Tag Archives: musicians

Finding the Courage…


For anyone trying to make it in the entertainment business or professional sports, you are constantly under barrage from people telling you that you can’t do it. You are aren’t good enough, you don’t have what it takes or there is no money in it so go get a real job (like there is any security in that anymore anyway). You deal people who let you down, who don’t do anything at all after the big long speech of how good they are, how hard they work or what they can do for you.

You have haters and trolls on the internet, other people in your genre constantly tearing you doing or taking jabs at you. It get’s lonely, harder and often times you feel like giving up. Well you can’t. No matter what anyone says or does to you, only you can keep pushing, proving them wrong and only you know who you really are. Anyone who would tear you down is the insecure one, the one who if full of it, the jealous one who really has no idea what they are doing. You can’t let them affect you or stop you.

No matter what life throws at you, you have to keep pushing on with your dream. In today’s entertainment scene you have more control than ever and more often than not, that means you are doing it on your own because now the money is gone. You can’t afford to pay for professional help and you are facing this wave of overwhelming obstacles and people who have no life so they try and tear you down.

So let me offer this to you for some inspiration. No matter what you are facing in life, business or if you are someone who is trying to help someone you care about get through something, do it with the strength and focus that Garrett shows in this video. If he can over come what he is going through, we can over come what we are going through.

 

I wish you all the best and the strength to get through it.

Good luck!

 

Advertisements

White Noise… How To Seperate Yourself From It.


The latest entry in my vBlog featuring my thoughts on separating yourself from the white noise we create on social media to our friends and family. Please share and comment!

 

 


The Disconnect Between Musicians and Promoters Part 2


Let’s break it down a little bit so that maybe I can shed some light on what promoters are looking for in booking an opening act. First and foremost, this is definitely a “who do you know?” business. If you have the right connections or relationships, this will certainly be a lot easier for you. Some times it seems unfair but people will use people they like and trust before people they don’t. It’s your job to development this relationship and get your foot in the door.

Unfortunately most bands and artist just send an email and wait for a response and leave it at that. This shows no “real” interest in developing a relationship with a promoter or talent buyer and is pretty rote at this point in the game. Business people are looking for persistence, reliability, creativity and hard work. This is a very speculative business and so promoters are looking for artists that will make sure they deliver and help make sure the show doesn’t operate at a loss.

To get in good with a promoter, you need to try some creative ways to get noticed and get the gigs. They need to feel a sense of trust with you. Try setting up some social media campaigns early that get your fan base used to interacting with you in different types of promotional contests (These are things the promoters will see when checking you out). Then apply that to getting opening gigs. Especially when you have a opening spot already in line. Make sure you explain to your participants the seriousness of what you are asking them to do.

Let’s say you are opening for a band in your hometown. Supply the box office with a sheet of paper (with your band name on it and numbered already) and get all your fans to make sure they report to the box office they are there to see you and wouldn’t have bought tickets if you weren’t on the bill. After the show, get that paper and show it to the promoter, talent buyer or in house manager (take a pic first in case they keep it). It is essential you start building up your rep for hard work and bringing people out.

Another idea is prep your fans before the show by saying after you perform, you will be at your merch booth and want all your fans to come and bring their tickets stubs. Have them initial the front of them and take a pic of all them together. Obviously these are things you can email to promoters, put on social media (be prepared for every other band to copy you) and start building your street cred as the band to hire for the gig. This is also a great way for your fans to participate in your success and make sure they know that appreciate their help and support. You can’t do this with out them. This also helps people decide which show they want to spend their money on. One with a serious band they like where they can help or just another show where the band will show up, play, and act like they are the stars and probably bail before the concert is over.

This will also help people at the show who were on the fence about you or are maybe just showing up decide to check out your booth. Having all the people around you and the excitement they see going on while you are gathering ticket stubs will help you to get these “undecided’s” to the booth and hopefully by your CD or spend time talking to you. You are now developing new fans. You see, your time on stage isn’t the only time you are developing new fans. You job the whole time you are there is to development new fans and maximize every opportunity in front of you to do so.

As you can see, none of this is hard. It may be a bit time consuming having to interact on social media but you are supposed to be having original content to post anyway and this helps fill that hole. The idea is to be creative and PROVE you are the band to bring on board. This may take prep work as described above but this is business. You are a business. You need to start acting like one.

Good Luck!

You can also read this and some of my other articles at http://www.metalholic.com.

David Lowry is the President of The Lowry Agency, a full service artist management agency that works with musicians, speakers, entertainers, actors and models based in Nashville, TN. The Lowry Agency’s roster includes Mike Martin, Rob Balducci, Neil Zaza and Jon Finn. For more information please contact The Lowry Agency at http://www.thelowryagency.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Stepping Over the Process…. is it Realistic?


First let me just say this blog is in response to what keeps coming across my email or phone conversations. This isn’t an attempt to come down on artists but an attempt at maybe setting some realistic expectations. I have been receiving a lot of phone calls from artists either out of frustration with other band members or from artists that think they can just step over the process of touring and building/rebuilding a fan base. I guess anything is possible but it’s not likely to happen even if you have had success in the past. This is not the same industry many of us grew up with and we can’t keep assuming that because 20 years ago the artists had a hit or toured the world with so and so band that people have any interest in us or care about our music at all. Artists call with no budget, no new music, no website or one that has been “in development” for years expecting that they can just go on the road and make thousands per show because 20 or more years ago they had a minor hit or two. It’s not going to happen. Current artists with hits on the radio are making $2,000 guarantees a lot of times and yet artists that haven’t had a hit since 1992 that want $8,000 or more a show. You better be a legacy act with huge hits from the past that are still played on the radio to demand that kind of money or more. I know how expensive touring is, but the money isn’t there for touring with artists with no active history or fan base that will support the necessary tour numbers for there to actually be a profit. This is when a band or artist has to suck it up and either rebuild for little money, try something completely different or maybe decide this isn’t for them anymore and do something in music that doesn’t require touring for small dollars.

For example, the first thing I am asked by anyone in a position of helping is “What do they have going on?” Many times the answer is nothing (note that when artists come to us or anyone else for help they have this notion that 3 months is an expected amount of time to make things happen), they have no new music, no tour dates, outdated photos and websites. How do you expect anyone to help you if this is your state of business and you don’t take the time to get it right before approaching anyone? The second thing is “Do they have a budget?” The answer is almost always no and people understand if times have been rough on the career but it’s amazing how many artists are not willing to put money into their own career but expect others to. If the artist doesn’t  have a budget then almost no one is willing to help and people can’t giving away their services for free. Video EPK’s cost money, photography costs money, etc… but artists are always hoping people will help them for free and then expect that things happen in a short time period. For the person that is connected like Irving Azoff and has his resources this is possible, for the rest of the “real” music world it probably isn’t. Music is a very speculative business to begin with and no one is looking to lose money on an artist no matter how much success he or she may have had in the past. As much as people love some of these artists, he or she needs to get paid as well and they can’t work for free or spend time with unrealistic artists that can’t or won’t rebuild career realistically if there is no interest in them at all.

Just because an artist may have had success in the past doesn’t mean they get a free pass of touring the bar circuit again and starting over. Yes that means rebuilding your fan base and getting paid very little most of the time. If you can’t do that then maybe playing isn’t for you anymore. I know we all have bills to pay but money is in short supply and investors want a return on investment. They don’t want to support an artist that hasn’t been on tour in 10 or more years and won’t draw 150+ people to a show. You as an artist are in the position you are in because you let yourself get there. You chose to not tour, you chose to not listen to your team or possibly choosing the wrong team. It could be a lot of different reasons for your situation and many of those may not be your fault, but it’s still your job to be realistic and make things happen with today’s current landscape, not what was possible 20 years ago when people were throwing money around like it was water.

Don’t pigeonhole yourself with unrealistic expectations. For example, if you think a major label is going to sign you, fund your tour and you’re a prog rock band, think again. No label is going to fund that tour unless you already have a huge fan base and more than likely you will just get shelved as prog rock probably isn’t there thing at this label. Most prog rock bands aren’t huge and most likely never will be. If you get a label interested in your music, at least entertain the idea and not shoot it down because you think a major is going to offer you something when you won’t even play shows because you don’t make any money on them. Do you know why you don’t make any money? Because you have absolutely NO FAN BASE at all. Who is going to fund a tour for a band with no fan base these days? Please tell me so I can call them up.

There are no shortcuts normally in this business. Take Mike Portnoy for example. One of the most popular and talented drummers in the world, who has a large fan base from his history as a musician and still he and his current project “Adrenaline Mob” are playing clubs to a couple hundred people a show. He knows he has to build this band no matter who he is and he is willing to put his money and time into it. Even someone as relevant as Mike has to work it the hard way sometimes.

If you are a musician reading this, please consider where you are at in your career. If you are in a band but won’t tour because your “cover gig” is paying more money, than back out of the band and let the band find someone hungry enough to make it happen. If you are an artist with a past but currently not where you were a long time ago, then ask yourself “how bad do I want this?” If you won’t play for smaller guarantees then you need to book yourself and stop making people’s lives difficult who are trying to help your career because you can’t be bothered with playing for smaller amounts of money. You are only as big as your last gig or chart success in the current times, not 20 years ago.

There is a process almost everyone has to go through. You are more than likely going to have to go through it as well. If you can’t or won’t, get out of the way for those that will and let your band move on with people who want it bad enough to put up with the crap of the road and bar tours.

Good luck!


The Disconnect Between Musicians and Promoters Part 1


You hear it all the time from musicians. “Why won’t they book me for an opening act?” “How come they got the spot and we didn’t?”, or “the promoter didn’t do his job” even “the promoter screwed me or didn’t know what they were doing.” etc…. This is obviously a one sided opinion, and from my experience one that is very, very misleading. Many artists have little or no experience in promoting a show, or have an idea what it costs; they just want to blame someone for things not going right, without ever looking at what they bring or don’t bring to the table.

Granted there are instances where maybe a promoter didn’t know what they were doing or maybe there were a small company with very little cash flow to do an amazing job of advertising the show, but that is a risk we all take and like all bands, promotion companies have to start somewhere and grow as well. This is why working as a team is incredibly important and any acts associated with a bill, should be doing everything in their power to work with the promoter and make the show as successful as possible.

I find this can be very frustrating, knowing how much work and money it takes to put on one single show. For a 1,500 seat venue, this can become extremely time consuming and expensive for the risk involved, and a marginal profitable return on the investment. To have a small time musician/band say that the promoter didn’t do their job is completely asinine. First of all, the musician/band probably has no idea what it really takes to make one of these shows happen, and secondly, what an opportunity it is for the band to even get a spot on this when someone else is paying for your opportunity and the big media. Most opening bands should realize by now that their job is to put butts in seats or they have no business opening a show for anyone. They should be able to bring in at least 40 to 50 people to each opening or they shouldn’t complain at all.

To put on a show of this size can run from $50,000 up to over $100,000 depending on the type of venue, marketing, guarantee etc… It takes at least 60 – 90 days worth of work, negotiations, planning and so forth to get these things going. When a band is given an opportunity to open a show, many times they don’t deliver and don’t work the opportunity for all it’s worth.

Promoting the show is so important. I am not talking about Facebook posts or the other white noise that you are putting out. I am talking about getting promotional materials, getting off your butt, and doing your job. You should be out on the streets consistently promoting and showing everyone that you are the band to hire for opening spots. Getting the promoter, venue and others to notice you is as important as performing on stage. Doing everything you can to get your fans to purchase tickets to come see you at this event, and then deliver the best show you can that night no matter what the circumstances is the ultimate goal.

Remember, the promoter doesn’t owe you anything. They gave you a shot and if you don’t deliver, it’s no ones fault but your own. Once you do the show, if you happen to deliver and get butts in the seat, then you need to learn to turn that into other opportunities.

In the next blog we will talk about ideas you can do to not only get the opening spots but to also get people to the show but also how to possibly get more out of the show than just exposing your music to a new audience.

Good luck!

You can also read this and some of my other articles at http://www.metalholic.com. http://metalholic.com/the-disconnect-between-musicians-and-promoters-part-1/


CD Review – “Transitions” by Steve Lukather


CD Review – “Transition” by Steve Lukather

transition

For many of you, TOTO is a household name; for those of you born after 1985, maybe not. There is no denying TOTO is still a huge act internationally and world renown guitar player Steve Lukather is a huge part of their sound – from songwriting, singing, and, of course his legendary guitar playing. Steve is one of the most recorded guitar players in history – playing with the likes of Lionel Richie, Michael Jackson, Larry Carlton, Van Halen, Cheap Trick, Eric Clapton and George Benson to name a few. A total of 602 album credits to date which by anyone’s standards is amazing.

“Transition” produced by Steve and CJ Vanston is Steve’s 6th solo record to date, not including a couple that are more Steve and friends releases. Having all these CD’s personally and being a huge fan, I was really looking forward to the release of “Transition” and let me tell you it doesn’t disappoint. Steve lets it all hang out on here and deals with some tough subjects such as all the criticism that artists (himself included) receive on a daily basis now that anyone can post anything on the internet.

The CD features an all-star cast of musicians such as Chad Smith (Red Hot Chili Peppers/Chicken Foot), Phil Collen (Def Leppard), Tal Wilkenfield, Richard Page (Mr. Mister), Nathan East, Leland Sklar, Greg Bissonette and Lenny Castro. The CD’s hot spots for me are “Judgment Day” and “Creep Motel.”

The first track is “Judgment Day” and the bright point in my opinion. This song is a four on the floor rock song with a blistering solo. It has it’s laid back moments of Steve finger pickings a simple rhythm, but very melodic lines are inserted throughout with a nice bridge/pre-chorus build ups to add weight to the chorus. The song is a message to all the Internet haters out there so take head all you-who-love-to-comment-online about your opinions of other peoples work.

The second track “Creep Motel” deals with the same issues and to me has a slight hint of a Steely Dan vibe in spots. This is a solid rock song with another amazing solo by Luke. As the title would indicate, it has a slinky feel with huge background vocals.

Steve has an uncanny ability to really evoke different moods with his music and does so again here well. Luke’s voice and playing are in fine form and show no signs of slowing down. His sense of melody and playing are something all musicians can learn from. He is definitely someone that knows when to play and when not to which is more important.

The song “Transition” is a great instrumental song written in 7/4 time that adds vocals late into the song. “Right The Wrong” and “Last Man Standing” all have great hooks and are definitely radio capable. All in all, this is a solid CD with not one filler song in its ranks. Well written, well produced with a great energy, and a more organic sound from the Steve Lukather.  Songwriting is at the forefront of this CD, which as we all know, is something very lacking in today’s music scene.

I give this 5 out 5 stars.

You can purchase “Transition” here – https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/transition/id584478886

View the EPK Video for Transition here. Transition EPK

Social media sites for Steve Lukather:

www.stevelukather.net

www.twitter.com/stevelukather

https://www.facebook.com/SteveLukather

http://www.youtube.com/stevelukathertube


15 Tips on How To Give an Interview


It was requested that I write an article on how to give an interview for musicians. I know from the media sources I have, that there is a lot of laziness and disrespect, especially from the musicians that have yet to achieve any real status. Hopefully this article will help you realize to not piss off your media contacts. It is through the media that your music reaches the world many times over, so it is very important you take this seriously. You make a huge mistake in your music career if you don’t take this seriously and do your very best because they will not ever cover you again. Remember, they never have to interview you or cover your band, regardless of how good your band is or how big you think you are.

When giving a live interview for TV or radio keep these points in mind. I know I am going to get comments on these points because it should be common sense but here is the feedback I get from fellow interviewers and from my own radio show.

  1. Always be on time – Don’t rely on your publicist for the correct info either. Many times the artist does not know the time to call in because the publicist got it wrong, even after three emails or more. I know this is what you pay for if you have one, but everyone makes mistakes.
  2. Don’t assume they are going to call you – This is your business and career so make sure you know what is going on. It’s your job to know who is calling whom. Don’t miss an opportunity to get press by not knowing the details.
  3. Do your research and know with whom you are talking – Make sure you at least know which station or magazine you are talking with and the person interviewing you.
  4. Answer using sentences, not one-word answers – Nothing is worse than a boring interview because you don’t know what to say about your band or music.
  5. Don’t call in drunk or stoned – These people are being professional and working hard to promote your music. Be professional and do the same. Respect them and their time by being coherent for the interview.
  6. Make sure you leave enough time for the interview – A good interview takes more than 10 minutes most of the time. You have a story to get out so make sure you give yourself time to do it.
  7. Also be prepared that many of the interviewers don’t like your music and didn’t prepare to interview you – Sometimes you need to lead the interview or make sure they know everything about you that you want them to know. Don’t assume they actually know anything about you or your music.
  8. If doing an interview for an industry specific magazine, know your stuff – Say you are doing an interview with EQ Magazine; they are going to want to know how your signal chain works so make sure you understand your own gear or equipment. Make sure you understand what the interviewer is looking for.
  9. Be focused, but have fun – This is serious business, so make sure you pay attention and are not distracted. There’s nothing more obnoxious than listening to an interview where the artist is talking to someone else in the background, chewing gum/food, clacking away on a keyboard, or generally not engaged in the interview.
  10. Phone fodder – While it is always preferable to use a land line (or Skype), more often than not, interviews are done by cellphone these days. Make sure you are in a well covered area, you find a quite place to talk, and you’re not pacing about potentially endangering your signal.

 

When doing an email interview, please try to make it interesting. You have to keep the reader engaged and eager to learn about you.

  1. Write full sentences – Make sure you answer the questions as completely as you can and try to put some thought into your answer. Don’t rush through your interviews. This is your time to showcase or spotlight your band to an audience who has never heard about you in most cases.
  2. Be witty – Try to have a sense of humor. This will help with people spreading the article around and also keep the interviewer interested in interviewing you again at some point.
  3. Use correct grammar – I know many of us struggle with this, but try to use appropriate grammar. This will alter their pre-conceived perception of you, thus making you look like much more than just another musician who does not care about anything but chicks and partying. It will also help keep the grammar police off your page with pointless comments.
  4. Get the interview back in a timely manner – The webzine or whatever media source that has graciously interviewed you is patiently waiting for you to be professional and get your interview back to them. They have deadlines to meet; and if you wait too long, they may pass on you and post other artists that were more professional.
  5. The Extra Mile – Email interviews do not allow for follow-up questions, so if you touch on a topic or offer an answer that would lead to an obvious follow-up question, try to throw those extras in as well. If the interviewer missed something you’d like to get out there, add it in. The media outlet is always happy when artists give a little extra.

Please practice these basic points and watch your relationships grow with your media contacts, which is so crucial to your music’s future.

Good luck!

Note: This was originally posted on Metalholic.com

http://metalholic.com/musician-tips-15-tips-on-how-to-give-an-interview/