Helping Musicians Help Themselves!
Member # 2
posted 30 August 2003 01:40 PM
This info shared moments ago with a band planning to tour way beyond their means.
I'm concerned (for your sake) about the proximity of some of the gig dates on your upcoming tour... I'm assuming that you're driving from New Orleans to St. Louis, not flying... and you're actually located in the Midwest somewhere with gigs in NYC and Florida and Milwaukee and Atlanta ... back-to-back.
anyway... that's the concern I have... how close together some of your tour dates are when the distances are so far apart.
Better to keep to the NE and midwest than to travel 1000 miles for a show that 10 - 15 people will attend.
That ALONE puts tremendous stress on the band mates but exacerbating that stress are the road rules and road horror stories... you are not allowing for accidents and emergencies and you're taking the band out so far for again what could be under-promoted events.
I only say this because almost invariably, bands break up soon after such tours... I have seen it far too many times... but of course, who am I? you'll probably ignore these concerns and stick with the plan. never fails... until it does. and it always seems to result in breaking up the band.
Better to tour in your area and have a small turn pout that you can build upon with less stress than to tour like crazy to places no one has promoted for you, and to just drag down, down, down by the demands of the schedule. the more demanding, the more stress, the more stress, the more bitterness and anger, and then lines get crossed, and irrevocable damaged is laid in, and new lines defended.
Pretty retarded when you know in advance that it's entirely unnecessary to put your band through so much unnecessary touring and stress in order to succeed.
Sell 10,000 cds at home and then start touring to places where you have distribution set up and you can return to on a monthly basis or at most every other month.
If you can't do that... then avoid it!
Wait until you can meet that schedule. Focus on the few fans you have close to home and compress that strength into core street team members and grow exponentially within a hour's drive of your home. extend that slowly to three hours drive over the following year. and stick with that until you can build up distribution farther out that you can check on every month. Put your music on consignment in at least 2-3 record stores in every city in which you perform. and perform in those cities at least once every month... but try to perform out at least 5-6 times every month... build that up to 8 times with a growing sphere.
Build that up further by becoming the house band at some cool local venue so that you can perform 12 times per month... your rehearsals become more of new ideas sessions because your actual gigs become the real rehearsals.
and by then, everyone knows the names of every member of your band.
The local press start to get sick of giving you free press and start asking if you want to advertise on top of that.
Meanwhile, you have your street team focused on getting your new leads for music zines and djs and other needful things for which you just don't have the time to properly focus. and so you start having Noon-day pizzas parties at which a few street team kids are stuffing envelopes and licking stamps and applying address labels. and then you send one to the post office with the load and the other to get beer and have a party to celebrate... really it's just a reward for your fans.
You should do that about once a month or at least every other month.
Three to six of you get stuff going with the mailings that day, and meanwhile some of you pick up the phone and invite more people to come to the after-party/bbq scheduled for that evening and so you do that to reward your street team crew and then they invite all their friends to come so they can gloat about how they are so important because they helped out the local musicians that have got IT together and maybe after all that, if you really have IT together then you have a gig planned for 10pm that night and so all these fans and their friends who have gathered for the after the mailings afterparty/BBQ (at which you might rehearse before the gig... why not?)
and then you caravan everyone to the music venue... car pooling it and caravanning it and suddenly you show up with 50 people who are all eager to see you get on stage and meanwhile ordering drinks... even if it's an all ages gig.. they are buying water and sodas to keep themselves looking cool and pre-occupied... and the promotor comes up to you and asks you how you did it? You look dumbfounded, and he says, "Forget how you did it,... Do you want to gig here again in three weeks? We've got an opening and I think your band would be a perfect fit."
Does it really matter if it's a perfect fit?
The promotor just wants YOUR BAND because you obviously have a draw. and they show up when the doors open!
That's impressive, and so.. even more than that, you came prepared with a disposable camera which you toss out into the crowd and ask the fans to start snapping photos of themselves.. and you tell them when you toss it out that if you get that camera back at the end of the show, then you will upload all those photos to a new photos page at your website... and that everyone who signs up on your guest list will not only get a free demo of tracks that may or may not appear on your next album, but they will also get an email letting them know when those photos have been uploaded.
You WILL get that camera back at the end of the night and you'll get at *least* 2 dozen people signed up on your mailing list... all of whom will be talking about nothing else for the next few days other than your band and what a cool time they had at your back yard party...
"and then at the gig, and then we passed around this disposable camera, and next they're going to put MY photo on their website. and you gotta promise to go check it out, okay?"
Seriously... all in a day's work..
a far better scenario than...
"Just shut up and get in the van! We've got 9 hours to make a 13 hour drive!"
Believe me... you might hate me now...
but you'll thank me someday for this advice.
If not, then... well, who am I anyway? Right?
What would I know about music, touring, and the downfall of every other band in the underground?
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Posts: 1065 | From: Portland, Oregon | Registered: Oct 2002
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