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Tuesday, December 28, 2010


This was something I found very much to the point and something that should be shouted out very loud!

Dear Bar/Club/Venue owner,
It is NOT the job of the band you hire to bring in your clientele. It is our job to entertain your clientele and make them wish to stay all night long, reveling whilst buying your food and drinks and swelling the coffers of your fine establishment.
I am so tired of hearing "how many people can you bring in?" The answer is "who knows?". If you hire the Rolling Fucking Stones, and don't promote it, how many of their buddies are going to just happen to fly in from London and New York because they had nothing better to do than to come and hang out with Mick and Keith? Atlanta is a big place, so if I'm playing 40 miles from my area, I can't really expect many of my local fans to drive across town. What have YOU done to inform people in your locality, and who are perhaps familiar with your venue, that you hired a great band that they should come in this Saturday to see and hear them?
It is a grave mistake to hire cheap "garage" bands who are still developing their "talent", but have lots of friends and little girl friends who think it is SO FREAKIN' COOL that their buddies are in a band and will come see them anywhere they go. Yeah, you might get 20 of their friends in for a night, but any regulars you might want to keep will bail after their first out of tune, poorly executed and WAY too loud musical "expression". Are their 20 friends going to be there next weekend when another band plays? No chance.
If you have decided to buy a club and wish to make an income, then you should wisely promote your establishment through advertising, and do everything you can to develop a reputation as having great live music, if that's what you want your location to be known for.
If you want to run a sports bar-great! Buy lots of flatscreens and have team nights, special sports themed events, etc. All the sports fans in your area will come in and have a great time, and will look forward to coming back, dragging along buddies from their place of work and from their neighborhood with them. You don't need a band.
If you'd like to run a restaurant-wonderful! Hire talented kitchen staff and focus on providing great food and atmosphere. You'll get plenty of return business and your satisfied diners will tell all their friends and family about you. You don't need a band.
But if you've decided that you want to run a club where people come to party, dance and listen to great live music, then you'd better get the "live music" part right. Carefully screen and hire GOOD, PROFESSIONAL bands at a fair price, and the folks who wander in (remember, it's not the band's job to bring a built in audience) will have a great time listening to entertaining live music. They will tell their friends about the great band that played at the "XYZ Club" last Saturday, and when you, Mr. Venue Owner, put out some advertising, they'll spot that and think they'd like to go back and have a good time again this Saturday as well. But you'd better have a decent band lined up, or it will be the LAST time they ever come back.
There are many notable clubs around town that are well reputed for providing consistently good music. Any given music lover in their vicinity doesn't need to check to see who's playing; they know that whoever the band is, they'll be GOOD. The music lover will simply hop in their car and go. And, assuming that the band IS good, the music lover will stay all evening, contributing handsomely to the venue owner's retirement fund and pledging to be back the following weekend to do more of the same. Oh, and these clubs ADVERTISE...
If you are a new establishment, then I'm sure that you want to do everything you can to capture and keep a well heeled clientele. Hiring lousy bands because they promise to bring in 20 of their friends is a very short sighted approach. Particularly when their friends all spend a whopping $8.00 each all night. The folks in your area that you'd be better off cultivating might just walk in to check out the "new place", be assaulted by the yowling, out of tune "band" on stage and not only will they hastily depart, they will quickly tell all of their friends about the "new place" and how badly it sucks! Definitely not the most desirable word of mouth promoting.
So, in summary: if you want to run a "music joint" then hire good bands, advertise that you hire good bands, pay the good bands well so that they will want to come back, and lo and behold, pretty soon you'll be on the map as a GREAT music venue.
Oh, and one more thing if I may..."tabs" in lieu of decent pay don't mean jack shit. Your generous "$50.00" bar tab sets you back $7.00 or less. Also: if the band you are considering gets excited about $50.00 worth of "free booze", you are headed for possible trouble my friend. Just give me the $50.00 cash and I'll pay for my own Diet Cokes, thank you verymuch, and as a bonus to you, I won't get drunk on my "tab" and try to dry hump the doorman's girlfriend on stage during the 3rd set.
Thank you for you kind attention, and I'll be stepping down from my soapbox now...

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Saturday, December 18, 2010

Hosting Pacific Street Blues on SUnday, December 19 at 9AM CT

I'll be guest hosting one segment of Rick Galusha's Pacific Street Blues program on 89.7 The River in Omaha, NE on Sunday, December 19 at 9AM CT. Pacfific Street Blues won the Keeping The Blues Alive Award in Memphis last January during the International Blues Competition. I had the pleasure of hosting while on the road a number of years back, and to get the chance again is a real honor.