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Pushing band gimmicks over the top

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by TopBillinBass, Jan 7, 2013.

  1. TopBillinBass


    Jan 2, 2011
    Hey fellow TBers

    So I've recently had an issue with my band pushing gimmicks over the top. First of all, we are a ska band (as in ska-punk aka reel big fish style) and I understand ska bands are supposed to be fun.

    It started off with our horn section doing crazy dance moves and choreography to our songs when they weren't playing, which is fine with me.

    Then for one of our shows we all wore sports team jerseys and I was hesitant but didn't care enough either way so I gave in and wore a sports jersey.

    Then for this coming show our lead singer wants everyone to wear pajamas and bring a pillow and stuffed animal...

    His reasoning is that we have a small loyal fanbase that keeps coming to our shows and wants to have something different for them every time. For one of our shows he suggests that in one of the songs we all have our pants around our ankles by the end and everyone seems to be ok with this. I am not.

    Is this over the top or am I just being a grinch? At this point I feel uncomfortable inviting my own friends to the show!

    Some of our songs for reference,


    Thanks guys!
  2. Wes Whitmore

    Wes Whitmore Supporting Member

    Mar 10, 2003
    Columbus, OH
    Oh, those aren't the gimmicks I was expecting (ie back tracking or wearing lambchops and cop glasses). Sorry, I couldn't resist!

    I think it's all in good fun...but not all of those ideas are good, and you should vote on it.

  3. Helaskold

    Helaskold 100% Mediocre

    Jul 22, 2012
    Austin, TX
    Well, here's the issue. You, as a band, are generally meant to pander to the fans. That's just how it goes. If the fans like you guys doing stupid (and emasculating) things, then that's what you have to do to be successful. It's the industry.

    You've reached a crossroad here. Which path are you going to take? Dignity or business?
  4. jmattbassplaya

    jmattbassplaya Supporting Member

    Jan 13, 2008
    Tampa, FL.
    I dunno about bringing a stuffed animal, but things like that are fun and they are small things that make a big difference (believe it or not) to fans.
  5. nsh50a


    May 11, 2004
    Columbia, MO
    I'd say it comes with the genre. Best Ska band I ever had the pleasure of seeing live was the aquabats. I'd say wearing pajamas on stage is slightly under wearing rashguards and fighting supervillains on stage mid song but they were great shows.
  6. I see where hes going, but I draw the line at the stuffed animal. Lame-o
  7. I would probably go for everything except the pants routine - what is the point of that one? I wouldn't get pumped if that happened at a show I was seeing... I would probably head straight for the door.
  8. fraublugher


    Nov 19, 2004
    ottawa, ontario, canada
    music school retailer
    If you have stuffed animals in your houshold ALREADY , then this is your karma.
  9. johnson79


    Jan 8, 2010
    Lancaster, PA
    Sounds like your singer is the governor of Lamesylvania.
    It's one thing to have fun, another to bring a stuffed animal to a show.:D
  10. I'd totally wear pj's to play a show if I were in a ska band. I'd probably pass on the stuffed animal, though.
  11. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Singer is a dork. But if it's going to keep the peace in the band, sport some plaid flannel pants and a plain Tshirt. No pillow. No animal. Meet them in the middle.
  12. Tough call- I can see the point in adding a touch of silliness to the show, and Im guessing the crowd will, for the most part, eat it up. OTOH, if I *had to* do it, I'd very likely be super NOT into it, and it would show. I'd look kinda like grumpy cat w/a bass

    Edit: So DON'T be that guy- if you can't do it happily, fake it; if you can't even do that, just don't
  13. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    If the gig was a pajama party or pajama party theme I wouldn't think twice about gettin' me a one-sie, if I were just playing a normal gig at a normal bar I would question the man's sanity. Whatever happened to all black or ties or something...
  14. jmac


    May 23, 2007
    Horsham, Pa
    So stuffed animals are a deal breaker, but dropping pants seems to be ok?
  15. What was that band in the 70's that dressed as a construction worker, Indian, policeman...?

    What was that band in the 70's that wore crazy black and white face makeup ?

    What was that band in the 80's that wore plastic hair and flower pots on their heads?

    What was that band in the 90's that wore ripped jeans? (Wait, they didn't stand out...)

    What was that band in the 00's that wore those rubber suits dressed as creatures you'd see in something like a power rangers episode.

    Gimmicks work! If the fans dig it, do it..
    Performing is part acting, get into character and enjoy it?.
  16. Phalex

    Phalex Semper Gumby Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    G.R. MI
    The key to playing with your pants around your ankles is to stuff a sweet potato into your underpants before you go onstage.

    I if you put the sweet potato in the front of your underpants it's a lot more metal than if you put it in the back.

    I learned that one the hard way.
  17. Tituscrow

    Tituscrow Banned

    Feb 14, 2011
    NW England
    Maybe if you all dressed as giant cuddly animals. In PJ's.

    Seriously though, some bands have always sought to find that little schtick that makes them stand out.

    From Rocket From The Crypt and RHCP to Kiss and Kraftwerk...as long as your music doesn't suck, wear what you want. Just don't bring cuddly toys.

    Tell your singer that the good folk of TalkBass have passed judgement, and they say no.
  18. Kmonk


    Oct 18, 2012
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan Strings, Nordstrand Pickups, Korg Keyboards

    With the exception of KISS, none of the groups you mentioned enjoyed success for more than a couple of years.

    Good music will outlast gimmicks every time. There is a difference between having fun and embarrassing yourself. Drop the gimmicks and play music.
  19. capncal


    Apr 14, 2009
    not sure how it is with ska, but there ain't no pajamas in rock and roll.
  20. kevteop


    Feb 12, 2008
    York, UK
    Why do ska bands all have to be 'zany' now?