Should I Join a Trust-Fund Kid's Band for the Money?

Categories: Fan Landers

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Are you a musician? Is your group having issues? Ask Fan Landers! Critic Jessica Hopper has played in and managed bands, toured internationally, booked shows, produced records, and worked as a publicist, and is the author of The Girls' Guide to Rocking, a how-to for teen ladies. She is here to help you stop doing it wrong. Send your problems to her -- confidentiality is assured, unless you want to use your drama as a ticket to Internet microfame.

Dear Fan,
I play drums in a few local bands. One of them is a touring band, but all of them are money-losing operations, which sucks, but none of them are the kind of music that is going to be popular. There's a dude here in [redacted] with an indie rock band. Not terrible, but not really my thing. He's a big fan of one of my bands and asked me if I would join his full time. The thing is, he's a trust-fund kid and playing in his band is a salaried gig. The money is better than my temp job. Everyone in the scene knows his deal (the band's "van" is a Lexus SUV) and so joining the band would be embarrassing. I'd have to quit my other bands, which sucks. Should I do it?
Andrew

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Help! Our Singer Thinks He's Billy Joel! (He's Not)

Categories: Fan Landers

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Are you a musician? Is your group having issues? Ask Fan Landers! Critic Jessica Hopper has played in and managed bands, toured internationally, booked shows, produced records, worked as a publicist and is the author of The Girls' Guide to Rocking, a how-to for teen ladies. She is here to help you stop doing it wrong. Send your problems to her -- confidentiality is assured, unless you want to use your drama as a ticket to Internet microfame.

Dear Fan,

Without consulting the band our singer has gotten himself a keyboard and started playing it in practice. He's got almost no piano abilities and is winging it, one or two fingers at a time and has a hard time singing while he's playing. That is only part of the problem! The keyboard sounds like super shitty fake piano. He brought in a couple half-baked new songs and wastes a ton of time at our practice tinkering around and trying to figure it out. The songs are all ballads because he can only play and sing OK if he does it super slowly. Our band went from being fun to being horrible and he doesn't even notice because he thinks this keyboard is the best thing to ever happen to us and it is kind of ruining everything.

Kimber


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Songwriting Advice From Successful Songwriters

Categories: Fan Landers

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Are you a musician? Is your group having issues? Ask Fan Landers! Critic Jessica Hopper has played in and managed bands, toured internationally, booked shows, produced records, worked as a publicist and is the author of The Girls' Guide to Rocking, a how-to for teen ladies. She is here to help you stop doing it wrong. Send your problems to her -- confidentiality is assured, unless you want to use your drama as a ticket to Internet microfame.

Hi Fan,

I'm a singer songwriter who has recorded a full album of original material with a great producer. The feedback i've been getting has been extremely positive. I am not trying to become a recording artist. I really just want to write and have other people record my songs. How does an unknown songwriter go about finding a manager/ publisher with the rolodex to pitch songs to popular artists?

Thanks,
Baxter


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How Do I Break Into Playing Shows in a Big City?

Categories: Fan Landers

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Are you a musician? Is your group having issues? Ask Fan Landers! Critic Jessica Hopper has played in and managed bands, toured internationally, booked shows, produced records, worked as a publicist and is the author of The Girls' Guide to Rocking, a how-to for teen ladies. She is here to help you stop doing it wrong. Send your problems to her -- confidentiality is assured, unless you want to use your drama as a ticket to Internet microfame.

Hi there Fan,

I'm an independent recording artist in Joshua Tree, California, looking to make my debut after a successful Kickstarter project and my album being almost complete. Canvassing Los Angeles for gigs as an opening act is somewhat daunting, especially since my album isn't yet released. Do you have a word of advice on how to get my promo, such as it is, in front of more people?


Thanks,
Dana Larson


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How Should My Band Navigate Our Rising Popularity?

Categories: Fan Landers

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Are you a musician? Is your group having issues? Ask Fan Landers! Critic Jessica Hopper has played in and managed bands, toured internationally, booked shows, produced records, worked as a publicist and is the author of The Girls' Guide to Rocking, a how-to for teen ladies. She is here to help you stop doing it wrong. Send your problems to her -- confidentiality is assured, unless you want to use your drama as a ticket to Internet microfame.

Hello Fan!
    
My band just embarked on our first 3 month tour after being together only 7 months. I know it sounds silly but we must have angels because we survived New York. We even obtained a show at a renowned state fair on a sponsored stage...Huge! The band has even garnered a lot of great press. Call it post-tour blues but we just don't know what to do next. We have a lot of genuine fans who all give us the "you will make it" speech but I know how slim the chances are. Our manager also happens to be our producer so we can record at any time. Do we record an album and distribute to stores? I'm the guitar player and composer so do I get with the singer and write more? Do we need to work on our marketing or even try to get in touch with record labels? Festivals? We just need some guidance because as you can tell, I don't even know if I'm asking the right questions. Any help would be awesome!
Theophilus

See also: Help Us Negotiate With the Record Label

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Should Bands Play Corporate-Sponsored Shows?

Categories: Fan Landers

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Are you a musician? Is your group having issues? Ask Fan Landers! Critic Jessica Hopper has played in and managed bands, toured internationally, booked shows, produced records, worked as a publicist and is the author of The Girls' Guide to Rocking, a how-to for teen ladies. She is here to help you stop doing it wrong. Send your problems to her -- confidentiality is assured, unless you want to use your drama as a ticket to Internet microfame.

Dear Fan,
My band's stuck in the middle of a debate and I hope you can help us. Our band has been around for a few years, and had a pretty run-of-the-mill existence in the scene. We have an audience, but it's not huge. Every once in awhile we get a gig that covers a few cases of beer and a coupla months of the band's van insurance. It would be nice to make some money, that part we can all agree on. We got offered a gig playing a sponsored show. Everything about it's different than a regular show--there's a product car in the "venue," only [redacted] will be served, the show's happening in a place that isn't a club, the other bands are corny and not from our scene. I say we don't need the money that bad. The rest of the band says it's not big deal and we should do it, especially since it could open the door to doing more of these easy money shows. What say you?
--Kevin

See also: These Bands Took Fan Landers' Advice: Did It Work?

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Is It Possible to Stay Sober on Tour?

Categories: Fan Landers

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Are you a musician? Is your group having issues? Ask Fan Landers! Critic Jessica Hopper has played in and managed bands, toured internationally, booked shows, produced records, worked as a publicist and is the author of The Girls' Guide to Rocking, a how-to for teen ladies. She is here to help you stop doing it wrong. Send your problems to her -- confidentiality is assured, unless you want to use your drama as a ticket to Internet microfame.

Dear Fan,

I'm the only sober member in my band, coming up on nine years in recovery. I'm active in AA. It's a big part of my life. I love and need the consistency of meetings, regular prayer and meditation. You know, all the good stuff that makes it work. My band mates are not sober. The festival scene which we are on this summer is also not a great place to hang for a sober person. I find myself trapped and unable to get in a good routine with the stuff that keeps me sane and sober. I also look around and think "they are having much more fun than me. If only I were drinking." Now, of course, I don't listen to that voice for more than a second, but it can get lonely in that space. I try and do things like just be a good band mate. Load all the gear while they are going nuts after gigs. Be of service and all of that. I also try and hit as many meetings as I can on tour. It still gets hard and I wonder how other musicians who are sober do it happily and successfully?

--A Sober Guy


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Is the Band Responsible For Replacing a Member's Stolen Instrument?

Categories: Fan Landers

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Are you a musician? Is your group having issues? Ask Fan Landers! Critic Jessica Hopper has played in and managed bands, toured internationally, booked shows, produced records, worked as a publicist and is the author of The Girls' Guide to Rocking, a how-to for teen ladies. She is here to help you stop doing it wrong. Send your problems to her -- confidentiality is assured, unless you want to use your drama as a ticket to Internet microfame.

Dear Fan,
We were out on tour a few weeks ago and our fiddle player had her very fancy and crazy expensive  200 year old fiddle stolen straight from our van. She has used it daily for 20 years and it is a part of her identity, and an essential part of our bands sound. So how do we deal with the loss as a band? How do we possibly raise the funds for a new one?
Sincerely,
Randy


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Our Singer Is an Overconfident Manchild

Categories: Fan Landers

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Are you a musician? Is your group having issues? Ask Fan Landers! Critic Jessica Hopper has played in and managed bands, toured internationally, booked shows, produced records, worked as a publicist and is the author of The Girls' Guide to Rocking, a how-to for teen ladies. She is here to help you stop doing it wrong. Send your problems to her -- confidentiality is assured, unless you want to use your drama as a ticket to Internet microfame.

Dear Fan,
I have been in an up-and-coming band for a little whole now. I love playing with them and we are killing every festival and moving up in the world. We are finding success, good things keep coming and the potential for it to just get bigger and better is all there, so I am left wondering why the fuck the leader of the band forgets to do shit like bring merch to gigs? Or say the name if the band during the gig? Not follow up on great opportunities? Not write a set list and stands around looking stupid trying to figure out what to play next? Gets super high before gigs and forgets the easiest changes?  

I understand that some of these things aren't big deals. I just feel like I'm a professional. I want to play that way. I want the show to be that start to finish. We have some nights where we murder the set in a good way. The crowd is freaking out and loving it. Other nights that are just duds because the main guy doesn't seem to care or thinks it's OK to not give 100% when there aren't as many people at a gig. 

Yours truly,
Petey

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Things Bands Do That Keep Promoters From Booking Them

Categories: Fan Landers

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Are you a musician? Is your group having issues? Ask Fan Landers! Critic Jessica Hopper has played in and managed bands, toured internationally, booked shows, produced records, worked as a publicist and is the author of The Girls' Guide to Rocking, a how-to for teen ladies. She is here to help you stop doing it wrong. Send your problems to her -- confidentiality is assured, unless you want to use your drama as a ticket to Internet microfame.

My Dearest Fan Landers,

I run a DIY space and book shows around town in majestic Chicago. We need your help! Rather, a lot of bands, presumably new, need your help. Too often I get bombarded by a handful of bands that are relentless in asking for shows. I'm talking an email-a-day and phone calls on top of the 50 new show requests per day we're sent. Could you offer some guidelines on how much is too much and  explain the difference between appropriate persistence and annoyance? I never want to rule a band out before I hear them, but some cases have become borderline harassment, which makes me never want to talk to these people again. I've been hearing from the local record shop who does in-stores and other spaces/promoters that they have this same problem. Please help us by helping them learn when you're helping your band and when you're hurting it.

Kelly Nothing, Animal Kingdom

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