For bands, getting together enough cash to tour can be a huge hassle. Most local bands start planning and budgeting far in advance, playing a ton of local shows and selling anything they can.
For local punk band Die Ignorant, crunch time came quickly. Just before they were supposed to go on tour with California's Guttermouth, the local punk outfit didn't have the funds. So they staged a fund-raising car wash at Applebee's.
New Times wrote a blog post explaining the situation, with music editor Martin Cizmar comparing Die Ignorant's methods to those of the McClintock High School girls' volleyball team.
The Underground in Mesa
Die Ignorant is scheduled to perform on Saturday, May 1, at The Underground in Mesa.
That post grabbed the attention of the Mesa Legend, the newspaper of Mesa Community College, which published a rebuttal to Cizmar's story, essentially saying publications such as New Times shouldn't scoff at a band's hard work. The Legend also contended that the band is admirable for putting in some hard work and doing what's needed to be done to make the tour happen.
Well, now the tour is over. And regardless of your opinion of what counts as a DIY punk effort, you may be curious about how it went — and whether or not there are more car washes in Die Ignorant's future.
According to guitarist Aaron "Travis Bickle" Church, the tour was a success. While it was a lot to take in, since the band had never toured extensively before and Guttermouth is a notable band, they found their way through, learning a lot along the way.
As for that car wash, it sounds like it wasn't exactly their first choice. Rather, it was a last-minute stab at pulling things off at the last minute. Here's the big question though: Since it worked, would they repeat the experience?
"We might do it again if it's planned better, but if it were up to me, we would try other stuff too. I don't like to bank on one method when there are others we haven't tried yet," Church said. "We thought we might get made fun of for doing something like a car wash — which we did — but we did it anyway and it was a big help. A better way to raise money is to just play shows, which can be really hit or miss."
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So can you really fault the guys if all other options failed, and the person who promised to loan them a good chunk of change backed out with almost no notice? I can't.
The boys did take some valuable knowledge away from the whole thing. Church mentioned that some helpful suggestions would be to try to play shows on the way out to an opening tour date, to book venues and promote your own shows, sans the middle man ("I think they call it DIY or something," he said), and not to be apprehensive about talking to others.
"You can't be afraid to go to other bands for advice and information. It's a collective and cyclical experience being a part of a band and a scene, and most bands understand that and are willing to help others out."
Lastly, "Don't rule out anything. There are lots of ways to get some extra dough for tour. Use your imagination and just fuckin' do it."