May 17, 2011

Week 33: Tell The Truth

(This is Week 33 of my Fifty-Two Weeks of Music Do-It-Yourself Music advice)


Me getting my swagger on.

So, last Sunday I played a gig. For all of you musicians out there, that’s not a big sentence. I know. But for me…. It is. You see, I’ve written about music and interviewed bands, and helped good people in the entertainment world become better known for their craft for about 20 years… but I’d never actually performed a full 1-hour gig in public.

Up until a year ago I didn’t even sing in public, other than at karaoke bars and jumping up on stage at a few weddings for a song.

Of course, on paper I COULD look like a seasoned pro.

Sean Claes' Musical Resume:
Ah.. but look closer and learn:
Fenway Park: I actually got up on stage and sang “Mustang Sally” at Fenway Park 10 years ago… during my sister’s wedding reception.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: They have this booth (or had it in 2003) where you feed $4 into it, pick a song, sing, and it gets recorded onto a tape. I chose Hootie and the Blowfish’s “Let Her Cry.”

Red Eyed Fly in Austin, Texas: At Austin band, The Banner Year’s, final show they called me up to help sing “Monolith” which is my favorite track from them. I've also been slapped by One-Eyed Doll on stage at Red Eyed Fly.

Radio Play: I wrote ads for a living for a few years. It was a small agency, so I got to voice a lot of the ads myself. I’ve played a single guy for an online matchmaking site, a married guy for several jewelry stores, a plumber for... well… a plumber, and the voice of introduction for dozens of companies (As in.. “we’re speaking with ____ ____ of____ Pharmacy” I have likely had more radio play than most rock stars. Here’s a link containing a little YouTube of me as “Nacho Weiner

BUT.. I’d never actually performed a live show. What changed this? Well.. about a year ago I joined our church’s Praise Band. We play each Sunday at the 11:00p Mixed Contemporary service.

My neighborhood has an annual event called Front Porch Days. I’ve booked the music for that event for the last 6 years. Last year I booked the Praise Band (none of the members from last year are currently playing) to play. Well, while booking this year, I booked the Praise Band to play again… and sandwiched us between two fantastic acts (Kevin Daniel Smith and Matches for Memories) whom I respect a lot.

Back to my point that I didn’t quite get to. You see… my resume could look impressive if I wanted to pad my musical bra… but as soon as someone paid attention to what “PLAYED FENWAY PARK” actually meant, my credibility would be totally shot.

Bands do this. And it’s wrong. It’s wrong 100% of the time.

Just because you got up and did a drunken stage dive at a Lamb of God show, that doesn’t mean you’ve “performed with.”

The singer and guitarist have been married for 10 years…. That doesn’t mean the band has “been together” for a decade.

Just think about it. If you are asked in an interview about something you claim as a band accomplishment, are they going to laugh or be impressed?

Many years ago I reviewed the debut CD from a band (who will remain nameless) and their website made some WILD claims about their experience. I thought the CD was OK, but didn’t sound like it came from a band with as much experience as they claimed. The lead singer called me out and told me off for saying the things I did… since they’d only been in that band for a few months before the CD came out… although they’d performed as a duo playing a completely different style for years. I pointed the singer to the Website and the response I got was, “You should have told me you were going to look at the Website when you reviewed the CD.”

Make sure your information is up, current, and accurate.

Make sure you don’t make any claims that are untrue or “stretched” to sound much cooler than they ae.

It’s simple really. Tell the truth. It will set you free.

OK... just for you... here's a video of me and the Kyle United Methodist Church Praise Band performing "Spirit in the Sky."

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 - If you like what you read... please share. To visit Claes' homepage, go here -

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