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Why No One Cares About Your Band #3004407 08/21/19 10:30 PM
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GuardiansGuitar Offline OP
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Ah, the travails of rocking when you're "of a certain age."

Typically, we're not running with the cool kids anymore, and we may not be playing the cool clubs, either.

Let me break in here to provide some of you with a "time saver:" If you're gigging like mad, and having audiences of all ages go nuts for your show, then please STOP reading now. You are miraculous. Blessed. Awesome. Go forth and change the world. Bravo!

But if you're not getting the number of shows you want, aren't seducing fans, and can't get booked into the venues with the fab sound systems and lights, then please be my guest to read on. There may be something here you can use—even if you're, say, 25 years old, tremendously beautiful, and talented as hell.

I'll even shorten it all down to snippets for you. Obviously, if you need more info—or want to debate my opinions—we can continue the discussion in this forum. Fair enough?

So here are 5 Reasons Why Not One Cares About Your Band

[1] You Dress Like Crap
We are entertainers. Our job is to make audiences feel the fun and absorb the excitement we generate. If you step onstage in the same clothes you wore to work, or while gardening, then you probably aren't broadcasting to the crowd that you really care enough about providing them a great time. Heck, you couldn't even bother to dress like a rock star—or, at least, someone INTERESTING. Look in the mirror. Assess. Evolve.

[2] You Don't Engage the Crowd
Oh boy. So many many many many times, I've walked into a club where the musicians appear to be having a lodge meeting amongst themselves. They could care less that people are watching them. Any time on the mic talking to the audience is either inaudible, dorky, snarky, uncomfortable, disconnected, vague, or indecipherable. These acts don't bring the audience into their world and make them feel as if performer and fans are in the scene together to make the evening memorable. Unless you have that kind of silent, smoldering charisma that works best when you are aloof and uncaring, you might want to punch up your public speaking and entertainment skills.

[3] You Feel Musicianship Makes Up for All Deficits
No one wants to fly the flag for musical incompetence, but musicianship is only PART of playing to an audience. Sinatra and Dino could get pretty deep into their musical skill sets, but while they respected musicianship—and worked with stellar players—they also knew they had to ENTERTAIN. I've seen far too many boring-ass bands that could play the pants off of the greats, legends, and pop stars. Trust me, normal everyday people aren't always as hip to musical chops as you are. If you torture them with chops but no personality, you just might lose them. Don't let your ego pull you over to an "entertainment dark side" that ultimately tanks your gig calendar.

[4] You Could Give a Toss About Social Networking
I hate to break this to you, but socials are essential these days for doing business. Things may change at some point, but that's the reality for now. Ignore that reality at your peril. You should invest in your business smarts by learning how to bend social networks to your will, rather than saying something like, "Who needs that kiddie crap?"

[5] You Treat the Club Crew Like Doo-Doo
You may feel like sound and lighting peeps and bartenders and servers and club managers should kiss your dusty Nikes because YOU are providing the entertainment for the evening. You may think the soundperson doesn't know squat, and needs to be constantly informed how to do his or her job. It might drive you totally insane that water bottles and beers aren't in the dressing room before you soundcheck. Perhaps you think you know everything about music, sound, and running a music venue. All of this may even be true. But here's a tip: Don't Ever Be a Jerk to Club Employees. They talk—to each other and to other local music-venue staffers. Be a constant pain-in-the-ass, and you will be found out. And, eventually, the clubs may freeze you out. Think about that.

Last edited by GuardiansGuitar; 08/21/19 10:34 PM.
Re: Why No One Cares About Your Band [Re: GuardiansGuitar] #3004439 08/22/19 01:23 AM
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Scott Fraser Offline
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Originally Posted by GuardiansGuitar
[5] You Treat the Club Crew Like Doo-Doo
You may feel like sound and lighting peeps and bartenders and servers and club managers should kiss your dusty Nikes because YOU are providing the entertainment for the evening. You may think the soundperson doesn't know squat, and needs to be constantly informed how to do his or her job. It might drive you totally insane that water bottles and beers aren't in the dressing room before you soundcheck. Perhaps you think you know everything about music, sound, and running a music venue. All of this may even be true. But here's a tip: Don't Ever Be a Jerk to Club Employees. They talk—to each other and to other local music-venue staffers. Be a constant pain-in-the-ass, and you will be found out. And, eventually, the clubs may freeze you out. Think about that.


Yes, this. Treating the crew badly, no matter how well deserved, is a very stupid policy. If you want to be seen on stage, you better be nice to the lighting staff. If you want to heard, you better be nice to the audio staff. If you want to have your stuff not stolen from the dressing rooms, you better be nice to security. They may be fools, drunks, uncaring, incompetent. But pointing out to them how lame they are will not benefit anybody. You better learn how to gently work with them to get everybody functioning as best they can as part of your team.


Scott Fraser
Re: Why No One Cares About Your Band [Re: GuardiansGuitar] #3004454 08/22/19 02:41 AM
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Originally Posted by GuardiansGuitar


[1] You Dress Like Crap
We are entertainers. Our job is to make audiences feel the fun and absorb the excitement we generate. If you step onstage in the same clothes you wore to work, or while gardening, then you probably aren't broadcasting to the crowd that you really care enough about providing them a great time. Heck, you couldn't even bother to dress like a rock star—or, at least, someone INTERESTING. Look in the mirror. Assess. Evolve.


Funny that you should make this number one. I knew a guy who invited me to see his band perform at a local club so I could give him my opinions, which he respected. The band played great, the lead singer really got the crowd involved, but they all dressed like they just got out of the warehouse and on the stage. To put it more bluntly, they looked like bums who walked in off the street, except for the bass player, who wore a white three piece suit, nice shoes, and stood up front on the stage like he was the front man. Everyone else was t shirts and jeans. If you want people to remember you, don't dress like you want them to forget all about you.


I rock; therefore, I am.
Re: Why No One Cares About Your Band [Re: GuardiansGuitar] #3004466 08/22/19 04:57 AM
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Well...different birds have different plumage. What one fanbase expects would totally flop for another.

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Dress so you are comfortable, physically and mentally, in the band and venue. If your bandmates or fanbase have a problem with your attire, they’ll let you know.

Last edited by Dannyalcatraz; 08/22/19 04:58 AM.

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Re: Why No One Cares About Your Band [Re: GuardiansGuitar] #3004475 08/22/19 05:54 AM
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All great points.

Anybody who has known me on this forum for any length of time knows that I like to apply many of the "theme band" concepts to ANY band. Does the band name immediately tell people what to expect? Does the band logo match that theme and visually represent it? When somebody see's the band mingling in the crowd, can you separate and identify who the band members are and have an idea what kind of music they play? Most of that part is about consistency in name, look, marketing, and standing out.

Before you even get there, is your concept even marketable to begin with? If it is, are you picking the right songs?

Finally delivery. You have to be interesting in stage. It's a show. People go to SEE bands. Show, interaction, relationships, promotion, buzz. Invest in production but spend breaks getting to know EVERYBODY!


Dan

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Re: Why No One Cares About Your Band [Re: GuardiansGuitar] #3004476 08/22/19 05:56 AM
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And FWIW, I was literally just tonight looking at clothes online figuring I need one more pair of pants, a few shirts and some bling for the next chapter in my filling in with some bands. Wornstar is incredible, but incredibly expensive. I'm buying some stuff from rebelsmarket. You HAVE to look the part. You can't look like verybody else..


Dan

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.
Re: Why No One Cares About Your Band [Re: GuardiansGuitar] #3004484 08/22/19 06:47 AM
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Wornstar is interesting, but it seems a bit “try hard”. Too much stuff with their company name on it, for one thing. And at those prices? I think I could do better.

I get a lot of my graphic tees from these sites:
https://liquidblue.com/
https://www.themountain.com/

I think any of their stuff- licensed or their own designs- would be decent options.

And when I lived in Austin in the 1990s, I bought a few shirts from local artists, each one unique. From a batik artist, I got a purple & turquoise t-shirt and a pair of custom-dyed tuxedo shirts ($50 each). I supplied the tux shirts myself, and she did a great job. She didn’t ever do another, either- too difficult. I still have all of them...not that I can FIT them too well, nowadays!

The same store that sold her stuff- Austin Artwear- also carried a locally made line called Insani-Tees.*. They did designs using a color subtraction technique. The results were awesome, but the technique weakened the fabric. So the more you wore it, the sooner you were wearing Swiss cheese. My hot pink tee with piles of televisions tuned to a skeletal anchorman lasted @4 years. A buddy of mine learned from my loss, and wears the one I gave him 1-2 times a year.

Any of those t-shirts would have been great on stage, and wouldn’t have had that “commercial”/mass produced vibe I got from the Wornstar stuff, for not much more.



* there is still a company doing shirts by that name, but it’s different people


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Re: Why No One Cares About Your Band [Re: Dannyalcatraz] #3004557 08/22/19 05:33 PM
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All good points, which my bandmate and I address in our shows.

My bandmate and I always dress to perform. One of the highest compliments I ever received was from a guest at an event. She looked at me and said, "You must be a Musician, you're the only one who's dressed."

I always thank the audience for coming out at the beginning of my set, even if it's just a handful of my fellow performers.

I try to engage people's attention, not shock-&-awe them into befuddlement. Once I have their ears, I may stretch out a bit, but I always bring them back to a comfortable listening space.

We have a website, business cards, download cards, a FB page. We try not to be annoying, but when we have a show coming up, or a new release, we post it right away.

I used to work in nightclubs, so I always engage the staff; I know exactly what they're putting up with, from performers and audience members. When I'm performing, my drink of choice is coffee or a soda with caffeine.

Here's one you left out, IMHO: Always Have Your Gear in Good Order. I once saw one poor devil spend 20 minutes of his 30 minute set, wiring up a Modular Synth, and another guy who'd packed everything except Instrument cables. A tabletop rig that broke down because someone hadn't swapped out the batteries. No one is going to be impressed watching you desperately try to pull your act together, unless they have a deep appreciation of Schadenfreude.


"Monsters are real, and Ghosts are real too. They live inside us, and sometimes, they win." Stephen King

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Re: Why No One Cares About Your Band [Re: GuardiansGuitar] #3004592 08/22/19 08:31 PM
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Back in my "Road Days", we used to have a little booklet with the names of the staff at the different venues. This way, we could call everyone by their names when we rolled into town. As for professionalism, I couldn't agree more. Leave your band room cleaner then when you got there. Be polite and friendly to everyone you interact with and remember, you are getting paid. It IS a job. Act professional at all times and you WILL be welcomed back.

Re: Why No One Cares About Your Band [Re: GuardiansGuitar] #3004606 08/23/19 12:30 AM
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Professionalism is sooooooo undervalued by the up-and-comers, and soooooo appreciated by the experienced.


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Re: Why No One Cares About Your Band [Re: Dannyalcatraz] #3004620 08/23/19 02:35 AM
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Dannyalcatraz — This is funny and awesome Thanks!

Re: Why No One Cares About Your Band [Re: Sharkman] #3004621 08/23/19 02:37 AM
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So true, Sharkman!

Re: Why No One Cares About Your Band [Re: A String] #3004622 08/23/19 02:38 AM
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Great tip, A String.

Re: Why No One Cares About Your Band [Re: Winston Psmith] #3004623 08/23/19 02:39 AM
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Great stuff, Winston Psmith! Thanks for adding to the conversation...

Re: Why No One Cares About Your Band [Re: Scott Fraser] #3004624 08/23/19 02:42 AM
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Thanks for that, Scott Fraser!

Re: Why No One Cares About Your Band [Re: GuardiansGuitar] #3004918 08/25/19 08:31 AM
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Very good points!
If I may throw in a comment or two-
I would say, definitely engage the audience-AND the venue.
There was a short-lived band called Bad English, with the singer Jonathan Waite and
a couple members of the band Journey. They were at a club which I later played at with a band myself.
Anyway it was clear they were used to big stadiums. They did a lot of grandiose theatrical moves which, at a small venue
seemed overbaked and insincere. I don`t think there`s a one-size-fits-all solution for audiences. Some crowds LIKE musicians
to be deadly serious about chops. Others will be sleeping after five minutes. I used to raise concerns about that-a lot of bands I was in were like,
start blast blast blast finish. The set only stopped between songs. Depending on the venue, stepping back and having fun-everyone starting a different song,
playing bits of TV themes-that can break through a lot of ice.

Last edited by skipclone 1; 08/25/19 08:33 AM.

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Re: Why No One Cares About Your Band [Re: GuardiansGuitar] #3004963 08/25/19 06:45 PM
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Something that's always stuck with me - remember, as far as the club owner goes, you're mainly there to sell drinks.

dB

Re: Why No One Cares About Your Band [Re: skipclone 1] #3005153 08/26/19 06:16 PM
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Skipclone1 -- All fab points, as well. Loved the Bad English story. Venue-appropriateness is something even long-time professional acts can forget. Ultimately, I feel it's all about reading the audience and ensuring that you are entertaining and engaging them. Thanks tons for joining the conversion -- MM

Re: Why No One Cares About Your Band [Re: Dave Bryce] #3005154 08/26/19 06:20 PM
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Hi Dave — Funny, re: your comment about selling drinks. I had just rec'd a sad/hilarious response from a local club owner who kinda went nutso as I was inquiring about some future dates for a couple of acts. One of the things he said about his club was, "I am trying to stay away from '60s and '70s acts. Even when 'BAND XXX' totally sells out the venue, the crowd only buys one drink each, complains about the seating, and they don't tip." Yikes!

Last edited by GuardiansGuitar; 08/26/19 06:20 PM.
Re: Why No One Cares About Your Band [Re: GuardiansGuitar] #3005184 08/26/19 09:07 PM
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Originally Posted by GuardiansGuitar
Hi Dave — Funny, re: your comment about selling drinks. I had just rec'd a sad/hilarious response from a local club owner who kinda went nutso as I was inquiring about some future dates for a couple of acts. One of the things he said about his club was, "I am trying to stay away from '60s and '70s acts. Even when 'BAND XXX' totally sells out the venue, the crowd only buys one drink each, complains about the seating, and they don't tip." Yikes!


And that's the crux of it right there. There's a reason why TV show scripts have such stupid endings...there's no money after the last commercial break. I think wielding your crowd like a consumer army is one of the best ways to have venues happily book you. I just saw the band Cybertronic Spree in a bar in Chicago. This is a band that dresses like Transformers and do things like play the entire Transformers soundtrack (the 80s animated movie), or Zepplin covers, etc. Along with the gimmick, they were tight as hell as an ensemble, and they all had serious chops. But the most significant thing I noticed was they had the capacity crowd in the palm of their hands. Singalongs, banter, etc. It was just a great show. And the crowd, for being a bunch of 80s nerds, was drinking severely. I know the owner of the Beat Kitchen where they played...I need to ask him about the revenue just in comparison to other bands. I don't think you need to be a lighthearted theme band to succeed, but you need to connect to your audience in the same way. As you mentioned, social media participation makes people feel like they are part of the band. There's literally no reason for a band that owns a cell phone to NOT get into social media marketing.

Last edited by zeronyne; 08/26/19 09:08 PM.

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Re: Why No One Cares About Your Band [Re: zeronyne] #3005187 08/26/19 09:20 PM
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zeronyne ... Awesome stuff! Thanks tons for sharing. -- MM

Re: Why No One Cares About Your Band [Re: A String] #3006099 09/02/19 05:55 AM
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Originally Posted by A String
Back in my "Road Days", we used to have a little booklet with the names of the staff at the different venues. This way, we could call everyone by their names when we rolled into town.


Brilliant! I like THAT.


I've got a related long story that I'll make short. (As short as I can. I promise.)

An all-originals band that I was in years ago had this one gig...

There were three bands; we were second in the order of appearance, and pretty much had the best time-slot for a few reasons. We were also the group that hired and paid the sound-op.

The singer's girlfriend made a big scene about the guy at the door daring to ask her for cover charge, as if he should have recognized her or something. The singer- already drunk- made the scene much worse, very loudly.

Our time came, overall we played well, the sound and the crowd were great. I'll point out that the drummer, the bass player, and I had to scramble several times to prevent train-wrecks as the singer drunkenly cut to a chorus, mid-verse, and vice-versa, mid-chorus, forgot his own lyrics, etc. We had become very adept at this, I must say...

A very famous singer from a very famous band (and I do mean one of the big ones) was right against the stage, just to my right, the whole time, with a friend of his that was also an acquaintance of our bass player's. He flew when the next band came on. He liked us a lot, and had his friend remain to tell our bass player all about that and a lot about how he had big plans for us and people he wanted to introduce us to.

Meanwhile, the singer's girlfriend made more, if quieter, scenes snubbing and insulting those in the band other than her boyfriend, the singer, now very drunk. The drummer and the singer had words, mostly from he drummer, who'd been with him for a long time; it was over, the band self-destructed...

We had to pay the sound op, as promised. He had good things to say, anyway.

We also had to split the take with the band that went on after us; the first band was paid a modest flat fee offered by the club. We then found out that our fortune from the door was...

...forty dollars. To split with the third band. Twenty bucks to divide between the four of us. After we'd already paid the sound op.

The guy taking cover-charge at the door? That the singer and his girlfriend had berated and belittled? He decided, "Fair enough, 'No Cover'- for ANYONE the whole rest of the night." He let the singer's girlfriend and her friends in for free- and everyone else following that. The first band got a pretty impressive chunk of cash compared to that...

And we had nothing to bring to that very famous singer from that very famous band.


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Re: Why No One Cares About Your Band [Re: Caevan O'Shite] #3006154 09/02/19 06:55 PM
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A cautionary tale indeed. Thanks, Caevan!


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