Building a Band Following-

boogie1

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Been thinking about better ways to get people to see the band on a regular basis.
What are some ways to build a following? These are some of the things that come to mind:

Setlist: Make it danceable. In the case of my band, we like to do a different mix, stuff other bands can't do vocally or instrumentally, or are too lazy to take the time and learn. We get a lot of comments from people saying they never heard a band do that song, etc. And if we do play any standard stuff, we try to do it better.

Get Involved: Get to know listeners. Talk to them in between sets. Get them involved when you're playing too. A friend of mine does stuff like putting his guitar around a chicks head and playing it like she's doing it- some people really get a kick out of this. ( You have to pick the right person of course!)

Mascot: Iron Maiden has Eddie. We used to have a blow up doll. Sometimes we called it the bass players' girlfriend.

Schwag: T-shirts, mailing lists, business cards, websites, My Space. It's all about shameless self-promotion.

Flyers: Get those flyers up at least a week in advance and make sure no other bands tear them down. ( See Rock Star movie.......)

Games: Twister for beer? Wet T Contest?

Requests: If you get a request for a song that's in the next set, oblige them and play it next. It goes a long way.

Sound: Get a good sound. Feedback and excess volume scare people away. ( My God- did I just say that?)

Eliminate dead time: Keep the flow going, and do lots of banter in between songs.

Avoid stupid cliches: " Remember, the more you drink the better we sound" kind of crap.

Put on a show. Ham it up. Go wireless. For some reason, I can walk around the club wireless and people instantly think you're a Guitar God! Even if you're playing the same 3 chords!

I know there's a lot more but that's off the top of my head. Anybody have input?
 

LoKi

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This is the information age... Websites are key to that.

While on stage...

SMILE - look like you're enjoying yourself. Get into the music, or fake it if you're having a bad day. The audience can pick up on a band thats 'not in the mood'.

EYE CONTACT - look at members of the audience during key moments in a song. Don't STARE like a creep, but eye contact creates a connection between you and your audience. If you're a singer, doing love songs, look at some random girl right in her eyes and get her attention. She'll stick around all night to dance and listen to the rest of your stuff.

NO DEAD AIR - This is key, and you already mentioned it. It doesn't matter whats going on. If you're singer is getting some water, chug on a riff and get your drummer to just jam for a minute. If you are the singer, make the audience feel like part of the show, tell them they're great and how much you enjoy playing for them, make jokes, explain the next song choice... anything is better than dead air.

ACT LIKE YOU DESERVE APPLAUSE - Yea I know... this sounds bad, but people look up to someone who acts like a rockstar. Don't be overly arrogant, you're not bloody Axl Rose or anything, but don't make yourself appear like the 'nicest guy in the world' either... even if you are. People subconsciously look up to people who exude confidence. BE CONFIDENT!

DON'T OVER PLAY - drummers who do 'too much' or guitar players who shred off into the distance in their own little world... keep it simple. People like things that are simple and familiar.

The most important part for being in a band nowadays...

LOOK THE PART - Dress like a musician. Not just jeans and t-shirts. Dress appropriate to the genre of music you play. If you look like you just got off work, and jumped up on stage, you'll disapear in a crowd. You don't need gimicky costumes *but they do work as well* but you can't look like everyone else in the audience. ANYTHING to set you apart from the people in the bar and you're instantly a rockstar! Big poofy hair, tattoos, sunglasses, ripped or customized clothes, you name it... it all works.

Its sad to say, but people nowadays care more if you 'look' like a musician than if you can actually play a chord or not. :(

And as much as that sucks, you can't change peoples minds. There is no way you're going to convince people that it doesn't matter what you look like, its what you sound like. They don't care as long as the bass and kick drum are thumping.

There are more of course... but I don't want to rant on all day. I'd love to hear some other opinions!
 

WildeStarr

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:applause: you got that right not matter how good you do a Van Halen David lee Impression you will never be a star. Be yourself !!! & original :rofl:then if you mess up who would know:wtf: it was suppose to sound like that :slash:

I have never played anyone else's tunes and I never will.

:)
 

johnreardon

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Wow. You guys think a lot. :applause:

That's what I was thinking. We just went out and played :)

These days, I think it really depends on what you to achieve. Yes, if you are aiming for the 'big-time' then original material is a must. If you want to build up a following in a semi-pro environment, then original material is, perhaps, not so important.

For the semi-pro environment, then you have to impress the owners as well as the crowd. Be as rehearsed and professional as you can.

A gimmick, such as a mascot or unusual implement helps the crowd remember you. I use a plastic banana as a plectrum in a few songs. Even though I mainly play jams, the crowd chant for the banana when they see us. Frankie uses bottles and lighters for a slide.

Finally, you need some talent
 

johnreardon

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I agree that you should always 'Be yourself !!! & original', however, you can still do that playing material not written by yourself.

There is some fabulous music around and to restrict yourself to only playing stuff self-written is, IMO, a bit short sighted. Bringing your own style to the music of others can enhance your own material and stop you being repetitive and boring.

I am not saying that you have to play other material in the style of the person who did the original. Everyone can bring something to a song. Just listen to Richard Thompson doing the Britney track 'Oops I did it again'.

Most top professional acts will include stuff they have not written in their set lists. Obviously, when it comes to CD tracks, then yes original all, or nearly all the way.

Just my opinions
 

TxMack

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Well, it needs to be originals, as was said, if you are aiming for the top. wanna be in a big regional band? Like was also said...play dance music.

I played originals for years...then a friend asked me to help out with his disco/r&B band last year...we've become insanely popular. We are getting fairly big money gigs in cities as far as 200 miles away.

We do all of the above, right down to dashiki nights and jive suits, and it's fun...I'm the stunt guitarist. I get several times per night to just rip. But you know, it's the behind the head thing that just makes me the new Hendrix to these people! Now we do clubs once a quarter and private parties and weddings most every other weekend.

We're playing a company Christmas party at the AT&T center in San Antonio this December...freakin disco! Who knew?

(But I do not advise this for young cats...write your stuff do your thing...I wouldn't take for those times either! if nothing else, you'll learn what your soul sounds like! Then you can stamp that into cover tunes LOL)
 

LoKi

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We're currently doing a 'half and half' original/cover thing. Its really working, and often people come up to us and say 'who wrote that song? I love it!'

Had a GREAT show tonight... and another tomorrow in the works. I gotta say, I live for this. I'd rather die a poor musician than a rich pencil pusher!
 

loneguitar

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let the music flow from you, the audience will see the passion and respond to that too, just my 2 cents
 


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