The Giggs Podcast: #1 Thomas O'Keefe | "Drops of Jupiter in the Van"

The Giggs Podcast: #1 Thomas O'Keefe | "Drops of Jupiter in the Van"

Welcome to The Giggs Podcast! Giggs is the career platform for live event professionals. We're starting this podcast because there's not nearly enough content out there about what it really takes to be on the road. Whether you're an aspiring tour manager, a seasoned backline tech, or just getting started in the business, this podcast is for you. We're taking you behind the scenes to explore the highs and the lows of life gigging on the Giggs Podcast. 

 

Today, we chat with Thomas O'Keefe, a veteran tour manager who has worked with Sia, Vince Gill, Train, Mandy Moore, Third Eye Blind, and Weezer. Listen to the whole episode now here!


From Punk Rock to Tour Management


Thomas started his music career in the late '80s as a bass guitarist for the punk band ANTiSEEN. After six albums and countless tours, he switched to tour management in 1996. His career highlights include seeing Train’s “Drops of Jupiter” evolve from a demo to a stadium anthem and watching fans around the world sing songs he helped create.


The Reality of Touring Life


Touring isn't all glamour. Thomas discussed the emotional toll of missing significant life events and the physical exhaustion that comes with the job. His biggest regret? Staying too long in a job he hated. His advice: ensure financial stability and passion guide your career decisions, not necessity.


Building a Successful Team


Success in tour management, according to Thomas, relies on finding the right fit and building a cohesive team. He prefers hiring from within and values experience and familiarity. Respect and hard work are crucial in his leadership style. He also debunked the "fake it till you make it" mantra, stressing the importance of honesty and competence.


Keeping Morale High


Maintaining morale on the road is essential. Thomas shared strategies like fair compensation and ensuring the crew is well-treated, especially during tough schedules. He emphasized the importance of valuing the crew's well-being.


Adapting to the Pandemic


The COVID-19 pandemic halted Thomas’s career, forcing him to adapt. Returning to touring in 2021 was challenging, but his resilience and adaptability kept him committed to his career.


Lessons from the Road


Thomas highlighted ambition, attentiveness, and humility as keys to success in the music industry. His insights offer invaluable lessons for aspiring professionals, stressing the need for passion, hard work, and continuous learning.


Conclusion


Thomas O'Keefe’s career is filled with experiences, challenges, and triumphs. His insights provide a realistic view of touring life, highlighting its rewards and difficulties. For those looking to break into the industry, his advice is a guiding light.


Listen now to the full podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Youtube, and anywhere else you listen to your podcasts! Stay tuned for more episodes of The Giggs Podcast, where we continue to explore the world of live events and touring, bringing you stories from the front lines of the industry.