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Saturday, November 06, 2004

Seven Stages of the bad gig or the delusional idiot’s roadmap to the logical conclusion

A very few bands get to play lots of great gigs, some bands before their inevitable destruction can latch onto a couple to talk up for the next twenty years but for the vast majority the great gigs never come. These are the serfs that toil, that clog the inboxes of the world, that harass the telephone and guilt trip causal acquaintances in ways that would make the “for only 13 cents a day you can save this child” commercial producers proud. These are they that play on the Tuesday, on the floor, at the pizza parlor for no money and half-price beer. They are the players of the shitty gigs and lord, they are many.

Somebody’s gotta play them right? Say there are 8 decent to really good places for a local rock and roll band to play in a given area. You figure two bands a night on the weekends which leads to 32 decent to good gigs a week. Now in any given town there are going to be hundreds of bands looking to rock out and those 32 slots are gonna go quickly. Those that do get the good slots they stop appreciating them because musicians are unappreciative assholes with delusional senses of entitlement that get fed to beastly proportions upon even the slightest glimmer of attention from anyone outside the band. Every other band is dying to get to the point where they can be the assholes with the good gigs and for most it’s a pipe dream because A) they suck B) they’re on the verge of breaking up whether they know it or not and C) they’re not friends with the people who book the clubs (how else do you think the shitty bands you are forced to listen to on a Saturday night get the good gigs in the first place?)

Being that musicians can talk themselves into anything to avoid the reality that no one gives a flying fuck about their band there is a pattern of behavior that leads up to the shitty gig and the inevitable hellishness of the performance. I call this the Seven Stages of the Bad Gig.

Stage 1 - The book:
Part of the band awesomeness formation process is the singer telling all his new best friends about his amazing connections and how they will be totally hooked up with awesome shows once the band has written their (the singer’s) awesome songs. After the band has written a few of these magnum opuses and declared themselves primed to unleash themselves on a breathlessly waiting world the singer starts making phone calls to his guaranteed hook-ups. Twenty minutes later after getting completely rebuffed by every one of his “totally good buds” he starts calling the clubs to book his own goddamn shows what the fuck does he need those asshole’s shitty bands for anyway goddamit!!!! Upon getting ignored by the better clubs, the not-so-good clubs, and the “promoters” that promote wikkid rawk showz when they are off-duty from being line cooks at the Golden Corral buffet the singer calls every restaurant in town that is, for whatever reason, willing to move a table out of the way to allow bands to play. The restaurants, almost always pizza parlors, usually have bands play on Tuesdays and Thursdays as weekends are prime soccer party time for the pizza industry. They might support the rock but they ain’t crazy enough to miss the soccer crowd!!!! The singer asks for a Thursday (just as good as a weekend really) and is told he can have a Tuesday five weeks from now. He takes it.

Stage 2 – The layout:
The singer calls the rest of the band with the good news about the show. It will be awesome. He gets pissed when the band is mysteriously wondering how the promised Saturday night headlining show at Club Bass Player Is Sure To Get His Dick Sucked has morphed into a set on a Tuesday at Joe’s Suds and Pies. The singer is understandably miffed by this obvious attempt to take away the credit he is due by jealous dicks that don’t know shit about the music industry and he starts to pout really really hard. The rest of the band feels his pain and talks themselves into the fact that this is the gig they wanted all along and all their friends totally like to drink up and party like freaks on Tuesdays instead of the weekend anyway and boy howdy Joe’s is going to get rocked to the ground. The singer, now justified in his excellence, takes this as a mandate to boss everyone around and assigns tasks for promoting the fuck out of this rock and roll event.

Stage 3 – Developing the marketing strategy
When throwing down at a major rock event it is imperative that the masses who will drop everything including giving birth to be there know what the dillio is. This being the case upon directive from the singer the marketing machine gets gassed up and ready to roll. While the band surely deserves to get on the radio, TV, porn soundtrack, etc., promotion activities that do not involve harassing friends, co-workers, causal acquaintances, employees at the mall and the band’s parents are zilch. It’s common fact that bands as awesome as every band on earth playing on Tuesdays should not be required to proactively contact the media in any way shape or form to promote their kickass shows and it is squarely the fault of Clear Channel and those corporate whores at the local record store that don’t support the scene that there isn’t the justifiably deserved story with picture on the front page of the paper for this major rock event. It’s tough, you can’t fight the man, especially when he doesn’t even know you exist so the band turns to their fanbase…mom dad and anyone unlucky enough to have given a member their phone number or email address. The strategy is clear, you just gotta keep on telling your fans just how bad they want to rock……no matter how much they might protest otherwise.

Stage 4 – The ‘sup doode?
As spam filters become more advanced and thus band mailing lists culled from casual encounters and stealing the contents of the “win a free meal” goldfish bowl at the local Pizza Hut are rendered more and more worthless it is the direct contact that the “fans” get from the band. This happens by a series of communiqués starting with email, then instant messenger, then the phone call.

Email from band member to fan – Hey man, wanted to give you and the crew a heads up that we’re jamming out on (date) at (place). This show is going to kick MAJOR ASS!!! Would be fucking KICK FUCKING ASS for you to come out and rock out with your cock out!!!! ROFLMFAO!!!! THERE WILL BE TONS OF PUSSY THERE BRO!!!!!

Email reply – Shaun, this is my work address man, thanks a lot for getting me chewed out by my boss for writing that dumb stuff about your stupid band you retard.

IM exchange from band member to fan –
BassPlayaz2112 – doode, sorry about that shit with your work addy man.
BassPlayaz2112 – seriously bro, this shit is going to rock
(1234kittyface is typing)
BassPlayaz2112 – you’re going to be there right?
BassPlayaz2112 – I’ll see if I can get you on the guestlist…..
BassPlayaz2112 – the place is cool man
(1234kittyface is typing)
BassPlayaz2112 – I can see you typing bro….you writing a book or something.
BassPlayaz2112 – So can we meet up so I can give you some flyers to hand
1234kittyface has signed off

Phone Message from band member to fan – “Hey doode, I tried to call you 8 or 9 times but you never answer your damn phone!!!! Anyway bro, see you at the show man, call me back and I’ll give you the deetz!!! PEACE!!!!!!”

At this point this string of contact has taken place with approximately 158 people. Of the 158, four have committed to being there and the other two band member’s parents are either playing bridge or will be out of town but really wish they could come!!!

Stages 5 – 7 coming next post. The rock is dropped.


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