• Set Change Over

    When rock stars stroll out on stage there isn’t an eye in the crowd that isn’t glued on them, and when they ask their audience to scream with them, there isn’t a soul that doesn’t scream ‘til their throats bleed.  One thing that all musicians have in common is a larger-than-life stage presence. Another thing is that no stage performance happens without the artists and their team adhering to the general rules pertaining to set changeovers. Everyone’s time is of equal value; the promoters, the venue owners, and your fellow artists, included. In this article we will offer several tips that will help you to master the art of the “set changeover”.

    1. Preparation: As noted in our recent article, “Event Promo Checklist” (http://musicadvice101.com/eventpromochecklist/), if the band is not already familiar with the venue, a thorough walk-through of the venue and a meeting with the sound tech is recommended as part of the preparation for an efficient set changeover and a great show. The band should have as much information as possible in advance; i.e. stage diagram, direction the stage faces, pre-staging area, load-in area, etc. Having a stage plot for your band’s set up to share with the sound tech and venue manager can be a valuable tool in getting set up quickly.

    2. Organization: Every band should be ready at least 15 minutes before their set time. Make sure band members are not hanging out at the bar, in the parking lot, or in the bathroom.

    Sarge Tip

     

    Before going on stage make sure all instruments are tuned and have all outboard gear pre-wired and functioning. Also, be sure to change out all batteries.

    It is a wise idea for the drummer to have as much of the drum kit assembled as possible in the pre-staging area. The drummer should get all gear on stage first. If any of the band members have extra equipment or if the band has their own props or lighting, make sure there are extra hands to help.

    Sarge Tip

     

    Sometimes the backline is provided or is rented. If so, do not assume all is working properly. Make sure you allow time to test the equipment.

    3. Pre-wire all equipment and outboard gear, so they can be plugged into one outlet. This not only saves time, but it eliminates loose wires and gives the artists more room to move around on stage.

    Do not overload outlets, most are 20 amp. Know how many amps your equipment requires. This is especially important if you have additional lighting. Be sure to check with the sound tech before adding equipment that may be unnecessary. You definitely don’t want to be popping breakers in the middle of you set.

    Sarge Tip

     

    It also saves a lot of time if you have used the restroom, applied your make up and have your drinks ready and waiting for set up along with your equipment.

    4. Have a game plan for moving everything off the stage in a timely manner so you don’t hold up the band behind you. Make it a habit to show your professionalism and courtesy by offering to assist the band before and after you in moving their gear.

    Toward the end of your set invite your fans to meet you at your merch table after you have finished striking your equipment. This will encourage them not to rush the stage to talk with you, and it also feels more like a personal invitation to meet you and buy some merch.

    5. So now that you have mastered the art of the changeover, you’ve got more time for the critical sound check, and more time to pay attention to the sound guy, leading up to a lot better set all the way around.

    Compiled by Rose’s Damned Opinion

  • Planning a Tour Budget

    So, let’s say you’ve got shows booked in several different cities, maybe even different nearby states…. What to do now? What is it going to cost? Planning the budget for taking your show on the road can be a daunting task; but we’ve gathered some information and good solid ideas for you to consider before hitting the highway…

    1. Transportation: Obviously you need wheels to get where you’re going. The ultimate is to have one vehicle to carry the band and all the gear. If your band is fortunate enough to already own a tour vehicle… that’s great. However, most new unsigned bands don’t have the perfect tour vehicle yet and will need to consider the expense of renting a vehicle and/or trailer.

    Sarge Tip

    Be as certain as possible that the vehicle is in good repair. Have the vehicle serviced by a good mechanic before you travel. A major motor vehicle melt-down when you’re on the road and don’t have the time or cash to fix it, can put a screeching halt on the entire tour!

    2. AAA: AAA Is a good investment for about $95.00 per year. Having a AAA card will definitely help get you back on the road if you have a flat, run out of gas, or any number of crazy unexpected little things that can happen when traveling.

    3. Insurance: Definitely be sure the vehicle’s insurance is paid and covers any potential incidents. Your instruments and gear are another story. A separate policy is advised to insure against loss, damage or theft of your equipment. Contact your insurance provider for more information on exactly what is and is not covered by the vehicle’s insurance. http://rockrevoltmagazine.com/band-aid-101-musical-instrument-gear-insurance

    Sarge Tip

    Make sure your designated driver is paying attention to the road and speed limits. Tickets are expensive!.

    4. Fuel and Mileage: Calculate your mileage and fuel costs ahead to make sure you know how much it’s going to cost you to get from point A to point B, C, D, and home again. With gas prices averaging around $3.00 per gallon, this is a hefty part of the tour budget. Using a fuel /mileage calculator site like http://www.fueleconomy.gov/ will help a lot in your planning.

    5. Tolls: Check and re-check your route…. Are there toll roads involved? While they may be the most fuel saving routes, do not forget to have toll money available. Toll cards like E-Pass or Sunpass can aslo be extremely beneficial when traveling.

    Sarge Tip

    Plan your route… carefully. Map it out so you can calculate mileage, fuel costs, toll expenses, as well as the nearest accommodations to each venue..

    6. Food: Hopefully the agreement with the venue includes some food and beverage for the band. If not, you still need to eat. Typically, the cash needed for food is about $20.00 per day, per person. We suggest packing some non-perishable groceries to take with you and finding out what’s available near the venue and hotel ahead of time.

    7. Accommodations: Chances are, you won’t have family or friends in every city that can put the band up for the night, so hotel frequent stay plans can help you save some dollars on room rates. Most hotel/motel chains have them. You just need your manager or one band member to sign up and be responsible for the reservations. Make reservations in advance so you know how much you’re spending and where you’re going to crash after the show. It’s great if you can get the frequent traveler card with a hotel chain that offers free breakfast!

    8. Parking: Check in to possible parking fees for each venue, or hotel parking lot. This can be an overlooked and unexpected expense that can really add up.

    Sarge Tip

    Consider the safety of the vehicle. Park in a well-lit area, preferably right outside of the room or at least within view from the room.If you are towing a trailer with a roll up door, park it against wall if possible..

    9. Venues: Do as much advance research on the venue as possible. You will want to know if Wi-fi is available, occupancy, stage dimensions, noise ordinances, sound technicians, and what equipment does each venue already have, and if there’s a green room for the band. Check out their websites and Facebook pages for pictures and comments. Make contact with the other bands playing, they may have good information for you and become great contacts later on.

    10. Merchandise: Don’t carry all of your merchandise with you. Leave some of it at home. If you need more while on the road, you can have someone from the home base send it out to you. Set up your merch table at each venue early.It let’s people know you are making your way along the tour by selling your stuff. And don’t be the first to take your table down at the end of the show.

    Sarge Tip

    Check out our Music Advice 101 article on Merch Sales: http://musicadvice101.com/merch-table-sales .

    Compiled by Rose’s DamnedOpinion

  • Gig Bag Checklist

    Sarge_jokersPAYattention How frustrating is it to get to a big show and then realize that you forgot to bring an essential item you need? It happens all the time with bands on the road. Below is a list of items that you should bring along with you that can help you get through any venture away from home. Fell free to print this so you can check off the items as you build your own gig bag. Don’t forget: its better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it.

    - AAA card (or some kind of road-side assistance information)

    - Batteries

    - Credit Card(s)

    - ID (always) and Passport (if traveling outside the U.S.)

    - Phone number of a friend in the city you are in

    - Gas money

    - Altoids

    - Hand sanitizer

    - Sweat-proof sunscreen and lip balm.

    - Grooming items (include deodorant, toothbrush/paste/mouthwash)

    - Condoms (if you’re going to play, play nice)

    - Extra change of clothes in case you get stuck somewhere and need to stay overnight.

    - Natural baby wipes (great for makeup removal, freshening up, and removing stains from clothing)

    - Lint roller

    - Safety pins

    - A few paperclips of various sizes (you’d be amazed what you can clean or repair with a bent paperclip)

    - A few protein bars (Power Bar, Soy Joy, etc.)

    - Watch/travel clock

    Sarge Tip

    Keep your ID, wallet, cash, etc. on you at all times.

     

    Below are more items for individual members of your band:

     

    Sales/Promo/Business Items- CDs- Promo items- Mailing lists- Merchandise- Sharpies

    - Business cards

    - Performance Rights Affiliation Card

    - Cell phone (please turn to silent during the show!)

    - Makeup

    - Hair products

    - Directions to the venue

    - Name and number of venue contact

    - Duct tape and/or Gaffers Tape

    - Itinerary/Tour Book/Call Sheet

    - The show file, containing your copy of the contract

    - Important phone numbers

    - Laptop accessories (if applicable)

    - Set lists

    - Wallet or vinyl zip ouch to keep receipts in

    Acoustic Guitar- Capo- Cloth- Finger-ease, if you use it- Picks (lots of ‘em)

    - Pickup- Slide

    - Strap

    - Tuning pegs/keys

    - Wood conditioner

    Drums- Adjunct rack percussion items- Carpet or blanket.- Drum key- Fingerless gloves or stick grips

    -Kick drum pillow or blanket or dampener item-Kick pedal

    -Tone control rings

    -Your drum throne

    -Your own cymbals

    -Your own high hat and clutch

    -Your own snare

    -Your own sticks and brushes (plus extras)

     

     

    Electric Guitar-Capo-Cloth-Effects Pedals (neat and readily daisy-chained)-Extra strings

    -Finger

    -ease, if you use it

    -Picks (lots of ‘em)

    -Slide

    -Strap

    -Tuning pegs

    -Wood conditioner

    -Your amplifier

     

    Electric Bass Guitar- Bass head and cabinet- Effects pedals- Extra strings- Strap

    - Picks (lots of ‘em)

    - Tuning pegs

     

     

    Horns/Brass- All the pieces of your horn- Clip-on mics- Clip-on sound reflectors

    - Cloth to clear out spit valves

    -Mouthpieces

    -Music stand clip-on light

    -Music stand or clip-on chart cards

    -Mutes

    -Polish

    -Spare valve pads

    -Strap/Harness

    Keyboards- Digital in/out box- Keyboard stands- Laptop rig and appropriate connectors

    - Sample bank and appropriate connectors

    - Sound module

    - Sustain pedal

    Saxophones/Woodwinds- Cleaning cloths- Clip on Mics- Mouthpiece- Reeds

    - Saxophone strap/baritone harness

     

    Strings- Bow resin- Cables if using acoustic/electric- Clip-on music stand light

    - Cloth

    - Music Stand

    - Pickup

    - Your bow

    Voice- A water clip and sheet music clip accessory for the mic stand.- Lozenges, Throat Coat tea, or other vocal care product- Microphone and cable- Personal in-ear monitor

    - Personal steamer / pocket sauna

    - Water (not cold – lukewarm is best)

    - Honey


    Compiled by Chris Erwin

  • Write A Press Release

    Press releases are an important part of corresponding with your audience. They provide an informational and informal advertisement of your product. Written correctly, press releases advertise to your audience without being dubbed as an advertisement.

    1. Use a document editor (Microsoft Word or equivalent).

    2. Create a headline for your press release. These headlines should be short and catchy while explaining why the reader should read your release.

    3. Explain the 5 “W’s” (Who, What, When, Where and Why). Include details such as address, age limit, special guest appearances, parking information, drink specials, sponsors of the event and the name of other bands performing.

    4. Keep it clear and concise. Hit key points, but don’t over do it. Generally, around 300 words should do the trick.

    5. CHECK YOUR SPELLING AND GRAMMAR! – If you’re not a good writer, find someone who is.

    Sarge Tip

    Always provide the date of the event on your press release. Many people will spend most of their time making it sound nice and eloquent, but forget the main goal: to inform your audience on the happenings of your brand.

    6. Release to press outlets. Some good ones to reach out to would be your local college radio stations, online radio, weekly magazines and online blogs.

    7. Create incentives for the press. Free entry, press passes and special VIP privilages are great ways to motivate the press to show up to your event. 

    Compiled by Monty Burton