And then there are those friends who have appointed tour managers to oversee any and all of their social decisions.
We all have these friends: normal everyday people who, somewhere along the line, have elected to appoint their girlfriends, boyfriends, husbands, wives, best friends and estranged neighbors to take charge of their personal plans. And, much like the tour managers I deal with in my day job at Relix, even if you've advanced time with a publicist, business manager or your actual friend, it is ultimately up to their tour manager whether you will make the list that night.
Since I first aimlessly bounced into the music industry a few years ago, I've had the opportunity to meet an interesting mélange of people who hold down all sorts of high-stress jobs (as Kermit the Frog most likely mused when Bela Fleck stopped by Sesame Street, it ain’t easy being heady). But, I’ve come to realize over the years that the tour manager's job is particularly tough, not only because they have to baby sit bands, oversee crews, settle with promoters and horde publicists, managers and groupies like cattle towards the backstage bar, but because they have to deal with people like me: neurotic, scatterbrained writers who should probably have a tour manager, or at least a secretary, of their own.
Yet, I’ve also learned that if you have a good tour manager, it makes life easy for everyone around you. Take my dear friend Sarah for instance. I always have fun when I hangout with Sarah and wish we chilled more, but she is the type of person who is impossible to make plans with. But, since she started dating and ultimately became engaged to a fine young Jewish hippie named Hirsh, I’ve started to bypass Sarah in the decision making process altogether. Hirsh knows her work schedule, family obligations, moods, pre-wedding jitters and, most importantly, knows how to confirm plans in a short, succinct e-mail (thankfully he hasn’t figured out the all powerful tour manager’s ‘silent no,’ which will be the subject of its own Greenhaus Effect column in the future). It makes life easier and, with age, I figure that each and every one of my friends will eventually find a tour manager to organize their social schedule. I mean the last time my Dad picked up a phone to make plans he was wearing bell bottoms and going to see the Bee Gees, yet he still seems to find a way to go out every Saturday night. Now if only my Mom could figure out a way to tour manage my favorite dysfunctional live improvisational rock bands…