Anderton Posted March 30, 2001 Share Posted March 30, 2001 I subscribe to Bob Lefsetz's newsletter, and asked if I could reproduce a recent column. He gave me permission, so thanks Bob, and I'd be curious as to your comments. MAINTAINING CREDIBILITY (copyright 2001 Robert Scott Lefsetz) 1. Be able to play live. 2. Don't accept every offer. 3. Don't appear on TRL. 4. Talk on camera infrequently if at all. 5. Allow taping at your concerts. 6. Don't wear any clothes on stage that people wouldn't wear on the street. 7. Don't do "Behind The Music". (Okay, you do BTM as part of the megahype for your new album...what do you do for the album after THAT?!!) 8. Don't produce your own album unless no one else can capture the sound in your head and you're up to the task. 9. Hire a producer to get the real you on tape, not one who's known for making hits. 10. If you're not signed to a major label, don't until you've sold enough indie records to get a modicum of control in the contract that you sign. 11. Don't kick out a member of the band unless there really are health issues involved. (You'd be surprised how many fans love that drummer you hate. And when you sack him, they're going to be MAD at you.) 12. Do benefit shows. 13. Don't wait for others to go on record. If you feel it, do it. Sure, there's a backlash against Metallica for their Napster stand, but there's also a concomitant credibility bonus for standing up for what's right and not waiting for others to join them to take this stand. 14. Don't allow your record company to work singles from your album a year after it's released. (Unless, like with "Wicked Game", radio truly demands it.) This pisses off fans, who purchased the album when it came out and have to listen to lame deejays go on about the act's "new" record. 15. Release an album every eighteen months at the longest. Of course, this means you can't have the huge record company hype for every release, but doesn't this hype ultimately erode your credibility and career? 16. Don't be afraid to cover songs. Especially in concert. By doing this, you show your ROOTS! 17. Don't talk down to your audience. Don't refer to them as "kids", even if they are. 18. Don't be afraid to say something negative. 19. Don't become inaccessible. Oh, this worked in the sixties, but the acts were only inaccessible for brief periods of time. The classic example of this today is Pearl Jam. Sure, I can see pulling back from MTV, but please, meet the fans half way! At least do ONE video from each album. 20. Don't do the same show every night. (Go on the Web and see fans posting set lists from various shows. No matter how many times you've seen the act, if they performed one of your favorites and you weren't there, you're drawn to see them again, and again, until you hear it, or something equally precious to you.) 21. Don't record a whole concert and sell it to MTV, VH1 or HBO. But you CAN make a movie and have it play in theatres. Sure, fewer people will see it, but those who do, will TESTIFY! 22. Don't do "Storytellers". If you've got credibility, this only works if you're on the upswing/one of the first. Classic example. Don Henley wanted to release an album of his "Unplugged". But Geffen wouldn't count it as a new album. Mistake on every count. The performance was brilliant. Henley was hot. Geffen would have sold multimillions. Henley should have done it anyway. For in the process of arguing about it, he missed his window. Not only was he less hot, everybody else had released stuff from "Unplugged", so he would have looked like a me-too instead of an innovator. 23. Innovation does NOT count if it's a purely technical thing. Being the first to Webcast, to release a DVD, fucking irrelevant, don't let anybody tell you otherwise. Furthermore, frequently most consumers don't have the technical infrastructure to experience said "First". 24. Marry your high school sweetheart, not a model or an actress. (Jon Bon Jovi got MUCHO points for this, if only his music were more credible and he shucked that jive nice guy act. But Eddie Vedder, he did it right.) 25. Don't be afraid to break a commitment if it doesn't feel right. This is VERY complicated. They say it's like the circus, the show must go on. But if you bail because it's not right, it can really enhance your credibility in the long run... The best example BEING "Long May You Run". Neil Young cancelled a tour with Stephen Stills in support of the album containing that track after only a few gigs, saying it didn't feel right to him. He looked like an asshole, but it showed he had integrity, which led ultimately to credibility. And today, Stephen Stills is a joke, and Neil Young still has his credibility. 26. Don't do the title song for a movie. I know, I know...such GREAT promotion. First, who the fuck knows how good the movie is going to be??? Second, you're only doing it if you think there's going to be a lot of promotion, and it's this same promotion that erodes your credibility. If you're truly credible, your music sells itself. The constant exposure/sell turns people off. 27. Don't ACT! Whether it be in a movie or on television. And HEAVEN FORBID, don't appear playing on some TV show. 28. Charge reasonable ticket fees. You don't have to be the cheapest, just fair. Today, under thirty bucks is fair. Over forty certainly is not. And, if you're charging a cheap price, PUBLICIZE how much the ticket fee is. So the blame doesn't rest on you. Oh, Ticketmaster won't like this, but this is an issue that's about to boil over, you can be the first. And they're still getting their money, they've got no right to complain, and ultimately won't. 29. Never play a venue you can't sell out. 30. Never appear as an opening act. (Not something you can't recover from, but it should be avoided.) 31. Never physically assault a woman. You're history after this. Just ask Jackson Browne. 32. Don't do drugs just to be cool. The rock star on heroin is SUCH a cliche, that to say you're avoiding it helps your credibility. 33. Don't follow TRENDS! If you're a rocker, don't rap, do a dance track, or do whatever's happening now. It's a shortcut sometimes to cash, but it really devastates your career. (Classic example: Rod Stewart "Da Ya Think I'm Sexy?)" 34. Be mean/fuck up to ANYBODY on TV. Everybody knows these people are sucking at the corporate tit and are phony. When you act real and give shit to Kurt Loder, the news chicks (and that's what Serena and her buds appear to be), Carson Daly, Letterman, Leno, you look like you can't be bought and don't play the game, and that's the ESSENCE of credibility. Craig Anderton Educational site: http://www.craiganderton.org Music: http://www.youtube.com/thecraiganderton Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/craig_anderton Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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