You’ve just come together as a band and you’re ready to gig. But when you approach clubs to play they want to know where you’ve played in their market before and what kind of draw you usually bring. (Draw means how many paying fans usually come to one of your shows.)
If you’re a new band then your answer would be “we haven’t played before so we don’t really know how many paying fans will come.” And you know what will happen with that answer. They’ll tell you to come back when you have a fan base.
You’re thinking, “Yeah, but we’re such a great band your customers will love us.” The reality is clubs don’t have customers, bands have customers. People go to a certain club to see a certain band. They don’t go to the Club X instead of Club Y because of the club; they go there because of the band that will be playing.
When you ask a club to book you, you are asking them to INVEST THEIR MONEY in you. It costs them money to open their doors. They have rent to pay, electric bills, payroll and the cleanup crew at the end of the night. They buy advertising promoting the bands that will be there because they know it’s the bands that are the appeal; not their club. So a club needs to know you have a following in order to book you.
The hardest gig to get is your first gig. And, as a wise businessman once told me when I was envisioning how big my new company could become,”you have to make your first sale before you can consider how you’re going to spend the money from it.” What this means for you is that you can’t think about gig number 2 until you get gig number 1 under your belt.
So, here’s the secret to getting the first gig that will make it easier to get number 2 and number 3 and so on.
Throw a Private Party. Of course, you’re not going to call it that, but for all intents and purposes, that’s what it is.
Create a guest list with your band mates. Write down EVERYONE you know. What’s the total number? Let’s say you have a four piece band and you each come up with 100 names. That makes your guest list 400 people. Statistics will tell you that only 20%-30% will come. (Hey even though your new band is the most important thing in your life, it isn’t the most important thing in your friends’ lives.) 20% of 400 = 80 people.
Determine what you can afford and select a club that fits your budget. Create a list of 10 clubs you want to play in. It’s more important to pack a club that holds 80 people than it is to perform your first gig at a well known club that looks empty. Keep this in mind as you create the list of clubs you want to check out.
Call each club and ask what it costs to rent their venue. Check weekday rates and weekend rates. A weekend is preferable but perhaps a Thursday night at a high profile club is better than a Saturday night at a less popular club. When you call the clubs be sure to ask if they have backline (backline is the industry word for the gear and equipment that the club has on hand for musicians to use) available or if you have to bring your own equipment. Also ask if the soundman is included in the quote or if that’s additional.
Venue’s Website and Advertising. Because you are booking this with them as a private party, they will not think to list your gig on their website or in their ads. When you’re negotiating to rent the space, ask them to list it just as they would any other gig in the house.
Book your gig at least four-to-six weeks out. Every bone in your collective bodies will want to book your show for this weekend; next weekend at the latest. DON’T DO IT! You need to create some excitement and buzz around it. AND you’ll have more choice among clubs when you book further out
Become a show promoter! Once you decide which venue you want to rent, and you finalize the rental with the club, the real work begins. Now you go into show promotion mode. DO NOT expect all your friends to come just because they said they will. If you do not do these steps, you will not have a successful show and the impression you’ll create with the venue is “Mental Note: NEVER book that band. They can’t even get people to come watch them for free!”
Create a theme. Make posters and flyers, print tickets, post your gig on any and every social media site you know of. Write a press release and send it to your local media – radio stations, TV stations, newspapers. REMEMBER your local college media! Your goal is to PACK THE CLUB. Keep in mind, for every 1 person you expect to show up, you need to put tickets in the hands of 5 people. Not only for those who say they’ll come knowing full well they won’t but don’t want to hurt your feelings but also for people who plan to come but have last minute changes and aren’t able to make it.
Create a theme. Many bands will call this a “CD Release Party” or a “Tour Kick Off.” But your theme can be as simple as “Band Name: Live At The Venue Name” or “Band Name Rocks The Venue Name.” It’s this theme that you want to incorporate in EVERY MESSAGE. An advertising rule of thumb is that a message needs to be seen at least SEVEN times for someone to remember it. So you need to create AT LEAST seven points of contact for each of your 400 friends.
Print Band Stickers. Stickers are one of the least expensive promotional tools you can invest in. Give one to everyone you know. Make them big enough to be seen (no 1″ x 1″ stickers). Just your band name or logo if you have one. Your goal with stickers is simply to create awareness so after someone has seen a sticker the name will ring a bell when they see a ticket or a poster or a flyer or a posting online.
Print tickets. Since this is a private party in the eyes of the venue, they will most likely NOT have an employee in their ticket box. You’ll want to ask a friend to sit at the front door to collect tickets and stamp hands. Even though this is a private party for the venue, this is a gig for you. And when was the last time you went to a gig that didn’t have tickets – or at least stamp hands at the door? By printing tickets and putting them in people’s hands, they’ll be more likely to REMEMBER your gig. The tickets should have the THEME, date, time, venue, age (if the club is “21+” or “18+” or “all ages”) and price on them. Yes, you should put a price on the tickets – even though you are giving them out for free. That price should be what you expect to charge for future gigs. This is how you set the expectation for what people will be asked to pay to see you play in the future. You can buy blank ticket stock at Office Max and print them on your own printer at home. Do NOT print these tickets on anything other than ticket stock. You are a professional band. If you want to be taken seriously you have to look legit.
Posters and flyers. Take your lead from the most successful bands in your market. Visit their MySpace and Facebook. Go to Guitar Center and look at the posters hanging on their bulletin board. Are most of them dark? If so, maybe you want to make yours white so it stands out from the rest when you hang it up (yes, once you print your poster you’re going to find EVERY free bulletin board in town and hang it up.) Also, what size are most of the posters? Are the no-name bands hanging 8 1/2 x 11 and the big names in town printing 11 x 17? Is the paper regular printer paper or is it heavier stock. What league do you want people to think you’re in? My guess is 11 x 17 and heavier stock. On the other hand flyers are usually 8 1/2 x 11 printer paper cut in four. For these you might consider buying bright colored paper and printing with black ink.
Street Team. It’s time to call in best friends, girlfriends, brothers and sisters, moms and dads. You need an army. Ask each one of them to hang up 5 posters. Ask the venue you’ve rented to hang up your poster alongside all the other bands playing there. (Be sure to tell the venue that your party is open to the public.) You, the band members, have the honor of handing out the fliers. Go to college campuses and hand them out. Go to concerts of similar music when people are leaving and hand them out. Ask an independent music store if you can set up a table outside their door one Saturday and hand out fliers. This is usually easier if you are a customer at their store. (Big stores like Guitar Center and Sam Ash usually don’t allow this.) You must put them in people’s hands. I know. Every band HATES this. But you must get over that. You’ll be doing this for a very long time.
Social Media. MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, Zvents, Craigslist and wherever else you know of. Be sure your gig is posted. On sites like Craigslist, MySpace and Facebook – be sure you’re reposting every week or, as you know, the event drops to the bottom and no one will scroll down far enough to see it. If you’re using Twitter, be sure you ask your followers to retweet about your gig. Research shows that people retweet more when they are asked to rather than simply doing it on their own.
Photography. Now is not the time to ask a friend to take pictures at your first gig. Hire a photographer. Be sure you hire a photographer who has experience shooting live bands. Ask to see samples of their work. The changing stage lights and movement of band members requires a special photography skill. You want band pictures AND you want crowd shots. Your goal, when the night is over, is to post photos that portray you as a professional band that packs a house.
Door count. Whomever you’ve asked to work the door needs to keep track of how many people show up. Those with tickets are easy to count. Rip the ticket stub and save them to count later. But the hand stamp requires a counting system. Perhaps one of those silver “clickers” or just good, old fashioned paper and pen.
All of this then gives you the information you need for gig number 2.
Booking Gig Number 2. You should be on the phone the Monday after your gig with every club that has a capacity the size of the crowd you brought in on your first gig to book gig number 2. When asked,”Where have you played in this market before and what kind of draw do you usually bring?” Your answer will be, “Well we played this past Saturday at Venue Name and we had 80 people” (or however many your door person tells you.) You should also know that clubs are used to bands lying about their draw, so they will automatically cut whatever you say in half. Therefore, you should add to your statement, “So I feel 100% comfortable guaranteeing you that we’ll draw at least 50 people to your club. And we are willing to guarantee that draw with money.”
This is how that works. Let’s say the going rate to see a band in your market is $5. If you guarantee 50 people, then you are guaranteeing the venue $250 in ticket sales. They also expect everyone coming in will buy two drinks at $5 each. So the venue expects a MINIMUM of $15 from each person who comes to see your band. Let’s say 40 people show up to Gig #2 and you’re guaranteeing 50 people. You owe the venue $150. (The 10 people you guaranteed x the $15 per person the venue expected.) This might scare you, but this is the way you build a solid reputation in your town. Venues like working with bands with this business acumen and approaching venues in this manner will get you more gigs than bands who don’t offer guarantees. This also puts a burden on you to get out and do all the promotional things for gig #2 that you did for gig #1. Only this time, people will be paying at the door rather than having free tickets to get in.
Your band is a start-up business. You must invest in your business. When I opened my first music school I had to invest in renting a building, buying equipment, paying staff and marketing. You are doing the same thing. Your guarantee to the venue is your rent and your staffing.
Maybe you’re thinking, “Yea but we need to make money too.” At Gig #2 your chances of being paid to play are pretty slim. However, you might be able to negotiate a percent of the door OVER your guarantee. Let’s say the split is 50/50 over the guarantee. Let’s say you guarantee 50 people and 80 people show up. You would get 50% of the revenue generated at the door for 30 people. (80 people – 50 people guarantee = 30 people.) The ticket is $5. Split that 50/50, you get $2.50 x 30 = $75.00. Even if the club says “no” they’ll see you as professionals and respect that. In your conversation ask them what your draw would need to be in order to split the door with you. Then you know what you’re working towards.
Check any business book and it will tell you most businesses don’t make money in the first year. Your band is a business. It might be a while before you make a profit…or even get paid to play. If you don’t believe in yourselves enough to invest in yourselves, why should the venue?
Arts And Entertainment Category
For most photographers, getting a paid gig seems to be getting increasingly more difficult. With the advent of affordable DSLR cameras, nearly everyone is a photographer now and the market seems saturated.
The savvy photographer, however, realizes that the market is still thriving and well… if you know where to look.
Just as times change, markets change too. Below are five markets that are easy to penetrate if you have a plan and some drive. The best part? They’re all hungry prospects looking for photographers!
1. Corporate functions/Event photography
Corporations are constantly looking to document events. Likewise, events are always taking place. Whether it be a fund raiser, a holiday party, a college graduation, or a mixer for the chamber of commerce, companies and individuals alike are always in the need for web photos and even prints.
Find yourself a niche in this market by joining organizations, participating in mixers, and using word of mouth to promote yourself. Other possible revenue streams could be: Corporate Head shots, architectural photos for print ads, and employee events/portraits/weddings.
2. Club/Bar Photography
Bars, restaurants, and clubs are always looking for photographers to document their hip new locations and trendy club-goers. They’re looking for photos to use in fliers, website promotion, and possibly even wall art!
Find yourself a niche in this market by targeting restaurants and bars you frequent often. Start small. Ask the owners if they’ve ever thought about using photos to enhance sales for their restaurants. Once you’ve received a few paying gigs you can use the images as promotion to other club owners. Other possible revenue streams could be: Fashion work if you see the right person, stock photography (don’t forget a model release!), and abstract art.
3. Ebay Photo Guru
Every day, millions of people log onto eBay.com to find the perfect gift, toy, or collectors item. However, many items go overlooked because they don’t have a photo. Help some people liquidate any items that might fetch a premium to the right buyer on eBay and other classified sites by offering to take photos of goods using a mobile studio. The mobile studio need not be extravagant, simply a white poster board and a flash could be sufficient.
Find yourself a niche in this market by working with sellers that list items frequently but have poorly designed listings, often with no photos. Use word of mouth along with posting ads on popular local classified sites like craigslist.org and backpage.com. Other revenue streams could be: catalog work for entrepreneurs that sell jewelry and widgets online. Also, you may find goodies you just can’t live without and be able to negotiate a deal before it hits eBay!
4. Rock Band/musician photographer
Do you know of anyone that is in a band or performing arts? Big name bands pay big bucks for tour photographers. Shrink this philosophy to a local scale and charge a band for a nights worth of photos that they can use for their demo album, myspace page, and other promotions. Band photography can be tricky, so be sure to do some reading online before you accept a paying gig. It might be wise to do a few shoots for free just for experience.
Find yourself a niche in this market by making contacts at open mic night and larger band performances. Often opening bands are up and coming in the rock world and if you can get in early, you might be able to ride on the coat tails to a national tour! Other revenue streams could be: Night club, bar and venue photography contacts, other bands, fan print to order pictures, and newspaper submission abilities.
5. Real Estate Photography
Due to recent market changes, Realtors are looking for anything and everything to improve their chances of selling a home. There is nothing that helps a home stick out on the MLS more than a professional quality listing photo. Take the time to make the home look top notch and the Realtor will be nothing short of ecstatic with you. Get up early and use the early morning (or evening) light to work in your favor for exterior shots, and use a tripod or flash system to light the interior shots. If you can get the hang of this, you won’t have time for any other business.
Find yourself a niche in this market by making contacts in the real estate industry. Stop at real estate branches and use morning meetings, fliers, and phone calls to get in touch with decision makers. Create a couple packages for agents to choose from to make the quickest sale with the least headache, then organize a time to gain access to the home. Realtors are huge on word of mouth advertising, so make sure to use it the best you can. Also team up with lenders and title agencies (if you have them in your area) for joint marketing campaigns. Other revenue streams could be: Office party event photographer and business head shots for promotional materials like business cards and web sites.
Like any endeavor, a business should have a plan and requires follow through and hard work. The reward, however, can be monstrous and well worth the effort. Be sure not to make promises you can’t deliver upon, and handle yourself in an ethical manner. Also, always have a spare business card handy!
There are a variety of different ways to learn how to play bass guitar and the varieties all can have an impact on how you learn. For instance, if you wish to play blues music bass lessons for blues music would be really focused on your style but bass lessons can be taken for all styles, genres and levels.
There are even differences in wanting to be solo musician playing around the house for fun and playing in a band which will cause variations in how you should learn your new instrument. You may wish to concentrate on bass scales or perhaps you just want to help the drums anchor the sound. It may sound like a tough choice if you are unaware of what style you want to learn but it may help you in the long run.
If you want to become an excellent bass guitarist then you should always strive to learn new and interesting skills on your instrument. It is clearly not enough to know how to play your favorite instrument; you should always be looking to find new techniques and ways of playing.
Learn blues bass guitar and rock the house
You may prefer a particular style of music over many others and when you begin learning a new instrument but perhaps over time, you will develop a fondness for other styles or genres. This means that in the future you may feel the benefits from experiencing some different styles of playing bass guitar in your development period. This means that bass lessons can be invaluable at any stage of your playing career as there is always time to learn new skills and styles. People should always try to evolve and develop new skills and even their musical preferences can change over time. This is where learning styles like bass scales can open up a whole new style of playing. A person should always try to keep an open mind when it comes to learning different skills and styles.
Of course, no matter how many new skills and tricks you pick up, you should never forget about the basic either. A bass guitarist who is unable to play the basic styles and techniques will be found out very quickly and they will find it difficult to join bands or jam with other musicians. Always remember that no matter what new skills you pick up along the way you need to be able to play the basics.
Blues bass guitar can be fun.
At any point, you don’t know when you will be asked to join in with other musicians or perhaps help out other bands at short notice. Whether having this flexibility helps makes you popular at or just enables you to have some fun and good times, having a variety of skills is a great talent to have. Having a range of bass lessons can make a massive difference to your skill levels so if you want to become one of the best bass players in your area, you know what you have to do. Whether you want to learn flashy new skills or maybe even just learn about bass scales, it’s possible to do everything you could have ever wanted.
There is a great number of different skills involved with playing the bass guitar that it would be nigh on impossible to master everyone but having fun is surely the most important issue.
The ‘trois Gnossiennes’ (1890) is a set of dance-like pieces of similar character, like the earlier composed ‘trois Sarabandes’ (1887) and ‘trois Gymnopédies’ (1888). The ‘trois Gnossiennes’ were first published by Satie as a set through Rouart, Lerolle & Cie. in 1913.
The Gnossiennes continue in the minimalist style of the Gymnopédies but add ornaments that give the pieces a destinctly oriental feel. Although the pieces are obviously composed in a 4/4 time signature, Satie did not indicate it in the score. He also omitted barlines, leaving one big “bar” for the entire piece. This gives the impression of great freedom for the pianist. The comments written above the score, like ‘Du bout de la pensée’ (from the tip of the thought) and ‘Postulez en vous même’ (wonder about yourself) also give much room for interpretation. This has proven to be true since there are few pieces in piano literature that have been interpretated in such diverse ways as the Gnossiennes.
The name ‘Gnossiennes’ can be explained in multiple ways. The ancient Greek word for ‘knowledge’ is ‘gnosis’. Gnosticism was the name of a religious-philosophical belief which has its origins in Greek philosophy as well as early Christian and Jewish Apocalyptic thoughts. In this belief ‘Gnosis’ stands for ‘True knowledge’, which is supposed to lead man to true emancipation. Gnosticism also played a great role in the beliefs of Joséphin Péladan’s (1859-1918) ‘Rose et croix’ sect. Satie’s collaboration with Péladan led him to take an interest in partly-heretical views. It is possible that the title of these works is an hommage to gnosticism.
The most common explanation however is that the title refers to the ritual dances performed by the inhabitants of the island of Crete, with its capitol city Knossos, famous in Greek mythology for the story of its labyrinth, Theseus and the minotaur. In 1890 Crete was in the news because of archeological excavations. Other works by Satie from the same period were named after dances as well. Namely the ‘Sarabande’, a dance which was first introduced in Portugal in 1586 and the ‘Gymnopédie’ which has its origins in ancient Sparta. Even so, it is very unlikely that Satie, a member of the ‘Rose et croix’ from 1891 to 1892, was unaware of the gnosticism relation when the second Gnossienne was first publicly performed in 1893.
In 1967 french composer Robert Caby (1905-1992) revealed many of Satie’s posthumous and often untitled works, taken from sketchbooks and manuscripts. He named three of these pieces Gnossienne. These became Gnossienne 4, 5 and 6 respectively. The piece known as the fourth Gnossienne was composed in 1891, the fifth in 1889 and the sixth in 1897. These pieces were first published in 1968 by ed. Salabert.
I thought about writing this post on band promotion because I often hear new bands and struggling musicians wishing they got more paying gigs. Getting a paying gig is good, I mean… you spend a lot of time, energy and even money on getting your act together.. rehearsing, traveling to rehearsals and gigs (gas can be a pain if you travel by car), buying your gear, etc. But getting paid gigs for new acts can be very difficult.
While I believe it is great to get paid, I don’t mean to say you should think of a band as a business. What I am saying is, it would be practical to at least have your costs covered.
Of course, that would depend on you and your reasons why you are in a band in the first place.
Some bands want to play; love to play; feel that playing and getting their music out there is the best compensation there is.. and the return of their investment in effort, time and money is that opportunity to get up there and PLAY. There are also others who work towards a long term goal like building their own following and getting their music across to them.
The reasons why you do it, pretty much sums it up.
But, if you wanted to get paying gigs, here are a few things you can do.
1. Work on Your Product
Once in a while I come across a client who struggles with promoting their product or service, and put in a lot of effort only to get minimal results. The main reason is, they have not been able to accurately develop, define and refine their product, which is why aggressively promoting something mediocre will always yield mediocre results.
So what is your product? The band, and your music. The key question is how do you set yourself apart from the rest. What is it you do that is unique, or what is it that you can do better than everybody else?
“What do you want people to remember and LIKE you for?”
2. Define Your Music/Repertoire
Repertoire defines what type of band you are. It also defines who your audience is. I believe writing and recording original material is great because by having your own music you create an asset that others do not have. It is that that final sum of a collaborative creative effort that brands your band. BUT, does not guarantee success, since for your band to be successfully recognized for your music, you would first need to attract an audience that gets to hear and appreciate it.
On the same note, being a cover band does not mean you cannot get paying gigs. There are a lot of cover bands that get paid well for small bar gigs or even major events.
What it comes down to is the novelty of the band, and your draw. Novelty is that something about you that people will want to come see; and your draw is the size of the crowd you can gather at your gigs.
3. Market Yourself
You would need to sell yourself to people who you believe would appreciate your band and what you have to offer. There are basically two types of people you want to market to; there are the people who you want coming to your gigs and appreciating your music, and the people who are in a position to hire you for gigs.
This can actually be the classic “the chicken or the egg scenario”, where you actually grow your audience and get more exposure by being playing more gigs, but to get more gigs you got to get invited or hired by people who have a hand in making gigs happen.
But it need not be complicated. You just have to do both at the same time.
Networking is key. The more people you get to meet, the more contacts you establish, the closer you get to your goal.
Ways to Network.
a. Use the Internet, put up a website that tells people about you and your music. Use social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook, MySpace to build a network. Use media sites like YouTube, MetaCafe and DailyMotion to spread your music and build a list of followers/subscribers.
Always mention these sites during gigs; when you talk to other people about your gigs, during shows, and include them on printed materials such as stage back drops, fliers, calling cards, etc.
Make people WANT to go to your site by offering them some sort of benefit they get by going, for instance.. you can tell them that they can listen to a live-stream of your music on your site, download your music from your site (if you allow), or tell them you give away free merchandise like shirts on occasion and mechanics on how to get free stuff are on your website.
b. Print business cards, or calling cards. That way you are able to hand people you meet something that they can refer to when they need to contact you or if they refer you to other people who might need you for gigs. A business card says a lot of things about you, it pretty much says, you mean business, you got it together, and your can be relied upon to deliver if contacted for a gig. It creates a good impression about your band.
c. Do quick sets at small parties that you are already there to attend in the first place. Parties or gatherings are a great way to build up a following. This grassroots approach can lead to viral promotion. Never underestimate the power of word of mouth. If you know that a friend is putting together a party, offer to do a few songs. Let’s face it, being in a band is cool, that may be one of the top reasons you even started one.. so don’t wait for an opportunity to play fall right on your lap, you create your opportunities.
d. If you are not that established, volunteer to front for other bands who are friends of yours AND are established. Established bands typically have a huge following, grab the chance to get yourself in front of that audience, their audience. You might not get paid for this, but it is an investment that will yield long term benefits. Through this opportunity, you show people what you can do, tell people about your website or where you are online, you can hand out business cards and talk with people in the audience or show promoters.
e. Find radio stations that play material from unsigned bands. Getting your music played on a radio station is one of the most difficult things to get done. You will be turned down by a few, but you cannot let that setback stop you from being persistent and trying them again later or trying to find other stations that will play your music. If you are in college, get your music on your campus radio station, if your university has one. That said, I personally found it a lot easier to market your band and network when in college, it was so easy because in college you meet a lot of new people all the time, and get invited to a lot of parties and events.
If your music does get airplay and attention, your band WILL get attention.
4. Management / Representation
You have to have a manager. An authority figure who you trust and count on to work for nothing less than the success and well being of the band.
A manager should be a tenacious businessman. He is a negotiator, understands marketing, and most importantly he believes in the product he is entrusted with. His main goal is to sustain and develop further the product he manages.
Having a manager can have many advantages, and one of the things I see managers being able to do that bands that manage themselves cannot, is be objective. The manager sees something that individual members in a band do not see, this is especially true when some members of the band develop egos that cloud their judgment. Members have a tendency to get tunnel vision and might not respond well to other people’s opinions that may not be flattering, a manager knows if criticisms are valid and take these not emotionally but objectively.
A manager is both a member of the group and outsider; a member because he works with the group to achieve their goals. He is an outsider who can make rational decisions and even be critical of the group if it fails to deliver what their audience expects.
Musicians can sometimes be the most stubborn of people, and the least receptive to criticism, and a trusted opinion from an authority figure can help the band work to better the product. Remember that the manager is above all a businessman, and he runs the band because it is “profitable”… the easier to market a band, the more money it makes, the more money the manager makes as well.
Managers should also be very aggressive and persistent, a friend of mine (a manager for a huge act) once told me a story about how she approached bar after bar only to get denied each and every time and was given all sorts of reasons and excuses. She never gave up, and did not give up on her band… today that band is a major recording artist… and actually they have been big for some time now.
So, if you are a new band that needs to promote yourself and get more gigs, and hopefully paying gigs…
- you have to be a band that can draw an audience
- you have the ability to make people who catch your gigs, like you or your music enough to want to be in touch with you so they know where to go for your next gig
- you have to build your reputation and brand yourself and your music
- you have be aggressive and get gigs and not simply wait for them, and if you are able to successfully do this and your band becomes successful, the offers will actually start coming to you
- you have to have someone.. a manager, who takes care of business and does this well, so that you are left to do what you do best which is put on a good show or create music that your audience appreciates.. as a performer it might be best to not worry about anything and let the manager do that worrying.. all you need to think about or focus on is having a good show or having a good time on stage.
In days gone by the guitar was a quiet, well behaved little instrument. In the nineteen thirties in America, you could barely here it in swing bands trying not to be drowned out by drums and horns. Sadly, it was fighting a losing battle. The guitar in acoustic form simply lacked the design dynamics to make it an instrument that was loud enough to be prominent in a full band situation.
All this was to change in Los Angeles, where it is said that George Beauchamp invented the first crude electric guitar. Hawaiian music, which he performed, is credited as the inspiration for the electric guitar. This is due to the fact that in Hawaiian music, the guitar is primarily responsible for melody. The sound of this humble instrument needed to be amplified.
The first electric guitar, as with most groundbreaking innovations, was met with some criticism. It quickly became apparent however that a new domain was created that allowed for guitarists to express their own unique abilities and style. The selling point of those early, crude guitars was simple… volume. Guitarist were now empowered to choose creative melodic lines as opposed to only strumming rhythm. Suddenly music was heard that showcased a new featured voice. The guitar was no longer satisfied with its obscure place in the band.
The design of the guitar was forced to evolve over time. The hollow sound chamber was prone to feedback. With the invention of guitar pickups, the next natural step in the electric guitars evolutionary process was the creation of the solid body electric. The progression was swift. The first mass produced solid body electric (the Telecaster) was birthed in 1950, courtesy of Leo Fender. It was called the broadcaster at first, but the company was forced to change the name because it was already in use by another. The popular Les Paul appeared in 1952 due to a collaboration between the Gibson company and guitarist, Les Paul. In 1954, Fender introduced the legendary Stratocaster, and the rest as they say…was history. These instruments started finding their way into the hands skillful artists who would amaze the world with their technical proficiency. The age of the guitar hero and the mind-blowing guitar solo had dawned.
The emergence of players like Chuck Berry, Jimmy Page, Jimmy Hendrix, Eric Clapton and Van Halen would revolutionise the world of music forever. These and other iconic guitarists would inspire generations of young musicians who would change the face of popular music as they themselves had done. With electric guitars being affordable and easily accessible, most every boy (or girl) could mimic the techniques of their idols and propel this musical revolution into the future. The electric guitar had burst onto the scene, and it was clear that it would not be leaving any time soon.
Music is a business. You have to decide how seriously you want to pursue your personal enjoyment versus making money. This is not to say that you can’t have both and sometimes if you plan carefully you can have a rewarding experience in every way.
Many of you have played music on different levels and it’s good to talk to other musicians to get ideas and learn from their experience. Some musicians are happy to rehearse together only, some are happy to do cover songs and others write and play original content and go for the big time. No matter what you decide, the planning of your endeavor is a most often ignored and important part of your success.
DEALING WITH CHANGE AND KEYS TO SUCCESS
I think it might be a tie between the number of bands I’ve been with and the number of cars I’ve owned, especially when I was younger. Playing music can be very frustrating. There may be times in your life when you will participate more and sometimes less. Keep at it! Music keeps you young and alive.
Change is all about being adaptable. Music styles, Band Members, Gigs, and most of all – you change. Keep you eye on the prize – playing as often and for as long as you can.
Don’t get locked into the same old music. Some songs are treasures and you will want to play them forever. Put some new stuff in there every once in a while to challenge yourself and keep things fresh. There is nothing more frustrating to hear a good band, and years later they are doing 80% of the same old stuff. If you have old hit songs that may be the exception. Don’t be afraid to do original music. Economic times are tough. People want to enjoy themselves when spending their money listening to music. Give them your all.
Circumstances cause changes in band membership. The band will usually be different when a member is replaced. In one band we lost our keyboard player and went on without one. We wound up with a tighter sound, more gigs, and more money. Pick average musicians you can get along with rather than superstars who want to run the entire show. After auditioning replacements, talk about what you have to change. You new guitar player might not be the soloist your old one was but maybe he can sing better and open up more avenues of songs for you to do. If you get a chance, read “Who Moved My Cheese” by Spencer Johnson, MD.
Music is all about entertainment. I am not suggesting you get a monkey and organ grinder. Act like you have an interest in what’s going on. Have confidence. You’re probably much better than you think. If your band makes mistakes on stage (I call them clams), don’t turn around and look at the guy on stage like he just wet his pants. If your whole band screws up a song, keep going or restart and make a joke of it to the audience.
“Dead Air” is your biggest enemy. Don’t let time go by without communicating to the audience. I played in “show” bands where your every move and words were rehearsed. I think I would have rather worked at the steel plant. A natural, honest, and upbeat presentation will keep your audiences attention until the next tune.
Communicate with each other on stage. Hand signals or a few words can serve as a reminder for stops, endings, dynamics, and a variety of things. Speaking of dynamics (getting louder or softer is a general definition of dynamics), they can make or break you. Music with a constant loud or soft approach has little feeling. Build your songs and make great dynamic endings. If you are doing covers, don’t be afraid to change things. Make each song your own.
Right now I have been in a great band for over two years. We enjoy rehearsal, gigs, and have tons of fun with oldies, blues, and a little country. I hope whatever your musical experience is, that you make it fun too.
Just like any other band these musical icons experience a lot of obstacles before they achieved there legendary status. Starting a band requires a lot of effort and requires a lot of luck. Luck, in a sense that choosing band members does not come easy as anyone would like to think. Even though the Beatles had paved the way for rock and roll music to be appreciated by English listeners, pop culture was still the dominant music that Britons mostly listens. For a starting band like Led Zeppelin they were facing insurmountable odds. Forming a band was hard enough they needed a lot of patience to perform countless gigs in order to get noticed by a music company.
Finally, the band was given their chance. In 1968 the band managed to get the attention of the music industry. There album was finally was set to be released. In 1969 when the album was released it was a hit. It was not surprising because their song offers so much influence. Their music was a blend of blues, pop, rock and many more. They captured the heart of not only Britons but also Americans as well. There concert tours was a sure hit that was why Atlantics Records investment did not go to waste. They had a signing of 200,000 dollars which was at that time the biggest ever made in history in the music industry. The record company did expect that the band would be popular but not to this extent. Concert auditoriums were always full and tickets were always sold out.
Getting and signing a record deal is the dream of every amatuer musician and band. It doesn’t matter if you are playing in your garage, have local gigs or just got together with a couple of friends to make a band page on MySpace. Even people that only sing in the shower dream of getting a record deal. record deals are such a desired item that it is the top prize for what is probably the most watched show in the world, American Idol. The American Idol winner gets a lot of screen time, gets to go on tour, but what they are all striving for is to get the recording deal with Simon’s record company.
You need to be talented to get record deal, but what is considered talent is up to the listeners. It’s kind of like “Beauty is in the Eye Of The Beholder”. If you are good enough that people want to pay to listen to your music you have some kind of talent. That is really all the record companies want, to make money. They will sign anyone that can sell enough CD’s to make a profit, even if the songs are just downloaded from iTunes. If you can make them money, the record companies will sign you. There will always be people that don’t like certain kinds of music. I personally don’t like country music, but you can believe that I would have loved to have been the agent that signed the recording contracts for Shania Twain, Garth Brooks, Tim McGraw, Faith Hill and any of the other country music superstars. I don’t like rap music either, but I wish I owned a piece Def Jam Records.
The internet has brought with it lots of ways to get your music out into the world to be heard. One of MySpace’s biggest sections is for music and bands. All the popular bands, and even the unpopular bands, have their own profiles on MySpace. The profile pages contain information about the bands like: upcoming gigs, contact information, song samples for download. The profiles also normally contain video clips of the bands recent live performance or a couple of their music videos. The most important thing your band or personal profile has to contain is a link to your own website.
Having your own website on the internet is probably the most important thing to getting your name and music out into the world for the record company reps to hear. Having your own website gives you much more control over your information than just having a profile page on MySpace. Hopefully your band name will still be available to register. One of the biggest bands of all time, Journey, didn’t register their own name as a website and they have been around since the 70′s. They ended up with JourneyMusic dot com, and you may have to do the same thing.
The days of the recording company’s A&R reps touring the country looking for the next big band are basically over. They still exist, but you need to give them a reason to come see you play. Now they search the internet looking for talent to sign to a recording deal, and that is the reason you need to get your name and music on the internet.
Around the pubs and clubs in the UK there are still many bands playing for only a few pounds to demanding audiences who simultaneously request Chuck Berry and the Arctic Monkeys. Keeping all these different people in the audience happy is never easy, but not impossible either. With good stage craft and clever of songs at a particular venue, a good band can make everyone happy.
The organisation of these bands is extraordinary. They must find like minded musicians that are committed. Then they must find somewhere to practice. This is not easy as most cannot do this at home. If you are fortunate to have a house big enough, it is unlikely you can get round the neighbours, as it is so loud! It cannot be turned down as everything must be as loud as the drums. A band usually hires a room to practice, at great cost to themselves.
A band must also spend literally thousands on equipment. PA, lighting, guitars, drums etc.
The next hurdle is transport. For some reason most drummers cannot drive! Cars are usually inadequate as you would need a fleet of about 5 for your gig, very expensive on the fuel, and impractical. Most bands have to hire or buy a van, again at great cost to themselves.
When they have finally rehearsed all there material over weeks or months, they are ready to play live. It is an exciting day, one of wonder, excitement and slight fear. You turn up to the venue to find one man and his dog. And that man is very drunk, wants to be your manager, and giving you all the benefit of his ‘wisdom’ in the music game! The landlord is also drunk, and you cannot work out if he likes you or not.
You get poorly paid, if you get paid at all, and return home usually out of pocket.
However the real rock heroes come back for more. They find the best venues, gain a reputation, and play at some great places. Sure they still have bad gigs, but the good ones make up for it. They make it look so easy, but it is not. One such band can be seen at [http://www.thehalfmonty.tk]
The Half Monty have had there share of ups and downs. They have been ripped of at gigs, played in the most dodgy venues, and heckled to death. But they are still here, bigger and better than ever having learnt from their early days.
So remember, when you see a local band advertised at a pub or club, go see them and support them. It is not easy for the lads and lasses. Perhaps buy them a beer after the performance if you really enjoyed it. , for these are the true heroes of rock.