As the ” Manager” of the West Puget Sound Band “Payday Daddy…” Before I continue, please allow me to explain this term, “Manager”.
The Manager is the poor slob that gets the job no one else wants. The person that can talk to anyone, anytime, anywhere, and about anything, and do it well. It is my job to make contact, keep in contact, and keep the contact happy. This involves many things, please, allow me to explain…
1) Record Keeping
Keep records of all the clubs you are interested in playing. A little black address book works very well. Keep the contacts name, the phone number of the club and the contact’s home number if you can get it and (this is not an easy thing to get, trust me..) the full address of the club.
*And very important* !! The date you sent the promo! When they received it, and what your conversation involved!
It is very easy to become confused when you call 10 clubs a day!! Nothing says “rookie” better than calling back a person you called yesterday, and they said no…AND, even if they say no this time, maybe they won’t next time, so, always, always be polite and respectful.
2) The Gift of Gab
Having the “Gift of Gab” is a blessing. You MUST be able to make small talk, and be sincere. I know all of my “Contacts” spouses names, their kids, and even the family dog. You can’t be business all the time, and coming across as a friend makes you more real, and them, more willing to work with you.
If no one in the band is able to do this, you may have to enlist someone from the outside. A spouse, girlfriend, boyfriend. Every Christmas I send cards to the club contacts and also the people at the local newspapers, and I thank them for their help in the past year. This not only keeps “My band’s” name upfront in their mind, but it is a show of my appreciation of what they have done to better my career.
Is it just luck that our photo is in the “Entertainment Section” 2 to 3 times more than other bands? No. Also, if a special feature was done, or an article, I send a thank you card right away. This is not only good business, but good manners.
3) Your Promo
Your promo is the first impression, not only of the band, but also of yourselves. Always include a bio on every band member. What experience you have, how long have you played, points of interest. Don’t make it too “Busy” though. Figure, on average, you have less than a minute to capture this persons interest.
Any press release material on you or the group always looks good. Include an 8 x 10 black and white photo, also a color one if you can. A schedule can also be included. This shows that you are working steady, and they like to see that.
A CD is a must; cassettes don’t cut it anymore. Studio time can be afforded if everyone pitches in. After all this is a group effort, right? A video is optional.
4) Your First Gig
Once you are able to get that first gig, show up early, get everything set up nice. This means tape your cords, so no one is hurt in a “horrible tripping over a cord accident”. Strange things happen when alcohol is involved, cover your rear. Also, tape cords on stage. This looks clean and professional.
Start 5 minutes early, if you can, clubs love this. When you take a 15 minute break, take a 15 minute break,or even better, a 13 minute break, not a 17 or 20. They will be watching.
Always act professional. Most musicians get a bad rap, because of a few idiots. We NEVER drink when we are gigging, some bands do. In my own personal opinion, if you want to drink, wait until you are done. Contrary to popular belief, you do not sing or play better when you have had a couple – trust me. Go listen to karaoke some night if you don’t believe me… It’s not pretty. Be polite to the help, and always remind the crowd to tip the waitresses and bartenders. Why? Because if you make it a point to look out for the other people trying to make a living, like you are, they are going to greatly appreciate your acknowledgment of them, and that means more tips. They are happy to have you there, they will be in your corner when it comes to hiring bands for future gigs.
P.S. if someone tells you to turn it down, do it immediately!! Do not argue or complain, you are working for them, you are not in charge!!!!
I hope my years of frustration and mistakes will help you to be more successful in your musical career. And remember, the most important thing of all… Have Fun!!