[Dixielandjazz] Fwd: Some sound advise from young bands on the club circuit today

tcashwigg at aol.com tcashwigg at aol.com
Fri Dec 2 15:04:37 PST 2005

Hi Folks:

I got this passed on from some young rockers on another list,  slowly 
they too are learning about clubs and how to deal with them,  might be 
some interesting points herein for others on our list.   Long  delete 
now if not interested.


Tom Wiggins

Subject: Some sound advise from young bands on the club circuit today

       Hey all! I found some good info on the Internet regarding the 
issue of Venues vs. Musicans. I'm only posting a portion of the online 
article, but you can click the link for the whole story. Good advice, 
and an interersting read. ENJOY!


 "As a Musician:

  If you are working hard, drawing a crowd, being paid well, then you 
don't even have these issues and are probably just reading this article 
out of sheer curiosity. But, many musicians spend years honing their 
skills and continue to allow them to be exploited because they love to 
play music. Don't allow it.

  Respect your ability to challenge the market and succeed by demanding 
the pay you want and refusing to play without it if the money really 
means that much to you. There is more to music than money can ever 
bring. So, in making the decision to survive in the business, treat it 
as a business and at the same time be prepared to protect it 
professionally. If you are marketable, the work will speak for itself. 
If you need help and want it, seek the mentors and resources needed to 
help you make good decisions about your business.

  There are some venues out there you want to avoid and they have 
reputations that will alarm you. But don't allow yourself to become 
jaded in all of them. If you get burned once, don't go back. If you 
work for door and prefer not to deal with the venue's door person, 
bring your own. If you are working 100% of the door, they may need 
their own staff there to check ID's, but the venue has no reason to 
handle your money. If you are working for a percentage, definitely have 
a door person that's working a counter. If you have a guarantee against 
the door, you still want to use a counter. If you are working for 
guarantee only, you don't need anyone at the door unless you simply 
want a head count for future bargaining power.

  There are things that musicians can do to work together positively and 
provide support for each other. Here are some suggestions for a well 
rounded approach to dealing with your community of venue operators and 

  *Always remain on positive, professional ground with venue operators 
even when your answer is, "No, we'll pass." Yesterday's booking guy may 
be tomorrow's venue owner with a huge budget or he may just know 
someone with whom he'd like to hook you up later. Make a solid effort 
at improving or developing good public relations skills. Never 
underestimate your fans and don't be rude and unapproachable. How do 
you think band news travels? The very people you "don't have time for" 
today, can be your way up the ladder tomorrow.

  *Don't bad mouth venues or peers. Be the good guy. Gossip is a never 
ending circle of morale decay. And it seriously makes the 'mouth' look 
bad in the grand scheme of things. Behavior speaks for itself in all 
instances. Good news travels just as fast as bad news, but only in the 
good news circles that matter. Remember that venue owners and booking 
managers talk to those from other venues with the same passion and 
frequency you talk to other musicians. Of course, you want to enquire 
about a venue's pay policies, etc., when you know someone that's played 
there, but be fair when seeking or disclosing information. Don't bash a 
venue for not paying you all your money when, in fact, you showed up 
late and started an hour later than agreed upon. If you have issues 
with another member of the music community, take it up with them and at 
least attempt to heal the riff. But by no means should you make it your 
business to try and see them fail by jabbing at their back. What goes 
around comes around.

  *Show up on time and do your job the best you can. Don't be lazy about 
your promotions and show the venue you care about the gig.

  *Recruit your friends to help make and post flyers, maintain your web 
sites if you have one, email lists and if you need help with 
promotional ideas, seek those resources that are there for you. Trade 
links with other bands and support networks online. I have personally 
reaped the benefits of online exposure, so I know it works. Make email 
sign-up forms, gig cards, business cards and website info a regular 
part of your equipment. Create a monthly one page news sheet if you 
don't have computer access, or even if you do and use it to brag on 
your achievements, upcoming projects etc, and print them off and lay 
them on your gig table. There's not a lot of work in that and it does 
bring results.

  *Hold regular band meetings and assign one or two promotional tasks 
per band member so that no one person is responsible for everything. If 
you are a solo act, enlist your support network for help. If you find 
yourself stuck in situations where your bands ego is more important 
than the music you are playing together, maybe it's time to look 
elsewhere. Sometimes you have to clean house to see a brighter ceiling. 
Nothing positive develops with a constant battle of wills and no one 
person has to be wrong. It's the mix that sours more often than not and 
when that happens, the whole concoction tastes bad. With a focused 
effort and tackling problems before they start, things can work out 
better for everyone involved. Having a firm set of standards regarding 
the people with whom you can productively deal is a self actualization 
issue that will grow in importance in the long run. Wasting time with 
time wasters is never a good thing to do. Avoid the members of any 
community that just ooze a bad vibe and negativity. If you can't 
influence them, don't be influenced by them. Nothing can change with 
the insistence that it won't change always being the front guy.

  *Appeal to your proper venue and market. Avoid taking gigs just for 
the sake of the money if it's not your type of place. What's the point 
in the long run?

  *Avoid placing a 'beer value' on your performance. You are treated as 
you present yourself. If you want to book your gigs with that type of 
bartering, then don't expect good paying venues to take you seriously 
when they know you play for free beer down the street.

  *Keep your salary arrangements private, just as you would any other 
job, and be satisfied with the pay before you accept it. Contracts are 
a personal decision, but never hesitate to book a gig in writing if you 
don't know the venue's habits and always have a copy of the signed 
contract with you at the gig.

  *When seeking reviews in local or even online publications, be sure to 
take this on with an organized approach. Send a nice package including 
Bio, CD, and Photograph's. A Review writer in many ways is just like 
venue. They need interesting and thorough subject matter to pique their 
interest enough to write about you. If the information they seek is not 
there, they will move on to an easier subject. Include your contact 
information in case they want to know more.

  *It's always good to make friends with the right people, in the right 
places. Nothing say's you can't or shouldn't go out of your way to 
support your community as a whole. And I'm not talking about playing a 
free gig or two. Go beyond that and get involved in your community as a 
key team player. When you do that, good things happen. By helping to 
promote others, you aren't taking attention off yourself. You are 
increasing it. Why? Because everyone wants to be recognized for their 
input, value and place in the community so, why not makes yours 
positive and a little more selfless. In general, it means a great deal 
to a musician to be appreciated by another musician. Go out and support 
each other. Let's start a new local fad and call it.. "Musicians 
helping Musicians...all year long." Don't just promote your next 
appearances. Promote other bands playing the same venue you are within 
the week coming up so they'll do the same for you next time around. 
It's never good politics to promote other venues on the microphone, so 
stick with when you'll be back at the venue you are in and encourage 
people to pick up a gig card for other appearance locations.

  *Don't forget those Bartenders and Waiters on the microphone at least 
once a set and be respectful and friendly to all the staff at the 
venue. You never know where they will be pouring or serving drinks a 
month from now or how close they will be to their new boss. Make it a 
practice to clean up your stage before leaving of trash and bottles. 
Replace tables you had to move and leave it like you found it. Believe 
me, the staff appreciates it and it shows you are a considerate act. Be 
good to the waiters that keep you supplied with beverages all night on 
stage. Nothing indicates that you shouldn't tip them just because 
you're the entertainment.

  *Join online news groups, organizations, discussion forums and network 
with other music communities. You'd be surprised at what some good, 
focused networking can do.

  *When playing in another town, always pull in a local to open for you. 
When playing locally, pull in an out of town band to open for you if 
the venue allows it. That's one of many ways to work your way into 
another city.by supporting the musicians that are living there. And 
above all remember, that being a smart person in business and being the 
kind of person that remains flexible and willing to help is not 
"kissing ass." It's just good public relations and good business. 
Sometimes, just simply staying out of the way and quiet works if you 
want nothing to do with changing things for the better. It's to be 
expected that change is not embraced by everyone for their own reasons. 
But who says those people have to have the final word? I'll tell you 
who.....nobody but you, and that can change. When colleagues that are 
on the wayward, unproductive road to failure decide to come around, be 
glad for them and be there to support the change they are now willing 
to make. After all, isn't that we want? Don't hold grudges when the 
issues are resolved. And I believe that it's never too late to start 

  *If you have problems along the way, learn to deal with people 
professionally. So many things get misconstrued and misquoted when you 
take part in the "beginning and end of the line" style communication. 
If you can't seem to get through to any particular member of the 
community, leave them alone and focus on what your goals are.

  Only you can stop yourself from succeeding. I challenge all of us 
involved, and encourage those who aren't, to making that effort towards 
a better and more productive team work attitude and approach to dealing 
with this business of music. As musicians, publications and venue 
operators, we're all in this economy together and together, we will 
survive or succumb. It will make it easier and more productive if we 
hold true the fact that.

  Supporting one another adds strength to courage and breathes life into 

More information about the Dixielandjazz mailing list