So what does an independent band to do? I know it sounds hopeless, as if you are destined to waste away in your bedroom for all of eternity. But that is just not the case any more. With a cell phone and a laptop, heck with a calling card and a pad of paper, you hold the power to the greatest distribution channel there is:
THE ROAD. There can be a solid plan for you to follow so you can start creating real value, start playing out in new markets and start making your act attractive to agents, record companies and managers. It is not going to be easy. There are no get rich quick schemes here except for maybe winning the lottery. But the biggest lesson I am trying to convey is that you do not live your life waiting for that winning lottery ticket, so why waste your music career waiting for an elusive deal that may never come.
Dec Says: The most important point is that YOU have got to prove that you [or your band, or both] can pull in customers that the venue has never had before ... simple? That way the venue makes money, you get new fans, you make money and everyone is happy..... Here is a plan:
1) Go to a local wine bar/pub/venue talk to the boss [not the dippy barman/bargirl who has no say in the matter] Find when the boss is about
2) Say: “I notice you’re not busy on Thursday nights .... I’ve got some gear in the car/van outside .... I can set up my band in twenty minutes flat, no one will hardly notice. We’ll play for twenty minutes .... if you like us and your customers like us then we can talk about a regular gig on Thursdays? Or whichever is the quiet night.
3) If you don’t like us, we’ll quietly leave and I will buy a drink for everyone at the bar ....Okay?”
Oh, by the way, do not, under any circumstances allow the drummer/guitarist/bassist/keyboard player to blast off into riffs as you set up ... drummers are notorious for this, as are lead guitarists .... it really upsets customers .... if your gear is set up right, sound wise, the first notes the customers should hear is an orgasmic first toon.
This does a lot .....
1) It means that you are proving that you have what the public want ... no one knows how good you are when you are rehearsing in your bedroom or at the dreaded band rehearsal rooms .... you have to prove your worth ... or it will cost you a lot in drinks?
If you get the regular gig this will happen .....
a) Each week should gain new customers, new fans, more appreciation .... if you really prove you are what the public want and not just a rehearsal band
b) With the money earned you can increase the band numbers, if that is a benefit
c) With the money earned you can improve the equipment, lights, sound, crew
d) You collect database aggressively .... you get a long table, or a number of smaller ones in a row [essential] for your merchandise CD’s, Posters, 10”X8” glamour pics. You sell Polaroid or similar instant pictures of the customer with the band in a custom made card frame with all contact details and promotion on. Talk to me about what to sell ... you will be surprised how much you can lose with Tee Shirts, Key Rings, Mugs etc.
e) Other venue owners will hear about your success and want you at their venue in the town ... then in the county ... then country wide .... agents will hear of your success and book you for other type gigs ... private, corporate, fund raisers, festivals, overseas
The quality of your demos, merchandise CD’s and tracks for download will improve, become more commercial, as you realise what tracks please the punters .... you will take my advice and only go near a studio with the best hit producer you can find/afford/do a deal with. DVD's
In twelve months, 'sold out' signs ... queues down the street .... you should have the Band from Heaven with phenomenal live performing skills [ talk to me about this! ‘The Art of Live Performing' ] a database of 30,000 ... Facebook pages, Twitter followers ... Social Media gone in overdrive ... a website with pictures galore of each gig and punters names attached. Good dosh coming in from Gigs ... great costumes, stunning sound and lights and stage pull ups and backdrops. Merchandise making serious dosh
h) You won’t even have to approach the record companies ... they will certainly hear about you. But there is a sure and certain way of dealing with that [ see ‘How
To Make A $Million From Your Music’]
SOME HARD FACTS YOU WILL NOT LIKE:
- You will lose some or most of your original band members ... reason? Some guys just cannot handle success ... and, unbelievably, some cannot perform [honest!]. But don't worry, there will always be a queue of wannabes waiting to join you
- You will lose more band members and be consumed with self doubt as you realise you have to become ultra commercial to please your audience. They will hate the fact that the biggest song of the night is the cheesy cover which you perform in your own unique band style
- You will lose more band members when they realise that they HAVE TO mime on TV shows, radio and club P.A's [public appearances]
- You will have to become a hard task master .... no lateness accepted ... no sloppy dress .... no ‘girl friends’ [a golden rule]. No alcohol, drugs, substances [sad, but true!]
- You will have to become a hard businessman ... choose your manager ... choose your agent ... choose your record company [yep!]. It is said that Mick Jagger is much happier with a calculator in his hand than a guitar.
- You can forget about Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving .... birthdays, holidays .... successful guys have no concept of enjoyment coming before a gig commitment [you will lose more band members over this]
- You will certainly lose your girlfriend/boyfriend/significant other.
At the end of this article you are realising that this is not the glamorous easy life that you presumed it would be ... “a way of not having to get up in the mornings?”. An easy way to sex, drugs and Rock ‘N Roll?
I can honestly say I have worked my socks off every day of my career ... no let up .... very little relaxation time ....no birthdays, Christmas etc. Quality time with my kids
But how much have I made? How much sheer exhilaration and fun have I had from hits, world touring, TV, Films?
Performing to 250,000 audience with them in the palm of your hand? Come on? Every music man's dream?