This astute piece of advice came my way courtesy of Bottom of the Hill's exhaustive booking page. It seems obvious. You shouldn't be in a big hurry to play to nobody. But to me, it's a revelation:
"You should feel ready to play the Bottom of the Hill -- essentially this means that if you played a Monday night at the club, you'd feel very confident that 40 - 50 people would come to see your band. If you don't feel that's the case, that's okay. It doesn't mean you suck. it just means that you should wait a bit before playing this particular club. You shouldn't be in a big hurry to play to nobody and that's what happens if you play before you're ready."
When we played Carnegie Hall last fall, the acoustics were mind-blowing and all, but no one came. My mother came, and so did my one friend who lives in Brooklyn, but that was about it. All those beautiful acoustics were wasted on absent ears. So next time I go to a show at this venue or that venue with its epilepsy inducing lights, massive line array speakers, and hordes of drunken fans, and a fellow musician friend says to me, "Damn it, why can't I play here? If I had a stage like this, a sound system like this, and a huge console with my very own devoted sound engineer to mix my shit, then yeah, I'd have screaming fans too," I'll say to her, "Listen, you shouldn't be in a big hurry to play to nobody." And she'll say, "Nobody? Everyone will come if I play here!" And I'll say, "Everyone who? Your everyone is not enough. Even if everyone you know on Schmacebook and Twatter comes, it still won't be enough. A thousand people you don't know also need to come." And she'll say, "Fuck you, I'm great. I deserve a great venue." And I'll say, "You may be great, but playing a great venue is secondary to having a great audience." And so on. You get the point. I used to wonder how we could book a show at this or that great venue. Now I'm wondering how to acquire hordes of drunken fans...
1) Play small local shows
Done. We're playing May 2nd at the Hemlock Tavern with Stratic and Blood Wedding and May 21st at El Rio with Stratic, Noah Phillips and Jason Hoopes.
2) Play more small local shows
Um. I guess there are a few more venues we should contact, such as Public Works, Amnesia, The Knockout, The Uptown, and The Makeout Room. I've been spamming them to no avail. Keep on keeping on.
3) Play medium-sized local shows
Let's see. There's The Rickshaw Stop, The New Parish, Elbo Room, and Bottom of the Hill. That's about it for the medium-sized local venues that might be into our kind of synthtastic poporgasmatics. But as you know now, I'm not in a big hurry to play to nobody, so we're not ready for these venues. Because we need to...
4) Get a manager/label/booking agent or SOMETHING besides me, Stefan and this blog.
The music is not enough. Write that down. The music is not enough. Or maybe our music is not good enough. Really? Apparently, this music is good enough. So is this music. And this music. I rest my case. All these schmucks have representation. How dare I compare FEZANT to such luminaries? Oh whatever. I don't like their music, and they probably wouldn't like mine. All things being equal, what gives? Which is why we should...
5) DO IT OURSELVES!!!!!!!! YES YES YES. DIYDIYDIYDDIIIYYY!!!!!!!!!!
Make your own t-shirts, print your own CDs/tapes/records, make your own flyers, book your own tour, mix your own music, master it with your own sketchy plug-ins, make your own costumes, design your own face, restructure your own skeleton, and oh yes, pay for your own health care.
6) I don't want to Do It Myself
I'll print some CDs (in the works) and hand them out at shows for free. I'll make some t-shirts. I'll email venues. We'll write songs. We'll perform them. But I miss extended families, borrowing an onion or two from the neighbors, and my parents. I miss how my parents used to take care of everything, especially the boring details. Which is why we should...
7) Focus on the music. The rest is somewhat necessary but mostly nonsense.
Yeah, OK. Here's a song we started a long time ago and abandoned. We didn't even get around to recording the vocals. It sounds interesting to me today: