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How Do I Get My First Gig?

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by BigAlex, Jul 16, 2000.

  1. BigAlex


    Jun 12, 2000
    A while back my friends and I got together and started a band. The idea was to have it be sort of a punk/ska thing. We've written a few songs and things seem to be going pretty well. I think pretty soon we may be ready to start playing gigs. My question is how do bands that are more of a rock type go about getting their first gig? Our music isn't really the type you'd find at a coffee shop. I read up about putting together a partfollio on the internet so I understand that aspect (i.e. picture bio etc.) but what do you guys think would be a good place to start?
  2. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    Whoa, dude. Recoil, go previous! Before you venture out in front of an audience, you might want to make sure you have an act.

    If you have little or no experience, you might want to try to play some neutral environments, like band contests and friends' parties. Since you're under drinking age (Unless you live in Brazil or Denmark), you probably won't be playing in bars and if you do, you might not really like your audience.

    Of course, it depends also on what your goal is. If you just want to play, there are the settings I mentioned, as well as public fairs and events. If you play one of those, you'll get some exposure and might even get some contacts. You'll also get some pretty honest opinions about your performance, so make sure you're well rehearsed.

    If you want to play for money, your band might have to learn some repertoire songs that actually fit a bar band context. I once played this nostalgia gig and had to learn about 30 songs. Fortunately they all had that "Johnny B. Goode" style bassline, so I had an easier time than the singer who had to memorize all the lyrics, but that's enough about me.

    Will C. cool.

    "I'm not a Genius; I'm just a hard working guy".

  3. brewer9


    Jul 5, 2000
    just go for it. the best way to be good is to have to be good. so, get a good boom box recording (or better) and send it with a letter (bio and pic would be nice) to the places you want to play at.

    make sure you call them first and ask them how they would like you to submit it and to who. each place may have different requirements, and you have to know who makes the decisions about it.


    [This message has been edited by brewer9 (edited July 17, 2000).]
  4. akajuve400g


    May 22, 2000
    Are there teen clubs in your city/town? There are a couple in mine and they let bands play all the time, but the new ones usually just open for another band........
  5. brewer9


    Jul 5, 2000
    you WANT to open for another band. my band always tries to open for a band that brings more people than we do. that way we expose our stuff to new people every time. if you only play to the same people all the time then you wont build your audience (which is what its all about).


  6. jcadmus


    Apr 2, 2000
    In one word: networking. Tell your friends. Tell your neighbors. Tell your friends' neighbors. Tell the guy who sells you your gear. Tell your mechanic. Tell your gym teacher. Tell your gym teacher's mechanic. You get the idea. You never know who knows who, or who might have a gig for you. Invite people to come hear your band practice. Make the scene -- go to see other bands and make friends with them. Be willing to play parties and free gigs to get some exposure. And keep practicing! smile.
  7. Bassmonster


    Mar 24, 2000
    Start by opening up for other bands, it's the nature of the business. Actually, my reply will just echo what has been said already, but opening gigs are the backbone for new bands and exposure.

    I'm the Bassmonster....ROWWAAARRRR!!!!

  8. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    Invite people to your rehearsals, preferably folks who will be sympathetic to your style of music. When you have an "open" rehearsal, pretend you are actually playing a gig. That means no false starts, stopping midway through a song because of a mistake, playing the same song two or three times, etc. Play like there is no tomorrow. If you make a mistake, keep going. Learn to think on your feet and handle challenges that arise to every band in live gigs. That way you develop a stage presence and confidence.

    And, yes, be totally professional when you invite guests to your rehearsals. That means arrive on time, get set up and get playing. Don't dawdle between songs. Have your set list planned and written down. Play in that order.

    Be prepared for some of the invitees to offer criticism. Don't get too defensive. They might have some valid points that need to be addressed before you really "go public." On the other hand if you think they are wrong, believe in your music. Most bands have been laughed at and criticized in their early stages. It's all part of the game.

    Good luck. Your early efforts may be frustrating, but the experience is valuable. It is a learning process in which you discover that there is so much more to being a band than just playing songs...unless you just want to jam in your garage...which is perfectly fine with many informal bands.
    Good luck. Jason Oldsted
  9. pkr2


    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
  10. eli

    eli Mad showoff 7-stringer and Wish lover Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 1999
    NW suburban Chicago
    You will need at least an hour of music even to be considered as an opening act. That's 10 or 12 radio-length pop songs. That would be your first goal.

    I'm with the bunch who say you should do some freebies first, to make sure you know what a live gig is like. Neighborhood block parties are great for this. Or just give a concert in your driveway and invite people.

    And at least one rehearsal should be a "dress" rehearsal. Really. Wear the clothes you're gonna wear, and DON'T stop for mistakes. If you have more than two "crash-n-burns" in your hour-long "show", then you probably need more rehearsals. At that point, work on GETTING THROUGH the songs without stopping, rather than learning parts.

    But make sure you're having fun! The worst thing you can do is overstress a particular band member or nitpick everything to perfection. The audience can only have a good time if the band is, too. If it ain't perfect, it ain't perfect; but a good attitude will go a long way toward ENTERTAINING the audience -- which is really what you want to do in the first place, right?

    Good luck!
  11. penstock


    Aug 10, 2000
    I was in your shoes not to long ago. My punk/ska band started out by playing parties (even some frat parties. yuck). That was good practice and we made some good contacts and gained some sort of a fan base. We also became friends with some of the local bands and they let us open for them. Another thing we did is if we heard about an event we would find out who was promoting it and would talk to them about letting us play it. Then, once you've paid your dues, the shows will start looking for you instead of you looking for the shows.
  12. brewer9


    Jul 5, 2000
    Eli, I dont know where you're from (OK I'll check your profile), but around here opening acts get either 30 or 45 minute sets. And the freebie part can be extended as pretty normal for original bands; cover bands can get paid much more quickly.

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