If you’re new to the many talents of Rose Carleo, now is your chance to get acquainted. Rose launches her new album Time is Now at Rooty Hill RSL on Saturday 28 March with other tour dates announced, and more to come. Recently I spoke to Rose about the new tour and what it takes to pull it all together.
Are you booking this tour yourself or working with someone else?
I’m booking it all on my own so it’s a little bit difficult because I do have contacts – in that I’ve played for years – but there are some venues that have booking agents and some that don’t. It’s just getting around and working out where to go. A couple of the dates I’ve booked – like the Acacia Ridge one in Queensland – I played there in January with Paul Woseen, and all the venues I played at said, ‘We’ll have you back, no worries’. So I was very fortunate – I just rang and said, ‘Can I book?’ and they just straightaway said, ‘Yep, what date do you want?’ So that was very handy. So I’m hoping to run the tour through for the rest of this year – probably, unfortunately, it won’t be every single weekend, but at least in my weekend I’m hoping one or two weekends a month. Because everyone’s got different schedules as well.
And this is a tour with your band, right?
Yes, the studio band – so, Paul Woseen and Ben [Ashwood], myself and Mick [Adkins]. So I’m stoked that our schedules all match up. Paul really wanted to come on tour with us so we just had to try to coordinate it with his commitments with the Screaming Jets and with Rose Tattoo as well. So far so good!
I’m just reflecting on you saying you’re booking this yourself, because a lot of people would use a booking agent. I guess for the places you’ve already played, that’s fine, you know you can go back there – but for places you haven’t yet played I guess you have to do some research and find out who to contact and all those sorts of things.
Yes. I’m happy to do it and I’m happy to ring the agents too [for those venues that have them]. But it’s been a huge job, I’ve got to tell you, pulling it all together. I’m lucky I’ve got a really good team – I’ve got a great social media publicist and of course Hot Off the Press, Eva and the team, and she’s just been such a big support as well. So that part of it’s fine. I’m just missing a manager [laughs]. That’s what I need. But I’m sort of doing it all myself at the moment.
So do you want a manager?
Oh, look, if the right person came along, for sure. It’s got to be the right person though, for me and for them as well.
From what I’ve heard in the past about managers, it does indeed seem to be the personality fit that counts.
Oh yeah, for sure. And I believe that someone needs to be passionate about it. You don’t sell Coke if you don’t drink it, you know what I mean? Even though you’re paying someone for a service – I know they [Hot Off the Press, music publicists] love what I’m doing, which is awesome and I’m really good mates with Eva [from HOTP] – people need to be paid for what they do, because it’s a service and people have to live. It’s the same as the boys in the band, with the recording.
You organise the tour, but no doubt when you’re on the road the organising continues, so even though you’re the focus of the act –
I’m a tour manager as well.
That’s a lot of stuff to be thinking about.
It’s huge. It’s absolutely huge. I live in the Blue Mountains, so I did the Byron leg with [Paul] and then three [gigs] in Queensland. I’ve got friends in Queensland so I said to Pauly, ‘I’m just going to drive’, because we used part of my PA and I needed a car on the ground there anyway. So I drove ten hours to Byron, got out of the car, set up the PA, we did the gig [laughs], then we did three Queensland gigs and right up past Gympie as well. I drove everything in four or five days and then I drove home. It was 2660 kilometres I’d driven [laughs].
It’s physically demanding to do that and singing is also physically demanding, as is performing, so how do you balance all of that?
I love a good road trip. I can’t wait to get in that car and just drive. First and foremost, it had to be done – there wasn’t really much of a choice, that was the best way it was going to work out. I suppose on the road your car turns into your office – you’ve got your Bluetooth on and everything. And you’ve also got time, I suppose, to get in the right head space and think about what you’re doing and all that. It does give you a lot of time to think about stuff. Then you turn up at a gig, set up and you chill out for half an hour before or whatever and get into the headspace. More time performing and less time driving is always great. It didn’t turn out that way but that’s okay. This next time round the logistics side of things will probably smoothe out and we’ll find better and easier ways of doing things.
Some people find driving creatively useful because they sometimes have ideas while they’re driving, so do you ever find that songs or ideas come to you while you’re driving?
Yeah, absolutely. I love it. I’ve had some great ideas for songs on the road. I’ve solved problems in my head. The time, the space, the surroundings – all that kind of stuff – whether you’re driving or not, I think it’s good for the soul.
If you get an idea for a song do you quickly pick up a voice recorder or something and sing into it?
Yes – I grab the old iPhone or something else that’s near. Or I’ll write down lyrics. I’ve sometimes written almost a whole page of lyrics. If I don’t have pen and paper – I’m still old-school, I do prefer that – I’ll grab my iPad or iPhone and just throw it in there. And particularly when you stop [driving], if you can talk it or sing it into the phone – because sometimes it’s not convenient to write it down – because then I won’t forget it.
So out of this tour, therefore, there may come a new album if you write songs on the way.
Yes! There’s a really good chance. Stories not only on the road but just the whole process of everything. I think we’re forever learning and evolving as humans; you’re still learning. Even though it’s the third album, there are people who have brought out twenty and thirty and forty albums. No one time is the same. So, for sure – I reckon there’s already a few ideas forming.
You’ve said that it was a year living with the songs for this album, planning them – there’s a quote from you saying that it ‘feels like forever ago’ that you wrote them. Before you take them out on tour, do you have to reconnect with the way you felt about them when you were first creating them or first recording them?
Probably not reconnecting but relearning some parts, yes [laughs]. Lyric wise and singing wise I know them like the back of my hand. There were a few guitar parts I played in the studio that I hadn’t previously played and things like that. And the boys are all relearning their stuff at the moment, which is quite funny. Because everyone’s so busy and has a few different projects happening, it’s not like you’re playing [the songs] every single day or every weekend.
Now, I’m looking at the list of dates for the tour so far and there are none in the Blue Mountains, where you live.
I’m still working on it. I do my normal weekend gigs locally. It’s just a matter of organising a venue – there are only so many hours in a day – but I’ve got a couple on the list that I’m chasing up. We’ll be adding them as they happen.
Where do you usually play on the weekends?
I’m asking because even though I have a huge interest in country music, I often miss things. I think it’s really hard for people to find out what’s on. A lot of locals wouldn’t even know that your gigs are going on.
No. A lot of people go to those venues just because they’re there anyway, for dinner or to meet friends.
The more awareness we can get of music happening everywhere, the better it is for people. But back to your band: given that you’re drawing in band members for this tour, do you have to factor in rehearsal time, or is soundcheck going to be rehearsal?
[Laughs] Everyone’s schedules are so nuts that everyone’s got lists of stuff and probably earlier during the day we’ll have a rehearsal and nut out any discrepancies and then we’re good to go.
I also wouldn’t mind betting that because you’ve been performing most of your life and the people in the band are experienced as well, it’s a case of four professionals coming together and doing what they have to do.
Pretty much, yeah. A couple of hours before we’ll have a run-through and stuff. I’ve got to be honest – I hate rehearsing [laughs]. I think from years of rehearsal rooms, you know? And it’s just one of those things – you have to do it, but I’m happy to rehearse the day before or the day of a gig, even if it’s acoustic.
Friday 20 March 2015
Whole Lotta Love Bar, Melbourne
Saturday 21 March 2015
Power Ranch, Traflagar, Vic
Saturday 28 March 2015
Rooty Hill RSL, Rooty Hill NSW
Friday 8 May 2015
Acacia Ridge Hotel, Acacia Ridge Qld
Saturday 9 May 2015
Beerwah Hotel, Beerwah Qld