While I am prone to taking all the credit and reaping all the rewards I couldn't do Tauranga Music Sux without the help I get from various people. Of course once I have made my fortune I will forget these same people and leave them in my asshole, Porsche driving, rich guy dust. But for now I will symbiotically suck them dry till they have no worth. This man is one of them...
With little or no previous experience Dominic took the plunge into international tour promotion by bringing Grant Hart to New Zealand for the first time in 2010. Next year he is doing it all again (with this leech in tow). But why?
TMS: Hey Dom, how's life sipping Margaritas in your mansion paid for by those big deal promotional dollars?
If you replace the Margaritas with Cody 7%, you may start seeing a picture of how my life is playing out with these big deal promotional dollars.Hey im not living in a world of hurt like AJ maddah, the 26 million dollar in the hole man, but cutting fancy cakes in a commercial fucking cake factory does afford me the occasional craft beer,, and for that alone i should feel grateful, but im simply not. Im old, im bitter and im really fucking angry, with too much time in my head, thinking about the good old days, and of course that tour with Mr Hart all those moons ago.In fact as i speak, my 6 year old son is sitting next to me, and besides Grants wonderful music, my boy always reminds me of that tour, because my wife was 7 months pregnant at the time of it.Back then when i did the tour sure i had dreams for about 5 minutes of becoming some promoter, but the reality was it was so hard, and i really didnt have a clue, all i knew was Husker Du was my favorite band, Grant Hart and Paul Westerberg my favorite songwriters, and anyone who ever listened to student radio would feel the same way, how wrong i was.
TMS: So wait, if the money isn't great then why the fuck are we doing this again?
Grant is still punk rock to the core., he doesn't suffer fools, and is such a generous soul. Basically from the moment we bid our farewell in Dunedin, after a seriously monumental show the night before, i knew i would do it again, little different obviously, but i knew we would get him over again. Then i guess i met another dreamer when i moved to the mount, another believer of the Church of Minneapolis, a true professional like yourself who told me he would be honoured to help get Grant out to NZ again, telling me about your kick arse underground rock n roll festival and the need to get a bit of credibility to the line up, so straight to the man we went.
TMS: Prior to touring Grant Hart in 2010 did you have any other experience touring bands nationally and or internationally?
Shit maybe going back to 1991, i may have booked a van , or organised my mates work van to get our band from Melbourne to Adelaide. So i guess i could tick off a few boxes with national and international with those smooth moves. This would also explain some of the financial ruin i lived with after last tour.
TMS: How was that tour? And what did you learn from it then can be applied to doing it again in 2016?
The last tour was hard, but incredibly rewarding. Grant i guess became a mate, and we have stayed in contact. Even during the recording of his double opus The Argument, he would send me rough mixes and ask for my input, are you fucking serious.This is a guy who wrote and sung in a band who along with The Replacements and Meat Puppets basically owned our record player for almost a decade, and he wanted my feedback, surreal.Auckland was a very cool show, but Dunedin was the highlight, and that came about by a music lover contacting me and asking if we could add a show on the Sunday night after Christchurch, and that turned out to be a magical night. Just seeing old dudes like myself, standing around with there vinyl, chatting and getting it signed made a lot of my fuck ups worth it.But like some bent addiction, i was planning the return tour within a week of coming home. In my head anyway, was to scared to tell my wife.
The thing with this tour was i was always going to do it a little different. I thought about touring Grant with the doco about him, called Every Everything, and having Grant speak and play a set after screening.But to be honest i wanted to see Grant with a fucking rock n roll band backing him, give those classics some noise.
TMS: So if I were a punter and not just a guy like my or yourself risking his/their meagre life savings on this tour then why would or should I buy a ticket to see Grant Hart again or for the first time?
Look this shit is really hard. Everything is sent to try you. You have to rely on friends and family to constantly tell you it will be alright in the long run. Fuck if you could just break into the airwaves like those anonymous hackers and tell anyone who wants to listen that Grant is simply a living breathing songwriting treasure, a punk rock Dylan, a romantic, a true original, and to get on spotify or whatever shit they use, type in Grant Hart and listen to the album Intolorance i would.Or just go back and listen to Husker Du, in particular with the name Hart next them, and realise just how great his songs are.This guy should be filling rooms all around the world, but he made choices, had some really bad luck including losing his family home a couple of years ago. But he has stayed true to himself, fucking fearless. Who in there right mind puts out a double album based on the William Burroughs version of Paradise Lost in this day of throwaway tripe.We dont do this shit for money, we do it because if we dont we will not see artists like Grant performing on our shores, its that simple.Of course we want to sell tickets, as many as possible, as Grant like mosts musicians loves an audience.Sure we want to sell some merch, and be able to feed the musicians involved more than a scoop of chips on our daily 4 hour road trips.But more than anything, and this is not a lie, we want Grant to simply enjoy his time here .And we are doing this on a 40 buck ticket which includes full rocking backing band, which im sure is the first time a ex husker du member has ever played here with band.
TMS: If this tour doesn't ruin us then where to from here? What other bands/artists would you like to see come play NZ and more specically Tauranga?
Mate i would love to get the Meat Puppets here, but they had a bit of drama with visas or something. Cosmic Psychos from aussie, brilliant fun, and even better live act.Personally would love to see The Drones here again, but from what i heard the crowds didnt come when they last here, which is a shame because they may be the greatest live band in the world at present.Ummm would appreciate Courtney Barnett asking me and TMS to take over her bookings here, wouldnt have to worry about begging with that one.I would love Firehose to reform and get them out here, or maybe in a perfect storm Husker Du announce a reunion. The weird thing with that would be we would be able to sell out Powerstation without a sweat. Fucking crazy world
TMS: Do you think Grant will also think that Tauranga Music Sux?
Grant will probably think Tauranga music sux, yes i think he will, but we already know that, so no big deal.