FANS

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

FANS

Postby bigdaddy » Mon Feb 04, 2008 3:53 am

Some bars and clubs hire us with the idea that our "fans" will show up and they will sell lots of beer. As we are playing these bars I can't say that we have fans who follow us from bar to bar, it ain't like that. The club we played last weekend for instance. We have been there three times now and the place gets full with the bar patrons who have heard us before at that bar. They tell friends and so more people come to the next show at "that" bar. These people will not follow us 30 miles in what ever direction to see us at some other club. They beg for us to come back and we do and there will be more people at the next show. Is this how it works? We have a biker couple who has quit going to a local biker bar we play at because of trouble and have contacted the band to gig at their new bar. We will but that's the only fans we have. They have traveled 15 miles south to catch us at this local legion we play at but thay're not going clear to Salt Lake. Is that how it is with you all? Do you have a crowd who follows you? I know wives and friends come but I mean people who hear you and they will follow you from place to place. I follow a Beatles tribute band from Salt Lake if I'm not playing myself but that's it.
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Re: FANS

Postby jeffl » Mon Feb 04, 2008 5:08 pm

Because of the relative lack of blues in Southeast Minnesota, I will drive to towns as far as 40 miles out to catch bands that I know. The two major newspapers in this part of the state have entertainment pages and I watch 'em every week to see who's playin' where. Followings are gettin' harder to come by nowadays because of the crackdown on drinking & driving, and the lower DUI alcohol blood content limits in most U.S. states. .08 is a very moderate limit and it's more strictly enforced that it was in the old days. I think it cuts down on peoples' desire to go very far to catch a band, if they like to drink alcoholic beverages. People like to be able to catch a cab, or if they are gonna be over the legal limit, they wanna decrease their exposure by limiting drive times.
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Re: FANS

Postby houserocker » Mon Feb 04, 2008 9:12 pm

We do have fans that will follow us around to different venues. There are probably about 15 to 20 people that check our schedule and are at most all of our shows. Back in the day there use to be more but like Jeff pointed out it's harder to get people out nowadays, for all the reasond he stated. The last time we played a gig for the door there were almost 200 people that came out to see us, and it was to see the band as it was an outside venue and not really a bar, I was really proud of that! :D


http://www.thehouserockers.net
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Re: FANS

Postby jellyroll baker » Tue Feb 05, 2008 2:55 am

Lots of bands from rural Victoria who manage to score themselves a gig in the big city will hire a bus and stock it full of their mates along with a decent amount of liquid nourishment. People get a big night out and a trip to the city, the venue gets a good crowd and the band (usually) breaks even. Everyone wins!
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Re: FANS

Postby bigdaddy » Sat Feb 09, 2008 12:38 am

We're back at my home town's local biker bar this weekend. I take the stage in about two hours. I've been gettin' word back from people that there ain't been no bands there much and what has been there sucked. They're excited Skinny and the boys are gonna be back. I took the pa system and amps over there last night. I get off work at 6 pm and I have to have that bass turned on by seven. It's only a few blocks from my house. It's about this time the butterflys start churnin' in my stomach and they will stay there until I get thru the first song. It happens to me every time. Do any of you all get the butterflys?
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Re: FANS

Postby bigdaddy » Fri Feb 15, 2008 7:29 pm

The shows went well. New amp on Saturday night sounded good. At the show on both nights some people asked if I would approached another local bar that they frequent. I've have had this request before when we play. The bar in question hates any volume at all from their bands. The house band has been in the area for years, at least the leader and he is an old friend from childhood. I've caught his act 4 times in the last two years and each time was more boring than the time before. He is the one who hires bands so I go in and talk to him. He said he's been hearing about Skinny Bob by people coming to the bar and would love us to come in but we can't turn the volume up. I told him that Skinny ain't turning the volume down so low that the balls are knocked right out of the music. I then told him it was a bad idea and the Skinny band will not play there. I then told him that the reason I was even there is because some of that bars patrons asked me to. He then became ingnorant to me. Said we play at painful levels and Skinny can't sing. I told him we did not play loud and Skinny sings very well. He wanted to argue so I laughed and got up to leave. He said he'd get gigs for us. I really laughed then and told him every where we play the managment will not let us leave the place until they have us booked for at least 3 months (that is true too). He asked "really." I said "no joke, we have had to turn shows down because we get to many offers." I then shook his hand and left, I will not talk with him again, not business or music anyways.
March 6th we are going to be on Park City TV in Utah, live. We get to do three songs plus an interview. My first time on TV. I'm excited. I bought a new shirt for the show. It's an old time comboy shirt with decorated yokes and piping and decorated sleeves. Like Roy Rogers used to wear. I'm really jazzed about the whole thing. I bet that camera puts 20 pounds on me.
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Re: FANS

Postby jeffl » Fri Feb 15, 2008 10:45 pm

Bigdaddy it sounds like you handled him the right way. Money talks, and if you play there and bring in a crowd, he'll reconsider his decibel restrictors. Volume is a constant issue though isn't it. I remember being recruited for a blues band's reunion gig, 'cuz their harper couldn't make it back into town. Their lead guitarist was comin' from Toronto, so we had to rehearse for a coupla months without him. Our rehearsals were all well run, and sane, at moderate volume levels. When we set up at the bar for the first nite of a 2-nite gig, we did a sound check and when the first set started the volume was at about the "midnight level". The drummer and lead player were so loud I was stunned. But, what the hell...I just turned up my amp and jumped into the current. It was fine.
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Re: FANS

Postby bigdaddy » Sat Feb 16, 2008 12:31 am

Funny how the "live" shows tend to get louder. We play in small bars and we are concious about volume really. I tend to have my bass amp a bit low then Skinny, who is wireless, will walk out into the audience and listen to his guitar level and the drummer then ups it or downs it. After this I will slowly inch up my volume until I'm as loud as the drums, until I can here my amp and his beats. For me it's usally 3 on the input volume and between 3 and four on the output on the bigger amps, 250 watts. If a freq needs upped I turn up the eq a tad. We really are not loud per say. We don't get volume complaints from the owners or managers. One bar has apartments upstairs so they have us play form 7 to 11. I always tell Skinny "remember volume is an issue here." He complys. I am tired at the end of the night but my head is never ringing from volume. That ain' fun. Jeffl, is it difficult to get your harp up in bars, what about feedback? Do you hold the mic or leave it on the stand? Each joint is a bit different.
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Re: FANS

Postby jeffl » Sat Feb 16, 2008 3:15 pm

I haven't generally had feedback problems, but I think one of the main reasons is that I'm a sideman, not a frontman, so I don't generally even have a vocal mic in front of me. And, I'm usually near the back of the stage ( I try to be just off-line between the drummer and the bassplayer, 'cuz imo that's where the real action is ). When I've had to just walk up on stage to play a set with some buddy's band and I'm playin' thru a vocal mic eq'd for voice, I've found that I can limit any feedback issues by how I approach the mic. I guess you could call my technique on vocal mic "proximity cupping"... I don't actually touch the mic with my hands. I leave it on the stand and form a tight cup with my hands and wrap them around the mic without touching it. If I start to feed back, I jus' open up the cup a little bit, back off a hair, and it goes away. Otherwise I play through a green bullet into a tube amp and mic it into the mains. As far as harp volume in the mix, if patrons have told me that they can't hear me, I can use either the mic volume or the amp volume to turn up; so when I do sound checks I make sure that I've got plenty of headroom left, in case I need it. The biggest problem usually occurs while sitting in with a band that doesn't know me very well; they're used to harpers that overplay and don't know their instruments, so they keep 'em turned down. I'm not the second coming of Little Walter, but I've played harp for about 40 years, and usually that experience comes across, so they warm up to me quickly.
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Re: FANS

Postby bigdaddy » Fri Feb 22, 2008 12:42 am

jeffl, thanks for the info. I'm going to try that cup with out touching the mic on the stand. I blow the harp in two songs and I don't wanna take my bass off. We do a acoustic resonator version of Crossroads which is why the mic is on the stand and then I blow a pretty long harp bit in Mean Town Blues. I am a bass man not a harpist but I am learning as each gig goes down. Thanks again.
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