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Access All Areas: A Real World Guide to Gigging and Touring

1 rating: 3.0
A book by Trev Wilkins

From the paperwork to the practical aspects, Access All Areas gives you an excellent insight into the live music and touring industry. Drawing on a vast range of real-world experiences Wilkins provides you with the key technical aspects of gigging and … see full wiki

Tags: Book
Author: Trev Wilkins
Publisher: Focal Press
1 review about Access All Areas: A Real World Guide to...

And when the morning light comes shinin' in, we'll get up and do it again.

  • Aug 6, 2009
Focal press is a trade publisher specializing in the creative arts: photography, film and video, animation, theater, broadcast, and audio. Amazon Vines offered a pair of their newest releases recently, so I decided to review them as a pair.

Access All Areas: A Real World Guide to Gigging and Touring by Trev Wilkins is a "real world" guide to planning and running a band gig or complete tour. It might have been subtitled "The Roadie's Bible."

Indie Rock 101: Running, Recording, Promoting your Band (The Mastering Music Series) by Rochard Turgeon is part of the Mastering Music series; sample chapters of others in the series pad the back of this thin book. It attempts to cover the full range of topics every aspiring rock and roll star needs to know to start his own band and sruvive those lean early days, with suggestions that increase the chances of thriving.

"Indie Rock 101", with its short paragraphs and chapters and generous white space, reads like a very basic textbook that might be used for a semester- or school-year long practicum at the high school or college underclass level that would include carrying out the activities to actually get a band going and score its first "playing out" gig. As such, it is a very basic book when read on its own, and indeed seems targeted at the lower limit of that age bracket, perhaps rightly so as many musicians have their first jam and band experience early in the high school years.

In contrast, Trev Wilkin's manual reads like the collected notes of a road-weary roadie. While it touches on some areas of live sound setup and mixing that may be useful to a practicing musician, this book is definitely written for the professional setup guys--sound engineers, monitor engineers, stage managers, backline managers, and others behind the scene whose hard work made that last live show you attended visible and audible. And in fact Wilkins' book is most useful when he is listing off small and simple (not so) common- (as you'd think) sense ideas (like change the batteries on all battery powered devices before each show--even if they aren't dead yet, because they will die just at the start of that killer solo climax). One area the book falls down is in the area of graphics and photographs; while there are lots of them, the photos that are supposed to illustrate amp inputs and mixer controls, are too small to be useful. Wilkins might have been better served to just provide links to diagrams and manuals on the web sites of major manufacturers so the reader could go to the web site for the equipment he is working with to view or print the relevant manuals.

Of course, neither Wilkins nor Richard Turgeon, the practicing musician and recording engineer who wrote "Indie Rock 101", can be exhaustive or specific in areas of equipment since there are so many possible brands, models, and connections between them. And neither of them need to be for the purposes of their books. Each succeeds moderately well. I've rated "Access All Areas" four stars for its usefulness as a Roadie's Bible. I've rated "Indie Rock 101" three stars--it would be useful as a textbook, as I suggested earlier, if used by a classroom leader who could answer questions from and plan practical exercises for the class. Another possible use for Turgeon's textbook is to give to your budding Guitar Hero who is ready to graduate from the game to his first world tour--while it won't douse the fire in his eyes, it will introduce him to the business of music and give him a realistic grounding.

By the way, I am not nor have never been a practicing musician. I do play drums and accompany my son (good electric and acoustic guitar and very good vocals), but no one other than our family (and the occasional astounded neighbor walking past the house) have ever heard me play live. If my paying gig as a software architect for a large TLA company fell through, making a living from writing would be my big Plan B, but if that fell through, I would love to be that starry-eyed teenager once again and make my living playing drums every day. So never douse that fire completely--use Turgeon's book to give it direction.

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