If you’ve read Getting Gigs pt.1 … then I know you’ll enjoy the second installment of this topic Getting Gigs pt.2. Vince gives you some real world common sense advice on how to get cool gigs and how to keep them. You’ll find great tips on how to keep your audience coming back for more. It’s advice like this that will save you time and money… - Scott
Ok now that we’ve covered the basis of correctly building your foundation by getting the local “exposure” gigs in the first section, let’s skip ahead and go over how to handle moving on to bigger events once you’ve built a following and a name for yourself. Just as above I’ll go step by step with what I’ve found are the most productive and successful techniques.
1. Save All Of Your Newspaper Ads, Interviews, etc. Once you’ve established a local “circuit” around town, start collecting the club ads with you band’s name on them. Also start saving any print interviews you may do. Once you have a good collection going, gather up some good band pictures, photocopies of all of your press clippings and your demo recording, place them neatly in a clear plastic folder…and viola! You have yourself a press kit. These will play a big roll in getting upper scale gigs in the near future.
2. Get A Website Started. With technology progressing rapidly, a lot of business is being done over the Internet, thus making a website a key element in your career. Keep it simple at first and update it to be more elaborate as your career progresses. Make sure you have a bio, your performance schedule, pictures, and if possible a couple of sound clips. Also having an email account and checking it often is a must.
3. Keep Your Eyes Open. Make sure you keep an eye out on the schedule at your local concert hall. If you see a band who’s got a similar genre to yours and who has a good following coming to town, call the venue as far in advance as possible to find out who is promoting the show or who you should get in touch with about opening the show. Usually the promoter keeps in contact with the venue regularly so you should be able to get a hold of some sort of contact information. When you contact the promoter, make sure to be calm, confident and professional. If they ask for a press kit, get one in the mail as soon as possible. After you mail it out, be patient. Wait for them to contact you. You don’t want to be a bother by constantly calling to check up.
4. Don’t Get A Big Head! Let’s say that you get the call you’ve been waiting for. You landed the gig as the opening band for the concert coming to town. Don’t let it get to your head!!! You still have a long road ahead. When the day of the show arrives, make sure you and your band conduct yourselves in a serious and professional manner. Be courteous and humble to everyone you meet. If you get the chance to meet the headliners, don’t hang all over them or follow them around like a dog on a leash. Shake their hands, thank them for the opportunity and be on your way. Being a good human being is as important, if not more than being a good musician, and you’ll be remembered for it down the road.
5. Invest In A Professional Recording. At some point you should get into the studio and record an LP. Make sure you pick a studio and engineer with a good reputation and vibe. I recommend doing half original material and half cover songs for your first album. This will help people get familiar with your sound. This will also give you something to sell at your shows as well as something new to add to your press kit.
6. Get A Professional Manager and Booking Agent. This is the last but certainly the most important piece of advice I could give anyone, as I learned this from personal experience. If you don’t give up and keep at it, there will come a point in your career where you will go beyond doing the local club gigs and opening slots. You will reach the point where you will be ready to hit the road. This is when you will need to start looking for a real management team. It becomes nearly impossible to make all the phone calls, mail all the press kits and put up all the posters while still trying to make sure the financial side is taken care of yourself...and on top of that keep the musical side up to par. You need to find someone who has the connections with clubs that support your genre all around the country and who can get you the gigs, as well as someone who handles your hotel and transportation arrangements along the way. To achieve this, start by doing a search on the Internet and compile a list of phone numbers and/or addresses. Then get on the phone and start dialing. You should also have a couple dozen press kits made up that are ready to be shipped out. After that, it all comes down to being patient and waiting. But keep getting out there and playing while you wait, because you need to be ready once that magical call from an interested manager comes. And if you work hard and want it bad enough, it will.
I hope that this article gives you some jumping off points to help further your career. You’ll also find that a lot of it is trial and error, so the more you get out there and do it, the more comfortable you’ll get with it. So until next time, good luck and happy hunting!!!
"Many ways to improve your playing"
"If you're feeling like neither you nor your ax handling are amounting to anything, try to imagine that you're playing for people you like and wish could hear you play when you're not screwing up. These could be good friends, people who don't know about your music and think you're a loser, or some hot chick / guy whose admiration would just make your day. Musicians need to be loved and admired for what they do, though I doubt that many would openly admit it." - Scott