Becoming a successful band is part of life’s eternal question. Aside from being in the right place at the right time, some talent and execution, good songs, and bit of luck, there are a few things that can help you down the road. Here are a few of them:
1. Be careful how you brag to journalists. When talking to journalists DO NOT tell them who you’ve opened up for. They don’t care. And quite honestly it really doesn’t matter. Anyone can open for a larger band at your local venue for a one-off show. However, if you’ve been on tour with a band, it shows initiative that you play shows outside of your home. That means a lot more in the long run and makes for a good talking point.
2. Record your shows. Use a cell phone if you need to. Listen back and critique them with the rest of your band. What can you do better next time? Was that joke about the banana really necessary? Time the seconds between songs. It’s usually much (painfully) longer than you’d except. The best live show is a tight show with little or no downtime. Think about the last time you saw a band. Do you want to hang there for a minute or two between songs? In the end you are there to play music and you should take advantage of every second while you have a captive audience.
3. See your friends’ band. Go out to see a friend’s band at least once a week. If you want to have a thriving scene that labels and magazines care about, they want to see people in packed venues. And chances are the members of that band will be more than likely to come see your band play next time. It’s karma. Believe in it.
4. Never talk smack. What ever that bassist from that band did to the singer in your band, it doesn’t matter. Maybe it does, but don’t ever talk smack about another band in your scene. Believe it or not scenes are small and word will get around. People talk. You won’t be making any friends talking smack and you’ll loose trust in people you know and respect. Bottom line is being nice will go a lot further than being an ass.
5. Be personable. Whenever sending an email to anyone, be it a promoter, venue owner, radio station, record label or recording studio, send something personal. Do not send a form letter to 100 people. Always make sure you write something in there that shows you know who you are writing to. Something specific. People will see right through a form letter. You’d be surprised how many form letters get kicked to the trashcan.