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Some good advice


The Internet usually has good advice, if you know where to look.  This exchange happened between two members of rec.audio.pro:

Randy Nicklaus wrote:

Over exposure.  THE NUMBER ONE MISTAKE artists make.

Bob Ohlsson then added this:

Bob's secrets of stardom:

1. Always headline

2. Always fill the house, i.e. NEVER play a house you can't fill.
Filling your living room will often do you more good than
quarter-filling the most prestigious club in town.

3. Don't overexpose yourself. If people think they can see you almost any time, they'll usually go see somebody else who they think they can only rarely see. They'll EVEN do this when they think the other act isn't as good!

Now these aren't just two jerks shootin the shit.  Randy has a few credentials that include:

Blondie   Live in New York (1999)         Producer, Mixing
Blue Plate Special    Night Out with Blue Plate Special (1998)   Producer, Mixing
Contraband   All the Way from Memphis (1991)      Producer
Dave Koz   Dave Koz (1990)            Arranger, Producer, Executive Producer
Delaney Bramlett   Class Reunion (1977)         Engineer
Joey Lawrence   Joey Lawrence (1993)         Executive Producer, Assistant Producer
Kerri Anderson    Labyrinth (1992)            Producer, Engineer
Laidlaw   First Big Picnic (1999)         Mixing
Meat Loaf    Live Around the World (1996)      Producer, Engineer, Mixing
Michael Learns to Rock   Michael Learns to Rock (1991)      Executive Producer
Michael Schenker Group   M.S.G. [Impact/MCA] (1992)      Producer, Executive Producer
Motley Crue   Supersonic and Demonic Relics (1999)   Mixing

Eddie Matthews:
Yeah, but in one of your other posts we are advised to play anywhere, any time.

How does one get enough exposure without being overexposed?  Seems like we're drawing a fine line here. . .

Yeah, it's a fine line, but not to hard to figure out. Most groups make the exact same mistake, over and over:

They'll play one club in town one weekend, then play another club in town the next weekend, then repeat the cycle.  The trick is to boraden your playing base so that local fans only get a chance to see you maybe once every 6 to 8 weeks.  And make sure you have a new show for the next cycle, not just all the same stuff they head the last time.

During the breaks between the cycles, try to figure out which songs are the most popular and why. Finally, do everything in your power to establish communication between the band and the fans: get their names, and email addresses, and make sure they can get fan gear (albumns, bumperstickers, T shirts, caps, etc.).

Have a table set up at the gig with all the gear for sale, but throw some freebies out to the audience during the show, or give it out as prizes.  At this point, you can be outrageous; you have nothing to lose.

It's ALL about getting attention.

Then there's bands like The Dead and REM who pretty much played the same place all the time, week in and week out, and proceeded to succeed quite well. However, those may be exceptional exceptions:-)

I'l toss in some advice I got once from Casey Monahan from the Texas Music Office that turned out to be right: Musicians should be doing three things, and three things only--writing, playing, recording. No particular order.

He said that to me while I was trying to run a label, produce a record, run a band, make overseas publishing deals, do radio promo, marketing, advertizing, managing, overseeing packaging, design, photoshoots, bla, bla, bla...I am sure there are folks out there who can do all this at the same time as being in a great band, but I wasn't one of them. Naturally, the whole thing blew up in my face, hahahaha.

Kurt T.

Bob Olhsson:
The minute your typical gig becomes "something I can do anytime" to your fans, most will frequently choose "something I can't do any time" EVEN though it isn't as good!

As your audience grows, the possibility of filling small and medium size venues once a week grows. The problem is that club-owners see the fans and virtually always want you to play too much. If you are creative, you can create multiple artist identities or limit your publicity to small neighborhoods so as to play more frequently without overexposing yourself.

Quicksilver, the band I worked for, used to play those regular gigs with the Dead. Those gigs couldn't draw fleas compared to what the bands did on the East Coast.


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