A long time ago, I started putting a hole in my guitar pick so I could carry it on my key chain, just in case I might be out somewhere and be asked to get up and jam. Subconsciously I knew that I liked having that little hole in my pick because it made holding onto my pick a lot easier. Though, as with so many times before, in not recognizing what I knew subconsciously, I missed out on yet another great money makin’ invention! Guitar picks with a big hole in ‘em! They are easy to hang onto, and once I used one, I couldn’t go back to the picks without holes, ’cause now they always feel like they are gonna just slip right out of that grip between my thumb and index finger.
Over the last three months, our band played an establishment every Saturday night.
The place had just opened up again, after being closed for a few months. Business was very thin, and us, being a new band (with not so new members), negotiated with the owner to get at least one steady night a week over the course of a three month period (And as it turns out, that’s exactly what we got!).
In having at least one steady night a week, we explained that we could then promote the place 24/7 for ALL Saturdays within that three month period, and not have to beg our peeps to show up on just one particular night (Which usually does not happen). I explained that we have plenty of people who would show up and hang out with us, but it was not going to happen all in one evening! Nobody draws their whole crowd in just one evening, not even a “Big Name” act! There will always be those folks who say “I wish I would have / could have been there”. In saying that in three months we could expand the flow of folks through the restaurant / bar on a Saturday night, we then had to prove it, and we did!
We struck up the band on time every week. The first set was ALWAYS an hour and a half (To show the universe we meant business!), and we concentrated on being a fun band, playing what we felt the people wanted to hear. We did our best to try and create a “Party Mood” for the night. We set our minds to not forgetting who we were playing for (Hint: Not ourselves!). So many musicians these days have forgotten that playing music is a CUSTOMER SERVICE ORIENTATED JOB! It’s not about you Man! Play what folks want to hear, then when (and if), you gain their interest, they’ll ask to hear your stuff!
Alas, the place is closed down once again. Overall, the business did not do well. Our Saturday nights weren’t enough to carry the whole week, but we did exactly what we told the owner we would do! Week after week for those ten weeks, the graph did nothing but climb, and we didn’t have to beg our peeps to come out for one night only. We just let them know the times and the place, then made sure we were there at their convenience for when they were in the mood for a dose of us, and could make it out.
If you own or manage an establishment, do yourself, and live music a favor; Find a band that sounds decent (Yep! That’s all it takes!). Get a band who plays what folks want to hear. Get a band whose members don’t complain about having to go pee pee after forty five minutes or an hour. Get a band whose members realize that they are doing what they claim to love to do. Get a band whose members are tuned-in to getting to know the customers, hosting a party for those customers, and making those customers feel welcome and appreciated when they do come out! When you find a fun band like this, if a customer stays home for the evening, I guarantee they’ll be wondering what they are missing in your place!
Invest in this band for three months at a reasonable rate for everyone involved (Including you, the establishment!), then give it four to six weeks for at least one night a week. Sit back and watch what happens! You will have the band members (customers also) touting your place 24/7! And, as long as the food, drinks and service measure up, you’ll gain an ever expanding customer base that has money to spend for a fun night out, or for lunch, and, on days / nights when the band isn’t there! The “Other Crowd”, is usually a bunch of little party hounds that came in because their “Musician” friend begged ‘em to show up for one night only, to the designated “Party Place”, so they could see them sing a song that they wrote in their bedroom. Also, most likely with the latter crowd, your place will be vandalized, though they will probably spend some of the money their folks gave them for school.
We didn’t make a hell of a lot of money during this last three months, but like I said, our band is new (less than a year old), and we did prove our point. We told the owner we would pack the place on Saturday nights within three months, and we did. For us, and for anyone running an establishment, and, or live music, the proof of our ability to start with nothing, and build to something, is of real worth, and we’ve taken that with us, along with now knowing all the cool people we met. They returned again and again over the course of those weeks to hang out with us, and we appreciate it! Those folks now know who we are, and we didn’t have that before this gig!
The place has been closed now for almost two weeks, and our band name is still on the small portable marquee sign out by the road. When we pass by and see it, on one hand It makes me feel very proud of our band, but on the other hand, I’m not sure having our band’s name on the marquee in front of a closed down establishment is a good thing. I guess I’ll just go with: “Any publicity is good publicity”.
I have come by a few real good gigs from placing my ad on Craigslist, but I didn’t take all the gigs that I could have. Most notably, the gigs that would take place at someone’s residence.
I have no problem going to a public place to perform, but going to a stranger’s house freaks me out! I don’t like not having at least a reasonable idea of what I may be walking into! I get this vision of me at the bottom of a hole in somebodies basement floor, with some goon up top holdin’ a poodle, yellin’ down at me “IT PLAYS THE GUITAR AND SINGS!
Once some folks came into where I was playing, and they had a little girl with them. I would guess the little girl was four to seven years old. This little girl, once within good earshot of the sound I was making with my voice and guitar, began reaching up, and grabbing with her hands as if trying to snatch something out of thin air. Her parents later told me that she was blind and mentally challenged, and would do this whenever, it seemed, that she liked a sound she was hearing. I don’t know what that little girl would have done with my sound if she could have caught it, but I don’t think I could have been any more touched if had won a Grammy.
Of course I appreciate those who support what I do, but I also think that I should aspire to give something that captures attention, enthralls, and makes the onlooker curious. With this, they might just escape their concerns for at least a moment or two. I hope to come by the skill that would cause folks to naturally want to come out for a dose of what I do every now and then.
Nowadays in the entertainment industry, it seems that your product is your advertisement, and your advertisement is your product.
Sometimes someone will request a song that I just got done playin’. That’s a Bummer.
I am perfectly okay with folks talking while I play and sing. If they are engaging each other in conversation, then they aren’t paying me any significant attention. I am comfortable with just being a part of the background. I am happy just trying to contribute to the overall atmosphere. Sometimes one or two of the folks become an audience. This makes me really nervous. They catch my mistakes.
Something I have noticed over the years, whether performing with just a guitar, or a band, is that the Lynyrd Skynrd Fans tend to hang out toward the back of the venue. My theory on why this might be the case is because the request (Usually a yell): “PLAY SOME SKYNRD!!”, has more drama, and is more dynamic, if heard as a distant rolling thunder from the back of the place. This request would be the opposite of requests for songs like “Feelings”, for example, which, if effective at all, are always better off (Especially for the requester), requested up close and quietly.
Hi! I would like to tell you just a bit about myself as an introduction. My name is Brad Price, and as you already know, I am no star. I am just another guy out here who has been playin’ guitar, singin’ and tryin’ to entertain for most of his life (I am fifty one years old and was given my first guitar at the ripe old age of two). I am originally from Southern California. As a singer, lead and rhythm guitar player, I have had the chance to play a lot of different types of venues, with, and for a lot of good people from California to Florida since 1979.
It started for me when my family moved from Huntington Beach California to Springfield Missouri in 1976. Due to the fact that I had to sell my surfboard, which wouldn’t have been of any use in Missouri, I didn’t have anything to do other than make my new friends laugh with my “City Boy Fear” of cows, and various other country critters. My dad stepped in and gave me “The Kenny Rogers Home Guitar Course” (two books and two records) and a guitar. At that point I disappeared into my room, reappearing only for food. My very first “Gig” came when a drummer buddy, and myself signed on to perform after hours at a local skating rink. We played every Saturday night in the summer of 1979. We were set to play again the next summer, but were cancelled because the owner of the rink realized in the interim that our music had inspired too many of the kids that hung out in the rink to go out and make babies in the parking lot.
In 1981 I landed my first lounge job in Branson Missouri, then it was on to a place called “Shotgun Sam’s Pizza Palace” in Tulsa Oklahoma. A few other experiences that stand out for me are opening a show for, and playing lead guitar for Bobby Helms of “My Special Angel” fame. I also made appearances in a few of the talent shows on the “Ozarks Country Jubilee” in Springfield, Mo. I played a four-year stint in Anaheim California at the now legendary “Spaghetti Station”, The “Spag” as we called it, was a popular haunt with locals in the Disneyland area. We had a real good time at the ‘Ole “Spag”.
At a chili cook off in Long Beach California, I opened a show for “Chippendales”. I opted to do my best to impress with my clothes on while performing my part of the show due to my very obvious lack of interest in body building! Some of the best times I have had on stage have been in Las Vegas, Nevada. I made numerous appearances there on the downtown Fremont Street stages, and performed in other venues in the area, one being the Romantic Saturday Night Riverboat Cruise on the “The Desert Princess” ship on Lake Mead for Lake Mead Cruises Inc.
I just wanted to give you a little background for starters. I don’t think too many folks will be looking at this post in the immediate future, but as I keep posting my stories, and writing on the perspective, and outlook I have come by in playing my guitar and singing throughout my life, maybe a few of you will start tuning in and sharing your, perspective, views, and stories as well.