucky to have gotten as far as I have and extremely blessed to have the support and talent of all Brian Travis Band members (past and present) who have stood by me and helped me make my musical vision a reality. I also cannot express how much the support, friendship and production expertise of George Landress has meant to me in the last few years of the development of the BTB. I continue to be inspired by the people who believe in the music I make and who have confided in me about how a song of mine has touched them. It is the encouragement of my fans that has kept me in the game this long, and it is the brotherhood that exists within the band and the inner circle of our family of fans that has seen me through a metric ton of career hardships and peak experiences as a performer and recording artist.

I’m currently enjoying an amazing spring in the Ozark mountains. There is green EVERYWHERE. For the last 4 weeks I’ve been making repairs to a very old house that has been in my family for generations. A house built on land that was given to my ancestors as part of the US homestead act. This land has been farmed on and lived upon by my father, and his father before him and his father before him. Even my great grandmother (you know the one I mean…) lived on this land. The house is quite small and is covered with peeling yellow paint and the neighbors are cows.

The Little Yellow House.

The Little Yellow House.

IMG_3457

I am making this little yellow house Brian Travis Band ground zero and will be using this house to book the second and third leg of The Kindness Of Strangers Tour and to get my business plan together for trips to Nashville this summer. I am also starting to write seeds of new songs and recording new melodic ideas for the next BTB album.

Yesterday was the day that all the plumbing leaks were 100% fixed (there were 5 all in all) and the water heater was turned on after my dad, uncle and I installed a new ventilation system to expel any carbon monoxide generated by the water heater to be vented up through the attic and out through the roof. Now that there is hot water and electricity, the next phase of my life on the road can move forward, this time with a home base to retreat to, nestled in the heart of the Ozarks, surrounded by the inspiration of where I come from.

Thanks so much for taking this ride with me, I’m as curious as anyone else to see what comes next. Have a safe and productive 2014 and don’t be afraid to chase those dreams of yours. I’m still chasing mine and I’ve honestly never been happier. Letting go is never easy, but following wherever the road takes you can sometimes lead you to places that you were always meant to be.

Siren music video screening date announced!

Like most of the rest of southern California, I was jostled awake this am by a 4.4 earthquake which has been dubbed “the Shamrock Shake” in honor of St. Patricks Day. I’ve decided to make the most of being awake to compose this overdue blog post!

First off, let me say this:
The Pacific Northwest leg of The Kindness of Strangers Tour was AMAZING! There are still a few new tour video episodes that I need to finish editing together, but if you would like to watch all 5 previous episodes, you can do that on my official website here: http://briantravis.com

While on the road in the bay area I connected with a radio promoter who has been hired to help the Brian Travis Band gain some traction with regional radio stations in the bay area. We are in the middle of a radio campaign and we are seeking volunteers to help us with call in requests. If you would like to donate some time to make a few calls a week in order to help get Brian Travis Band music on the airwaves you can contact our street team leader, Camryn Graver-Dowd via this email address: camdgd@gmail.com and state your interest in helping with the radio campaign and Cam will get you all the info on what stations to call and when to call them and what to say when you call.

kpig ad

MUSIC VIDEO UPDATE

I’ve recently arrived back in LA (refreshed from said 4 month solo acoustic tour of the Pacific Northwest) and the time has finally arrived to present the long awaited screening of the “Siren” music video. I know you all have been waiting a long time, and I am happy to say that the video looks amazing and I assure you it will have been worth the wait.

The night will be part wrap party, part live concert and part going away party (as I will be hitting the road on the second leg of my Kindness of Strangers Tour on April 6th en route to Branson and Nashville and will not be returning to LA until probably sometime in August).

The festivities will take place at Bar Lubitsch on Monday, March 31st. The music video screening will be presented by director David Barlia and myself with a few stories on how the video was made, a Q&A with the director, cast and crew followed by an acoustic Brian Travis Band performance.

There will be production art and storyboard art on display and there is ample parking both on the street and in the lot next to the venue. Bar Lubitsch is a very intimate, warm and friendly performance space and is the perfect place to hold this advance fan screening of the “Siren” music video.

The whole evening begins promptly at 8pm. Your presence is requested and appreciated. Again, the video looks glorious and I cannot wait for you all to finally see it!

Once again, here are all the particulars. Please save the date and be sure to arrive on time to see the video! πŸ™‚

Monday, March 31st / 8-9pm
Brian Travis Band Music Video Screening of “Siren”
directed by David Barlia
Bar Lubitsch / 7702 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, California 90046
door $8

If you would like to RSVP to the facebook event invite, here is the link:
https://www.facebook.com/events/738110259572655/

Also, here is the poster art I’ve designed for the event:

Siren video screening

If you live in the LA area, I sincerely hope you can make it on Monday, March 31st to celebrate the release of the video and to participate in my tour send off. I’d love to see each and every one of you before I skip town again!