Jack Shaw, drummer with Atlanta power pop trio The Head, has decided to transform his booking agency into a nonprofit that raises money for touring artists in times of need. Covid-19 has been especially harsh for bands. Live shows have been nonexistent during the pandemic, leaving full-time musicians out in the cold with no source of income. Even studio time has been limited as the intensely contagious virus has shut it all down. Shaw’s Goodmood Fund will offer help to those bands.
Shaw started Goodmood Toors booking agency just two years ago. The band he co-founded with his brother, singer/bassist Mike, along with guitarist Jacob Morrell, has been lighting up stages in Atlanta and around the U.S. and U.K. for over a decade. Check out The Head’s music. Shaw’s booking agency will evolve into the Goodmood Fund, part of the Giving Back Fund. According to their website, The Giving Back Fund is a national nonprofit organization that encourages and facilitates charitable giving by providing philanthropic consulting, management and administrative services while operating as a flexible, convenient vehicle for establishing individual foundations and fiscally sponsored projects.
Shaw spoke with No Earplugs about this new chapter in his life and future plans.
Did Goodmood begin as concert tour promotion then morph into this when Covid hit? I originally founded Goodmood as a boutique booking agency and promotion company in late 2019. I had a small stable of 15 artists that I booked in clubs across the country. Once Covid hit, I saw a lot of my artists scramble to make ends meet. Touring was their bread and butter, and with the pandemic paralyzing all live shows, they lost their primary way of making money. They no longer had a steady source of income and could no longer afford rent, groceries, etc. – something that most everyone in the world in any industry experienced. But from my point of view as a booking agent and a fellow musician, I realized that there will always be crises beyond Covid that could force touring musicians to abandon their vocation. Covid is just one example, but even in a world where Covid is no longer a factor, what happens to these musicians when other crises hit? A brother passes away. A van is stolen. A house is wiped away from a hurricane. Scenarios like these inspired me to repurpose my agency into a nonprofit that serves as a safety net for these musicians during times of crisis.
What is your ultimate goal for Goodmood? My goal is for Goodmood to be the first thing that comes to mind for any touring musician suffering through a crisis. I also want Goodmood to tell a story, and that story is that we all started out the same way: living out of a van, playing in front of no one but the sound guy, holding down multiple jobs in between to make ends meet. The Bruce Springsteens and Lady Gagas of the world didn’t get to where they are today without those early experiences. These artists were given a chance, and I want Goodmood to allow the next generation of artists to receive that same chance.
How do you feel your experience as a musician will help you in this endeavor? It will help me because I understand firsthand what it’s like to live the life of a touring musician. My own band (The Head) has toured all over the U.S. and U.K. We’ve had our van broken into and our gear stolen. We’ve slept on fans’ floors. We’ve had to work side jobs in restaurants and bars during the off-touring season. I know how fragile the touring life can be because I’ve lived it.
How did the pandemic affect you and The Head? We had to cancel two tours: one that was scheduled for Spring 2020 and one that was scheduled for Summer 2020. Some of us had to file for unemployment in the beginning of the pandemic because our side jobs had also closed down. I eventually was able to make a little cash by walking dogs for a local pet sitting company, but for the longest time, the band had no way of making substantial money since we couldn’t play shows. That’s changing now since the world is slowly re-opening. We’re also now just starting to record a bunch of songs that we had written during the pandemic.
Are (The Head’s) Mike and Jacob involved, or is this your baby? This is my baby and my vision. However, I do have a small group of volunteers who will help me review and vet the Goodmood applications that come through. Mike and Jacob have both signed on as volunteers, so I’m super stoked to have my bandmates involved with that process.
Where do you see yourself, your band, and Goodmood in five years? Goodmood and The Head will always be the two main focuses of my profession. In five years, I hope Goodmood will be a household name among musicians. I also hope to be curating benefit concerts and events for Goodmood. For The Head, I see us having done a European tour and having released another full-length album or two. I’d love for us to be headlining shows pretty regularly at that point. It would also be great to share the stage with some of our heroes ranging anywhere from Beck to Rufus Wainwright. If The Stone Roses were ever to do another reunion, sharing the stage with them would also be a big dream.
When do you plan to kick-off the Goodmood Fund? We’ll officially launch on July 19. We’ll also open our grant application then. Four Sigmatic has signed on as a partner supporting Goodmood’s efforts, and Outfront Media is providing outdoor marketing support to help raise awareness among artists and donors. Pollstar is also lending marketing support to raise awareness. Goodmood is actively seeking additional partners, and any organization interested should contact Jack Shaw directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Goodmood Fund is a member of The Giving Back Fund’s Family of Foundations. The Giving Back Fund is a national 501(c)(3) nonproﬁt organization, EIN: 04-3367888.