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a survival guide for bands


PROMOTE You can’t rely on somebody else to create your buzz for you. It is very respectable to start your own buzz. Ideally fans will catch on and increase the buzz.






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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 MAGAZINE 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

opening mail

Stefan Aronsen Ian Tut tle sf-inter.com/ buzz

• PO BOX (32) • MYMail (34) • DEADT WEETS (38)

booking shows

• THROUGHOUT SF (44) • Busking (50)

insiders scoop

• • • • •

contributing writers

buzz guide

the scene & be seen

last words

CD DESIGN (56) 1st How-To (58) 2ND How-To (60) Insiders Scoop (62) buzz, buzz, buzz… (66)

• The good acts find a way… (70) • Spend time getting better (72) • Say hi to petro for me (74) • TEN SURVIVAL TIPS (78) • Pirate Cat Radio (94) • Soundcheck (95) • L ast Words (102)

CONTRIBUTORS Troy Alders: Advisor troy.alders@sf-inter.com An art director at LucasFilms and teacher at the San Francisco Academy of Art, Alders ser ved as a sounding board and filter throughout SF Intercom’s development. Favoring simplicity over noise, Alders took Aronsen’s original goal of “I want to fix the music industr y” and honed it do a doable task: “I will create a sur vival guide.” Overf lowing with an electric energ y, Alders is good for advice on ever ything from hairstyles to relationships.

brandileigha stracner: field editor brandileigha@sf-inter.com Opinionated and bold, Stracner takes advantage of her job as an intern at Live 105 to attend and critique as many local shows as she can handle, which is just about all of them. Stracner looks for a personal connection between band and fans, and her inter views, writing, and professional connections built solid relationships among many indie bands and Buzz Magazine.

Amy SCANDUrRA: Contributor amy.scandurra@sf-inter.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 jacob.hrubin@sf-inter.com 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: stephanie trapp, amy scandurra, olivia: wiretap music, sam: perfect machines, daemon: paranoids, jeff moller: moller, sean: vitamin party, jeff: new centuries, carlos: here here, anton: judgement day, casey koerner: artist, lara de garie: artist, niana liu: watercolor maps, shayna rader: editor

stefan Aronsen: art director & editor-in-chief stefan@sf-inter.com Though no band would ever hire Mr. Aronsen for his musical skills, plenty have already hired him for his design skills. His ability to brand, market, and package bands and musicians has earned him jobs at two successful music labels as well as with numerous independent musicians. He has learned valuable lessons, first-hand, along the way. He has seen that while different bands face different obstacles, one constant in the music industr y is the sheer level of difficulty in sur viving. OPENING WORDS: Buzz!!! QUICK! Take this off my hands! It’s been making that noise for a while now! You hear it too… Right? It’s the sound of amazing advice. You didn’t think it was going to be so loud? Obviously you’ve got to expect that when you put the advice of so many brilliant fans, bands and industr y professionals in one place it’s going to be loud. So take it… Take it far from here, read it, and share it with a friend.

ZEN ZENITH: ASSISTANT DESIGNER zen@sf-inter.com Home-schooled and hugely huggable, Zenith is lead singer of the talented indie band Please Do Not Fight. His eye for clean design kept Buzz Magazine looking sharp. His personal involvement in the indie music scene kept its voice authentic. His spirit aided SF Intercom morale when obstacles presented. Zenith splits his time equally among making music, teaching guitar, and leading events for fellow “unschooled” folks.


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Communication is the key to the success of any major endeavor. Buzz believes that by opening up communication between fans, bands and industry professionals, it can help bands become more viable.


Be in a band because you love to make music. If you are doing it to get girls, you are wasting everyone’s time and space. SAM CHASE: Perfect Machines




I recommend bands get together out-

My contribution will revolve around

How are we promoting our band? I mailed

side of rehearsal, maybe once or twice

band names:

out our CD to college radio stations (I

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

1. Perhaps one piece of advice is to not name your band after one of the member’s last name. Especially if the last name has the same pronunciation as a 19th centur y composer. It’s also not a

a hand written note. In that note I mentioned the radio friendly tracks, contact info, etc. It cost about 2.75 with postage and bubble envelope.

ver y interesting stor y when people ask

We then had business cards printed up,

how you got the name.

and put four downloadable songs on

2. I’d also say it’s best to not name your band after a company or brand name that already exists… If people search for your band and find something else, that won’t help you. 3. And besides some originality goes a long way. You want your band to be unique, right Stefan? JEFF MOLLER: Moller


tried to do 12 a week). Each CD included

our website. Then we Handed out the business cards and told people to check out the free songs. We’re making about $30 a month from CDbaby and Itunes. Are most recent experiment is advertising on Myspace. Close to 100 dollars a month, but it’s too early to tell if it’s effecting our itunes sales. SEAN: Vitamin Party

WHO IS YOUR CONTACT With so many bloggers and music websites and writers out there, its important to have a promotional plan as well; there’s no way that one’s music can be emailed (or physically mailed) to ever y writer in the countr y so a group can benefit from planning who to contact and when to make the most impact. JEFF: New Centuries

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Here Here Indie / Rock


So survival tips huh? Well I am far from being a disciplined musician but I will give it a shot and if the rest of guys read this message maybe they can add theirs. 1. Be honest about the music that you make. Real music lovers will see right through you and your music if it comes if it comes off as fake. Plus, why would you want to make music that you don’t believe? 2. Be realistic. The times when you would get a ridiculous budget, make a record and sell millions of records are almost extinct. Unless you are Justin Timberlake or Coldplay. So don’t see music as a bank because the chances of becoming the next Colplay are slim. 3. You don’t need tons of money to put music out there for people to hear. You don’t need to go to a fancy studio for your record to sound good or sella million copies or whatever your goal is. It is so easy to do pre production in a home studio and refine your songs so that when the time comes to record you spend less time in a studio and save some dough for merch or that tour van rental. So be efficient. 4. No record label needed. I think that the music industry has changed so much to the point where you no longer need a record label on your side. Eventually if you are selling tons of records you might need to get with a label for distro. but before then it is more important to have a PR team on your side. There is way more value in having folks help you put your name out there as a band or solo artist than a record label that has so much control over your art with very little in return. Once again there are exceptions but for the most part holding out on getting on a label for as long as you can is best.


5. Have fun. If you don’t have fun playing shows and making records then why play? It should be a blast to share your tunes with other folks. OK, so those are the tips/rules that I think I try to implement with my band. Hopefully this helps and thanks for coming to our show last night. Carlos

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sfintercom Buy an address stamp … Then you can cut up old show flyers … stamp them … Now you have new double sided business cards. less than 5 seconds ago from web

bignoise @sfintercom Believe in your music and always challenge yourself to be the best at what you do. Promoting yourself is then easy as walking. 1 day ago from web

tomblanco Job search tip: What if they ask about other places that ur interviewing at? IF U MENTION A DIFFERENT CAREER PATH/INDUSTRY, IT MAY = NO JOB. 1 day ago from web

Zillaman Hell yeah … Quality music and promo should equal great sales. Look @ weezy and tip. 1 day ago from web

Pricemeister Tip for #bands: make your name bigger than the album title … or people will start to think your album name is your band name. 1 day ago from web

musformation When Your Funds Are Low - Employ Your Fans For Cheap Volunteer Labor, 1 day ago from web

stevessummoned Burn demos like crazy for tour. 1 day ago from web

ReekDude Music industry tip … spend your money with the right people … don’t let ANYBODY sell you just ANYTHING. 1 day ago from web

pearlstarbird You know technology is killing out spelling skills when “Which horror Villian are you most like?” is a trending topic. VILLAIN not VILLIAN 1 day ago from web

ipickmynose @sfintercom if a blogger replies to let you know he didn’t like your music, politely accept it. 1 day ago from web


Photo by Stephanie Trapp: http://www.StephanieTrapp.com




www.facebook.com/thebutterf lybones

BOOKING SHOWS The hardest part of booking shows is knowing where to book shows. Attached are a couple good venues in: THROUGHOUT SF

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Instruments are very unique and define the band they belong to.

Cafe du Nord

The Independent

The Fillmore

Ask any San Francisco band for a top-5

This glorified warehouse strips the

The Fillmore is legendar y world-wide.

venue list and Café du Nord will prob-

indie music experience down to its es-

If you’re combing through this sur-

ably be on it. After descending a ver y

sence. The venue is a huge room with

vival guide you’re probably not there

grand staircase into the classy, plush

concrete f loors and cement walls. You

yet. But don’t smash your loop pedal

venue, you’ve arrived. A big dance

had better rock your audience or get’em

yet. Put the Fillmore on your goals list

f loor, limited seating (only available

drunk. And don’t try to swing it unless

and, meantime, go see a show here.

with dinner reser vations), and a slick

you’re pulling in crowds topping 200.

The free apples at the door might not

bar round out this crème de la crème of live music experiences.

www.cafedunord.com 2170 Market Street San Francisco, CA 94114 cross street: Sanchez district: Castro/Upper Market Tel: 415.861.5016



www.theindependentsf.com 628 Divisadero St San Francisco, CA 94117 cross street: Grove St & Hayes St district: Western Addition/NOPA Tel: 415.771.1421

Bar reviews made possible by Ian Tuttle: www.sf-inter.com/archives/category/venues

be laced with LSD anymore but at least you get a free poster if the show sells out.

www.thefillmore.com 1805 Geary Blvd San Francisco, CA 94115 cross steet: Fillmore St district: Japantown Tel: 415.346.3000

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Bimbo’s 365 Club

Broadway Studios

The Warfield

A f lashback to the good ol’ days of

This location does not typically host in-

Admittedly if you’re reading this sur-

the 50’s, this place is both classy and

dependent bands, it does however host

vival guide, you aren’t going to be book-

rock’n. However the f lashy looks comes

events, and like most venues is open

ing a show at The Warfield. However.

with a price, don’t book this place until

to suggestions. If you can draw a large

Put it on your list of places to play when

you can draw an audience of over 200

crowd, you might approach them. Be

you go on tour with Vampire Weekend,

fans. When that day comes, call me.

advised they don’t promote your show,

Weezer or Green Day.

www.bimbos365club.com 1025 Columbus Ave San Francisco, CA 94133 cross streets: Chestnut St district: North Beach/Telegraph Hill Tel: 415.474.0365


and they do not have a regular crowd. You’re going to have to promote your show double time.

www.broadwaystudios.com 435 Broadway San Francisco, CA 94133 cross street: Montgomery St district: North Beach Tel: 415.291.0333

Bar reviews made possible by Ian Tuttle: www.sf-inter.com/archives/category/venues

www.thewarfieldtheatre.com 982 Market Street San Francisco, CA 94102 map cross street: Golden Gate Avenue district: Market/Tenderloin Tel: 415.567.2060

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You should track down that band that’s always playing at festivals and stuff. Super sweet, like the Black Keys, guitar and drums. I don’t know their name. Also, Judgement Day played on the street outside Great American, and now that guy plays with Bright Eyes. So you should talk to HIM. Anton is his name. MIKE: Geographer www.facebook.com/Geographerfan



on a suggestion from a friend … I tracked down Anton from Judgement day. We met for coffee at Philz and talked for 2 hours about music licensing—publishing—marketing—recording—promoting—dist Then Philz closed so we went to the Homestead to wash all the infor mation down with beer. We chose Homestead because one of Anton’s fr iends recommender it for it’s Monday $1 beers. That fr iend is Broke Ass Stuart … and low and behold … who should be sitting at Homestead 3 beers deep and starting on his fourth … but the man himself. We sat down Anton introduced me … Next thing I knew I had polished off 3 beers and was order ing my 4th. At this point I wasn’t counting Stuart’s beers. I got ever ything Anton said on tape … if you want to hear it … you just need to v isit w w w.sf-inter.com. I will leave you with a tip from Anton: “As far as one big tip goes I’d say, Always remember, the point is to have fun” ANTON: Judgement Day www.facebook.com/judgementday


Above, far left: MISSION - San Francisco neighborhood Watercolor painting by Niana Liu: www.nianaliu.com

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THE KEY Is being connected. but where to start ‌ there are so many online networks. my advice ‌ join them all!!!




ABOVE FAR RIGHT: Music for Animals played at Noise Pop in 2008. I love the bands that play at Noise Pop. Buy CD at: http://tigerlegs.bigcartel.com/


Visit Music for Animals at: http://www.myspace.com/musicforanimals

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Follow these Six steps in order to achieve ultimate success on the web: Step One: Buy your domain name. I purchased sfinter.com at namebargain.com, but you could use godaddy.com or any other name supplier.

Step T wo:

(i) Fans will type your new www.bandname.com into their web browser and instantly find themselves at the existing profile of your choice, such as Myspace. (Which I might add was free and can host widgets including stores, stats, mail and more.) Also keep in mind social

Maybe you don’t need a website. Can

networks have a shit load of people that

I suggest simply pointing your newly

just naturally migrate there. How many

purchased domain name at your Mys-

people are hanging out on your website

pace, Twitter, Youtube or Facebook.

that they don’t know about yet?

Most hosts will do this for a low cost of

Step Three:

10 dollars a year.

You don’t care? Ok fine! Buy web hosting. I use Host Monster for a lot of my personal web sites. (godaddy is easy,


Laughing Squid is local.)

1. keyboard and mouse

Step Four:

2. a big glass of milk

Option (a) put a wordpress on your page

(you may also substitute booze)

3. a credit card (ask your mom if you can borrow hers.)

4. a computer with internet

… simple easy and updatable. Option (b) Make friends with a graphic designer. Put him on the list for all your shows, give him free cds, and introduce him to girls. (or guys if your designer is a girl or gay.)

5. about 30 min of free time.

(i) Obviously tell your designer to make

6. a cell phone to call for help.

links to all the places your band can

the site easy to update and include be found on the Internet. Web hosting comes with free e-mails. USE THEM. I do not want to send an e-mail to PRETTYBOY1@HOTMAIL.COM.

Step Five: Stop designing your web site. You’re a musician, write me a pretty song.


I buy all of my domain names from: http:www.namebargain.com

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You’re sharing a drum kit, you shared a smoke, why not share a flyer as well? ONE


Club card printing will print a 1 sided

So on your next f lyer, band A and Band

f lyer for $60 dollars and a 2 sided f lyer

B share 1 f lyer and save money while

for $65. Do you really need both sides

creating a network and duplicating pro-

of the f lyer or are you just taking up

moting possibilities.

space? I think I know the answer.

T wo Might I suggest sharing /selling one side of your f lyer to another band with a show before or after your show. (Obviously not a band with a show on your night!) This will share cost and create a community between you and the band you’re helping to promote. It also creates combined efforts, when you’re f lyering you’ll be advertising the, when they f lyer you’ll get advertising.

TOOLS TO GET STARTED 1. A need to promote 2. a second band 3. some good images 4. a good printer (clubcard.com) 5. a code for 10% off (intrcm10)

I buy all of my marketing material from: http://www.clubcardprinting.com/

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I wasn’t lying when I said there were a ton of social networks. join them all, even if you’re not active … it’s good to have a presence.

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These sites are local, they care about your success more than anybody else. Well … not more than your mom … or your grandma … or maybe your girlfriend … but they care about your success second to all the ladies in your life. So show them some love and visit their sites and be in contact with them regularly!

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you can use a can and a string, land line, perhaps a cell phone? It doesn’t matter how you do it … but you do have to connect and you must promote. I spent weeks thinking about how people connect. There are so many signals f loating around us. Which one of those signals is going to be you? How are you going to be louder than the other signals? Are you going to be louder? These are a few of the questions I asked myself. Start asking yourself these questions … Set a goal and then accomplish them. Then when you have established your gaols, give me a call, we can talk them over … you know network! Have your people call my people, we’ll do coffee. (Don’t use the cans, mine isn’t currently connected!)

When I was designing my logo, I kept thinking about how ever ything sends a signal. I drew ever ything I could think of that had signals coming off it. Then I made my mark and included the signal logo.


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On the

2006, P


It’s as easy as walking. That’s what a Bignoise told me in response to my question about what he was doing to promote his music. If it’s as easy as walking … how much walking have you been doing lately?

new lo

Likely none! Well … what are you waiting for? Get to it! Go

tours a

out now… bring 10 CDs and don’t come home till you’ve sold

me, the

them all. We’ll talk again in a couple hours.


If you need some advice, just hit up Powell St. on the weekend. the rap artist are always out there pushing their music, attempting to get some money for their latest project. Learn from them, ask them some questions. They have a lot to learn from indie music and you have a lot to learn from them.

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find. O

the pot sic sce cisco.

At this m

resurge music. ing for



and cab stream “figure

many b

lost alo

the ban leasing


on the

video p

help a l

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the tec

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o search

glory of

ens are

is deep,

the good acts find a way to engage Waldo - Rickshaw Stop

I love the rickshaw stop, it is one of my favorite places to see a show. thus i thought “how great would it be to get some success/failure stories from waldo … the owner!!! ~ stefan At the simplest level, it’s about bodies. So from the bottom-

So in some cases, we get a ver y nice and talented band,

line venue point of view, your bullet point #3 is the most

but we lose $$. Or we get an arg uably talented band of

important. It’s a business, and we make money if there are

assholes t hat br ing a good tur nout. Or we get a band w it h

rom the

people walking in the door with cash in hand, and leav-

g reat stage banter and a good tur nout, but tr y as I might, I

es mate-

ing with less cash. When we’re writing the rent check, it’s

can’t make it sound passable at all. We’ve had any number

mith; re-

that simple! That’s the most tangible aspect of what a band

of t hese instances.

rom the

brings to the table. When a band succeeds, especially a lo-

and his

cal band, we immediately think, ‘what good promoters they


are!’ And when they fail, the first thought is, ‘see — there

ngs are

In rare cases, we get all 3! Or zero out of three, at the other extreme.


was no promotion!’

So these are the examples I’ll illustrate.

lf in the

As far as intangibles go, there are really two items

All 3: sold out, phenomenal band, nice guys! It’s a pretty

d do not

(sorr y, they don’t start with P!)

rare thing. These guys pulled up in a van, loaded their gear

ng great

r him to

in, had a quick sound check, said ‘hey it sounds great on


stage!’ Ate dinner and came back and just simply KILLED

p here,”

Talent is kinda like por nography … hard to define, but I

IT at showtime. Then they did not get falling down drunk


know it when I see it! Attitude is a combination of how easy

and got on task and moved on to the next gig. They did this


the band is to work with, how good they are at communica-

their first time at rickshaw (first California gig!) and then 8

en with

tion (esp in advance — did they let us know they would be

months later did it again. Their name is Vampire Weekend.

ring [b]

late for sound check and that they added a hor n section,

They are playing somewhat bigger venues now!

or what

or are they just going to show up and say, ‘whatever’), and

e end if

how mag netic their personalities are. On that last point,

you to

it’s a matter of just being likeable! You can get away with

ue your

a lot of shortcomings in other areas if you have that mag-

bor, do

netic personality.

r man’s

ho hears

and you

our bad

stage late, sounded atrocious, no one is really playing toof which are contradictor y. After show, a screaming match

of a band: we have no idea about what’s good and what isn’t.

on the topic of ‘you (the venue) are the man, and you’re hold-

Aesthetics and talent — they are ver y ambiguous, and nowa-

ing us down!’ Their name is Extra Golden — perhaps they

days anything is arguably valid, musically. So that makes

have had some good gigs elsewhere, but they couldn’t pay us

it a bit simple; we don’t have to evaluate on aesthetics. We

enough to host them again.



s rebuke

Showed up late, entitled attitude, lots of demands. Hit the gether, ever yone is making signals at the sound man — most

just have to evaluate how many bodies the band is going to

t of fine

presales were abyssmal; we are guaranteed to lose money.

Now here’s a shortcut that we use, in determining the value

n is like

rring of

Zero out of 3: Another band on tour; missed soundcheck,

Perhaps I have strayed … so to get back to your original framework and question, when all the advance work has

But back to the three benchmarks:

been done—water under the bridge and all that—and now

bodies, talent, personality

it’s show time. Perhaps the promotion wasn’t ever ything

Like the

There’s that old saying, “pick any two”. (Like, you can have


your car repaired — fast, correctly, cheap: pick any two.) In a

hy mes-

tough economy, we’d love all 3, but we’ll take any two!

that was hoped for. Perhaps the gear isn’t working as well as you hoped. Perhaps soundcheck was not as locked down as we all wanted. Perhaps the van got broken into last night. What do you do? You PLAY THE GIG and put your heart into it!! Enthusiasm and being in the moment are what carr y the day at that point. If talent is your strong suit—so what if the guitar broke a string. A compelling musician can make magic happen regardless. If personality is your strong point—be charming and draw the audience to you!



The art on this page was created by Casey Koerner: http://www.caseykoerner.com/

(In fact we’ve had two touring acts who had their van broken into and gear stolen in the 24 hours before hitting our stage, but still put on so-good-it’ll-make-you-cr y performances.) And then there are bands — many bands — that hit the stage and seem so tentative, seem like they’re playing a rehearsal, and don’t offer anything compelling to the audience. It’s a real common downfall, and it always mystifies me. I come from the old punk rock school where the goal was to get SOME KIND of reaction from the audience. Throwing shit at us? Great! Playing for yourselves, with no focus on the audience impact? I don’t get it. Of course there’s shoegaze, but even then the good acts find a way to engage the audience, even if it’s in a non-obvious way. I guess I’m asking for a strateg y that involves the audience somehow, even if it’s an oblique strateg y! Good luck! Waldo

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ng of Ju-

word of mouth

f God to

Matthew Kent Ronan

proverbs by the

o search

glory of

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en with

I have noticed a number of artists Are spending more time promoting than they do honing their craft. My opinion is that it is better to focus your energ y into being a better artist. The best artist that you can be. The better you get, other people will promote for you. Michael Jordan doesn’t need to tell people he is a good basketball player. I know that if there is an artist that I love, I automatically tell people about them. In the age of billboards and banner ads, word of mouth is still one of the best ways to effectively share media, or anything for that matter. I think it’s better to spend more time getting better, and letting the word of mouth do it’s job. I have definitely not arrived there though, it’s just my personal opinion. I remember hearing that Dashboard Confessional got started as a side project, and people just started copying, and sharing tapes to get his music spread around. I think free EPs or something at first to get your name out. That would be something to look into.

ring [b]

I usually tr y to take advantage of any free classes that I can.

or what

(Academy of Art Summer workshop, Apple store downtown,

e end if

Calumet, etc.) I haven’t come across music performance

you to

classes for free, but Production and Recording stuff. You can

ue your

sit in on free lectures at the apple store. The annual Mac-

bor, do

world usually has a number of free lectures as well. City Col-

r man’s

lege San Francisco is nearly free (Minus your books)


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n, cop-

udah: It er;

f kings. arth is


SAY Hi to Petro for me! Alex DiDonato- Finish Ticket

When I discovered FINISH TICKet, i also noticed they were playing a show with petros from DIzzy balloon, so I said to say hi! ~Stefan

ver, and

That’s funny that you say hi to Petro, because as I was read-

them want to have your band play. Also, talk to other local

ith; re-

ing your email, he was actually in my room. Cool coincidence.

bands! Exchange shows, set up shows together, help each


He says hi back, by the way.

other promote. Once you get into the stream of local bands,


Well yeah, we book and promote our shows as well as play

you develop tons of new friendships among other bands and

them. It’s a tough process, but in the end, it’s always worth

gain a lot more opportunities to play.


it to be playing a great show with a huge crowd applauding.

In promoting shows, make sure ever yone knows about the

at men;

I guess I can offer some advice: Don’t be afraid to contact

show for a couple weeks before it even happens. You should

ome up

venues. Make yourself sound appealing to the venue; make

start promoting up to 3 weeks before the show starts. Go to


ot her local shows and pass out f liers, email all t he fans about t he show, post a bunch of info about t he show on your website. Get people talking about your show. I personally love going to local shows. They’re a great inspiration, and a few of my favorite bands are local. The last one I went to was the Ghost and the City CD release show with Picture Atlantic and Battlehooch at Bottom of the Hill in SF. It was an awesome show, because I love Picture Atlantic and was interested in seeing Ghost/City again. The most memorable show this past year was definitely the Matches last show at the Fillmore in SF. The Matches put on an incredible performance; it was a wonderful way to end a wonderful band. Plus I crowd-surfed for the first time. It was amazing. Going to shows is a good idea for any local musician, because you can pick and choose different ideas to bring into your own music and performances by what you see other bands do. More advice(?): On booking shows, I would just say that you really have to make an effort to tr y and get on good bills, or come up with a good bill of bands. Really put your band out there to be accepted by venues in any way that you can (as long as you don’t get to the point where you’re obnoxious). As far as playing shows go … people can always tell when a musician is passionate about his/ her music. So be passionate about it! Pour your heart out onstage. The crowd came to see a show, so give them one. If you can include crowd participation, all the better. Hope this advice helps you out in some way. Thanks for contacting us! ALEX: Finish Ticket



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BUZZ GUIDE most bands buy stickers. This survival guide is proof that most bands have stickers ‌ and they love to put them in the bathroom. why is that? Has it proven to be a good marketing ploy?


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1 _ DE VELOPE A BUZZ: y o u c a n ’ t r e ly o n s o m e b o d y e l s e t o c r e at e y o u r b u z z f o r y o u . i t i s

v e r y r e s p e c ta b l e t o s ta r t y o u r o w n b u z z . i d e a l ly f a n s w i l l c at c h o n a n d i n c r e a s e t h e b u z z .

n e e d t o r e ly o n o t h e r s f o r h e l p . y o u m u s t n o t r e ly o n c l u b s t o p r o m o t e y o u . y o u n e e d t o

2 _ DON’T RELY ON OTHERS: t h i s i s n o t c o n t r a d i c t o r y f r o m w h at i ’ v e s a i d b e f o r e . y o u d o

be promoting your shows.


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3 _ PROMOTE BY WORD OF MOU TH: f ly e r s c o s t m o n e y , p o s t e r s c o s t m o r e m o n e y , cost any thing.

a d v e r t i s i n g c a n g e t r e a l ly e x p e n s i v e . h o w e v e r t e l l i n g s o m e b o d y a b o u t y o u r s h o w d o e s n ’ t

c r e at e p r i n t m a r k e t i n g . y o u m i g h t a l s o c o n s i d e r g u e r i l l a a n d g r a s s r o o t ta c t i c s a s w e l l .

4 _ CRE ATE MORE THAN JUST FLYERS: o n c e y o u ’ v e t o l d p e o p l e a b o u t y o u r s h o w , y o u n e e d t o


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5 _ SHAMELES SLY PLUG YOUR PROJECTS: n e v e r b e b a s h f u l t o t e l l p e o p l e a b o u t y o u r s h o w s , y o u r p r o j e c t s a n d e v e r y t h i n g y o u ’ r e w o r k i n g o n . d o n ’ t b e m o d e s t , y o u ’ r e a r o c k s ta r !

ne w cd, r ecording ne w songs, m a k ing a v ideo

t h i s i s i n f o r m at i o n b l o g g e r s w i l l e at u p !

6 _ LE A K BA ND INFO TO BLOGGERS: y o u a r e y o u r o w n g o s s i p c o l u m n . i f y o u ’ r e r e l e a s i n g a


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p e o p l e . t h e p e o p l e y o u w a n t at y o u r s h o w s a r e a c t i v e a n d n o t s i t t i n g at t h e i r c o m p u t e r .

7 _ BE ON THE STREET: p r o m o t i n g i s n o t a l l d i g i ta l . p l a c e y o u r d i g i ta l p o s t e r s t h e n g o t o t h e

8 _ TALK TO PEOPLE AT SHOWS: e n g a g e y o u r f a n s , l e t t h e m k n o w t h e y a r e i m p o r ta n t t o y o u .

thank the bar owner and the booker. be e x tr a nice to the sound guy and thank him as well.


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9 _ GIV E IT AWAY FOR FREE: t h i s i s p r o m o t i o n a s w e l l a s a w ay o f o p e r at i n g . w e a r e

w e r e i n s u r a n c e . d o t h e y m a k e f ly e r s ?

10 _ CONSIDER A LTERN ATIV E A DV ERTISING: s o m e s u g g e s t i o n s w o u l d b e t o c o n s i d e r u s i n g

adverting utilized outside the music scene. perhaps you can advertise your band as if you i t a w ay a n d s t i l l m a k e m o n e y .

c u r r e n t ly i n a p e r i o d o f t i m e w h e r e f r e e i s t h e n e w t e n d o l l a r s . f i g u r e o u t w ay s t o g i v e


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opied by

he glory

t a mat-

are high

ings are

e silver,

mith; re-

nce, and


nce, and

s better


n. What

bands want to record … some do it in their bedrooms, others do it in a professional studio, both work … SO WHAT will you choose?

han for

ring [b]

So you’ve never recorded a cd? Or maybe you’re new to San

places that do recording. If you go to sf-inter.com you can

the end

Francisco. Likely you could research the web and find a place

find our more about places to record. As well as a list of plac-

u argue

to record, duplicate and package (or find 50). Why do research

es other bands have gone. I suggest contacting your favorite


that somebody has already done? That is the exciting thing

band and seeing where they recorded, duplicated and pack-

y shame

about being part of a community. You just need to reach out!

aged. You’ll get a first hand account of the ups and downs,


Somebody will be there to grab your hand. We profiled two

then you can copy their success.


HEY YOUNG BELIEVER www.facebook.com/HeyYoungBeliever

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Daniel Roberts rigged up the first iteration of Pirate Cat Radio in his Los Gatos bedroom when he was 13. Several years later, he started illegally broadcasting Pirate Cat’s eclectic mix of music and news on 87.9 FM in San Francisco’s Mission neighborhood. San Franciscans know Roberts, as “Monkey,” which is shorthand for Affenmensch. Affenmensch is German for “monkey man.” The name has a lot to do with what a hellion Roberts was as a kid In April 2003, when Roberts began broadcasting in San Francisco, he didn’t hide from the authorities. Instead, he argued that his station was operating legally, based on a provision in the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations that allows unlicensed broadcasting in times of war—and the War on Terror qualifies, does it not? You can’t hear Pirate Cat on the radio anymore, but you can visit them for a bacon late and listen in their location on 21st and Florida, or tune in at: www.piratecatradio.com



Visit Pirate Cat Radio at: www.piratecatradio.com

A aron Axelsen


Catch Live 105’s Music Director Aaron Axelsen in the mix every week on Soundcheck, 8-10 p.m. Sundays on live105.com. Aaron’s passion for new music makes it possible for him to predict and, in many cases, even dictate the tastes of listeners of all ages and demographics. Most Live 105 listeners credit him for their introductions to hundreds upon hundreds of great but virtually unknown bands, a fair share of them from the Bay Area. Many of these bands’ careers may never have gotten off the ground without the exposure afforded by a single spin during “Soundcheck,” a weekly showcase for emerging artists. Aaron also runs Popscene ever y Thursday night at Rickshaw Stop, a nightclub on the edge of Tenderloin and Hayes Valley. Aaron uses Popscene as a second vehicle to introduce fans to local live bands. Live or on the radio I highly recommend looking up and following Aaron Axelsen.


Visit Souncheck at: www.live105.radio.com/shows/soundcheck

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Buzz is a survival guide to the present day live music landscape. A rapidly and radically evolving music industry is changing the rules for emerging bands across the country. As more and more forms of entertainment compete for a limited amount of audience attention, it is increasingly important for musicians to market and package themselves professionally.

BUZZ is produced by SF Intercom

Profile for Balanced Breakfast

BUZZ PROMOTE: Survival Guide for Bands  

Buzz is a survival guide to the present day live music landscape. A rapidly and radically evolving music industry is changing the rules for...

BUZZ PROMOTE: Survival Guide for Bands  

Buzz is a survival guide to the present day live music landscape. A rapidly and radically evolving music industry is changing the rules for...


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