"My job consists of everything from human alarm clock to professional babysitter"Suiciderock: You are working as tourmanager for different kind of bands and productions. For how long do you earn your money that way now?
Tom: I started playing in rock bands when i was in high shcool. My band wold play high school dances and biker bashes. In college, my band the rabid penguins played all sorts of shows as well. However we had the best sound system in our college town and quickly found out we could earn more money doing sound rather than playing in our band. That got me started doing live sound. After college i worked in a variety of clubs and studios mixing sound. I toured regionally through the south and eventually moved to new york city. I worked in all of the premier venues in new york until a downswing in the clubs happened in the mid 90ís. At that point I decided to go back out on the road, one of the stipulations was that I had to tour manage. Before the tour started I went out to dinner with the former tour managers for white lion, the village people, and doro pesh. the gave me the ins and outs of tour managing and Iíve been doing it ever since.
Suiciderock: Many people may ask themselves now what a tourmanager does exactly. Can you tell them how a typical day on tour looks like for you?
Tom: My job consists of everything from human alarm clock to professional babysitter. My day starts off when the bus arrives at the venue. I get the busses parked, introduce my production people to the house production people, get the band and drivers off to the hotel, organize lunch, arrange interviews for the band, handle soundcheck, organize the meet and greets, make sure we all get dinner, make sure the bands set times run on schedule, get the band on and off stage, get them their aftershow food, settle the financials for the show, get them back on the bus where we travel overnight to the next city so we can do it all over again. Anywhere in between I have to arrange flights, doctors, ordering gear, you name it I do it. Kind of like a ringmaster in a travelling circus.
Suiciderock: I read that you said "Even the worst morning in my deerstand freezing my ass off is better than a morning in a tour bus living asses to elbows with a bunch of freaks." So this doesn`t sound like you are doing your dreamjob?
Tom: You have to be careful what you wish for... I wished to travel the world with rock bands and lo and behold I got my wish. What a job / opportunity to travel the world, meet all sorts of interesting people, and entertain. However like all other jobs it does begin to wear on you after working 18 hours days day in and day out. At the end of a long tour I enjoy nothing better than going out to my hunting camp in the upstate new york mountains and relaxing. Itís the yin to the yang. It keeps me relaxed while being out on the road.
Suiciderock: What are the positive and negative aspects of your job?
Tom: Positives: I meet all sorts of really interesting people, make good money, travel the world, and have great comaradery with the people I travel with.
Negative: We live in close quarters, after a wile we all get on each others nerves, you are away from home for weeks sometimes mnths on end. The days are long, 14 hours normally, but we are all in it together.
Suiciderock: Was it always your deepest wish to work in the music industry?
Tom: I love the music business. Ever since I was young the music industry has been like a firt family to me. I love the people and I love the life.
Suiciderock: If not what have you done before you started your career in the music business?
Tom: Before I worked full time in the business and even now in between tours i have always been a tinker. to make money i work as a carpenter, an electrician, a sound engineer, a demolition expert, a truck driver, and oh yeah iíve driven a snow plow. the thing with this business is that you have to be able to do many things, both in the music business and outside of the business in order to make ends meet.
Suiciderock: You`ve been working for many big names like Foreigner, Motley Crue and lately Cirque de Soleil. What was the most impressive work place so far?
Tom: I have to say I am very fortunate to work with HIM. they have played some amazing places. Places I wouldnít have gone to on my own. Once we played a show on top of a large hill at the site of an old amphitheatre in Athens, Greece. AMAZING. We also played in an old palace in Germany. We also played a really cool show in valencia as well. Another show that comes to mind was with the rasmus when we played in the domincan republic. It was an amphitheatre on a beach, in the jungle, simply amazing!!!
Suiciderock: Are you able to choose the bands you work with?
Tom: Yes and no. Sometimes you need to take a tour just to make money. Ususally those are the crappy tours. I have to admit that i love working with the finns. HIM, Rasmus, Apocalyptica, & Turisas all really cool people / bands. I have always had a knack of working with pretty unique bands. Fossil, Failure, Fountains of Wayne, Chris Stills, Sean Lennon, Type O Negative, Gwen Mars.. Add n to X, Longview... the list goes on and on. Everytime I show up at a venue, the house people know itís going to be a cool day.
Suiciderock: You have some interesting hobbies like hunting or Off Road Motorbikes. How can you combine that stuff when beeing on the road all the time?
Tom: I am just a thrill seeker i guess. My life on tour is very demanding and extreme. In order to relax I usually have to do more crazy things in order to entertain myself. I ride my motorcycles on all sorts of adventures, I go out in the woods and live for 3 weeks and eat all that I kill, and I play ice hockey. what can I say... I live a full life. At the end of day I have no remorse.
Suiciderock: Your future plans?
Tom: My future plans include opening up a music venue outside of pittsburgh, working full time with the local stagehands union and selling hi viz safety wear. If I can do a few tours a year with finnish bands Iíll be happy as a pig in shit.
Suiciderock: Allright! I won`t steal anything of your pressures time anymore. Thank you very much for answering the short interview. It will be a honour to publish it in memorium of our great time together on the road.
Tom: Iíve said it a fwe times in this interview. One of the best things about touring is the chance to meet some interesting people. People you will know for the rest of your life. You are one of those people and I canít wait to make it back to germany to hang with you again. See you in the new year... toms