On the Road with Fergus Linacre (Kingswood)

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On the Road with Fergus Linacre (Kingswood)

Kingswood is one of the many bands who have mastered the art of touring, and sharing his knowledge with your lucky selves from the band, is Fergus Linacre. As part of the Telstra Road to Discovery Masterclass Series, Fergus will be going live at 8pm with some secrets to the biz in his class on ‘Touring and Live Gigs’ alongside Anita Nedeljkovic and Daniel Sant.
Hi Fergus, thanks for taking the time to chat with Forte Magazine, how are you and what are you up to at the moment? 
Hey no worries, I just got back to Melbourne after playing some shows in the US. We recorded our album there in 2013 so it was great to finally get back and see some old friends and make some new ones too. We are back home to play the ACDC tour and Beyond the Valley on NYE, then we will head back and are now deciding between Nashville and New York to become our home.
Given you’re about to run a Master Class with Ella Hooper on live touring, what’s the biggest misconceptions bands have on the reality of life on the road?
To begin with you don’t make any money, in fact when you are starting out you will probably lose money. We did national tours being first support getting paid less than we paid our sound guy, we had no crew and would sleep on friends floors and eat tuna wraps. Which was actually a lot of fun, fond memories. But the bigger you get the more money you put into the show, crew, lights, monitoring, merch, so you have more expenses. You have to weigh up making money vs providing the best version of yourself to the fans. We always put the show first, I guess it’s an investment in your band, the better show you put on the bigger you will become and maybe next time you can make more bunse.
Did you come to love touring straight away or was it something you had to warm up to? 
No I always loved it, and still do. The day after we finish a tour I still always wish we had another show that night. If we aren’t in the studio or on the road then I feel like I’m wasting time. You become very close to the band, crew or support acts on a tour and it’s always sad to end one.
What would you rather: perform to a handful of dedicated fans or to a crowd of thousands recording the whole thing through their phones? 
Interesting question. Sometimes we will come off stage after a sold out show where the crowd goes nuts and we still don’t feel like it was a good show, it could be we didn’t play as well as we wanted or the sound wasn’t great. But sometimes you just don’t know, there is a strange vibe that’s different at every gig. It’s just about trying to find that connective energy with the band and everyone in the room. To give you a direct answer, I’d back the band to convert a bunch of the thousand phone filmers, and I’d encourage them to put the phones away. Once I got two girls up on stage for a dance and they started filming and taking selfies so I threw their phone into the crowd. They go them back undamaged it was all in good fun, no one’s perfect.
What’s the biggest blunder you’ve made while touring?
We have a garden gnome on our rider and at one of the Groovin’ the Moo shows Alex was taunting the crowd seeing who could cheer the loudest before he threw it out to them, but his finger got caught in it and he threw it straight up in the air where it smashed on the lighting rig into a hundred pieces and showered over the stage. Not the biggest blunder so to speak but pretty funny.
You’re stuck in the car for several hours on the way to your next show, what do you and the band do for entertainment? 
We have formed a habbit of finding extremely annoying songs, ’12 days of Christmas’ for example, and playing it on repeat for about an hour, generally sending everyone a little mad. Anyone who is sober seems to not find it as fun as the rest of us.
Do you have a favourite touring route/series of venues to play? 
Not particularly, they all have their charms. The WA leg is always great as we don’t get out there as much. Rural shows have the same vibe, they don’t get much live music so everyone gets pretty excited; your band coming to town becomes a big deal whereas in the cities there are heaps of bands to see every night. But the bigger shows in the cities also have their charm, in a great venue with a full production, it can be hard to beat.
If you were to stop off for a mid-route snack at any food place, where would you go and what would you get?
Bank Street Pizza in Avenel, just off the M1. We always stop in when heading north, wonderful people and awesome pizza. Do try it.
Without spoiling the key information from your masterclass, what’s the best piece of advice for touring bands? 
Practice your instruments, become great, and rehearse as much as you can. Then tour as much as you can, as I said, even if you lose money on a tour you will learn so much about playing from doing shows and watching the bands you are supporting.
What can attendees expect from your class?
Hopefully they will gain a lot of insight into what goes into making a tour work, from the performance itself and making sure you give your band the best chance at winning some fans, to budgeting, and living on the road.
Thanks again for taking the time to chat with Forte, are there any last words of wisdom you’d like to share with our readers?
I think a lot of people want to gain fame and fortune as quickly as possible, it won’t happen overnight and, if it does, it’s almost impossible to stay up there, and you shouldn’t have gone on X-factor. Just focus on becoming the best musician you can and love creating and playing music, have patience and persistence and if it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be. We aren’t saving the world, it’s all a bit of fun so don’t take it so seriously.
The masterclass goes live at 8pm tonight (Monday, October 26) and you can get it here.