Benjamin Morey’s interview about house shows with Nate Allen …

Benjamin Morey’s interview about house shows with Nate Allen

> Firstly, I’m writing a bit about your performance of Jesus Keep Us Safe From the Cops. Could you describe where that song came from?

On my first US tour I got stopped by police 15 times over the courseof 6 months. I never had a problem with cops before but over the tour I developed a serious police phobia. A few months after the tour, wewent out of town to play a weekend of shows. A cop started followingme in Sutherlin, Oregon, on the same road I had been stopped on the year before on my last tour. The song kind of just tumbled out as an awkwarduptight prayer / joke. The cop didn’t stop us. Since I wrote the song we’vecompiled about 300 tour dates. We’ve only been stopped twice and both
times the police didn’t even ask for our registration.

> Do you have any good stories about police interference at any shows you’ve played?

The police broke up our show in Hollywood this summer. It was at ahouse/vintage clothing store. We had lead the crowd out onto the sidewalk singing to end our set. Then 5 minutes later the cops showed up.I’d like to think we caught there attention but I think it washonestly the 20 kids drinking in front of the space. The cops didn’tarrest anyone they just issued a ticket for not having music license.

A few weeks later I went to an “abandon warehouse” show in Portland, aneighbor called the cops, and everyone scattered. I was the last oneout and I was detained for about 15 minutes and then sent home.

My favorite cop story probably involves a concert I promoted around2003. I was throwing all-ages dry events in southern Oregon, at thetime so I was pretty used to dealing with parents and folks inauthority. Early in the night I noticed a parent standing awkwardly infront of the hall. I tried to talk to him but he was very abrasive. Hesaw a balloon on the ground and said the kids were doing drugs. I toldhim the balloon was from a birthday party. He said he was an off duty
officer. Our conversation ended awkwardly. As the last band went on, I went to acar to count the door money.I looked over my shoulder to see police streaming in from everydirection. They raided the show and didn’t find anything. The next dayI set up a meeting with chief of police. I never had any more problemswith cops in the town.

> How many tours have you done?

I’ve been touring since 2005. At first I just did weekends, then awest coast tour, and finally a 6 month us tour. We’ve probably doneabout

> How many tours have you done?

We done several US tours, and 2 west coasttours, and a bunch of weekends. In total we’ve done a little over to 700shows – mostly since 2007.

> How many house shows have you played?

At the end of this tour we willhave played216 (current as of 4/8/2012) house shows.

> In how many states?  

Music has taken me to 48 states.

> How long have you been doing this?

I’ve been touring heavily since 2007.

> How much of the year are you on tour?

We tour full-time between 4 to 6months a year.

> Is touring in the house show community economically sustainable?

It can be. If punks are willing to collect donations or charge a cover.Sometimes times this is not the case and you drive 5 hours to play to100 people and get handed 10 bucks. Those nights can be frustrating

> Could you tour exclusively playing house shows?

Yes you can. House shows are hard to get, and hard to find.Unfortunately the house show scene can be as exclusive as any otherscene. If I could get house shows in every town I might.

> How do you go about booking your tours? 

I set a tentative route and then try to find shows where ever I can along the way. Originally I mostly used email and myspace. Myspace is mostly dead. I use somecombination of email, phone calls, facebook, and twitter.

> Can you discuss the value of developing personal relationships with other members of the house show community?

It is very hard to get house shows if you don’t know someone. That iswhat makes the house show scene amazing. As far as I can tell thehouse show/diy scene is the only music scene built on relationships.

> Can you discuss your lifestyle a bit, being a married couple who spends most of the year touring and how to make that work both economically and physically?

I’ll start with the economics. It’s easier to support us both of uswhen we are on the road together. If I was trying to pay our bills andsupport Tessa at home it wouldn’t work at this point. We are creative with our finances. We either sublet or move out of our house when wetour. We also are debt free and committed to living with in our means.We also have a lot of merch and Tessa loves selling things. I make surea space either charges a cover, or passes a hat, so we can make gasmoney. When I was single I was very relaxed about merch and gas money.I think getting married has prompted me to move in the direction ofbeing financially sustainable.

Relationally I think touring is really fun. Tessa and I both love touring and we get along well. We have no problem traveling longdistances and being thrown into weird situations. Our greatest problemis that were both extroverts so sometimes we need to make sure we getour needed space. we get along better that most bands, and reallyvalue our seasons of touring together. Taking Tessa with me on tour isfar better for our relationship than leaving her at home. More peopleshould take there spouses on tour with them, it would make for betterrelationships and for a more well rounded scene.

Let me know if you need anything.

Thanks for the fun questions.


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