Greetings, Doctor Hell, and welcome to Sentinel Daily. It’s time for Evil Scarecrow to hit the road in the UK again – we couldn’t help but notice in the Sentinel Daily office that there are no Seaside Dates listed this year. Are you suffering a coastal backlash due to the success or otherwise of your Crabulon video? Or are we reading too much into things? “Seasides are dangerous places. We have to balance where we play with the safety of our crew. We’re hoping to make enough money on this leg to properly armour our vehicles and peoples so that we can do a proper BBC-style Coast to Coast tour next time… Maybe… We’re not promising anything. Plus our van is a bit buggered still and generally the coast is ‘downhill’ so while we can get there, we may struggle on the uphill retreat”.
We knew, there’d be good reasons for the lack of beachfront action. There are ten dates in your first run, seventeen in all. In ‘the old days’ a young, up-and-coming band like Iron Maiden would do thirty dates in the UK – is that feasible for a band like Evil Scarecrow? Would you consider a month-long, no rest days jaunt like that? “It’s challenging for us as, depressingly, we all still have ‘regular jerk off’ jobs so a thirty day stint might piss off ‘the man’. I’d love to try though, just to test us. If nothing else, we could do with the practice!”
Apart from your particular tool of the trade, what else do you find essential to have with you on the road? “Jam, Lego, wolf masks and vaseline. And spare pants. Essential!”
Yes, I can imagine all those things are. What advice would you give to a band that’s just starting out on the road as a wannabe serious touring outfit? What are the major pitfalls to avoid? “Wow. We could try and give a sensible answer here. I like this question! Here are my top five tips!
1. Be very nice and respectful to everyone. You really aren’t very important, no more than your crew, the staff at the venue, the security, the promoter, the photographers, the paying public. Look up to everyone and be kind and helpful. Just don’t be a twat. This is THE most important rule. It will influence how everyone talks about you.
2. Manage your expectations. Venues may be different sizes, have different rules, different curfews, different load-ins, different equipment. Understand where you’re playing and ask the right questions both before you arrive and when you get there. Advancing your contracts, technical requirements and hospitality rider are key! Some venues may not be able to get you everything you want. In this situation refer to answer number one.
3. Play the best show of your life. Every time. Give it everything! It’s a joint party between you and the people who have paid to look at you do your shit. Doesn’t matter if you are ill, fed up, tired, pregnant, dying, on fire, hungover, suddenly blind… If you’re ‘off’ it will show. So, even if there are only two people in the crowd give them the best experience they have ever had.
4. Check your gear! We have been very poor for a very long time. It’s hard starting out. We turned up to one show with our gear in a shopping trolley once. No lie. Our gear also broke all the time. So, always have spares… batteries, cables, straps, guitars (if you can afford them). Keep them nearby on stage. Have some plans to keep the audience entertained if there are issues on stage. When things go wrong be honest with the audience. They will appreciate and understand. Stay calm and have a laugh about it!
5. If you’re just starting out then play as much as you can. Have integrity though, steer clear of pay to play, politely request at least a small fee for fuel costs. But other than that, get your name out there and play, play, play. Make friends with the bands on the bill, turn up early and stay until the end, promote the bands you like, organise more shows with them, say goodbye to the promoter and thank them (even if they were a bit rubbish), chat with the sound engineers and lighting techs, go to other people’s events and shows and try and meet the promoters, give them things (demos etc), promote through social media, don’t be afraid to ask anyone in the industry for help, join forums and social media groups to learn about good / bad festivals / promoters / labels, learn about PRS, MCPS, ISRC codes, digital and psychical distribution companies, partner with a PR agent for press releases, get a booking agent to handle further tours and negotiate with promoters and festivals, build your team, build your show, build your audiences.. *deep breath* … learn web design, build your website to promote the band, use paid and free platforms to aggregate your music and gigs across the internet, build a newsletter list and other digital outreaches, crowd fund, be enthusiastic and never too self-deprecating while treading a fine line between arrogance and humility whereby people understand that you have a deep respect for music and what you do while remaining humble and approachable, eat more beans and protein, stay fit, love life, drink, fuck, don’t do drugs kids, when driving your tour bus respect other road users and treat them all as your dearest friend, never drive tired, relax… things aren’t as bad as you think… never brush your teeth with a saucepan… remember to vote? … whistle more? erm… eggs?!
Okay the list grew there a bit. Maybe I need to write a book?”
Wow! There was possibly more information in that answer than we’ve ever had to process before in the history of Sentinel Daily! Next question – Who have been your fave touring partners over the years? “RSJ (we miss you guys), Outcryfire (we miss you guys), Ten Cent Toy (we miss you guys)”.
And what about venues – where do you like to play the most? “Ahhh this is tough! They are all brilliant and we wouldn’t normally single any out. But Nottingham Rock City, the Electric Ballroom in Camden and the Corp in Sheffield have to be up there”
Best thing about touring? “Playing the shows to our amazing crowds and meeting new heavy metal brothers and sisters. I think testing the audience to see what mad shit we can get them to do is always great! We have some new nonsense with the new show. We’ll never know if it works until we try it out. More often than not the audience just gift us with some new madness that we can adopt! Also, dinner time. We love a good dinner”.
Don’t we all… And the worst thing? “Lack of sleep, mental and physical exhaustion, abject poverty”.
What can we expect set-wise from Evil Scarecrow on this tour? “We have a whole new stage show and a great bunch of new songs to throw at you (while keeping many of our favourites). We’re touring with our own light show, we have new props and, frankly, we’ve spent waaaay too much money on this. So please! Buy a ticket!”
Here’s your one chance to talk up your new record – tell us about it! And will we be able to buy it from you on tour? “Yes it’s on pre-sale right now through Amazon, HMV and independent music shops all over the place! It’s released on the 28th September. We feel we’ve really taken a step forward with this record. The title and last two tracks came from a dream that I had. This is genuinely true! In the dream our guitarist Brother Pain had got arrested, escaped and fled to Antarctica. We were following in his footsteps, he enlisted my dad’s help and had stolen a Fiat Punto to get to Argentina where he sailed towards the South Pole. We just missed him and then later we saw some cryptic Tweets about the ship going down. I woke up and then when I fell back to sleep I had written a Rock Ballad… in my sleep… and we were playing it at Rock City. Everyone was singing along “Little Brother Pain, why did you go to Antartarctica” (yes we know there are too many syllables). When I woke up I wrote some terrible lyrics, half asleep. I found them a few weeks later on my phone and then bullied the band to produce both a Ballad and a ten minute prog epic.
It was a dream. We really had to do it. We’ve put them at the end of the album so that people switch it off before them”.
Thanks for taking part! “You’re welcome! Thanks for having me!”