Starting Out in 2015

As you may know, we take a break every winter from December until at least February. Last year, we took a quick step out in the very beginning of March, and then really roared out of the gate in April with a week-and-a-half-long trip to Chicago, Winnipeg, and Minneapolis. We have a lot of very fond memories from our tour last year, and we’re looking forward to making more this year…but we’ll be getting a bit of a late start.

We were all set to begin our 2015 tour with a show at Indiana Comic Con in March. But the more we thought about it, the more we realized what a terrible idea that was. Not because of anything to do with the event—but because of some personal issues we’re both dealing with.

If you have her friended on Facebook, you might have seen Katt share that she’s been battling anxiety and depression since around May of last year. It turns out that several people on both sides of her family, going back at least two generations, have done their own toe-to-toe with these demons. Katt is getting help and trying to sort out how to manage these issues, but she needs a bit more time than would be allowed by our emerging from our yearly hibernation in March.

And actually, we both need a bit more time. We pushed ourselves hard last year, and we’re both still pretty burned out from it. We need to let the batteries re-charge and then yes—we’re going to try not to over-do it again this year.

And on top of that, we still have an album to finish.

Lastly, we’re trying to delay the start of our tour so we can spend as much time as possible with one of our cats. Our ten year-old brown tabby Bell was recently diagnosed with an inoperable abdominal tumor. There’s no way of knowing how much longer she has left, but we’d like to be here with her for as long as we can. Anyone who knows her can attest that she is one of the sweetest things on four feet. So we want to make her as comfortable as possible during whatever remaining time we have with her.

As things stand right now, it looks as if our first show of the year will be at IPCOD in May. It’s a free festival, and they usually have multiple acts and activities throughout the course of the day. We hope you’ll come join us!

You guys are the best fans in the world. We miss you. But we need to make sure we’re taking care of ourselves (because we’re honestly really bad at it). We’ll be getting a later start than normal this year, but even so, we’ll see you soon!

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The Unfortunate Problem with Conventions

Wax Chaotic’s first ever concert was performed at InConJunction in 2011. InCon is one of our local science-fiction conventions, and the two of us have attended it every year for over a decade now. It’s one of the few conventions we plan on attending every year, whether or not we make it onto the schedule. We would love to attend more cons as just ourselves and not as Wax Chaotic, but it’s just not in the budget. Sadly, we’ve reached the point at which attending cons even as the band isn’t within the budget, either. Which is why in 2015, the number of conventions for which Wax Chaotic volunteers will be drastically reduced.

Since that particular InCon, we’ve had the good fortune to perform at many fine conventions around the Midwest and beyond. In fact, we’ve played at more conventions than we have any other type of event or venue. On the whole, it’s been a lot of fun. These are events put on by people who really love a lot of the stuff we love, and they’re all dedicated to giving everyone a fun weekend. But the end of our 2014 tour will mark the end of an era, at least for us.

Because while conventions are a lot of fun to play at, they are also unfortunately very expensive for us. We normally don’t like talking about money in such a public manner—it feels too much like airing our dirty laundry. But money is what currently makes most of the Western world go ’round, and so it’s a necessary evil that everyone has to deal with. And as independent musicians, we don’t have a great deal of it.

Sadly, neither do a lot of fan-run conventions. Conventions are frequently only ever able to pay for things like lodging and travel expenses for their honorary attendees, which of course we do understand. But this means that the financial end of things is pretty painful for us. At any given con, we usually have to pay at least $100 in registration fees; at least twice that for a hotel room; and $40 to $80 for gas, depending on where the event is (and we drive a Prius V that has really good gas mileage). Then there’s also food, parking fees, and vehicle maintenance. And if we want dedicated vending space for the entire weekend, there’s usually an additional fee involved there, too. That all adds up pretty quickly.

So it’s pretty painful all around. On the one hand, the convention people want to put on a good event for their attendees, with a variety of programming and activities to enjoy. And on the other hand, people like us just can’t keep volunteering for events at which they have to pay to play.

Another problem with playing at conventions is that we are by far not the only thing there is to see at such an event. As a result, we don’t tend to recoup the related expenses through merch sales. That sort of business model is only sustainable for so long, and we’ve about reached our limit.

So in 2015, we intend to focus more on other venue and event types. We would love to hear about your favorite coffee house, bookstore, festival, or library, and we would also be thrilled to come perform in your home or worship space (we fit in well at Pagan events and UU churches).

And please, if you’re doing programming for a con and you want us to come, don’t let that stop you from inviting us—that’s different than if we send a cold email with our hands up looking to get on the schedule. We know your finances are just as tight as ours, but if you want us badly enough to go to the trouble of inviting us, maybe we can work something out.

We’ve had a lot of great fun at various conventions over the last few years, and we can’t thank all of them enough for giving us spaces to play. They’ve been really welcoming (and forgiving) as we’ve worked to find our way. But it’s time to take a break from volunteering for them for a little while. In the meantime, if you’re looking for new cons to go to, ask us about our favorites. We’ll talk your ear off.

And we look forward to seeing you in 2015 at a café, in a bookstore, or maybe even in your own backyard.