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The Call
Expect more odds and ends to show up here.
Dan Russell has been a very busy guy in music for a long while. He has worked closely with U2 since almost their inception, toured with Robert Palmer, Sam Phillips, was very instrumental in Andy Pratt’s career, and recently has been locked in the studio with Mark heard purring the finishing touches on his latest effort. He and his brother Joel Russell were cofounders of New Sound Productions which also spawned New Sound Magazine. And while Dan does not aspire to become a full-time tour manager, he couldn’t pass up the chance to go out on the road with the Call for seven months on their Let the Day Begin tour.

Describe a typical day in the life of a tour manager.

Everything from band-aids to major surgery. Actually, just trying to keep the focus and keeping people in focus. Technically speaking, it’s making sure all the people who you’ve hired to do their jobs are doing their jobs and that they are emotionally capable of continuing under a lot of stress. So I spend a substantial amount of time trying to keep lines of communication open and keeping people motivated to do a good job. Making sure there’s a degree of comfort and security and stability in an extremely uncomfortable and insecure situation. Basically, you try to get things down in such a way that you’re just following an agenda that you’ve already advanced and worked out, so that you’re not getting up that morning and saying “what do I do next?”. So what you do that day, when you have some time, is advance three days down the road and create that agenda. Things like figuring out if the interviews you’ve been asked to do are bogus or real, and tying up loose ends with an interview so that the artist doesn’t sir in his hotel room for an hour waiting for a call to come in. Meeting with record promotion people, working our ID’s for radio stations, and just anything else that needs to be done.

When were you first introduced to the Call’s music?

It was back in 1983 when I first heard the Call. I remember following Michael out after a show in Boston, about 2:00 A.M. – he and a couple of guys from the band were walking down the street. I hollered and said, “Michael”. He turned around and looked at me and I said, “Keep going, man, I appreciate what you’re doing”, and he just kind of nodded. Some time after that I interviewed him for our publication.

Anything can go wrong on the road, and as you can attest, it usually does. Have you ever felt like it’s just not worth it?

I’ve not seen a night when once the music happens that I haven’t felt it’s all worth it – the individual, unique value of that particular night. Everyday on the road there is a crisis, but it never subtracts from what is happening on the stage at every show.

The Call have a heterogeneous group of fans. Bur the thread of spirituality that runs through the Call’s songs seems to tie everyone together, regardless of belief or background. What is it about the spirituality of the Call’s music that is so different from other bands?

The Call offers a balanced perspective of spirituality. They do not come from a traditional church background. Their roots are in the music world. They recognize mercy and grace and they are less likely to judge. They see that they are a product of God’s mercy. As we all are.
Jim Goodwin is married to Dixie Crosby. Dixie is the granddaughter of the late crooner, Bing Crosby. Michael Been sang at their wedding, doing an a cappella version of “Uncovered”. Carol Been, Michael’s wife and an ordained minister of the Lutheran Church, officiated at their wedding.