Tom Rush Weighs In

Responding to what Sasha Brown said, Bob, he’s right on about life on the road and the toll it takes, and the dedication it requires. Sometime in the mid-70s I came to realize that the artist was simply a money pump for the labels, the managers, the agents. I was travelling with, as I recall, five other musicians in my backup band, a sound engineer, a road manager and a truckload of gear.

His tale of driving back and forth across the country resonated. We were flying, not driving, but they had us playing — on consecutive nights — Boston, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Washington, DC. In that order. I was paid a LOT of money that week, but it all went out the windows to everybody else.

I wasn’t only a member of a band, I HAD a band. They got paid first, I got paid if there was any money left. I came to realize that on the first night of the week I was working for the Manager; on the second I was working for the Agent; the third paid the Band; the fourth went to the Hotels; the fifth to the Airlines. And IF there was a sixth night, I might get to keep a bit. I was making music, but my REAL job was to pump money out of the pockets of the public and into the bank accounts of the Industry.

I’ve been making music for something like 58 years now, and I still love it, can’t wait to get back on the road (though I’ll certainly keep up Rockport Sundays, my Patreon subscription series) — but I’m no longer beholden to record companies and managers, and am doing much better financially than when I was. All that glitter is expensive!

Tom Rush

Rockport Sundays:

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