Showing posts with label humor. Show all posts
Showing posts with label humor. Show all posts


Why does my band keep failing?

Having trouble getting success with your band? Yeah, I don't doubt it. There is ALOT of competition out there.

A great many of the bands out there playing are not as good as you, but they bring a crowd -so they'll get booked LONG before you and 3 times as often.

Of course sound quality is important, but without a crowd, your sound doesn't matter. Here are a few tips to help you build that crowd.

1. Always make the effort to make your crowd feel special. This means take the time to LISTEN to them when they are talking to you. They believe that you are worth the cover charge and are excited to have your attention. Listen to what they have to say and engage in true conversation with them. It goes a long way.

2. We musicians are a strange lot...we are arrogant and uncompromising, but often we need reassurance that our direction is right. We can get that from an outside source or build it in ourselves but having supreme confidence is like a poker player having an extra card.
Not Confident? GET confident.

3. Whatever you do....COMMIT to it. Don't go in tentative and apologetic. There is nothing worse than some middle-aged guy half-heartedly wandering his way through a Britney Spears, Taylor Swift, or Adele song. You're thinking of singing "Let it Go"? BELT it out. Some people might hate it, but at least they will respect the courage you had to give it your all. When I sing "Baby, One More Time" I give it all I've got. If passion pays the bills are paid: and everyone in the room knows it.

4. Stop compromising on the members you choose for your band. Wait for someone you gel with. Like a car, a band NEEDS a destination, guidance, and motion. If you ain't steering, why are you surprised when you end up in a ditch? TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR BAND. Lead, guide and direct it. Sometimes that comes from a mutual understanding of 'common sense'. Sometimes someone has to step up and say, "NO. We need to spend more time promoting THIS show than trying to find another one next month.". Drive your snowmobile-It's cold out there.

5.  I'll also add, wait until you're ready before you get out there. You got a gig coming up? Are you at your peak performance wise? No? GET AT YOUR PEAK. You can't afford to put on a shitty show.
Don't know if you're ready? Then you're not. Stop booking gigs and go back to the garage. You're screwing up the music scene with your out of key, off time, amateurish demeanor. GET IT RIGHT. Then get out there and kick butt.

6. BRING a crowd. Nothing attracts a crowd, like a crowd. Promote. Advertise. Be consistent with your logo. Offer incentives to your followers. Know that your niche helps you target your customer. Know your niche. Dress for your niche. Name your band for your niche. Let your niche dictate your bands 'personality'. Your niche should be painfully evident in every ad, post, pic, comment or interview you do. YOUR crowd will be able to find you, and they will be more dedicated to you than the ones just looking for something to do. A RABID following of 20 is 10 times better than a "doesn't care" crowd of 100.

Now ......Quit whining and get to work.


Alpacas? Local Musician tries an Ad Campaign

Local musician Chris Neal has launched his ad campaign "Alpacas Unite!" The goal of course, is to entertain, and to garner more support for his shows. Following, is the time line of the 'dramedy':

As an alert of an upcoming 'gig' Chris Neal posted-

ALLRIGHT!!! Tuesday night I'll be playing again at Applebee's on Russell Pkwy!!!!

Kelly can't make it ('cause our Alpaca kicked her in the throat during the milkin') but I've made her some liquified potato salad so she won't starve and the party is ON!

Later that afternoon, Chris' wife Kelly was overrun with calls and emails, asking about her condition and the Dr.s prognosis. Remember, THIS WAS A JOKE!! People were genuinely concerned and Chris' dry sense of humor went right over their heads.

The next day Chris Neal posted the following in response to the overwhelming concern that people had for Kelly's well-being....

OK. Kelly has been approached by several people regarding the alleged Alpaca attack. I want to take this time to make it abundantly clear, that Kelly was NOT in fact attacked by an Alpaca, and No, we do not own any.
I want to apologize for the confusion I have caused and to anyone else who has started fundraising programs; to you we deeply apologize and thank you for your concern.

I WILL be performing at Applebee's on Russell Parkway tomorrow night (8/02) and I DO start at 9 and play until 12. That part was not a vicious lie.

  I also want to apologize to any victims of Alpaca violence for trivializing their pain and also to any Alpacas who have been hurt by the untoward accusation of being a violent group. I have friends who are Alpacas so obviously, I am not prejudiced.

It was at this point that Chris Neal seized the opportunity to start a promotional campaign.

As the story goes, some Alpacas were offended by Chris Neal's remarks, believing his apology was insincere, and insulted that the public so readily accepted the notion that an Alpaca could be so violent. In response they issued this press release:

From the Associated Press:
Alpacas for American Acceptance Official Press Release:
We have heard Chris Neal's 'apology' for his baseless accusations...To reiterate: No one affiliated with our organization kicked Chris Neal's wife in the throat. Chris Neal's accusations were horrific and insensitive, and although we are usually non violent, we hope he burns in hell for his lies. This is exactly the sort of thing that causes people to live in fear of Alpacas. His actions were reprehensible, and we would like to further note that "Mr. Neal", or whatever his name is, can have his shirt back. We will no longer be participants in promoting his so-called 'entertainment'.

Several popular local musicians have jumped into the conversation/debate/campaign, and have shown support for both sides, namely, Tim Burris (singer for the hugely successful rock band 'FailTrain') who responded with a post:

Do you own an Alpaca? Do you know any Alpacas that have been victims of brutal hate crimes by middle Georgia musicians? If you, or any Alpaca owning friends have seen signs of depression, withdrawal, or evidence of over milking, call the law offices of Burris and Burris today. We specialize in Alpaca civil rights, and noise ordinance disputes. We'll see to it that justice is done.

This message paid for by Alpacas for American acceptance.

Lance Rodriguez (another well respected local musician) further responded, showing his support for the Alpacas with-

The profiling and slander of Alpacas is a rampant problem in todays society. Please do your part to advocate Alpaca rights. Donate to your local D.A.D (Douchebags for Alpacan Diplomacy) chapter today.

'The Alpacas ( Allen and Alexis)' started a Facebook page, and as their first post, introduced themselves with....

Hi! We are Allen and Alexis Alpaca. We look forward to chatting with you all! We would love to offer you relationship advice, and discuss important topics of the day.

Allen: I drive a light blue smart car and I like Nickye Minaj....She's hot!
My wife and I love karaoke, Nickelback, and Honey boo boo!
Alexis: I've got a thing for Justin Timberlake, but he doesn't even no I'm alive<sigh>

But the one thing we are currently very disappointed with is the Local Music scene in Middle Ga..... ESPECIALLY, Chris Neal. He is the absolute worst. His off hand comments and arrogance have caused the local Alpaca community to struggle with even more prejudice than ever before.

Aside form helping you with your relationship problems, Our number one goal is to put Chris Neal out of business!

Thanks for the friendship!!!
Allen and Alexis

They have further posted comments regarding Chris Neal and his performances....

Caught the "chris neal show' ... He doesn't know ANY john denver.What a tool.


He played a lot of 'popular songs' but I was hoping for some 'deepcuts', I asked for Glen Campbell, he played Glen Danzig.

Hey loser! It's not the same thing!

And 'they' have also posted:

Chris Neal will be 'performing' at Applebee's on Russell Parkway.....It's a really nice restaurant, but if you go...SHOW YOUR SUPPORT FOR ALPACAS!!!! When he finishes a song, don't applaude. Don't give him tips, and request songs like Brown eyed girl, or Sweet Home Alabama.
We don't want to boycott any music venues, we just want Chris Neal, and other musicians like him, to FAIL MISERABLY!!!
This way...they'll replace him with karaoke!
We LOVE karaoke!

Now, THIS should be humorous to all local musicians, because it is common to play to an unresponsive crowd. With this sortof statement from the Alpacas, it could be assumed that an unresponsive crowd is simply showing support for the Alpaca Unite Movement.

It is also a genius move by the 'Alpacas' to make it appear that they have more support than they do in reality. Wait...Reality?.....Oh yes, back to reality....

It's a well crafted, multi-layered ad campaign which is destined to shake the cobwebs off the local music scene, and hopefully, will spark interest in the marketing aspects that many local musicians have neglected.

Really looking forward to watching this unfold.
  I hope you are too.


The last ride of The Chris Pope Train Wreck

 Musicians have stories. Much like every other profession, strange things happen.
I've been run out of a bar because i didn't play the type of country the regulars wanted to hear.

I've been shorted by bar owners, and had my gear stolen.

I even had a night where a woman requested a song... She didn't know any of the words and the way she described it, no one in the bar could understand a bit of it.( "It goes.....'something, something, something......NA NA NA' ".........That's exactly what she said. ) NO ONE was more surprised than me when I guessed the song she was talking about, and played it.....having never even considered playing it before.

We've all had nights where we leave shrugging our shoulders and shaking our heads.....
but one night in particular has bewildered me for years.....
I used to invite people to come out and jam with me…..For a few years, NO ONE ever did, So I would continue to invite anyone (who said they owned an instrument) to sit in. I don’t do that anymore.

This one night, playing at the Rookery for my wife’s Birthday Party, EVERYBODY showed up.
I had 3 electric guitar players,2 acoustic players plus me, (one of them didn’t even have a pickup in his acoustic and wanted to play REAL close to my vocal mic so it could get through the PA.) . I had a bass player, 2 more singers, NO Drums, and a guy who sat right up front with a harmonica……yes. One harmonica.

I was much nicer back then, so things got out of hand quick. Also, at that time, I didn’t use a drum machine… can just imagine how bad it was.

After every song, I would ask the harmonica guy to ‘sit this one out’. I told him over and over that I wasn’t used to a harmonica player and him playing SO CLOSE to me and SO LOUD that I was very distracted. Not only was he playing out of key, but LOUD.

At one point, a person came up from the crowd and asked (beginning very politely, and increasing volume as he leaned toward the harmonica players ear.)…

”Hey. Can your harmonica player play in the key of shut the f &% k up?!!?!?!” I laughed until I couldn’t breathe.

It was complete chaos. Fortunately, this gob of ‘talent’ allowed me to decide the songs and the tempo for each song. It was so chaotic and thrown together that the door guy changed the name on the sign from “Chris Pope and Friends” to “The Chris Pope Train Wreck”.

When it was over, I thanked everyone and started packing up, completely disgusted.

Chris Wolfe (he now plays for EchoSpeed) was in the crowd that night and decided, based on that performance, to play lead guitar for me in a two piece we called "the Window Liquors".

I got two business cards from women who wanted to book me for a private party. They both worked at Aveda and said they had the best time ever.

To this day it blows my mind.


Guitar Construction 101

So, surviving the music scene is alot like wilderness survival, isn't it? You've got to be experienced with the tools of the trade. You've got to find ways to eliminate waste, and to work as efficiently as you can.To survive at anything you must cut out the luxuries as much as possible to make room for the necessities.

At one point, I determined that I NEEDED a personalized, handcrafted guitar. I thought that it was the only thing holding me back from all the gigs I wasn't booking. It seemed to me that I was one bad-ass guitar away from success.

I had an old guitar neck that I figured I could just attach to a personalized body. So I went to one of those builders' supply places and found some nice squares of medium density fibreboard. It was all I could afford because I wasn't gigging; my focus was on my 'image'.

I bought a dremel tool set and went to work. I cut the body from two pieces and sandwiched them together. At this point, all it needed was a nice finish.

I spray-painted the body a deep blue. It was pretty, but I wanted beautiful. A deep clear coat, it seemed, was in order.

When I was young, I had seen these countertops or tables with a thick, plastic-like coating that had been poured over the wood and allowed to dry. I figured it could only be polyurethane and they had that at the hardware store nearby.

I carefully poured the polyurethane to give the thick shine I wanted. Suddenly, an epiphany: on serious paint jobs, don't they apply heat to 'cure' the finish?

My oven was the perfect size for this. I laid my hand crafted guitar body on an old pizza box (in case the polyurethane dripped, duh) and placed it in the oven. The heat should cure the finish nicely and I would be the proud owner of one bad ass guitar!

I turned the oven to broil because it didn't make sense to me to heat it from the bottom. I also decided to leave the door open because baking polyurethane in a CLOSED oven at 500 degrees seemed unsafe, somehow.

Things were looking good. The polyurethane was hot and it had leveled out nicely.

When I noticed the polyurethane smoking, I took a piece of cardboard leftover from the box to determine if it had hardened. Nope. Still liquid. It was at this point I decided that this was a bad idea and I should remove the guitar body before....

Too late.

The guitar body burst into flames, and being a batchelor I had no pot holders or gloves. I got a beach towel and grabbed the cardboard box. The box collapsed and suddenly, I had a flaming guitar body in the middle of my kitchen floor. I tried kicking it toward the back door and found that it had already melted the linoleum. It was stuck.

I kicked harder and broke it free. All the while spraying the cabinets with flaming polyurethane with each kick. Some of this ignited the can of polyurethane sitting on the floor.

I opened the back door and kicked the blazing guitar body out into the yard. The misty rain that prevented me from doing this work outside, hopefully would put out the fire. I threw the beach towel over the fire on the kitchen floor and poured a whole box of salt into the polyurethane can ... No good. I tried baking soda from the fridge. Again, nothing. Finally, I realized that I would have to smother it. I saw an old plastic gym bag and threw it on top of the can. I thought it might smother out the flames before it melted. I was wrong. The gym bag just gave it more fuel and by this time I was able to use the beach towel to get ahold of the can and smother the flames. I took it outside.

The flaming guitar body from hell was still burning and melting the underpinning of the mobile home (could you have guessed?). I kicked it around a bit and the flames went out. Exhausted, frustrated and feeling a little stupid, I made sure all the fires were out and laid on the couch. I fell asleep.

The next morning I surveyed the damage. A small rug would cover the huge burnt linoleum in front of the oven. A little sanding would eliminate the burns in the cabinets from the flaming spray. I could wipe down the ceiling to get the soot off.

I went outside and found the guitar body. I had kicked it through all the leaves and rain and pine straw in order to put the fire out.

Some of the leaves and pine needles had stuck to the body and were encased under the polyurethane. The blue paint had blisters from the heat and the whole guitar was rock hard. Small water spots were under the dried polyurethane, too.  But the finish wasn't as deep as I wanted. So I fished the pieces of plastic out of the can and poured the remainder of polyurethane over the guitar-I had forgotten about the salt and bakingsoda that was in it.

None of that mattered- It looked REALLY cool. The finish was thick and 3D even. Leaves under the finish looked bigger than they actually were and the water droplets looked like rings of little pools.

And THAT is how you build one bad-ass guitar.
Two weeks later it was stolen.

How to get a gig at MidGaLive

  If you are a new local band, WELCOME! It is my goal to revive Middle Ga's music scene by bringing new musicians into the fold.  Let me...