MIRP: Welcome back to Portland! You are tour managing Dorothy. How is the tour going?
Gypsy: This is a great tour; mostly sold out with a lot of positive momentum.
MIRP: We last spoke a few years ago. Can you tell me what you’ve been up to the last few years?
Gypsy: Starting my own management company and producing a couple of tours. My husband Hans and I also have stared leasing out our Mercedes Sprinter for tours. I’ve also been out on a couple of runs.
MIRP: You and your husband are a true rock and roll couple. How do you make that work?
Gypsy: LOL…I think honestly this is just who we are and what we do. We don’t know anything different, and obviously being crazy in love helps.
MIRP: Do you find that touring changes much from year to year? Better or worse conditions?
Gypsy: I suppose it changes…much like any industry, and there are always improvements in technology, etc., which makes my work easier.
MIRP: What is the first band you tour managed?
Gypsy: A little Orange County band called the Darlings, on a tour with TSOL, Pennywise, and the Aggrolites.
MIRP: Which band do you repeat as tour manager?
Gypsy: Currently I’m only with Dorothy…by choice.
MIRP: You have managed tours for many bands. Is there a genre of metal that is easier to manage? Harder? Why?
Gypsy: I suppose there are genres which are easier on my ears! I’m a bit softer than metal – LOL! I love Lucero and Bob Dylan.
MIRP: With all that you have seen, are you still a fan of music on your off hours?
Gypsy: I am, but I admit I listen to it less in my downtime than I used to. I definitely go to less live shows.
MIRP: Do you keep up with new music? What are you listening to now?
Gypsy: Absolutely! I’m loving everything from Post Malone to Atlanta Trap music to Frightened Rabbit! LOL.
MIRP: Being a tour manager seems glamorous. Can you shed some reality on that?
Gypsy: The reality is that the appearance of the show and lifestyle looks glamorous, and it is supposed to. If the many long hours of hard work behind the scenes by crew, agents, management, etc., give off that air, then we have done our job! It is way more long days, sleepless nights, miles of travel, and missed holidays and family events than its glamour…but I love it! Obviously!
MIRP: What do you love about being on the road?
Gypsy: It is something you just have to experience I think…but the energy, travel, new experiences, and happiness of the fans.
MIRP: What do you dislike about being on the road?
Gypsy: Lack. Of. Sleep. LOL.
MIRP: I asked my local musician friends what they would ask you if they had the opportunity. Overwhelmingly the response was: How can I get my music to her or the band?
Gypsy: You can always leave items with venue staff when we play your city and ask them to give it to the tour manager. Whether we actually listen to it or not depends on our schedules.
MIRP: Here are some more fan questions… What is the best-selling merch item?
Gypsy: Hmmmm. T-shirts in warm weather; hoodies in the winter.
MIRP: When you buy the ticket, CD and shirt you are at nearly $100; Why are shirts so expensive?
Gypsy: You have to factor in set up costs and minimum order requirements. Also, for touring bands, you need to factor in shipping and keeping stocked on the road, local taxes and merchandise fees that we pay to venues as well as the crew to sell the merch. It is a comprehensive package.
MIRP: Are bands willing to exchange shirts with local bands? How do you approach that as a local band?
Gypsy: Some bands might. Some cannot due to merch deals and accounting. I always respect any polite and courteous request, but I can’t always accommodate.
MIRP: Why not take local bands on tour?
Gypsy: The key word is local. In order to add value to a touring package there has to be demand for, or recognition of, a support band. Otherwise we are just running a charitable tour which is not financially fruitful.
MIRP: Why is pay to play the norm? Do you agree with that as a “trend” or it is good for the industry as a whole?
Gypsy: That is certainly not a trend in my world view. I think what is referred to as “pay to play” is actually promoters asking bands to sell tickets to insure a crowd. If they don’t have enough fans to buy tickets, they should perhaps engage a fan base.
MIRP: How can you tell the difference between those that are the “real deal” and those that are faking it?
Gypsy: I’m not sure I fully understand the question…LOL. The “X” factor, if that is what you mean. It is so incredibly obvious, and you’ll know when you witness the show.
MIRP: Do you have any funny tour stories?
Gypsy: That is all I have…LOL. And I’ve signed non-disclosure agreements!
MIRP: Are groupies still an issue today?
Gypsy: When were they ever an issue? LOL. It depends on who you ask.
MIRP: What would be the most stressful moment as a tour manager?
Gypsy: Oh! Lost passports hours before international fly days to make a huge festival. That is just one example.
MIRP: Do most average bands still have to hold regular jobs?
Gypsy: Some do, some don’t.
MIRP: Laundry sniffing…fact or fiction?
Gypsy: It happens.
MIRP: Are there special doctors in each city that respond to a band member’s issue if needed or do they have to go to urgent care like everyone else?
MIRP: Gypsy, it is always such a pleasure speaking with you. Thank you for taking the time to do this interview with us.
Gypsy: Thank you for supporting my career and the artists I work with.
I had the privilege of sitting down with one of the most sought after tour managers in metal and she is also the founder of Team Hans.
MIRP: Thank Kristin “Gypsy” for your time! Let’s see, the last time I saw you was on the Six Feet Under tour! What have you been up to and what is your next adventure?
KG: I’m at home for “Roadie Winter”!
KG: I’m currently on hold for the TM Metal Alliance, 2013. After that, I have the Decibel Magazine Tour, then Scream It Like You Mean It. The rest of the year is open, as of now.
MIRP: Tell me about your feature in Decibel magazine. It’s pretty cool that they recognized our female heavyweights in metal.
KG: Yea, that was amazing, it’s still pretty surreal. Albert Mudrian emailed me when I was out on the Decibel Tour and asked if I would be interviewed for the “Women In Metal Article. The photo they used, of me with Behemoth in full corpse paint, was a picture I had taken backstage at a show. I printed it and hung it on the dressing room door at the final show. Albert loved the picture, so he used it…haha!
KG: As for the article itself, I’m in there with some of my heroes, like Tracey Vera and Kristen Mulderig; I am still blown away by that. But, I guess if you can run a tour with Behemoth & Watain, smoothly and efficiently, you’ve earned your spot, LOL!
MIRP: A question local bands often ask us is: “Will the national act we are opening up for see us play?” How often do members of the headlining band actually watch the openers?
KG: That’s a good question. It depends on a lot of factors – mainly our schedules. Unfortunately, sometimes, to fill the press requests, we may have to do it during an opener’s set. I have bands, however, that will rush an interview, or even re-schedule if there is a local they have heard about, want to see, or have been asked to watch.
KG: If a local emails me, personally and asks if I will be able to watch, I make it happen. I respect that. Or if they shake my hand when I get to a venue and ask me to catch a song, I do it as often as possible.
KG: But trust me, I KNOW the bands that are on my bill. My job is to know what is going on with my show. We are VERY aware of local bands, and a professional, courteous, gracious opener goes a LONG way with me.
MIRP: In your experience, what is the best way for a local band to get on a national tour?
KG: This is the part of the Dream we call the Struggle, haha! This is where paying your dues comes into play. You work hard, do a solid job, and nationals, their agents and teams will notice you. But you have to have all your ducks in a row. So many locals want to jump out on a national tour, but they lack the fiscal means, or even the touring rig, or time off work to do so. This all takes time and careful planning. Bottom line — grind hard and you’ll get there.
MIRP: What is the appropriate method for local bands to get the headlining bands their merch/demo?
KG: They can give it to me, or the merch person. If they know the band, and the band is down, they can pass it on to them directly. But, keep in mind, we live on a bus, or a van, and all that accumulates quickly. I always suggest they email me or the band and send a link to the music. Swap shirts with us if we can, but too many “gifts” is sometimes just too many, if that makes sense?
MIRP: Yes. That makes total sense. To your knowledge, has anyone ever been signed off of opening for a national act on your tour?
KG: I had a record deal signing on my last tour. A local metal band, Rivers of Nihil, signed to Metal Blade. Mind you — they’ve been around and have put in the work, but yes, getting more and more “local” exposure, opening for touring packages is never a bad thing!
MIRP: What is the proper etiquette for local bands when opening up for national acts? I’m talking behavior, courtesy, equipment, sound check, etc.
KG: Think of it like this: You’re a Freshman in college. How do you act in class? Are you late? Do you bring all your own supplies? Do you leave promptly at the end of class, or try and hang out in the classroom, causing problems for the next class? It’s basically the same. You are the guest of the tour. Be polite, be on time, be courteous, be respectful, and be grateful. Set up swiftly. Have all your gear. Use only what room the Stage Manager or Tour Manager tells you to (i.e., Don’t think you’re setting up an arena full of gear and backline to open a show and don’t leave deads laying around in my crew’s way. NEVER GO OVER YOUR SET LENGTH. Ever! Period. Our schedule exists for a reason. Sometimes — every minute counts. If we have an early load-out and bus call, and long overnight drive to the next show, but we’re 5, 10, 15 minutes behind because of your band? That’s a big bummer and a NO NO!
KG: Sound check/line check will be offered as per Tour Manager/Sound Guy(s). If you get one — Awesome! If you don’t, please don’t bug us about it. And certainly don’t turn it into a long drawn out ordeal, if you do get to check.
MIRP: What is the biggest irritant to national bands with local openers?
KG: Being late, unprepared, causing us delays. I’d say that’s my #1…
MIRP: What is a typical touring day like for the musicians you manage?
KG: For the bands? Well, if I’m doing my job right, hopefully they sleep until noon, get up, eat, go bowling, have a beer, and stroll in for sound check. LOL! And I give them their schedules, tell them when they have in store signings, meet and greets, interviews, etc. I make sure those are all arranged with transportation where necessary and escort the band, etc.
KG: Some musicians work while working! Haha! Here is an example: They will give lessons through Band Happy during their free time — other than that they are free until set time, usually. After the show, they may hang and chat with the fans, sign at the merch booth, hit the bar – whatever — and then be back at the bus for bus call.
MIRP: From your perspective, as someone who protects the privacy and time of your touring band, what is the best way for a fan to meet band members?
KG: Organized meet and greets, through VIP ticket purchases from businesses like Sound Rink, Golden Tickets, etc.
MIRP: Regarding fans, what behavior is absolutely looked down upon by national acts?
KG: Every band and artist within the band is different. Some will put up with behavior that others would never tolerate. I think it’s safe to say that intentionally hurting someone in the pit, or not helping someone up if they fall, is something that all of my bands would have a problem with.
MIRP: You’ve seen the world with your job – what has been your favorite venue/location?
KG: Oh wow, that’s tough. I’m a big fan of the Melkweg in Amsterdam, or Backstage in Munich. I love the Warfield in San Francisco and pretty much all House of Blues.
MIRP: Kristin — thank you so much for your time! Until we meet again…..we wish you very safe travels.
Interview done by S9mm