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Behind The Scenes: Jenny Douglas

What do the majority of bands do eleven months of the year? Tour. And no good travelling band is complete without a good tour manager on hand, to make sure that every show goes off without a hitch.

As part of a new feature, Alter The Press will be speaking to various tour managers, and asking them what really goes on behind-the-scenes.

Up first, is Jenny Douglas, New Found Glory's tour manager. Douglas has already built up an impressive roster, working with such bands as: Napalm Death, In This Moment, Walls Of Jericho and more.

Alter The Press: How did you get into tour managing?
Jenny Douglas: I used to do sound and guitar tech in Los Angeles, and I was working at a cartage company. One of the people I worked with, was in a band called, In This Moment. He found out I did sound, so one day he said they needed someone, and I asked if I could come along. I originally was doing merchandise and sound, but then the bass player didn't want to be in charge anymore, there are a lot of questions that get asked and a lot of headaches that he didn't want to deal with, so I took on the workload; and never looked back. I was working for ten dollars a day, for three months. I kept getting further in debt and wondered if it would ever pan out.

ATP: How long have you been tour managing bands for?
Jenny: I have been tour managing bands since 2006, but I feel like I have been in the music scene forever. My sister and I were doing merchandise for bands, when they came through our small town, when I was 14 or 15 years old. One of the earliest shows I remember working, was Henry Rollins and the Rollins Band, and I had no idea what moshing was or why they were kicking the shit out of each other for fun.

ATP: What does a typical day entail for Jenny Douglas?
Jenny: There is a ton of pre-production that goes into my job; you try and advance a show a month to two weeks out, so that you know what size the stage is, and what PA they are bringing in; and where the bus will park. I'm not a huge fan of surprises. A typical day for me involves: waking up before everyone else, making sure we are where we need to be, and the bus driver didn't get drunk or spend all the float money on weed or hookers (because that has actually happened.)We park where we need to be, by a load in door, and I get the crew up. We load in, and I start sending out a runner with our rider. I try and make sure the promoter has all the things I ask for in a settlement, such as, the band's money. I send the bus driver to sleep at a hotel or to the whorehouse, whichever. Then I try and get a soundcheck going, because nowadays every band wants a person that can do everything. You take up less space on the bus and they can pay you less. I wake up the band ten minutes before they have to sound check, because they were up all night playing 'Halo.' Then I get a guest list together, and about this time we do all the band press. We do phone interviews and band interviews at the venue, because this is down time when the venue gets the bar together, and opening bands start showing up; it is generally quiet. I have to be at the venue all the time, because the minute I leave is when the promoter runs off with our money, or the doors don't open on time because a bar manager is on his or her period.

Doors open, bands play, the band I am working for goes on, and then I try to get paid. This is the worst experience ever. You start to argue with a stranger about the lighting system that doesn't exist, or about the price of peanut butter, and why they spent $60 on Pizza for the load in crew. The 'advance' that you do is a typical lie, because everyone wants you to believe that their shit doesn't stink. So you ask for a Midas console, and you get a Behringer console at Front of House. They tell you they have a shower at the venue, but what they meant was, that the garden hose out back works fine. After you settle these expenses, you get paid. Then the runner comes back with the bus driver, hopefully, and you are off to the next city. I am usually the first one in bed after the bus takes off because I have been up the longest. And then you pray to whoever, that you get to the next city on time, and safely.

ATP: Worst part of the job?
Jenny: Arguing and dealing with promoters; I also hate when things get off schedule.

ATP: Best part of the job?
Jenny: The days off we have in strange cities, or in foreign countries, are the best part of the job, for me. You can go see a castle in a city you would never go to in your life. These small tidbits make up for the worst days I have. I've been to museums, parks, and ate the best croissants with coffee.. I treasure these small memories. Also, I try to make friends in every city. It's like extended family, and we always see each other and exchange stories.. I can't tell you how many real friendships I have made while traveling.

ATP: Best tour story?
Jenny: One band I was with, was in a competition to see who could "get their dick wet" the most in one day. There were a few rules, of course. It had to be different girls, it was okay if they were related, but it couldn't be done at the same time. That's gross, and it makes you think that all men are pigs. But I think the guitar player won, by having sex with two girls, a hand job, and two blow jobs. How one person has that much sperm, I have no idea.

ATP: What's the craziest demand a band has asked for?
Jenny: Situations beyond my control are the best demands. Like, can you make it stop raining... or why don't we have the direct support slot. Are you kidding me.. sell some records then I'll discuss the rain with Jesus. Also, mind reading.. I mean.. I'm getting better at it.

ATP: Being confined to such a compact space as the tour bus, that you share with the bands for weeks on end; have you ever felt like you've had enough, and that you just want your own space?
Jenny: Every waking moment. There are constantly dudes snoring, and to think that they are jerking off into socks, next to where you sleep, is fucked up. Some people just can't handle this lifestyle, and that's okay. . . I think I am persevering. I have siblings and roommates, so I am used to someone else always in my face.

ATP: Have you ever had to deal with any "groupie"/"superfan" situations? If so, the best story please...
Jenny: My dealings with groupies, were when a few were screaming my name.. and I turned around and I yelled, "what do you want!?" And they asked for a drum stick.. I asked how they knew my name, and they replied, Twitter. I quickly deleted my myspace and twitter thereafter. I get sick of the ticket requests, and people just being up in my life. Really, you don't know me, and you don't know my friends, and if I was dead, you wouldn't come to my funeral, so leave me alone. Some people make a living on being internet based and always 'on;' I don't really like that limelight. I would rather people see what I do, or hear about what I do, and give me that respect by saying, oh it sounded great.. here's a job offer for Lady Gaga. The best band situation was when I was in Europe, and these two groupie sluts thought they were going to ride the bus to London with us. When I heard the bus driver moving around and starting the bus, I went to the two bunks they were in and asked them to leave. I was trying to be quiet while kicking them out, but everyone saw their naked bodies and I was shoving them out the door. The two boys said their goodbyes while I am throwing lace-y panties out the window. Last one I can think of, two strippers fighting next to the tour bus outside a major casino, boobs popping out and vagina's thrashing around. Amazing.

ATP: If you wouldn't be tour managing, what would you be doing?
Jenny: Tattooing, or an accountant.

ATP: What do you on your downtime?
Jenny: What the hell is that? I tour so f-ing much that I usually get ten to three days off between tours! If I get free time, I travel to exotic places and try to be an educated American. My next trip is Cairo, Egypt, and I am hoping to get to Thailand in January. I love being and living in Los Angeles, I have a best friend there that does make up; and we cause a general ruckus everywhere we go. I like to spend time with my heterosexual life partner.

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