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Original Band Start up

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by DataDan, Mar 31, 2014.

  1. DataDan


    Mar 18, 2013
    I left my classic rock cover band and joined a new alternative pop/punk original group.

    while I've been in original bands before, they never got anywhere because we didn't know how to get off the ground.

    We just started playing together about 2 months ago, we have zero following and need to build one.

    What we do have:
    1: We practice in a semi-studio, giving us access to decent recording at no cost.
    2: catchy songs (6-8 written)
    3: younger female singer with good voice
    4: drummer/guitar/me (bass) all decent players.

    other info:
    • aged 27-34
    • not in a major city, but within 1 hr of downtown major city

    We were invited to open for a 90's cover band at a local dive but I turned it down. Ave age of the crowd > 45, and there would only be a handful of people there when we played buzzing around the bar. I didn't see any potential for building a following at this place.

    Was thinking maybe open mics or small college venues (no pay stuff) to get us started. I looked into the larger venues and they want to see drawing power (or have us sell x tickets). So until I can honestly say 100 people will come to a show, the larger venues (with good pay) are not interested.

    We want what all original bands want: to build a following and play shows.

    Start shooting thoughts at me, would love to hear em.
  2. tangentmusic

    tangentmusic A figment of our exaggeration

    Aug 17, 2007
    Well... You've got to be seen & heard to develop a following.

    Maybe look into opening up for similar bands in known smallish venues in whatever sizable city you are near.

    No pay stuff may be necessary for a bit, as long as you don't develop a reputation for playing for free.

    A nice plus that many starting out original bands do not have is that you can record some demo's at your practices. Use that recording opportunity to your advantage. It never hurts to have some decent recordings to pass along to generate interest.

    Then of course there are all the social media outlets.
  3. BassCliff


    May 17, 2012
    So. Cal.

    Playing for "exposure" on college campuses is as good a place as any to start. Once you actually book a room you can start handing out flyers advertising where you'll be appearing.

    I've played in several originals bands, all the hip places in Hollywood. I was a hired gun so I didn't have to share the "pay to play" expenses in places like Madam Wongs, The Central, Coconut Teasers, The Whiskey-a-Go-Go, King King, etc. The bands were quite good, excellent players, good catchy songs, well-produced CDs for sale. We did all the usual, typical promotional exercises. I busted my rump for years. The bands went nowhere. At least I made $50 a gig.

    I'm not trying to discourage you. But I encourage you to be realistic. You'll never make it if you don't try, and try REALLY hard. But you pretty much have to know someone in the industry, have an "in". Even still, you must be totally dedicated, work long hours for nothing, have practically no other commitments or any type of life. And hope someone who can help you will hear you and be interested.

    "The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where pimps and thieves run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side." - Hunter S. Thompson.

    Me? I prefer to play in my cover band and make $125-$600 every night I set up my gear. You may have different goals and aspirations. I wish you the best of luck.

    Please don't turn this into a cover/original band debate. I'm just sharing my experiences.


    Here... TRY THIS.

    Thank you for your indulgence,

  4. buldog5151bass

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

    Oct 22, 2003
    All about a following - you need a crowd. Open mics are full of other musicians.

    I would also play some covers in a similar style, at least until you get a night of (good enough) originals. It will help attract a following of fans with the right tastes for you.
  5. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    I wouldn't have turned down the dive. Did you have something more important to do? Experience playing live together and developing your stage presence is important and can be done elsewhere. Meanwhile, while there's not much chance you'd have the natural crowd for this type of music, you never know but there might be one or two there that like you - who might bring one or two friends the next time, who each bring one or two more the time after that... bulldog5151's right that open mics mostly draw other musicians, but again I'd play them anyway. They're a chance to make connections with venue management, and musician fans are still fans.

    I was just talking to my cover band guitarist about groups he'd been in before, one of which was an originals group. He had a story about their playing an open mic with the only 3 songs they had written - but they were really good, very tight. The owner came out of the kitchen when they started to play and said on the spot, "I want to hire you to play a gig here." They said they only had three songs, and he said, "I don't care, play them over and over."

    Now, not to be unrealistic - that almost never happens. But sometimes it does. And it illustrates the more important point, that it's the booking decision makers you need on your side.
  6. thefruitfarmer


    Feb 25, 2006
    Kent UK
    I would say that the main thing holding back originals bands is usually the song writing.

    If you have songs good enough to turn heads, then people will want to hear them.

    Of course, you have to actually know they are good songs and make sure the right people here them.
  7. Sundogue


    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    Put some covers into your sets. Note I said 'some". Songs that are in a similar vein as the originals but popular and recognizable.

    Play together and write constantly. Be persistent. For every great song you write there will be many that just suck.

    Yes, record. Not only for demo's or CD's to sell, but even rehearsals or jamming out newly written things. It will allow you to listen more objectively and more importantly, you'll remember those little gems that are often forever lost to memory.

    Set goals. Plan a marketing strategy. No matter how much music you have, no one is going to hear it in your rehearsal/writing space. Make a plan to put out posters, table tents, CD's, bios, etc. Flood your market with materials to keep your name out there. Use Social Media to your advantage...to allow people to hear samples, see where you are playing next, to interact with band members.

    Play out as often as you can, make connections with people who can be of help to aid the band in furthering itself. Network with other musicians and club owners.

    If it is a real passion, then the tough road won't dissuade you. But be realistic. Overnight success never happens overnight. Unless you are thinking the billions of years it took for the Earth to be where it's at took 6 days to create. ;)

    Embrace change. It is not only inevitable, it is necessary. Develop a thick skin. Don't take anything personal.
  8. Sundogue


    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    That almost made me spit my coffee out. How true...and sadly, funny.
  9. ImNotJoel


    Jan 12, 2014
    How new is this band maybe you guys should write songs first and if you are short a few songs for a full set then throw some covers in.

    The best exposure better than open mic go digital record a few songs and post them online if people can hear your good then they will see you. Gigging exposure is great but you need to be 110% confident and sound good I'm order to get a following and connections. Jumping into a gig unprepared can give your name a bad rep.
  10. philvanv

    philvanv Gerbil Turds, Kitsap County Turd Core

    Jul 2, 2012
    and at the bottom it says thank you, and now you can shag off
    In the past when playing in a successful band we just played anywhere, anytime for Pr. Did some unacceptable antics and became well known and successful.
  11. DataDan


    Mar 18, 2013
    Good Stuff so far guys. Thanks for sharing.

    We record all of our practices (audio and video) and then review what we did for an hour at the end of practice every week. The video is kinda cool, it is making me realize i need to play with more energy. I listen to the audio during the week as well.

    We started setting up basic social networking (twitter, reverb nation, a few others). All just started up last week.

    We think we will be show ready in 3 months. In that time we should have recordings, logo, and social media established. It will also allow us to get tight together and play with energy.

    I'll put up updates as we come along.