Ever wondered what the hell a music publicist does all day?
Here’s a recent 24 hours (actually, 30… it was a big day) brought to you by the legendary Chris Isaak and his album ‘Beyond The Sun’.
After a month in the making, Chris, his band, and his manager arrive into Australia for a six day promo trip.
The marketing manager and I locked in their accommodation, transport and catering requirements and the PR team and I set up a full schedule of interviews, appearances and performances.
I worked closely with Chris’ fantastic manager, discussing song choices for performances, costumes, dancers and generally every teeny detail you could think of to make sure that all of the opportunities we put forward would work really well for Chris and the new album.
After the promo trip, ‘Beyond The Sun’ went straight to #3 on the ARIA chart, has just achieved GOLD sales and, frankly, is the perfect Christmas gift for anyone who loves Elvis, Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis or Johnny Cash. Buy it here now.
Pictures really do tell a thousand words so here’s the last day of the promo trip…
4.45am : I’m weary after a busy five days already but there’s no time for that! Made at home, the first coffee of the day and I’m ready for anything.
6.50am : After picking Chris, his manager, and Kenney (aka Chris’ drummer, best mate and long time collaborator) up from the hotel we’re over to Triple M for a chat with The Grill Team. It’s all glamour at that time of the morning – it’s too early to take the front door so we’re ushered in via the bowels of the Word Square Tower.
7.50am : Next stop, 2GB for a live to air interview and performance with Alan Jones and then a pre-recorded interview with Chris Smith. Chris (the rock star, not the controversial talkback jock) warms up the vocal chords and guitar while we’re waiting, much to the delight of the staff having a morning meeting next door.
8.30am : Over to Fairfax for a filmed interview for online which will be syndicated across the Fairfax websites like The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and The Brisbane Times. Second coffee of the day too.
10am : Music retailer Sanity are having their annual conference and their staff have flown in from all over Australia. We’ve lined Chris up to walk in with Kenney as a surprise performance. We’re at the new Doltone House in Pyrmont (so gorgeous) and backstage in the greenroom we find this awesome chair…
It turns into a free-for-all photoshoot as we all have hilarious pics taken with Chris and the chair. For some strange reason mine involved a cup of tea while Chris pretended to be a wax figure. (After looking at this photo, I also realised that my foundation really wasn’t cutting it. Hot tip – I’ve now moved on to MAC Studio Fix and haven’t looked back.)
The Sanity conference was a huge success – all of the staff were smitten and couldn’t believe that Chris had just walked in. Everyone was filming with their phones.
10.45am : With Chris busy on my mobile with more phone interviews, we head back to the hotel and straight into pre-recorded radio interviews. One with MIX 106.5 Breakfast with Andrew and Claire and the next with WSFM’s Amanda and Jonesy. We love them all – they are such happy, fun hosts and they have great, hardworking producers who put everything together.
The hotel provide us with Balance water – they contain flower essences that are supposed to help with concentration and focus. I have no idea if the water actually works but I’m going with it.
12pm : Lunch time. Chris and co head upstairs for a quick break while I tuck into the sandwiches, fruit and green tea and catch up on a morning’s worth of emails. Even though I’m out of the office on promo, there’s still my whole roster of artists to look after.
I also have to duck off to the shops and buy some superglue. Chris’ guitar has his name spelled out and the letter ’I’ has managed to come off (see pic above versus the pic below!)
1pm : Back into interviews, this time with New Idea magazine. Chris and Kenney wooed entertainment writer Karlie with several songs.
1.30pm : AAP are up next. They film the interview which has the potential to be syndicated to hundreds of press outlets. Again, Chris and Kenney can’t stop singing and playing, even for their audience of three. It’s moments like this that remind me my job is truly remarkable.
1.50pm : A room change across the hall to channel 9′s Kerri-Anne team who are all set up and ready to go. Chris was also in Australia for a tour in March of this year and he co-hosted the entire show with Kerri-Anne so, this time, Jamie Malcolm interviews the gents to mix things up. We follow KAK with the boisterous and fun Jono and Dano. These two are always an hilarious chat and you never know what on earth they’re going to come up with next. I wish they were at my family Christmas just for their entertainment value.
2.45pm : Chris finishes with a TV interview with Foxtel’s MAX then heads upstairs for a short break before we leave the hotel again. I help the crew pack down and get all of their equipment back to their cars. Each media outlet always has a lot of stuff but the TV guys always win.
4pm : We’re out at Fox Studios for a rehearsal and soundcheck for channel 7′s The X Factor. Chris rehearses with his band and then with the sultry, sex kitten dancers. Chris’ manager and I go backstage to check over all of the different camera angles that the Director is planning to use and we give our feedback.
4.45pm : Soundcheck is complete and we all head back to the dressing room. Chris’ sparkling suit gets hung up. The jacket and trousers are all covered in jewels and rhinestones and it weighs a whopping 7kgs.
With some time to kill, Chris signs a bunch of albums and posters that we have allocated for prizes for various promos and competitions that we’ve run to promote the album. Chris kindly signs a poster for me too (I’m planning a trip to San Fran next year which is where Chris is from. I now have the lowdown on all the best local hot spots and places to eat – I can’t wait to go!)
5.30pm : More time to kill. Chris went and met some of the contestants and then filmed a few online interviews for The X Factor website, then it was back to waiting around. Greenroom food is always a killer. Every artist I’ve ever worked with generally sticks to the healthy options – crap food will just make you tired and look rubbish – not ideal when you’re a performer. Those half empty chip bowls tell a slightly different story (I blame the band… though I may have contributed). No time for too much snacking though as I’ve planned a quick dinner at a nearby restaurant instead.
7.15pm : Back in the dressing rooms and getting ready to hit the stage. I suddenly notice drummer Kenney Johnson’s awesome shoes. He does his home state of Texas proud.
7.50pm : Chris is on stage singing the Roy Orbison classic ‘Oh Pretty Woman’ from his new album. He’s going off! The live studio audience are all up on their feet and the glam dancers are shaking their booty in their 60′s pin-up girl style. By midnight, Chris’ album ‘Beyond The Sun’ has rocketed up to #1 on the iTunes chart – result!
5am : No rest for the wicked (game). By the time we packed up last night and all went back to the hotel and me back home, I had a rock n roll cup of camomile tea and was asleep by 11pm. I was back at the hotel at 6.30am to pick Chris up while one of my excellent colleagues did the extra early shift to bump all of the band equipment in to Channel 7 so that it was all set up and ready for Chris and the band’s arrival.
6.50am : Soundchecking at channel 7 for a Sunrise performance of ‘Now or Never’ and ‘Great Balls of Fire’. Because the show is live, you can only make noise during the ad breaks so we have three fast and furious blocks of time to make sure that everything is sounding perfect. While the show is on air, we all stand around waiting and whispering. Kenney gives us a wave.
7.50am : One performance down and another to go on The Morning Show. We all hang in the green room and get stuck into the sandwiches and coffee. I also hit the blackberry and try and answer as many emails as I can. After being out of the office on promo for almost a week, there’s plenty to get through.
9.50am : Back on set for a live performance of the Elvis classic ‘Can’t Help Falling In Love’. Hosts Larry Emdur and Kylie Gillies welcome Chris back like an old friend. We think that Chris has been on the show about five or six times now. Chris almost loses his jacket to Larry.
10.30am : Back at the hotel and a very quick turn around as everyone gets changed, checks out and then loads all their gear for the trip to the airport. They’re all heading back to LA where Chris launches ‘Beyond The Sun’ there (lucky Australia, we got the new album before anywhere else in the world).
11am : Back at my desk to start the day. It took a while to clear my desk of all of the boxes of albums and magazines that had been delivered while I was out on the road but I’m back and ready to work on all of our other upcoming releases, promo trips and tours. Cup of green tea courtesy of… (you guessed it) Chris Isaak.
Stuck for a Christmas gift idea?
I seriously would buy this album for anyone who loves classic music.
With his US musical pedigree, distinct rockin’ voice and just the fact that his Mum was listening to Elvis croon ‘Blue Suede Shoes’ in the delivery room, it’s the album that Chris Isaak was born to make.