Castor Oil...sickeningly good

Monday, August 15, 2005

The Don'ts

Don't do this.......
There’s a lot of chatter going on at ye olde Arlington Music Scene about getting people to shows, how you do it and then get them to come back and the like, (the obvious answer being “don’t suck monkey ass” hasn’t quite gotten the attention it deserves).

I don’t think the problem lies so much in getting people out to shows to give the band a chance as it does to get them to want to come back and bring friends or to an even lesser degree not light the band on fire and drive it off a cliff into scenic Lake Kerosene. It seems that so many bands are almost suicidal in the way they do things, like they want to fail so they can continue being the desperate, miserable, blame deflecting handjobs that comprise the bulk of local musicians around the world. Musicians love to complain and talk shit about each other and nothing fuels that fire like playing a succession of shitty gigs until the collective explodes into a beautiful pinwheel of sparks in the expansive sky of failure.

So being that I am a helpful sort that has been around these parts for some number of years playing the gigs good and bad I offer these things not to do both onstage and off, these dont’s as you will, with no context or explanation. Just listen to me for your betterment and obey me like Joan of Arc to Jesus and you’ll be fine. We both know that I’m smarter than you are.

Here we go:

Don’t start loading out your gear out across the front of the stage when the band after you is trying to play their set....for some weird reason that makes people want to stab your band in the face with a school bus.

Don’t take your shirt off onstage unless you’re Iggy Pop.

Don’t get so drunk that you get thrown out of the club before your set then go to your piece of shit pickup truck to get a fishing gaff and run back in the front door to poke a 400 pound bouncer named Ricky. This causes Ricky’s awful, horrendous, drunken pig of a girlfriend to run through the bar howling, “SWEET JESUS SOMEONE JUST STABBED RICKY WITH A FUCKING HARPOON!!!!” Not good for the vibe.

Don’t tell some chick at the bar that you want to hit on, “man these guys fucking suck” until you’re sure she’s not married to the singer of the band.

When there is only six people in the club don’t puke on the table where four of them are sitting.

Never start your set grabbing your crotch and screeching Axl Rose style into the mic, “Well lick my butt and balls it’s a (insert band name) rock and roll show!!!”

Don’t put inside jokes on your flyers that just make you seem like a D&D dice wielding nerd. “We cast magic missile” might seem funny at band practice but to the general public it makes your band seem as compelling as eating dog shit.

Don’t assault the soundman in the middle of your set because you don’t have enough guitar in your monitor and then when you’re getting your ass kicked by the other band that jumps in to help out stand on the drum riser with devil horns held high and yell, “That’s what you get when you fuck with StraitJakket!!!!”

Try to refrain from calling your fellow band members assholes during your set, especially into the microphones.

Don’t wear sandals. Your feet are disgusting.

Don’t act like more of a badass than you really are and if you are a badass be ready to prove it to drunk lame-o who’s slutty girlfriend has just told him that she wants to get violated “by a real man like that” in the men’s room toilet stall.

Follow-up to the last one, be sure to duck when everyone else in the room does.

Never wear a vest.

Refrain from giving each other rock nicknames and introducing each other by them. No one other than your fat girlfriend thinks it’s cool that your drummer calls you, “Frankie Solos!”

Don’t suck cock on message boards.

Don’t tell the owner of the club, “We’ll teach you the meaning of the word respect with our music” and then shove the heavy metal horns in his face.

No matter how bad you are don’t apologize for being onstage. If you’re that bad I’m already pissed that you tricked me into being at your show and you don’t have to rub it in.

Don’t tell people you’re going to play at 9:00 and then don’t start till 1:00 in the morning. It’s just rude.

Don’t start crying in the middle of your awesome guitar solo and at the end of the song have the bass player give you a big man hug.

Don’t wear pants that are too small and avoid the glittery shirts at all costs.

Before the show please don’t do bend at the waist hamstring stretches with your ass to the dressing room door while wearing bicycle shorts and with a very serious straight face ask the other bands for some privacy so you can “do what you need to do to get ready to motherfucking rock it” and expect not to get laughed at.

Don’t pick at your balls between songs. It’s very uncomfortable for the audience to watch.

Avoid playing record company showcases at exactly the same moment that an ex-football player accused of slaughtering his wife and a waiter is tootling down a freeway in a white Ford Bronco with the entire LAPD in hot pursuit.

Just admit it, you were in bad heavy metal bands until Weezer broke out and you have never listened to Gang of Four in your life. It’s really OK, no one out there gives a shit enough to judge you for it.

Don’t assume that the audience needs more guitar in the mix. They don’t.

Don’t show up late for a gig sweating like an NFL lineman in the middle of the Sahara desert and after two songs say, “these guys are going to jam for a bit” and go out back to shoot up behind a dumpster.

If you’re playing in a sports bar don’t tell the bartender to turn the TV’s off. It makes the audience who wishes you would just shut the fuck up they could hear Jon Madden want to kill you even more.

For the love of Jesus Christ don’t forget to eat a goddamn mint or some gum before you start close-talking me…, errr I mean the audience, after your terrible fucking set is over about how awesome you are with your atrocious cat shit breath.

Hey Enrique it’s the middle of the summer so you can take the wool ski cap off.

Don’t try to be cool and hawk a big lunger while you’re playing and have it catch on your bass and drip all over you for the rest of the song.

Don’t wink.

Unless you’re Chris Farley don’t do massive amounts of cocaine and get onstage and start telling jokes.

Don’t say, “this is a song about a girl.” All your songs are about girls which is strange since you rarely ever get to touch a real one. Try writing songs about playing Everquest and masturbating to get that soul-touching honesty into your music.

Don’t forget to put on deodorant.

Don't finish a set and jump out from behind the drum set and grab your bass player by the throat and slam him into the wall screaming , "YOU WANT ME TO FUCKING KILL YOU!!!!" If you happen to do that don't follow it up by getting into a knockdown dragout with the singer that ends up behind the bar causing many bottles of delicious liquor to get smashed on the floor. OK if you do that as well don't storm out of the club and throw a shopping cart into a mini-van that you are driving but don't happen to own. On the off chance that you have not listened to this advice well make sure to go back in time and NOT give the keys to your guitar player who is going to storm off in another car stranding your ass and the asses of those you just beat up in the parking lot while the cops show up to investigate the ruckus.
Don't be the guitarist that has the keys to the van and gets drunk and storms off with your roadie thus stranding your awesomely sexy but injured bass player in a parking lot withh a homicidal maniac drummer and a dented van that got stabbed by a shopping cart.
Don't be the first band in the ten year history of the shittiest bar in the universe (or at least the state of Maryland) that is so bad the soundman cuts you off during soundcheck and throws you out the backdoor.
Don’t forget to say thank you.

To me.


  • Ha ha ha. Ha.

    That is all.

    By Blogger Phil Rossi, at 11:24 AM  

  • Don't put burn holes into the brand new carpet that the headlining band brought with them. Sure you had no idea that it was their carpet. (but you could have figured that out you stupid asshole, how often do rock clubs have brand new carpet on the stage... I can answer that... once) Worst thing was they invited you specifically to open this show to see if you were compatible with said headliner for an extended tour of the East Coast, and they were (unknowingly) poised to become one of the biggest rock bands of the late 90's.

    Short answer.. watch where you put out your butts. Sorry about your East Coast tour.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:35 AM  

  • Maybe I'll have some constructive thoughts after a while, but first I have a couple points of order.

    1) I know my feet are disgusting. I confess to wearing my sandals to the occasional rehearsal and yes, to a band photo shoot which resulted in the best of the pictures being scrapped because my nasty-ass feet were in the frame, but I have NEVER worn sandals to a gig, at least not since about 1988, which was before I got run over by a fucking CAR and got the nasty looking feet as a result.

    2) ROB HAD THE GODDAM KEYS THE WHOLE TIME!!! BLAME ROB!!! And I'm not just saying that because he's, you know, dead, and it's easy to blame him. I was sooooo drunk I barely remember anything other than playing my Strat and the unnamed drummer trying to choke the unnamed bass player to death with the handy Darth Vader feet-off-the-floor move. Now, I did encourage Rob to chuck the keys out the window an hour later when he realized he still had them and we were 45 miles away from the club (and gaining distance) but ... well, he never listened to me anyway, as we all know all good guitar techs do. I never listened to any of the guys *I* teched for.

    So here's a couple don'ts for ya:

    Don't leave your guitars out on stands for the opening bands to knock over, spill beer on, or - even worse - pick up and play when they break a string on the only cheap shitty Indonesian-made guitar they brought that night.

    Don't let another guitarist use your amp unless you know where he lives.

    Don't lend an instrument to anybody until they've been in the band for more than 6 months...and you know where they live.

    Don't buy $500 worth of cymbals to record a song 3.5 minutes long and then get a new drummer that (of course) already has his own complete and nice-sounding drum kit.

    Don't bother bringing extra cables to a gig. You'll never need them.

    Don't bother using a pedalboard to organize and power your 16 pedals. You have a mind like a steel trap and can remember which need new batteries on a daily basis and EXACTLY what order they go in EVERY time. Plus, you never forget a patch cable.

    Don't insult a dear friend of your singer, no matter how horrific her surgery turned out.

    Don't sleep with anybody sleeping with anybody else in your band. Especially don't sleep with the singer's girlfriend who is also the guitarist's sister.

    Don't use your amp as a coaster, ashtray, and used-condom retainer and then expect to sell it to me at 5% off full retail price.

    Don't fuck up your guitar the night before your big gig and then expect me to fix it in the last 10 minutes before your set starts. Especially don't do this if I'm not in your band and have a gig that is more than 30 minutes away from my house.

    Don't ask a bunch of questions about which guitars, amps, or other gear are best for your situation and then completely ignore my advice. If you'd already made up your mind what to buy, why did you bother asking me in the first place?

    Don't forget the power supply to your MIDI pedal, then spend 30 minutes trying to find one and wasting the first 15 minutes of your set. Especially don't ask us to cut OUR set by 15 minutes because YOU couldn't subsequently figure out how to work all that cool MIDI-programmable gear in your sweet 80s-style blinky-lights rack.

    If you're selling a CD, don't preface each sale with, "Yeah, it's OK but it's totally not what we sound like any more."


    Don't - whatever you do - piss off a guy that holds a grudge for the majority of his life and makes it his new mission to make sure you never get another gig in this town again.

    Don't tell the bass player that a label rep is coming to see you play when you know he won't be able to handle the pressure and will resort to getting stoned stupid before the show and basically forgetting how to play the bass, thereby ruining any chance you had of the label rep ever returning any of your phone calls.

    Don't go to gig without Pepto when you have angry, flaming diarrhea.

    Don't get so drunk at the gig that you have to stop in the middle of a tune and ask, "What song are we playing again?"

    Don't be the last guy on stage cleaning up your band's gear. The other guys in the band won't appreciate it anyway, and you'll get stuck with the fat and/or one-eyed girls.

    And...I'm spent.

    By Blogger professor wes, at 11:59 AM  

  • Don't be the band that plays longer than your alloted time when the whole night is running late causing the last band (whose fans had been waiting for 3 hours) to cut their set to 20 minutes, and out of the 200+ folks in the club, you only brought 7. You know who you are. *holding back from naming names*

    By Anonymous Dennis, at 12:05 PM  

  • Snake!

    By Blogger Phil Rossi, at 12:18 PM  

  • LOL, great blog, Steve, and great advice from Dennis. I believe I was at that show (also not naming names...might it have been in Merrifield perhaps?) ;) guys rock..thanks for the laughs!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:12 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger morisrm26mpjohn, at 6:52 PM  

  • ooh, I got one:

    don't be the band that plays last and takes 35-40 minutes to set up (stand around and do your own sound check 50 times without a sound guy) and then badmouth the other bands for screwing you out of your set time-and then go on a message board and bad mouth said bands.

    Don't be pissed because virtually everyone has left the venue by then-if your fans were there, they would have waited the extra 35 minutes to see you play

    *not related to Dennis' post*

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:33 AM  

  • Hey, other than the fights, the blood, being stranded, and being so drunk before the show you barely remember the set list mot to mention any of the words to the songs, you have to admit that was a fucking kick ass show, BRO!

    By Blogger twentyonepro, at 8:23 AM  

  • Don't show up to the gig five minutes after the set was supposed to start, and be in such a hurry to set up that you forget to plug in your amp. Especially if you are the lead guitarist, and first song is heavily solo-dependent.

    If you break a string, don't run off stage in the middle of the song to go replace it. Especially if you are the lead guitarist.

    If you are going to dissect every mistake you and your bandmates made that resulted in you having such a sucky show, don't do it on stage while the mics are still hot.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:14 AM  

  • I just wanted to swing by and admire my graphic design master piece. It's glorious.

    By Blogger Phil Rossi, at 1:44 PM  

  • Another one:

    Don't be that Christian Rock band that talks about goodness and all that, but leaves the venue before you played without telling the promoter because you were upset the Velvet Lounge doesn't have dressing rooms. Oh, and also screw one of the other bands on the bill 'cause you agreed in and email to share your guitar cabinet with them and basically leave that band high and dry.

    By Anonymous Dennis, at 2:27 PM  

  • And another:

    If you're playing a show in a Church hall. Don't drink St. Ides. And if you have to drink St. Ides, don't spill it all over the priest's ready room.

    By Blogger Phil Rossi, at 2:42 PM  

  • That was the gheyest thing I've ever said. At least it was true.

    By Blogger Phil Rossi, at 4:02 PM  

  • It's Ok I understand this ain't no never neverland.


    By Blogger Castor OiL, at 4:30 PM  

  • I bet that thing was pretty tastey once you brushed off the hypodermics and used condoms.

    By Blogger Phil Rossi, at 8:05 PM  

  • If you are a second guitarist who wants to be the lead singer, and is bitter because the rest of the band refuses to play any of your songs due to the fact that they sound like a cross between Jello Biafra and Danzig, do not try to draw attention to yourself by engaging in wild stage antics designed to distract the audience from the fact that you have never practiced any of the songs, ever, outside of weekly band practice. Especially don't do this if it involves leaping off the stage into the audience, crashing into people, and narrowly missing the promoter's face with your guitar. She doesn't have to book your band again, ever. This behavior will lead to you and the band parting ways due to "creative differences".

    By Anonymous Nairobi, at 12:39 PM  

  • Do not break 2 strings on your guitar while on tour in another country and then loosely throw new ones on without tuning or playing your instrument, then try and tighten them up and tune 45 seconds before going onstage at the best venue of the entire tour. Your instrument will not stay in tune, and the audience will be fully aware of this fact. Those guys in front of you do not think you rock, they are flipping you off and grabbing their crotches. When a guy from the opening band offers to let you use his guitar halfway through the set, don't forget to ask him if it is tuned to standard tuning. If it is, instead, tuned to D flat or something, you will look like even more of an asshole when you start playing his guitar and sound even worse. The audience thinks his guitar is tuned to standard tuning, and they already think you suck. Do not then act all put out and angry for the rest of the night, like you got screwed somehow. No one else in the band appreciates the fact that you drove away about 200 people within ten minutes.

    By Anonymous Nairobi, at 12:45 PM  

  • From a merch girl's perspective...
    DO- if you bring beers for all your band members, bring one for the merch "person". we're stuck in the back corner the whole night schlepping your stuff. we get thirsty too.sharing a drink ticket is very nice gesture also
    DO- if you are in the other band & are interested in merch, don't ask the band. most of the time they don't know what they're selling anyway
    DON'T-as a roadie, after the band plays don't ask me to break down the band's equipment instead of you.I'm busiest then-you do your job,I'll do mine.
    DON'T-if you're the doorman don't act as if merch isn't part of the band because we're "not on the stage". last night,I had to wait to doors open because the bar was reserved for "those actually playing". i've riddden hours in a van with these guys,roadied their equpment, & sometimes gave them a "reality check" when they needed it
    Don't get me wrong,I love the band I work for. They are wonderful guys & i wouldn't trade my job for the world. We're just asking for a little respect.
    thanks guys for listening

    By Anonymous aminomerchgirl, at 11:01 AM  

  • Keep on dont'ing y'all!!!!

    By Blogger Castor OiL, at 3:55 PM  

  • Don't ask a band (that happens to owe you a favor) to play a certain shitty venue in Georgetown on a Thursday night with you if you're planning on booking a far better venue for the next night.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:20 PM  

  • Very nice blog, hard to come by these days,

    If you have a chance, can you visit my how to play guitar site

    It has all guitar related stuff.


    By Blogger TexasDude, at 7:37 AM  

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