You have to be tough when you man the largest third-party concert database in the known universe. Facing down booking agents and artist managers in order to acquire concert routings for AnBerlin, Ben Lee and Jazz Mandolin Project is not for the weak. When you cover an industry that thrives on fear, you must make certain that you never blink, that you never, ever let them see you sweat.

Of course, it’s not all that easy finding employees capable of withstanding the mental anguish and physical violence that’s often associated with tour date gathering. Most people tend to bail after the first time they give up their front teeth to a promoter from Newark, or lose an appendage to a ticket seller in Des Moines. It takes nerves of steel and plenty of old-fashioned brawn to work for Needless to say, when it comes to chasing down dates for Lisa Marie Presley, Motion City Soundtrack and Number One Fan, wimps need not apply.

That’s why each and every prospective employee faces a rigorous, two-week boot camp before he or she can wear the beanie and blazer that so aptly signifies our commitment as leaders in the concert data industry. Sure, we start each raw recruit with the basics – computer, Internet connection and Uzi – and then we fly them out over the Sierras and drop them into the middle of a den of hungry, rabid porcupines. And that’s just on the first day.

Of course, there are other tests of endurance and strength, including the viper pit and the grizzly bear cage, as well as the piranha-infested swimming pool, all designed so that we can screen out the frail, the spineless, the puny and the mindless. It’s a rare breed that survives boot camp and goes on to gather concert data for acts like Sonic Youth and Steve Oliver. Like someone once said, what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger, and at we’re only happy if our recruits are still alive, still breathing and ready to kick some serious concert industry booty.

So, it goes without saying, that the people that make up our workforce are probably the toughest men and women you’ll meet anywhere. You don’t want to cross them, and heaven forbid if you ever tangle with them in a bar. They’ve survived the slings and arrows that come with posting dates for Funky Meters, and they’ve outwitted, outgunned and outhoused every man, woman and child that’s ever gotten between them and dates for the Doves, Diamond Rio, John Tesh and any other act named after an animal, mineral or vegetable. Make no mistake about it, when it comes to being rough and tough, we never, ever bluff.

However, we aren’t so tough that we can stand another day of E Entertainment Television’s re-staging of the daily events in the Michael Jackson trial. Oh, oh. They’re doing it again. Somebody better call a doctor. Better yet, somebody call our mommies. And fast.