In January, I went on a mini-tour with Nashville songwriter Eric Peters in an effort to promote Under The Radar. True, this was small potatoes in the world of touring. All of our venues were either in Chicagoland or Western Michigan - which allowed me to actually sleep in my own bed most nights. But still, this was a first for me - so here's the Top 10 things I learned from the tour.
10. Eric Peters loves his family. This was the longest Eric had been away from home in years. He checked in with his family several times per day, and missed them a ton. It was admirable.
9. Days off are a good thing. I was disappointed in myself that I couldn't book a concert event every day (although 11 events in 12 days is not bad... especially in January). But if we did more promotional tours in the future, I would intentionally insert off days. We both needed it!
8. Gino's East is #1. You can't spend 10 days in Chicago without PIZZA! Eric had previously experienced Giordano's. On this trip, I introduced him to Gino's East, Lou Malnati's, and south-suburban thin crust specialists Beggars. In the end, Gino's reigned supreme.
7. Love offerings are awkward. Thankfully, we only had to do one... and it was the first night of the tour.
6. We NEEDED the Saints to win. Eric is from south Louisiana, and is a long-suffering Saints fan. As the tour would have it, I got to watch both Saints playoff games prior to the Superbowl. I quickly realized that if the Saints failed during this tour, Eric would be... how do I say this nicely... um... emotionally fragile.
5. Party in the U.S.A. Eric heard the Miley Cyrus hit for the first time while on the tour! Yes, the first time! Welcome out from the rock you were living under for the last 6 months!
4. Welcome to Powell Bookstore. I am a rookie when it comes to the universe of used bookstores. Eric introduced me to what apparently is the Gino's East of paperbacks. I actually bought 3 books.
3. Touring is not glamorous. Even though this tour had a lot less travel than most, it was still a grueling schedule - a little bit of time off in the morning, but then solid work from about 2pm-11pm. When you add in radio interviews and other duties as assigned, it's no vacation. I have a deeper sympathy toward the traveling artist.
2. MAH'-lo-nee. No radio person likes to eat the humble pie of having mispronounced an artist's name. It's bad enough once, but I learned that I had misspoken for years of Bill Mallonee, former lead singer of Vigilantes of Love. I had always heard and spoke his name like "muh-LOW-nee" (think "Mahoney"). I come to find out that Eric is a friend of Bill, and his name is actually "MAH-lo-nee" (not far from "felony"). Yes, humble pie.
1. Eric Peters is worth getting to know. I first direct you to his craft. Too many are missing Eric's excellent music and gut-wrenchingly honest songwriting. I implore you to stop reading and go buy his CD Chrome. He's a great live performer too - good stories, skillful guitar playing, pure vocals, and a humble stage presence. So if you bought his CD like I told you to, your next mission is to see Eric live in concert, or invite him to your town/church yourself. You'll be fully satisfied with those 2 steps, but if you have had the privilege (like me) at spending some quality time with Eric, you are blessed indeed. Eric's friendship was and will be my favorite part of our tour.
We have posted some exclusive photos and videos from the UTR/Eric Peters Tour at our website, radarradio.net.