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