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Clique Clique Boom!

How to expand your band's local base

 

by David Himes - ‘The Gig Kahuna’

 

One complaint I often hear from local bands is something like: “You have to be in a certain clique to get booked.” Although not the most positive attitude in the world, it’s understandable that some local bands would feel that way—especially the more entry-level bands that might be having trouble getting in the loop.

 

My answer to this is simple: If that’s how you feel, why not start a clique of your own? I’m always trying to advise and encourage local bands to seek out friendships with other local bands, especially the ones that are like-minded and doing something similar to your own band as far as genre, and this is just one reason why.

 

The idea is to get a circle of bands going where all of you support each other, play shows together, and hook each other up. I’ve actually seen this done quite a few times in the music scene and if done right, can accomplish some pretty amazing results. You might be surprised what a circle of bands can do when you pool your resources, plan and promote together, and work together as one collective unit. You become a much more powerful force as opposed to each band working individually.

 

However, there are a few aspects to keep in mind to maximize the potential of your own clique. First, each band needs to carry their weight. Even one slack-ass band can be enough to break the chain and drag the alliance down. Don’t think you’re going to ride the coattails of the other bands. And if there is a band in the circle that is not at least making a reasonable effort, dump them.

 

Second, don’t be selfish or get greedy. Don’t be a band that insists on always getting the best slots. Be fair to each other. Rotate the time slots with the other bands. If you played, say, the third slot on the last gig; offer to take the opening or closing slot on the next, and let a band that played the first or last slot before have one of the good ones next time around.

 

Forming an alliance with other bands doesn’t always mean playing shows together. For instance, one band might get some opportunity to play in a situation where they can’t get any other bands involved. In these cases, any time a band plays individually, at least some members of the other bands in the clique should show up at the gig to support. And when you show up at one of the other band’s individual shows, it’s important to do so with an unconditional attitude. In fact, an unconditional attitude is an important factor to making a clique successful. I’ve seen quite a few local bands pack a venue with the support of other bands helping out. I’ve done it many times myself. Keep in mind when the other bands come to support you, it’s a nice gesture to acknowledge their presence from the stage.

 

Finally, it should go without saying there should be no love triangles, Jerry Springer drama, or whatever between bands. Although this point might seem obvious, the members in individual bands who would have an affair with a bandmate’s girl never ceases to amaze me. I’ve seen it enough times in past bands of my own. I could rant all day on this subject alone, so I’ll stop right here.

 

So to summarize, if you can get your own clique going and do it right, you’ll end up as one of those upper-level cliques before you know it—and you will then find yourselves as a target of the bitching and moaning from lower-level bands. One last thought: The bands you might think are in one of those upper-level cliques now were at one time in the same boat as you.

 

_______________________________________________


David Himes is the author of the book Realities for Local Bands: Talent is not Enough. You can find it at Amazon. For a FREE sneak preview, click here. The book is also available in PDF format. Also, David published a local music scene paper for over 16 years and has held over 400 live shows, giving him a unique insight on the scene. Your feedback and comments are welcome.

 

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