THE DIRECTOR'S PAGE

From time to time, this page will feature an article from Jimi on various topics, usually about the Network, but sometimes we may just let him ramble a bit! Take the time to read this, enjoy, comment, etc. - Thomas, webmaster

Book ‘em Danno!

You've probably heard and seen artists with ten minute (or longer!) songs - with SongNet, we have a rule about this:
"2 songs or ten minutes TOTAL, whichever is shorter".

When that is violated the first time, we mention that to the artist. The 2nd time we "suggest" learning how to write more concise songs, directing them to workshops & seminars. The 3rd time we fade 'em out @ 9 minutes & the MC comes in saying "THANK YOU VERY MUCH!"

Showcases are not open mics. There are protocol & quality issues most artists understand. Sure, there are great epic songs that seem to run on endlessly, but when there are other artists waiting to perform & a schedule to meet with the venue, performing this kind of material is rude, selfish, unprofessional & not endearing. You may quote me on that. In fact, you’ll often find people both in the green rooms AND in the audience making notes about “not booking or sharing gigs with this self absorbed wannabee artist".

There are several artists in our membership who often showcase only one song because they "get it" & abide by the time schedule if their work is impossible to cut down. One electronica artist's 18 minute piece is the SHORTEST they have. They understand we have to shut ‘em down @ 10 minutes & fade out themselves. Because of that, they are embraced, instead of being dissed as a stage hog.

But WAIT!
There is a place for this material!
REAL GIGS.

Yes, get booked for your own show.
It’s easier than you think if you’re paying attention.
First go back to the homepage & look at Bob Stane’s “boilerplate” rant. That is some of the best advice you’ll ever get from someone who’s entire life is all about booking artists in successful venues.

After reflection & consideration, and bracing yourself for some serious rejection & abuse, it’s time to research a bit.
Look for ARTISTS that do what you do. Find out which venues they are playing. It’s easy. No excuses. Just go to myspace, pick your genre in the music search.
Click on those bands & their gig postings are right there in your face, usually with an email addy & phone number.
DUH! If it was any simpler, it would be a government job.

Make a list of venues & contacts. BEFORE you call, Google ‘em. Make sure they’re legit clubs,& if there are complaints from either side, reviews, news
articles. You do not want to play a club famous for having their performers shot nine times on stage, or management that will jack your gear until you pay your bar tab.

Pay to play is also an issue.
ANYONE can play at a pay-to-play club. Talent, draw, drink minimums & musicality are not a problem or an issue. You paid for the room, do whatcha want. As long as it’s within the law. Or at least you don’t get caught. Think of it like renting the local VFW hall for a party. Sometimes, that can be a good thing, like if you have been asked to do a personal performance audition for The Queen of England. Or Hollywood. Or your name is Mick Jagger & the show is really an invitation-only rehearsal for your band. But if you don’t have the funding or really would like some fans to attend, consider a booking agent, promoter or talent management person or company. They typically will work with a venue promising to bring people in, & book artists because THEY like ‘em, figuring if they like ‘em, so will their friends, Eventually they can help build a fan base, and maybe even get credit for “discovering” a new artist. These referrals usually come by word-of-mouth, so start hanging out at these venues & events, like music conferences, workshops & seminars provided by organizations like SongNet, Songsalive, Songwriter’s Co-Op, LAWIM, NARIP & others.

Good promoters are like party planners with an agenda.
They want to be entertained & have a good time, so they will only work with people that fit that initial description.
That does not mean your music has to be happy & mindless.
People are entertained by many things. Nice looking stuff.
Funny stuff. Thoughtful stuff. Even trainwrecks & horror movies. So even if your work resembles a horrifying melodic trainwreck, if it’s entertaining, you will find someone who wants to experience it…as long as your personal attitude & work ethic do NOT resemble that. Dance clubs LOVE long pieces with danceable beats. Dinner cabarets appreciate pieces that are about emotion more than melodic structure. Small equity theater & opera companies are always looking for new material.

So even if you don’t quite fit in a showcase around town, there are plenty venues that are all about non- mainstream music, & the fans who love that.
There are plenty of NON-venues you can turn into venues too. House concerts are all about that. Throw your own party.

> From The London Times:
Outside England's Bristol Zoo there is a parking lot for 150 cars and 8 buses. For 25 years, its parking fees were managed by a very pleasant attendant. The fees were £1 for cars ($1.40), £5 for busses (about $7).

Then, one day, after 25 solid years of never missing a day of work, he just didn't show up; so the Zoo Management called the City Council and asked it to send them another parking agent. The Council did some research and replied that the parking lot was the Zoo's own responsibility. The Zoo advised the Council that the attendant was a City employee. The City Council responded that the lot attendant had never been on the City payroll.

Meanwhile, sitting in his villa somewhere on the coast of Spain (or some such scenario), is a man who'd apparently had a ticket machine installed completely on his own; and then had simply begun to show up every day, commencing to collect and keep the parking fees, estimated at about $560 per day -- for 25 years. Assuming 7 days a week, this amounts to just over $7 million dollars!
......
And no one even knows his name.

So if you find yourself not fitting in at some of the showcases around town, take note, but don’t take it personally.

Take it to the street & do some real gigs where you may find a real fanbase who will take you into their hearts.

 

- Jimi