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  • Interesting Post from a bar owners perspective

    Here's something that showed up on my Facebook feed today.  From what I gather, it was originally posted on Craigslist in Tampa.  I think he makes some very valid points:

     

    A bar, that is, an establishment that earns its revenue primarily from selling alcoholic beverages, measures its success by the ounce and the accounting is done everyday because we mostly live on the edge. So we spend our time trying to figure out how to sell more ounces. It

    ****************

    Jason
    My band: http://www.facebook.com/thetrickydickies

    "Do or do not. There is no try" - Yoda

  • #2

    Totally, completely agree with number 1 and number 3. I live by these words. Whenever the other bandmembers want to play that "cool" song (which is really too obscure or too complicated for people to give a crap about), I have to veto it. It ain't about stroking your ego. It's about playing songs people easily recognize and can get into (when you're a cover band working in a bar environment, that is). A lot of times, I will just leave out the solo or make it shorter than the original. I'd rather sing and play rhythm to more songs than try to show off my 'amazing' guitar skills that only a select few would enjoy. We've experimented with jamming more tunes into the set to keep things flowing and it is working great.

    I also make sure we don't bug our crowd during setup (quiet, keep to ourselves), we're respectful (thank people when they open the door or move out of the way during load-in and load-out), tip the bartenders and waitresses well (which most likely results in good things to say about us when the bar owner asks if we should come back or not) and when we play, we don't blast them with intense volume. We are not quiet, but we are also not very loud either. That's intentional. It's why our band has gotten repeat business from one particular club, because most bands that play there are just too damn loud and are not asked back.

    Number 2 has always bugged me, but I realize what he is saying. It's true; the bands that promote alcohol by getting ripped onstage themselves, buying rounds for people, having other people by them drinks...those are the bands that are helping sell product at the bar.

    And the "Bottom line" portion really hits it home for how things are these days. Karaoke and open jams are big, because this is a "MY"space, "I"phone, "YOU"tube world. It's all about the individual as the star, whether they 'deserve' it or not. A lot of these people also like to drink a lot, probably to get up the nerve to go up there to begin with. It makes sense that bars and clubs are going to go with what is making more money. If bands aren't doing it, why hire 'em? Makes sense to me. If I owned a bar, I'm going to go with what is going to make me the most money. It's just good business sense.

    (This is my Non-Signature.)

    Comment


    • #3
      He's really got a problem with baseball caps, huh? I also think we have a different definition of a "bro uniform." I wouldn't wear a hat onstage ever, but there are folks who incorporate it into a look that works. Eric Church comes to mind.

      In general though, he's dead on unfortunately. He speaks like he's a musician himself as well.

      It's a good read.
      Free prog-related metal from Michigan.

      http://www.silentlapse.com

      Comment


      • SeniorBlues
        SeniorBlues commented
        Editing a comment

        It got 367 comments on this blog before the guy cut it off.  Of course that won't slow us down . . . . . 

        http://chrisledrew.wordpress.com/2013/01/03/open-letter-from-a-bar-owner-to-musicians/


      • JoeDirt
        JoeDirt commented
        Editing a comment

        SLScott86 wrote:
        He's really got a problem with baseball caps, huh? I also think we have a different definition of a "bro uniform." I wouldn't wear a hat onstage ever, but there are folks who incorporate it into a look that works. Eric Church comes to mind.

         

        I am glad I am in a country band now.  Ball cap or cowboy hat is damn near required.  I wear one or the other always.  Feel naked without it, hah.


    • #4
      The one problem, besides the too much time I spent on baseball caps, is that the demographics can change what type of music works. Most places, with younger folks, girls dancing equals drink sales. But establishments exist with different crowds. My band's job is to sell tickets as well as drinks, so thankfully there's a little leeway there. But we set a" concert" atmosphere. That doesn't help with drink sales. It costs us money. We know it. We live with it. Always good to remember why you're there.

      My last time out solo, there were two guys yelling to play some country because I was in the country. They seemed pretty pissed. I played the second of the two country songs in my repertoire, and will add more . But the people I brought out were enjoying my songs and were eating and drinking all night. They were whining, but they were drinking and not leaving. So F em.
      Free prog-related metal from Michigan.

      http://www.silentlapse.com

      Comment


      • Kramerguy
        Kramerguy commented
        Editing a comment

        I'm used to reading bar owners doing nothing but bitching about bands, and while this owner does take a few choice moments to criticize, I have to agree with just about everything he wrote.  It's a good read and a lot of bands are most certainly guilty of a few infractions that cost him business.  

        I copied and pasted it in an email to my band mates - perspective is always a good thing.

        Oh, and I didn't get the impression this owner hates hats, just that he hates baseball caps, and sees no band uniform or look that justifies wearing one.. only exception I can think of is tom morello, but that look is 20 years old and outdated anyways.


    • #5
      I'm sure there are ways to wear a baseball cap that are cool and hip and help sell an image of professionalism. And if you do that, then I would imagine this guy would have no problem with you wearing one on stage. Problem is, 99.8% of the time they aren't worn in that way, therefore it has become synonymous with poor, sloppy dress.

      _________________________________________________
      band websites:
      http://www.JumpStartYourParty.com
      https://www.gigmasters.com/Rock/Jump-Start
      https://www.facebook.com/JumpStartYourParty
      http://www.weddingwire.com/biz/jumps...587fe5f12.html

      Comment


      • FitchFY
        FitchFY commented
        Editing a comment

        guido61 wrote:
        I'm sure there are ways to wear a baseball cap that are cool and hip and help sell an image of professionalism. And if you do that, then I would imagine this guy would have no problem with you wearing one on stage. Problem is, 99.8% of the time they aren't worn in that way, therefore it has become synonymous with poor, sloppy dress.


         

        Exactly. EXACTLY.

        I'll get flak for this, but I guess that's the point.... look, if you're hung up on a venue's perception of baseball hats, shorts, or what you're wearing... your band probably has SIGNIFICANTLY more issues to address than just your wardrobe.

        There's a mentality and an understanding needed to be succesful by bands.. If you say "they don't like us because I have a hat on," I'd put my twenty bucks on you have a band that could use some improvements.

        Flame away.


      • SpaceNorman
        SpaceNorman commented
        Editing a comment

        guido61 wrote:
        I'm sure there are ways to wear a baseball cap that are cool and hip and help sell an image of professionalism. And if you do that, then I would imagine this guy would have no problem with you wearing one on stage. Problem is, 99.8% of the time they aren't worn in that way, therefore it has become synonymous with poor, sloppy dress.

        We continue to talk about specific articles of clothing (shoes, shorts, t-shirts, hats, etc.) as though each one has an intrinsic "cool / hip / uncool / unhip" factor associated with it.   For every post that calls out a given look as being "cool / hip" or "uncool / unhip" - there's guaranteed to be a counter post pointing to a public figure that the counter-poster feels rocks that look.

        Until we can all accept that "cool / hip / uncool / unhip" exists solely as a judgement of whoever is looking at it - we're just pissing in the wind.   Any discussion about wardrobe that focuses on specific articles of clothing is a guaranteed "fail".  In order to be pertinent - the conversation needs to focus on what do the people who matter (in this case the bar owner) feel is considered "cool / hip / acceptable".   Otherwise it's simply a commentary on individual tastes.


    • #6
      Yes and no. Cool/hip is an attitude, not an article of clothing. To some degree you either have it or you don't. But if you don't, then dressing well can at least keep you from looking outright bad.


      Somebody mentioned Eric Church, and whether he just has "it" as a result of being famous, or his "it" is what helped make him famous, the fact is he can rock a ball cap pretty well. He's also a guy who, based on many of the capless photos I saw, isn't afraid to dress and wear his hair in a manner I'm guessing most ball cap fans around here wouldn't be caught dead wearing in public.

      Wearing a ball cap isn't going to make anyone as cool as Eric Church simply because he does it. Figure out what image you want to present as a musician and dress to accentuate it. Just like you would do with your guitar tone or choice of cover songs. It's all part of the same package you're selling.
      _________________________________________________
      band websites:
      http://www.JumpStartYourParty.com
      https://www.gigmasters.com/Rock/Jump-Start
      https://www.facebook.com/JumpStartYourParty
      http://www.weddingwire.com/biz/jumps...587fe5f12.html

      Comment


      • Potts
        Potts commented
        Editing a comment
        LOL... It's still black T and jeans 75% of the time.

      • SpaceNorman
        SpaceNorman commented
        Editing a comment

        guido61 wrote:

        Yes and no. Cool/hip is an attitude, not an article of clothing. To some degree you either have it or you don't.

        There's truth in that - BUT it's still in the eye of the beholder.  There are plenty of famous folks out there who touted as fashionistas by the press whose tastes in wardrobe are downright hideous in my opinion.  It's not whether you have it or don't - it whether or not others believe you have it.

        guido61 wrote:

        But if you don't, then dressing well can at least keep you from looking outright bad.


        Good and bad are all relative in this discussion. Clean vs. dirty, pressed vs. wrinkled, in good repair vs not, etc. - are all relatively objective observations in this discussion.   Well dressed vs. poorly dressed (especially when we're talking stagewear) is again, all in the eye of the beholder.  Using the club owner in the OP's post as an example ... show up in a baseball cap - and that club owner's opinion about your "coolness" is a matter of public record - regardless how hip or cool you, your circle of friends - and even your audience may think your ensemble may be. 

        When it comes to earning style points for stagewear - the real bottom line is that our opinions don't count for ****************.   You simply gotta know your client - because that's the only opinion that matters.


    • #7
      We can't all be as cool as you, Potts. Some of us have to work harder at it

      Or should.
      _________________________________________________
      band websites:
      http://www.JumpStartYourParty.com
      https://www.gigmasters.com/Rock/Jump-Start
      https://www.facebook.com/JumpStartYourParty
      http://www.weddingwire.com/biz/jumps...587fe5f12.html

      Comment


      • Shart
        Shart commented
        Editing a comment

        Might work, give it time..

        PottsKFC.jpg

        Attached Files

      • Potts
        Potts commented
        Editing a comment

        guido61 wrote:
        We can't all be as cool as you, Potts. Some of us have to work harder at it

        Or should.

         

        lol.. 


    • #8
      Lol's or not, the fact remains: if someone is working all the gigs they want for the money they want, then pretty obviously they don't need to change anything. But just as obviously, what works for one doesn't work for all.

      And, just as obviously, the OP wasn't intended for those for whom everything is working well. It was for those who aren't getting all the gigs they what and can't figure out why. Or are unwilling to look at themselves and instead blame it on "stupid" barowners.
      _________________________________________________
      band websites:
      http://www.JumpStartYourParty.com
      https://www.gigmasters.com/Rock/Jump-Start
      https://www.facebook.com/JumpStartYourParty
      http://www.weddingwire.com/biz/jumps...587fe5f12.html

      Comment


    • #9
      I agree!
      _________________________________________________
      band websites:
      http://www.JumpStartYourParty.com
      https://www.gigmasters.com/Rock/Jump-Start
      https://www.facebook.com/JumpStartYourParty
      http://www.weddingwire.com/biz/jumps...587fe5f12.html

      Comment


      • Shart
        Shart commented
        Editing a comment

        Ok, I should get back to real work now.


    • #10
      Yeah I'm not sure why, in an essay of what a barowner expects from a band, what responsibilities of his own he needs to address.
      _________________________________________________
      band websites:
      http://www.JumpStartYourParty.com
      https://www.gigmasters.com/Rock/Jump-Start
      https://www.facebook.com/JumpStartYourParty
      http://www.weddingwire.com/biz/jumps...587fe5f12.html

      Comment


      • #11

        In a nutshell, either you turn an the audience on and they stay and drink or you don't. His point was that he needs bands to realize that they are there to sell drinks. That's not a horrible thing. Bands in other realms have to fulfill what is expected of them as well. Be it the Rolling Stones, Rage Against the Machine, or The Turtles reunion tour.

        I am absolutely sure that that bar owner would be fine with a guy in a ball cap that worked. So forgive him any generalizations he made. The point is, and I feel Guido made the point quite well, is that you have to make it work for the crowd and, in turn as a result, for the bar totals.

        Great rock 'n roll, or whatever you do, is frequently a result of such motivation. Don't fight it but use it.

        __________
        Ain't no sacrilege to call Elvis king
        Dad is great and all but he never could sing -
        Jesus

        Comment


        • SeniorBlues
          SeniorBlues commented
          Editing a comment

          I'm sensitive to this "responsibility" issue since I played a complete flop Cinco de Mayo gig Sunday and will be playing tomorrow at a another place that doesn't promote themselves as a music venue . . . . at all.


      • #12

        TrickyBoy wrote:

        Here's something that showed up on my Facebook feed today.  From what I gather, it was originally posted on Craigslist in Tampa.  I think he makes some very valid points:

        You

        "Be regular and orderly in your life so that you may be violent and original in your work" - Gustave Flaubert

        Comment


        • #13
          I agree with you that the "trade secret" thing is a bit silly. But as far as acting professional and helping to sell product being obvious? Hard to tell that by looking at so many bands out there.
          _________________________________________________
          band websites:
          http://www.JumpStartYourParty.com
          https://www.gigmasters.com/Rock/Jump-Start
          https://www.facebook.com/JumpStartYourParty
          http://www.weddingwire.com/biz/jumps...587fe5f12.html

          Comment


          • SeniorBlues
            SeniorBlues commented
            Editing a comment

            Acting professional:  If you're paying hobbiest wages that only weekend warriors will accept, don't be surprised when you get hobbiest attitudes regarding appearance, pacing of the show, etc.

            Selling product:  We all know that profit from drinks (and perhaps food) determines the success of the evening, but a lot of guys in the blog discussion I linked to above felt that actually shilling from stage was cheesy and fell outside their job description.  

             

            I still think that ultimately the point of all this is how much the establishment's reputation is the draw compared to the band's.


        • #14
          Re acting professional: this ties into my often-stated complaint about bands not stepping up their game and finding excuses to be lame or lazy. The great music and art scenes have been built by those who put out 100% and pushed boundaries regardless of the pay. In the cover band scenes, the bands that went on to the most success where those who acted like they deserved to be paid more instead of bitching about what they didnt make.

          Somewhere along the way bands started taking the attitude of "they aren't paying me enough to be any better than I already am" and the whole scene started going downhill at the same time

          We can debate "which came first" but the fact they happened at the same time isn't just a coincidence.
          _________________________________________________
          band websites:
          http://www.JumpStartYourParty.com
          https://www.gigmasters.com/Rock/Jump-Start
          https://www.facebook.com/JumpStartYourParty
          http://www.weddingwire.com/biz/jumps...587fe5f12.html

          Comment


          • SeniorBlues
            SeniorBlues commented
            Editing a comment

            We have debated this ad infinitum.  I'm merely pointing out that obviously if a club hires on the basis of price, it's going to create a market for more of the same. . . .  bands that don't aspire to anything beyond a couple cheap gigs a month at a dive bar.  What's sad is that those gigs now dominate the market.  My understanding of your argument is that you think that the reason there aren't a lot of large high end night spots for guys like us to play is a supply issue . . .  not enough bands doing the kinds of things you like to talk about.

            I thinks it's lack of demand.


          • 3shiftgtr
            3shiftgtr commented
            Editing a comment

            guido61 wrote:
            In the cover band scenes, the bands that went on to the most success where those who acted like they deserved to be paid more instead of bitching about what they didnt make.

            Somewhere along the way bands started taking the attitude of "they aren't paying me enough to be any better than I already am" and the whole scene started going downhill at the same time



            It's a contradiction in terms no? Isn't that the whole point of the OP's letter? **************** everything else, Sell my damn booze. It's ok to suck, as long as you can sell my booze? Sell first, play later? Acording to the OP's letter, professionalism is selling the booze, and the rest is who gives a ****************.

             

            And it's the oldest quandry in business....do I do what it takes for a bottom line today, or do I do what's best to insure a bottom line tomorrow? The reason bands don't want to be lazy isn't to help sell booze, it's to keep people engaged, it's the bar's job to sell the booze. We can help, but it ain't our primary job.

             

            And sometimes being professional means NOT doing what the OP is saying. Focusing on doing what it takes to make an engaging experience for the audience.

             

            Case in point: local bunch of older guys (60's) that play all old school R&B and a smidge of 70's dance funk. The band is solid, and all old pros, and they really know how to work a set list.  The lead singer/front man is an energetic and charismatic fromnt man and good vocalist. He is also the author of the OP's letter's wet dream. He is constantly shilling from the stage. Talks over solos, goes out into the audience in the middle of songs and just gets in their faces with the "Hey, how are ya? You did know that for the next hour blah blah's are only a buck? Bring these guys a round!! And  this table will pay for it!! Hey....just kidding!" He's not over the top, but close. Probabally 3 or 4 times a set he shills something. Never a dull moment.

             

            For a year their calendar was packed and they were getting good money. Then their audience started fading cuz they tired of his constant shtick. In their third year and they only do weddings and calls.  Their audience went from 100 to 150 the first year, consistantly wherever they played, down to about 30 now. But in that first year, several owners held these guys up as an example. 

             

            But the bar owners had some of the best one night reciepts they ever had with them.  If people want a used car salesman to entertain them, they'd go to a used car lot.

             

            So the take away is that the bar owners that are focused on tonights receipts and nothing else, and blame the band for it, as usual, are shooting themselves in the foot. And being professional in the terms you are talking about, has nothing to do with anything going downhill. YOu can step up your game all you want, if you aren't selling booze, then **************** you acording to the OP's letter.


        • #15
          Re: selling product;

          I'm sure a lot of guys DO feel shilling from stage is "cheezy". Half this forum is devoted to discussions with musicians who think this or that thing or song is cheezy and beneath their own assessment of their artistic integrity. To whom I will put rather bluntly: either get over yourself or prove to me your artistic value by getting out of doing gigs that require a certain business model. If you're too "good" to be selling beers by playing Brown Eyed Girl to drunk dancing girls, then why is the only gig you can get one that requires that?
          _________________________________________________
          band websites:
          http://www.JumpStartYourParty.com
          https://www.gigmasters.com/Rock/Jump-Start
          https://www.facebook.com/JumpStartYourParty
          http://www.weddingwire.com/biz/jumps...587fe5f12.html

          Comment


          • SeniorBlues
            SeniorBlues commented
            Editing a comment

            guido61 wrote:
            Re: selling product;

            I'm sure a lot of guys DO feel shilling from stage is "cheezy". Half this forum is devoted to discussions with musicians who think this or that thing or song is cheezy and beneath their own assessment of their artistic integrity. To whom I will put rather bluntly: either get over yourself or prove to me your artistic value by getting out of doing gigs that require a certain business model. If you're too "good" to be selling beers by playing Brown Eyed Girl to drunk dancing girls, then why is the only gig you can get one that requires that?

            Dave, please don't go into auto-response mode.  Shilling from the stage refers to direct selling of the product, not playing music designed to keep people engaged.



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