Need Advice

Problems, how to get them, favorite songs to play, groupies, funky bar owners, etc. NO names of clubs, please.

Need Advice

Postby oleman » Mon Aug 14, 2006 2:04 am

I always dreamed of getting a house band gig. Well my duo has been playing in the same bar all spring and summer long. But now the bloom is off the rose so to speak, same old faces, same rude owners, same stupid requests. It's not all bad; we get to try out new tunes on people that want to hear us play something new, learning how to use our PA properly, cute friendly barmaids, free drinks and a meal, and the tips and money isn't great but OK.

We try to keep the energy up but I can tell it might be getting a little too routine. We would like to bring in a hot lead guitarist, but ASCAP limits this tiny bar to 2 performers. So........

Any old giggin pros out there with any tips, suggestions etc.??
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Postby bosco » Mon Aug 14, 2006 12:33 pm

There are several things you can do to freshen things up.

Music trivia for a free drink or T shirt is a real good one. Ask what year a song came out or who originally recorded it...most folks know who covered songs or the most popular version. Have them approach the stage with their answer so they don't shout it out. You can do this several times a night if needed.

Audience participation numbers are good, that have a simple chorus that is easy to remember. Encourage the people to sing along, alternating "their" part with "your" part.

I'm sure you don't want to turn your gig into an open mic, but having prequalified musicians sit with you is another way to change it up a bit.

Use your imagination. Anything you can come up with to keep the patrons involved and feeling welcome is what you are looking for. Even working the room at the break counts...hand out a few cards, network and get to know some folks, it makes 'em feel important and you might even get a few more gigs out of it.

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Postby watertore » Mon Aug 14, 2006 3:30 pm

Oh Boy, do I know this scenario. I have, as most people have, who have played the same area/club for an extended stay, worn it out. Johnny Otis lives up here (sonoma county, ca). When he first got here, the places were packed. He is in bad health now, but towards the end of 10 + years here, his audience shrunk to almost nobody.

Finding a real house gig, is a lot easier if you are a cover band/act. Finding one, when you are an original act, is much harder. I was able to hold down the house gig at the black cat lounge, in austin tx, during austin's heyday. It was the most popular alternative club in town.

Up here in ca, I have a regular sat night gig, that is going on 2 years, and the owner constantly assures me, I will have it as long as he owns the place, and he has owned it for 20 years.

In both cases, it was a unique combination of the owners enthusiasam and the audiences returning. I think without a unique club owner, this rarely happens. I have been booked countless times, in countless clubs, for extended gigs, and only these 2 worked out.

Personally, when a gig starts to get stale, I move on. There is always a new place to play (even if it is the street), but there might be a lagg between getting another regular club gig.

I give you this perspective, because I follow my music, vs my music follows me. I love an enthusiastic crowd, but it has to come on my terms. Some judge me for this, but to me art comes from within, not from the outside in. There are tons of jobs out there that will tell you what to do, and pay zillions of times more than music. I have been at this for 35 years, and have yet to hit a dry spell with gigs, unless I decided to pull the plug. Follow your heart. Life is too short to do anything else. Walter
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