No, this isn’t an interview.
Yes, I can write whatever I want.
You know, I’ve been in and out of bands for close to ten years now. I’ve seen bands come and go, and the only thing that never changes, is there is always a handful of bands that don’t have their shit together. I take a lot fo pride in all this stuff. Anu Beginning may not be the best band around, musically or whatever, but we have heard from more than one promoter, and tons of bands, that we are pretty nice dudes…and have our shit in order, and I take a lot of pride in that. I feel a lot of this has to do why we get shows all over, and get asked back to venues by promoters and bookers. Here are my top ten tips to ensure that you get asked to play more shows…possibly…as long as your band totally doesn’t suck. Let’s begin.
1-Perhaps the most obvious, but so many bands can’t wrap their heads around it. Show up on time. If the promoter/ booker says load in is at 5, be there at 5. In fact, be there at 4:55. And if you are going to be later, tell them ahead of time. Never, ever ever, be the band who rolls in 20 minutes before they play. Bad karma.
2-Now you’ve loaded in, and here is Aaron’s second tip. Do not take over 3/4’s of the ”gear zone” to set up your drums, amps, guitars, etc. Consolidate your gear so other bands have room. It’s a bro move, everyone needs space to set up. Once you set your gear up, crunch it in, and put it all together. DRUMMERS, once your drums are set up, there is no need to play them until you load on stage.
3-This one happens often, especially in younger bands. Do not show up with non working/crappy gear. If you are ready to play shows, make sure your gear is too. So many times we’ve lent out guitar heads, cables, tuners, mics…even a guitar. If you need to borrow something make the arrangements prior to the show. Do not ask while your band is loading on stage. We are pretty nice, and 9 times out of 10 we will say yes, but some bands won’t. Borrowing someone’s $1500 guitar is risky, and not a lot of dudes will lend you one because your input jack doesn’t work, or you have a bum pickup. Also, cables are like $20. Make sure yours work.
4-Now you’re getting ready to load on stage for your set. Do it…quickly. We have a ton of gear, but we can load on, and be set up and ready to go in under ten minutes, and if the sound man is on his game, we can squeeze a soundcheck in there! If your band takes 20 minutes or more to get on stage, set up and ready, you’ve got a situation. Unless you are headlining, that usually doesn’t fly. When you’re loading on, that isn’t time to tune your drums, string your guitar etc. That time becomes work time.
5-Now you’re playing your set. Here is were a ton of bands, in my opinion lose points. Have a set list. Or at least a good idea of the order of songs. Asking the other dudes in your band ”What are we playing next”, while holding a microphone in your face, honestly, it makes you look so unprofessional. Have decent stage banter. Have a semi cohesive set planned out. I’ve seen so many bands that their set falls apart because of these things.
6-Now you’re done your set. Get the hell off the stage, because the next band wants on. Unless you are the last band of the night, the stage is not the place to (1) wrap cables, (2) put your guitars in the cases (3) even worse, put your drums in their cases (4) take every cymbal off the stands and put them away (5) leave all your gear on the stage and talk to your friends in the audience etc etc. When you are done, get off the stage. Always remember how anxious you were to get on when the band before you was finished.
7-This is out of order, but soundcheck. When the sound man asks to hear, the drums for example, if you are the guitar player, shut up. Don’t riff some sweet chords…because that’s annoying as shit. When he calls ”stage left”, that’s your time to rip ‘Smoke on the Water’. The sound guy is there all night, fatiguing his ears trying to make you sound good. Do him a favour and make his job as easy as possible.
8-You’re done your set. NEVER EVER EVER EVER bail. If you are the opening band (unless you have a good excuse) always always always stay until the last band played. It’s a respect thing. Bands that pack up their gear as soon as they’re done, and then take off with the friends they brought, and don’t come back….. that’s no good. You got the opportunity to open for a band, that is obviously a bigger name than your own. Respect that, and pay your respect and dues to them.
9-This one seems obvious, but, support your scene. Go to shows that your band isn’t playing. If you support your scene it will support you. Get to know the other bands around you in your city. They will be the ones to hep you out. We wouldn’t be anywhere if we weren’t friends with so many sweet bands.
10-Most important. Do not be a premadonna. Never think your band is ”to good to be on a bill” or think you ”deserve” anything. I’ve seen/ played with a lot of bands, young bands, that walked around like the scene owed them something…when they really have never done anything for the scene. If you are in a band, you owe your fans everything, they owe you nothing, the scene owes you nothing. Don’t walk around acting like it does.
And those are my tips. Happy rocking, friends.