It’s been a while since I’ve written a music blog designed to infuriate most local musicians. I blame Sweet Lou and the Whisky Rebellion for this one, because they made me actually think about the “scene” again. (And PS you need to check the WR out. Like now.)
Do you know why your band can’t get booked?
Do you know why your club can’t draw people?
Do you know why you can’t get paid?
It’s simple – It’s because the market doesn’t support what you are doing.
That’s all. It has nothing to do with talent, (On that note, if you think ANY success in music in 2014 is based on talent, you should come to one of my shows so I can laugh in your face… I mean, you aren’t booked anyway.) and it has nothing to do with desire. You just aren’t what people want. Trust me, as a fat guy who has spent his life being rejected by women, I am a bit of an expert at figuring out what people don’t want.
On that note – SHAME on you all for not living at the Deadhorse Cantina. It is, quite literally, the ONLY venue around Pittsburgh even ATTEMPTING to support local original music, and nobody goes there. Are you all too busy sitting on Facebook bitching about how nobody goes to shows anymore? Lou is the only person offering you a venue with house sound, free parking, good food, reasonable drink prices, and something going on every night. You still can’t afford to go out? Suck a bag of dicks.
Listen, I play in a cover band, because I am a big fan of sleeping in, playing a lot of Xbox, and still making enough money to pay my mortgage without having to work a terrible “real” job. That being said, there are a lot of cover bands that don’t get it, either. Hell, there are a lot of cover musicians that don’t get it. I am struggling right now to find people who want to play music in front of large crowds every weekend for hundreds of dollars a week. Seriously. Here’s a wad of money and 50 songs to learn. Let’s go!
And people in Pittsburgh don’t want to do that. Why? What is it about THIS city that has people so resolved to fail when it comes to live entertainment? Why are musicians so bitter and jaded?
I have news for you – I was just lucky enough to spend most of my Summer playing around the “Cover Band Capital” of the US, and I have to tell you guys, it ain’t like that everywhere. Outside of Pittsburgh people appreciate music. Outside of Pittsburgh, people support their bands. Outside of Pittsburgh, clubs only bring in top acts so that they can establish and grow a built-in crowd. Outside of Pittsburgh, bands get paid.
I’m not a hard ticket band. Hey, I’d have a tough time selling 5-10 tickets to see Walk of Shame, and we play 100+ dates a year. My marketing as a cover band is totally different. When places ask me if we have a following, my response is generally pretty simple:
“You get them there. We’ll keep them there.”
So just like original bands, cover bands need to know their audience. Do you know why I don’t play “Mustang Sally?” It’s because I’m not trying to cater to 50+ year old music fans, and the handful of Hipsters who yell “Freebird” to be ironic. You know is classic rock now? Nirvana. Most of the people who go to bars/clubs weren’t even alive when Motley Crue was big. Trust me, it made me feel old, too. Bands that are playing songs from the 70’s and 80’s now would be like trying to get a Jazz/Swing/Big Band act together in 1990. That time has passed, yo
Check your egos, friends. If you are in a cover band, your job is to sell booze, not play songs. You play the music that sells the booze, that makes the girls show up and dance, that keeps them there longer. Think I’m wrong? Enjoy the awesome Dream Theater cover band that you are going to see. Oh wait… They broke up, because they can’t get a gig, because NOBODY WANTS TO LISTEN TO THAT.
Cover band music is simple – It’s not about what YOU want, it’s what THEY want.
Booking bands for your club is simple – It’s not about what YOU want, it’s about what THEY want.
And if you are in an original band that can’t manage to sell 5-10 tickets for your show? It’s probably a sign that you should stay the hell home. Oh, and you should also be spending every dime and every second you have supporting the few venues who still book you.
Otherwise, you are just going to be another guy sitting on his couch bitching about how there is nowhere to play. You should do that at the Deadhorse… While you can. Bring some friends.