We survived the launch! And let me tell you, what a launch it was! Thank you so much to all of our readers for supporting Regional Musician. We were pretty confident we had a good idea, and thousands of you from around the United States and around the globe confirmed it within just a few days of release! The highlight was receiving a personal Tweet of kudos from Sir Richard Branson, a media mogul who got his start publishing a free musicians magazine. That’s like getting a Tweet from Mick Jagger saying “Great stage show man!” As we continue to receive submissions from bands (and please keep them coming!) I am reminded about just how much talent exists around the country. Truth be told, I have grown very weary of listening to the radio, and my new playlist includes the catalogues from the artists who submit to us. It’s updated constantly, and I’m rewarded with audio gold. It’s my pleasure to be able to share this music with all of you. If you didn’t notice in the August issues, when you turn to the Q&A, you should be able to hear the band featured on the cover. So be sure to take advantage of that feature! This month we bring you more artists from around the US representing country, metal, punk, and more. From artists who have been on the road for years, to artists who are starting to come into their own, we run the gamut of experience. You’ll also read some great info about promotional marketing, disc duplication, how to handle grumpy house engineers, and what to do once you’ve written a song. I think it’s important to note that as working musicians, when you’re looking to grow your audience, promotion is your lifeblood. So many artists are embracing a DIY approach to just about every aspect of their careers, from handling their own marketing and recording to going so far as to create their own music labels for distribution. When you do this, you need all the preparation you can get, and that’s what we’re here for—to help prepare you. But don’t back yourself into a corner trying to be a jack of all trades and a master of none. Spreading yourself too thin can be disastrous and counter to your goals. Finding specialists to help you may not be as expensive as you think, and you may do well to recognize this. Remember, you always get what you pay for, but be assured that forming relationships with vendors and people who help you can go a long way to getting affordable and quality help. Take promotional materials for example. When you learn that a promotional and marketing company can handle 360° marketing (tee shirts and bumper stickers to stage backdrops and CD’s), please understand how much simpler that can make your life. One vendor has all your artwork which means they will keep your brand and colors consistent, they know your needs and the needs of your fans, they appreciate your budget, and they will reward you with good pricing for your loyalty. You may find a vendor for each category of shwag, but will the colors be the same? Will the delivery be there when you need it? To put their service in focus with what you deliver, how many times have you sold your show to venue operators on the quality of your product, the consistency of your delivery, the value you bring to their customers? You build a relationship with those operators which in turn give you preference for return engagements. See how this all comes full circle? I want to give a quick shout-out to Nora Banks and her team at the Make-A-Wish Foundation Birmingham Alabama chapter. They recognize the importance of music and what it means to children with life threatening illnesses. In June I was invited to enjoy a show from a rising band Within Reason (the band of our own David Koonce), where all proceeds went to help grant more wishes for kids. Nora proved how she embraces the spirit of how music touches the soul, and she recognizes the value of all musicians. I would suggest that you track down your local chapter of Make-A-Wish, and find out how you can help the cause. I don’t normally jump behind any non-profit that pays six figure salaries to their directors and also take advantage of musicians asking for “freebie” concerts and shows, but I believe Make-A-Wish is much different. When you can actually sit down with children and speak with them, and when you can pull out an acoustic guitar or two and a cajon and play for them while they’re suffering in a sterile hospital room somewhere in the world and make their heart shine for a few minutes, you’ve made a tangible difference. When you’re at the point as a musician that your manager gets a phone call from Make-A-Wish asking if they can bring a child to come see you at a meet and greet prior to your sold-out stadium show, you have just been honored in a way that few people in this world will ever experience. In my opinion, that’s when you’ve “arrived.” That’s a donation which exceeds anything money can ever do. And when you play a show to help raise money for granting more wishes of any variety, you’re also helping other musicians get this opportunity. Thanks again for jumping on the Regional Musician digital pixel tour bus. Continue your quest to become the soundtrack of someone’s life! I can assure you the artists you’re reading about have become part of my soundtrack.
SEPTEMBER 2013 EDITOR IN CHIEF Greg McNair BUSINESS MANAGER Tina McNair MARKETING MANAGER Greg Smith ART DIRECTOR B. S. Jones CREATIVE DIRECTOR Joe Argent COPY EDITOR Jacob Booth CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Bill Young David Keith Ricky Carden David Koonce Hope Cassity Greg McNair Mark Boyadjian Will Cash CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Jalys Mabry Sarah Eckstine Thomas Hines CARTOONIST James Hislope ADDRESS 5184 Caldwell Mill Road Suite 204-168 Birmingham AL 35244 www.regionalmusician.com
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Letter from the Editor 2 Product Showcase 6 Liner Notes 7 The Green Room 9 Sound Check 13 Studio Session 16 Writers Rounds 18 Regions Map 19 Opening Acts 20 Backstage Pass 22 The Barricade 25 Geek Speak 27 Advertorial 29 Random Acts 30 Author Credits 32 Sustain 33 4
CHAUVETÂŽ DJ 4BARâ„˘ SERIES - LIGHT THE STAGE AND COLOR YOUR AUDIENCE Bands and musicians looking for a complete pack-and-go wash light system can satisfy their craving with the CHAUVETÂŽ DJ 4Bar â„˘ series. Comprised of 4BARâ„˘, 4BARâ„˘ Tri, 4BARâ„˘ Flex and Mini 4BARâ„˘ 2.0, the series offers total room or stage coverage and sets up and tears down in minutes. Place a fixture on both sides of the stage and enhance any live performance with color and eye candy. Each fixture features four independently adjustable, lowprofile heads and includes a footswitch and carry bag to simplify set up, operation and tear down. Additionally, 4BARâ„˘, 4BARâ„˘ Tri and Mini 4BARâ„˘ 2.0 include a tripod. 4BARâ„˘ Flex increases design options with additional power outlets and a pass-through hole for easy mounting. 4BARâ„˘ and 4BARâ„˘ Flex include 432 RGB LEDs, while 4BARâ„˘ Tri includes 28 tri-color LEDs. Mini 4BARâ„˘ 2.0 is a miniature version of 4BARâ„˘ and includes 324 RGB LEDs. Easily access eye-catching, built-in automated programs or create large, coordinated light shows by linking the series together in master/slave mode. To create your own look and build customized light shows, each fixture also includes DMX. For more information about the lighting gear, please visit www.chauvetdj.com
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It was the summer of 2003 and my band Jive Soul was on the road playing the SEC college town circuit. On the way to Florida we picked up a gig in our bass players home town of Brewton Alabama. We got there the day before the show and set up all our gear at our bassist’s family lake house. We decided this would be a good time to rehearse and write a little bit. It was around midnight that we decided to call it a night. The lake house didn't have enough bedrooms to accommodate all seven of us so we split up sleeping arrangements between the lake house and parents’ house. I was part of the crew that went to the parents’ house. It was roughly 5:00 a.m. when I was awakened by the smell of smoke and our saxophone player shaking me and telling me to get up. He then goes on to inform me that the lake house has burned to the ground. My first thought was that he was pulling my chain, but the smoky aroma coming off his jacket let me know that this was no joke. We jumped in the car and drove out there, and sure enough to my dismay he was telling the truth. Obviously my first concern was for my
band mates that had stayed there! Luckily they had all smelled the smoke and were able escape through a bathroom window. The guys ran barefoot down a gravel road going from door to door trying to find anyone with a telephone to call 911. Being a lake community there were not many occupied homes at the time. Finally they found someone and called the fire department. The fire department arrived as soon as possible to put out the fire and try and save the house, but to no avail. We lost everything! Amps, guitars, bass, keyboards, horns, and even a B3 organ. We also lost a trailer and the truck attached to it when the carport collapsed onto them. This was totally ironic as we had painted flames on the sides of the trailer the previous week. Obviously that was not such a good idea! We were crushed and in total disbelief as we strolled through the smoldering ash looking for anything to salvage. All that was left was some metal from the saxophone and two charred chunks of wood that were once Les Pauls and Telecasters. The fire department later declared that the incident probably occurred due to old wiring as the lake house was about 25 years old. Even through all that we still managed to play the next few shows thanks to some good friends that were nice enough to loan us their gear. The real blessing is that nobody got hurt! You can always replace your gear but you can't replace your best friends!
The Merch Table and Your Band as a Brand By: Greg McNair
Swag, schwag, shwag, merch. Call it whatever you want and spell it any way you like, but by the end of this article, be prepared to embrace it if being a musician is your future. In some urban dictionaries, you may find schwag is something entirely different than a tee shirt or sticker, so beware! It may just be a safe bet to call it merch, and that’s how I’m going to refer to it from here on out. Your fans love it, and it’s an essential part of branding.
Let’s not get ahead of ourselves yet, because before we go into too much detail, you need to wrap your head around a very basic tenet of survival as a career musician: you are a product. Whether you’re a band or a solo artist, if you want someone else to buy your music, they need to know who you are. Let’s play a quick game: Close your eyes and visualize a soft drink. Go ahead—I’ll wait a few seconds. Ok, now say out loud what brand you just visualized. Now, close your eyes, and visualize a band you grew up listening to (insert theme to Jeopardy here). Time’s up. Who did you visualize? What did you visualize—the name of the band, or the logo? Strong bet that you visualized the logo. Me personally? I’m seeing the Van Halen “VH” logo. What drink came to mind? Did you visualize the name or the logo? I visualized the Coca Cola logo. Might be words, but the words constitute their logo. I hope you see where I’m going with this; because what I’m driving at is that you need to have a readily identifiable logo that tells the world at a glance who or what you represent. In the marketing world, this association of logo to a product or service is known as branding, and it’s essential to your survival if you intend to
make your living playing music. This may not apply if you’re aspiring to be a studio session player, but if you’re the leader of your band, I encourage you to read on.
Your music is your product, your name or band is your brand. Want your product to stand out on the digital shelf? It has to be heard. And part of the game of being heard is being seen. The more you see your brand in public, the more exposure you’re receiving. It may be someone wearing your band tee shirt, or holding a beer wrapped with your koozie. It could be a sticker on a bumper or someone’s road case. Whatever the occasion, it’s being seen by others, and that puts you in people’s minds. Advertising is all about expanding your name and brand across every medium you can afford, because the more your brand is seen, the more familiar it becomes. The more familiar it becomes, the more likely someone is going to pay attention. It’s no small thing
to buy advertising, whether it’s in the pages of a magazine like this, a highway billboard, or blasting a 30 second spot on the radio. You’re taking a chance that someone out there will actually pay attention to you and be motivated to make some type of purchase decision. That purchase could be as simple as seeing a playbill with your name on it, and they decide to pay the cover to attend your show. If your shirt is worn by dozens of people around town, pretty soon people are going to start to wonder who you are, because your name will become familiar. Eventually they’ll see your show invite pop up in a friend’s news feed, they’ll see your name on a festival poster, they’ll hear a friend talking about your music. That’s how this works. Familiarity.
Baby On Board
I have a cover band, Sexy Tractor. We play covers of popular country hits. The name is a direct spinoff of a famous Kenny Chesney song, “She thinks my tractor’s sexy.” I was so motivated to protect the brand that I purchased the trademark to the name. It took about 6 months and a few gigs worth of money, but there it sits on the wall of my office, in a frame, USPTO # 4,028,413. I did this because a band I was in previously shared their same name with about a dozen other bands around the country, and I thought it would be a good idea to protect it. We actually fielded a request to play a show at the Hard Rock in NOLA, and when the promoter found out we were another band of the same name, we realized how much it sucked to share names with others. “Oh, you’re not the band from Chicago? Sorry, wrong band!” And there went a $5000 gig. Tried my best to save it, but it wasn’t happenin’. I told you all of that to say that I went on to create an easily identifiable logo that was based on something already very familiar to people—a street sign with a farmer on a tractor crossing the road. I modified it to put a silhouette of a cowgirl sitting atop the tractor, and used plain ol’ street sign font to spell out the name. Easiest logo in the world to create a backdrop sign for—it’s a street sign. And the stickers on windows of cars have that familiar look as well. Does “Baby On Board” ring any bells? Again, it all fell in line with an attempt to keep it familiar so that folks would recognize it instantly. Some folks even stopped to pose with the authentic tractor crossing signs and posted them to our social media feeds. That’s winner winner chicken dinner stuff right there. We played a gig in a college town one night. The bar owner told me the bands who made the roster for the season all had one thing in common—they had a backdrop or some type of sign that had their band name/logo on it. They discovered this common trait because the bands were remembered by their name being visible. If you’re playing ANYWHERE, your name dang sure needs to be as visible as your PA speakers. What good is it to play to a crowd who doesn’t know who you are?
The Day After Tattoo
One of our most successful swag items was the temporary tattoo. Again, lucked out on the shape being a perfect square, so it made fitting into existing 1.5” x 1.5” templates an easy thing. Rock it 45 degrees, and voila, there’s our logo. How many times have you played somewhere to a crowd of fans who were so hammered they likely didn’t know who you were, but they seemed to have the time of their lives? The next day, they probably wouldn’t remember you if you didn’t give them something to remember you by. We had so many people wake up the next day with our tats placed in various spots on their bodies
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that it became known as “the day after tattoo” and it was their reminder of the band they partied with the night before. We’ve got pics upon pics of girls wearing the tat on parts of their bodies we can’t mention. We’ve got pics of guys at college football games wearing the tats on their faces. The most disturbing was seeing a guy wear it as a tramp stamp, and boy was he proud of it. That just wasn’t right, and I still shake my head thinking about it. But you know what? We made a fan out of him. Those tats are stupid-cheap when you consider the day-after value they bring to your branding. I’ll share a secret about application of tats. Find a good looking guy and a good looking girl in the bar. I say good looking to just say they don’t have to be “hot”, but you want to avoid creepers. Explain to them that you’ll buy them a drink or two if they become your ambassador, and have them apply tats to the fans who want them. Obviously the task is split so that girls work the guys, and the guys work the girls. Get a small pitcher of warm water and a clean bar towel, and send them on their way. Very easy, and they’ll have a ball chasing down people in the bar. And you’ll have a fan or two for life who will volunteer to repeat that job everywhere they follow you.
Tee shirts are great, because who doesn’t love a tee shirt? But they are pricey if you’re looking for quality. The price of shirts fluctuates with the market because cotton is market-driven, and nylon blends require petroleum to make the nylon. The price of a gallon of gas goes up? So does the cost for your blended shirt. I would suggest that if you’re giving away shirts, don’t spend a lot of dough. Keep it simple with one-color, and buy “giveaway quality” shirts. People get something for free; they can’t expect a Fruit of the Loom. And know that if you’re buying front and back, that’s usually two setup charges. And the more colors you add, the more expensive it gets. Overall, the price difference between a 2 color and a 4 color isn’t a deal killer, but the difference between a 1 and a 2 color might be, so consider how your logo may look in one color. Again, you don’t want to spend $8 on shirts you plan to give away, unless you’re
just wealthy. Then you do what you want. But keeping it real, you might choose to keep it simple. When it comes to selling shirts, then you should consider higher quality tees and multi-color designs. You don’t want to sell someone a $4 shirt for $20, because that shirt is not going to go the distance. And when you get a pissed off fan because their shirt faded quickly or the printing wore off fast, you’re going to lose a fan. If you spend $8 on a shirt, you’re probably in the noise for a quality product, and that’s something you can ask $15-$25 for. If you spend more than $10, you might want to consider price shopping, because there’s likely someone out there who can beat that price and match the shirt on quality and delivery. Or you’ve got a really complex and ink-heavy design, and WOW, your shirts are probably awesome. The single most difficult part of buying shirts is knowing what sizes to get. You HAVE to consider your audience. Are your shirt-wearers girls or guys? Tees come in male and female sizing (and kids too), and you don’t want to buy a bunch of male L and XL shirts if the buyers are petite girls who want something that demonstrates their curves. Likewise, you don’t want to buy a bunch of mediums if your guy-buyers are a little thick in the belly. You’re never going to predict this with any accuracy, but before you buy shirts, start paying a bit closer attention to your audience and try to figure out what they might want. Don’t ask your buddies in other bands what sizes they buy—your mileage is going to vary every single time. And if you thought just knowing what size to get, wait till you throw in the fabric color choices. Our most common shirts were black with streetsign yellow print. But some girls like pink, so we went with the play on John Deere and did pink shirts with green printing. Those were a hit. We did black shirts with pink printing, and girls snapped them up like they were gold. But the standard offering of basic black was a pretty easy shirt to deal with.
When we’re talking merch, the next cheap and highly popular item is the can koozie. These can run the gamut of price as
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well, because they’re available in thick and thin neoprene, with zippers, and some outlast others by a large margin. Again, these are probably something you’d give away, which is what we did. Nothing quite like watching people fight for a bunch of koozies tossed from a stage. It’s reminiscent of girls fighting to grab the bouquet of flowers at a wedding reception. And when someone gets a koozie, they’re going to be mighty proud. I still see ours all over town. One of the band members wasn’t hot for the idea, but he went along with it anyway. Hand to God, he came back to us and said “you know what? You proved me wrong. I can’t believe how much people treasure a freakin’ koozie.” If memory serves, we
paid about .40c/ea for them and bought them by the several hundred at a time. Save up a gig or two worth of pay, buy a case of koozies, and toss them out at shows. You’ll earn more fans doing stuff like that than you could imagine. And these also serve as a day-after party favor. I suggest keeping it cheap and buying the ones that can easily fold up and slip into a back pocket or small purse. People are more likely to use those than the ones that are thick enough to wear as a helmet. You can also buy them in multi colors, so spread the love. It usually doesn’t cost more to buy in other colors. At one time, I think we had gotten black, pink, green, and yellow, and just changed the color of our logo on each to be visible. Walk around the venue after soundcheck and hand them out to people. Strike up a quick conversation, befriend them, and thank them for coming to see you. That goes a VERY long way to building a fanbase.
Hats And Ski Caps
Hats and ski caps (beanies) are going to propel you into a much greater expense per-piece, and aren’t nearly as popular as shirts or koozies. The ski caps are obviously region-specific and won’t be very popular in Miami or South Padre Island. Some folks just don’t wear hats. But when you go shopping for them, pay attention to what the current trends and styles are, not stuff you necessarily like. I don’t wear flat-billed ballcaps, but some folks do, so I’d have to consider those in the purchase. Some folks prefer a trucker style mesh cap over a woven cotton one. All of these carry a different price point, and the only way to get them cheaper is to buy in large quantities. That last bit applies to everything when it comes to marketing, by the way. The more you buy, the more you drive the price down. But when you buy quantity, be SURE you’re buying something you can sell or give away easily. There’s probably not much call for USB flash drive keychains except for putting your EPK on them and handing them over to a bar manager. But they’re awfully expensive for something like that. If you want something to give to bars to remember you by, get nice tip buckets to put atop the bar with your logo on it. That won’t be cheap, but it’s good advertising if the bars will accept and use them.
Stickers are another great and inexpensive source of branding. Depending on what you’re going for,
the prices can be very inexpensive to ultra-expensive. You can get what you pay for in this item, so be careful. If you want it to last, buy a sticker made of quality vinyl with a UV protected ink/coating. You want your sticker to last in outdoor environments if people stick them on cars. You want them to have a good peel away backing so they’re easy to handle. And you want them to have enough quality to go the distance. Beware if you choose a sticker with a reflective backing/base color, because they do not photograph well if it’s dark and someone is using a flash. A lot of printing companies have stock sizes that you may be able to work with. Your logo could require some custom sizing, and that will drive the price per piece up a pretty good amount. Recall my simple square logo? That transferred easily to stock stickers. This magazine logo does not. Our stickers are much more expensive because of it. And don’t forget to put a sticker or have your logo branded to the bass drum head. Don’t let your drummer try to talk you out of it because they use their kit in another band. Either they’re in your band, or they’re not. If you’re invested heavily enough in your band, you’re probably invested to the point that each member is in it for the long haul, so this shouldn’t be an issue. Let the “other” band have to suffer seeing your band logo at their shows! And this drum head is a band expense in my mind. The drummer shouldn’t have to pay for that. Heads aren’t cheap.
CD’s and Download Cards
I’ve never considered CD’s as “merch” so to speak, not in the same category as product branding. I mean, it is merch, and CD’s may represent a cash cow for you. But CD’s aren’t koozies. One thing you might consider about your music delivery, if you’re a fan of download cards (you know, biz cards with a “secret link” to a free download of your tunes?), you might find a way to package them so they get attention. If you don’t do CD’s, but instead choose to go the route of giving away or selling digital downloads from the cloud, you might consider printing up some cool CD sleeves and stuffing your download cards into them. It’s a familiar packaging style, and it leaves you with a lot of room for delivering info about your band as David discusses in his Studio Session column this month. It can get expensive to do that, but it’s unique, and more often than not, unique is memorable.
Invest to Succeed
So there’s my .02 cents on merch. It all begins with taking your brand seriously, then promoting it to the point it becomes familiar. I assure you, there’s no describing the feeling of seeing a complete stranger sporting your logo in public. It will fill you with so much pride you’ll catch yourself fumbling with your phone so you can snap a pic to show it off. Your entire band needs to get onboard with spending the money necessary to merch your brand. If they’re not seriously willing to help with this as a band expense, then you might need to take pause and consider just how “in” your fellow members are. You may not all agree on the best types of merch, but you all need to agree on some type of merch. It’s an investment in yourselves, and that investment is your future. If your goal is to quit retail or day labor jobs so you can make all of your living playing music, you NEED to invest in your brand, because that’s your future. Take the loss on a few gigs worth of money to invest into growing the business. Make up for that loss by pulling extra shifts or passing on something else in your life. Investing in your future is so much more important. You’ll be dang glad you did.
How to Work with the Grumpy House Engineer By: “OverKill Bill” Young
The band van backs up to the loading entrance to the nights gig. You are pumped because it is your first time in here, and this place is THE place to play. You jump out of van, head inside, and are greeted by some miserable, grouchy guy proclaiming himself as the “house guy.” He starts asking snappy questions…”What do you need? How many vocals? How big is the drum set?” Then when you tell him you are the band’s sound guy and 2 of your players are on ear monitors, a look of disgust comes over his face, and he starts spewing nonsensical comments about how the last sound guy blew up the subs and he had to spend his day off fixing them, and he wasn’t about to let you do that to him again! Wow, dude sounds like a jerk! Really sucks the wind out of your sails of excitement about playing there. This may sound like an exaggeration, but in reality, I have run into these types more than I care to remember! Don’t get me wrong, most house guys are real pros, and are a pleasure to work with, but the jerkers are out there, lurking in the shadows where you least expect them sometimes, waiting to ruin your day and raise your stress level and blood pressure! So what can you do to deal with these bitter chip-on-the-shoulder types? Going further, what can you do to lessen the chance of the above scenario from ever happening?
Advance The Gig
Every band and every show is unique unto itself, even yours. You may think it routine working with your same band gig after gig, and it probably is routine for you. But it’s not for the house guy you didn’t call to advance the show with. He doesn’t know your particular needs unless you contact him and let him know. Whose responsibility is it to do that? Well, at different levels of the music business hierarchy, it changes actually. The established big bands that can have only green M&M’s or will refuse to play if a brown one is in them, have a rider that is sent to the venue or promoter by either their
manager or booking agency. The venue will call the proper contacts on the rider, or have their production provider call and go over all the sorted details that are laid out within said rider. At the other end of the spectrum, cover bands playing a nightclub for example, there may be no manager OR booking agent involved. You may not even have a “rider.” Does this excuse you from making the effort to advance the show? No. Call the club. Get email or phone number for their house or production guy and get a hold of him, and give him details on your needs for the show at his venue. Tell him what you are carrying for gear yourself, and what you don’t have, but need from him. From my experiences, it has always been harder to get a hold of people to advance shows at the club level. Sometimes you just might not be able to get in touch with them for whatever reason, but if you make the effort, most times you will get them. When both parties, you and them, know in advance what is needed and expected, it will make for a MUCH smoother, happier gig for all involved. You might even find that bitter house guy is now a pleasant professional, and has stage prewired, and console preset for you upon your arrival! All because of a phone call or an email well-placed.
Make a Rider
How? It doesn’t have to be fancy schmancy; just accurate and not too demanding (unless you are Metallica or just sold 500,000 records). A high quality, professional sound system shall be provided to Artist at no charge. Final approval of sound system is at the sole discretion of Artist and their representatives. All equipment is expected to be in good working condition, fully set-up and operating when Artist arrives for load-in. The sound company shall provide a sufficient number of skilled technicians to set up the system in accordance to the enclosed stage plot. These technicians will also be available during the performance to provide any technical support required by Artist’s crew.
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A: HOUSE PA SYSTEM FOR VENUES OVER 500 CAPACITY, SEND VENUE DIMENSIONS FIRST. MINIMUM FOR UP TO 500 CAPACITY VENUES: 3-WAY SYSTEMS--4-18” subs, 4-10 or 12”mids,2- 2” horns, with proper power, PER SIDE. 4-WAY SYSTEMS—4-18” subs, 4-15” lo-mids, 4-8 or 10” mids, 2-2” horns, with proper power PER SIDE. All systems shall be configured in stereo with a quality dual 1/3 octave EQ located at FOH. FOH Console--- Please provide a quality unit with at least 24 XLR inputs PLUS 4 stereo line channels (For FX returns, CD etc), See Attached Input List…4 band EQ per channel with at least 2 sweepable midrange controls. Examples—Midas Venice 324, ATI Paragon II , or anything in between these 2. Please Note—For EACH piece of Behringer, Peavey or Mackie gear you provide you MUST supply one FRESH jelly donut for each member of crew and band, i.e.—2 Behringer EQ’s=12 jelly donuts. Processing—6 gates, 6 comps, 1 GOOD verb, 1 GOOD delay like good gear better than good donuts!) Please provide enough mics, cables, stands, claws, including spares to complete input list. Again, See attached Input List!!
B: MONITOR SYSTEM SttS carries their own In-Ear Monitor system, including Yamaha DM-2000 console on an EZ allow enough room for this gear, AND small guitar tech area on Stage right side, (venue dependent) QUESTIONS?? Call ”Overkill Bill” Young @ XXX-XXX-XXXX firstname.lastname@example.org
C: LIGHTING REQUIREMENTS
A professional lighting system is required along with a knowledgeable person to focus lights at sound check and run the board during the show.
Here is an example of a rider and input list I did for a tour with “Slave to the System”, a group comprised of members of Queensryche and Brother Cane. Both heavy hitters in the arena rock category, but now in this side project were playing medium to large clubs in a van/trailer back-to-basics rock show.
In the event that the sound and lighting equipment provided
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for the Artist’s performance does not meet the above specifications, Artist has the right to cancel the show and retain any deposits made. Again, this is an example of what worked for this tour, your needs will be different. Note the input list has all information needed for a house sound man to know what we need from him. It lets him know we are carrying our own microphones and direct boxes. It also lets him know what mic stands we need, what type, and for what. It also goes as far as where I want my compressors and gates inserted on FOH console. Not so prevalent these days with digital consoles, but analog rigs are still around. Funny But Related Story Time If you notice in the example rider: jelly donuts must be provided if certain types of gear were used… I had tried to advance EVERY show for this tour prior to leaving out, and was able to get in contact with everyone…except for the FIRST show of the tour! It was a medium club in Edgerton Wisconsin. I had tried and tried to call the numbers I had to speak with anyone there but with no luck. Well, we pull up to the club, all psyched to kick this tour off, as I walk into the room where the band is to perform, I see stacks of Peavey speakers, racks of Behringer amps, and to the left of stage, a card table setup loaded with boxes of jelly donuts. House guy greets me explaining this is all they had to work with, but he did get the donuts as stated on the rider! I was
really just being “tongue in cheek” when I put that on the rider. This just shows that communication BEFORE the gig can really pay off. Had this dude called me back, I would have told him I was joking about the donuts and he would have saved 50 bucks! The gig went awesome by the way. Have Consideration Having been on both sides of the street myself, years of touring, and now as a house guy at an awesome venue, “I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now” as the old Joni Mitchell song says. I know from my tours what bands on the road would like as they come into my venue, and I try to do things in advance to make their day, and to make their show easier and better; things that I would have liked when I was in their shoes burning up the roads. Is every gig perfect? No way! But if you strive to get your information out in advance to those that need it, you will be closer to production nirvana! Kill Em With Kindness So, you advanced the show with him, you show up, and the house guy is still bitter and rude? Keep smiling and be kind. He will either come around, or it will drive him crazy that he can’t get under your skin. Win, win! Next Month…CONSOLES!! Happy Mixing! The band in the photo is “Slave to the System” and the members include: Damon Johnson (Alice Cooper, Brother Cane,Thin Lizzy) Kelly Grey (Queensryche) Scott Rockenfield (Queensryche) Allen Park
facilities don’t necessarily handle packaging with automation. They’re usually hand assembled because of low volume print runs. Replication takes a bit longer to create, and there are usually larger minimum run requirements, but that’s how they keep the per-unit prices lower. Replicated discs can have fancy screen printing, and most replication facilities handle the entire process of creating your cd from creating the glass master from your Digital Linear Tape, manufacturing your cd, printing your artwork, and assembling the final packaging. Duplication facilities may have to subcontract the artwork, paper printing (sleeves/inserts), and packaging.
So you’ve spent a great deal of time recording, mixing, and mastering. Your tracks are finished to your satisfaction and all the I's are dotted and T's are crossed. Now we move on to the next phase to get your music to the masses: CD creation This brings about an entirely new challenge! You’ve got artwork to think about. There’s cover art, liner art, back cover art. Who in the heck puts all those cd’s together? Do we get plastic cases or paper sleeves? Do we print on the cd and make it stand out? Who has the best deal on the process? All of these are questions you and the band need to move on rapidly to complete the final stage of the bands project in the studio. In fact, this is something that should be on your mind as you develop the entire concept of recording and releasing a cd, before you even get into the studio. There exists any number of duplication machines on the market designed for the do-it-yourselfer, but you’re a musician. So perhaps I can
convince you to spend the money to let a pro handle the work. After all, we’re talking about your future. Is it really time to be cutting corners on something so valuable? The Process CD creation isn’t an overly complex process to understand, at least not since we’ve become familiar with burning a CD/DVD on our personal computers. Data is transferred from a master source onto a digital disc. There’s replication, and duplication. Duplication is what we’re all most familiar with, because that’s how we create the cd’s on our computers. Take an existing disc, burn data onto it, slap a label on it, and go. Replication is a process where the actual data (your music) is printed onto the reflective material you see in a cd before the disc itself is finished being manufactured. The difference? Usually the cost per unit is higher to duplicate than to replicate, and while that may not make sense initially, replication facilities control all the
When we’re talking mass production and creating a disc that has the best quality representation of your music, it’s essential to call on the pros, whether they’re duplicators or replicators. In my experiences with bands that have just completed the recording process, the members are so excited about how it sounds that they get the itch to get the cds made ASAP.” But take a breather and realize this process can take from a couple days up to 2 weeks or more. If you weren’t prepared for this, your anxiety will overrun you. How much work you did prior to recording in the studio will dictate the process of getting cd’s in hand. Choosing a Duplication Service In last month’s column, we discussed the less expensive alternatives to professional studio recording. We talked about DIY and home-brewed recording. The same amateur-to-pro range exists throughout the industry, including disc duping. Where are you in the range of buying? A few dozen, or a few thousand? If it’s just a few dozen that you’re looking to send out “freebies” to local bars and booking agents in order to gain work within your region, then by all means you can do all of this yourself. The local office supply store sells blank cd’s, many of which can be printed directly onto by your own inkjet printer if you have the proper equipment. Or you can buy less expensive cd’s and packs of cd labels and print onto those. Don’t be fooled into thinking this is necessarily a cheap way to go, because one of the most expensive liquids you can buy is printer ink! But for a few runs of freely given discs, this may be your smartest option. Now let’s say you’re looking to distribute hundreds, if not thousands, and your primary goal is to sell the discs, not just give them away. Now we’re talking pro-level. It’s more expensive because you’re buying quantity and quality, but the cost per-disc is going to drop significantly as well. Selecting a service that everyone in the band is happy with is important, because choices can range from a local guy that is a friend all the way up to the larger replication facilities used by the mega-artists you worship. Your band manager may say “If it’s the service _____ uses, then we need to use it as well!” But then someone else gets their feelings hurt because the band didn’t choose the friend in the business. The Tidy Package Back when cd’s first hit the scene after the 8 track and cassette era, all you really had was a cd in a hard plastic flip tray. This was the standard for all cd’s sold in stores. But as of a few years ago artists started putting 5 songs on a disc and making it an EP. With small runs, typically less than 500), a wallet-style case became acceptable because the content of the cd didn’t follow the traditional style to begin with—5 songs instead of a full 10+ song
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album. Quite often, the consumer would leave the cd in a multi-disc player, and the case became something else to store. They’d get stepped on and cracked, the cover tabs would snap off, or they’d get lost, and eventually only the cd remained. How many of you snickered when someone lifted an empty case from your shelf at a party, knowing they arrived home disappointed because the real treasure was tucked away in your multi disc carousel or portable cd sleeve? Jokes on them. But man, there was some cool art on that sleeve.(this last block quote is optional Joe) Cover Art, the Lost Art Artwork on the cover is your choice, and for some this is probably as important as the recordings themselves. Your cover is the visual representation of what’s going to be piped into ear canals all over the world. It’s the theme of your project. Some people even hang it on walls! Back in the days of vinyl, attention to the cover, the sleeves, the liner notes, and sometimes even the color of the disc was as much a marketing tool as anything else a band could create to stand out. Whether it was a platinum colored double album jacket, a picture disc (those were so cool), or liner notes that were reprints of record contracts, record labels spent big bucks vying for our attention. But you don’t have those big bucks yet, so we gotta think smaller. Your art can be created by a friend or a bandmate and sent to the dupe company per their printing standards. Always check with the service you’re using to learn what they require! Most high end replication and duplication companies have an artist on-hand to help you in the design of the cd. Artwork production is a very important step in helping the product stand out from others, so give this serious thought. You also need to consider fitting all the info about your band and the contents of the disc (songs) onto the back cover. If you’re using a traditional cd jewel case, you’ve got plenty of room for options to add plenty of photos, liner notes, perhaps even lyrics in a fancy book or trifold insert. If you’re using a basic cardboard or Tyvek sleeve, your papyrus real-estate will be severely limited.
with this, so consider it a viable option if you have no other place you would like to send it. Last month I talked about the mastering step, and when having a discussion about producing bulk cd’s with any of these professional services, I think this needs to come up in conversation. In fact, that’s why you need to have a pretty good handle on the printing/duping of your discs before you go into the studio and spend money on mixdown and mastering. Picking the right company to do the best job is really up to you. There are some great companies all over the country who will provide a fantastic service from start to finish and give you the result your band deserves after all the hard work that you have put in. As with all things you spend money on, do your homework. Find the discs you like from the bands you buy from, and ask them who they used. Shop the price and service level you can be happy with, and go make some cd’s!
How many in your party, sir/ma’am? Deciding on how many discs to order seems to be a growing dilemma these days due to the popularity of downloading your music digitally. In most cases it just depends on how many physical copies you want on-hand to be able to put one in someone else’s hand at any time. Are your buyers going to be flocking to digital download services? Or are they going to be buying from your merch table at a show? For this decision, you’re on your own. There’s no crystal ball we can look into and know the right answer. But I do have a tip about buying! I have known artists to purchase more cd covers/cases along with their initial disc purchase to have so they do not have to reprint those items in case they sold out of cd’s. That way you can just order the cd and not the whole packaged product at that time. But again, discuss this with your dupe service. One Stop Shopping Some of the disc companies offer a package to master your project after it is mixed. I have heard that some do a great job
A HOW TO GUIDE FOR THE BEGINNER SONGWRITER By: Hope Cassity
I have audience members ask me all the time what to do with their songs. They ask how to get them “heard” by the important industry folks. My answer? Well, there isn’t one specific answer. There isn’t a formula you can follow exactly, but there are steps you can start working on now to make the most of your time and to help you not lose precious money and time pitching your songs. The following high points should be your guide: Which Song Is My “Hit”? This is a tough one. You must keep an open mind and be ready for constructive criticism. You’ll need to write so many songs you can’t stand to even look at your guitar. Never written with someone? Well do it! Set up co-writes and write with other published writers. This allows you the instant luxury of at least one set of industry ears on every piece of work you co-write. Once you have immersed yourself in studying the craft of songwriting with already successful writers, stop yourself, take an inventory, and decide which one is your best. Then, copyright it and register it with a PRO (ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, etc.). Always protect your ideas before sharing them with anyone. Once you have it protected, take the song to your songwriter friends, NSAI (Nashville Songwriters Association International), and anyone else who will listen. Get critiques of the song and listen to those suggestions. Fine tune, edit and perfect the performance of the tune. Play it out in front of people at open mics and see what kind of response you get; you might be surprised. There are several songs that I’ve written that I was completely attached to, but when I played them live I received mediocre crowd response at best. I learned to let go of them and focus on the songs that the audience responds to. After all, they are the ones buying the downloads, right? Listen and absorb what your peers and listeners tell you. And here’s another trick to seek out real opinions of your peers: take a survey! Put your social media and email network to good use. Ask folks to write their favorite song on your email list. This can be very helpful in determining what songs are your strongest commercially. Time To Demo — Full Band Or Guitar Vocal? Now that you have figured out which song has the strongest commercial potential, you’ve registered and protected it, and you play it out live and it stands the test of fans, it’s time to record the demo. If you want to pitch it to Carrie Underwood, Justin Timberlake, or Beyoncé, you need to give them a great recording. This is by far the most important decision, and could potentially mean a hefty financial investment. A strong ballad
should stand out to most pluggers and publishers as long as they have a clear and quality guitar vocal example. Don’t overspend on a solid ballad. Keep that one simple. For a mid or up-tempo, I’d recommend a full band production. The Recording Process The pre-planning process and pre-production could hold the most crucial choices you make when trying to get your song in the right hands. Start looking for a great engineer or producer. Listen to samples and choose this producer, your singers, and the players wisely, because this is your team, your investment, and you have a lot riding on your choices. On a side note to “singer-songwriters” - I’d recommend not singing every song if you don’t have the tone, range or sound of the artist you would like to cut it. This is something some of us singer/songwriters have a hard time letting go of, but finding the right vocalist can make or break the chances of your song being cut. Choose a quality demo singer. The more you can do to paint a clearer picture for the listener of what “Carrie” would sound like singing it ...the better your chances are of getting it in her hands. Never underestimate the power of networking and connections. It is as equally as important to choose the members of your team who are connected in the industry as it is to choose them based on talent. You never know who might walk in and hear your song while your engineer is mixing it down in the “B room” or who may hear your backing vocalist rehearsing the chorus while standing in an elevator. Hope And Pray You may not like the title of this one but let’s be honest—it’s the truth. I met with a publisher the other day who told me he loved my song but that he had 3000 more amazing songs in his catalog that he loved equally from already established published writers. That, my friends, is a tough pill to swallow. The odds are stacked against us new songwriters, but if you believe in your song, never stop playing it for people. I just recently got a cut on an indie record by playing one of my songs over my phone speaker to my hair stylist. She just happens to also be a musician who has recorded an EP and is touring, and the cut is one of the most popular downloads of her EP. Again, you never know when opportunities might present themselves. A hit songwriter I had the pleasure of sharing the stage with recently had his song pushed aside by publishers for 7 years until he made it a #1 hit for Jason Aldean. Seven years. Recall the old saying “it’s a marathon, not a race?” You never know when the moment may happen for you, so do not stop if you believe you have a great tune. Perhaps the right singer just hasn’t come along yet. Always remember: Hit songs don’t have an expiration date.
This section is dedicated to profiling hard-working artists who are making an honest effort to make it to the top. We are not going to profile bands who play all cover songs (except in the October issue which is dedicated to tribute/cover acts). It’s going to highlight artists and bands who “get it”…the artists who work hard to promote themselves, spend time in the studio laying down their own work, publishing their material in hopes of one day receiving royalties, and generally taking this so serious that it is their reason for existence in this world. Qualifications: You must write your own music. You don’t have to play 100% original shows though! Most touring household name acts play covers. But if you’re a 20% originals/80% covers band, and have no aspiration to flip those numbers, this probably isn’t for you. Publishing is not required, but if you are published, that one element speaks volumes and increases your popularity among our roundtable decision-makers (more on that in a minute). It means that you take yourself so seriously that you are willing to protect your music and seek compensation for it. Any genre, any style is accepted. You may read about a gospel quintet from Arkansas, a heavy metal band from Oklahoma, a solo female performer from Hawaii, a bluegrass band from Vermont. You are well-rounded in the industry. In other words, you have pro photos, you have a website, and you are an active social media user. If you don’t have pro photos, but you have everything else, don’t fret. We can help you find photos. But if you’re a self-starter, you should already know how to handle that. How to submit: Visit the website at www.regionalmusician.com and follow the steps to submitting from the main page links. Complete the questionnaire (Q&A). ALL bands must start here. Please understand that due to the anticipated volume of submissions, we may not get back to you. If you’ve submitted once, we’ve got it. No need to hammer us every month. If you didn’t make it this month, you may make it another month. If we select you, we will follow up, so be sure to complete the info. Submissions outside of the Q&A form won’t be accepted, not even if you wrap the demo cd in hundred dollar bills, stuffed inside a box of Ghiradelli Dark and Sea Salt Caramel Chocoloate, or wrapped in bacon. Wait….bacon? Hmm. What kind—thick cut? Take this seriously. We expect readers from all over the world, not just the US. And you NEVER know who is reading these pages. It could be a major A&R rep seeking the next big thing, a producer of Bonnaroo or the New Orleans Jazz Festival looking for an act, or the booking agent for a “brand name” touring performer who needs an opener. We don’t want the sublime or the mundane, and neither do they. Musicians and fans will be sitting at our roundtable, discussing your submissions. It’s sort of like a beauty contest (uggh, not that we support those at all, but it’s the closest reference we could come up with). We’ll start by rating everyone on a 1-10 scale. If you’re a 1, you will at best get a Tweet. If you’re a 10, you are headed for the pages of the magazine. We’re supposed to entertain and educate, so approach this from your own point of view as a reader. Do you want to read boring material? We can only do so much with limited info from artists. If you give one-word answers, it’s hard to turn that into several dozen words. If you don’t give any answer, you just went to zero. On the flip side, if you’re too wordy, chill out a bit. You probably wouldn’t tackle Clive Davis, but likewise, you probably wouldn’t want to pass up a chance
to shake his hand. Somewhere in the middle is what you should be striving for. If we ask you for one item in a question, give us one item, not three. An example: What one song would you play on a late night show? ONE, people. If we wanted you to give us three, we would have asked for three! We say this because some folks just went a little beyond what was asked for! You could be the most awesome artist in the country with a horrible knack for telling others about who you are. So you know what? Find someone else to fill out the form for you, and let them be your creative writing side. We’ve read some really bad A’s to the Q’s from phenomenal artists. If you see someone else selected from your state, don’t hate us and don’t hate them. We’re all in this together, and your time may come. There may be something you learn from seeing others, and feel compelled to email and ask us what we didn’t like. If we have time to get back to you, we will let you know, but we can’t make any guarantees. There’s a lot of submissions to wade through! So when do I get to be on the cover? Well, this is how it works. If you’re selected to be in the magazine in your region, that means we think you’re good enough to be on the cover. But we don’t make that decision. We will pit you against the rest of the artists who made it from their states in your region. We’ll create a Facebook “likes” contest which will run for a certain period of time and we’ll inform all of you. The winner of that contest earns the cover spot. How good is your fan base? We aren’t going to do it all for you; you have to put some skin in the game too. If you have 10,000 Facebook fans, we’re about to find out if they’re organically grown, or bought off a shelf! It’s not up to us to put you on the cover. It’s up to you to promote, it’s up to your fans to vote! It’s going to take us a few months to get this rolling the way we want, so for the time being, we may just hand-select the artists who appear on the cover. If you don’t see your genre represented, then we suggest you get busy answering questions! If you are selected for the magazine. We are going to come back to you for high resolution photographs that we can publish. This means you need to grant us rights to the photos, so be sure to get those rights from your photographer! Opening acts get a few Q&A lines and a pic or two, with info on how to learn more about you (links you submit to your web pages, etc.). If you win the cover spot, we’re going to publish all of your raw Q&A’s. And finally, what we are working towards. We at Regional Musician aspire to take you to the “next level.” This is the basic principle behind RM. To show that “next level” support on a greater level, we’re going to put you on a stage. How many city music festivals have you played that turned into shows headlined by mega acts, and you, the little-known, got edged out? All of a sudden, promoters got greedy and decided they weren’t selling enough tickets to their festivals, so the festival became all about the big acts who drew the big crowds. We’re planning to create a Regional Musician Festival in each of our regions. Our goal is to highlight the acts that appear in our pages. We are striving to put you on our stage, not some greedy producers’ stage. Yeah, it’s going to cost us money to do this, but it’s not about us making money on ticket sales. We’re going to turn that money around back to all of you and to non-greedy vendors and non-greedy host cities. We will be looking to create contests which gift to the bands in our pages things like recording studio time, professional gear, and promotion help. All of this will be possible with the help of our advertisers, so be sure to click links to ads in these pages. Support the advertisers who make it possible to bring you this effort for free! Good luck!
Q: How did you get your name? A: My Mama
Q: Do you track new songs at once, or do you rely on each member to bring their part to the table? A: Up until this point, every song I have ever recorded I either wrote or did most of the co-write on. But, there are a lot of songwriters out there that are way better than I'll ever think about being but can't carry a tune in a bucket. So I don't see any problem at all with singing one of their great songs and putting my own sound to it.
Q: Are you a solo artist or a multi-piece ensemble? A: I have a 5 piece band
Q: Do you write the music or lyrics first? A: Both, refer to the previous answer.
Q: You have 30 seconds in an elevator alone with Quincy Jones or Clive Davis. What do you say to them about who you are? A: To Clive: Hey man, I'm Curtis Grimes from down around Austin and I just signed with your ol' buddy Tim Dubois' management group AMP Entertainment. How'd you guys come about working together?
Q: For your live shows, do you stick to a setlist? Please tell us why you do or do not. A: I don't think I have ever played the set list exactly as it is written on the paper in front of me. I think you should play to the crowd in front of you, and that is never exactly the same or something I can necessarily determine 30 minutes before the show. I adapt and audible, a lot.
Texas Country Q: Are you published and affiliated with a PRO? If so, with who? A: BMI
Q: How often do you rehearse? A: I do more sitting around the house playing songs and singing covers as "rehearsal" as opposed to a formal band practice, we meet at max once every 3 months to go over intros and transitions etc. We play as many shows as possible and take advantage of that to work on new ideas or songs. Q: Do you record your rehearsals? If so, audio, video, or both? A: We recorded ourselves a couple of times to prepare for a live album and I watch all the YouTube videos people post, both are excellent ways to critique yourself and get better. Q: Do you ever have dress rehearsals? A: Never, but we do drink "sound-check" beers during those "rehearsals". Q: How do you approach arranging songs? A: I have written songs with lyrics on a paper that I strummed chords to after the fact and also had a melody in my head, played it, and then put words to it. I honestly don't know of or am not capable of any other ways at the current moment.
Q: About that live show, how much is original music you've written, and how much is cover? A: When I first started out I had 6 originals and the rest of the 2 and a half hours were covers, good old bar sets. Now we do mostly originals with a few (appropriate to that unique crowd) covers. Q: When you release your music, do you prefer EP's and individual mp3's, or full albums? A: I think in everyone's dream world we would all love to put out a solid 12ish track album but it's not very practical these days in the land of the coveted #1 single. People buy songs now instead of albums, but I think an EP is a great hybrid and you can still have a "project" but focus on fewer better quality songs.
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Q: Is your band a culmination of members who each had bad experiences in other bands and learned from mistakes to make your band better? Or was it magic from the start? A: I have been pretty lucky and had good timing with the band guys I work with these days. My lead guitar player has been around the longest and stepped into the role of band leader and he was a quality find on Craigslist when I needed that position filled. You can find ANYTHING on Craigslist!
Q: How do you approach finances? A: I set-up a business with my dad and grandpa that runs what you would call the band fund and I treat it like any operating business and pay for things accordingly.
Q: What has been your best gig so far? A: Making it to the top 16 of season one on The Voice was the best resume builder, but the best show was around the 3-month mark of playing with a full band and winning a radio contest to open for Kenny Chesney in his prime. That was one of the biggest stages I could possibly be on at the time and I got to experience it in the first year. I was scared and nervous but I learned a lot.
Q: Fallon, Kimmel, Conan, Letterman, or Ferguson? A: Before he retires, Letterman if I had the choice right now. The other guys will be around a while.
Q: What was your worst gig so far? A: There have been a few terrible set-ups and awkward moments on stage, but most of the times these are the shows that have good stories to go along with them. You can have a good time in ANY situation if you drink enough. Q: Do you ever play a show without all members? A: Only when we have an emergency or someone had a date blocked off for a while and we got a last minute gig. Sometimes we have broken down and done an acoustic show in some of these unfortunate events, but we work it out. Q: Did you have to physically relocate the band to achieve success? A: Not at all, fortunately I was already living in Austin when the music thing starting taking off and it is a breeding ground for artists starting music careers. Q: If the relocation question applies, where was home-where it all began? A: I grew up in the little town of Gilmer, Texas and that’s where I go home to see my family on holidays and such. Q: What was your unexpected success so far that made you realize this is what you were meant to do, and you're sticking with it no matter what? A: The Kenny Chesney experience so early in my "career". Q: If you merch, what was the piece or pieces that were your biggest success? A: Up until I got a letter from the Jack Daniel's corporation a few days ago, our "Whiskey Drunk" shirt was our biggest seller. Won't be making any more orders of that one though! Q: If you merch, what was the biggest failure/waste of money? A: White V-Neck t-shirts that my previous manager insisted would sell, still trying to get them things off the shelf!!
Q: Where would you play your homecoming gig? A: Place called Coach's & Cowboy's in Tyler, Texas. Closest spot to my hometown where all my buddies come out of the woodwork.
Q: What is the first song you would play on that late night show? A: "Home To Me" my current radio single, I believe it sums me up as a person and an artist for a late night debut song. Q: Tell us a little about your next project: A: At the end of August we are going into the studio in Nashville to start on my first full length album, produced by Trent Wilmon. I’ve partnered with Supercuts for the Rock The Cut campaign/tour, and I just played the ND state fair with Toby Keith. We have a full tour calendar for 2014, and Home To Me is in the top 10, playing on ZUUS country, and we’re aiming for CMT as well! Q: What is your parting advice to all other bands and artists? A: Don't worry about all the pesky little things that go wrong on the road, it's gonna suck at times, but have as much fun as you can while you can and make the most of every city you play in because you never know when or if you'll be back, enjoy it! Please name every person in your band, and their instrument or position: Nick Gardner-Lead Guitar Chris Sensat – Drums Swahn Dean – Fiddle Josh Williams – Bass
bond you and your bandmates like nothing you have ever felt before. This process creates chemistry. This chemistry will shine through in Starting a band is a lot like the first day of school when you were a kid. Going into that the look, attitude, feel and sound of your band a little further down the road. As for right now first day, you sort of had an idea what to you have to look forward to writing terrible expect from what you learned watching songs, taking awful photos and trying to figure older kids, or maybe from what you saw in out which classic rock band t-shirt to wear. I the movies or on TV. But the important things you're just going to have to learn on your own. You think you know what you are doing at first, but you will eventually learn the right way once you touch that proverbial “hot stove eye” enough times. By: David Koonce
Success and Failure
I don’t like to use the terms “right” or “wrong” when talking about anything artistic. Another way to look at things is to measure them somewhere in between “Success” and “Failure.” Before anyone gets bent out of shape, hear me out. I know everyone measures their success in very different ways when it comes to the arts. If you are creating something simply to feed that yearning to be creative, then you have found success. Playing in a cover band on the weekend with your buddies and making some great money while having fun is a success. Writing your own music, putting a band together, closing your eyes and walking off that cliff together? Well that is a whole other journey altogether. This option takes a foundation and hopefully I can help you lay some rebar to build on.
When you and your new band mates get together for the first time, it will feel amazing. You have finally gotten together to start the climb to the top of the industry. What you don’t know is that you are going to suck. Your friends, family, and significant others will tell you that you are incredibly amazing. You’re not. You suck. There, I said it. But it’s important to be bad at first. You have to endure the growing pains of a new band. Getting in there and hammering out songs will
know this all sounds negative, but I am just preparing you the rugged road ahead. You smell that? That’s the “mud”. You’ll get used to it.
What’s in a name?
Every band needs a name. Picking a great band name is important. This is going to identify you as a group for your entire career. Try to stay away from anything that is confusing. If you have to explain the name or correct people all of the time for saying it wrong, then you probably should go with something else. Consider being “The Wonders” and not “The Oneders”. Once you pick a name, you have to stick with it. There is nothing worse than creating a draw and having to start over with a new name. That is a major
headache that you need to avoid. Coming up with a cool name is part of the fun. Think about what the logo will look like on t-shirts and websites. You can brainstorm about it, but I find that the best names come from something somebody had said to you or a name that has a special meaning to the band. When you begin to receive some press as a new band, I can guarantee you will be asked how you got your band name in every single interview. There needs to be an interesting story to go with your interesting name. For example, my band Within Reason got our name for a cop that told us to “keep our volume while rehearsing to a level that was within reason.” We had been trying to come up with something that everybody in the band liked but were having some problems agreeing on it. That night, without even questioning it, we agreed on a name that literally knocked on our door. Plus, it makes a cool answer to the inevitable question that we have been asked hundreds of times.
Now you have your band. You have your band name. Now you need songs. The method to writing music is not unlike making fried chicken. Looking up the recipe to fried chicken on the internet, you learn everyone has a different way to make it, but the outcome is all the same. Starting simple is a good way to begin the process. You will learn that a song will transform to its final state over time. You will play it over and over again while working on the right melody. Then you will be doing it dozens of times more while stopping every few bars to jot down lyrics. After that the rest of the band will add their parts while you replay the song hundreds of more times in rehearsal. Once it’s ready for the stage
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you will see that song begins to morph into its final state. Songs grow like tadpoles. They almost always start as one thing and by the time they are ready to roll tape on, they are totally different creatures than when you strummed the first chord. You need to let that song breathe for a while before you say itâ€™s complete. Some of the best songs you will write will be finished in 15 minutes. I know what you are thinking. Did I just contradict myself? As a matter of fact, I did. Remember the fried chicken? All I am saying is that there is no right or wrong way to write music. You can do it anyway you choose or in a way that works best for you. At the end of the day, the outcome is the same.
The Worst Gig of Your Career
You have your songs and now you are ready to play the worst gig of your career. Your new bandâ€™s first live show will be one that you will remember for the rest of your life. It could be at a talent show, a house party, or at the dive bar that your uncle knows the owner of and has agreed to give you a shot at 7pm on
Sunday night. You are going to find out quickly that playing live on stage is very different than playing in the rehearsal space. There will be a buzz of energy up there created by the room full of your family, friends and significant others. There will also be a stage full of nerves because unlike the rehearsal space, you have one shot at the set. There is no stopping and starting over. I called this the worst gig of you career not because you are going to go out there and stink up the room; I called it that because by getting up there with your best friends is the first step to the journey that you have been dreaming about your entire life. Playing live makes you better. Rehearsal is for learning the music. The live show is what sharpens your skills and really builds that chemistry that I was talking about earlier. Your first show is your worst performance because from that day forward you will be becoming a better band every single time you step out onto that stage. And the higher the stage, the further you are from the mud.
Since the first plugged-in musical performance, bands have needed more than just their instruments to play music. Whether the song was being recorded in a studio, or played live to a crowd, one thing would forever be necessary to make it work; patch cables. Mixing consoles, amplifiers, foot pedals, instruments, microphones (wired or wireless), all need patch cables to deliver entertainment to the audience. Just do the pre-gig band inventory checklist: Instruments? Check. Mixer? Check. Mics? Check. Amplifier, speakers, monitors? Check, check, and check! Milk crate filled with patch cables? Got it! Your inventory list may have more electronic gear, but all that means is that more patch cables are needed to connect all that stuff. The funny part is, that the item that means the most in any band’s gear list, usually gets pushed into an open plastic or metal box that isn’t even owned by the band! You can spend tons of money on the best instruments and playback gear, and just one bad cable can mean the performer or even worse, the entire performance, cuts out or doesn’t sound quite right.
for instruments, microphones, and speakers (power cables too, but let’s stick with the low voltage stuff for this article). Empty that crate of wire and look at the ends of the cables. Has the wire jacket pulled away from the back of the connector? Is the tip of the guitar cable ready to break-off? Is the wire jacket split or bent from regular use and only works when you hold the cable a certain way and tape it down to the stage in that position, being extra careful not to step on it during the show? How about the shiny gold finish? Has it worn or flaked off with nothing but the metal underneath showing? These are the signs of wear from cheaply made patch cables, which are likely to cause problems for future gigs. In some cases these problems arise after first use. Patch cables that use quality components and materials – not necessarily expensive esoteric cables, will provide reliable performance and hold up to the rigors of frequent use, and are far less likely to turn the set into a mime act. Durable audio patch cables have features that ensure reliability. Flexibility that resists kinking-up when properly rolled or “trained.” The jacket material (outside most portion of the cable) is made of rubber or Polypropylene. It also means
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This is not a mandate to go out and spend as much on a guitar cable as you spent on your guitar. What it does mean is that you should consider the quality of what connects all the expensive stuff together. It's essentially the argument of "why would you put cheap Chinese tires on a Ferrari?" This brings us to an important question, what makes a good patch cable?
To answer that, we need to understand what makes a patch cable less than worthy of your band tech’s milk crate. The most common patch cables found on stage, are
the cable resists splitting or tearing when it’s pulled up the stairs and across the stage. It has that little bit of give that you can feel, but has enough pull (tensile) strength to support the wire inside of it. Conductor materials also play a role in flexibility, and may have higher strand counts (number of individual “hairs” that are wound together to make up the overall conductor). Copper is by far the most popular metal used in audio patch cables. There are plenty of other options including custom alloys that provide increased strength, but at your local music dealer, Copper will be the most likely choice. Strain relief is the part of the connector that keeps your cable from pulling out the back of your connector. Strain reliefs vary from bent pieces of metal (lower quality) to pieces of plastic that capture and hold the jacket of the cable firmly without damaging the wire inside. Some strain reliefs use a S-bend to secure the wire to the connector; others use chuck-like fingers to grab onto the wire. The key to remember is that the wire termination be it solder, crimp, screw terminal, etc. is not what holds the wire into the connector. That’s the job of the strain relief. Removable boots or bushings don’t necessarily indicate the quality of a patch cable, but they do allow you to make repairs or reuse/rewire connectors. By contrast, overmolded boots (material that covers the back of a connector, and may also act as a strain relief) must be cut off, as they cannot be separated from the front of the connector. Some patch cable manufactures offer colorcoding options to allow for easier identification (yellow boot might go to the lead singer’s microphone, red boots are for the drum kit). Contact materials can be as varied as the cables connected to them. Typical materials include Gold and Silver. We won’t delve into which metal is better or worse, but let’s look at some basics to look for when deciding on any material. Plating is the process whereby the metal of your connector that you don’t see, get’s covered by the shiny stuff you do see. Good quality plating lasts for thousands of connections to your gear. You shouldn’t see the metal under the gold or silver plated onto it. An easy test (please do this to your own cables first) is to rub your fingernail on the connector (plug finger on guitar cable or pins on male XLRs as the female pins can’t be reached). Does the metal start to flake off or wear-away? Hardened, quality plating will not exhibit this problem. If these features cannot be found in your milk crate full of cable, consider how that may affect the sound. Not the
quality of the sound or the subjective terms used to describe what we hear or more importantly the audience hears, but the consistency of the sound the band produces. When good quality patch cables are used, you can expect that the song or riff that you worked so hard on in practice will be delivered successfully during the show. To put it to the test, buy or make one new cable for your instrument and during practice, compare it to the one of questionable quality you’ve been using. Drag it across the garage floor while you move around, plug and unplug it from your instrument a few times. After a week or two, compare it to what you’ve been using and decide which cable you would feel better going on stage with. You may even surprise yourself with how much you notice or better still don’t notice the new cable at all. In the end, whether you stuff your cables in a milk crate or carefully wrap them up after every show, the piece of mind in knowing they will work during every performance is worth it. Mark is the Technical Support Specialist and resident solder geek for Neutrik USA.
Over a decade ago, renowned composer Yo-Yo Ma lost his $2.5 million cello, the Stradivarius, in a taxi-cab. Ma realized the 18th century instrument was missing when he walked into his hotel. Fortunately it was recovered through the efforts of the NYPD; but imagine if it hadn’t been? Home insurance, car insurance, yacht insurance are all no-brainer purchases to protect valuable possessions from potential risk. Why would insuring an expensive instrument be any different? Theft is just the tip of the iceberg considering the long list of perils that can jeopardize the condition of musical instruments. Unloading, preparing and playing are all constant threats to the wellbeing of the instrument. Likewise, repairs to fix damages can cost a fortune for fragile and delicate instruments like a harp or a string bass. Musical instrument insurance provides comprehensive protection against all of these perils.
Most personal property coverage will insure up to 50% of the entire homeowner policy’s primary limit. Therefore, if you have an instrument of immense value it can exhaust the limits of your personal property coverage. In the case of a robbery or a fire, one would be faced with the decision to use the insurance monies to replace the expensive instrument or to replace furniture, electronics and other essential household staples. Gaps in coverage are another issue when a homeowner’s policy is used to protect an instrument and unless endorsed, many times homeowner’s policies will not cover personal property that is either away from the residence or in transit. As a result of this, covered perils tend to be a gray area. Many perils that threaten the safety of an instrument are excluded from a standard policy. Homeowner's policies will typically exclude coverage for accidental damage, theft outside of the home, lost in shipment, use of the instrument for commercial purposes, flood damage, CASE STUDY: Deep Purple versus Hurricane Sandy and rented instruments. All of these perils are included in HCC Specialty’s As a band that frequently tours the world, Deep Purple’s management said Total Instrument Insurance program. But don’t take our word for it. Brent “it is inevitable that something could/would happen to our gear. So it just Edmondson of Ranaan Meyer Entertainment purchased musical instrument made good business sense to insure our instruments.” And that decision insurance on his double bass through Total Instrument Insurance by HCC paid off. “Recently during Hurricane Sandy, our equipment was being Specialty and here is what he had to say about it: “I chose to investigate stored at Rock It Cargo /JFK (an instrument storage facility) and the space insurance recently after purchasing a new double bass. An instrument is was damaged due to flooding and wind damage. We had a lot of valuable like a family member, and it was important for me to make sure that I could instruments there, including an old Hammond piano. We were due to go always get the help and service for my bass should anything ever befall it. overseas to Australia shortly thereafter, When assessing companies, I started with and needed the gear repaired that was those that worked with organizations I damaged and, in some cases, replaced belong to, but even with those discounts, right away. Thankfully we had coverage they still had high premiums and deductwith Total Instrument Insurance and their ibles. It's important to find out if your HCC Specialty claims specialist was on the case from policy has a deductible at all - my policy the moment we reported our claim. The with Total Instrument Insurance doesn't claim process was handled quickly, have one, but some companies have up to efficiently, and very professionally from $500 per incident, meaning most repairs start to finish leaving us very satisfied won't be covered at all! Policies also need with both the process and our experito cover devaluation - if you have a major ence. If there was one thing we could tell accident with your fiddle, it doesn't just a musician or a band who may be cost money to fix it! Your instrument can contemplating purchasing an insurance lose value from major damage, no matter TotalInstrumentInsurance.com policy or not, it would be: Definitely have how good the repair. Your insurance coverage! For an annual price that’s company should compensate you for that, probably less than the cost of a guitar, so you have the capital to buy a new it’s good peace of mind to know that if instrument if necessary. something happens, you’re covered.” “As a broker who handles a lot of Finally, it's really important to call the musicians, I choose a carrier based on company up, ask a few questions, and find TotalEventInsurance.com their knowledge of my clientele’s needs, out the quality of employee working for one who will respond to any claims them. When I called Total Instrument quickly and efficiently in a manner that Insurance to ask some policy questions, puts my clients at ease. When one of my they were helpful and knowledgeable. clients, Deep Purple, had a “Sandy” claim, There are major companies in this field I notified Total Instrument Insurance and that would barely give me the time of day got an immediate response from them. when I called! Finding trustworthy I could not have been happier with the insurance companies with a high value for hcc.com/specialty way things were handled. My clients your dollar is one of the smartest moves were impressed and relieved with the you can make as a musician, and that's care and attention they got in settling why I chose Total Instrument Insurance!” the claim. AND it made me, as their HCC Specialty provides insurance coverage agent, look even better. – Julie Coulter, J for single or multiple instruments, Mind over risk: Coulter & Co Inc. “My homeowner’s policy recording studios, and entire orchestras. The secret weapon of music professionals provides me with the insurance for my and the people who insure them. instrument.” Or so you thought. Visit our website at hcc.com Homeowners have faith that the personal www.totalinstrumentinsurance.com to property section of their homeowner’s learn more and get a quote or contact coverage will cover their instruments. Robin Lang at email@example.com or (800) This may be true in specific cases. 927-6306 However, there are exceptions that should be brought to your attention.
By: Greg McNair It is said that not everything grows on trees. Perhaps. Sometimes, it grows under the dirt under the trees. As I sat in the studio of Don’t Fret Instruments looking at a baker’s dozen of instruments ranging from 4 string bass guitars to a 10 string lap steel, I was reminded that mankind can be creatively amazing.
Sneaking Up On the Craft Jack Dudley couldn’t find the sound he wanted out of a shoulder-worn fretless bass, so one day in 2009 he decided to remedy that by building one. In pursuit of that “talking sound” produced by a long scale upright bass, he designed his first around a 36” scale. And talk it does. It produces a tone unlike any other, in a way only a fretless can, under fingers that know it’s every curve. You understand that to play a fretless anything requires a tremendous amount of skill for the feel of hand placement and hearing the proper pitch. Jack didn’t just run into playing the bass guitar. He snuck up on it nearly 40 years ago, so he knew what he wanted when he sat down to design his first. And he didn’t just fall into woodworking. “Oh I don’t know, I’ve just been building stuff ever since I could remember,” he says as his son Phil looks on. He’s built homes, furniture, accessories, and just about anything else you can think of—if it can be made from wood, his material of choice. Jack won’t sell an instrument he wouldn’t play, and he won’t dare sign his name to it if it doesn’t pass his high
standard. He builds for personal use first, and if it passes, then he will play for an audience, then he will sell it to an interested buyer. All of his works are pieces of art—not just musical instruments. They exude a fine furniture quality, and each item would be very much at home as a piece of exhibited art in someone’s gallery. These are heirloom-quality, the kind family members will fight over at the lawyers table during administration of wills. However, they’re designed to be played, not looked upon. Lucky for those of us not gifted in the art of sliding and picking, the listener is rewarded with a visual gift as pleasing as the audible. In my humble opinion, his most interesting creations are lap steel guitars based on the part of a tree most people never see—the roots; and to be more specific, those portions of Cypress tree roots known as “knees.” One day in 2008 he discovered a stash of this wood while on a fishing trip with his son, James, in West Alabama, not far from the Sipsey River. Knowing he might be able to make something with it in the future, he took several pieces home and put them away in his workshop. For months, his brother George had been asking for a lap steel made of walnut, also lying around in the shop. On a whim Jack instead decided to use one of the knees, and the result was spectacular, ushering the birth of the SRS, or Sipsey River Steel. As much as every root knee is different in growth pattern, color, and grain, so different is each instrument. The basics of the lap steel instrument remain constant in every guitar. They all must contain the essential hardware elements, they all must have a certain scale, but that’s where any similarity between guitars ends. No two are ever visually alike, and to a discerning ear, the tone is unique to each. Some are electric, some are acoustic, and all are stunning. It’s almost as if the Cypress root knee exists to be borne into a life of being a stringed instrument built by Jack. Designing Over the Interwebs Hailing from the very small town of Columbiana, in the heart of Alabama, Jacks instruments can be found all over the world. Andy Hall of the Infamous Stringdusters bluegrass band plays a semi-hollow body lap steel SRS to audiences of thousands around the US. Australian musician Andrew Winton, known globally for his mastery of the lap steel, plays a custom-built 13
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string piece which has become his “go to” instrument of choice because it combines two instruments into one. I found it particularly amazing to learn the guitar was co-designed using Skype video conferencing, all the while an in-person meeting having never taken place. Australia is a world away, yet through wonders of video chatting, Andrew was able to convey his thoughts and desires in such a degree that the final piece had exceeded expectations. Dubbed the “Lucky 13” for its 13 strings, it’s a double neck lap steel that is completely unlike anything Jack had made before. Andrew can be seen playing it here: Not Just Lap Steels A customer from Norway challenged Jack to craft a traditional ukulele in the same manner as his lap steels, which is essentially creating the guitar from a solid piece of wood. The body is completely hollow, yet it retains its full one-piece shape and contours. There are no bent pieces of wood involved in the construction process. It is crafted entirely from carving, sanding, and cutting. It’s a challenge to find any seams in the construction, but if
you ask, he’ll show you. There’s no secret to the construction, no black magic techniques akin to secret recipes. There’s only patience and an eye for unparalleled craftsmanship which comes from artist hands and a musicians mind. I asked if he had an idea of what each
would look like in the end, and he replied that each instrument takes on a life of its own, and it essentially “becomes” itself, it’s not made. While there are “standards” to which one must adhere in order to achieve proper tone and playability, Jack is quick to say “the standard is not me!” He demonstrates this quite clearly when he presents me with the proof of the ukulele challenge, what he dubs the “Mandolele.” It is a hybrid mandolin/ukulele created from a solid piece of wood and sporting a floating bridge. The tone was warm and rich, and the feel: incredible. Phil began playing it, easily strumming and picking through notes. It’s Totally Cool There’s a feeling of self-worth and pride that only craftspeople of this world experience when they can proudly use something they created from what was essentially nothing. For Jack, his personal pride is evident as he explains how the band he performs with, 2Blu & the Lucky Stiffs, plays his instruments. From pieces such as the Cajon played by percussionist Dave Gowens, the upright bass played by Jack, or the lap steels and uke’s played by his brother George, his handiwork finds its way onto every corner of the stage, while Bruce Andrews belts out the vocals. The unique tones of all the instruments help give 2Blu a sound hard to match by any other band. As for Jack, “I just think that we’re all playing my stuff is totally cool.” I have to be completely honest; my draw dropped when I learned the short timespan between completion of Jack’s very first creation (his personal go-to 4 string bass) and the day we visited for this article—barely 4 years. Surrounded by such craftsmanship, I’m led to believe these are fruits of a lifetime of painstaking building. The pearl inlays, the stunning shapes and colors, the perfectly ergonomic teardrop knobs; these are details one would believe took years to fine tune. However, that is not so. Start to finish completion times are much shorter than I would think possible. But when put into perspective, these pieces are all results of a lifetime of preparing for the moment he puts the first blade to wood.
Bill has been around the block so many times in the tour bus that he can direct the driver where to go. Having played guitar in bands since his teenage years, he’s worked his way around every element of the stage, eventually focusing his expertise on running the sound from the front of the house. For the past 32 years, he’s been FOH and monitor engineer for many national acts including Grammy® winning bands and artists that have topped the Billboard charts. READ MORE
David Wesley Koonce is the bassist for the Modern Rock band Within Reason. “Koonce,” exhibits a dry wit that fits perfectly with his percussive, driving style of play. With Eric Wilson of 'Sublime' as his primary influence, Koonce too provides a seemingly effortless-and thus inspiring, stage performance.
With a voice most often compared to the perfectly blended country styling of Patty Loveless, Hope Cassity's hauntingly familiar yet refreshingly unique writing style has always set her apart in music city. A town that consistently fills air waves with sound-a-likes, Nashville has opened its arms to this one-of-a kind fame-worthy singer/songwriter. A native of Monroeville, Alabama, the town that sparked Pulitzer Prize winner Harper Lee's creative writing, READ MORE
At age 5, David Keith’s first set of drumsticks were fashioned from Hickory tree branches by his granddad. Wash tubs served as his first drums, then he progressed to making fine use of mom’s coffee table and a lamp-turned-cymbal. His first lessons at age 7 came from Sid Lammé, Louie Armstrong’s drummer. This was a little over 35 years ago. Fast forward through the years to include playing in high school rock bands, touring with southern gospel groups when not in class, and spending his early 20’s touring with Karen Wheaton. READ MORE