"I was a successful stockbroker with over a million dollars in the bank," says After the Crash singer Jake, "but I lost it all on April 4, 2000, as the market was having its biggest point-down day ever."
Jake, once head of Boxwood Capital Management and Boxwood Trading on Morena Boulevard, says he began to use his free time to write songs and tour as a solo act. Eventually, he hooked up with band members via ads placed at Craigslist. Now, the four members of After the Crash live and travel in a 2002 Dodge conversion van and trailer, purchased a couple of years ago for $13,000.
"All we own is our wheels, a computer, and our cell phones," says Jake. "We're on the road full-time, booking, promoting, and merchandising ourselves as we go along by using free wireless Internet in towns as we go.... We have eight or nine [MySpace] pages and send out over 6000 e-mail notices per town we are playing. It's really increased our turnout."
The challenge, he says, is getting Internet service without paying.
"Places like Starbucks charge, but Panera bakeries, Atlanta Bread Company, and Buffalo Wild Wings, they usually have free WiFi. We also drive by hotels to see which ones have free networks we can use. Sometimes, all you have to do is park near the right apartment complex; they have WiFi a lot, too."
Jake says the entire band spends $12 per day on food.
"Kiko, the guitarist, eats a one-dollar side salad from Wendy's for lunch and a dollar bean burrito for dinner (he's vegetarian). Me and the other guys buy sandwich meat and cheese from Wal-Mart for a couple of dollars and put it on bread for lunch, and dinner comes from a [fast-food] dollar menu.... The Jumbo Jack is the most food for the smallest price."