So…You Want To Be An International Rockstar?
Tags: Be An International Rockstar > Cab Ride Home > Cammo Shorts > How To Be n International Rockstar > So You Want To Be An International Rockstar?
Local Manassas, VA metal bands Cab Ride Home and Cammo Shorts are jetting out of the US and off to the UK this weekend for a short set of dates. Sounds glamorous doesn’t it (sans snaggletoothed Scottish girls)?
To put things in perspective, Cab Ride Home frontman Dan Roem has written a fantastic article on what it means to be a local band trying to make it abroad. Not all fun and games.
So You Want To Be An International Rockstar?
Cab Ride Home and Cammo Shorts are embarking upon the Sonically Intoxicating Britian D.I.Y. Tour 2012 this summer with the intent of proving that two local bands from Manassas don’t need international booking agents, greedy hacks and what-have you in order to tour overseas. Just time, money and connections will do the trick. It’s all about who you know, how much you’re willing to spend and how hard you’re willing to work to make it happen.
Currently, we have three shows in Scotland that are 100 percent confirmed: July 4 at 13th Note in Glasgow; July 6 at Bannermans Bar in Edinburgh; and July 7 at The Moorings Bar in Aberdeen. We are poised to announce a fourth show but are just waiting for the final confirmation.
The venues in Edinburgh and Aberdeen are supplying the backline for us and even giving us a free place to crash. All we have to do is show up with our guitars and wireless gear, plug in and play. The Glasgow venue is a true D.I.Y. experience as we’ll be sharing gear with a band from Edinburgh called Disposable in order to make that show happen. In return, we’re offering them use of our wireless equipment.
All we are bringing overseas with us aside from travel basics are guitars, wirelesses and small gear, a double bass pedal and drum sticks. That’s it. We’re completely depending on the venues and other bands to help us out with equipment. That, however, is how the underground metal community works: you help each other out. No band ever made it to the top without a little help from someone.
The members of Cab Ride Home and Cammo Shorts will be meeting up in London on June 30, raging there through the night and then heading out on our journey that concludes with the Aberdeen show on July 7, taking the train back to Heathrow London Airport the next day to fly home.
Without question, the most challenging and time-consuming part of this process has been securing the entertainment visas from immigration officials. This is our biggest cost second only to all of the airline tickets combined and a process that takes months to complete.
Requested documents we have had to supply include, but are not limited to: scans of our passports, passport-sized pictures (not just a cropped version of the picture on your passport, but a blank one), previous passports, income tax statements, a variety of bank statements (some of which must be signed by bank reps and printed on bank letterhead), proof of martial status, pay stubs, proof of studies for our drummer and employment for the rest of us, e-mail correspondence with overseas contacts, individual questionnaires, travel details, an itinerary, contracts with venues, a list of who we’re visiting, and an explanation of how we’re affording the tour.
We also had to secure a “sponsor”, or basically someone that’s willing to help us out financially if need be. We had two volunteers, which was great, but we hope not to need any of their cash. However, they still had to turn in their own paystubs and bank statements.
If anything from the last two paragraphs is missing from an applicant’s proposal, the entire process could be jeopardized. And if that’s not enough for you, everything had to be done six times over: one for each member between Cab Ride Home and Cammo Shorts (we’re sharing members too).
All of that occurs after you have paid over $2,000 up front just to cover the legal fees (it’s considerably less per person, but it adds up for six people). We haven’t even gotten to the actual entertainment visas themselves yet, which cost another 75 pounds each. That, I believe, comes after phone interviews from actual immigration representatives. We’re still working on that.
Maybe all of this seems unnecessary and too daunting for your band and you don’t think you need to do all this. What if you just show up with only your guitars and tell the people at customs that you’re just there to have fun? Here’s a message I received from a promoter in Aberdeen about why that’s not such a good idea:
“I had a band booked from Melbourne. They turned up for a two week UK [tour], and the customs boys saw their guitars and sent them straight back home!”
Melbourne, by the way, is in Australia. Imagine flying all the way from Aussie-land to London only to be kicked out at the gate.
So you think a little four-gig tour overseas is too hard? This is why it’s so difficult for bands that aren’t signed to big labels to travel internationally and do this stuff. With the right attitude and everyone on your team buying into what you’re doing, however, you can get stuff done and get it done right.
In just five weeks, we’ll be overseas bringing metal to the masses. It’ll all be worth it then. ‘Til then, the grind continues.