Carbon Leaf, Touring, Making It Big, 1/2 (w/Barry Privett) Ep045
Welcome. To fret buzz the podcast, my name is Jo McMurray and I, am Erin suction, and today. We are sitting down for a conversation with. Very privet the, lead vocalist, and songwriter and. Manager, of the band carbon, leaf incredible. Band there's been touring. For 25, years they've. Been grinding. It out successfully. I I, really, love their music and I I even, went to a concert of there's, a few, weeks ago it. Was telling Erin part of why I'm so interested in talking to you because you're, like. You're very. Successful on, this, long range, like. 25 years is, success. In my mind, you're. Not mtv for the most part I don't know if you have been but you're, not like Katy. Perry you're like actually out there working which is far more interesting, to, me, it's. Much more interesting that a Maybelline contract. Yeah. So, sometimes. I wonder. At. Least for the for us looking, in it's very interesting yes. Well. It's. Funny, you mentioned Katy Perry. She. Was in our first video a second, place but and was wondering about yeah, but. Yeah. You know it's yeah. We. Early. On. Yeah. I think some bands click and gel and you, know the thing that they have just kind of gets broadcast and people that embrace, it, and. Things. Are a lot easier for, us you. Know we. It. Took us a very long time for us to kind of figure out what we were, what. We were doing as a group, musically. And. You. Know during this period. We. Were just kids you know we were just kind of kids just feeling, it out and and, took. A while for the sound to get there and so you. Know we couldn't couldn't really buy help you know we, had to we had to learn to do everything ourselves, and. And. Did and and. A lot of our careers been like that there's there's a brief period where. You. Know through through doing things ourselves we, kinda got to where we felt. Like we were in a good place and and, then got some attention but. I didn't start like that you know there. Wasn't this fireball, you know. Wasn't. Like Dave Matthews Band you, know that's just like they get this magic kinetic, thing together and then like, you, know all, these people were just like beamed, in on it and then, picked. Up by the management, and the label that's right, right. We. Kind of had that the Workmen's approach. And. You. Know we're, able to I think and, at, the end of the day kind of kind of saved our necks on, more. Than one occasion when. We. Had, to take those reins back off after having a bunch of team on board that. Stuff kind of comes and goes and a lot of what kills bands is, that they don't have those skills, you know if they get really success, or they get a lot of handlers. They. Don't know how to run their own business and. No. One sits when that stuff goes away and. You've. Got this top-heavy thing that you're trying to learn how to. Manage. Then, you, know it can kind of crush you. It's. Fascinating did you. Were. You coming out at the same time as Dave Matthews just down the road you. Guys were like within a hundred miles of each other yeah. You know he's some more time yeah, they I. Think. They formed maybe an 89. And. We. We. Formed, in like, 92. 93. So. By. The time we had like just started playing. They. Were um they were like a year away from being like blowing. Up, and. And by that time like, in 93, I mean they were doing kind of regular gigs I think it tracks in flood zone on the Tuesdays, and Wednesdays you. Know the, free shows or the five-dollar shows or whatever, so. They were they were definitely getting getting, abuzz but, you. Know our first our first outdoor shows a band was, on campus, at our alma mater randolph-macon. Up. Here in Ashland Virginia, for. Earth Day spring. Of 93. And, it was opening for Dave Matthews they were headlining, the the college, the campus concert, there's. All like 200 people there so. They were still very um, under. The right offer a lot of a lot of people. But. Then I think I think under, the table and dreaming came, out like a year later. And. Then and then so our paths yeah while we kind of started, within the let you know three or four years you know you. Know we were just like a cover band and they were you. Know they, they cut it we kind of it that's, rejecters kind of went like this yeah. So. Yeah. Took. Us eight years to kind of get out of the you know we're, a cover band we're just having fun, wait, we're gonna let's, do this seriously, well. If we're gonna do this seriously let's let's not play covers we're not enjoying that let's try writing, took. Us some time what's that 95 album, meander, the first. Original album. Yeah. So we recorded, though. The. Very first recording, we did was a four song demo tape and we. Did that at a friend's, Tommy. Gwaltney did that did that at his house studio in Virginia Beach. Because. He was into engineering. At home so we recorded, in his in, his house we had amps everything spread all through, his house and he.
Did A good job and, we got cut four songs our first four songs and we handed we, we. Would, dupe those. For. That whole that whole year, when we were starting to play out we, would we had we had all these tascam tape, decks stacked. In the in our living room and we would just we would just hit, record on you know these things and and and make, dupes, and then, we would hand we would throw those out it shows that was kind of like our thing I pull out a backpack at a certain point and I'd, throw these things out and we did that for a couple of years before, we made meander. Which. Was our first album, and, like a CD, so it was like a big deal because you know CDs, were like we. Can put this on a CD you know yeah and. Four. Of the songs that were on the demo made it onto the the. Amanda. Album so. That was our that was our first. Official. Full-length. Record. There. Were a couple of those songs that had. A very Red. Hot Chili Peppers and, kind. Of vibe and one actually, Ketel had, a very Pearl. Jam feel. To it well. Yeah. And if you wanted to keep going I mean that album was basically, you, know, Red. Hot Chili Peppers meets, Pearl, Jam meets nirvana. Meets, REM, it, was like our first 12 songs as a band and. The five of us had very different influences, our bassist at the time Palmer Stearns original, bassist, was. Super, into Chili Peppers yeah. Even. If we were like riding a pallet he was likes laughing. You. Know and but. When you're young and you're you're you're writing your first you know group. Of music as you all I'm sure know that that feeling of being you know just young. You're. In a room doing this the energy, is just like so kinetic, as you're creating something it's, like everything's, allowed it's. Like that's great you know, you're. Not scrutinizing. A whole lot at that point which, is actually really a nice kind of pure state. To be in yeah, and sometimes you wish you could get back to that you know, because. Sometimes I feel like I. Don't. Know but, I would, say part of me is we've gotten really good at censoring. Ourselves for good reasons and then. Part of me says you know keep. An open mind, look let's. Try this so, that, album, it was all over the map stylistically. And. It, was you. Know and I think there's like I think there's like five or six good songs on there and, the rest are not good zones, but. It represented. A time you, know time, in our career. Where it. It. Was everything, in the kitchen sink and. There. Wasn't a whole lot of judgment, on it and. For. That reason I think it was kind of a it's. Nice to look back and say this was the start for better or worse. It's. Probably something on there that each band member really liked.
Of With. A lot of my bands I've there's, a song that like. I might not have liked one song but it's my bass players favorite song right. That seems to happen cuz, everybody's just got different. Things. They'd like more, yeah. And. Yeah and you know you're you. Don't have any you don't have any real rapport, yet as, artists. With one another you. Know, you. Don't you don't quite, know. How to use constructive. Criticism. Or. Facilitative. Language, hey I really love this part what about this other part here maybe maybe we can do something differently you know you, don't really have that have. That language and we had to learn that language in, subsequent, records and you. Know it. Definitely got. Contentious. And, it. Was hard not to offend, or be offended. But. We all kind of had to take our lumps and you. Know I remember, several instances, where. You. Know I was I was called out for you know things, that just. Weren't, good. Either. Thematically. Or vocally, or or. What so you. Know it's, just part of growing up and and. Working with with. People in a. Very. Sensitive. Thing. Where. You're collaborating. Artistically. Okay. Put your heart out there and then when. Somebody criticizes. It it's hard to accept that a lot of times yeah, there's their songs like on that since, you're talking about that album I mean you know I'm thinking through it and I, mean there's there's definitely I definitely remember not really liking. Certain. Certain. Things about it you know the. Bass was a good example where at Palmer is a great bass player and had great ear for melody and was. Dexterous, and you. Know I I leaned, more towards, the more melodic, stuff. And. So whenever he started slapping, I, just. It. Wasn't that it wasn't cooler or interesting, it's like I didn't know quite what to do with it because I didn't grow up on a lot of that kind of music you. Know so. So, I'm trying to write my way into. You know his. His. Vision for the song and we, you know both coming from different places so. Sometimes. You can collaborate and come up with something fresh and original and, it's. Amazing, sometimes. You can collaborate, and come up with something that's, different. But. Maybe doesn't hit the mark yeah. You get a fusion, of everybody's, influences. And, that. Could be something really special that you wouldn't have ever been able to come up with on your own right. And and, you know part of the part of if. It's one thing we've learned about you know the, first pursuing, art is that you can't be.
Don't. Be so precious with it with it that you don't experiment. And that you don't. You. Know write, those songs that. Fail hmm. Because. Frankly. You. Might be able to take a little teeny piece of that to to. Use down, the road and make something you, know better so. I. Guess. You've got to kind of not. Hold back on just. Trying stuff so that you let that if there's gonna be stinkers, you may as well get them out get, them over with, yeah. There's, no better way to learn really. Right. Sometimes, it's I know that sometimes. It's hard to like you were saying before, sometimes. You're, presented, with an idea or something from another member, and you, don't really know what to do with it but. You, gotta at least try because on the, other side of it you may come up with something that's really interesting, yeah. And some stuff will sit I mean you. Know that's a frustrating, thing I know for the guys you know we're. We're a band I. Write. The lyrics I come, up with the themes and the concepts, and the vocal melodies and all that's, kind of my thing. And, then you. Know historically. The guys would, write. A piece, of music or. Or. They would get together in groups of twos or threes and, you know they either have a little, sketch or a hook. Or a verse or. Or. Even a whole song, and. They would send. It to me and, and. And. I'll take it and. I'll. Kind. Of funnel it into my system of things. To listen to and then see what bubbles at the top so there could be songs that they're submitting, for. Me that. You know sit on the shelf for years and years and years and they, never hear from it again until maybe one day something strikes me and I pull it out and you, know we. Have a song. So. They've they've. Kind of learned that that. To. Just. Keep trying stuff, keep, floating it out there but not like get real hung up on the. Turnaround, time you know right right right, when you write, your lyrics, do. You write are you inspired from, the overall, feeling, from, the, stuff. That they submit, to you or is. It more of a subject. Matter that you're kind of applying to the song or, its. Mix. Of it's, happened both ways, it, I would say more. Definitely. Early on more about. Listening. To the music and then seeing. What's gonna come from it right okay and that, still remains kind of the easiest, way for me to. To. Get my ideas that's my springboard, you know and, I'm, lucky because the guys you know have different styles, and skills, and sounds. And textures and genre. Styles, so, I get, a bunch of different. Pieces. Of music that I'm allowed to kind of go in some different different. Directions right. And. That's the that's the easiest way you know if you have a song like lake, of silver bells, you. Know. Really. That, for. Me that concept, entitling just came from this weird overtone, sound within the recording, that I only think was deliberate, and I was like you know I'm like leaning and I'm like what is this what is this real shimmery kind of weird sound and to. Me it just like it. Started evoke in this this place you know this this. Battle in this lake in this house and this all of a sudden the song kind of just started gushing, out. But. But then there's other other other. Things that I do either keep a notebook of ideas. And/or. If, I have an idea I'll pick up a guitar and play you know play my 10 chords and come. Up with you know an approximation, to, give. Them and. Make, make prettier but um the, war was in color as another song, that. Actually started, from. The idea as opposed. To the music, I. Had. Written down in my notebook just the line the war the war was in color and, I, didn't, know what it was gonna be I didn't know it was gonna be if it was gonna be a song or a poem or a story, or whatever.
I Had no idea. And. I. Think. It sat there for several, years and, then when Carter, turned in a. Demo. Of this guitar riff. He's. The lead guitar it's for everybody listen orders the lead Carter's, our lead guitarist and, um and. He turned, in this this this. Guitar lick. That. Just sounded, like the, type that it just my mind automatically, went to that that. Line I wrote in the notebook the war was in color and I was like that. You know, and he didn't know about it he just is submitting, music I'm like that that that hook that. Guitar part is the war was in color and so I, wrote. That and. It's. Great when it's great when that happens because then all. You need is kind of your melody and then everything writes, itself you know what you're supposed to go with it then. It's just kind of time in the water with the notebook you know. Yeah. It's like a puzzle putting it together a lot, of times for me yeah. Trying, to make the like. If you have a if. You have a main hook idea for. A chorus, and you're. Trying to build the verses. To make the chorus make sense, or. Sometimes, it's the opposite, but. A lot of times I do end up sitting in a notebook trying to make it. Work out the rhymes and, sometimes, they don't work and you've gotta somehow. Get your point across a different. Way. Yeah. That, is one of the toughest things to learn for. Me. Is that all you, know when you start thinking in term in that early on it was a big it was a big thing like, I'm. Still kind of I'm still fairly wordy but like when I was our earlier stuff, things. Were like super wordy, and I, wasn't taking into consideration the, music side you. Know the consideration of less. Is more or hey, people actually want to hear some. Of the music and not hear you singing over it. And. Like. What you're talking about where you when you realize some of those things but you've kind of setup you've kind of set up this template, and. You have to blow. That out. That's, tough. So. I, try. To I try to really, keep that in mind more now about in terms of just melt. You know melody. First you know melody. First don't, get locked into a rhyming. Or, a lyric. Pattern. You. Know really really see how much that you can make the music breathe and then. And then try to fit your words around it but I still struggle with that struggling. I'm struggling with one right now like that where I'm like. You. Know maybe, I'm not writing enough cuz. I'm. Forgetting. Some of those things you know. Yes. It's it's, a cool time to bring this up because aaron. Has started a songwriting. Critique, that uh airs. Live on Friday nights once a month. Verifying. It. Sometimes, it is sometimes, it's. It's. It's. Nice because you know, sometimes. We as artists, put ourselves in, this bubble and. It's. Nice to hear. An outside, influence, from, you know other musicians, on there artists, and and. How they. Hear, and how they view your your work it. Kind of opens your mind in, terms of you, know things that you could work on and other directions that you might want to go or.
I'm. Sure it's, it's definitely, a cool process a, little nervous sometimes but, it's. A it's all good in the end. Yeah and, anybody. Can, submit, to this yeah, I, wasn't actually on the recording, that he had a panel of teachers. That. Sat. In a room and listened. To submissions, and, I actually sent mine in I just. Emailed it to Aaron and I got to listen to a critique of my song it was really cool, things so any of our listeners out there if you, do have a song, you're working on and you want feedback on it you. Can send it in and you. Know five six, music. Instructors, will actually, critique. Your song and give you honest feedback it's, a really cool thing it's, completely free. It's. Actually helpful, to us if you submit songs yeah, thanks. Oh that's. A brave back to you know I mean. To. Be able to. Expose. Yourself. To. Opinion. Yeah. It. Takes takes a lot of a lot of guts you know yeah. Yeah, it does. Especially. If it's not a finished product right. Yeah, and that's that's that's that's a that's a tough line you know. That's. That's a tough thing to determine as. The creators is when to kind of share it with people and, you. Know if you get in the habit of you. Have to understand, kind of why you're wanting to share it you know if, if. You're just looking for the efemer of feeling good of you know about. Someone's, feedback, sometimes, that can kind of blow up in your face if, you're, if. You're not going. Through the. Revision process of, what you're creating you know if you're not letting up too if you're not letting it sit cold and kind of revisiting. It and kind of and sharpening. Your own acumen. You, know for, critique. Mmm. That, that's kind of that's my thing it's like I've. Learned when it's time to share something and when it's not and you. Know if I can let something sit cold and come back and go through that that part's not good let me fix that you, know and then. When I feel like it's it's where it should be. You. Know then then I'm kind of more apt, to share it as. Opposed, to like, I don't know what do you think but. That's, not saying that's that's wrong. Because. Like you said and you you know you might, very well have. A fresh. Perspective, someone. Else yeah. Yeah, if they're just not even thinking about yeah. And then one, thing that I do and. We. Joe and I were talking about this previous to to. The show is is that we. Do give a short. Three-minute. Synopsis. Of, things. That are that, we're aware of that you. Know we have mistakes, we are all. Human. Beings and like, I even I was saying it. Before. I went, through my submission. You. Know I'm, aware of things that I need to work on and these are the things that I can. Hear in the song and I'm sure you guys will agree as well I'm, just wondering if there are other things that you guys hear that I am I not here so, yeah. I mean it's, it's. Not like I said it's nice to be able to hear what other people here because we, are as, and as musicians. We kind of do get into these bubbles. Especially. Webs as we, gain, a fanbase. Or we. Have followers. We. Have a tendency for, those. Followers, just to praise everything, that we do and. Likewise. With friends and family they. Kind of have a tendency to go oh no that sounds great that sounds great and, it's. Kind of a biased opinion you, may not get getting. The the best feedback. Yeah. Well. And and. Starting, out that may be the feedback that they need the most though is just encouragement. To keep going right. And. That's where the facilitative. Language comes into play and you're like you, know I really like this part you. Know yeah. Yeah more, like bit more like this part here yep. A. Facilitative. Language is such a good it's, a great phrase yeah yeah. It's great for any line of work but it is especially important, in songwriting yeah. And Kate you know and when, you're young and, we. Worked with you know we've worked with young people before. Both. Just on borders, team, and crew members and. But. Just in dealing with with younger musicians. Well. Well. Young and old people but just young in their art.
Really. Doubling, down on the encouragement, and picking, out the things that you think. Are inspiring, and great. Can. Be can go so much further than just be like you, know this is you know you got some problems, here you know. You. Know that's. Tough that's tough to take, yeah. I try. To do that in my private lessons with my students. I'll, listen to something and something will perk, me throughout, their whole like you know they're playing the song they worked on and I have. To take a breath and I'm like okay this, part was great, you did your. Rhythm was greater your dynamic something I try to I try to force myself to say. Something really nice before, I yeah. Yeah. To. Try to like you, know make. Them feel like I'm not just attacking them yeah. And that in that. Less the lesson, realm is probably, very difficult too because there's there's I'm sure there's so much there. That um is. Not necessarily. A hundred, percent effort sometimes, I mean if I remember back when I was taking lessons and, you, know what show up because I had it scheduled, but I didn't do didn't, really rehearse practice. I mean then. You've got the instructor. There that clearly knows oh yes that, you haven't put in the time and. You. Know you wanna you wanna you want, to tell them the truth that, you're wasting both our time and, I'm. Just taking your money right now and you, know two. Weeks will pass and we will have been talking, about the same thing yeah that's, tough. But. If I imagine, imagine, your job is easier like you say about picking the stuff that's encouraging. If they're really like working at it you know and you feel like they're doing that, yeah. Yeah. It's I mean you're being paid by their parents. Often to make. Them get better so you do have to you're, like I feel like I'm under the if. The kid doesn't improve, I feel like, I'm at fault. And, so it it you do feel like you need to you. Have to bring up the negatives though oh yeah, is your there coach yeah, right. Now. I want to go back to you you said you took, lessons. Retaking, voice, lessons. What. What were year what, is your musical, for, a hospice origin. I. Don't really have a musical origin.
You, Know. It. Was just kind of. You. Know I took, I took piano for, three years when I was you know, 10. 11 and 12, I took trumpet, when I was 11, 12 13 I. Picked. Up you know the guitar you, know half dozen, times between, you, know my, you. Know 15 years old and 30, years old and you know. It. Only just saying, you know a little bit in the choir and I was a kid you know at church. Didn't. Really start. Doing. Any kind of singing. Until. College. Just, fell into the bands so I don't really have a whole lot of um I don't. Have a whole lot of musical. Growth. From. A young age, I'm. A more of a utilitarian. Kind of, musician. You know not. Even a musician, I guess I'm just kind of facilitating. Music sometimes, I feel like you know I'm, the, lyric writer I'm the, vocalist, I can, kind of I can kind of get to A to B but there's, definitely a difference, in my my, skill, level in. Terms. Of a vocalist. With, real. Vocalists, out there you know I mean it's it's clearly it's cool you can clearly hear the difference. That. Probably comes from you, know a lifetime, of devoting. To it, but. Also just. In. My in my daily routines, I have a finite. Amount of time where. Things need to happen and, so I try, to schedule. Singing. Time for, myself when, we're off the road. But. You know it's. Probably, and it's, an hour to an hour and a half as opposed to what. Should, be like. Four, four, or. Five, hours, you know but. There's some at, a certain point you're just like this, is what I have time for these, are the priorities. So. I. It's. Fine and I regret I regret not, keeping up with piano. And. I love the piano and I, still have fantasies, about like. Getting. Back into it learning but. I still relate everything, to. You. Know to the treble, and bass clef you, know it's like ice when, I when, I I, can. Still read music and. I. Still, when I when I, hear. Notes or if I'm working through things I still relate, it to how, they, lay down on the piano keyboard, so. That's good it's fascinating to me that you don't have, your. Voices so. You. Have a very clear. Like. It's a powerful voice it's, not like an operatic, voice but. Like. You you're, not. Like. It's a very pleasing, voice I don't know how else to say it but it's it's. A warm. It's. Like if Anthony Kiedis from the Chili Peppers had, a cleaner like a. Like. A. Stronger. Clearer voice to me, but. It's in that realm of like male. Baritone. Yo it's like you're not getting up into falsetto, you're like. You have a very, yeah. It's a nice yeah. I enjoy, it thanks. But, it's depressing me that you weren't didn't have any training because it does sound, polished. I I. I. Kind. Of work in my. Limitations. You know, but. I took, I took lessons from, a guy VC you for I don't know a year two and this. Was back and we were. First starting to tour. And. We would weren't. Even touring we were just kind of like weekend warriors at that point coming, out of college where. We would go and play fraternity. Houses on, Thursday, Friday Saturday nights, and then. I come back in for my lesson on Monday and and. Back. Back then when you played these college, gigs, you. These, fraternity, things you would play from 10:00 to 2:00 that was like the contract, it was always the contract, 10:00 10:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. and. We, would play that whole thing we were basically, then we were cover band we would play we. Would play that. Whole time except for a one 20 minute break and. Yeah. It was just like I you know could never do that now but, when you're 21. You. Know you just got it do. It. We. Were playing like really you know just just just, you, know just, anything. Under the Sun but it was very taxing, on the vocals and so I'd show up to Monday with you know at the piano you, know with the teacher and maybe. Try to teach me the proper way of breathing. And singing and we'd be doing all these show tunes and my, voice was my, voice was smoked, and I. Mean I could just tell that he was just like. He'll. He'll do it he'll show up you know bill. Me but, it is not doing me any good so I had, to give that up. Sometimes. A little when, I took voice. Lessons the, first, couple. Lessons just learning how to breathe properly made. Me significantly. Better, like there was there's, never been a spike as big as the from. The first few vocal lessons of having someone teach me how. To properly, breathe right. So. There's, some, quick feel, like anybody could benefit from, from. A few vocal lessons I know the breathing thing is the hardest thing and I know it's, it's kind of like stretching, or yoga it's like what if you do it once you're like oh oh, well. Clearly I'm just gonna do this every day cuz this is the easiest, path towards, getting, stronger and better and all and then and of course you're like well. I only have 30 minutes so let me just do like this really hard you, know let, me just sing really hard for 30 minutes because that'll like.
That'll. Be that'll be. I'll cover I know I. Know I need to sing hard let's just do that we'll skip the Spree thing and stretching part. But. You're right. If. I just had five, hours to do it. I'd. Be a better singer for, a lot a lot of a lot of my job I've kind of learned it's it's if. I'm singing by myself in a room I'm, not I'm definitely. Not like a real ornate singer but, if I'm singing in a room by myself you, know it is definitely, more. There. Is there is more nuance but, when I'm playing in the band my, it's, it's a it's, a different beast you're basically we're, trying to get your vocal to kind of cut through all. Of this stuff. Onstage mm-hmm. And, even. Just the physical proximity of where I am on stage, between. Two guitarists. And then, the drummer and the in. The bass and behind me you. Know your voice becomes, all of a sudden you, know the resonance, just kind of starts going like this and, then before you know it your voice is like this and you're just you're, just trying to shoot your voice through everything you. Know. And. So. That. That. That. You know over time that would that really trains your voice to kind of act a certain way as. Opposed. To like a singer-songwriter. Who's sitting there playing and singing it's. A different thing out of curiosity. Do. You guys use. An. In-ear monitor. System, or anything like that on stage yeah. We do. And. That. Certainly helps we went ten years without them right when, we started out and then we, were you know 2002. When. We started really touring a lot and started. Noticing the, ear fatigue. We. Switched to ears yeah, and. And. That's that saved our hearing saved my hearing, and. But. It's still it's still not. It's, still not the same as just singing in a room now, right, you've. Got these impressions, that are going down into your canal so you're, now yes. You're hearing sound coming through those but you're also hearing, the bones in your head and, your. Singing is, informed. By how. You. Know the. Sound is resonating, in. Your in your head you, know if you plug, plug your ears you're, gonna hear different. Different. Your voice reacting, in the different way that you, can't just simulate with just putting sound, through the ear, monitors.
There's. Concessions, you just have to make. Do. You feel like while you're on tour do you actually do. You ever get hoarse or deal with like. Vocal. Fatigue that act you think hurts your performance. Yeah. So. Yes. The, and, I just actually purchased, a new set of ears like I've gone through five different companies you know for ear monitors trying to find like this this perfect, thing but, the. Reality is there's there certain there's certain parts of my range that will get that will get fatigued or blown out and. You. Know can I start, to get real Reedy in certain spots. That. Said. When. We go on tour let's say we go on tour like we'll go we'll leave Monday for, a month and. The. You. Know the, the, first three or four days. Are. Tough, like day four is like really tough. Because. Your. Schedules different and, you're. You're. Performing, live for. Two hours a night. And. Once. You get to that fourth. Day. You've, kind of got day, four day five where. Things, are kind of shaky and, then. From. There though once, you get to day six or day seven. You're. Kind of over that hump and then bite a date and you're bulletproof and so. From there you can do 30, 30, days in a row and, and. Do. Everything you want to do for the most part I'll lose I'll lose, I'll lose some I'll lose some notes at the top of my range you, know which we're doing like a 30 day run there's. Certain, songs that I know, I'll. Have to alter the melody on a few places. Mmm-hmm. To not, completely, destroy me for, subsequent. Days, so. That's just kind of the reality there but. Yeah, once you get once you can kind of if you can do four or five days in a row and push and get through that then. You. Can do you, know you can do the, 30 days in a row and we do that usually because I'm just. Taking days off is um just costly. And a, couple. Of guys that are married want to get back so instead, of spending you know eight, weeks out west we will do it in four and. We'll trim out a lot of the in-between. Places, and we'll drive through the night to get to you know. Where. We want to get just. Keep keep pushing, and frankly. When you get to a point where you're just going every night it's easier, to do that than to take a day off right. What do you do on a day off you guys let go like. You, know if you're like driving, on that Westies do anything. Together as a group pretty write songs so, last year we did 28 shows in 30. Days out west and. Usually. If it's a day off, you're. Driving, say let's, say you're driving from you know Austin, to Phoenix, you know so it's a drive day.
So, There's not a whole lot of there's not a whole lot of luxury there we. Used to have back when we had more days off when we were on the road more when, we you know that when we were younger and we didn't have obligations. Back home and life was a little simpler, yeah. We would you know we, would have the. Sit-down breakfasts, and we would you know tool. Around a bit, but. Uh it's. Not as it's not as romantic like that these days. Everybody. Just relaxes. On the bus and. Everyone's. Got their own space on a bus yeah and I. Mean. I'm I managed, van so I'm usually, working I mean. No get, up exercise, in the parking lot and fix. Breakfast, and you know while we're rolling and, and. Then just. Manage things on, the road the. Guys you, know if we're, we, drive ourselves so, you know whoever's driving the shift. Otherwise. Guys, you know sleep or they you, know read or do. Whatever they do kind. Of home in. Their own worlds so, so, since you manage, and. Do most of the legwork. You're. Talking about touring, and setting. Up 30. Day gigs. How, do you go about, that. Process is. Is, that something that you do all on your own in terms of reaching out to venues, and then you. Know setting up the the path of, that, tour or how does that though. We have. Each. Of us has several, duties within the band you know Terry. Does a lot you know has been doing a lot of social media and marketing stuff, and. And. Then I, in. Terms of the booking goes I, we. Have a booking agent that's that's the one person that we that. We have okay. That. Actually. Gets the contracts, I will, I will take the year Oh print, out I'll print out. Every. Month and calendar, of the year and, I. Will. Post. It note where I want to be on. What, night. What city I want to be in what night throughout. The whole year we'll say look this is when we're gonna be in. This. Region of the country and we, map it out like. That so. And. And and then I will you know I'll give that to our age and say this is let's let's pursue this and, he. Takes my calendar. Of. The cities on the nights that we want, January. Through December and. He, goes about pursuing the contracts, are getting the holds for the venue's because. Which, is which. Is that's. Tough that's that's that is a lot of work because there's thousands, of bands, yes, meeting. Competing, for the same you know three, venues worth playing in in San Francisco, you know right yep, yeah. You know you. Try, to jump in early as possible but you know you could be fifth hold or fourth hold, behind. Three other acts that need to you know either you know. Clear. The date or. You. Know say we're, confirming it so it's this it's this it's this big kind of amorphous. Thing if something doesn't work out in that city for you then you kind of have to shift your strategy, you. Know for the week and maybe you want to move. San Francisco, to a different. Night which means you've got a you know deal with LA, and deal with Portland, and you know everything that she hits along your route yeah, yeah, so we, do a pretty good job you know between. With, that system we get about 85% of what we want. In. Terms of the city in the night and, then how on. Average, and obviously that fluctuates, how. In. Terms of your gigging, schedule, in your touring schedule, how, often. Or how many, dates a year, do you generally. Like to tour, right. So. At, our peak. Back. When we were touring behind, Indian. Summer which was, released in. 2004. And. Was. Getting radio play. Did. That have life less ordinary on it life, less ordinary it was kind of the single at the time and it was getting trapped. It was doing, well at triple-a radio and then it was getting traction, at the hot AC radio. Which. Which opens. Up your opportunities, and, and, also really jams your schedules so and, that was back in the day when you could tour behind the successful, album for like two years right. You. Know it was just it was it was, it. Was a lot so so when I think at our peak we were we did like 250, days a year, out on the road right. Now. We're, like, now. We've drilled down to about, 80. To. 100. Days.
Out On the road okay and most, of those are shows like, I said we don't do a whole lot of days off. If we're out we're playing and, unless. We're driving somewhere. So. We, kind of slashed a lot of the fat. Off of the tour, you. Know and a lot of a lot of the. Just. Said goodbye to a lot of markets and and, do. Typically. Now we do a big fall kind of September. Through December is. When we'll do, the. Kind of us and then, that the spring, we. Do, kind of a handful of shows. In, kind of secondary markets. Usually. Everything kind of west of the Mississippi, okay. I mean east, of the Mississippi, okay, so. Anything. More than that really like creates. A lot of tension with. You. Know again. Three of the guys are married with kids so. The right balance a balance you've got a strike there and. You. Know and also frankly, you, know your. Creative, output, suffers. If, you're just on the road all the time and. Even. Now you know 80 days is - you know is feels. Like too much sometimes I mean to. Put on to, coordinate, a hundred days you, know when you're self-managed. Is. Is. You know not just a hundred days of tour about a hundred days of cup reparation. For that tour right. So it's. Just less time that you have to create and, also that's that's something we're trying to address. Is is to. Get. Some extra help to help us cover some of that legwork. So. That we can spend more time in. This in the studio that we you know built. Creating. Right. How. When, you play, venues. Are you typically paid on, the. Door or or. Do, you have a. House. Payment usually, structured for these types, of venues, it depends. Typically. Shoot, for a guarantee versus. A percentage, over a certain amount of whatever. The house nut is. Some. Venues if you're. You. Know. Not, a proven, thing, in the market or. Or, they're. Not. They're. Not into doling out guarantees, sometimes, you just do the you'll. Do a door deal. So, it really depends on where. You are in, the market, and. Kind of what you can negotiate but. Typically, we like to get a guarantee, and then. And. Then. If it reverts you know then it reverts over, a certain.
A Certain. Percentage. Of the door. So. When you go I mean if you go out and play, somewhere. Kind of out, west do you do. The crowds, what are your crowds like in smaller. Places do you have people that just come out that you've never that. Have heard of you and you actually can fill up a place in a small, town out west yeah. It's. Funny we can it. Seems like now we can kind of go just about anywhere and they're like it'll be a hundred people at, the very at the very least right. Which. Is still not terrific. But then again it's it's not. Nothing right right. And. You. Know on nights like that where you're you, know you are in between your major markets, it certainly, it. Covers, your bottom line if nothing else. Covers. Your expenses for, the day puts. A little bit of money in your pocket so. Those, those can. Actually strategically. You know add up, and. You. Know the days, of we're just people randomly, like come. Out to check you out, you. Know there's. Not tons of that business. Some. Places or, more than others like FINA you know if we play Phoenix, they'll be. There'll. Be a good amount of people that are just there. Checking you out. But, but mostly it's just its fans that. That. Know you're coming come, into town so. You. Know on the low side that's you know you get a hundred people in the door on. The, on the high side out. West. You. Know Seattle's. A good, market for us so we'll do this. Fall we'll do. One, night at a Standing Rock venue. Which. Is I think 650. Or 700, people we usually sell that out and then the, next day we'll do a seated, cabaret, venue, which is like 300, seats and we'll do two shows back to back on that on, the following day so that's. A good weekend for us in Seattle and. Play. In front of a lot of your fans and do two different types of shows and a kind. Of big electric, rock show and then the received acoustic, shows and. You. Know make me make good money and and all that. Portland's. Usually like. 350. 400, people. You. Know la is like 150. San. Fran's like 300. And. Then. San. Diego, is gonna be like a hundred twenty-five hundred fifty. Is. That is, that because you guys like. Your music doesn't connect with that, the, people in that region or because you haven't toured. That area as much to build up a fan base over time yeah. You. Know a lot of it has to do with. How. Much. You. Know Seattle's, Seattle, Portland. San. Diego. Boise. Spokane. All, those all those some of those places I'm out west we, were did Bob Denver. We, were getting good radio play for. A couple of years and that meant that helped. Jumpstart. The. Audience yeah. That. Also has, actually added you. Know after, those kind of couple of years of activity where you all. Your shows were backed by heavy radio promotion. You. Know where they were sponsoring, the events, and you got just tons of mentions, I mean you still can't you still can't you. Still can't compete with that kind of reach you know I mean if someone's if, you have a radio station as listeners and their station sponsoring, the event and they're mentioning it I mean that goes a long way right. Once, that kind of goes away you know. The. You, shuck away a lot of those people and then you're kind of left with your your fans but. The fans that you're left with are really, dedicated and, you know I can I can predict, pretty, accurately. By now who's. Going to show up just. By our email list right. Which, is a great place to be, if, if, you don't have the outside promotion, so. But. But Seattle, we got a lot of we got a lot of support and it's. A great town. You. Know so. We're, lucky to have that kind of as a cornerstone. Is. San Diego on the other hand we got, good play there and. Over. The years. That. Audience, has kind of come. Down a bit I'm, wondering. I don't know is it more is it more of a transient, town did like the fans that you know, come. In into those you know those, early shows did, they kind of move. Away. Because. It's probably like maybe half of what it used to be. And. Then do you see any. Do. You see any. Anything. Come from things like I know you guys have done things like Curious, George or, you have like commercial, type. Stuff that you've done for like Pontiac, or somebody did you see any return from any of that. Yeah. I think, I think it all kind of adds. But. It's not like any of that stuff is ever a. Game. Changer no no no no no you know and, frankly there's George I mean that was yeah we on, the surface we got paid well but. When. You actually break it down into the amount of work that you put into it over the time you. Know it's not like it's just again.
It's Not like it's a it's a game changer it's just one it's just one more thing that you can add right. No to to. The story. The Pontiac Vibe, thing, I mean we didn't see any kind of spikes we got paid really well for not doing anything what. We want to Conte you know and he. Got, paid, $20,000. To win a contest, and they put the song on the commercial. But that's. Nice yeah. You, know I was back that was kind of back in the dot-com, era when. When you. Know the the the internet. Was still kind of becoming a thing yeah and you. Know in 2000. And you. Know, 2099. In 2000, 2001, 2002. It's, like, everybody, was having these contests. All. These websites were having contests, enter enter enter these cut you know enter this band contest yeah, we entered Terry, our, guitarist, and at the time he was working at a recording, studio and. In, his off time he would sit there on the computer and he would just enter all these contests. You know and, you. Have to upload an mp3 which, took like you know an hour. And. He'd fill out you know fill out a form and upload a song and there. Was there was real they were giving away real, money I mean we that's how he won the 20 grand off Pontiac, and. It's. How we you, know it got. Entered into the AMA contests, and yeah. It. Was it, was a different, era but. It was it, was there for the taking, yeah, yeah, it's definitely uh the. Music scene has definitely changed, over. The past you guys talking. How about used to had started in, 93. 25. Years you, know mm-hmm. It's it's changed. Many. Many times what, how how, do you see it currently, in terms of the. Whole streaming. And. Very. Social. Media centric right now it's it's, very much a different, landscape. Yeah. I mean kind, of the traditional marketing, is change you know we're you know just, where we were talking about all this this promotion, you, know where you. Could win contests, on the internet and and. All. Of a sudden you know it meant something to kind of be endorsed, by someone. Or. You know that, American, Music Award contest, that we entered, and, became a finalist and then we went on these this big tour promotion.
And It. Was sponsored by coca-cola and. All the sudden nothing, attracts a crowd like a crowd you know I feel like a, lot. Of that's kind of a, lot, of that's gone away and. There's. So much competing, for people's, attention. An entertainment. Dollar. You. You. Know 10, 15 years ago you you you you. Really focused, on trying, to throw the net. You. Know in search of search. Of new fish you know you spent a lot of time and money. Really. Looking. In in places and, you. Know when we when we realized, you could spend the rest of your life and money. Going. Into the hole doing. That strategy. You. Know was that going to be the best the. Best thing, for us and. In. 2010. When. We kind of run the course at the record label when. They weren't offering. Really. Anything. Other. Than just you know, money. To make a record. With. No real, true. Marketing, plan. Muscle. And reach you. Know we we decided. Let's. Build our own studio let's bring things let's rein things in like, we used to do let's. Stop you know investing. In all, of this overhead. And team and let's. See let's, see where. The ceiling is with, just being as autonomous. As we can. And then. Let's stay solvent let's not go into debt and we. Did and. You. Know we. Set a goal of making. A, new. Piece of music every, eight months so in 2010. We felt the studio. And, we just started releasing records directly, to our fans and in, short we were like let's just pay attention to the people that are paying attention to us all that and. See. What happens, well, let the audience our audience know. That. We've accumulated, the last fifteen years that. We're serious artists that we're going, to be writing and recording and, touring and, join. Us on this journey and. And. So that's that's how we've. Had to combat kind of. How. Do you compete in a in a and then. Industry, winners just there's so much noise this there's, competition. Coming from every. Every. Corner, and. And. And. I guess the answer was, let's, not compete with that. There's. Limitations, I mean you know we're, playing. To. A much more concentrated audience, and. It'd. Be nice to have more marketing. Dollars but it's hard to know kind of where. To put that right now, so. We're. Just trying to control, what we can and. And. Then. If an opportunity opens, up we'll. Hopefully we'll be in a good position to make make those adjustments, that. Is gonna do it for today for part one of two with, Barry privet, of carbon, leaf if. You haven't already head, over to iTunes and, leave us a review the. More reviews the more we have the opportunity, to continue having great. Quality, guests, also don't. Forget we do have a YouTube channel where, you can find the, entire library of all the guests, and topics that we've talked about. And lastly. If you haven't already head. Over to fret buzz the podcast.com. And, sign. Up subscribe. Check. Out the songwriting Club and come, join us cool. Next. Thursday it is part. 2 with Barry privet of carbon leaf on fret. Buzz the. Podcast. You.