BUZZ PLUG-IN: Survival Guide For Bands
Buzz brings professional design directly to bands, helping musicians distinguish themselves. Buzz distills and distributes essential wisdom gathered from fans, bands and industry professionals. The goal is to help new bands and struggling bands become more viably successful.
a survival guide for bands 4 PLUG-IN this survival Guide is about plugging-in. it is the 4th p and sometimes the hardest. donâ€™t stress, just do it. recruit your friends, fans and family. make an event out of it. GRAPHIC LEGEND BAND LINK WEBSITE LINK ii COMMUNITY LINK 08 PLUG-IN - STEP 4 09 BUZZ by SF Intercom 010 PLUG-IN - STEP 4 011 BUZZ by SF Intercom 012 PLUG-IN - STEP 4 013 BUZZ by SF Intercom and the earth is deep, so the hearts of kings are unsearchable. Buzz brings professional design directly to new bands, helping new musicians distinguish themselves. Buzz distills and distributes essential wisdom gathered from fans, bands and industr y professionals. art director STEFAN ARONSEN assistant designer ZEN ZENITH: PLEASE DO NO FIGHT executive editor IAN TUTTLE field editor BR ANDILEIGHA ROBIN STR ACNER collaboration OLIVIA PARIOT: WIRETAP MUSIC collaboration MIKE G: WIRETAP MUSIC fourth executive advisor LIAN NG third executive advisor CAROLINA DE BART0LO second executive advisor TROY ALDERS first executive advisor BR AD RHODES photo assistant AMY SCANDURR A photo assistant STEPHANIE TR APP contributing writer KENDALL DIX: ATTORNEY AT LAW contributing writer LINDSAY GARFIELD: OR, THE WHALE contributing writer IAN STAHL: ER A ESCAPE contributing writer AMY WILSON: CPA IN TR AINING special thanks to MOM & DAD, BROTHER, SISTER, FAMILY, FRIENDS, JACOB HENNESSEY-RUBIN: MOR AL SUPPORT, OLIVIA: WIRETAP MUSIC, ANTON: JUDGEMENT DAY, GR ANT: BATTLEHOOCH, ZEN: PLEASE DO NOT FIGHT, PETER: EAROFTHEBEHOLDER, JUSTIN: PUNCHFACE, DAMON: PAR ANOIDS, PEARL STARBIRD, NIANA LIU: WATERCOLOR MAPS, CASEY KOERNER: ARTIST, LAR A DE GARIE: ARTIST web design STEFAN ARONSEN digital director JASON ROBINSON web editor MICHAEL HER AUF web video YOUTUBE.COM/SFINTERCOM social network MYSPACE.COM/SFINTERCOM social network FACEBOOK.COM/SFINTERCOM president STEFAN ARONSEN email STEFAN@SF-INTER.COM phone 415.894.2302 cfo OLIVIA PARIOT consultant MIKE G mailing address PO BOX 423525 SAN FR ANCISCO, CA 94142 general info INFO@SF-INTER.COM office number 415.894.2302 web SF-INTER.COM BUZZ IS PUBLISHED BY SF INTERCOM AND FEATURES WIRETAPMUSIC.COM The goal is to help new bands and struggling bands become more viably successful. Buzz utilizes existing social networks to connect with bands; this ties the book into a rich web presence that ser ves as an interactive clearinghouse. Buzz is the lifeline linking bands to their audiences, venues, labels, and producers. art director executive editor web Stefan Aronsen Ian Tuttle sf-inter.com/buzz opening mail • PO BOX (32) • MYMail (34) • DEADTWEETS (38) • SF POLK GULCH 94109 (44) • Busking (50) • CD DESIGN (56) • 1st How-To (58) • 2ND How-To (60) • Insiders Scoop (62) • PLUG-in to your network (66) • you can’t get drunk now (70) • I asked an accountant’s advice (72) • broke-ass interviews: the dodos (74) • TEN SURVIVAL TIPS (78) • marin local vibe (94) • the deli sf (95) • Last Words (102) booking shows insiders scoop contributing writers buzz guide the scene & be seen last words CONTRIBUTORS carolina de bartolO: Advisor email@example.com SF Intercom’s corporate identity resulted from tireless attempts to meet De Bartolo’s merciless criticism and lofty standards. De Bartolo’s vision for clear, appropriate logo design and cohesive identity are backed by a true love of typography, which she shares with her students at the Academy of Art. De Bartolo also created the dialogue that gave rise to the Five P’s of Sur vival which ser ve as Buzz’ ideological spine. Jeff Watkins: field editor firstname.lastname@example.org Jeff brings a histor y of music experience and education to buzz. His ideas, lifestyle and personality take the complicated music scene and gives it definition and direction through delicate word smithing. His efforts on Buzz can be seen both in print as well as on the web at SF Intercom. If you find him at show, you should take a withdrawl from his knowledge bank. Amy SCANDUrRA: Contributor email@example.com Scandurra’s soft-spoken mild manner belies her inner rockstar. When she’s not too busy dancing with explosive exuberance at local, live shows, Scandurra contributes commentar y and photography to SF Intercom. Her passion for, and deep knowledge of, indie music make her a go-to guru for friends and fans alike. jacob hennessey-rubin: Design support firstname.lastname@example.org There’s something profound in that first friendship in a new city. Hennessey-Rubin has remained a constructive, insightful ally to Aronsen and SF Intercom even as his personal focus has shifted from graphic to industrial design. Acting as a personal curator of over 200 blogs, Hennessy-Rubin kept Aronsen’s own finger firmly planted on the indie music pulse. Special thanks: olivia: wiretap music, anton: judgement day, grant: battlehooch, zen: please do not fight, peter: earofthebeholder, justin: punchface, damon: paranoids, pearl starbird, niana liu: watercolor maps, casey koerner: artist, lara de garie: artist, robert: body or brain, jake: super adventure club, stephanie trapp, amy scandurra stefan aronsen: art director & editor-in-chief email@example.com Record labels used to draw a lot of design talent but with the decline in record sales and the demise of the old industr y model, a new opportunity has opened for designers to work directly with emerging indie talent. Buzz is at the forefront of developing a new music design economy. There are no rules in place yet. Buzz seeks to set those rules by establishing a new curriculum for emerging talent. OPENING WORDS: There is no quieting the movement. Buzz is a sur vival guide by SF Intercom for Bay Area musicians. It has over 100 pages packed with solid advice from amazing fans, bands and industr y professionals. The goal of Buzz and SF Intercom is to use existing advice to help you become more viably successful. The buzz is loud and with your help it’s only going to get louder. Ian Tuttle: editor firstname.lastname@example.org Tuttle moved into SF Intercom’s offices as a writer among graphic artists. His multiple projects span from a novelin-progress to a weekly short-fiction blog. Tuttle contributed his talents as a copywriter to many stages of SF Intercom’s growth, drafting business plans, venue summaries, and bios. He brought insight and clear vision to the dispersed cloud of possibilities of Buzz‘ mid-life crisis stage. 026 PLUG-IN - STEP 4 027 BUZZ by SF Intercom 028 PLUG-IN - STEP 4 029 BUZZ by SF Intercom Survival is the game and you are the player. donâ€™t be a pawn in this battle, be the kings and queens of your domain. own the success you deserve. fight back! Fight for what you want! 030 PLUG-IN - STEP 4 don’t be afraid to give MUSIC away for free to anyone, because every individual is important to your career. SAM: Jhameel You talking to me? I’m not sure I’m the best person to ask—I don’t have a band that’s survived. In fact, I don’t have a band at all at the moment. I think one thing bands can plan is promotion, whether it’s self-promotion or hiring a PR person. Consider what kind of media (blogs, online magazines, radio stations, newspapers) you want to get the attention of and which/ who specifically you want to contact. When you want to contact them is important as well—hint, don’t do it when you have a couple badly recorded demos. ADRIAN BISSCHOFF: Ipickmynose.com BE PERSONAL I have to say, one of the best things about staying connected with your fans is to stay personal with them. No one likes to get an email about a show in New York when they live in San Francisco. Making sure you advertise your shows to the audience that can be there. Making your email lists, text messaged, and such. Make them personalized. Show that you care about them enough to know where they are from. That’s one thing I feel is a good tip. Market to your area. If your playing a show in Tuscon, AZ you should gather the fans emails you have there, and let them know. Not every person on your list. We feel that text messages and phone calls also help. Make calls to the friends and people you know in the area. Instead of just blasting them with some Copy/paste email, get them with the phone. they will be more inclined to go, and spread the word when you show you care. ROBERT: Body Or Brain TOTAL CRAPSHOOT Easy and free ideas: Myspace page, email bloggers, Facebook group. If you make it out of the basement and into an actual gig, then get a manager. This could be a good friend or fan, but make sure they understand the music business and are more responsible than the rest of the band. You need someone out there hyping you and finding opportunities for the band while you focus on the music. Once you build up a regular cycle of shows and see many of the same people in the audience—a following—then you can start getting more serious about things. From there it’s a total crapshoot. PETER: Earsofthebeholder.com 032 PLUG-IN - STEP 4 GET SHIT DONE I recommend the band get together outside of rehearsal, maybe once or twice a month, to do some planning and keep things moving in the direction ever ybody wants to go. This is the time to fuck the abstract and get some specific shit done DAEMON: Paranoids TOO EARLY I probably have some good stuff for ya, but nothing is coming to mind this early in the morning for me. JAKE: Super Adventure Club www.facebook.com/theholdupmusic THE HOLDUP 033 BUZZ by SF Intercom Please Do Not Fight Alternative / Rock / Indie http://www.myspace.com/pleasedonotfight You need to evaluate your goals and then break them down. Let’s say your goal is to “Be a successful band”. Okay, that’s a start but it’s an awfully vague goal. Everyone has a different definition of success and you should think about what you, as a group, want to really accomplish. This also helps align everyone’s intentions within the band. Start by being more specific. One of your larger goals could be to “Make a living performing and recording original music” awesome! That’s a great goal to have and very well defined. Still on it’s own it’s still pretty overwhelming. Where do you start with that? It’s better to plan short term while keeping with the INTENT of the larger goal in mind. Doing things this way helps you roll with the punches a lot more. When we first started out our main goal was just that but then we broke it down—first the goal was to record an album. So we planned everything that went along with that: Booking recording time, rehearsing songs, networking with other bands to build interest, preparing album art etc. etc. etc. That’s all a lot more manageable and when broken down resulted in us also accomplishing other things we needed to do—networking primarily. Then we set the goal of going on tour in the winter. When THAT goal was broken down we found we had to make time to rehearse a set and play a lot of local shows in preparation. So that one very simple goal accomplished a lot of things. Also by focusing on short term goals we were able to relieve a lot of pressure from ourselves personally—no one felt overwhelmed and when our drummer decided to leave after our short term goal was accomplished we were able to adjust future goals to work within that. I do think it’s crucial no to plan TOO MUCH stuff at once. -Zen, guitar/lead vocals 034 PLUG-IN - STEP 4 035 BUZZ by SF Intercom 036 PLUG-IN - STEP 4 037 BUZZ by SF Intercom sfintercom Wanna bust into the scene? Find out who’s blogging about the scene you like. Then become friends with the people they blog about. less than 5 seconds ago from web AnitaSelby Tip #7. Get active in your community, know what is happening and be pro-active. If it is important to you, it is important to others. 1 day ago from web CIVILIZEDTEARS @sfintercom Advice to prepare for recording. rehearse as much as you can. Get your songs as tight and arranged before you hit record. 1 day ago from web DJMoonDawg Music Tips Tuesday: Doing GOOD business will take your career to the next level. Contracts & agreements = utilize them! 1 day ago from web GarryStetser Productivity Tip: To get a tough task done, make it fun! Put on a cool music, create a competition, enlist the help of your friends. 1 day ago from web toddsiegel 1 day ago from web musformation When Your Funds Are Low—Employ Your Fans For Cheap Volunteers Labor. AdamChurchwell 1 day ago from web mixtapequeen THE BEST ADVICE YOU CAN EVER GET IN THE MUSIC INDUSTRY IS ITS NOT WHAT YOU KNOW BUT WHO YOU KNOW! REAL TALK!!! MCEctoCooler ii Photo by Stephanie Trapp: http://www.StephanieTrapp.com BOOKING SHOWS The hardest part 0f booking shows is knowing where to book shows. Attached are a couple good venues in: POLK GULCH 043 BUZZ by SF Intercom BOOKING SHOWS: SF POLK GULCH 94109 I need to spend more time in the polk gulch. perhaps leave the mission once in a while. yeah! PHOTO BY: l i n d s e y b e s t PHOTO BY: s t e f a n a r o n s e n PHOTO BY: r i c k a u d e t Kimo’s Kimo’s has muscled its way through two decades of stiff competition and still holds its own. The bar is a mainstay in the Lower Polk gay bar scene and nowadays attracts a healthily mixed crowd. On weekends Kimo’s hosts solid live shows, frequently featuring good indie bands. Great American Music Hall Once you’ve made it through your first year, make it through your second. And when you’re still around, and still gaining fans by the hundreds, book a show at the Great American Music Hall. Up there with The Fillmore as one of the West Coast’s quintessential venues, this place is fancy, huge, and amazing, with a full balcony offering spectacular views of the grand stage. Hemlock Tavern Pack a big punch in this small concert room tucked behind a popular bar. Play it right and you’ll sell the room out to a mix of devoted fans and ordinary bar patrons who hear you rocking through the side door. A barely elevated stage and minimal barstool seating keep it simple. www.kimosbarsf.com 1351 Polk St. San Francisco, CA 94109 cross street: Pine St. district: Polk Gulch/Van Ness Tel: 415.885.4535 www.musichallsf.com 859 O’Farrell Street San Francisco, CA 94109 cross street: Polk district: Polk Gulch/Van Ness Tel: 415.885.0750 www.hemlocktavern.com 1131 Polk Street San Francisco, CA 94109 cross street: Post Street district: Polk Gulch/Van Ness Tel: 415.923.0923 044 PLUG-IN - STEP 4 ii Bar reviews made possible by Ian Tuttle: www.sf-inter.com/archives/category/venues 045 BUZZ by SF Intercom 046 PLUG-IN - STEP 4 BOOKING SHOWS: SF POLK GULCH 94109 Edinburgh Castle The Castle’s been stormed by recent a fire marshal restraint and no longer hosts shows. You can still see DJ’s spin in the main bar, though, and if you’re only expecting a small crowd you can book the bar yourself. Phoenix Hotel This 44-room downtown hotel has hosted ever yone from Keanu Reeves to the Red Hot Chili Peppers, but actual live concerts are few and far between. Rumor has it you can book a show here, so give it a tr y, and invite SF Intercom for full coverage. Red Devil Lounge This is a classy, intimate, decade-old venue oozing old-school ambiance and steamy sophistication. Two levels of seating center on a great stage and your audience will like you even better after a few famously generous cocktails. www.castlenews.com 950 Geary Street San Francisco, CA 94109 cross street: Larkin St. district: Polk Gulch/Van Ness Tel: 415.885.4074 www.jdvhotels.com/phoenix 601 Eddy Street San Francisco, CA 94109 cross street: Larkin district: Treasure Island Tel: 415.776.1380 www.reddevillounge.com 1695 Polk Street San Francisco, CA 94109 cross street: Clay district: Polk Gulch/Van Ness Tel: 415.921.1695 ii Bar reviews made possible by Ian Tuttle: www.sf-inter.com/archives/category/venues 047 BUZZ by SF Intercom FOXTAILS BRIGADE www.facebook.com/foxtailsbrigade BOOKING SHOWS: SF POLK GULCH 94109 They come in all colors, shapes and styles, in fact they’re like you and me. Only difference is they’re going to the fans instead of waiting for the fans to come to them. I’ve seen banjos, buckets, drums, guitars, trumpets, bag pipes, keyboards and so much more. People aren’t scared to show their talent. They might not have a studio or a good place at home to play, why not take it to the street. SF Weekly doesn’t have their schedules. No map says where you can find them. But it’s amazing, that we always manage to find street musicians. I had some ideas where I could find street musicians. I had seen them there before. But where else might they be? Where might they be that I haven’t been? STEFAN: SF Intercom 050 PLUG-IN - STEP 4 ON THE STREET BUSKING STEFAN ARONSEN: SF-INTER.COM Why does foxtails brigade play on the street? Do you have any advice for other bands who are considering the street as a venue. Bot h of us star ted play ing on t he streets for different reasons: Laura used to live in Par is and f irst played on t he street as an exper iment and t hen found it was a good chance to connect w it h local people who didn’t speak English. Sivan used to be in a mariachi band and would serenade local San Franciscans. It was a delightful way to put smiles on somber faces. We continue to do it because we do connect with people we might never have before, and because it helps sustain us while we travel. If I had never played on the street before … and you were going to give me 5 steps to being successful …. What would those 5 steps be? 1- Charisma 2- Good songs 3- Souvenirs 4- Look sort of sad and sweet 5- Find a good local farmers market Have you made any mistakes? Of your mistakes … are there any you could have avoided had somebody warned you!!! Yes, we’ve made mistakes. Two days ago we agreed to play in a produce stand by invitation from the cashier boy, the owner not having been previously informed, did not appear happy. What is your greatest success? Connecting through song with a wandering Cuban musician who played the shaker with us but didn’t seem to speak English and meeting all kinds of other interesting and really nice people. Sincerely, LAUR A AMBER: Foxtails Brigade www.facebook.com/foxtailsbrigade ii Above, far left: POLK - San Francisco neighborhood Watercolor painting by Niana Liu 051 BUZZ by SF Intercom You need to connect with your fans. itâ€™s super important. ran ndom Standing in a group of people when suddenly a guy in the crowd says to me, “wait, who are you?” I answer. Then he says “Oh! that’s you? I’ve heard about you. do you have my cd? You need it! enjoy IT! I know you will!” his name is Frankie boots. ABOVE FAR RIGHT: Frankie Boots sang, modeled for and designed his own cd. He was right I did like his CD, and I liked his design. SHARP! Buy his CD at: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/frankieboots 056 PLUG-IN - STEP 4 Visit Frankie Boots at: www.facebook.com/frankieboots 057 BUZZ by SF Intercom Two easy steps will help ensure your light show goes well at a local club. Jeff Watkins: SF-INTER.COM Step one: Remember that lights tend to be run by a sound guy. First off, this means he’s an audio nerd, not a lighting designer. Furthermore, even if he’s decent at lights, feedback issues are at the top of his priority list, not lights. If you’re headlining on a Saturday night, then sure, ask the club if they’re providing their own lighting tech. Otherwise, you’ll most likely have to bring one yourself to do a decent job. If you’ve got a friend with an eye for lights, ask the venue before you show up and they should be open to allowing a guest lighting technician. Step Two: Ask the club to turn on their movers. Mov ing lights take attention to operate and cost the venue a little money to run. It can be a hassle for them to tur n them on for slow nights. Just tr y talking to the tech crew. I find a genuine interest in lighting coupled with an offer to have your lighting tech do all of the work for them tends to do the tr ick. If you make them look good while offer ing to do all the extra work, it’s hard for them to say no. I’ve tried these steps out a few times and have been surprised how easy they are to do. The best part about these steps is that all they take is a second to ask a question. If it doesn’t work, oh well. If it does, you’ve just made your TOOLS TO GET STARTED 1. A live SHOW AT A SF VENUE 2. A sound guy or lighting tech 3. lights, moving or not band stand out that much more from the rest that night. 058 PLUG-IN - STEP 4 059 BUZZ by SF Intercom 060 PLUG-IN - STEP 4 How To Receive Performance Royalties Jeff Watkins: SF-INTER.COM You’ve written a bunch of songs. They’re played by friends at bars and streamed on the Internet. Here’s how to make sure you’re picking up the royalties. Most performance royalties are for songwriters. This money comes from radio airplay, performances at concert venues, TV and digital streaming. This money is collected for you by Performance Rights Organizations (PROs). The three biggest PROs in the U.S. are ASCAP, BMI and SESAC. Details: musicians who do not write their songs only get performance royalties for digital streaming (Pandora, XM Radio, Cable TV music channels). For a nonwriter artist to collect performance royatlies, just go and sign up on SoundExchange.com. They even have a section that shows you if you’re already owed any royalties. Step One: To sign up, just go to ASCAP.com, BMI. com, or SESAC.com. ASCAP and BMI are the largest and easiest to sign up for. As long as you’ve got a social security number and an application fee, you’re good. SESAC is more selective and doesn’t take just anybody. TOOLS TO GET STARTED 1. A computer with a screen 2. Internet ACCESS 3. An iNTERNET BROWSER 4. A MOUSe AND A KEYBOARD 061 BUZZ by SF Intercom promote show In an ideal world, fans would look up your shows or search all venue calendars for shows they want to see. However we donâ€™t live in that world. In our world, most fans are lazy and forgetful. It is your responsibility to get fans to the show. Use any and all promotional tools at your disposal, and for gods sack, GET OFF YOUR COMPUTER! 062 PLUG-IN - STEP 4 call ahead There is nothing worse than having a venue forget about your show. Don’t assume they know who you are. There is nothing wrong with making yourself known. Thus, when booking a show, call to book your show, then call again a couple days before your show, to confirm that ever ything is still in order. You will find it is good to form a relationship with the booker. There is no fallacy in the statement, “it’s all about who you know.” Thus if you want to play shows, there is nobody better to know than the person who books shows. Establish the venues you desire to play at. 063 BUZZ by SF Intercom sound guy I know you think you sound good, and your mom probably thinks you sound good. If you have a girlfriend I’m sure she thinks you’re hot shit. However you’re only as good as the sound guy. Tonight the sound guy has a headache and you’re not helping. Unless you get on his good side, you’re not going to be hot … you’re simply going to be shit. Be sure to become friends with the sound guy. He can make or break your show. Don’t make the sound guy made. In this venue the sound guy is god. If you disagree you’re wrong. Let your ego go and play the game. There is nothing wrong with stroking a couple egos here and there. Don’t miss sound check. Your sound is not the same as the band before you. Don’t panic when your sound dies. It will! Learn to accommodate. Also let the sound guy know what you need. Even though I said earlier that the sound guy is god. I did not say he was a mind reader. Tell him what you need so he can help you sound your best. 064 PLUG-IN - STEP 4 ii Portions of the inside scoop were inspired by The Indie Band Surivial Guide by Randy Chertkow and Jason Feehan - http://www.live105.com/ The sound guy is in control of the success or failure of your show. Thus you better â€œshowâ€? him some respect! Make a list of local bars that host live music, establish which order you want to play them, then start calling the bookers. The booker needs to be your new best friends. 065 BUZZ by SF Intercom PLUG-In to your network STEFAN ARONSEN: SF INTERCOM There are networking events specifically for musicians and industry professionals. have you been attending? Why not? fix that! You can no longer say “I didn’t know.” Search the web or follow my links, but do something. First in Februar y you should be attending Industr y Noise. Professionals from SF and beyond meet up for 1 day of networking and sharing secrets. It cost a chunk of change, but you can write it off in your taxes. If you are more interested in technolog y you should check out SF MusicTech Summit. It is super nerdy, super geeky and super music. Go, or talk to somebody who has been. Whatever your f lavor of networking, be sure you know who’s who and are constantly updating your Rolodex. 066 PLUG-IN - STEP 4 067 BUZZ by SF Intercom 068 PLUG-IN - STEP 4 POPE OF YES www.myspace.com/popeofyes it is all about who you know. my most glamorous jobs have all been recieved based on knowing somebody on the inside. utilize and plug-in to these connections. with bartender? If the answer if yes, I’m proud of you. If the answer is no … my question to you is “WHY?” This weekend you don’t feel more plugged-in I’ll eat my words. Community On the goal is At this of Noise h best ne local m ind looking mainst mainst it out”, method Are you going to shows other than your own? Do you talk to bands after their set? Have you sat at the bar and schmoozed getting bands w plannin the mu on the go to a show and do these things. Then report back to me, if is way m 069 BUZZ by SF Intercom olomon, h king of conceal YOU Can’t GET DRUNK NOW… Ian Stahl: ERA ESCAPE er is the deep, so Know what you’re going to work on BEFORE band practice. Plug in, tune up, and count off, your band is now ready to play. Ah, band practice. Time to knock back a few cold ones, blaze one, crank up the amp and let the creativity f low, right? Not if you want to stop sucking so hard. If you’re serious about your music, then band has got to know how to practice right. Just showing up at the rehearsal space and plugging in and running through the set is not going to lead to improvement. By following these guidelines you can get the most out of your valuable practice time. Time management is crucial for successful and effective practice. Be on time to band practice. Have agreed upon times where ever yone in the band can make it. Have these be regular as possible. Irregularly scheduled practices are more likely to be forgotten. Train your band like Pavlov’s dog to show up the same day of the week at the same time. Late and absent members impede the whole band’s progress on the path to tightness. Once you’re there, get down to business as quickly as possible. Plug in, tune up, and count off. Know what you’re going to work on BEFORE band practice, and allot a specific amount of time to each song you’re going to work on. Midway through practice, take a break. Drink water—staying hydrated keeps your attention sharp. End your practice at a specific time. Many bands practice late at night after work and daytime commitments. Band practice is more fun than your day job, and it’s easy to get caught up in the transcendental siren song of your funk-metal jams and lose track of time. However, as the night wears on, you’ll get more tired, which means you’ll lose focus and your practice will not be as valuable. You’ll also end up getting less sleep, which will sap your energy in the coming days and make the other parts of your life less tolerable. Sometimes at 1 am it’s easy to think, “If we just play through this section one more time we’ll nail it.” Truth is, you probably won’t, and at that wee small hour of the morning you’re probably getting worse. Quit while you’re ahead—that is, stop practicing when you still have enough energy to drive home. You’ll get it next time! rchable. ver, and ersmith; ng’s. will be ness. e king’s a place r him to n for him eyes do bleman. or what neighbor ue your 070 PLUG-IN - STEP 4 ii The art on this page was created by Casey Koerner: http://www.caseykoerner.com/ 071 BUZZ by SF Intercom , copied It is the arch out i asked an accountant’s advice Amy Nicole Wilson – CPA IN TRAINING heavens e hearts he dross erial for will be Accountants get a reputation for being too square for the indie rock scene. Amy breaks the mould and sets the new standard for cpa’s. Music, gigs, merchandise … these are fun things. Receipts, taxes, 1099s … these things are less fun. However, as a band you need to deal with the finances because you are engaging in a business activity. If you’re starting to book paid gigs, you are going to want to take a few steps to legitimize your band as a business entity. Consider setting your band up as an LLC. LLC stands for Limited Liability Company. The main legal benefit of setting up your band as an LLC is that the liability of any member of the band will be limited to the assets actually in the entity. Meaning: you can’t lose your house if the band gets sued. There are also various tax benefits to the LLC. The income of the entity will be split based on the ownership percentages of the bandmates, and will f low through their respective tax returns – no taxes will be paid at the LLC level, so you avoid double taxation. Meaning: more money to the bandmates and the band, less to the government. You might be wondering: how in the world do I go about creating an LLC? Trust me, it is easy. First file with the state of California. Complete a form LLC-1, which can be found on the California Secretar y of State web page. The form is short and the filing fee is a mere $75. Once this is filed you want to file a Form SS-4 with the IRS, which is an application for a tax identification number. You can use this tax ID when, for paid gigs, you are asked to complete a Form W-9. Now that you have a valid business entity you can report the income on the W9 of your band, NOT your bandmates personal social security numbers! d from resence, at men; ome up u before th your urt, for neighbor ur case er man’s ame you tation. 072 PLUG-IN - STEP 4 I suggest creating an operating one of your bandmates to this task. Bookkeeping is facilitated by the use of spreadsheets and/or out-of-the box accounting software. It is so ver y necessar y to track the income and expenses of the band – so you have records for your tax returns, so you know how the band is doing, and so you can look forward to budget future projects. If no one in the band has a clue, and you don’t want to hire an ongoing bookkeeper – see if you can sit down with any business-y friend of yours to talk about best processes. If you decide to do your bookkeeping internally, appoint one person in the band as the finance point person. If one person takes ownership, it will run much smoother. Even if you do have a bookkeeper it is good to appoint one person in the band as a point of contact, to oversee the process, and to work with the CPA during tax season. Once you appoint this person, consider buying them a beer. Their job is integral to the functioning of your band as a business, and it is not as fun as working the merch table! Once you start generating funds, open a bank account for the band. Consider opening a business credit card for the band. When you go on road trips you can pay for travel costs with the business card – the business checking account can pay the monthly bill. This is a clean way to ensure all band-related expenses are recorded at the business-level. Save your receipts. Save your receipts. Save your receipts. Dump the receipts in a file with the credit card statements. If the bandmates have paid for bandrelated expenses out of their personal funds – make a spreadsheet to total the expenses, an expense report. Give the expense report with the receipts to your finance person and they can cut you a reimbursement out of band funds. Don’t forget: Save your receipts. Save your receipts. Save your receipts. And if you have any receipts for meals/ entertainment, make a note on the back of the receipt about who attended and why it is related to the band. If you ever have to deal with the IRS you will be glad that you did. Following these simple steps will get you on the right track for running your band like a business. You may be making music for the love, but don’t forget the legendar y words of the Wu: Cash Rules Ever ything Around Me: C.R.E.A.M. Get the money, dollar-dollar bills y’all. Amy Nicole Wilson agreement for the band. This doesn’t have to be complicated – but the point is to document in writing the ownership percentages, how to split the money of that band, the intended roles for each band member, and the process for someone to leave or join the band. This is an important step to prevent future disagreements with your bandmates. Ever yone in the band should sign it. When people leave or join the band – document the dates with amendments to the operating agreement. Even the best of good intentions can be forgotten when sensitive issues surrounding money come up – it is good to have your mutual understanding of the business arrangement on paper. If you have created a legal entity for your band and registered with the state and the IRS, you are going to have to file an annual tax return. Hire a tax accountant. You’re not going to like spending the money on a CPA – you’d rather spend it on gas for your next road trip, or to studio time for your next recording. But it really is for the best to leave taxes to the tax experts. Almost as important as hiring a tax accountant – you will want to consider hiring a bookkeeper or appointing 073 BUZZ by SF Intercom rbs of men of matter; is the t is the Broke-Ass Interviews: The Dodos Written by: Broke-Ass Stuart - AUTHOR OF BROKE ASS STUART’S GUIDE TO SF vens are , so the I first heard about The Dodos back when I was living in Brooklyn and working on my NYC book. I was hanging out with Mateo, one of my oldest friends in the world, and he was telling me about how his good buddy from college was in a band in SF called The Dodos. He wanted to know if I’d heard of them. I hadn’t, but it was one of those things where after Mateo mentioned them, I began hearing about them ever ywhere. For those of you unfamiliar with them, The Dodos consist of Meric Long as the singer/guitarist and Logan Kroeber on the drums. They play blistering live shows and their last record Visitor made music critics panties wet all over the countr y. They’ve recently added a vibraphone player named Keaton Snyder and are in the middle of a huge American and European tour in support of their new record, optimistically titled, Time to Die. rchable. for the wicked e silver, and his 074 PLUG-IN - STEP 4 Drummer Logan Kroeber responded to my email: Broke-Ass Stuart: Do any of you still have other jobs and if so what are they. If not, what was the last job you had before becoming a fulltime musician? Logan Kroeber: We’re full time musicians right now, but my last job was in a printshop. BAS: When was the moment where you were like, “Holy fuck! I get to quit my job and play music like … for reals”? Was it as gratifying as you thought it would be? LK: It wasn’t as gratifying as you’d think. My boss had been super cool about giving me time off to tour and when I finally left for good I felt like I owed him rather than the other way around. It was more gratifying when I could stop asking my girlfriend to pay rent for me while I was on tour. BAS: You’re still probably pretty broke while touring, what’s your best tip for saving money? LK: Bring all food and drink that is given to you from the venues into the van. That’s tomorrow’s lunch! BAS: Favorite dive bar in San Francisco? LK: The Attic. C’mon, it’s two blocks from my house. BAS: Favorite cheap eat in SF? LK: Yamo on 18th btw mission and valencia. BAS: How much do you love what you’re doing? LK: It’s a love affair for sure. Sometimes I love it so much I hate it and then vice versa. BAS: And finally, what is the one thing that you think all broke-ass musicians need to know? LK: This might not work out, but that doesn’t mean it’s not fun while it lasts. ii Visit Broke Ass Stuarts site at: http://brokeassstuart.com/2009/10/28/broke-ass-band-interview-the-dodos/ 075 BUZZ by SF Intercom BUZZ GUIDE 10 THINGS I KNOW … THAT YOU SHOULD KNOW. USE THIS ADVICE, USE IT REGULARLY, AND USE IT WISELY. 078 PLUG-IN - STEP 4 BLOOD AND SUNSHINE www.facebook.com/BloodandSunshine 079 BUZZ by SF Intercom _1 1 _ DON’T DO IT A LONE : i h o p e i t h a s s u n k i n b y n o w . t h i s s u r v i v a l g u i d e i s a b o u t p l u g g i n g in. it is the f r i e n d s , f a n s a n d f a m i ly . m a k e a n e v e n t o u t o f i t . 2 _ GO W HERE THE PEOPLE A RE: h o w o f t e n t o y o u p l ay a s h o w a n d e x p e c t p e o p l e t o c o m e 4t h p a n d s o m e t i m e s t h e h a r d e s t. d o n ’ t s t r e s s , j u s t d o i t. r e c r u i t y o u r t o yo u. p e r h a p s f o r yo u r n e x t s h o w, g o t o t h e m . f i n d a more aggressive approach. “the p e o p l e ” a n d p l ay f o r t h e m . ta k e 080 PLUG-IN - STEP 4 _2 081 BUZZ by SF Intercom _ 03 3 _ LE A RN FROM OTHERS, DON’T BE THEM: y o u ’ r e a m u s i c i a n . y o u w a n t t o b e u n i q u e . b e i n g t his st ep not a dv ice a bou t how to be a not her b a nd, bu t inst e a d how to l e a r n from ot her ba nds. be awa re of the things other ba nds a re doing. le a rn from them. c o m pa r e d t o o t h e r b a n d s c a n b e a n n oy i n g i f yo u’r e t r y i n’ t o d o s o m e t h i n g f r e s h. c o n s i d e r 4 _ CRE ATE PERSON A L REL ATIONSHIP S: i f y o u a r e g e n u i n e , p e o p l e w i l l r e m e m b e r . t h o s e s a m e p e o p l e w i l l d e s i r e t o w o r k w i t h y o u . e v e n t u a l ly y o u r g e n u i n e n at u r e w i l l c r e at e to be successful in. b o n d s t h at c a n l a s t t h e r e s t o f y o u r l i f e . s i m p ly s a i d : m a k e f r i e n d s i n t h e s c e n e y o u w a n t 082 PLUG-IN - STEP 4 _ 04 083 BUZZ by SF Intercom _ 05 5 _ DON’T DO E V ERY THING YOURSELF: i u n d e r s ta n d t h e d e s i r e t o b e i n c o n t r o l o f e v e r y t h i n g y o u w o r k o n . h o w e v e r t h e r e w i l l c o m e a t i m e w h e n w h at n e e d s t o b e a c c o m p l i s h e d w i l l r e q u i r e t h e a i d o f o t h e r s . d o n ’ t b e t o o p r o u d t o a s k f o r h e l p. t h i s b o l d g e s t u r e i s g e n u i n e , a n d m a n y w i l l b e m o r e i n t e r e s t e d t h a n y o u m ay h a v e s u s p e c t e d . the y need. y o u r s e l f, t e a m u p i n o r d e r t o g e t w h at y o u n e e d w h i l e h e l p i n g a n o t h e r b a n d w i t h w h at will be more successful. 6 _ T E A M U P : Th i s i s r e l a t e d t o t h e p r e v i o u s s u r v i v a l t i p, d o n ’ t d o e v e r y t h i n g Te a m s make work faster, stronger and more fun. U lt i m at e ly your project 084 PLUG-IN - STEP 4 _ 06 085 BUZZ by SF Intercom _ 07 7 _ HIRE PEOPLE: i k n o w y o u ’ r e a w i z ! y o u c a n p l ay 5 i n s t r u m e n t s a s w e l l a s s i n g . y o u y o u ’ r e a g r a p h i c d e s i g n e r . n e x t y o u ’ r e c o n s i d e r i n g b e c o m i n g a r e c o r d l a b e l a n d m ay b e a b o u g h t a b o o k a n d l e a r n e d p h o t o s h o p , n o t o n ly t h at y o u p r i n t e d b u s i n e s s c a r d s t h at s ay p r o m o t e r . s t o p ! f o c u s o n b e i n g a m u s i c i a n . h i r e s o m e b o d y t o d o t h e r e s t. t h at c a n b e h a r d . w o r k i n g w i t h s m a r t e r p e o p l e , l i k e ly s o m e o f t h e r e i d e a s a r e b e t t e r t h a n y o u r s . a c c e p t i n g s o m e c a s e s w o r k i n g w i t h s m a r t e r p e o p l e m e a n s g i v i n g u p s o m e c o n t r o l . i f y o u t r u ly a r e 8 _ WORK WITH SM A RTER PEOPLE: t h i s m ay s e e m l i k e a n o b v i o u s s u g g e s t i o n . h o w e v e r i n 086 PLUG-IN - STEP 4 _ 08 087 BUZZ by SF Intercom _ 09 your shows and e ven buy you drinks. a r e t i r e d o f p ay i n g t o s e e w h at t h e y ’ v e s e e n . I f y o u d o n ’ t c h a r g e t h e m t h e y ’ l l c o m e t o a l l o n yo u r f o u r t h s h o w t h e y ’r e t o o t i r e d. 9 _ DON’T CH A RGE YOUR FRIENDS: Y o u r f r i e n d s w i l l c o m e t o y o u r f i r s t s h o w . T h e y ’ l l p r o b a b ly e v e n c o m e t o y o u r s e c o n d s h o w . H o w e v e r o n y o u r t h i r d s h o w t h e y ’ r e b u s y a n d B a s i c a l ly a s m u c h a s y o u r f r i e n d s l i k e y o u , t h e y 10 _ H AV E MULTIPLE PRO JECT S: y o u m ay h a v e d i s c o v e r e d v e n u e s w i l l n o t b o o k a s h o w f o r y o u i f y o u a l r e a d y h a d a s h o w s o m e w h e r e e l s e r e c e n t ly . w h at t h e y ’ r e a f r a i d o f i s y o u r a b i l i t y t o d r a w a c r o w d t w i c e . t h at i s w h y i r e c o m m e n d h a v i n g m u lt i p l e p r o j e c t s . y o u m ay Perhaps e v e n b r i n g p ay i n g f r i e n d s . y o u ’ l l b e a b l e t o b o o k m o r e s h o w s a n d p o s s i b ly m a k e m o n e y . e v e n d i s c o v e r y o u r s i d e p r o j e c t i s m o r e s u c c e s s f u l t h a n y o u r m a i n p r o j e c t . e i t h e r w ay 088 PLUG-IN - STEP 4 _ 10 089 BUZZ by SF Intercom copied It is the ch out a vens are of kings om the ersmith; resence, through THE SCENE & BE SEEN YO! CHECK ME OUT! STEFAN ARONSEN: SF INTERCOM DON’T! You need to get Plugged in. Get off your ass … go to a show … introduce yourself to the band … meet the fans!!! You’re a rock star! You better start acting like one! There are a lot of people you should know that already want to know you. Start meeting the people that have walked the walk and talked to the talk. It’s your responsibility to get connected nce, and s better han for n. What Locked up in your studio, knee deep in the web of the internet, it’s easy to forget about the community around you. to the community. Once you’ve met them, ask questions, get advice, find out what others suggest you do and don’t do. Often success is easily mimicked and failure is even more easily copied. You are not the first and you wont be the last. So learn from others mistakes and be ready to teach the next wave from your mistakes. ring [b] the end u argue another y shame tation. 092 PLUG-IN - STEP 4 www.facebook.com/disgustofus DISGUST US 093 BUZZ by SF Intercom THE SCENE & BE SEEN DAVE & SHELLEY Champine LOCAL MUSIC VIBE BY: STEFAN ARONSEN located in marin, yet supporting efforts here in san francisco as well I first discovered Local Music Vibe at Brian Zisk’s SF MusicTech. They were one of the supporters and thus had posters up everywhere. I got curious so I went on a search for more info on them. When I finally found their mission statement my first thought was “oh shit! Their goals are the same as mine.” I got nervous. How was I going to compete with an entity that had already started, already had fans, bands and venues, and had similar goals to mine. Then all of a sudden it hit me, the ultimate “duh” moment. “It’s not a competition, it’s a community!” It was then that I realized the need for as many advocates as possible. Later that day I met Shelley and her husband who both run Local Music Vibe together. They are both great people. If you live in Marin, can get to Marin, or can send somebody to Marin in your place … I recommend checking them out. They do some amazing networking events. Including a Wednesday coffee group that talk about resurrecting the ever-changing music scene. 094 PLUG-IN - STEP 4 Nicole Leigh THE DELI SF BY: STEFAN ARONSEN STARTED IN NY, But Strong her in san francisco as well. The Deli was started in NY, but can be found in Austin, LA, and SF. (Perhaps a couple others, but who cares? Sorry—that’s mean! I love Seattle and Portland—but that’s it!) (Ok—sorry again!!! That’s just not cool! It’s possible there are other cool cities other than just SF. I’ll come visit you soon, then decide. Ha!) I digress! I originally knew about The Deli SF through my friend Emily. However before I was able to do any major research on them, she moved to The Bay Bridged. Then just when I was starting to get connected to The Bay Bridged, she moved to Portland. (I’m not ready to move back to Portland.) Anyway … The Deli SF is great if you want to read about SF then get side tracked and suddenly end up in NY, then before you know it you’re visiting Austin. Another cool area of the site is the Kitchen, a user generated blog for non Deli writers to write stories and advice. 095 BUZZ by SF Intercom www.facebook.com/Deerhoof DEER HOOF 098 PLUG-IN - STEP 4 099 BUZZ by SF Intercom 0100 PLUG-IN - STEP 4 0101 BUZZ by SF Intercom 0103 BUZZ by SF Intercom Buzz brings professional design directly to bands, helping musicians distinguish themselves. Buzz distills and distributes essential wisdom gathered from fans, bands and industry professionals. The goal is to help new bands and struggling bands become more viably successful. BUZZ is produced by SF Intercom