Well, I posted my top ten tips….and now here is my bottom ten. They may be the bottom tips, but trust me, they are still very important…in my opinion at least. And you know,the internet is all about opinions…and I feel like sharing mine. We went over basic band etiquette with the top ten tips, now let’s divulge a little more.
1-Bands…guitar players and bass players especially: own a tuner. I have seen this so many times before, band goes up, and I look onstage and notice no floor or rack tuner. Hmm, I say, interesting, well maybe he has a small tuner perched up on his amp. No…no, they are going to play an entire set without tuning their guitar once. I hate to break it to you, but because of the nature of a guitar…it probably won’t stay in tune an entire set. I have a really nice guitar and it barely stays in tune for two songs. Do yourself a favour. Invest in a decent tuner for stage.
2-Modern music exasperates me. If you know me, you’ll know I’m pretty much stuck in the late 90’s and early to mid 2000s. Writing a song that is a 4 minute breakdown is cool and all, but, you know, don’t forget about melody, a super catchy chorus… play in A and chugging that open chord is cool for a minute, but make sure there is more to that in a song.
3-I’ve seen bands do covers…a lot. If your band sounds like…Alexisonfire perhaps…do not cover Alexisonfire. Change it up. In my opinion covers shouldn’t be played verbatim…unless you are a cover band. Switch it up, and make it your own!
4-While I’m on the topic of covers, how many covers do you play in your set? If it’s more than 2, and you aren’t a cover band, maybe rethink what you’re doing.If your set consists of 4 originals and 3 covers, maybe you need to take sometime off, and sit down and write some more original songs. I don’t think the amount of covers you play should be close to the amount of originals you play, it should be a 5 to 1 ratio. Also….never cover a song by the band you are opening for. I’ve seen it done. Not a good idea.
5-Songs in general…never play a song before you are ready to play. I’ve also seen bands say ”hey we wrote this song two days ago, and we’re going to try to play it for you tonight’. That rarely goes well (although I’ve seen it pulled off), but it usually ends in a train wreck, which makes your band look..well, not good.
6-If you have a set time that is 30 minutes, don’t play for 40. It’s way better to play for minutes shorter than it is for 5 longer. It keeps the show running smooth, the other bands happy, as well as the sound guy and promoter. Time your set out. If you don’t know how long it is, time it one practice, top to bottom. Keep it within the time you’re given. Don’t be the band that people are waiting for to get off the stage…
7-I know I will take flack for this, but don’t tell kids to beat the hell out of each other in a mosh pit. I personally don’t get it.Back in the olden days, mosh was jumping up and down….not karate kicking the shit out of the other kids. Don’t encourage it….unless you’re br00tal, then do what you want, d00dz.
8-Talk to kids. This kind of goes with the bailing after you play, brought up in the first 10 tips. Hanging outside the entire night after you play, leaving or not acknowledging people who watched your band is no good. Set up a table for kids to come see you at, even if you don’t have merch! Be friendly. The kids that hug and hi five you are the ones who are gonna tell their friends about you!
9-Don’t bash the other bands you’re on the bill with. Once again, I’ve seen it done, in fact I’ve seen it done from bands while they are on stage with a mic in their hands. That is the lowest stupidest thing to do. Also bashing the promoter isn’t cool, and yes, I’ve seen it done as well.
10-Have fun. Being in a band is a serious thing, but it’s also supposed to be a ton of fun. Don’t mope around a venue before/after your set. Hang out, get wild, if you’re over 19 get a silly beverage from the bar, hang out with fans, explore a city. Don’t sit in your van getting high and drunk until your set time comes.
Do what you love, and love what you do!