INTERVIEW WITH BETH RAEBEL FOR THE EIY HANDBOOK
BETH RAEBEL, 29 (Burlington, WI)
MERCHANDISER (Motion City Soundtrack)
YEARS IN MUSIC: 9
ON THE WEB: wonkybonkers.com // twitter.com/wonkybonkers
CURRENT PROJECT: Motion City Soundtrack
ROLE: Merchandise Manager
WHO AND/OR WHAT FIRST GOT YOU INTERESTED IN MUSIC AS MORE THAN JUST SOMETHING ON THE RADIO? I had a hard time deciding what I wanted to go to college for, and one day I just chose to go into radio broadcasting. Through my experiences in working in radio and having my own radio show, I went to a lot of punk/ska shows and started meeting and interviewing bands. Talking with them made me want to go on tour.
DO YOU REMEMBER THE MOMENT YOU FIGURED OUT WHAT YOU WANTED TO DO WITH YOUR LIFE? I’m someone that wants to experience everything, and my ideas are always changing. The first time I hung out with friends on a tour bus, it really gave me the desire to go on tour. Thanks Reel Big Fish! Also Heather (Hannoura) Gabel was and still is a great inspiration to me. She did merch/artwork for Alkaline Trio, and I’m also an artist, so I looked up to her a lot.
HOW DID YOU GET THE JOB YOU NOW HAVE? I made a lot of friends and contacts, and tried to spread the word to bands to let me sell merch on tour for them. Eventually, Motion City Soundtrack succumbed to my pestering and hired me in 2003, and they’ve stuck with me ever since. I owe them for giving me the chance, especially when back then there weren’t many females in the touring biz.
WERE YOU ALWAYS ON THE PATH THAT YOU’RE ON NOW, IN THE INDUSTRY? My path is always changing. I get bored quick, and like to keep it fresh. Luckily, being on tour is very interesting in that I’m in a different city every day, so there is always a new adventure.
WHAT HAVE YOU HAD TO SACRIFICE IN ORDER TO DO WHAT YOU LOVE? I’ve sacrificed a lot of friends. I’m the worst at keeping in touch with people, so I’m by myself a lot.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU ON A DAILY BASIS? It sounds cheesy, but I get inspired by making other people happy. It’s such a good feeling to put a smile on someone else’s face. I’m the queen of optimism.
HOW MUCH OF YOUR SUCCESS HAS COME FROM LUCK? TALENT? HARD WORK? I feel like it was a good mixture of hard work and luck. I believe that if you truly want to accomplish something and you don’t give up trying, then it will happen.
HOW HAVE YOU MEASURED YOUR SUCCESS? My biggest success is being a strong and smart woman on tour. There are so many girls that try to tour because they think it’s fun and easy, but in the end they do a horrible job and many end up sleeping around, making it harder for other females who would be legit hard workers to get a job. Even after touring for this long, I still get pre-judged by other people in the industry because I am female. It’s frustrating, but rewarding when you prove to them how awesome you are.
DO YOU HAVE ANY REGRETS? Saving money. Finishing my degree. I went to college for four years, and dropped out to tour only one year away from my degree. Stay in school kids! You can do so much more, job-wise, with a degree.
DO YOU THINK THE BEST BANDS IN THE WORLD TEND TO GET FAMOUS, OR STAY UNDISCOVERED? The best bands get loved by their fans for their music, not their image. All others eventually fade away.
DO YOU HAVE ANY FAVORITE (as-of-yet) UNDISCOVERED BANDS? Bands that I wish would get more exposure: The Gay Blades, The Swellers, The Forecast, I Was Totally Destroying It, Farewell Continental
Read Beth’s answers to 50 questions about music and the music business in the EIY HANDBOOK, available in print or eBook version at www.earnityourself.com
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