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Metal band, need advice managing gigs and public relations

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by basssixx24, Mar 30, 2018.

  1. basssixx24


    Mar 28, 2018
    I play bass for a small Atlanta metal band, we’re called Avail The Lost if you want to check out our stuff. We’re a six-piece with 3 guitars, and it’s beginning to become more and more evident that we are seriously struggling to be able to practice together regularly and our communication skills as a whole are really lacking. I’ve been thinking that one of us, or myself even, should step up and take the responsibility of managing shows and talking to other bands. Currently, there isn’t a set position for this in the band and it’s becoming a mess. Any advice for a six college kids trying to make this band more than just a hobby?
  2. PauFerro


    Jun 8, 2008
    United States
    1. Figure out how to scale the band for different price points. duo to trio to quartet and up.
    2. Get on the model where one of you books gigs, keeps a leader's share, and offers the gig to the rest of the guys. Don't bother getting consensus on the use of money for the band, and own all the equipment if you can.
    3. Give up all hope of democracy working on a regular basis.
    4. You are in a transient phase of life, where members are less responsible than older ladies and germs and tend to leave for other schools, graduate, take jobs in the summer, potentially, far away. If someone misses more than a couple practices, then find someone else.
    5. If you are mature enough to interact well with slightly older cats, consider going outside the college scene to people who are working and stable -- graduates who live in town. That'll bring some stability to the band.
    6. Don't retool or call rehearsals until you have a paid gig on the horizon.
    7. Figure out ways of getting 1 and 2 hour gigs at first so you don't have to pull a rehearsal marathon to be read, and then show up sounding like dirt.
    8. Work your butt off at sales and marketing. That comes first.

    My concern is that the guys in the band might not let you be the leader, but you know the culture better than I do. Or if they do let you do all the hard work, they'll dictate all the fun stuff, making your a lackey for the band.

    You'll have to figure out a way to assert yourself in that way, and it sometimes means retooling. That's why, unless you are in a music program or something, I'm preferring you find musicians who are more stable and maybe a bit older than the university age. I am making assumptions that you're undergraduates here.

    I just remember at that time how hard it was to get commitment from anyone in that age group. it was when people got jobs, had a bit of extra cash for equipment, and were looking for an escape from the grind that I was able to form bands that were reliable.
    ak56 likes this.
  3. Kriegs


    Feb 14, 2018
    Not sure that's gonna work for a metal band :D

    I REALLY don't think a fledgling metal band is going to even have 2 hours worth of material, let alone be able to book a 2 hour show. My assumption is based on this band being an original band and not a cover band (which seems to be the case from their social media).
  4. Seanto


    Dec 29, 2005
    I think putting someone in charge of booking is a great idea. Generally people don't want to do it as they don't have the motivation, but if you step up i'm sure you'll get support. Before you start booking, get together with your band mates on the "rules of the road" for the process. Like how you want to confirm schedules and communicate potential gigs. Model out how it will work before you begin and get agreeance from the group.
    design likes this.
  5. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    It would certainly help for someone to take the lead. But you need to get together over a pot of coffee or pitcher of beer and talk. Come up with a rehearsal schedule - a certain time every week is the best, so it's easier for people to set that time aside. If someone is not willing to do that, then being in a band is not for them.

    No one says one person has to do everything. Decide who will do what - book gigs, handle website, etc.
    design and hrodbert696 like this.
  6. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member

    Yeah - sit down and talk who's doing what. One person can step up and be BL overall, or part out specific tasks.

    A group chat can be good for communication. Also a Google Calendar so everybody knows when to be where.

    Fix a set time for rehearsal each week. Be there or be square. Before one rehearsal adjourns, set specific tasks to work on for the next.

    By the way, this is why my own band is a trio. I'm bassist in another group with five members and getting five busy modern people to all find one regular weekly time to do anything is darn near impossible. Six would be that much worse.
    design and buldog5151bass like this.
  7. gln1955

    gln1955 Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2014
    Ohio, USA
    Having one person be responsible for bookings is OK, but work on the comminicaton thing first. For gigs, have a group calendar with everyone's blackout dates. When anyone gets a lead on a gig, check the calendar and/or text everyone for the OK. A bunch of college students should be able to handle that with their eyes closed. You should be able to schedule practices from the group calendar as well, but everyone has to want it to happen.
    design likes this.
  8. GBBSbassist

    GBBSbassist I actually play more guitar... Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2010
    No one just jumps into booking without any experience and thrives. You need to build up a good list of contacts (other bands, booking agents at venues, etc.). It's not a simple job at all, and it's often a thankless job.

    Having said that, in my experiences, a booking free-for-all situation where everyone books what they can, is a nightmare. The quality of gigs will vary quite a lot. To one person booking a gig may mean, they sent an email to a band and the band responded with "cool". Try to get details out of him and you can't.

    My advice is simple. Have one person focus on booking, with a second person helping with contacting venues or booking agents only if needed. Get a contacts book and list everyone you deal with in it, same for all the venue/clubs, make notes too about certain things. Is the sound good there? Do they pay?

    First off though, you have got to figure out a proper practice schedule as an originals band. The metal community doesn't forgive sloppy bands in my experiences. Use a group calendar so that members can list dates they're not available.
  9. rendevouz


    Jan 8, 2013
    Op are you in Norway? because if that's the case you will need to burn a couple of churches you know for PR purposes.:thumbsup:
    DEMS854 and crguti like this.
  10. BigBasserino


    Apr 30, 2017
    You'll also have to be real about the "band"; who's doing it as a sideshow to the party life, to have fun? Who's wanting to get in a studio, cut a quick EP, and promote it? Bands that go out of their way to have something to "market" (A nice recording, a good name logo, etc) get gigs. Even if their brand is questionable.

    This band is a great example:

    They describe themselves as "Austrian Snuffgrind", so basically perverted gore/horror movie metal with alienish vocals and stage names. They feature their material blended with club techno in between songs to make it interesting. Their music gets the job done for reasonable metal fans. Every aspect of this band was designed to be as ridiculous as possible and clubs still went with it because it was at least fun. This is their first video from 2011. Their last video on their own page is from 2017, not even with original lineup. I think that speaks volumes on how a well promoted and not overthought production makes the difference between sitting on a couch and standing on a stage.

    Don't tolerate a band that will try to restrict your voice or rule out your perspective in the creative process; if that's happening, run.
  11. If you're struggling with time for in-person rehearsals consider trading riffs/demos with GuitarPro or similar. I've played in a few metal bands where we pretty much worked out everything ahead of time and everyone put in the work to learn the songs at home. When we practiced once or twice a month we could play the songs immediately without having to show everyone riffs and hope they could play it. This approach naturally works better for some types of metal than others so YMMV.

    As far as networking yeah someone needs to do it. Book as many shows as you can. Get to know people in other bands. Take shows with touring bands because you'll make a lot of great contacts there.
  12. Use fb messenger group chat for communication between the band. This helps avoid a lot of miscommunication problems.

    I imagine being in a 6 person band is a major pain. My long time band was a 5 piece for many years and we love being a 4 piece these days. Better pay and it’s one less person that can prevent us from saying yes to a gig.
  13. BigBasserino


    Apr 30, 2017
    Also makes great headaches! I've done two bands that used FB messenger as priority communication. In what should be practice time there were complaints about the number of messages from people that felt the service finally gave them a voice, and at least 3 individual chats were made to isolate "important" conversations. One band was 6/7 members, another was 11 members. It sounds nice from home but factor in a Data plan you constantly have to turn off and time spent reading notifications and it can be a nightmare.

    Texting ironically works great.
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