I’ve been home a week and a half since the Grammy’s and life has returned to normal. Normal as it ever is being married with two kids, working fulltime/stay at home dad and oh yeah! I started a band a few years ago. My life priorities pretty much run in the same order except the kids come before the wife. She would agree. Right before the Grammy’s I was sending emails to places that might hire us for a gig. We’ve had some success here with local libraries, getting return gigs at a few venues and festivals and just got booked at Schubas (this is a local legendary music hall and we’re very excited). We got the gig because we stuck with it. What I’m leaning is that there is no fast track to getting gigs. Most bands work through this same process. Apply for jobs, send out emails, make phone calls, send demos (make sure they’re good!) or videos, network and here is the most IMPORTANT PART… FOLLOW THROUGH! Just like your golf swing or jump shot. If you send off one email or just apply for a gig and wonder why the phone doesn’t ring well… Follow through. This does not mean you start stalking after gigs. That just pisses people off. What this means is when you send an email and get No Reply. Two weeks later send a follow-up email. You may not get a reply (try again. I usually go with 3 attempts). They may tell you they’re booked please inquire in a year. Write it down and in a year try again with your new songs/videos, improved (up to date) EPK (Electronic Press Kit), ETC. Go to a few industry events because people who book shows and play shows usually attend. Talk to fellow musicians and band who do what you do. Share what you know and listen to what they have to say. Meet bookers and listen to what they have to say. I went to the Grammys for this reason. I Will Attend Kindiefest if possible for the same reason. Putting a face next to your music (make sure it’s ready!) makes you not a stranger when inquiring about your next gig. Hand them a business card, CD or both. BE POLITE AND COURTEOUS AT ALL TIMES. This is small industry and if your rude, inconsiderate or a general dirtbag the word will spread. Use your manners and most of all keep plugging away. That’s what I’m doing. If you have any other suggestions feel free to share.
Now onto performance improvement. We’ve had really good gigs and some not so good gigs (nature of the beast). The learning curb is steep and fast. In terms of musicianship we have been knocking it out of the park our last few shows. We listen to each other and the band has really come into its own but our showmanship needed some work. So that’s what we’ve been doing. Finding what works for us. Call and response, dance moves, silly band antics, how to keep the show rolling, fun and the audience participating. The fun should always lead back to the music which is why everyone is there. Being that most kindie shows run 45 minutes to an hour this isn’t rocket science. It does take some structure, planning, rehearsing, rehearsing and more rehearsing. Because it’s not enough that the band sits around and plays really good music. You need kids and parents to feel involved in the show. It’s a Live Music Experience and all should have a good time. Or what’s the point?
Lastly the Grammys. I think I had a Grammy hangover the last week. It was all so much fun and I did so much (see Rollin’ with the Bogle)it took a few days to really take it all in. Mind you the day after returning home I went right to the firehouse. Total reality check. But here’s what I am proposing and leave comments as you see fit. The Pre-Telecast Grammies was a nice show with some really great music acts. Why shouldn’t one of the Childrens Grammy acts perform for the pre-telecast show. I think it adds legitimacy to the whole kindie movement. Especially with this years acts and the fact the house band TOTALLY ROCKED! The Pop-Ups singing “Connect the Stars” with a live band would’ve been awesome. Or the Okee Dokees doing “Haul Away Joe” or my personal favorite “Thousand Star Hotel” with the big house band. Those are just great songs. Heck it was a Woody Guthrie year so why not Elizabeth Mitchell singing any one of Woody’s songs? A lot of Bill Harley songs are timeless and ageless and JumpinJazz Kids could have rocked the house. So powers that be if you read this let’s get the ball rolling! The Kindie movement won the Grammy now we need to take the stage.