How Does a Band Rebound After a Bad Tour?

Categories: Fan Landers

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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 upset that I've sacrificed so much for such little recognition and my last disastrous tour ruined what little credibility I had in the first place. It went like this: six members of my band backed out the day of our tour kick-off and I was stuck with only one new member who played noise. We had rock shows booked around the country for two months straight and our performances did not reflect the work on the record at all so the audiences were disappointed and confused. Worse, this other guy offended every band, booker, sound guy, venue on the road, ruining what tiny little credibility I had. Word spiraled out in the underground that we were hell on wheels and to be avoided at all costs. What a nightmare. I think everyone will forget after time, but I am wondering if it is still possible to promote and save my last record with positive press and maybe do another tour for it in a more positive light this summer. Or should I scrap five years of work, come up with a new pseudonym, possibly a disguise and start over?
Fingers Crossed & On My Knees

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What to Do When Your Very Personal Art Goes Public

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,
I'm the main songwriter in my band [redacted]. We are doing extremely well, getting radio airplay on the best college radio stations in [area] as well as some overseas play on BBC-1. With all the attention we've been getting, I'm starting to fear that people are going to realize that what I'm singing about isn't fiction. When I was 20 years old my dad killed my sister and then himself in a murder suicide. It seems like the songs that people like the best are all about that one incident, just in different words. I guess its healthy to have a creative outlet that helps me deal, but I don't want to get typecast as a band whose songs are all about violence, murder, and suicide. Well, thanks for your time.
Andy

See also: Ask Fan Landers: Will My Band Always Be Broke?

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How Bad Press Can Be Overcome

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.

Fan,
Recently, the attentions of a music writer have been turned on my band, calling us "sellouts" when he clearly has no knowledge of our actual situations. He seems to particularly have it in for us. I don't want to write off his behavior as old jaded guy versus young enthusiastic happy people, because I do want to take the time to understand what's happening here. But no matter how much I try, I can't figure it out. Why's he being so mean? What's in it for him? Why does he care what other people enjoy or even promote?
Confused in New York

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Can a Band Overcome Bad Early Albums?

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 prepping for the release of my an album, and I'm looking to get the word out about it. This is my third album and I'm extremely proud of the writing and production value. It's a nice progression from my second album (which I'm also very proud, but sounds very "recorded in my bedroom.") My first album, however, sounds very much like the "first try" that it was. I still perform a handful songs off it at shows, and it definitely has its moments, but the tracks feel very incomplete and my vocal takes leave much to be desired.  If I were evaluating an unknown artist and the first song I heard was one off that album, I'd probably dismiss myself as someone who's got a long way to go before he was worth my attention.  I'm concerned that as I promote my new album and seek to book bigger gigs, the amateurish nature of that first album will be held against me if they find it first on Spotify or Soundcloud (obviously I'm trying to steer them towards my latest and greatest, but I don't want to lose out if they don't cooperate.) I still plan on selling the CD at shows, but should I pull it from the web when I kick off my new album release?  Or am I being too paranoid?

Thanks!
Anonymous

See also: Ask Fan Landers: Who Should I Start My First Band With?

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Want to Be Shocking? Stop Trying to Be Shocking!

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 in a well established "noise" band, building a reputation over the years of being quite terrifying, getting ourselves banned from "art" spaces and underground venues alike coast-to-coast, with even fringe interests finding us appalling and reprehensible. As more people "get it" we have had to raise the bar with increasingly "offensive" material and unpredictable antics...this has involved more self-harm, insulting off-stage merch, equipment destruction and hostile, violent audience engagement, to the point where we don't know where the "parody" begins and ends. We are running out of ways to push people away! Please help us get our "street cred" back before we literally kill ourselves (or others) on stage.
"lost" in irony

See also: The Best Noise Tracks of 2013

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A Label Is Interested in Me ... What Do I Do?!

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've been playing in bands pretty much all my life. They've all been pretty terrible to say the least, but it's been a learning process, so I think it's been worth it. However, in the past year I decided to take music into my own hands and learn how to write my own songs. Since then, I have released a ton of music, and toured a good amount. This is all in one year. Recently, a reputable label has said they have some interest in the band. We have been wined and dined, etc. Yet, it's been three weeks since they have gotten back to us. What do I do during this process? Do I simply sit back and wait? Or do I take it into my own hands and email or call them back? Are they disinterested? Help!
J

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

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Ask Fan Landers: Who Should I Start My First Band With?

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 almost no technical musical capabilities. However, for some reason, I have recently found myself in a situation where a few people are interested in making music with me, I suppose due to my tastes, attitude, and general involvement with DIY. This would be purely for fun and I am by no means trying to "make it" beyond creating something that I think is good. I'm trying to decide who to play with. On the one hand, a couple of my best friends want to start a band. On the other hand, a friend who I don't know as well, but with whom I think I have more shared music/art tastes and band-oriented goals, also wants to start something. I know I don't have time for more than one project right now. Would you play with your best friends or the person who seems more musically compatible? 

First World Music Problems in Brooklyn


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Most Bands Are Destined For Nothingness

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.

Fan,
I have been in a band for five and a half years and, despite playing shows all around NYC, releasing a record, and doing a tour I can honestly say we have zero fans beyond our friends. I know it isn't because we are terrible; we all majored in music. But we clearly are approaching this whole band thing completely wrong. I'm at the point where I'm ready to give up, but it's my passion so the thought of that is horrific. Any advice you can offer would be greatly appreciated. I hope to hear from you soon!
Jenna

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

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Do We, Damon & Naomi, Have To Sell Merch?

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 Landers,
Do we have to sell things to be professional musicians?
Love playing,
Damon & Naomi

See also: Fan Landers: Is My Band Accidentally Aiding a Right-Wing Extremist?


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The Pros and Cons of Being Your Own Fake Manager

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.

Fan,
I am little-known solo artist in the midwest hoping to get a little career happening. After some trouble related to getting answers in booking gigs, I created an email account and a manager personae to see if that would help and listed "him" as my contact on Facebook and my website and my Twitter account too. Is this wrong of me to do? What is the worst thing that could happen if someone figured it out that I am lying?
Sam

See also: Fan Landers: My Excellent Band Knows Jack About Marketing. Help!

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