2008 update on the Best
band up and running."
This is my current best advice for getting a
career moving in the music industry,
songwriting, record deals.
to go from broke to making sizable dosh in the
shortest time - publishing deals and making hit music.
Dec only mixes with the best ...
Bobbie Davro - not only a huge comedy star in the
UK but starring in the biggest soap
"Coronation Street" .... long time
pals! Here appearing together at York Racecourse.
from a Member: Should
I start by hunting down and auditioning
musicians as band members?
read in the music mags. and what the real story
about record deals tends to be, at most times,
I am the
luckiest guy alive because I listened to every
bit of advice I was given about songwriting,
performing, publishing and actioned it
without question. So I saved myself months
and years of 'doing it the wrong way' ... or
trying to 'reinvent the wheel' as I have heard
most important thing is to learn how to
see, I was a great learner, I devoured books on
any subject, especially making music. I was a double scholar at school and
still advise guys to get the best education they
can ... all the top guys in the music industry are
super educated. Mike Jagger is more
comfortable with a calculator in his hand than a
guitar! Surprise you?
at age 14, I was making money from music - here
playing a mouthorgan for a Boston Radio
So why do
I advise against using musicians in your band?
I started this
saying 'getting your career moving fast' ...
yes? So, it goes without saying that joining
up with pals at school or University means that
you will be joining up with guys at 'start level'
... they may be doing it for a laugh, to pass time
and I would almost guarantee will not have the
'climbing over dead bodies' attitude to make
serious dosh in this cruel and hard, knowledge and
skills based business. Record Deals and
Publishing Deals do not come easy.
Nope - that
method is far too
So back to
musicians ..... First, with enormous respect, you are insane to employ musicians at your early stage of the game. The calibre of musicians available will be sub standard, poor readers, quite old fashioned, look like sh*t and will play their version of your toons ... not the hit versions you envisage. I will not even mention the age of the instruments they will play [and try to convince you that that is what Kanye West uses].
They will dress as musos always do [dreadful!] Behave as musos do [dreadful] and drink like musos do [again dreadful]. Turn up late, smoke and leave every dressing room like a tip. They will also have the physique of your grandfather. Altogether not what you see on MTV. [The top musicians do not behave like this ... mostly herbal tea drinkers, work out daily, immaculate and behave like vicars .... but cost a fortune to employ]
average 'muso' band ... how do you like it?
My advice is to have you toons made into top Hit potential tracks by the best 'today' programmers/producers you get to know or can afford,
guys who adore 'making hit music' ..... any producer worth his salt, if he is excited by the prospects of your songs will practically do this for free ... or for a small percentage of the action. [My best advice would be to check your toons with my Demo Consultation Service ... I can also put you in touch with arrangers ...http://www.makehits.co.uk/demo.htm ... that will save you a fortune in misspent money]
Demo Consultation pack tells you exactly how good your
material is - on CD plus a 17 page written critique
and a copyright certificate - the BEST! the most
comprehensive commercial evaluation you can get.
Saves you fortunes in wasted demo making studio
What mixes should you have?
Make sure he does 1) full finished mix 2) mix with no lead vocal [for TV and Radio work] 3) mix with lead vocal and drums missing [for use on TV and radio where you can use live drums] 4) lastly a mix with all those who you envisage will be on stage eventually with you missing. This will leave all the samples, special effects not available on stage, special echoes, reverbs, choirs etc. This is called in our business an 'added instruments track'. 90% of the major bands use this system.
One guy can produce what a
bunch of musos will take a week to do - with
accuracy, flair and commercial money making
feel. Because he just loves doing it.
Make sure he does not provide you with a 'click track' version [too complicated to explain] ... all the
music cues should be on the track for the live band. My band use precisely this system [I invented it 30 years ago] ... we do not have live bass on stage and the whole band latches on to the bass on track - just as in a recording studio.
You then perform this material, in public, on your own, with a couple of speakers,
a radio mic. and a mini disc player. This will prove that the music works or not with an audience - [having musicians with you does not add one jot!]
you feel a record deal coming on already?
Oh, make sure you are song writing at this stage
and include at least 30% of your own material.
On your own for the first time -
"Nerves about the gig means you care about the gig"
- Dara O'Brian
When you realize what stagecraft is and how to handle an audience [without talking and waffling] then add a keyboard player, playing sparsely from the original guide sheets used on the original session [those sheets are gold dust ... never use the originals, keep them in a safe ... use copies].
where do you learn this stagecraft?
can be useful, but rarely have they turned out
solid long career mega talent [Phil Collins - an exception?]
If you feel you could use help in perfecting your stagecraft then have a look at 'The Art of Live Performing' .. the ten month audio performing programme at
Ten months packed full of the greatest
methods, tricks and techniques to make you a true
world class performing talent.
The keyboard player has to be gorgeous, perform like a dream, preferably dance, black is best and if she/he back sings that is better..... but must sing the back singer notes on the track.
Hey, listen, it may not be a keyboard player?
You are earning money now ... not much, but more than you were last month?
Better than the balding pot bellied guitar player with the
pint of beer at his feet?
Or how about this?
Keyboards, Back Singing, then out front in dance
routines and working the lighting console [that
looks like an extra keyboard?]
Whoever joins your band has
got to provide 'entertainment value'
Next, start to improve the equipment ... lights are so important ... [check out the new LED type low voltage lights] .... then add another person on stage [you notice I did not say 'musician' - keep well away from them]. It does not matter whether they can play or not ... they simply have to learn to mime ... and mime accurately [as accurately as you see on MTV]. It is looks and performance you want, if they can play, that is a bonus.
You are dealing with reproducing the hit music you
had done in the studio and this is the way to do
game is 80% visual - 20% music
[This is assuming that YOU are a stunning performer, killing the audiences, sold-out signs and the managements are increasing your fees - other gigs should be flooding in, at least three extra offers per gig]
If this is not happening then you
ain't doing it right! Simple as that.
achievable with the smallest outlay for stage
Now ensure that the act is looking 'costumed' ... as in
trendy and colour coordinated .... no primary colours, no browns .... white / silver / pale colours are best .... no jeans [unless Dior or Versace] ... no Tee shirts... no dirty trainers. Check out Black Eyed Peas, Scissor
Sisters, Killers. Be careful of 'Stage Costume Designers' ... they are mostly steeped in the Sixties. Best scout around the ultra trendy shops and then add gloss to the outfits, bling, ribbons and sown on tat work great. Primark is a goldmine for stage clothes .... by the way, stage clothes are only worn on stage. They go on immediately before a show and are taken off the second you come off stage and carefully hung up and covered ..... a golden rule. NEVER sit in a stage costume.
Remember you have to coordinate - never leave it
up to individual band members ... trust me they
rarely have a clue ... go for a themed look ....
check out the pop mags.
sure the audience ask:
where did they get those outfits?"
couldn't achieve this? think again .... easy
This works for Rock, Pop, Hip Hop ... even a
classical music presentation.
Now add a great conga/roto-tom/octo
pad player [again not a muso] ... enthusiastic, great performer, hopefully a back singer, loves the audience, the audience loves him/her .....
You could even add a drummer if you
are brave enough ... but drummers, notoriously do
not understand 'performing'. They want to sit
in the dark behind their drums and practice what
they learned from the latest jazz drumming DVD they
bought ... if you don't believe me, try putting a
light on them when they play .... have you ever seen
a drummer freak out? Not a pretty sight!
This is my band's current drummer
... and no .... you can't have him. He gets to
travel the world with us [pic. taken in New York]
Now add changes of costume ... if the band are 100% behind what you are doing great ... if they are not sack them fast .... individually or together. It is hard to find folk who understand all this logic. You only employ performers who
ADD to the show .... in fact they should be ESSENTIAL to the show.
By this time, you will be selling your latest white label single CD's
of your song writing - your potential hit music ..... albums, posters, photos, tour brochures .... Polaroid photos in folders ... all pulling in serious dosh. You will be collecting database and email addresses ... taking digital photos and promising the audience that they will be uploaded tomorrow ....
"give us your email and you can see yourself on our site!"
Now the weekly newsletter with the gig list and the MySpace/UTube with new toons and gig lists ..... DO NOT put naff amateur footage on UTube ... it will come back to haunt you in years to come!
Now it's starting to work .....
the band are doing a 'costume change' while she
does an Accapella. Then she will change ...what
will she come back in?
And all this success is because you did not employ musos.
If you are a muso, don't take this
to heart .... just realize that thinking like a
typical 'muso' is the quickest way to ensure that
you will have no success, no money, no career and
end up at 55 moaning that it is all 'fixed'.
Think like a 'successful' muso who
loves his job, loves to perform and entertain, loves
to 'look good' and knows the word 'certainly' when
asked to do anything 'theatrical' like miming or
posing plus having 27 1000 Watt lights blazing on
Costume changes work?
By the way, a record deal HAS to come .... it would be impossible not to. Purely depends on writing and writing ... checking with the demo consultation service until you have the 'dead cert' Number 1. You see, you have the ideal vehicle to check out the songs ... your own killer act. The audience tell you immediately whether you 'have one, or not'.
The Record Companies will actually find YOU for a
Record Deal ... think about it ... selling 2,000 albums a month, packing every venue with sold-out signs? 35,000 database? Come on? Half the audience with your Tee Shirts on?
By the way, musos do not write arrangements ... arrangers do ... a bunch of musos with simply play an approximation of your toon in their own 1976 style! And moan all the time that they hate the chart. They will argue that they wrote/co-wrote the songs and cause you huge
grief when success does come ... if it does -
dragging them with you kicking and screaming.
The ultimate dream ..... remember it is 80% visual
- 20% music .... despite what Charlie down the pub
says "who knows a thing or two" and
had a very minor hit in 1962.
Lastly you MUST have you own publishing company - see "How To Start Your Own Music Company For Less Than £100"
that way you get to control your own music and get
to keep 100% - not the 50% which a Publishing Company
will offer you ... keeping 50% just for collecting YOUR
Publishing Manual to start your own business
for just £87.50
This all works for world class Rock 'N Roll, Hip Hop, R 'n B, Soul, Country, Pop ..... this is dosh making show biz .... not for 'locked in the pub
idea for this article was from songwriting
and music making members
of The Serious Writers Guild. It
gives an idea of the benefits of
belonging to the Guild. You can
join simply by purchasing the ten month
programme 'How to Make A $Million From
Your Music' at www.makehits.co.uk/swgappsecure.htm
This Article was
written by Dec Cluskey
Email a question?
the info you need re. hit records is in "57
Secrets of a Hit Record" now
available. Call +44 1323 728005 [UK
dress sense awareness and tips/advice on
'looking good' and 'sounding good' check out 'How
To Make A $Million From Your Music' at
the ten month distance learning course 'The
Art of Live Performing" http://www.liveperforming.com
biggest selling Publishing Business manual:
"How To Start Your Own Music Publishing
Business for less than £100" http://www.makehits.co.uk/publishing.htm
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