If you pick up the phone and call me - I'll pick it up or get back to you literally
the moment I hear your message. If you e-mail me I'll reply instantly unless I'm out
of town and then I'll check my mail as much as possible and get back within a day or
so of your email with an apology for the delay. If you write to me. I'll write back.
I'm good like that.
OK, so where are we heading with all this I hear you ask. Well, I work in the
'music biz' so doing all of the above whether you realize it or not, makes me unique
and very special! There are very few of us like this.
One thing I so admire, respect and appreciate is when someone actually responds in a time frame that allows you to still have the original reason for calling. Dan
McAvinchey, for example, the main man here at Guitar 9 is one of the very few who
understand this. Whenever I e-mail him, he gets back to me and he deals with a lot
more folks than just me I'm sure. I don't know him personally or have anything
particularly special to offer him but he always e mails me back with an answer to my
query. Way to go!
Don't get me all wrong here, I ain't any big shot or mover and shaker in the music
world but for whatever reasons, I do get a lot of e-mails and calls and get this -
I answer them. Not when I feel like it - when I get them! I'm just weird that
I recently called a venue 24 times before I got a hold of someone who could give me
the number of someone else to talk to about getting a hold of the manger who then
explained he had to call corporate HQ to get the go ahead with my request and nine days later he called his venue back to leave a message for me to call him back with some one who didn't know either his or my name! Now that's the music biz alive and well. That's pretty much how it works unless you're established in a particular town.
It takes a tough person to get involved in booking shows directly at a mid size
venue level. Frankly I hate it, but I don't trust many promoters or booking agents
Venue owners are never there when you call and when they are they're too busy to
talk to you. A couple of months back I needed 20 shows all lined up in a neat
geographical order for the guitar player I manage and the incident I just mentioned
above was show number one. I knew I was in for a long haul!
Another thing I feel I need to pass on to those of y'all just getting into all this.
Keep in contact with the venue. It's very easy to get a date agreed with a venue and assume from then on that booking is cast in stone. They just can't wait to have you play there. Never believe that. The best rule of thumb is "assume the venue doesn't care whether you're alive or dead at any point in the run up to or after the show!"
My breath has been physically removed from my body and soul on many occasions by
some despicable club owner who gratuitously double booked, re booked or simply
f**ked up with our precious date. Nowadays I usually write to them thanking them for
the booking and outlining the contractual details we just talked about. I'll then
send posters separately a few weeks later just to have more correspondence with them and then maybe just call them to ask some dumb questions about the venue, the PA or maybe the weather just to keep the fact that we're traveling 400 miles to play
there in the next month fresh in their mind and I don't want them forgetting or
worse still - booking a f**king tribute act on your date without telling you because
they pull a capacity wherever they play. Arrgh! Tribute acts - the bane of my
life! I might write an article about them one day and get fired by Guitar 9 for
being too abusive!
My advice if you want it? Try to avoid pure cold calling initially. Pave the way a
little with a demo, biography, press pack whatever, even if they don't read it, at
least you have an opening conversation. And, please, keep in contact, especially if
you're an unknown out of town band. Better advice still - get the artist's
girlfriend or wife to book the shows. She always thinks she can do a better job of
it anyway and you have far better things to do for your beloved artist than listen
to ten reasons why local tribute legend 'Spruce Springbean' gets the Saturday night
and you get the Monday afternoon slot for half door deal and a beer between six of
I got a guy in Fort Myers recently who said, "You've got one minute to convince me you should play here". I said "I can't do that properly so I guess you've got the rest of the year to think about whether you missed out on something special coming to town." Needless to say, I didn't get the gig but in my experience, it is very very difficult to pull around a bad start in booking shows. Rarely does it work out. I've learned to move on. Leave your number and maybe word will get around that he should have given you more respect. Value yourself. You need to play for sure but always remember you're a professional not a prostitute!
Call me on the phone, e-mail me, or write by all means, just don't ask me to get the
Ohio gigs for your new country punk band. But for thing for sure - at least I will
reply to you!
Thank you for reading this month's little article. I appreciate your interest.