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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Is It OK to Ask to Get Paid for a Benefit Gig?

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 is pretty popular here in the Pacific Northwest and so we get asked to do benefits at least once a month if not more. Shows are not our entire livelihood as a band, but the bulk of it, aside from merch and some CD sales/Bandcamp revenue. We are politically-minded and community-oriented people but our ability to play for free is limited. How kosher is it to ask for a small guarantee? We are usually a headliner or a support headliner for touring bands. Some of the things we get asked to play are not very well put together and so the success of the event rests on our fans showing up and rocking out.
Sincerely,
A Seattle Band


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Help Us Negotiate With the Record Label

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,

For the last few months my band has been doing fairly well. We had a successful tour with some press here and there and we've release some albums and tapes that have sold fairly well. About six months ago when we received an email from the head of a very legitimate label saying how much she liked our material. We met with her and we discussed our band and basically danced around the issue at hand. It seemed like she wanted to sign us but nothing was presented and we didn't want to seem presumptuous--we still keep in touch and she has come to our shows. Recently she emailed me saying how she liked some of our new songs. What's the deal here? Why is she keeping in contact here and there and offering no contract or anything? Is she trying to develop a relationship and then present a deal? Or is she looking for us to write a record and present it to her first? Very confused, not sure if I should be hopeful or not. I don't want to make the wrong move! Help!

S

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Until You're Headlining Sold Out Club Tours, This Is What Life in a Band Is Like

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 just returned from our two month tour. We survived, we don't hate each other, though the tour was not profitable we did not lose too much money. It was a very humbling tour because nothing really turned out the way we thought it would. I lost quite a bit of money just from feeding myself, and paying bills while away. In the next year we want to focus on writing our next record, but because we have a booking agent who is constantly scouting tours for us we still live under the impression that any month we might get a support tour that we can't turn down.

I'm torn because I just landed an interview for a corporate music position, and it is the kind of job that would be extremely difficult to leave on tour with. At what point do I stop postponing my own personal, professional development for my band? I'm also not the only band member making sacrifices. None of us like our day jobs and we all barely make ends meet, but we also unanimously want to record another record and keep this project going. Do up-and-coming bands take a break from touring, or does that kill momentum? We have already done two national tours behind our first record.

xo,
Alexa

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My Musical Hero Is Taking Advantage of Me

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,
A few months ago I recorded some songs that I did not expect anyone to listen to. Except they did. And my local scene seemed to think I did a pretty good job, so I started playing out a lot locally. Eventually, I landed an opening gig for an older artist that is one of my biggest influences. Which led to opening a whole tour for him. Yay! But...that led to him assigning me booking and PR duties because the aforementioned artist is "self managed."

This has all been a really awesome experience since I'm a total rookie (and this artist has become a really great friend and mentor), but the work load is getting out of control and I'm not getting paid! It started as a few small favors, so we never talked money, but it never stopped. Now it looks like I'm expected to do this for a while. How do I keep this opportunity and friendship without getting taken advantage of because I'm a fangirl? I really love this musician as an artist and a friend, but I barely have a grasp on how to book my own shows and do my own PR, let alone run someone else's. I'm overwhelmed! Help!
Ms. Manager

See also: How to Kick a Drunk Out of Your Band

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How to Kick a Drunk Out of Your Band

Categories: Fan Landers

fanlandersheaderrrrr.jpg
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,

Is there a way to kick someone out of your band gently? After a few months with a new synth player we are all getting tired of his flaky behavior, being late to practice, and him being too drunk to load out. He's a nice guy but we need to find someone else who is as committed and responsible as the rest of the band. I don't want him to think we are judging him or make him feel bad.

The Singing Drummer

See also: Either She's Your Girlfriend or Your Roadie, Not Both


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