Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Scream

I spend time on Facebook. Not by any stretch do I have a ton of friends, less than 800 at this point. What I do have is a ton of bands constantly screaming at me. I think I get at least 20 event invites to see bands every single week. I think it's great that you are sending them out. What I don't think is great is that most bands seem to only contact me or post anything unless they are asking me or other fans for something. What is the rub you ask? Jeff, you tell us to get out there and promote ourselves. I do want to know when you are playing and when you have new material that you are releasing. What you have to realize is that most people who are active on social media are probably following a ton of bands. What are you doing to not be one of those bands that is constantly asking people for something? What barriers are you trying to break down between you and your fans. Where is the heart? If I am a fan of the band I want more than that. I want to be included in your process. I want to be included in your thoughts. What other bands are you listening to? What other shows are you going to? How do I know if you really give a shit about anything except the number of people you have on your list to blast your events to? All of you know what I mean. For the bands you love the most, you look and yearn for meaningful substance beyond the music. Give me any reason you can to make me connect and really care about what you are doing. Do you listen to your fans? Do you reply to tweets? Actually connecting to a fan is the real goal in all of this. Sure, there are bands that I am really into that I have never had any dialogue with. Innerparty System is one of those bands for me. Kurt (my drummer and vibe guru) turned me on to them after he saw them play at SXSW in March. You have your own bands that love and don't pay attention to other than enjoying their music. What if you had those fans but could somehow engage them on a level where they would follow you off the cliff? Could you actually be provocative? Believe me, I don't engage fans merely for the sake of being provocative. I am curious. I actually want to listen. If someone has taken the time to find your band on Facebook or any place else for that matter, you have their attention. There is really no need to scream. Think of it this way...When you are simply screaming to get someone's attention, you really aren't communicating with them. You are yelling. You are jumping up and down. Have conversation with those who will have it with you. Those are the ones that might scream and yell your name to others. Don't be the band that your social media friends cringe when they see another invite or post asking them to give you something. Do you have those friends that only call you when they need something from you? Don't be that band. Make a call when you don't want to scream at them and you simply want to talk.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

It's Better to Have Loved and Lost...

I was just reading a Facebook message from a friend. We were lamenting over the demise of Q101 in Chicago and how it was affecting each of us. We were talking about the business and how so many we know have been chewed up and spit out by it. Last year I posted about why I was a musician. Many of you that read my blog responded with your own stories. Music touches you in a way that nothing else can. With all of this said I am writing to musicians tonight. I am writing to radio DJ's tonight. I am writing to the many that I know that are programmers, record label personnel, indie promoters, music writers, music attorneys, managers, agents, road crew, sound guys, light guys, tour managers and all of us, fans of music. We all started out by listening. Music spoke to us a bit more that the next person. For many including myself, music spoke to me and motivated me in ways that my parents and family could never understand. We were the black sheep. "Why can't you be more like (insert the name of your "responsible" sibling or academically prodigious friend here)." We became seduced. We all bought in. We chose the path less traveled. We chose a rockier road. At some point we decided to roll the dice and jump into the business that surrounded us with music. Maybe we never thought the end would come. We made our deal with the devil to forego a normal life and in most cases, have far less monetary gain to be with the one we loved, music.

In a time where the formal and traditional side of the music business is in constant upheaval and disruption, let's remember that at the end of the day that music is the most important part of the equation. It is the embryo of every reason we got into the business. It is the reason we picked up an instrument or made every effort to be involved in getting music to others. Music is a calling, not a vocation. Music is who we are. Could I have done something else with my life given the 20/20 vision of hindsight? NO FUCKING WAY! That is why I am currently making new Gravity Kills music.

To you musicians reading this, the business side of music can be seductive. Don't let opportunity ever steer you away from creating and know that what you do in the studio and on stage are really what count for you. Most of all, never take for granted that you will get to play another show or record another song.

For those friends of mine at Q101 and WXRP in New York City, I don't think you would have chosen a different path if you could go back in time. Maybe I am wrong and I do understand in a different way what you are going through tonight. Just remember that the song remains the same. I wish all of you the best.

Thursday, July 7, 2011


I titled this entry "Reconnection" for a couple of reasons. I really need to reconnect to what I started here a year ago. I have spent the last year trying to reconnect to who I am, what I am and where I want to go in life. I am reconnecting with my creativity and making music. The second reason, the reason I decided to write today, is my obsession with the disconnect to a larger human experience I feel is occurring with all of us. I have written before about the "digital space" we all create around us using social media and the internet as a whole. Maybe you think I am full of shit and are thinking "Shut up you fucking whiner, the internet rocks!" I don't disagree with you. I am a whiner and the internet does rock but put in context with the issues that we musicians struggle with in a 2.0 world, how do we expand our realm of existence back into the world of living, breathing human beings? How do we get people out to our shows? How do we create a physical community that transcends our virtual community that resides behind my computer monitor? This may sound ass backwards to you. You may be thinking that I have finally lost it. You are definitely thinking "how can he fucking type that on a blog? This makes no sense." You are correct. It does seem strange to think that as someone that is attempting to communicate in the virtual world with facebook, twitter, this blog and now my tumblr account that I am calling for bands to do everything they can to have real face time with their fans in any way they can. Can you do something as simple as have random mixers at a local coffee shop? Could you offer exclusive material to those who show up? I am not saying that this is going to set your career on a rocketship to the moon but you just might start thinking of creative ways to get yourself out from in front of the computer where you endlessly battle the time constraints of attempting to keep up with your internet marketing and social media and help build your fan base locally in a real face-to-face way.  Any of you that have been to a Gravity Kills show in the last few years know I put my money where my mouth is. If you are one of those friends/fans that comes to those shows...Would you actually come if you weren't going to get the face time? I actually enjoy it more than you do but you get my drift. Don't be afraid to become a physical human being to those who might enjoy listening to your music or coming to your shows. Those people that you connect to outside of the matrix will become your most loyal and hardcore fans.