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If you're gigging or want to gig, ignore this book at your own peril

 

By Craig Anderton

 

150 pages, electronic edition

 



If you’ve been enjoying David Himes’ articles as “the Gig Kahuna” on Harmony Central, then you need this book. It includes everything he’s written for HC and more, all in a convenient Kindle or PDF format. However, if you play in a local band, you really need this book. Its brutal honesty helps compensate for the state of denial that afflicts many musicians about “making it.”

 

The irony is that knowing why the odds of “making it” are infinitesimal also tells you want you need to do to increase the odds in your favor because if nothing else, you’ll learn about what you shouldn’t do as well as what you should do. Himes is acutely aware that “music business” is two words—and if you don’t conduct the business part properly, you can forget about being successful with the music part.

 

One of the elements I really like is the specificity of what Himes communicates. For example, he doesn’t just say “be professional”—he describes the tell-tale signs of unprofessionalism in band members. Himes pulls no punches; his conversational and occasionally sketchy writing style (which could have benefited from a second set of eyes to catch some of the repetitions, but that doesn’t dilute the message) is a blast of reality.

 

He covers topics like cover bands vs. original bands, test marketing, myths about gigging that need to be debunked, being honest about your level of commitment, problems you’ll encounter (and believe me, you’ll encounter all of them at some point), the kind of support team you’ll need, how clubs see you (reality check: you’re a vehicle to sell drinks, not an artiste), the importance of communication, and a whole lot of information on gigs—the different types of gigs, what your objectives should be, how to prepare for gigs, even dealing with the sound crew. Himes then segues into an extensive chapter on promotion and marketing (yes, you need to know marketing as well as chord progressions) with an emphasis on using social media to boost your career, and ends with a chapter about what happens beyond local gigging.

 

Himes clearly has a ton of experience informed by over a decade of running a local music paper, and when he writes, it’s like the stern teacher you had in high school—who you didn’t really appreciate until years later, when you realized it was the only class where you actually learned something of true importance. If I had to use two words to describe this book, they would be “tough love.” Himes is unfailingly tough, but the motivation is that he truly cares about his fellow musicians, and really wants to help you avoid the issues that can cut your career short.

 

The bottom line is if you can handle the truth, you can handle this book—and regardless of how much you think you know, your outlook will change and your career will benefit.

 

Kindle edition: Amazon.com 

Price: $6.95

 

PDF edition: Direct from publisher; email destechdh@gmail.com.

Price $9.95, with PayPal invoice.

 

______________________________________________ 

 

Craig Anderton is Editorial Director of Harmony Central. He has played on, mixed, or produced over 20 major label releases (as well as mastered over a hundred tracks for various musicians), and written over a thousand articles for magazines like Guitar Player, Keyboard, Sound on Sound (UK), and Sound + Recording (Germany). He has also lectured on technology and the arts in 38 states, 10 countries, and three languages.

 

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Idunno  |  November 25, 2015 at 5:55 pm
The music business is, since I've been at arm's length with it, all business and little music. The time actually spent with music became so diminished in the overall  requisite thought devoted to the alphabet soup of the business that the core became subordinated to the shell. I had to weigh my who to my what, in terms of the artistry versus business acumen, and decided to retain the who part. That meant bowing out completely.  To me the obligation to make music enslaved the artistry to the extent of actually leaving  a sour taste in my mouth for playing guitar. It became a guilty thought to play for recreation. Now I enjoy it and seek nothing more from it than that. I will consent to an occasional gig but it's exceedingly rare now that I don't gaze upon an audience as an ugly obligation.
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