In a perfect world, a band’s music would speak for itself and marketing would be triggered organically via word of mouth from adoring fans. In that perfect world, you would show up to packed venues on your first independently funded national tour without having to compromise your rock star persona with humble marketing campaigns spread across expansive social networks. Sadly, this utopia does not exist and will probably never exist, but if there’s one person qualified to make that declaration, it’s Luke Garro.
"In order for us to do this, we're gonna have to break the norms of how you tour." -Luke Garro
Best known as the drummer for Boston-based stalwarts Piebald and Hardcore outfits In My Eyes and Fastbreak, Luke has toured the country and Europe on a shoestring budget many, many times with multiple projects. Most notably, his time on the road engrained the importance of DIY and experimental marketing, leading to an entrepreneurial bug that has helped develop two successful marketing agencies. For our second installment of TrueDIY, we sat down with the Renaissance man himself to discuss increasing gig attendance in new markets, eating healthy between stops, converting your diesel engine to run on grease, and how Piebald used their "enviro-rock" image to their advantage.
Episode 2 Quick Tips:
If you come across a reasonably priced health food store on the road, stock up. You don’t know how long it may be before you find another one.
Be willing to change your definition of what a meal really is. To continually eat healthy on the road you will most likely have to eat lots of snacks rather than traditional meals for breakfast lunch and dinner.
Do your research on the venue’s promoter, and make sure they believe in your band. Someone with a love for your music will put a lot more effort into making sure people show up than someone who’s never heard of you and is just doing it for the money.
Converting your diesel engine to run on grease will save you a lot of money, but don’t do it unless someone in your band has an innate knowledge of vehicle mechanics. Professional mechanics will often refuse to help you because you've deliberately altered your vehicle or because they have little to no knowledge on how the vegetable oil system really works.
Pick a street team captain for each market you want to play. In other words, find a die hard fan you trust will be able to spark local interest in the show for each new city you travel to that’s willing to spend their own free time flyering and spreading the word online. Optimally, this person is willing to work for no compensation other than something small like a free ticket to the show.
If you’re doing something unique that’s essential to your image/message (like Piebald and the environment), talk about it with your fans! This allows an opportunity for bonding with mere strangers and will give them something to remember and talk about besides your music once you leave town.
Aidan Rush contributed to this article.