A&E

Local musicians Jack Evan Johnson and Bobby Meader talk tour as they hit the road

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Jack Johnson released his new LP, Self Made Man, on September 2.
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Kicking off his latest tour this week in support of his new LP, Self Made Man, local Americana rocker Jack Evan Johnson is no stranger to life on the road. Solo acoustic-punk singer Bobby Meader, (who goes by Bobby Meader Music), is already on the move, probably somewhere between Denver and Omaha when you read this. We chatted with both before they took to the asphalt, focusing on touring—hellacious scheduling, road essentials and how to make ends meet.

The schedule: (BM) “I think it’s close to 50 shows, maybe 49, I lost track.”

(JEJ) “It’s essentially a two-week tour. The venue in Portland just burned down, so we’re trying to make up that date.”

Bobby Meader

Bobby Meader

Tour essentials: (BM) “Baby wipes, laptop, headphones. If I don’t have headphones I can’t watch Netflix, and then what are you gonna do?”

(JEJ) “Bandmates that you get along with. You’re only onstage one hour of the day, and you gotta spend the other 23 hours with a group of people for weeks on end.”

Tour economics: (BM) “You get better at negotiating, and when someone tries to f*ck with you, you have to be like, ‘Nope.’ Being able to do that ensures you don’t get screwed over.”

(JEJ) “You try to book a tour with a handful of dates where you know you’re gonna be making some money. Some of the other shows have door deals, and that’s a little risky. At this level it’s really hard to get guarantees at every tour stop, but you try to get as much as you can, so you know you’re not risking being totally broke.”

Road life: (JEJ) “There’s no better job than drinking beer with your friends and playing guitar every night and meeting new people. Being a musician is a conversation between you and the observer, [and] playing to a new group of people every night is the only way for that to reach its full potential.”

Future tour goals: (BM) “It’d be cool to tour less but have them be better tours where people are showing up more. That happens a lot faster when you’re on a bigger label, [and] the only way to really get on those labels is to tour a lot and get people interacting on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. I’m pretty sure I can do that in the next two years if I just continue doing what I’m doing now.”

The eye opener: (JEJ) “Living here, you almost believe that club culture is mainstream. You get out on the road, especially to some of these places in the Midwest and you realize rock music is still king.”

The best thing about touring: (BM) “Eating. I eat really well on tour, because I’m making money. I’m a big breakfast guy, so trying all these different breakfast spots around the nation is the most fun.”

Jack Evan Johnson kicks off his tour at Bunkhouse September 5. facebook.com/jackevanjohnsonsongs

Bobby Meader ends his tour at Artistic Armory October 16. bobbymeadermusic.com

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Leslie Ventura is a staff writer at Las Vegas Weekly and Industry Weekly. She’s picked the brains of rock stars ...

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