Richard Baker – Vagabonds
With the literary world filled with woe-is-me autobiographies from ultra-successful pop stars, it’s nice to hear from musicians who can tell stories from the other side of the spectrum; reinforcing every kid’s dream that even if there’s little money to be made in being part of a band, it’s still bloody good fun trying to be a pop star.
Vagabonds, the debut release from Richard Baker does just that, pulling together a collection of short stories documenting Baker’s life and times as a drummer on the road with death metal band Wraiths. There may be no money but there’s plenty of fun. Richard caught up with Damian Robinson to talk more about the book.
There’s very few books by bands in the same space as Wraiths who aren’t particularly well known but do what a lot of music fans wish they did – be in a touring band.
Yeah, I think that’s right. Wraiths were never a huge, arena-size, band so this isn’t a story of us climbing from nothing and ending up playing sell out shows to thousands of people. I think this is a story about what typifies the live music scene, namely a collection of friends who get together with a shared love of making music and playing music together.
So this is the struggle of being in a touring band?
In a way, yes, but maybe more than that this is the story of how the band tries to make it work; touring in a van, trying to pay the bills, making very little money but enjoying every moment of it.
Most music books tend to be about the journey from an idea to an eventual success.
Yeah, but I think that’s unrepresentative of most of the bands and acts I know and that was part of the idea for the book. What is being in a band actually like when you’re playing support to the main acts, and often sleeping on people’s floors. How do you do you best to enjoy the time you have as friends making music, possibly always aware that you might never make the big deal or play the sell-out tour.
You seemed to rely on cd sales and t-shirts
We did, this was just as streaming was becoming really big so cd sales were becoming less important but merchandise was really how we afforded to carry on as a band. If anything I think the book is a collection of stories about doing all that you can to keep your dream alive, enjoying the journey, and getting yourself into all sorts of strange situations.
Vagabonds will be released on the 1st of August as a Limited Edition paperback format with exclusive artwork and as an Ebook.