10 tips for bands
In a perfect world, music bands would never break up; they’d be a well-oiled yet still spontaneous machine, beloved by fans from the first few months of gigs til the ripe old age of a legend like Mick Jagger or Tina Turner. However, a lot of bands have a lot of problems, so it’s no wonder that very few last a long time and can be successfully making money and pleasing fans over the course of several decades. That said, there are some things your band can be doing to help create a positive reputation that’ll help your career. Here are 10 tips for bands on how to be the best music band you can be:
10) DON’T BE LATE It doesn’t matter whether you’re playing for 2 people, 200, or 20,000. You need to be “on time.” Many musicians are late. When one musician is late, the whole group suffers, and the audience will suffer. The leader of a band should “dock the pay” of anyone who is late to rehearsals or gigs, because when one person is late, all the other guys and gals in the group either have to wait around (time is money) or practice/perform without them (awkward).
9) CALL AHEAD Sometimes gigs are booked months in advance. People at “the venue” may have come and gone since the booking. It never, ever hurts to call the venue a day or two before the scheduled gig and “check in” with the people in charge, just to confirm the time and ask any last minute questions/give any last minute answers.
8) SOUND CHECK Many bands make the mistake of spending way too much time doing the soundcheck, and then still having problems once playing in front of a crowd. If you’re lucky enough to have a sound guy working with/for you, they like to check drums first, then bass, guitar, keys, and finish with vocals. Make sure your band members are “in the room” so they’re “ready to go” when needed– the worst thing is when a sound guy has to wait around for the one musician who is no where to be found, or the one musician who stays too long on stage testing their equipment over and over again when it was fine the first or second time.
7) MORE MUSIC, LESS TALK Unless your band is known for telling personal stories, remember to concentrate on what people came to see and hear you for: your music. If you want to talk with the audience, you can do that after the show while signing CDs, t-shirts and posters they’ve bought.
6) NO GAPS Have you ever been to a show where the musicians stalled for what seemed like an endless five minutes and you were like, “Just start the song already?” Yep. Happens a lot, but that’s not a good thing. You have a limited amount of time with your audience. Why waste precious minutes on stalling or nonsense chit-chat that you might find funny but they may not? It’s very important to have a show that flows from song-to-song, keeping the audience’s attention. We live in a culture where we expect immediate gratification; an audience can only “wait” for so long before they get frustrated and then form a negative opinion about your band.
5) NO MESS A venue owner or manager will always remember a sloppy band. Why? Because he or she notices everything about how a band operates. When a band leaves their gear blocking the aisles/blocking doors/etc., that’s bad. When they keep their cords and gear and boxes tidy, then “all is right with the world.” Think of it this way– if you had a houseguest who left wet towels on the floor and crumbs all over your couch, would you want them back? The neater the band, the better the reputation among venue organizers. It’s better to be the band helping pick up trash from the floor after the show than to be the band that “came in and left us a total mess to clean up.”
4) NOT SO LOUD I have been to many concerts where the volume was way too loud for human ears. It’s no secret that many musicians experience hearing problems and deafness. It’s very common for audiences to be right in front of massive speakers cranked up to their highest possible volume. It doesn’t have to be this way. In the long run, you’d be better off as a band turning the volume to a level that won’t cause hearing damage for you or them.
3) YOUR WEBSITE A band without a website today makes no sense. If you’re a band, you have to have one. You can have a “Twitter” account and a “Facebook” page, and those are “okay,” but it’s best to have your own website with your own domain name– one that you can totally control. Your website is like having an ambassador who will hype your band to anyone, anywhere in the world 24-7. The site should have your bio, gig info, some pictures/videos, links, and a contact page/email address.
2) KNOW YOUR (TIME) LIMITS I was at a club in New York City where my friend was scheduled to play at a certain time. The band before her decided to do “just one more song,” which cut into her performing time. That sucks! Nothing says rude like overstaying your welcome at a gig with multiple acts.
1) HAVE FUN Finally, remember this: it’s called “PLAYING.” Certainly making music is better than digging a ditch. Make time for your band to hang out aside from music so that you’re friends in real life, and enjoy each other’s company. Why? Because that camraderie is one of the reasons people come to see/hear you! When you’re having a great time on stage with each other, it totally translates to the audience, who, in turn, also have a great time! –Mark Weber Music Blog
These were 10 tips for bands; in the comments section, leave more!