My father…

Last year, at the end of Mariah Careysí tour my Father passed away. We were in Japan, and were supposed to go to Hong Kong but the Hong Kong promoter cancelled at the last minute, so we were sitting in Osaka for a few days so we could use the flights that were already booked to get us home. When Mariah heard that my Dad had passed away she made arrangements to fly me and Eric Daniels (Keyboardist) back to Boston immediately so I could be there for his funeral. She insisted on having Eric along just to keep me company, and make sure I was OK. She flew us first class, had a limo waiting for us in Boston, and put us up at a hotel, all at her expense. Mariah absolutely blew me away with her kindness and generosity, and even though she always had my love and loyalty, sheís absolutely stuck with me forever now. I guess the point Iím trying to make here, is that on tour your family sometimes is the people you are working with.

However, there are no ìsick daysî on tour. As long as youíre not flat on your back in the hospital, youíre expected to do your gig. On some of the tours Iíve done if any of the musicians or singers on stage get sick, I can usually cover most of the parts from the computer. I make a habit of recording really important original musical and vocal parts for just that scenario, and normally I can use the parts from the original recordings.

The tour will not hesitate to call in a local Doctor to take care of the touring personnel. Theyíll write prescriptions, give shots, etc.. To make sure the show goes on, usually at the tours expense.

If the pop star gets sick, there are a couple options. They have insurance that will pay for the lost show, but if theyíre not too terribly sick I can either change the keys of the songs to make them easier to sing, or put in the studio or live vocals for that evenings performance. I try to record the singersí rehearsals for that very purpose so it wonít sound too ìcannedî.

Some artists will change the show removing some of the more difficult songs or failing that just take the insurance money, as the lip synch thing would just never work for them. If a show is cancelled the production personnel still get paid.

Many big dance tours will actually train someone to be a substitute dancer to fill in for a dancer that gets hurt or has a family emergency. With musicians itís a little harder. I have about 3 people that I could fly in on a moments notice to fill in for me. I havenít done that on extremely short notice yet, and hope I never have to. I currently have Marco Gamboa working in my place on the Marc Anthony/Jennifer Lopez Tour. I was able to get most of the programming done, fly him in, train him, then watch him run the show for a few days before I went home.

I did that because of family issues. My Son is 16 and is going to high school at the same school where my wife is a teacher. You can imagine all the possible problems that could create! Also, the previous 2 years I have been gone for the first 6 to 8 weeks of the school year, and it didnít go well, so this year I had to make a change.

On a personal note, this is my third marriage, and in this business itís not uncommon to have a personal life that gets trashed by the long hours working, and weeks away from home. This is a tough gig, and it takes an even tougher person to put up with someone doing this gig. I am very lucky to have someone like that in my life, and I wish all of you the same!

‘,’What happens if you get sick while you’re on a big mega tour? Or if one of your parents dies, your wife gives birth to your first baby, or your house burns down? How do you balance real life with tour life – and make sure you have a real life waiting for you when you get home? If you’re gone for a week at a time, a month, or upwards of 6 months, it still sounds like it could be really difficult.

Thanks!

Mike

Mike McKnight Sounds Inc.

34145 Pacific Coast Hwy, Suite #302
Dana Point, CA 92629
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