Band Booking Live-blogging
It’s important, when attempting to book a band, that one understand the politics of rejection. It’s not necessarily that the club-owner in question dislikes your music or you personally…it’s just that maybe he or she doesn’t feel like it right now, or prefers less interesting music, or in fact wouldn’t know good music if it bit him or her on the ass. Etc.
Let’s face it, to most bar or niteclub owners, the music they present is pretty much equal to the lights that hang from the ceiling – a necessary part of doing business, not much more.
In San Francisco, there was a club called The Blue Lamp. It’s gone now, but when I lived there, I wanted to book that room. It had a real greasy vibe; it was a blues dive, the kind that you hear about or read about but rarely get to experience.
The booker at the time was a musician named Patrick. Patrick was a dick.
I did all the usual stuff you have to do to book your band. I paid to record and produce a bunch of songs, put them on a cassette, got pictures taken and artwork made up for the insert, paid for duplication and printing and shrink-wrap. Got an 8×10 and typed up a blurb. Put it all together in a nice envelope, and dropped it off. Followed up with Patrick, who acknowledged that he had received it, and that he did his booking on Tuesdays from 5 to 7pm at the club, and I would need to stop by to set a date. Apparently, this could not be done on the phone or via the then-nascent email process.
So after work on a Tuesday, I drove into the city at rush hour, fought my way to the club, found a parking spot (a true miracle any time of day) and strode into the club around 5:30pm to Make It Happen.
Patrick: “I don’t feel like doing this right now.”
He didn’t last long as the booker there. The owner took it over, and before long I had a monthly gig at the Lamp – they loved me. Patrick would stop in occasionally to glower. Dick.
Mon 1/23, 3:47pm. Venue: local ski resort that does summer shows on a veranda beside their mountain. I tried this place last year…I think I called in February and they were booked through Thanksgiving or something.
Result: Actually got the booker on the phone. She provided me her email address so I can send her a link to my professionally-produced and stone-awesome video. She is “booked for the season” but has not booked summer yet.
Mon 1/23, 4:06pm. Venue: river-side bar & grill, somewhat upscale. Tried to book this place last year, could not get owner on the phone. After repeated calls, asked how to speak with him. Was told to stop by on specific time and date. Did so, press kit in hand, only to have hostess look down her nose at me. “Oh, he’s a very busy man. He doesn’t have time.” I returned to my car with my 30 years of experience as a musician, while she got back to her job serving cokes.
Result: “Oh, he’s not in on Mondays.” Told to call him at a different bar on Tuesday.
Mon 1/23, 4:11pm. Venue: Irish bar in 19th-century PA backwater. New to me, but my rhythm section’s hometown. They would appreciate not having to drive 40 minutes in the PA winter once in a while. I aim to keep them happy because they’re the best.
Result: “She’s not here right now.” They don’t know her email address, suggest I message her on Facebook.
Facebook messaging. I saw some guy send his condolences after a friend’s mom died, on that friend’s Facebook wall. I…don’t think that’s really the way to do it.
Gonna think about this. Ideally, I would be knocking on their doors and meeting them face-to-face; any salesman will tell you, it’s by far the best way to sell your product. Phone call is 2nd. Facebook? Hmm.
And that’s all we have time for today. Thanks for playing. We have some lovely parting gifts for you.
Posted in Music