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


Blogger Rowan said...

Damn good list.

8:46 PM  
Anonymous Suzi said...

That is an excellent blog entry. I would love to link your blog to my website. You are an incredible writer and you get to the point without all the mumbo jumbo. Good job!

8:42 AM  

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