What does it mean to leave an impression? This is important to me, as I try to carry myself in a professional light, as a musician and entertainer. I know so many musicians who are just… slobs. They dress poorly, show up late, act like children, and honestly just make me want to make an impression on their face… with my fist.
That being said, the bar is set pretty low, in my area, as far as musicians go. In fact, when my wife met me, she was leery because I was a ‘musician.’ Most musicians she knew, before me were pompous, arrogant, unprofessional, dirty, and most of all impolite.
I’m not saying I’m the most gentlemanly person on the planet, but if you’re going to do what I do, and be somewhat successful, you need to get your shit together and act like an adult.
What does that mean?
Show up to your gigs early: Trust me, you look like a total tool, when you’re trying to rush around and set things up.. That’s when you make mistakes. Nothing turns a crowd away from a band faster, then having microphones squeal and there being a large ruckus where the band/solo artist is setting up.
Dress the part: I’m not saying you have to be in full rockstar garb all the time, but try to look presentable. You’re holey Led Zepplin Tshirt from 1981 is not impressive. Wearing a nice button down shirt, jeans that aren’t falling off of you, and looking relatively well kept are not hard things to do. Now, If you’re in a 90’s grunge band, and you’re playing at a venue, go ahead, wear ripped jeans and flannel.. I’m focusing more on the acoustic aspect of things. I’m pretty sure Dave Grohl isn’t reading this blog, so real rock-stars need not apply.
Be respectable: Walk into the place, without a chip on your shoulder, find the nearest bartender/server/whoever is in charge, and figure out where you are to set up. Say please and thank you. Order a drink, pay for that drink, and worry about what’s free later on. REMEMBER, they are a business just as much as you are. You’re not doing any favors by drinking and eating all of their food for free.
DO NOT HAVE A RIDICULOUS GUEST LIST: Especially, if you are playing with other bands and charging a cover. Pick one: your girl/boy-friend, your favorite roadie, your corgi, I don’t care. Don’t expect to get your whole entourage in to the place for nothing. If there’s no cover, that’s fine, don’t try and get everyone free stuff, while you’re playing. Again, the venue is a business, and needs to be respected as such.
There’s just a few tips on leaving impressions, as a musician. I have so many of stories of groups that have done some seriously asinine things, and I wonder how they even manage to book gigs (most of them don’t anymore.)
Remember, live music and music venues need to work hand-in-hand to be successful. Don’t expect them to do all of the promoting. I know you’re too busy changing the world with your music, but making a Facebook event and inviting your following only takes about 10 minutes.
Alright, I’ve rambled on long enough. What other tips do you guys have, to leave great impressions?