Not every week can be a winner…


I sucked this week.  I didn’t drive forward.  I did the minimal amount for my band.  I haven’t even started writing the next song.

I still haven’t been able to organize the other musicians to rehearse for the recording session. Continue reading

Posted in Productivity | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Are Fliers For A Show Even Worth It? Pt. 2

Previously, I had two posts that generated some great comments and insights into fliers for a show.  The first was about flier legibility which then lead to the question if fliers are even worth it.

Today, I saw a HypeBot link about QR tags that inspired me to collect the awesome comments and to add a new recommendation for fliers.

Topics in this post:

  • Add a QR code to the flier
  • Flier in the appropriate areas
  • Artwork
  • The flier is also a coupon
  • Brand awareness
  • Partner with local distributors, organizations, and charities

Add a QR code to the flier

Hypebot posted about a limited invite beta to ShareSquare.  I was lucky enough to to get on the beta, and saw the services they offerred bands by creating QR codes.  That’s when it clicked in my brain, use QR codes for fliers! Continue reading

Posted in Promoting a show | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

6 Tips For Touring That No One Ever Tells You

Here’s a few pointers I’ve picked from the few small tours I’ve been on.  These are things that no one tells you, but you end up learning the hard way.
  1. Don’t open a tab
    So you’re at a bar and you open a tab for the night.  The next day you realize you forgot to close out your tab and get your credit card back.  You’re also 5 hours away from that bar and will not be heading back there for the rest of your tour.

    Don’t do this!  Use cash always!!! Continue reading
Posted in Touring | Tagged , , , | 11 Comments

Writing music…even when you don’t want to

So I’ve been writing about getting band members, using social media, and fliers, but, like most music marketing bloggers, I’ve neglected writing about the most important element:  writing music.

Of course, everyone has their own way of writing music.  The following tips and tricks are just ways I’ve been approaching it.  Especially when I’m tired, uninspired, and have little time for it.  I thought I’d share how I get over being blocked from writing, and how I eke out riffs that can end up being full songs.

Turn off all distractions

Turn off the TV.  Close your e-mail.  No FaceBook.  Turn off the cell phone.  Tell your friends, roommates, or significant other that you can’t be bothered, right now.

Set aside time with NOTHING to distract you.  Is it completely silent now?  Anything distracting your eyes?  No?  Good.  Keep it that way until you are done. Continue reading

Posted in Productivity, Writing Music | Tagged , , , , | 8 Comments

Weekly Update: Musician hunt and getting things done

I’ve been trying to accomplish 5 things a day.  I thought I would update everyone on the progress.  Actually, I feel I’ve accomplished quite a bit, but also didn’t get 5 things done everyday.

Musician Hunt:

I’ve gotten responses from guitarists this week.  One of them, however, doesn’t want to do the Shiplosion thing.  He hates the name, and he hates punk.  Also, he doesn’t want to play weekday shows.  I said I’d jam with him to see if we’re compatible for another project, but I think I might just pass.  I’ve denied my feelings before to settle for something, but it’s always been a mistake.  I think I’ll tell the guy I’m going to pass.

Continue reading

Posted in Planning and Strategy, Productivity, Recruiting Band Members | 10 Comments

A Live Show With No Amps?

I just saw a neat video posted by  This band, New Load, uses a laptop and Pro Tools to replace heavy gear, have complete control over their sound, and always have great sounding live recordings.  Check out this video:

Wow, I’m tempted by this setup because my 8×10 Ampeg cab is god awful heavy.  But also, I wouldn’t have to rent a UHaul trailer for gear when going on tour.

On the other hand, I have the worst luck with technology.  I’m on my second Presonus Firestudio, and now it’s acting up.  I can just see someone throwing a drink and destroying my expensive laptop.

Any else try anything like this?

Posted in Uncategorized | 8 Comments

What 5 Things Can I Do For My Band TODAY?

Last post, I laid out 10 things to do before the first show. You know what? It freaking overwhelmed me. I re-read it, and I said, “What have I gotten myself into?” There’s no way I can accomplish all that in a short amount of time.

And then I realized, that’s a mistake in thinking. All of those things are highly accomplishable. They’re going to take time, but I thought of a way to easily hit those goals: Do 5 things a day.
Continue reading

Posted in Productivity | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments

10 Things To Do Before Playing The First Show

My search for other musicians is going extremely dreadful.  I’m keeping at it, hitting Craigslist and the weekly magazines daily, but, so far, nothing.  Now, I’m going to shows and talking to EVERYONE if they know a guitarist or drummer.  Something will happen, but this process might take longer than I thought.

So, until then, I figured there’s other things to work on for a band before the first show (or, um, the first other band member…erk..).  The following is a brainstorm of things I will be doing while trying to find band members.  Please read and let me know what you think!

1. Physical promotion

Even without a band, I might as well start getting people interested in it.  I’m going to start designing fliers with my band’s name and a little slogan.  I’m going to put these fliers EVERYWHERE.  At clubs I want to play, at high traffic locations, all around where the weekly rags are published.

In addition, I’m going to create business cards and small handbills to hand out to everyone and leave everywhere.  I’ll leave the fliers on tables everywhere I go.

The last thing I’m going to do is a fun experiment.  I’m going to design beer coasters and give them to bars.  I’m not sure how much good it’ll do, but I think I’ll get a kick out of seeing my band’s logo at every bar in town!  Haha! Continue reading

Posted in Planning and Strategy | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Getting Your Music Into Film: An Interview with Whiskey Tango

Recently, I was an extra for Matthew Lillard’s “Fat Punk” short film shoot.  Whiskey Tango was the band used for the film shoot, so I decided to ask them some questions about the experience.  Sean and Mike were awesome enough to reply.

Q:  How did you get to be the band for this film shoot?

Sean: I know the bulk of the crew on the shoot because I’ve edited for most of them. They needed a punk rock band and someone to get a room full of punks for the shoot, so they immediately called me.

Mike: Well, after doing 5 Dollar Cover Seattle we are now the coolest most radical punk band in Seattle. But seriously, we have a good relationship with the indie movie scene here mostly thanks to Sean and we’re not dicks like RVIVR.

Q:  What was it like being filmed for this?

Sean: It was great. At first we had to ‘fake’ play our instruments and it felt just as fake. Then Matt told us to just start rocking it out and it went amazingly after that.

Mike: Totally awesome. Who wouldn’t want to meet Matthew Lillard?

Q:  Did you have music licensed for this? Will your songs be used in the film?

Sean: See Mike’s answer

Mike:We have no licensing for anything…maybe a few songs, but I don’t think anyone would steal anything from an unknown punk band in Seattle thats been around forever.  If we ever decide to put out records in a more traditional manner or get signed, then perhaps…
And yes, our songs will be used. ZING!

Q:  If Matthew Lillard gets the go ahead to make this a feature film, do you know if Whiskey Tango will be used again?

Sean: Matt did say that we were going to be in the feature should it get made.  He kept saying during the shoot that he was going to make our song that we played a bunch of times ‘Meanwhile…’ famous.

Mike: Oh we’re in it soooooo deep.

Q:  What’s the next move for Whiskey Tango?
Sean: Right after we hit up taco bell we are going to record a new album and plan a Europe/japan tour.

Mike: Go to Taco Bell

Q:  Anything else?
Sean: Punk rock is not bread.

Mike: hail satan

Thank you to Whiskey Tango for the interview!  Go check them out:

Update:  Whiskey Tango just mentioned that they have free downloads on their site.  Make sure to snag some free music!

So, my takeaway from this is they networked with friends that happened to be in the film biz.  So making friends seems to be the way to go in order really grow your band.  What do you think?

Posted in Film and Music | Tagged , , , , | 9 Comments

Are fliers for a show even worth it?

In my last post, I talked about flier and handbill legibility.  In the comments for the post, I got into a discussion with Kai who brought up some good points.

Do people actually pay attention to flyers for a bunch of bands they’ve never heard of?

One of my bands paid a service to plaster Seattle with flyers for a year, and didn’t see any difference.  Only our friends ever showed up.  If flyers are useful, then there is a very difficult skill to it.  But perhaps you’re right about the location of flyers around building a longterm brand.  Maybe if I keep plastering the same bars with flyers, people will start to remember.  Anecdotally, my friends and I have never seen a flyer and thought, “oh, there’s a band I keep seeing flyers for.  I think I’ll go”.

Okay, I was trying to argue in favor of fliers with Kai, but his comments hit close to home.  Especially considering I live in Seattle as well.   I was actually coming more from Kai’s viewpoint a few years ago.  In Seattle, it’s sensory overload on fliers.  Layers upon layers of fliers are on every damn pole.  What’s worse, you can put your fliers up all over the city, and assholes like Poster Giant will blatantly tear down your flier or simply just staple over them.

The question I would ask my bandmates was this:  “Hey, name that cool band you just saw on a flier that you’re going to go see!”  The result was always silence.

Handbills are almost on the same level.  I’ve been handed handbills while walking down the street, see them while getting coffee, and been given them by various other bands and friends while hanging out at shows.  Most of them end up staying in my pocket, I forget about them, and they end up causing a mess when I wash my pants.

Being in a band, I’ve also spent more money and hours on fliers than I’ve made from shows. I was a dumbass and went to Kinko’s to print out full color, 11″ by 17″ fliers that ended up costing about $3 each.  Kinko’s is a rip-off.  I found a smaller printing shop that only charged 99 cents per flier for the same thing.

However, the risk of not having fliers is fairly substantial.  I had a GREAT show lined up with some friends, 800 Octane from Portland, that had a big following in Seattle.  (And the Pistol Whipped Prophets from Eugene, OR.  Thanks for the comments, Spooky!)  But I fucked up.  This show was supposed to be our “come back home from tour” show, but I got overwhelmed with the out of town shows.  I made a cool flier for the show, but I relied on a friend to hang them up at the venue.  It didn’t happen.  Result?  Hardly anyone showed up.

(NSFW!  A link to that flier.)

Here’s what bugs me about fliers.  You can do it, and no one will notice.  You can not do it, and you risk ruining a show.  And after spending hours dealing with fliers, you never know if it did any good either way.

I have the following ideas.  But take them with a grain of salt.  I’ll more than likely refine or completely scrap these ideas.  Please call me out if you think I’m full of it.  I’d be more than happy to change my mind.

Un-Social Media:  Not Everyone Is On Your Facebook Page

Believe it or not, not everyone has a Facebook account.  Even if they do, they probably don’t have your Facebook page, Twitter, or MySpace on their favorites.  In fact, it’s more than likely they have no clue who you are whatsoever.

My friend running an underground club and the singer of Dreadful Children, told me something rather shocking.  There’s a ton of kids out there who don’t have iPhones, internet access, or any way of knowing what’s going on with anything.  The only way they know what’s going on is through fliers.  No flier for your show?  They aren’t going to show up.  Potential fans lost.

Even if they have all the iPhones, iPads, and massive uber-wifi connectiveness on the go;  chances are you are just one of thousands of bands they haven’t heard of on Facebook.  Your 30 posts and events will go completely unnoticed.  However, if a scenester is smoking outside by themselves, they might look at that flier and see your band.  (By the publishing of this post, scenester beards may have grown to the point of obstructing sight.  In which case, you will need a whisker flier with a good dose of irony and a free app offer.)

Your Band As A Brand:  Get ‘Em Recognizing

Here’s time for an anecdote I heard.  Bear with.  (Ladies, please don’t kill me with this one.)  I was told a story.  How true it was, I don’t know.  But here it goes.  A friend of mine was trying to figure out how to hook up with women.  He noticed his friend was always getting laid.  He decided to watch his friend to see what was going on.  At a bar, his friend walked up to a girl and said, “Do you want to fuck?”  She got pissed and walked away from him.

Baffled my friend walked up to the guy and asked, “Does that actually work?”  The guy replied, “Nine times out of ten it doesn’t.”

Chew on that one for a sec.  The guy is hitting on 50 girls a week, so he’s hooking up with at least 5 girls a week.

This story might be total bullshit, but I’ve seen sillier shit work with hitting on women.  Who knows.  But to relate this to fliers and getting people to notice your show, most people wont’ notice.  But maybe 1 out of 10 will!  At the very least, they’ll see your band’s name.

If people keep seeing your band’s name, it will sink into their sub-conscious.  Bands can get noticed for the most silly or illogical of reasons.  I’ve been a sucker and went to check out a band’s site just because I’ve seen their name around town so much.

(Please don’t start going up to women and asking them to fuck because of this article.  Have some class.  Just lie about your job like everyone else.)

Note The Genre Of Music For The Night

I see this quite a bit.  A flier for 3 bands at some club.  The bands are listed, “John Doe and the Willickers”, “Itsy Bitsy Insanes”, “Thee Band Name Because ‘the’ Was Already Taken”.  This flier tells me nothing.  What type of music is this?  Why the hell should I pay $5 to see this?  “Punk Rock Awesomeness”, “Metal Monday”, or “Ironic Beard Night” would help me out to know I’d like to go.

Seriously, I’d like to know!   I want to know if there’s something I might want to hear.  Otherwise, the flier is lost in the tons of other fliers of other unknown bands.

Make It An Event

This one I need to turn into an experiment.  Martin Atkins recommends making every show an event.  How about a contest?  Get all the bands to toss in a free shirt and CD for the winner of a raffle.  Or, more simply, “CD Release Party”.  Or just, “2011 Too-tight-manjunk-pants night!”  Whatever.  Be imaginative.  Every show should be an event.  Something themed and DIFFERENT FROM EVERY OTHER FLIER.

How to test if fliers are effective?

This one I don’t know.  It’s hard to set up an experiment if there’s no way to determine the results.  What do you think?  Please comment and throw out some ideas.  Have fliers worked for your band?  Are they just a waste of time and money?

(Any donation would be much appreciated. Even a dollar would help out. Thanks!)

Posted in Promoting a show | 42 Comments