Musicians are barely getting a slice of music industry revenue, largely eating off of live performances instead. For ’Tour Tales,’ we dig into the rider requests, delayed shows, diligent preparation, and future of touring by talking with the multitude of people that move behind the scenes. Record executives, photographers, tour managers, artists, and more all break down what goes into touring and why it’s still so vital to the livelihood of your favorite artists. What happens on tour stays on ‘Tour Tales.’
The world only got to know Juice WRLD for a few years, but has received a lifetime of memories from his performances. For those closest to him, like his day-to-day manager Peter Jideonwo, those years were more than enough time to know the goodness of the late star’s heart.
“He started taking private jets [at the top of 2019]. He only has one post of him on a jet. That’s because the tail-number said 999. He never did it to show off. Juice respected regular people more than celebrities,” Jideonwo told REVOLT.
In this installment of “Tour Tales,” the manager talks developing Juice WRLD’s live show, the plans they had for the future, and the last show Juice WRLD performed.
You started working on live shows with your company Pete’s House producing them in Chicago in 2016. What was that time like for rap shows?
Artists had shows everywhere else but the city. [Lil] Durk, [G] Herbo and all of them could go to Indianapolis, down south, but you can’t perform in your own city. The bigger companies weren’t trying to touch them and the people trying to book them weren’t the most proper promoters. I came in and did good business with the venues, which is the most important because an artist is an artist, but a venue stands for 100 years. The venue is more important than the artist a lot of times.
You did shows at Portage Theatre. Which ones stick out to you?
I had booked Herb coming off Humble Beast. He used to have to go two hours outside of the city to do a show. I finally convinced the venue to let me do the show. I think I grossed almost $70,000 from that show. I was probably 22.
Your relationship with Lil Bibby led to you working with Juice. How did you two get close?
Bib got Juice in September 2017. We were all cool before that. Bib is a super business person. He’s one of the smartest rappers I know. He’s always thinking about that money. That’s why he stopped rapping. He was in a bad deal and was like, “I’m not about to rap and make this n**ga all this money.” He saw the shows I was doing and it interested him, so we would periodically talk about shows. When they signed Juice, I was also doing merchandising for Famous Dex and a few other people. I called Bib like, “Yo, what’s up with this kid? I’m doing this, I’m doing that.” This was before Juice had anything out. This was January 2018. When we started this Juice s**t, he had 1,000 followers. That’s when I got involved.
How did you develop Juice’s live show?
The first show Juice did was for 50 people at a festival in San Francisco. It wasn’t even planned. Two months later, the record “Lucid Dreams” starts going up. All of a sudden, these agencies started to come like, “We need to book Juice.” I’m a promoter and I understand my artists. The reason I succeeded early was that I didn’t just book artists due to them being hot. I went on Spotify and looked at numbers and areas where they were really in demand and popping. I did all my stuff off analytics. That’s why I was making a lot of money. Bib said they gave him an offer and he wanted me to look at it. He sent it to me and there was one show that stood out. It was a $15,000 offer to perform in L.A. at The Novo. I called Bibby like, “These n**gas must be out their minds. We have to get at least 60 racks for this show.” He was like, “Alright, I’ll let you do it.” He went on to make $86,000 at The Novo versus the $15,000 the agents say he should’ve made.
What about his stage show did you develop?
It took time because he was new to it. You can’t just come on the stage and be comfortable with 2,000-3,000 people looking at you. We skipped a step. We skipped the 500-capacity and 750-capacity shows. We went straight to the 3,000-capacity stage. Juice was such a student of the game, we would teach him. We’d be like, “Look what Michael Jackson do.” He took heed to that and made that what he wanted to learn. The “Death Race To Love Tour” shows were the beginning of everything even though it was one of the best tours of last year. Last year, we stopped using the vocal track. It was really Juice singing live with little parts of the songs playing through the speakers. He got better at that, controlling himself, showing energy at the right time, working with a full band, and his dancing was electric. He would always say, “Before I go, I have a message for you. You can do anything you want to do and if anyone tells you can’t, tell them to suck your d**k.” He said that every show and that was consistency.
What was his personality like?
He was a hard worker. He never said no to anything. He did everything. He did extra songs if the fans asked for an encore. He made sure to shake everyone’s hands and take pictures at the airport. He would get off the tour bus and go speak with the fans. That was his personality. Unless he was really tired, he was always friendly. He was more to himself, so this was an experience for him to really show himself.
Since his personality is a little more reserved. What did you do on tour to make him more comfortable?
We brought all of the people he wanted around him. He wants his cousin? Cool. He wants this person? Cool. We tried to work with and for him by asking, “What do you want to eat? What sort of hotel you want to go to?” Those are the stuff we did to make him as comfortable as possible. He wasn’t uptight. He was the most humble. I don’t think until the day he left us [that] he realized how famous he was because he wasn’t that kind of guy.
What are some of the most memorable fan reactions with Juice?
Definitely the tattoos. The music connected so well with these kids that he would walk up to people and they would start crying. That means you did something for them.
What were his biggest tour hits?
Juice probably has the most leaked songs in history. At the end of the day, he was a machine and he made thousands of songs. He probably has 800 leaked songs on YouTube that were not released. That’s another reason his fanbase is so big. There’s so much music out there, some of his core fans don’t listen to any of the stuff that comes out. There are songs on SoundCloud like “Let Me Know” and “Game.” Sometimes we’d hear fans go, “Perform ‘Game.’”
Did he ever record on the road?
A lot of times. A lot of his songs were either done at his home or at his hotel. He didn’t really do anything but record music. He took an engineer everywhere he went.
How much of his last album, Death Race For Love, was recorded on the road?
Half of it. The other half was really done the week it came out. Most of it was done in a week. Most of the songs were freestyles. Everything was freestyled. He never wrote anything. He used to say, “I don’t write my songs, I write my wrongs.”
You two had a close relationship. You went zip-lining in Norway. How did Juice feel about that?
He loved it. He loved all the crazy things he couldn’t do when he didn’t have money. He was a thrill-seeker. If he had the chance, I think he would’ve gone skydiving.
What else did you do outside of performing?
A lot. We did a lot of arcades. We did a lot of eating (laughs). I remember we toured in Australia one time and we didn’t’ know what to eat. Then, we found this restaurant in Perth and we kept going there every day, three times a day, eating the same thing (laughs). When we went back there again in September 2019, we went to the same place... We did basketball.
Was there ever a run of shows Juice had to do in a really short period of time?
We did four shows in about a day or two. We did one show (in L.A. on July 27, 2018), took a jet to Miami to do another show (on July 28, 2018), took the jet from the show to Dallas to do Mark Cuban’s birthday party (on July 28, 2018) where we did a show with Stevie Wonder and The Chainsmokers. Mark Cuban was a huge fan of Juice. He tried to advise him and everything. Then, we left the same night from Dallas to Tampa to do a show (on July 29, 2018). His work ethic was undeniable.
What was on his rider?
He was a very easygoing kid. He was quiet and wasn’t a headache. He didn’t really drink liquor. I’ve probably seen him do it one time as a joke. He wasn’t picky. He just wanted pizza and wings. The one thing about Juice is, he did one or two soundchecks his whole career. We did 23 shows with Nicki Minaj and did one soundcheck (laughs). He was just ready and trusted his team. You can [tell] what someone cares about from their Instagram. He started taking private jets [at the top of 2019]. He only has one post of him on a jet. That’s because the tail number said 999. He never did it to show off. Juice respected regular people more than celebrities.
What were Nicki and Juice’s interactions like on that tour?
They interacted a few times. Obviously, there’s an age difference, so you don’t expect them to be the best of friends. But, she talked to him and checked up on him. That was good.
The last live show Juice did before he passed was in Melbourne, Australia in November 2019. Does anything about that performance stick out?
Not really. It was just another show. Juice did 70-80 shows in 2019, so it was just another show.
Did you two have any plans for the following year?
We had shows planned for December. We had a New Year’s Eve show. We were working on a new tour after we put out the album. We were going to put out an album in December/January. We did everything. I think the next step was building his business towards an arena business because on the last tour we did 10,000 and 12,000 people at shows. But, the biggest show is when we sold 22,000 tickets at the Xfinity Theatre in Connecticut. Once we saw that, we were like, “This kid is ready.”
You said in an interview in March 2019 that Juice had three albums ready. By the time of his passing, how many would you say he had done by then?
He probably has over 2,000 songs made in total. Three albums were an understatement and was what I could think of if I could piece together a body of work and sell 300,000 copies the first week. I know we have three to five of those albums minimum. We just started putting out the singles for his new album, which is in the works.