Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Lawrence, KS

We got to Lawrence around 4am the day of the show. The whole crew
packed into two dorm rooms at UK (University of Kansas). (We stayed
with one of our friends.) We slept in and bummed around until load-in.
We got to the show and did the normal routine. There were a good amount
of people at the show!

I was looking forward to the show because a cousin of mine and another
friend of mine (from Kansas City) came out. It was good to see them!
They both seemed to dig the band, which is always a good thing!

Unfortunately, the guys didn't play their best. One of our guys was
feeling sick, and it showed. We had a guitar go out of tune and some
sub-par vocals (in a few spots). The guys were pretty bummed out about
how they played. Honestly, to the audience member who had never seen
them, they probably sounded fine. They still sold a decent amount of

We had to leave right after the show to drive overnight to Chicago.
Overnight drives are never fun. Well, we're just getting into Chicago
and it looks like we'll make our 1130am interview in plenty of time.

(So on our way from Lawrence, KS to Chicago, IL, we stopped to get gas
in a little town in Illinois called Williamsville. The town is like
fifteen minutes from our hometown. It was really weird to be so close
to home, but still so far away - we won't actually be home for another
two weeks. It was just kind of a weird thing mentally.)

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Springfield, MO

The show in Springfield went pretty well. The sound system was decent.
There was a somewhat small crowd there when the guys hit the stage.
Despite the small crowd, the guys decided to cut loose and have a blast
during their set. They were a bit more upbeat and playful (and maybe
less uptight) than their previous shows on the tour. They played well
and the crowd liked it.

By the end of the show, there was a decent sized crowd....especially for
a Monday. Overall, it was a pretty good show. Everyone loosened up and
had a lot of fun.

We're now driving to Lawrence, KS so we can stay with some friends of
Max's. I'm going to try to get a little sleep.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Little Rock, AR

We were in Little Rock, AR yesterday. This was a special day on the
tour that I had been anticipating for quite a while -- I got to see my
brother and his girlfriend. We got to Little Rock mid-afternoon. We
loaded-in and sound-checked and then hung out for a bit. My brother and
his girfriend showed up before the show and hung out. They even rounded
up a whole crew of friends to come to the show! Pretty sweet. My
brother came bearing gifts -- some of my favorite snack foods. That's
exactly what the band needed!! We could always use some extra snacks
(considering we're on a tight budget and all). Yes, that WAS a hint to
everyone reading, haha.

The show went really well! I ran lights during The Graduate's set.
This was the first time I had ever run lights. It was actually really
fun! I plan on doing it as much as possible (basically whenever the
venue permits it). The venue was really cool and everyone had a great
time. There was even a pretty decent crowd (especially for it being a
Sunday night in Arkansas)!

My brother was nice enough to hook us up with a hotel room, so we went
there after the show. Two of the other bands decided to get rooms at the
same place (so we could all hang out). We (all the bands) had a little
hotel party after the show. It was a blast! It was the first time on the
tour that everyone hung out collectively. I hope we can all hang out
together a few more times before the tour is over!

I drove the crew to Springfield, MO today. I am currently at our show
(which just started). I better get going!

*Thank you so much to Ben, Marcella, and the rest of the Arkansas crew!
I really appreciate your support. It means more than you will ever

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Dallas, TX

The drive from San Antonio to Dallas went pretty well.....until we got
real close to the city. We missed our exit and it threw us off big
time. We ended up getting lost in the ghetto. To make things worse,
our gas tank was really close to empty, so we had to stop (in the
ghetto) to get gas. That's never fun.

We finally made it to the show and did the normal routine. The show
went pretty well. There was a a decent sized crowd and the venue was
awesome. It was a brand new place. They had an awesome stage, lights,
and sound. Unfortunately, we felt like our sound mix was not up to par
(considering the sound system provided). This was probably due to lack
of soundchecking. The crowd was semi-responsive. We did pretty decent
in merch.

So check this, two girls drove five hours (from Houston) to see us
play! They weren't even familiar with the other bands on the tour!
Pretty sweet!

Overall, pretty good night!

Saturday, January 27, 2007

San Antonio, TX

We drove through the night from Amarillo to San Antonio. This was our
second overnight drive in a row. I'm not going to lie, it was pretty
brutal. Anyways, we got into San Antonio around 9am. We didn't really
know what we were going to do all day, but we knew we'd figure something
out. Well, we all decided that we wanted to go to The Alamo. None of
us had been there, and we thought it'd be a shame to be so close and not
go. It was pretty cool! We all got our pictures in front of it and
everything. We then decided to go to a huge mall about a block away.
We were there for a while. We ran into the guys from 'Jonezetta'
(they're one of the bands we're on tour with) and went to see a movie
(Smokin' Aces) with them. It was pretty good, but I was just fighting
to stay awake the whole time.

We got to the show around 530pm and did the whole routine. The venue
was pretty cool. It had three different stages! Anyway, there were a
lot of kids at the show (~250). The guys played well and the crowd
really liked them. They ended up doing real well in merch sales. The
show actually did so well that we got some extra money on the backend!
Pretty sweet.

*So, today's marketing lesson is about 'The Combo.' It is a great idea
to do a package deal on your merch. (For example, say your t-shirt
normally goes for $12, your CD goes for $10. Run a 'special deal' where
kids can get the CD and t-shirt for $20....and maybe even throw in a
free sticker or poster if they buy the combo.) People are willing to
spend more money to 'save' money. The combo deal will also give kids
(who are on the fence about buying something) an incentive to go for
it......they'll 'save' a few bucks and get a free sticker or poster.*

After the show, we went to the promoter's house and crashed. We were
all so tired. We all got a good night's sleep and a shower, so we're
back to feeling like civilized human beings. We are currently on our
way to Dallas. Tonight's show should be really good. It's a brand new
venue, it's really big, and there was supposed to be a lot of promotion
done for the show. I will check back in later to give an update on how
the night goes!

Friday, January 26, 2007

Amarillo, TX

We drove through the night and made it to Amarillo around noon. When we
got into town, we went straight to the venue. We hung out at the venue
most of the afternoon and waited for the other bands to arrive. Then we
did the normal equipment load in/soundcheck routine.

The show went really well! The guys sounded the best I've heard them
yet (for this tour). This was a combination of the fact that they
played well and they had a great sound system to work with. The
audience was definitely into them. They progressively warmed up to them
throughout the set. We did the best we've done (for this tour) in merch
sales as well. I would say that a portion of that was due to the fact
that a few of the guys decided to walk around and talk to the kids at
the show. This helped us to sell more merchandise. This is where the
marketing side (that I love) comes out. *In addition to sitting behind
your merch table and waiting for fans to come to you, it is a great idea
to go out and meet fans (which will cause additional sales) on your

On a side note, I talked to our A&R guy about getting sponsorships from
Red Bull (energy drink) and Vitamin water. It looks like there's a good
chance that both of these sponsorships will work out! (A sponsorship
from these specific companies basically means that we get free
quantities of those products.)

We are currently in the middle of a 9 hour drive to San Antonio, TX. I
just got a bench seat (in the van) to myself, so I am going to try to
get some rest.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Scottsdale, AZ - Day Off

Wednesday was our first day off. We decided to stay in Scottsdale, AZ
after our show Tuesday night. We had some friends from back home that
moved out there, so we were able to crash with them. A few of us went
out to a really cool bar (called 'Acme') in Scottsdale after the show.
The bar was way different than anything our hometown has to offer.
Anyways, it was a good time!

We spent most of our day off running errands. We are quickly learning
that there are endless amounts of business details that need to be
sorted out.

On a lighter note, we ate In-N-Out twice in the last two days! (In-N-Out
is a sweet burger chain in California and Arizona.)

Right now, it's 5.30am, and I just got done driving my shift to
Amarillo, TX. I think I'd better try to get some sleep...

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Phoenix, AZ

Today was a lot more laid back than yesterday - no interviews, no
meetings - just a show. This seems more like how a typical day on tour
will go.

The show went well. It was a smaller venue and smaller crowd than last
night, but it was still a good time. It felt weird because I actually
had some time to breathe during the show. (Last night, we were busy
with interviews, etc. almost the whole show.)

We have a day off tomorrow. We are planning on hanging out in Phoenix
most of the day and leaving for Amarillo, TX tomorrow night.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Los Angeles pt. 2

Yesterday was very long and surreal. We had 1 meeting, 5 interviews, 1
show, and 1 insanely nice hotel room.

Overall, things went really well. I have a few things to tweak, but
that's normal. Our A&R guy said I did 'amazing' for my first day, so
that's sweet!

Tour is going to rule!

Monday, January 22, 2007

Los Angeles

So yesterday, we drove for 19 hours (from Texas to California). It was a long day, but we made it to LA in time. We stayed at a buddy's place last night. I'm really glad that we're finally here!

Tour begins today!!!

We are meeting with our booking agency in a few hours, and then we have three (possibly four) interviews and a show this afternoon/evening. Busy day!!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Bad weather = bad news

So weather got pretty bad last night. We ended up stopping in Amarillo, TX to get a hotel (which was about 300 miles earlier than planned). Today, we planned to make the second half of the trip. However, due to the bad weather (snow and ice), we only made it 40 miles (and decided to get another hotel). We are spending the night in the wonderful town of Vega, Texas (population 946). The weather is supposed to clear up tonight, so we are hoping to begin driving early in the morning and end up in California late tomorrow night. As a result of the weather, we had to cancel our first show of the tour (Bakersfield, CA). We are crossing our fingers that we'll make the Los Angeles show on Monday. It's an important show for us.

Tonight is going to be low key (hot tubbing, watching movies, and
catching some zzz's), which I am totally fine with. Let's hope that
tomorrow works out as planned...

Friday, January 19, 2007

California here we come!

We left home at about 7am this morning. It's 10pm and we still have a
good 4 hours left on our drive to Albuqurque (where we're getting a
hotel). If all goes well, we should be in California real late tomorrow

The drive really hasn't been bad. We all keep each other entertained
(talking, ipods, movies, etc,). Our daily drives (from city to city) are
going to be cake compared to this trip and our NYC trip last weekend.

It Begins

Hey everyone, my name is Alex Batten. I'm a 22 year old guy who was born and raised in a small town in the midwest. Since childhood (around the age of 9), I've had a fascination with music. It is the main focus in my life, and the majority of my time and energy is spent on (some aspect) of music (performing, the industry, etc.). I have come to the point in my life where I am trying to make a career in the music business. I graduated from college this past August with a bachelor's in Marketing. I finished out my college career by doing a marketing internship at indie label powerhouse Fueled By Ramen (located in Tampa, FL). I interned there from May-December. I just moved home from Florida in mid-December to begin the next step in my career....

I have decided to take on the role of "tour manager" for a band called The Graduate. Basically, I will be traveling across the country (and eventually overseas) with the band. My job entails handling all the business on the road.

I will be using this blog to discuss the everyday antics of being with the band and touring in general. (I am going to try to post on here daily...)


Last weekend, I went to New York City with the band to shoot a video for their song "Sit & Sink." This song is going to be the first single from the band's first full-length release "Anhedonia" (which hits stores April 10, 2007). We shot the video in an old abandoned police station in Brooklyn. The setting was really creepy, but it is going to make for a great video. I was an extra in about four scenes, so we'll see if I make the final cut :o) Here's a picture from the video shoot:

[from L to R: Me, Gina (our merch girl), Amber (bassist's girlfriend), Corey (singer)]

While in NYC, I also got to meet some people from the band's record label, Icon MES (the MES stands for 'Media Entertainment Services'). Man, these people were awesome!

So, tomorrow (or today rather), we are leaving for our first national tour. This is the day I have been waiting for!! We are heading straight out to California (that's where the tour starts) and we will make our way through the midwest and over to the east coast. The tour is three weeks long. Only thing I have left to say.....LET THE GAMES BEGIN!