Nov 18th 2010

Awhile back I got a comment on my facebook which was along the lines of "Greg I don't even know you anymore, you are just some kind of show promoting robot!"

Its true, that is basically what I use it for: show promotion and the occasional once a month moment of weakness where I post some depressing status update to get attention.

However, I am trying to be a bit more real in this blog. So if you want to get some glimpse into what I am feeling, please either keep up here. Or call me. Calling is fine (email if you think you should have my number, and I will probably give it to you, or tell you the reasons why I disagree).

I wish I had taken more time after quitting Nemes to really figure out who I wanted to be as a musician. I was still kind of in BOOK BOOK BOOK PROMOTE PROMOTE PROMOTE mode (as that is primarily what I did in the band). When you are that attatched to something and its your job (which it was, I rarely had "real jobs" while I was in the band, I would just spend 16 hours a day on the computer or flyering or what have you) it becomes like a drug and its hard to get rid of the effects right away.

Well its been about 2 months since I left the guys, and the effects finally wore off. Im ready to be a musician again. And in the time since then I have pretty consistantly been touring, and have seen what I want to be, and what I don't want to be, and what I want to be a part of, and where I dont want to play.

So I have a couple hopes for Jan 2011, and I am not claiming that any of these will happen. But after I finish up all the tours I have booked this is what I want, and I may not get it right away but I will try my best. If you cared enough to click on this blog, I figure you might care whats going on in my head and whats in my future:

(WARNING if you DONT GIVE A CRAP how local/indie music operates: this will bore you)

1) Become self Sufficient and Mobile: Currently I rely on others to get around. I am able to provide gas money, but I do not have a car. There is not always so/meone to drive. I am usually able to find bands who want to tour, but not always with reliable vehicles, and not usually in the time frames I want to tour (which is every single day).

Solution: Greyhound (pay attention solo musicians who want to tour constantly) Bus lines has a promotion where for 530 dollars you get 60 days of travel anywhere in the US (and Canada). The pass extends to other lines as well, the full list is on their website HERE. This effectivly lowers the price of travel to $8/day if you travel every day, or if you take days for travel in between shows $16/day. Either way this is still far below gas costs, toll costs, and you get to sleep while you travel or work on a computer (with wifi, in most cases) to get work done. Most importantly, for 2 months straight you never run the risk of getting to a show, not getting paid, not selling merch, and getting stranded in who knows where. All you have to do is take 10 bucks from every show (2 cd sales, or 1 t shirts sale, in most cases) and put it away towards a new pass. This overall takes the stress of travel costs off (which is one of the biggest financial stresses of touring) which gives you more options of where you can play, who you can play for, and how much $ you have to spend on food that night.

2) Only play free shows : or if a venue insists on having a door charge (or if its a non profit type place, a charity, or other similar event/venue) try to keep it at $5 or below. Most venues you play with lights and sound have large overhead expenses. This means that a show needs to make $300-$400 dollars to pay the expenses of a sound guy or a bar or rent or whatever before bands can even start to begin getting paid. Most venues do not trust local bands to bring that many people, so (in a brilliantly ironic move) they usually up the door price to 10-12 dollars. This means 30-40 people need to come in order for the venue to be paid for, and 60 people need to come to even get enough to pay either the locals or the touring acts, usually not both. Locals rarely draw this much, so the venue doesnt reach its overhead, and bands dont get paid. Also, since fans paid 10-12 to get in, they have no money for a CD to help out with gass money. Everyone walks away a loser (including, usually, the venue, who probably also has large costs they can't handle, earns a bad reputation by not paying bands, and is left with a bade taste in its own mouth from bands who didnt draw)

Solution: Play acoustic more often than not. I want to only play full band tours 3-4 times a year and only when I know I can book shows along the way where we can get paid what we need but we don't end up screwing over local bands or venues or soundguys or fans or anyone. Playing acoustic allows you to play without a PA, ina  park, in a coffeeshop that doesn't normally have music. You can bring new patrons into a business or art gallery or open minded pizza shop that has never thought to have entertainment. Sure they can't pay me, but I am not asking for anything. Maybe some pizza.

2b) an extension, Never ask for a gauruntee again: If it is a show with a door charge, I want to ask for a percentage, and make sure the other bands also have percentages. I never want to ask a promoter to pay me out of pocket again, unless they want to buy one of my cds. I have walked away from shows knowing that locals who worked their asses off didn't get a cent because myself (or the act I was with) had a gauruntee. This just brings everyone down, and from a networking position (on top of being just wrong) it makes locals not want to work with you anymore because they worked hard, but for what? If a show I am on is the type of show that a no name local band with a fancy myspace is getting 400 dollars to play, maybe its not the type of show I want to play.

personal note: Colleges have budgets for this sort of thing, and usually pay 40,000 dollars for (not even) high profile acts to come through. I have no problem asking them for 300.

3) Continue to always make my music Free: this has worked so much better than any other format I have worked under. I would rather have 100 people download my albums for free, and tell their friends about it to generate more buzz and have the people who are generous and/or able donate money when they can, than have my music cost money and only the ten people who know who I am who have debit cards buy it. That Grammar was horrible, and I recognize it.

So now that I have been terribly idealistic, hope to see you on the road!

-sftd

ps: I want to put out more split EP's with whoever I can, or collaborate on music on various 1 album projects. If your interested email me at speakerforthedeadbooking@gmail.com

pss: told you that was boring :)

psss: 4) Never Book a Hot Topic Show Again (unless its Rochelle Furguson's store at The Greendale Mall in Worcester)