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Questions RE Creating a Band

GUEST,Kristine 18 Jan 05 - 04:17 PM
GUEST 18 Jan 05 - 05:43 PM
GUEST,David fromSydney 18 Jan 05 - 06:12 PM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 18 Jan 05 - 06:28 PM
Cluin 18 Jan 05 - 06:31 PM
PoppaGator 18 Jan 05 - 06:40 PM
Big Al Whittle 18 Jan 05 - 07:11 PM
Terry Allan Hall 18 Jan 05 - 07:30 PM
Blowzabella 18 Jan 05 - 07:44 PM
M.Ted 19 Jan 05 - 07:49 PM
Desert Dancer 19 Jan 05 - 08:07 PM
Guy Wolff 19 Jan 05 - 08:27 PM
Guy Wolff 19 Jan 05 - 08:39 PM
GUEST 19 Jan 05 - 09:48 PM
Big Al Whittle 20 Jan 05 - 06:49 AM
M.Ted 20 Jan 05 - 10:45 AM
GUEST,Kristine 20 Jan 05 - 11:48 AM
Big Al Whittle 20 Jan 05 - 12:29 PM
breezy 20 Jan 05 - 12:42 PM
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Subject: Questions RE Creating a Band
From: GUEST,Kristine
Date: 18 Jan 05 - 04:17 PM

I produced a CD and have been performing small venues with my partner with a very encouraging response from both fans and industry folks. One publicist, who has worked with well known artists and loves my work, wants me to perform with some prestigious tours he's putting together…and he has a top booking agent he wants me to hook up with.

THE PROBLEM IS…I am a song writer/vocalist who has performed with various instruments, which I can play …okay, but I have never really developed my musicianship (working on it though!) Being an artist…I want to have an exciting performance that is at a higher caliber than my current performance…so it is apparent to me that I need to acquire a couple more band members who are already well developed musicians. However, I know nothing about putting a band together.

HERE ARE MY QUESTIONS: (if you can answer only one, two or a few – any answers are appreciated. I am especially hoping to hear from band members and managers from bands of 4 or more members, and who have run successful tours that have made a profit. Please keep in mind that I am not interested in doing the endless small town venue circuit -been there done that…I have aspirations to move up to larger venues in as short a time as possible)

1. What does it typically cost to tour a band? Meals, transportation, lodging…how do I go about finding those figures?

2. As this band will be touring under my name and promoting my CD…I'm assuming that I have more financial responsibility than if we all had equal interest. So what specifically am I responsible for?

3. Keeping in mind my aspirations, the eager publicist and booking agent, how do I start out? What size venues should I play first, and how do I go from the initial venues to larger venues in a short amount of time? More specifically, how fast do I return to a given area and how much to I increase the venue size each time?

4. At what size venue does the income surpass the expenses? (for a band of four) How do you carry the expenses until you reach that size venue? or How can I make this financially viable for other band members (make it worth their while) until I reach the point where I am making a profit?

5. How long is a typical performance (I'm talking about the undivided attention venue, not the restaurant/pub thing?) How long are typical sets? How long is a typical repertoire? (I have mostly just done short performances.)

6. What is entailed in a successful publicity/promotion campaign for a performance (both standard and innovative ideas?) How do you coordinate radio play, reviews and articles so that it all happens in the right timing for the performance? How long in advance do you need to set that promotion up?

7. How can I afford to do the promotion and pay band members if I am not breaking even?

8. How/where do I find band members? How can I approach them – especially very professional musicians – to make them see that this is an exciting and financially viable option for them (especially when I can't afford to cover all expenses from the start?

9. How do you transport instruments and equipment?

10. What is the best form of transportation for a tour?

11. How do you go about setting up a tour (that is…scheduling, organizing, etc…?)

12. How long is a typical tour?

13. Does the band need to already have made a name for themselves, or can a top booking agent help unknown bands become known? Do you know what a top booking agent's criteria is for who they will work with?

14. Do we need a band manager? At what point would I need to get one? Where would I find a good one?

15. What kind of contracts do I need? What specifically should be on the contract?


Thank you for taking the time to read these questions, and for your input!!!!!!!!!
Kristine
www.kristinerobin.com


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Subject: RE: Questions RE Creating a Band
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Jan 05 - 05:43 PM

eh


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Subject: RE: Questions RE Creating a Band
From: GUEST,David fromSydney
Date: 18 Jan 05 - 06:12 PM

Hi Kristine

You might find some interesting info here

http://www.janisian.com/

The Janis Ian website. Janis has some interesting articles on the mechanics of performance, including one on "The ABC of being Boss"

As I recall she also has some really good stuff on contracts etc.

It's generally a fascinating site

David


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Subject: RE: Questions RE Creating a Band
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 18 Jan 05 - 06:28 PM

perhaps think about breaking a new band in as a main support act
on some more established bands tour schedule
where you can benefit and learn from the touring infrastructure
put and held together by a more experienced management team..

still tough work,

but less stress than trying to discover if you & your band members gel and work well together or not,
on a tour for which you have total resposibility,
and your career and reputation depends on


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Subject: RE: Questions RE Creating a Band
From: Cluin
Date: 18 Jan 05 - 06:31 PM

Refereeing the various egos of the band members will be your toughest task, I fear. Maybe you'll get lucky. Perhaps using folks who've played together in the past will help in getting a good sound, but you'll also be "on the outside"... maybe not a bad thing if you're going to be the boss.


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Subject: RE: Questions RE Creating a Band
From: PoppaGator
Date: 18 Jan 05 - 06:40 PM

I'd think that personal compatibilty, shared values, etc., would be at least as important as instrumental skills in assembling a band for an endeavor such as yours.

Punkfolkrocker is right on in suggesting that you tour first as a more established attraction's opening act, but it might be hard to find such a "host," especially one who would draw the same type of audience that you need to reach.

I'd be suspicious, just on general principles, of the publicist and/or booking agent who suddenly became so interested in you. They both might be not only sincere but also competant, but then again, maybe not. You'll be taking all the risks and doing all the heavy lifting, so make sure you maintain control.

Best of luck!


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Subject: RE: Questions RE Creating a Band
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 18 Jan 05 - 07:11 PM

Extremely variable.

Some people get a support act to make them look good. particularly if the support act are a new band. A friend of mine got a hit record. their dumb greedy manager accepted some sort of deal The Q Tips as their support act, a very superior band who hadn't had a hit then. Of course their support act blew them off stage every night. And that went a long way to blowing my friends bands career. All managers play that sort of game quite ruthlessly. Be warned - you can find yourself a pawn in a very sneaky game.

Many established acts actually expect you to pay part of the cost of the PA. they regard it that they are doing you a favour. People who give other bands a break out of sheer decency can be quite few and far between.

Be extra polite to lighting and PA people - they can screw your act up by simply not bothering.

Sometimes if you have a following, they will be trying to get a few more bums on seats. i remember Lindisfarne had Chas and Dave along early in their career - trying for this.

Think bloody carefully before signing anything. Make sure your union rep gets a look at it. Are there penalty clauses if you decide that some other way would be more fun, and you need to walk out after the first date. Talk over with who asked you to do the gig - try and work out why they have picked you rather than someone who can do them a favour.

Moreover, what if they tire of your presence , are there any penalty clauses for all the work you have turned down?

I'm sorry if I seem wary, but I think you have to talk with everybody who has done this sort of gig. If possible whoever it was did the last support gig with them. Just use your loaf, try and work out as much as you can, talk to anybody who might know more than you do. work out the rest for yourself.

The truth of the situation is rarely pure and simple. You will just have to weigh carefully in your mind the plus and minuses.


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Subject: RE: Questions RE Creating a Band
From: Terry Allan Hall
Date: 18 Jan 05 - 07:30 PM

You're PROBABLY not going to like my answers, but this is a realistic viewpoint from someone who's been doing what you want to do for almost 30 years!

1. What does it typically cost to tour a band? Meals, transportation, lodging…how do I go about finding those figures?

>>>A lot! Touring solo, as I usually do, can cost up to $100 a day, though usually, I can keep it to about $35 daily.

2. As this band will be touring under my name and promoting my CD…I'm assuming that I have more financial responsibility than if we all had equal interest. So what specifically am I responsible for?

>>>Everything! If it's "your" project only (promoting YOUR CD), then consider your bandmates as "employees", and look after them right!

3. Keeping in mind my aspirations, the eager publicist and booking agent, how do I start out?

>>>Playing ANYWHERE you can...for terrible $$$, usually...right now you're establishing yourself...no-one knows who you are! Until you are VERY well-known, it doesn't get much better.

What size venues should I play first, and how do I go from the initial venues to larger venues in a short amount of time?

>>>Define "short amount of time"...Realistically, plan on this taking years!

More specifically, how fast do I return to a given area and how much to I increase the venue size each time?

>>>Why not start out locally (your city), then expand to 50 miles radius, then (eventually) 100 miles radius..in a few years, go to regional, eventually bordering states.

Return once a year...It can't happen over-night!

4. At what size venue does the income surpass the expenses? (for a band of four).

>>> When you are making $1000 each night.

How do you carry the expenses until you reach that size venue? or How can I make this financially viable for other band members (make it worth their while) until I reach the point where I am making a profit?

>>>By having a day job to keep you going...don't plan to make any money for a few years...all you make will go into paying your band, maintaining the "band vehicle"(typically a Ford Econoline or similar), maintaining the PA (very few venues have their own PA, and of those, a lot have crappy systems!)

Or, get used to gigging solo and eating Ramen Noodles!

5. How long is a typical performance (I'm talking about the undivided attention venue, not the restaurant/pub thing?)

>>>2-3 sets of 45 - 60 minutes...BTW, the "undivided attention venues" are VERY few and far between!

How long are typical sets? How long is a typical repertoire?

>>>Better know at least 100 popular tunes...VERY, VERY few gigs are out there for "original only" bands UNTIL your VERY, VERY famous!

After all these years, I know about 500...and often am glad I do!

(I have mostly just done short performances.)

6. What is entailed in a successful publicity/promotion campaign for a performance (both standard and innovative ideas?) How do you coordinate radio play, reviews and articles so that it all happens in the right timing for the performance? How long in advance do you need to set that promotion up?

>>>You need to 1st cultivate friendships w/ EVERY media person yopu can...then keep on their minds by keeping them informed of EVERYTHING you do...I put in about 5 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days each year on promotions!

If you want to be successful, you will, too!

7. How can I afford to do the promotion and pay band members if I am not breaking even?

>>>That's the tricky part! I get around it by primarily playing solo, getting all the free promotion I can, etc.

8. How/where do I find band members? How can I approach them – especially very professional musicians – to make them see that this is an exciting and financially viable option for them (especially when I can't afford to cover all expenses from the start?

>>>You won't be able to...until you CAN GUARRANTEE them X amount of $$$ each and every gig (or by the week)...all pros have met kids like yourself w/ shining eyes and lots of aspiration...but they need $$$, not promises!

9. How do you transport instruments and equipment?

>>>Van, station wagon, bus...

10. What is the best form of transportation for a tour?

>>>I like my bus, as I can sleep in it, thus saving some travel expenses.

11. How do you go about setting up a tour (that is…scheduling, organizing, etc…?)

Hustling about 6 months to a year BEFORE the tour takes off!

12. How long is a typical tour?

As long as you want it...these days, I go out for 3 weeks, come home for 2, go back out for three.

BTW, if you're married/involved, you DO need to consider what this lifestyle will do to your relationship...I'm on wife #3, and am blessed that she's 100% behind my career choice...the 1st 2 thought they were, too, but Reality raised it's Ugly Head!

13. Does the band need to already have made a name for themselves (Yes), or can a top booking agent help unknown bands become known? (Why would they? They're trying to make $$$ off of you!) Do you know what a top booking agent's criteria is for who they will work with? (Yes...who will make that agent lotsa $$$ IMMEDIATELY by having a "Top 40 "commercial" sound!)

14. Do we need a band manager? At what point would I need to get one? Where would I find a good one?

>>>No, you need to learn to manage yourself...right now, you have nothing, so 20% is still nothing!

15. What kind of contracts do I need? What specifically should be on the contract?

>>>Rather than bum you out further, may I suggest you buy a few books on the music industry? Try these (all can be gotten from Amazon):

Guerrilla Music Marketing Handbook: 201 Self-Promotion Ideas for Songwriters, Musicians & Bands
by Bob Baker

How I Make $100,000/year in the Music Business (Without a Record Label, Manager, or Booking Agent)
by David Hooper, Lee Kennedy

The Touring Musician: A Small Business Approach to Booking Your Band on the Road
by Hal Galper

All You Need to Know About the Music Business
by Donald S. Passman

What They'll Never Tell You About the Music Business: The Myths, Secrets, Lies (& a Few Truths)
by Peter M. Thall

Sell Your Music : How To Profitably Sell Your Own Recordings Online
by Mark W.


The Ultimate Survival Guide to the New Music Industry: A Handbook for Hell
by Justin Goldberg

Before you try to be a "road dog", read EVERY one of these...you'll have a MUCH better chance of succeeding!

Best of luck to you.


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Subject: RE: Questions RE Creating a Band
From: Blowzabella
Date: 18 Jan 05 - 07:44 PM

You also need to amend your website...

Lovely as it is - and it is a work of art, it doesn't tell any prospective booker a great deal about what they would get if they hired you. It is beautiful, but not hugely informative. As an event organiser, if I received an initial piece of promo literature off you and were tempted to have a look at your site, frankly, I would be put off, because it all looks a bit too esoteric. Beautiful, but without much content. Sorry.


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Subject: RE: Questions RE Creating a Band
From: M.Ted
Date: 19 Jan 05 - 07:49 PM

Cut out what Terry Allan Hall has written and laminate it--best, and most concise advise you'll ever get--

A couple thoughts--it seems like a publicist has asked you to contact a booking agent who is looking for an opening act for someone or others tour--you want to be great, so you have the idea of putting a band together--the thing is, the agent heard you and your partner, and, most likely, that is what they want for the opening act--you and your partner--

A word of warning--publicists love everyone--as to booking agents, they really work for the venue--the venue has the money, so the booking agents job is to put together something the venues want--

If you really want to put a band together and work, start a cover band and move near a resort area with lots of clubs--You can always find work in Vegas--


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Subject: RE: Questions RE Creating a Band
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 19 Jan 05 - 08:07 PM

Useful info about the business of being a musician available from the Folk Alliance here.


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Subject: RE: Questions RE Creating a Band
From: Guy Wolff
Date: 19 Jan 05 - 08:27 PM

T A Hall gave a great picture of the animal your going to have to deal with . What is your overall wish? .By that I mean what music do you want to give to the world? Chops chops chops are very important as you have aluded to but what kind of music are you wishing to tour ? Starting as a opening act to a related band may mean you can get some of the guys in the other band to back you .Less money . Do you have a lable that you are recording for? How many cd's have you worked on ? Each cd project opens your ear to consise thinking on concert production. Less can be more . A friend of mine tours with Arlo Guthrey and I think they can go out with three if needed .


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Subject: RE: Questions RE Creating a Band
From: Guy Wolff
Date: 19 Jan 05 - 08:39 PM

Sorry I hit the wrong button again. On the subject of who to get in your band. Music is like great conversation. You need to be able to realy talk or camunicate with your fellow musicians. That means you have to have a connection with them . If only musicaly it is still quite personal so band mates are like family or even dating so dont take on someone who is a great player who you can not find common groud with . It will be a waist of everyones time .
                   Have great fun with your path. It is very inportant to keep the big picture optomistic even when the dayly stuff is off the charts awfull. Spend half an hour a day on the "what if" stuff. Make phone calls you realy want to have. "Hello is this Eric Claptons home number???"You want to play on Wednesday ?? " It becomes real if you can visualize what you realy want and stay on task. Stay present .
                      All the very best and enjoy the ride, Yours Guy Wolff


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Subject: RE: Questions RE Creating a Band
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Jan 05 - 09:48 PM

Kristine, successful bands are not "created", they come into being after a meeting of minds and musicallity. From reading your original post it seems you want all the answers and Immediate Success! Sorry, life aint like that girl! You've got to serve your apprenticeship, do the rounds, and maybe, just maybe, you might make it. Don't try to run before you can walk! All the best in your endeavours.


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Subject: RE: Questions RE Creating a Band
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 20 Jan 05 - 06:49 AM

Mm ...you all seem very discouraging to the poor girl.

Its not that bad or we wouldn't all be doing it.

And who knows she might be one of these pre-pubertal success stories. lets hope so - thats obviously what she wants. Its nice when people get what they want.

dido and kate Melua...its where acoustic musics at...only joking!


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Subject: RE: Questions RE Creating a Band
From: M.Ted
Date: 20 Jan 05 - 10:45 AM

I think that the intent is not to discourage her, but to help her get her expectations in line with what she will experience--at her website there is a picture of her, with her dulcimer in hand---now answer these questions for her--without being discouraging--

>>... how do I go from the initial venues to larger venues in a short amount of time?

>> How do you coordinate radio play, reviews and articles


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Subject: RE: Questions RE Creating a Band
From: GUEST,Kristine
Date: 20 Jan 05 - 11:48 AM

Thank you all for your comments, suggestions, advice, stories, and feedback. I really appreciate you taking the time to share your perspectives. I may have portrayed myself as being a little more naive than I am. I did perform with an Irish band for four years before setting out on my own project (including my debut CD, setting up a label, and representing other artists,) however we never travelled very far and we didn't have the same set of goals that I now have. I guess I'm looking for ways to be "outside the box."

I met the publicist last year, visited him in October (also performed,) and have been having on-going communications with him. After being skeptical myself at first, I now trust his intentions. As for the booking agent (who is very well known and has a sterling reputation,) he is a friend of the publicist, who wants to introduce me, but I haven't talked with him yet...just trying to get myself into a position where I'm ready for that. The musician I want to approach for the band was a friend before we ever played music together, and we both have mutual respect...so I feel that we are very compatible. My music does not suit the pub/club scene, so I am concentrating on conferences, churches, community theatres, book and gift stores, performing art centers, and my own arranged venues.

It's true that I may be wanting to move forward more quickly than is realistic...however, I also know that it is easy to get caught in what is familiar instead of evolving myself as an artist. Sometimes it is hard to see when I'm caught, so I want to make "a plan" to keep myself spiraling outwardly to reach more people.

Thank you all once again. I will study your responses and work them into my plan. Good luck with all your creative endeavors!

Kristine


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Subject: RE: Questions RE Creating a Band
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 20 Jan 05 - 12:29 PM

you see, she's done four years in an Irish band - she can probably wee further up the wall than most of the blokes here...


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Subject: RE: Questions RE Creating a Band
From: breezy
Date: 20 Jan 05 - 12:42 PM

keep it simple, stay solo/duo until the right musician shows up.
You''ve created interest as you stand at the moment.

No rush


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