Dec 10

re: getting a sponsor

“how do I get corporate sponsorship for my Band? E.g. gear, song in a commercial, Warped Tour” – russell in chicago, il

i wish i could tell you a good “DIY” way to do this, but the truth is that you should probably just hire a manager. i mean, clearly you’re not worried about “selling out” so you should have no “ethical” problems with hiring a guy to promote your band. and let me tell you this: once you get a manager, you’ll realize how much time you’ve been wasting trying to get everything done yourself! i personally think that most bands should have managers, because (let’s face it) most people in bands are space cases who can’t manage to brush their teeth in the morning, let alone negotiate a major licensing deal. i think even bands who are just starting out would do well to hire managers, because it let’s them focus more completely on making music, while someone else is out in the world representing them, getting their music in blogs and magazines and tv commercials, booking shows for them, and just generally networking on their behalf. think about how much easier this makes life for the band. they don’t have to worry about pulling together an image or managing their brand. they have their manager, who is hopefully aware of market trends, to tell them what is hot, what kind of music to play, what to sing about, and how to dress! this is not to say that as soon as you get a manager, you’re suddenly gonna have fame and fortune. in order to get a sponsorship, you’ll probably have to work up to the next level of management. the first manager will do pretty well for you, maybe get you on some blogs, get you a record deal with national distribution, book you a regional tour, basic “pay your dues” stuff. it won’t be until you get your SECOND manager (once you have a bit of cash) that you’ll start getting your stuff in tv shows and getting noticed by corporations. once that happens, you’ll be on easy street, then it’s just a matter of choosing the right sponsorship, and working your way up from smaller brands (like Ernie Ball or Taco Bell, who sponser a LOT of bands) to the big guns like Apple (who only sponsor the top bands like U2 and the Beatles). i think this is probably the most common way of getting sponsorship (i.e. get someone who is well-connected to do it for you!)– however, hear me out on this possible shortcut. what if you’re band made a fake “commercial” for a product your band likes, then puts it up on Youtube and it becomes a viral clip? i’m not even sure how you’d go about it, but if you’re subtle with the advertisement and make the video weird and cool, it just might get you noticed by that company, and then maybe they’d offer to sponsor you. that would indeed be a creative “DIY” method of getting a sponsor. but, i have never seen this happen, it is only a theory! anyway, good luck, man!

-Band Aid

Dec 10

re: good crowd goes bad

“my band and I have been playing for maybe 2 years now and we have done a lot of local shows. We recently set out playing shows slightly out of town, going down the west coast and even going out of state, it’s a whole new experience for us! It’s been going well but for our first gig outside of California which took place in Washington, somebody through a water bottle at us 20 minutes into our set!!! We’re not sure if it was accidental or if it was intended, we think it was intended because the crowd was sorta strange (I think they were fans of the grunge music, and we play indie pop) we had this sense of sadness afterward that our music would make somebody throw something and didn’t like that very much, how can we deal with this kind of situation?” -Hurt in California

well, i hate to tell you this, but this sort of thing happens to every band during their first couple of tours. at least you got it out of the way early, and no one was hurt (physically, at least!) i wish i could tell you what makes crowds go bad, so you could anticipate it, but you just never know. my best guess is that whoever booked your show put you on with a couple local bands who sounded nothing like you (this happens a lot). and since you probably don’t have many out of town fans yet, most of the crowd was fans of the local bands! therefore, when you guys came up and started playing your style of music, someone who hates indie pop just snapped and threw a bottle. that’s something you definitely need to look out for when booking out of town shows. whenever you are getting one together, make sure to e-mail the promotor a few local bands from that city that you like, that will have a decent draw (if you don’t know any, just surf myspace until you find some). so then, even if the promotor can’t get those bands to play, they will at least know you’d like to be matched up with similar sounding bands. but if it wasn’t that, then i really don’t know what it could be. sometimes all it takes is one overly aggressive person in the crowd, then mass psychology takes over and pretty soon everyone is going crazy for no reason at all! i once saw a band (that’s actually pretty famous now) literally get lifted off stage by a crowd, then unwillingly crowdsurfed to the back of the club, then tossed out the door! then i’m pretty sure the guys in front (who had started the whole thing) went up and smashed all their instruments. so just be glad that something like that didn’t happen to you! actually, maybe that kind of thing doesn’t happen so much anymore, since the dawn of youtube. there is probably much better crowd control now because venues don’t want to get a bad reputation with bands from having a violent viral clip. anyway, forgive the ramble, my point is that you are just gonna have to suck it up and get a thicker skin if you’re gonna keep touring, because it could get a lot worse before it get’s any better!

-Band Aid

Dec 10

Re: friends kicked me out of my band

this is my last day as “Blogger of the Week” on Breakthru Radio, and in honor of that, i am answering a question from Thompson, the guy who interviewed me! once again, here’s the interview link: http://breakthruradio.com/#/post/?blog=53&post=294&autoplay=1. and here’s the question!

“In the 10th grade my “best friends” and band mates kicked me out of the band for a girl with big tits and a strat. Granted, we were at an age when big breasts were the most important thing in the world, but I still can’t forgive them. Who was right?” – thompson in brooklyn, ny

this is a sad story indeed. and as someone whose been on both sides of this situation, i definitely feel your pain. i’m gonna go ahead and say that you are right to be mad at your friends about it, but you should probably forgive them. it’s a well-known fact that kids/teenagers don’t know what they’re doing, especially when it comes to band-etiquette, so this kind of thing happens pretty frequently. that’s part of the reason why i started this blog! they just don’t understand that how they treat their bandmates (which at this stage are usually their friends anyway) actually matters, and that people take these things seriously. they are blinded by the prospect of success and the pursuit of the rock n roll myth. sometimes this can work out for the best, like when the Beatles dumped their best friend Pete Best for a more popular scenester named “Ringo” and became the number one band in Europe (then later America!). but more often than not, it just leads to broken friendships and broken dreams. so, unless they continue to behave this way in whatever bands they’re currently in (or in their regular lives), you shouldn’t hold their teenaged transgressions against them anymore. they probably feel as bad about it as you do.

Dec 10

“Anatomy of a Blogger”

hey guys, remember when i said i was picked to be “Blogger of the Week” on Breakthruradio.com? well, today they’ve posted my interview/playlist! you can listen to it HERE! i had a good time going into their studio and doing the interview w/ DJ Thompson when i went to New York over the Thanksgiving holiday (more on that later, maybe! but i’m not sure how much i can tell you guys…) i tried to answer his questions as best as i could, but i really wasn’t expecting to have to answer so many questions about myself! as you all know, i try to keep a low-profile so i can tell truths about the industry on this blog without getting into trouble! but i think i can start to loosen up with that a bit. it’s not like anyone will remember all the old bands i was in anyway!

hope you guys enjoy the interview, and please tell your friends! here’s the link again: http://breakthruradio.com/#/post/?blog=53&post=294&autoplay=1

-Band Aid

Dec 10

re: turning ditties into songs

“Dear Band Aid, I have a songwriting question. I can easilly come up with a few lines of little ditties in my head but then I cant turn them into full songs. What should I do.” -Jane in Narberth, PA

don’t fret, Jane, because this is something that happens to every newcomer to the songwriting game! actually, the hardest part of songwriting is coming up with the little “ditties” (or “hooks” as they’re called in the biz), so if you’re already able to do that, you’re in pretty good shape. that is the one thing of songwriting that can’t really be “faked”. it’s gotta come naturally. but turning those hooks into songs is something that just takes practice. when starting out, i’d recommend keeping your songs as simple as possible. whatever song element comes into your head (be it a chord progression, vocal line, rhythm, whatever), just make a little song entirely out of that thing (maybe just repeat it a few times). don’t worry about creating a “verse/chorus/bridge” for it. use what you have and build on that bit. and if nothing is coming to you, just bang on the guitar/bass/keyboard/voice until you hit something that sounds good! it won’t really be a full-fledged “song”, maybe just a “sketch”, as it could be very short and not have much structure. BUT after you do this for a while, you will probably have learned a bit about your own style, how you make the pieces fit together, maybe you’ll even be able to string some of your sketches together into full-blown songs! and i have also noticed that, often times working on a sketch, and just spending time listening to it over and over, will lead me to think of new hooks that can fit with the sketch, and BOOM, i’ve got a chorus part! it is a little different for everybody, but i don’t think there’s any special secret to learning how to turn a song idea into a song — it’s simply a matter of putting in the time and effort! but a lot of times, if you really love songwriting, it doesn’t even feel like work! hope that helps.

-Band Aid