Name: Lindsey Bathke
Company/Organization: Independent contractor
Bands worked with: Living Legends(TM/Merch), Gogol Bordello(Merch), Flogging Molly(Merch), Zox(TM), Tegan and Sara(Merch), Metallica(Production Assistant), Regina Spektor(Merch), Van Warped Tour(Assistant Accountant), Mayhem Festival(Guestlist/Sponsorship), County Throwdown(Office Assistant/Sponsorship), Jewel(Personal Assistant), Kacey Musgraves(Tour Assistant).
FEMMUSIC: How did you become a tour manager?
LB: When I was in college in Boulder, CO, I worked at a venue as a production intern. That was my first real introduction to the idea of touring. From that job, I made the connection with the Living Legends. When I graduated college, I moved to LA. Two weeks after moving, I went out on the road with the Living Legends, selling merchandise. After about a year, their TM left to attend law school, so I took over for him. I was with them for about two years. I then took jobs mostly selling merchandise for awhile after that. It was selling merchandise for Flogging Molly and Gogol Bordello that I met the opening band, Zox, and started to TM for them on their next tour. My entire touring experience has really been a mix of being in the right place at the right time and maintaining contacts and connections that I had made along the way. It always makes me giggle to think about how each job came about. And to learn which job actually fits best with who I am. What moves me. And what I am actually good at.
FEMMUSIC: What are the biggest challenges of being a tour manager?
LB: For me, the biggest challenges of being a tour manager was time management. There was always something to be done. Something to do. An email to answer. I am very good at procrastinating and wanting “me” time, so to balance all of that, with people waiting on you for answers, was a challenge. There are expectations of a TM to be available at all times and that can really burn someone out.
FEMMUSIC: What challenges does being a woman tour manager present?
LB: There are a number of challenges to being a female tour manager, but with all those challenges it really depends on you. And how you conduct yourself. There have been times when people have thought I was one of the band members girlfriends. Just there to hangout. Or times when I would get frustrated when it seemed like I was not being taken seriously. But as I am getting older, I look back and realize that you have to work, like everyone else, and let your work speak for you. Yes, people may talk down to you or make inappropriate comments, but you have to come back to yourself and know that you have control over it…in how you react. I also have never been “one of the guys.” I just never will be, as much as I find myself traveling and working with mostly men. Making that differentiation in my head brought clarity for me. And the sense of not trying so hard to fit in. I am not and should honestly never want to be “one of the guys.” I am a woman. Working together but it will never be the same. Nor should it be.
FEMMUSIC: As a woman in the music industry, have you been discriminated against?
LB: As a woman in the music industry, of course there are always going to be comments made, but again, I think it is how you react to it. There was a time, years ago, when I did not get a job with a band because I was a woman. The band wives were uncomfortable with a woman being on the road with their men. Did it irritate me? Yes. Did I understand it from their perspective? Sure. They had no idea what kind of woman or worker I was. And I had no idea what kind of relationship they had with their husbands. If that was something they had as a rule, to not have women on the road, then that is not a crew I would want to be involved with anyway. And I went on to have other lovely jobs.
I have also had the pleasure of working with amazing and strong women in music. That is a gift. I truly love working with female musicians and feel there is a sense of them wanting me to really succeed in the position they have hired me for. It’s a support system. Or rather, it can be a beautiful support system.
Within touring and the music industry in general, I would love to see women be more supportive of each other. Right now, I feel absolutely blessed to be working with a female musician who encourages me and a female TM with whom I feel no competition, but only support. Women can be their own worst enemies when jealousies or perceived competition arises. Amazing and beautiful things can happen when women support each other. It makes touring so much more beautiful when female energies align. The support is moving. Encouraging. And can only benefit us all. Truly.
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you like to change about the music industry itself?
LB: I am trying to think about one thing I would like to change about the music industry. I am going to say general acceptance. Of people as they are. The music they make. What they sing about. Play about. A place free of judgement. Music is supposed to be an expression of emotion and I feel like that simplicity has been lost when people start to place judgement.
In country music, the validity of women is always being discussed. It’s now 2016. Aren’t we sick of ourselves already? Lets get back to the music. Let people play. Bring joy to others. Smile. Create. Work. And just be. I really feel it can be that simple.