Most bands, when they rehearse, even for a big show, will rehearse for a couple of days, run through the songs to make sure they’re “tight,” work out the musical parts, and then go out onstage and hope something good will happen. They have no idea what they’re trying to accomplish. Read more.
In “Tales of the worst music gigs ever,” we shared a handful of on-the-gig horror stories and lessons learned from them. While those stories were all wrenching in their own rights, here is one from New York bassist Dmitry Ishenko that stands in a category of its own. Read more.
Every musician has stories of the best gig ever, that performances where the music, the crowd, and the stars aligned. Then there’s those other times when nothing goes right. Gear explodes, drunks attack, people vanish… But even the worst gigs can be valuable learning experiences. Read more.
A good intro will set up what is going to happen next. With most artists and most songs, it’s one of the first parts of a song I need to rearrange. We want to capture and engage the audience, make sure people are with you. I use the analogy of a mother hen gathering her chicks, making sure they are with her and together before she crosses the street, rather than just taking off and hoping they follow. Read more.
An organized soundcheck can give band members and sound engineers the tools they need to craft an excellent live music mix, while a chaotic one can suck up valuable minutes – and good will. Some bands do sound checks like complete pros, others are just a mess with everybody onstage playing at the same time, nobody listening, and lots of noise and yelling. Read more.
The great drummer Art Blakey once said, “If you’re not appearing, you’re disappearing.” That’s the bottom line. The way the music business is structured, the live end is all-important to most artists. The talent buyers at venues are in the business of booking talent. Ideally, artists go through dedicated booking agents. That is the goal then, to ultimately attract a booking agent to represent you. Read more.
When playing international music gigs, singers and flutists have it easy. Drummers, guitarists, bassists, and keyboard players, on the other hand, have to figure out more creative solutions to manage their gear. If your music-making equipment is larger and more cumbersome than a standard airplane carry-on, how do you ensure that, when you take the stage miles away from home, you have the gear you need to a give a performance that you can be proud of? Read more.
Whether you’re driving north from the east coast to play a coffee shop in Montreal, bringing your electro-pop act to a string of clubs in Tokyo and Thailand, or presenting a midnight set at a jazz festival in Germany, performing music gigs abroad can be an incredibly rewarding and cool experience — but one that brings its own set of challenges. Here are tips from seasoned musical world travelers to help you make your international music gigs run as smooth as possible. Read more.
You’ve spent countless hours writing, revising, and rehearsing, and now it’s time to take your material to the stage. While a tour bus, road crew, and booking manager are helpful when it comes to worldwide musical domination, gigging locally and building a live following, honing your chops, and refining your performances comes first. Here are music promotion strategies to help you get attention on a local level. Read more.
The most important thing to do when dealing with money is to make sure to write EVERYTHING down. A good way to keep tabs is to put all the info in Excel. We divide it into date, gas, food, lodging, salary (how much we pay our musicians), pay (from the venue), CD sales, t-shirts, tips, extra. At the end of each day we total it up. There are two main ways to make money as a band: 1) Guarantees/door/bar percentage, and 2) Selling merchandise. Read more.
The CD release party for my new album was a big gig. Not only was it my first music performance at The Bitter End, it was also the first time I was introducing this collection of original music to friends, fans, and industry. I started preparing early, but it became obvious that simply running the tunes from the album wouldn’t be enough. After jamming through each song repeatedly, I wasn’t discovering anything new. Read more.
Many people have asked us how we transformed our band into a sustainable business, touring 250 days a year. We’ve created a series of videos to help explain what we’ve learned over the past few years in the hopes that it will help you learn how to get gigs and get more good bands out on the road. We’ll explain how to book music gigs that are well attended and pay guarantees, promote your shows, make extra money, build a following, and describe who wants to take your money (and why you shouldn’t let them). Read more.
Traveling to play music gigs is expensive. Being on the road also takes a lot of planning, time, energy, and day-of alertness for travel plans to be flawlessly executed. Whether touring around your favorite regions of the globe or traveling to a far off city for a music conference, there are a few tricks and tips that can help make your travels go smoothly, and keep your bank account afloat at the same time. Read more.
Dealing with live sound at a music gig can often range anywhere from a minor annoyance to a major catastrophe. Broken PA components, weird-sounding rooms, difficult on-site staff, or the lack of someone present who can actually mix live music can be just the tip of the iceberg. On the bright side, there are any number of tried and true ways to minimize your on-the-gig headaches when it comes to dialing in your live band sound. Here are just a few live sound tips to keep you sane — and sounding great. Read more.
Nearly every touring musician has at least one story about load-in or breakdown gone awry — that emotionally scarring gig where the venue promised a full drum kit but only delivered a broken snare drum, the festival slot when you expected fifteen minutes to set up but only got fifteen seconds, or that sickening post-gig moment when you realized your vintage Les Paul had grown legs and walked out of the club, all by itself. Read more.