Slaid Cleaves

Hello Slaid - I have enjoyed your music for many, many years - My question might not be appropriate here? Having just retired last year, I am very happy not to be working. So I ask, why do you think "superstar" artists keep performing - I can see doing a show or two, but riding on a bus, week after week, has to be a drain. My guess is that it is not for the money? We've seen the music industry change so much in the last ten years, is the only way for an artist to make a living anymore in the music business to tour nonstop? Look forward to seeing you in concert soon. Gary Wiedeman

Slaid Cleaves responded on 01/23/2019

Hey Gary, That's a great question, and it's one I've pondered myself. Not being and superstar and not being at retirement age quite yet (congratulations, by the way), I can't provide much first-hand knowledge.

Yes, touring, if done properly (thanks Karen Cleaves), usually provides the bulk of a musician's income. But I think it's always been that way. I've read that Buddy Holly only agreed to a mid-winter tour of the midwest in 1959 because he was broke.

A few guesses off the top of my head:
-All travel is challenging, but private jets and Four Seasons has got to be easier than driving yourself in a van from town to town.
-Once you adopt a lifestyle of the rich and famous (multiple homes, staff) it takes a lot of income to keep it going.
-I've heard Willie Nelson described as someone who feels responsible for the family-like group that surrounds him. If he quit touring they'd be out of a job
-Seeing faces light up when you walk into a room . . . priceless.

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