How To Find And Work With A Booking Agent For Your Live Band

To get good gigs for your live band, you really need to secure yourself a good Booking Agent.

Famous Booking Agents - Creative Artists Agency
Famous Booking Agents - Creative Artists Agency

   One of the greatest challenges for any live band is finding and booking regular paying gigs. It can take more time to get out and book your own gigs than it takes to practice and get your band in shape to play gigs. That’s why live bands secure the services of booking agents to help find and schedule gigs.    Continue reading “How To Find And Work With A Booking Agent For Your Live Band”

Playing Cover Music Vs. Playing Original Music Part 3

The differences between playing in a cover band versus playing in an original band become very apparent when it comes to playing gigs.

Shufflin' Noah - Making Original Music Since The Mid 90's
Shufflin' Noah - Making Original Music Since The Mid 90's

   This is the 3rd and final (for now) part of my take on playing cover music versus playing original music in a live band. I’ve written two previous posts on this topic titled Playing Cover Music Vs. Playing Original Music Part1 and Part 2. I’ve played in live bands for 27 years and I’ve played original music as well as cover music the entire time. I have a unique perspective about playing both types of gigs. Today I’m going to talk about the difference between playing in an Original Music band and a Cover Band.

   The biggest differences between playing in a cover band vs. playing in an original band become glaringly apparent when it comes to gigs. I have to say that playing original music gigs can be either the highest of highs or the lowest of lows. Playing cover music gigs are much more consistent as long as your band plays the songs well. Let me explain what I mean.    Continue reading “Playing Cover Music Vs. Playing Original Music Part 3”

Playing Cover Music Vs. Playing Original Music Part 2

Which type of band takes more individual playing skill to be successful. A cover band or an original band?

George Thorogood Plays Original Music And Cover Music
George Thorogood Plays Original Music And Cover Music

The other day I wrote a post titled Playing Cover Music Vs. Playing Original Music Part 1 which covered the amount of creativity involved in playing cover music versus original music in a live band. Today I’m writing part two of that post to give you my view on another angle of the Cover Music Vs. Original Music debate. I’ve been seeing a lot of action in the online forums on this topic and I wanted to give you my view based on the fact the I play in both a cover band and an original band.

In my previous post I wrote about the amount of creativity involved in playing cover music vs. original music. I gave a slight edge to original music since it does take a bit more creativity to create a song from nothing. If you remember, I believe that playing cover music requires just about as much creativity as playing original music. Today I’m going to write about the skill level involved in playing Cover Music vs. Original Music.   Continue reading “Playing Cover Music Vs. Playing Original Music Part 2”

Negotiating Gig Payment For Your Live Band – Get A Signed Contract

Get a signed contract for your live band performance every time you play a gig. You can download a contract template from this post.

Download Live Band Performance Contract
Download Live Band Performance Contract

   How much should your live band be paid when you play a gig? That’s a very delicate question and the answer is going to be different for pretty much every gig you play. Some clubs pay a standard $350 per night. Some will give you a percentage of the door receipts. Some clubs pay less and some pay a lot more. The thing that you have to remember is that gig payment is always negotiable and it’s up to you to agree to a fee before you play the gig.

   The most important thing to remember when booking a gig is to negotiate payment in advance of the gig. Try to reduce any variables the venue may throw at you. If the venue tells you “we’ll decide on payment after we see how many people show up”  then that is a great big red flag and you should seriously consider not playing that venue. Don’t agree to any stipulations such as “payment based on food and drink sales”. Even payment based on door receipts is tricky because most clubs won’t let you audit their door receipts. The best thing to do when you’re booking your gig is to get all the payment details right up front.    Continue reading “Negotiating Gig Payment For Your Live Band – Get A Signed Contract”

Dealing With Change And Guiding Your Live Band’s Evolution

Live Bands must change and evolve if they are going to keep on playing gigs.

In Stereo Sings 3-Part Harmony
In Stereo Sings 3-Part Harmony

   One thing I’ve found from all my years of playing in a live band is that things are constantly changing. The type and quality of equipment is always changing. The current popular songs are always changing. Your live band has to constantly change as well just to keep up with everything else. Believe me, the best way to let your band die is to refuse to change.

   One of the biggest problems I see in live bands is they become unwilling to change to fit the their ever changing environment. The biggest reason for this is because of plain old laziness. It takes work to keep your band up to date and relevant. The biggest mistake that bands make is an unwillingness to change their set list. You really need to get rid of songs that you’ve been playing forever and start learning some new songs. Your song list should be constantly added to and changed up at gigs.   Continue reading “Dealing With Change And Guiding Your Live Band’s Evolution”

In A Live Band, Multiple Skills Will Increase Your Value

You can increase your value in your live band by bringing your mutiple skills and talents into the band.

Frank and Kyle Are Both Multi-Instrumentalists
Frank and Kyle Are Both Multi-Instrumentalists

 One thing I’ve noticed in my years of playing in a live band is how important members are that can do multiple things in the band. I was in a band where we had a lead guitar player that was a good lead guitar player, but that’s all he did. He didn’t sing lead or sing backup, he only brought his guitar and his amp and he didn’t book any of the gigs. Yes he would have the songs all learned and he played his parts perfectly but he just didn’t seem to contribute as much as the other members of the band.

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Live Mixing Tips For Small Venues And Small Budget

Live mixing can be tricky when it’s a small room or you have limited sound reinforcement.

In Stereo Plays A Small Room
In Stereo Plays A Small Room

   In my live band we have a microphone on every drum and on every piece of equipment onstage and it’s all run through the main P.A.. It’s by far the best way to get a good mix and the best way to control your live sound level. Of course we have invested a lot of money in our live setup and we also play fairly big venues so having everything mic’ed up and mixed through the P.A. is not a problem for us. But there are times when we play a smaller room and we don’t need to mic everything up. There was even a time when all we could afford was a drumset, instruments and amplifiers and a microphone with a small P.A. for the singer. That’s when it can be tricky to get a decent live mix. So what’s the best way to get a good live mix without mic’ing everything? Here are some tips for you to help you with your small venue and and small budget live mixing.

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Weekend Gig Report – In Stereo at Canyon Inn February 13-14, 2009

Gig write up about Matt’s live band In Stereo playing the Canyon Inn on February 13-14, 2009.

In Stereo Bass Drum Logo
In Stereo Bass Drum Logo

   My live band, In Stereo, played at the Canyon Inn in Salt Lake City this weekend. It was a decent gig and a lot of interesting things happened. It was also interesting because it was on a Friday the 13th followed by Valentines Day. You would think that would give us a lot to work with from the stage but we didn’t really come up with a lot of good jokes. I think the Friday the 13th effect was in full force though because I totally lost my voice after about 5 songs. Let me start at the beginning.

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The Difference Between Playing A Song And Playing A Song Well

When you play a cover song in a live band you can just play a song, or you can play a song well. The difference is in the details.

Copying The Original Artist
Matt Copying The Original Artist

   I remember back when I was in my first live band how awesome it was just to make it through an entire song from beginning to end. We would get a chord chart and the lyrics and just play through the songs. It was fun and it sounded pretty good. As time went on and our ability to listen to the individual parts that make up a song increased, we realized that we were missing a lot of subtle nuances that made the songs we were playing go from good to great. It’s true when people say “The difference is in the details.” That’s what I’d like to talk about today.

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Your Live Band Must Have A Stable Core Group Of Musicians

Your live band must have a stable core of three musicians that can carry an entire gig alone.

The Core = Guitar, Bass and Drums
The Core = Guitar, Bass and Drums

Over the years I’ve played in a lot of various live band lineups. I’ve played in 3, 4, 5 and 6-piece rock bands as well as some 20 person Jazz bands. One thing I’ve noticed over the years is the bigger the band, the bigger the problems. I’m talking about scheduling problems, personality conflicts, incompatible work ethic, weak skill levels and mismatched goals for the band. It can be a real challenge in a band with a lot of people to keep it functioning. Fortunately there is an excellent solution to this problem. All you really have to do is have a compatible, stable group of core musicians.

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