April 14, 2011

Week 30: Standing Out

A person walks into a room. There are five bands standing there. Your band is one of them. The person spends a few minutes looking at each band and walks out of the room.

Is your band going to be remembered? Why or why not?

That is exactly what happens each time you play a gig. You are on the bill with four or five other bands. At the end of the night, people in the audience will either remember your band or not. They will either chalk you up as a band they’ve seen, or look you up as a band they want to know more about. If you’re looking for more fans, you sure need to be one of the ones remembered.

The best way to be remembered is for your music. I mean, you ARE a musician… so, first, you need to work on that. Sometimes if you write and perform amazing music, you don’t need to do anything else to be remembered. BUT those artists are few and far between, and in today’s world, the visual is as important (or more important *ahem Beiber fans ahem*) than the music. Plus, I can probably name more quality singer-songwriters that you’ve never heard of in one minute than you can name bands of which you are a fan.

Deep breath…. Todd Snider/ Southpaw Jones / Matt The Electrician / D.C. Bloom / Patrice Pike / Abi Tapia / Adam Donmoyer / Brandon Rhyder / Bobby Bookout / Schuyler Fisk / Sam Baker / Collin Herring / Dave Madden / Darrell Scott / David Garza / Raul Malo / Terri Hendrix / Citizen Cope / Eliza Gilkyson / John Melloncamp / Shelley King / Drew Smith / Michael Fracasso / Nelly McKay / Will Porter / Edwin McCain / Walt Wilkins / Toni Price… and breathe.

People who know music will recognize most of these names, but the casual music fan will likely only be able to recognize two or three. Now, most of the people I named have an additional gift to give the audience from the stage… they are fantastic storytellers. Which brings me to the first thing…

What do you say between songs? Do you do any more than introduce the next song? Maybe you could tell how the song came about.. maybe you could tell a joke. Do me a favor, though… don’t tell a joke that only the 2 biggest fans of your music (your girlfriend and the drummer’s boyfriend) would get. Make the moment intimate, like what you’re telling them is for their ears only. A special gift you’re giving to the April 14, 2011 crowd.

It’s not all words though. What you wear sometimes makes all the difference. What does your band wear on stage? I know, you’re a t-shirt and shorts type of guy, but c’mon. You’re working. How about wearing something that you’d be proud to be on the cover of a magazine wearing?

Also, When someone takes a photo while you’re playing, do you cheese it up for the camera? It makes for good pictures. Most photographers love it when you spend a few seconds singing right into their lens… maybe making a pose or two while doing it. If the photog is happy and he gets good shots… they may end up somewhere (magazine / Online / wire service). Also, if they ask for a group photo after a show, be there for that.

It doesn’t end when the last chord is played. When you walk off stage, the game is still on. You’re still the representation of your band. If you get off stage, hang around, talk with people, support the bands who play after you.

OK.... that's about it for this week. Remember:
Stand Out. Represent. Act like the band you hope to be someday.

Sean Claes is the owner of Austin's INsite Magazine and has been a freelance entertainment writer since 1996. For an introduction to his "52 Weeks of DIY Music Advice" visit this link - http://www.tinyurl.com/Claes52DIY. If you like what you read... please share. To visit Claes' homepage, go here - http://www.seanclaes.com/.

No comments: