Sunday, April 16, 2006

10 Stupid Things Bands Do

10 Stupid Things Bands Do

I asked this question a couple of months ago, and got a few responses, and realized I never provided some of my favortie stupid things. This is not a "top 10" list, and there is no priority to which item is where. It could easily be a list of 15 ( we didn't mentioned drugs...)

1. Use a free web site.
Nothing says “loser” like Would you buy a car from a guy in a tent? NO! How are you going to announce your web site from a stage? You can get a web site including a REAL Domain for 36 bucks a YEAR. I use Vizaweb for all my sites (and I have been since 2002). For more information go to

2. They communicate poorly with the club owner
You get an email off of your web site that someone is interested in booking you. You send a note to the potential booker and say “Steve we would love to play your club, we have the 18th open, let me know – Jimmy” Now the club owner has to go back through his emails to see if he sent one to a band with a “Jimmy” in it. If he offered the 18th, what month was it? In the event he does want to contact you, and once he figures out who Jimmy is, he needs to find his phone number.’ Why not try “Steve, thank for the opportunity to play your club. This is Jimmy from Jimmy and Jugs ( ) In regards to your questions if we could play October 18th, we do have that date open and I will pencil that in. So we can confirm this date, please call me 333-333-3333. Thanks again, I look forward to playing your club.

3. Forget to Plug Their Web Site
They send out a demo packet, or a flyer, or a business card. Your web site IS your BUSINESS card. Only it does SO MUCH MORE. You can show videos, play music, read the history, sell merchandise (and let’s see a business card do that). Yet time after time, bands put out material without a mention of their web site. Everything you put out should have your phone and web site.

4. Plug another Club From the Stage
A club has graciously let you on to their stage. How do you repay this privilege? You tell everyone to go to a different club next week. But wait, you have an audience, and you want them to follow you. How do you do that? Simple, print up some schedules, then announce that “We have schedules” available (for those without computers), and announce (you guessed it) you web site address (which of course has your up to date schedule). You’re not mentioning the clubs competition, and anyone who wants to follow you will make the effort to get your schedule.

5. Reveal their fans email
Your fans have trusted you with their email address. You have said you will never sell their email address. You send an email out to all 594 people on your list. You simply highlight their names in your address book and click on the “TO:” button. Type up your email and send it. NOOOOO!!!!!!! Now everyone who receives this message can see everyone else’s email address. I had this happen to me once, and this was my personal (non business) account to this day as it receives hundreds of spam messages a DAY. Instead you want to put the addresses in the BCC (or blind carbon copy) field. This way the fans do not see who else received the message.

6. Ready Fire Aim
Bands and music are fun. However, if you do not set up some guidelines, you can leave the door open to resentment and turmoil. When you start a band, define your style of music you will play and not play. Define what will constitute a person being fired. Define how any “band funds” will be spent. Define when, and how frequently you will practice. Define the criteria for picking songs. Define, define, DEFINE!! When things are well defined, people “know the rules” and can work together as a team.

7. Preach to the Choir
During breaks on gigs the band sits down and talks with their school/work buddies who come to every gig. These people already like your music and your band. You need to BUILD a fan base. While you don’t want to alienate old die hard fans, if you do not continue to find NEW fans, eventually your band burns out the die hard fans, and have no new ones to take their place.

8. Barking up the wrong tree.
The bass player keeps losing his spot during solos. You complain to the drummer and the keyboard player and they agree that the bass player is making mistakes. However if you do not contact the bass player in a pleasant manner and try to work together to help him focus, things will not improve.

9. Plan a CD release party when the CD doesn’t exist yet
You are so excited. The recording is done. They are going to “wrap up a few loose ends in the mixing, and then the CD will get pressed, and you will have a CD.” Time after time I hear the “disc people lost my logo,” or the “Mastering tech took longer than we thought.” You’ve waited MONTHS for this CD to be ready (practicing, recording, mixing, etc), but you can’t wait another 7-10 days until you have a CD in your hand to start planning your CD release party. You’re understandably excited, but keep your cool, and get it done right.

9. Announce that the next song is an original
I’ve never understood this one. An artist in a band that plays predominantly cover tunes announces “I’d like to play you a song I wrote.” By doing this it either raises the listening standard that the listener is current at (“oh well lets se what they can do..), or it drives people away (“Look I could care less about your songs, play something I know). Why not just play it, see what the reaction is, and (if it was a good response) let the crowd know that you wrote the song (You liked that eh? That was an original song of ours, it’s on our CD which is available for sale over there, and on our website www……).

10. Ignore Technology
“I’m a musician, not a computer geek.” This is the phrase from the band that doesn’t have a web site, or an email list to subscribe to. They rely on paper flyers, and handing out cassette tapes of their demos. Your web site is an “electronic business card” for the WORLD. An email list helps you keep in touch with your fans. If you’ve sworn off both of these, I bet I can find a Neil Diamond 8-track tape in your house.

For more tips and insights check out Dave’s Book “Get Your Band Out of the Basement (and keep them out of the asylum) filled with over 100+ ideas and insights into helping your band be more successful. For more information go to

Sharing advice for bands - Pt. II

Make Your Band Stand Out with Proof

By Dave Jackson
Author of the book "Get Your Band Out of the Basement and keep them out of the asylum" available at

I always drop of posters, or flyers to a club a few weeks (if not a month) before the gig to help promote my band's appearance. In some cases the club did not put them up (I always offer, and bring my own tape). I've had some club owners ask what other actions I've taken to promote the band. While you can answer "I sent out an email to our fans" you can also prove this. Let me explain

When you send an email out to your fan list, be sure to include yourself on that message. Remember the club owner is going to be reading this so be sure to mention what a great club this and how excited you are to be playing there.

Then when the message arrives, be sure to forward it to the club owner, or dj, or podcast producer. Now not only did you tell them how you promote the appearance, you are proving it.

VERY IMPORTANT: I did NOT say ADD THEM TO YOUR MAILING LIST. They know where your website is, they know how to subscribe, if they wanted to be on your list, they would subscribe themselves. Keep in mind, unwanted email is called spam, and it’s illegal. Don't do it.

So the key is to send the mail to yourself, and then forward it to the club owner, dj, or podcaster. Keep in ind the club owner wants patrons, the DJ and the podcaster want listeners. When they see the proof that you are doing your best to bring them what they want, they will appreciate it.

I was talking with Rich Palmer who produces a podcast. He said he often sees a spike for his podcast when bands "openly" promote it (list it on their website, send it to their fans, etc). Now if Rich has two bands that want on his show, who do you think he is going to play? The one who does nothing or the one that promotes it.

Don't leave these people guessing. You can prove you are promoting the appearance

ALTER EGO rocking the Oyster Bake Apr. 22

Image hosting by Photobucket
Oyster, beer, and rock and roll! What more is there?

Monday, April 03, 2006

Cancelled at Wise Guys

I got a call from Sal today (Monday, April 3) saying that our gig at Wise Guys for Thursday, April 6, had been cancelled! He left a message that they had double booked (I booked this gig in early February), that it had been a nightmare the last two weeks with bands, yadda, yadda, yadda.
I tried calling just now (about 8:30 p.m.) and they told me he was doing an interview, then had a meeting, even though I was told earlier to call at this precise time. Guess he didn't want to talk to me live.
I basically left his assistant manager a message for Sal NOT to call us, that we were not interested in playing there, and also said that I had heard this had been a problem lately and that they need to treat their bands in a more professional manner. Would have loved to tell Sal that directly, but that was enough for me!
Basically, no big deal, other than I had already advertised it in the EDGE, Weekender and Current and in all the schedules I've handed out for the last month!
And to me, Wise Guys is no great loss, since they behave so unprofessionally with their bands. It would have been nice to have a gig in that area of town, but we still have 9 other gigs this month!

Saturday, April 01, 2006


Image hosting by Photobucket

Sharing advice for bands

Greetings, All!
Recently, I tried publishing some items on a local blog on things bands can do to help themselves. I did this becaue i truly believe musicians should help each other out.
What I got in return was a bunch of crap published by bitter, jealous a-holes who had a personal ax to grind with me. Since then, I have declined to participate in that forum, since I really didn't need the aggravation. But this here is MY blog and I can do what I want with it, so I'll start putting stuff here and at Hope this helps someone out there!
I subscribe to a number of online newsletters, an especially good one being the Musician's Cooler ( written and compiled by Dave Jackson. It's easy to subscribe to and there are some pretty useful ideas for everyone in there. Here is the latest I received. Use it or lose it as you see fit.
Making an Entrance
By Dave Jackson

My band always meets and greets the audience as they
arrive. In the beginning we used to "disappear" about
20 minutes before the show. Why? Because we wanted to make an entrance. After all,don't "the big boys" do that?

"You wanted the best and you got the best!" recognize
that? It's at the beginning of every Kiss show. They
don't have any big "ooh ahh spooky wooky" music.

I've only see two bands who had NO big entrance. One
was Metallica (who walked through the crowd to the stage nobody even realized it was them, till they started waving). Ted Nugent also walked out on stage with the "house lights on." Then a bikini babe brought him his guitar. The lights went out and the show started.

What you are trying to do is build anticipation. Howard Stern broadcast over 40 hours of a heartbeat (and not much else) before his first day on satellite radio. It worked ... I listened off an on over the weekend, just checking to see if anything had changed.

Don't Blow It

I once watched a band who had spent a pretty penny on
a big ooh ahh spooky wooky music intro only to have it end, and the guitar player ask "How about some Zeppelin?" and launch into Whole Lotta love. Anti-climatic at its best (worst?).

Reality Dave - Reality

OK, so you're a folk band, blues band, dance band, and big spooky music doesn't work. It doesn't have to be that. It could be as simple as:
A) Having someone say "Ladies and Gentlemen (your band name ).
B) Putting a clock on stage with giant hands and a sign that says "Show starts a 9:00 PM). I'm not sure if they make these but a digital timer with a countdown clock
C) Have a the members of the band come in separately. So the drummer starts, then the bass, then the guitar, then the singer.

By having a definite "starting point" you build anticipation so people stick around to see what's coming, and when you start people know it's time to clap and have fun.

Every "big" band I see does this, and why not imitate those who are "doing well?"