Hey, Local Bands, Stop Doing This Bullshit

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If you are in a local band, I am probably about to talk shit about you. I am not sorry.

If you missed it, last week 365 Days of Horror published a painful yet important piece about the deeply flawed practice of curating local music “festivals” based on pay-to-play shenanigans that benefit nobody except the lazy promoter who organized them. As the years go by, their tactics change and their lingo gets more suave, but the sad truth is that shady music promoters aren’t going anywhere. I mean, being a slimy, cheating, no-good, pizza-faced, rat-bastard swindler of a rock and roll promoter is the third oldest profession in the world, bested only by prostitution and farming. However, what if I told you that shady assholes in the music industry weren’t your band’s biggest enemy?

If you’re a local band who isn’t getting asked to play cool shows and isn’t getting responses back from promoters in your town or elsewhere, your band’s biggest enemy is probably your own damn selves. A lot of bands make the same mistakes over and over without even realizing they’re mistakes in the first place. So abandon your pride and listen closely to my advice – some of these might be tough pills to swallow, but it’s just the way things are in the 2010’s, the decade we thought would be full of personal jetpacks and cities in the sky but is actually mostly full of inexplicable 90’s nostalgia and wannabe instagram models complaining about subpar wifi in public places.

COMMANDMENT I: THOU SHALT BE PREPARED TO PLAY

This all seems obvious, but take time to think about all of the following technical matters, because shockingly, many bands do not: Do you have reliable transportation for all of you and your gear available the day of the show? Will all of your members be done with work by the time you are expected to play? Are you capable of being sober enough to play your songs well for the duration of your set? If you plan on borrowing gear (like a bass cab or drum kit), did you clear it with the other bands BEFORE the day of the show? Drummers, did you pack extra sticks? Guitar/bass players, do you have a fully functioning rig? That means no faulty pickups, none of your cables are touchy and bound to die mid-set, and YOU PACKED EXTRA STRINGS????

Finally, most importantly, just be on fucking time, especially if you’re playing first. It’s infuriating when an audience is waiting for the opening band to show up. The longer they wait, the less likely they will be to hang out for the whole show to see every band.

COMMANDMENT II: THOU SHALT LOAD QUICKLY

The less time you take to load gear on and off stage, the more time you and the other bands get to ROCK OUT and HAVE FUN. How do you load more quickly? Well, have your gear unpacked and ready to go on stage before you play. During the previous band’s set, get your stompboxes in order, amplifiers out of their cases, and your cymbal stands set up so you can drop your shit on the stage, plug in, and be ready to go. After your set, DO NOT break gear down on stage if you don’t have to. Get yourself and your gear off the stage ASAP so the next band can set up – that means waiting until you’re offstage to dismantle your drum hardware. There’s nothing more infuriating than waiting on a clueless and persnickety drummer tediously dismantling a kit in the exact spot of the stage where you are waiting to get your own shit set up. Soundpeople always want to check drum mics before everything else, so if the drums are slow to get set up it REALLY slows the whole production down.

Pro tip – y’know what makes loading WAY easier? Sharing cabinets and/or a drumkit with the other bands! Don’t be stingy – if people seem trustworthy, offer to let them use your stuff so there’s less bullshit to lug on and off stage between bands. You’ll all have a better time for it.

COMMANDMENT III: THOU SHALL NOT ENGAGE IN CRINGY STAGE BANTER

“How the FUCK are you doing tonight!? I can’t hear you!”
“Sing along if you know the words!”
“Be sure to stick around for [band that is vastly more popular]!”

If you aren’t REALLY good at stage banter (and if you’re not Guy Kozowyk or Valient Himself, you probably aren’t), don’t force it. I actually think it’s awesome when bands play their set straight through with no talking. All you need to do for “banter” is to introduce yourself at the beginning of your set, encourage people to buy merch from the touring bands at the end, and thank whoever put on the show at some point. Any more than that is usually self-serving, unnecessary, and obnoxious. If you really can’t stand silence during your tuning breaks, get some samples lined up to make noise so you don’t have to ad lib cringy bullshit. Weird synth sounds or snippets of movie dialogue are WAY COOLER than you asking the crowd if “anyone has a good joke”.

Finally, it is extraordinarily lame to ask “Who wants to hear another one!” when your set should be done. Your drunk friends will shout for more but everyone else will hate you. If you kick ass and the audience REALLY wants to hear more, they’ll tell you. Unprompted. Fake encores at local shows are for people who only play blues scales and religiously watch VH1 original films. Don’t be that person. Speaking of playing too damn long…

COMMANDMENT IV: THOU SHALT NOT OVERSTAY THY WELCOME

This is one of the tough pills I talked about earlier, but I see SO MANY otherwise quality bands fuck this up – people are going to get tired of watching you play, EVEN IF YOU ARE A GOOD BAND. If you get on stage and play 20 straight minutes of absolutely kickass rock and roll, and suddenly cut your set off and leave the audience wanting more, YOU’VE WON. Everyone thinks you’re badasses. Audience members will buy you beer. You will probably get laid. HOWEVER, if you play that same 20 minutes of music and then another 10, 15, 20, 30 minutes… people get antsy. They start checking their Instagram. They go for a smoke break. They go on a beer run. They remember they have to work in the morning. Meanwhile, every other band playing after you has that many fewer people in the room to watch them play.

Now, different settings come with different expectations. The rules are different if you’re a jazz combo serving as background music for a cocktail party than if you’re entertaining drunk punks in a basement. Read the room and keep in mind the setting, day of the the week, and how many bands are playing that night. You’re the only band playing at a backwater townie bar on a weekend? Go nuts, play until your hands fall off. You’re opening a 4 band bill at a DIY space on a Tuesday? No one has time for your 3rd saxophone solo. Keep that shit short and sweet. You don’t have to play every good song you’ve written at every show. In fact, if you don’t play the same set every time, it gives people a reason to keep coming out to your shows multiple times a month!

If you really don’t know how long you should play, ask the promoter what they want, then play slightly less than how long they tell you to play because they were probably trying to be nice and not hurt your feelings about how long you should REALLY play.

COMMANDMENT V: THOU SHALT PUT THE TOURING BAND 2ND TO LAST

If you came of age in a DIY music scene, you’ve probably picked up on this golden rule, but I’ve played enough shows on tour that were fucked up by locals insisting we “headline” that I’m going to hammer it home here. If you built a show around a touring band, you should always give that band the best slot on the bill. 90% of the time, that slot is 2nd to last, with the most established/popular local band playing last. This is the time of night where the fashionably late have finally arrived, and not many people have gotten tuckered out and bailed yet.

At most DIY shows, a lot of people bail before the last band plays. If you’re in your hometown, you’ll have plenty of other nights you can play to these exact people. That’s not true for the touring band, so let them have the spotlight. If you ever go play their city, I’m sure you’d appreciate them doing the same for you, right?

An illustrative example from my life of local bands not “getting it” – on my last tour, in Oklahoma, we were playing a townie bar where admission is free and the bands get paid based on drink sales for the night. It was us and two locals. One of the local bands said that peak time for people to be at the bar to drink was at about midnight, so if we played last we’d be on stage right in that window. We decided to trust them, which completely bit us in the ass because he neglected to mention that his band, which played right before us, was intentionally abrasive noise performance art that would (and did) drive almost everyone out of the bar during their set. They seemed proud of their accomplishment, utterly oblivious to the fact that they cut both our audience and our pay down significantly while pissing off the venue that agreed to host a show. If you want to make a statement with inaccessible art, please do it on your own damn time, not on the time of a struggling DIY band on a self-booked month-long tour. Which brings me to the last commandment of being a likable local band…

COMMANDMENT VI: THOU SHALT GIVE ALL THE MONEY TO THE TOURING BAND

Being on tour is expensive as hell. For small DIY shows, there’s no reason for a local band to accept ANY of the door money at the expense of paying the band who drove to your town to play. You probably spent $3 worth of gas driving 15 minutes to get to the venue, and then you get to sleep in your own bed tonight. But to get to that show, the touring band probably had to put $50 of gas in their shabby van which they will sleep in that night. They need the money more than you. Think it seems unfair? Go on tour yourself and see how it feels when locals take a 50% cut of the $100 that came from the door after you drove across two states to play a shitty dive bar with no doors on the toilet stall.


Many thanks to Joe, 365 Days, Randall Thorr, and Stockhausen for contributing to this grouchy-ass list. Photo of local and Good-Ass Minneapolis band New Primals, who are NOT the kind of dipshits who break these DIY commandments, via Reviler.org.

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  • TheGranulatingDarkSatanicMilfs

    “I actually think it’s awesome when bands play their set straight through with no talking”

    I have actually never met anyone who thinks otherwise

    • Señor Jefe El Rossover

      On the contrary, Blood Incantation has the best stage banter I’ve ever had the pleasure of witnessing. It was as engaging as their set and had me on edge the entire time. Masterful.

      • TheGranulatingDarkSatanicMilfs

        Some bands/people managed to pull it off (Jeff Walker comes to mind) but for the most part, people buy a band’s show ticket to hear music, not a rally

        • Señor Jefe El Rossover

          Totally!

          • Dubby Fresh

            I actually appreciated that Vader didn’t talk too much when we saw them.

          • Señor Jefe El Rossover

            It varies from band to band, in my opinion.Vader’s militant precision played out well with little breaks in their set.

      • NUNSLAUGHTER AND ABSU ALSO TOP THE LIST OF A+ GOOD TIME

        • GoatForest

          I can totally see that with Nunslaughter. I’ve never seen them live, but if their albums are any indication, their live set rips.

          • UNFORTUNATELY ALL THE BANTER CAME FROM THE DRUMMER JIM AND HE WENT OFF TO SLAUGHTER NUNS IN THE SKY IN 2015

          • GoatForest

            Damn.

      • “anyone here know ancient sumerian? No? WHAT DON’T THEY WANT US TO KNOW?!?”

      • more beer

        I really like Lance from Macabre’s serial killer stories before every song.

        • RUB A DUB DUB THREE MEN IN A TUB

        • Señor Jefe El Rossover

          That sounds intense!!

          • more beer

            The guy knows his serial killers!

      • engaging how?

        • Señor Jefe El Rossover

          He wove in and out of various conspiracy with ease. One moment he would convince that your mind isn’t at its potential, then the next he says aliens are among us. Beautiful

    • The crowd has to belong to you for stage banter to even really work.

      I played to a home crowd exclusively for about a year, then tried the same stage banter with an entirely new crowd.

      crickets.

      Never again.

      • Robert Maclean

        Even then I hate it when a band like Ignite does it. Zoltan Teglas keeps going on for minutes about Sea Shepard and what not and just needs to shut up.

    • Dave

      The one time where stage banter makes sense is if you have to stall for time e.g. some kind of technical glitch that takes a minute or two to figure out. But even then, you have to keep it entertaining, fun, and not something that your audience could have gotten sitting around with friends on the couch.

  • HessianHunter

    I can’t believe I forgot the most important commandment – “THOU SHALT BE A GOOD BAND. LIKE, ACTUALLY GOOD, SO IT SOUNDS LIKE YOU PRACTICED AND GIVE A SHIT”

    • so stoner metal is out?

      • YES

      • Howard Dean
      • Butts4Gutts

        Yea man, we definitely need another band that sounds like an Omen cover band instead.

      • Kyle Reese

        Yes.

      • bobbyflavor

        Why would you rule out the only remaining form of metal that isn’t overly produced cringe.

      • Charles Glisson

        More like “Indie Band” is OUT!

        • 404 GENRE NOT FOUND OOPS IT APPEARS THAT GENRE DOES NOT EXIST ON THIS BLOG PERHAPS TRY SEARCHING BON-IVER.COM

    • You done blew this b up, pumpkin baby. Holy shit.

      GL

    • Kyle Reese

      Commandment six is bullshit. That’s honestly into the disingenuous territory. “Don’t take the cut you agreed on taking because reasons.”

      • Snooty McWords

        I propose an amendment to Commandment VI:

        Instead it should read, “thou shalt BE PREPARED TO give MOST of the money to the touring band”.

        As a local act we were always prepared to give our share to the touring band if it wasn’t a great turn out (bad day of the week, competing sports game, weather, etc). However, if the turnout was great, touring band would get 50 or 60%, and the other 2 or 3 bands would happily split the leftovers. The only hard and fast rule is to do whatever we could to help out the touring folks first, because that’s what we would hope for (and did receive) when we were touring.

        At no point thus far in my metal-playing career have we seen a guarantee or pre-agreed on ‘cuts’ prior to a show, since each one had equal potential to go very well or very poorly.

        Perhaps guarantees are a normal thing when you aren’t playing DIY spaces as a black/doom/psychedelic band?

      • Robert Maclean

        Yes, and what is local? Where I come from (The Netherlands) everything in a radius of 50km could be local, but for 50km (and with 2 or 3 cars, because as a “local” you mostly need to because you’re supposed to share you backline) you are down 30-45 dollars (or 25-37,50 euros so you will) and mostly only get a doordeal or some drinks and if you’re lucky 50 euros. A touring band has a van and gets paid good money most of the times (because they charge a fixed price and rightfully so) and a place to stay (I know from the few tours I’ve done in a small band not having lost money on tour, because we were organized).

        If we are able to play for a bigger band, sure I would accept it if we wouldn’t get a fee (and that has happened in the past a few times).

        I must admit I haven’t toured that much, so maybe I’m way off.

        • Snooty McWords

          Fascinating!

          That does match up with my experience on a leg of Germany tour I helped out on last year, and incidentally, is exactly the opposite of how US shows I’ve played work.

          That is, touring bands actually get paid in Europe and are treated professionally (food, lodging, transport), whereas in the US every tour is essentially a self-funded leap of faith that you won’t be abandoned by these remote venues and scenes 16+ hours away. Oftentimes, tours will also require quite a few ‘dead’ stops (Idaho, Wyoming, etc) just by virtue of the distance involved, and so touring bands usually need some help to recuperate from those inevitable dead zones. Often touring in the US is performed in someone’s personal van, which is usually 3 pieces of duct tape away from a blown radiator (Arizona) or transmission (Rocky Mountains).

          By comparison, gas is cheap though, so I could certainly see the opposite being true in the EU, where the local bands end up hurting worse because no one is specifically looking out for their interests the way the tour manager is.

          On a similar note, there are far fewer local shows happening here in Scandinavia compared to in the US, so perhaps that has something to do with it as well?

          There are so many festivals close by that it’s a bit harder to get people to crawl out of their holes just to go to a local show!

      • HessianHunter

        Let me set the scene – On a Tuesday night in a secondary market, two local bands put together a show for one touring band. There’s not a huge crowd, but respectable turnout for an off night, maybe 30 people. They all payed 5 dollars, and the venue takes 20%. That leaves $120 for bands. If you split it equally – do the two local bands really need those $40? Or even $20? That money means WAY more for the band who took off work to go play in your town.

        • gweedoh565

          What a band “needs” is irrelevant. Also, in your scenario the two local bands did all the work putting on and presumably promoting the show. Why shouldn’t they get an equal cut? If your band will be seriously inconvenienced by playing the show for little $$, then don’t play the show.

          • Nope

            Don’t tour if that’s the case, lol.
            .

          • Dom Simpson

            If you keep thinking like that you’ll probably do a lot of Tuesday night shows in your hometown… A little kindness goes a long way. You give them the money, you hang out, you drink beers & become mates. The touring band might get bigger and need an opener for a whole leg of their tour. Are they gonna call the band that gave them their cut and had beers or the band that didn’t?

          • dchris24

            Kindness is my band being cool to yours, buying you a beer, etc. That does not extend to me playing for free to subsidsize your (likely) poorly planned “tour”.

          • Dom Simpson

            Man, you must really like playing Tuesday nights at the local….

          • dchris24

            I do just fine, thanks, and I’m not sure I’ve ever played a Tuesday. Toured plenty, too.

            The scenario you just laid out sounds great, but is a rarity and a hypothetical. If you think that’s a common thing, well…keep giving that money away.

            There are lots of ways to be “mates” without being a charity for your decision to tour and not be able to adequately fund it through your music.

          • Dom Simpson

            I’ve got no problem taking money for a gig and I’m not saying you’re a bad band if you do take money for a show but in the scenario laid out by HeasianHunter above where it’s a low income show to begin with in a small town in a dead zone on a weeknight it’s definitely respectable in my opinion (and apparently a whole bunch of other peoples) to let the touring act keep the cash. I’ve been on both sides of the thing. Have definitely let touring bands keep cash, have been offered to take all the cash, have been offered to take all the cash and turned it down because the gig was already profitable, have offered to give all the cash and been turned down cause it was profitable. I would never get annoyed at a band for not handing it over in such a situation and I’ve never been asked to do so when I may have been in that local band opening but it’s just being pleasant. If the band already has a guarantee you’re not obliged to do shit but if not and you’re all there to support the creation & disemination of original music then it’s just a nice thing to do so. It’s not just badly organised tours that go south. I was playing for an American artist who sang for a HUGE British heavy metal band for a while. He was doing a gig in Helsinki (more of less metal capital of the world) on a Thursday night with a “supergroup” band made up of all equally huge names on a tour which had sold out majority of the shows in large venues… they got 5 or 6 people this Thursday night, no reason, just happened. Now I’m sure they didn’t ask to take the support acts (probably non existent) cut of the door as the rest of the tour was profitable. But, it’s an extreme example of how a big tour can even hit a speed bump on a weeknight in a low population area (Although this was a well populated area even). But feel free to disagree, I guess I’m just trying to say keeping $20 isn’t really gonna help your band of 3 – 5 people a lot in the long run. Helping a touring band where the short term benefit of that $20 can mean a lot could mean even more for your band.

        • gweedoh565

          To look at it another way, let me set the scene- on a Tuesday night in your hometown market, you join another local band to put on a show for a touring band passing through town. You contact the venue and work out sound logistics and promotion. You get 30 people to turn out, 25 of which are there to see you and the other band because they know you because you’re local. Then the touring band demands 66% of the cut.

          • HessianHunter

            Sounds like the machinations of a healthy DIY economy to me! Give a little, get a little. Make friends. Be cool. Then you can go on tour and get taken care of yourself!

          • NO THANKS I PREFER TO PREEMPTIVELY BURN ALL MY BRIDGES BY BEING REAL ORNERY ABOUT TWENNY SPACE BUCKS

        • Nope

          You’re the one that decided to tour as an unknown band relying on locals for booking and support. I’m not going to the trouble of setting up the show, promotion, and playing on a weeknight for your benefit. That 40 bucks adds up to the cost of a weekend studio session if saved over multiple shows.

        • Charles Glisson

          YOUR band made THE CHOICE to do a NATIONAL TOUR when YOU “Didn’t Have” a NATIONAL FOLLOWING, why should a local band “Subsidize” YOUR EGO and YOUR LACK of “Business Sense”?

          • THAT IS HOW DEATH METAL BANDS MAKE A FOLLOWING WE ALL SCRAPIN THE BOTTOM OF A DEEP BARREL

          • HessianHunter

            1) Because you think they’re a great band and want them to come back so you and your friends can see them again. If you don’t think the band is that cool, why did you agree to play the show?

            2) Because you think DIY tours are a valuable part of the artistic ecosystem, so you support bands with the gumption to hit the road on principle.

            3) Because if you have any inclination to tour yourself, you’ll value cultivating relationships with peers from other cities over making a few extra dollars on a given night.

            4) Because if you’re actually trying to earn significant money playing original rock and roll music, you are chasing a long-extinct dinosaur from a bygone era and you have the “business sense” of a person selling salt water on the beach.

          • BUT WAIT WHAT ABOUT ALL THESE TRICKLE DOWN BOOTSTRAPS I KEEP HEARING ABOUT SURELY IF I PLAY THIS MATCHBOX 20 RIFF ENOUGH TIMES I WILL ASCEND INTO THE SUPER BOWL

        • Neal Goldberg

          Stop fucking playing shows for fucking pittance. Fucking hack bands who entertain people with music for three hours for a case of PBR fuck shit up for people trying to make a living off music. Stop playing shows for nothing! The scumbag promoter you so helpfully identified is taking your money, our money, and you’re degrading yourself in front of business people (the bar, the promoter, the working folks who paid five bucks to see you) for what? You’re telling them “we ain’t worth shit” $20 is shit, $40 is shit it should be a minimum of $50 bucks a man and any bar or venue who can’t fucking pay it can go plug back in their fucking stereo. Stop dropping your pants for these middle men dick bags you gaping asshole.

          • HessianHunter

            I feel like you’re projecting some insecurities here, and that you didn’t actually read what I said.

            I’m not advocating you give up money so that a middle aged promoter can keep it. I’m saying that if the show was specifically built around a touring band, and my “fair cut” would be less than $50, I would rather that money go toward the band on tour. Who is “fucking me over” in that scenario?

            At 90% of the shows I play at home, the “promoter” is me, my bandmate, or one of my friends in another local band. The slimy promoter I was joking about in the intro paragraph honestly doesn’t have much to do w/ the rest of the article, because I play DIY shows that have a niche crowd that don’t pull in tons of money. That’s fine with me, because I play 11 minute sludge metal songs about dead elephants, so I’m obviously not exactly in this for the money anyway.

          • THUMBS UP SLUDGE ELEPHANT METAL

          • Snooty McWords

            I am relatively certain that whatever genre can reasonably expect local bands to demand two hundred fifty american dollars per night is not being threatened by the bands addressed in this article and blog.

      • MCBusStop

        I agree completely, if you play you should get paid something. You don’t have to make it an even split and it doesn’t need to be a big cut but a band should never play for free. That is a basic rule of band self respect. Plus, to look at it from the other side no touring band wants to have a reputation of playing a show, not drawing a single person, and then skipping town with all the money. No one will want to put you on a bill or play with you next tour.

  • SO MANY HOT TAKES.

    **claps enthusiastically**

    GL

    • Steven Siciliano

      “Hi we are _______” then rip through your set, no pauses…drone in to the next song and keep it rolling.

    • Lacertilian

      None of these are hot-takes.
      HessianHunter knows what he’s talking about.

      • My logic behind it was that any local band would likely think the exact opposite of what HH said to be fact. Since HH present ideals different from what others to believe true, his opinions would be hot takes with respect to the local bands.

        Regardless, neat write up. I would also agree that I think knows what he is talking about!

      • Kyle Reese

        “SHARE YOUR MONEY WITH ME BECAUSE I DROVE PLACES” = HAWT TAKE

        • Lacertilian

          EXPRESS EMPATHY AND BE EQUITABLE TO OTHERS” – Raging Egotistical Lunatics (2017)

  • Howard Dean

    Stage banter down right (starts @ 2:23):

    https://youtu.be/pPHhbZYUGQY?t=142

  • RepostedAvengedSevenfoldFan2

    These shitty bands couldn’t cover A7X’s penis with their whole band and gear (metaphorically)

    -billy methley, 4 years ago

  • Howard Dean

    This was a great read. I don’t go to shows often but I’ve seen all six of these commandments broken. Overstaying your welcome is the biggie for me. Bands deciding to test out the new 20-minute freeform jazz remix of a popular track from their last cassette demo is guaranteed to drive the crowd outside or into their phones.

    Also: That dumbass noise band that intentionally drove away the crowd/money before your headlining band played sound like a bunch of douchebags. “Hey, won’t it be funny when everyone bounces because we make such a grating, scary racket?! LOL!! They totally won’t understand how awesome and cerebral our stuff is. Plebs!” I wanted to punch them for you.

    • HessianHunter

      If they had done that shit AFTER we played, I probably would have thought it was funny, too. But, uh, nope.

      • Jeff Manteiga

        Kayo Dot did this before Pallbearer went on when I saw them last week in Brighton. LOL!!

        • HessianHunter

          Well Kayo Dot rules so those people are actually plebs then. Sucks for Pallbearer, though

          • Jeff Manteiga

            Tbh, I liked what I heard of Kayo Dot in the studio albums I skimmed over on Bandcamp, but they were rilllll shaky live. Maybe just an off show *shrug*

        • Howard Dean

          I think I would’ve preferred a band play discordant noise while Pallbearer played so that I could stay awake during their set.

          • Jeff Manteiga

            #Gottemmmmmm

            I disagree tho

          • sennasghost

            ^^^^This.

        • Kayo Dot came to my house and held my cat upside down Sunday night

  • I hope this shuts down all the filthy mouths over last zombie article. Well done, Pumpkin Baby.

  • Señor Jefe El Rossover

    Good stage banter rules, but when it’s bad its WAY bad.

    • @3:50 “PLAY A FUCKING SONG!!!”
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=irIvtAFCLzc

      • TheGranulatingDarkSatanicMilfs

        Goddammit, don’t give him a Game Boy. You are encouraging him

      • WTF!

      • HessianHunter

        Even Rody Walker’s dumbest stage banter is way more interesting than any Protest The Hero songs written since 2012, tbh

    • Howard Dean
      • THANKS TO MY CHILDISH ACTIONS AND POOR DECISION-MAKING SKILLS I’M GOING TO WRECK THIS 200 DOLLAR MICROPHONE *SPLOOSH*

    • HessianHunter

      I honestly judge a band more harshly for lame stage banter than lame music. If you aren’t Frank Mullen-level funny, just shut yer yap and we’ll all be better off.

      • more beer

        “Shitty dive bar with no doors on the toilet stall.” So you have played Bar Bar in Denver.

  • I cannot emphasize shorter sets enough. I go to so many shows a month, no new band is going to surprise me unless you do some whacky Peelander-Z shit.

    I tell bands 30 minute sets max when i book because I dont’ want to watch any of them play that long, but if I tell them 20 minute sets then the bar sells less beer overall and we all lose

    • ALSO HEY BANDS, YOU KNOW HOW EVERYONE COMPLAINS ABOUT BEING OUT TOO LATE? IF YOU ALL SHARED GEAR AND PLAYED 20 MINUTE SETS, WE COULD BE HOME EARLIER JUST A THOUGHT

      • TheGranulatingDarkSatanicMilfs

        What? And play some douchebag’s shitty solid state Peavey instead of the all Tube Diezel amp my parents bought me for my birthday? No fucking way

        And I’m also not letting the aforementioned douche touch my fucking amp

        • HessianHunter

          I get not trusting your amp with people you don’t know/like, but just have a workable cab for everyone to share! Mics get to stay in the same place between sets, you still get 95% of your desired tone, and everyone has a better time. Like magic!

          • TheGranulatingDarkSatanicMilfs

            I know, I was just joking. In my old days of playing in bands we all shared amps and even instruments. Of course, there is always that one guy that hits the drums way too hard and nobody wants to lend him theirs

          • HARD HITTER LENDS THE DRUMS #LIFEHACK

        • Óðinn
        • james

          Thats…almost pervasively accurate! Hahaha

        • DTB

          your loss, Peavey combos with the old logo are the kvltmost of amps

      • Randall Avila-Arendes

        Or hey, how about get your own fucking amp and stop expecting hand-outs. Nobody is obligated to borrow each other shit. This ain’t a fuckin library.

        • Get your own amp, but like 1% of bands care about their cabs

      • Dadpa1

        I’m guessing you didn’t recognize yourself in the “slimy, cheating, no-good, pizza-faced, rat-bastard swindler” segment.

  • frozengoatsheadupanunsarse

    Also gratuitous male nudity never hurts.

    • Managainst Catfish

      I can assure that it can hurt. Goddamn restraining orders..,

  • Lord of Bork

    THE BAND I’M IN HAS FALLEN INTO THESE TRAPS AND PLAYS BAD MUSIC SO THEREFORE YOUR OPINION DOESN’T COUNT

    • more beer

      I hope this isn’t your band. But the horrible black metal band I saw from the Springs with Jungle Rot at the Black Sheep, who spent damn near a half an hour doing a sound check, Then couldn’t play worth a fuck. But their corpse paint was perfect. Which by the way the singer and his girlfriend are wearing every time I see them at any show. Whether they are playing or not, usually not. They drive to Denver in their corpse paint for fucks sake! If you go to shows in the Springs you have seen them. If this is your band I apologize for my rant. But fuck I hate corpse paint!

      • Kyle Reese

        I hope they see the meth billboards.

        • more beer

          I don’t know if they would help, I think they are too far gone!

      • Lord of Bork

        Nah I haven’t played outside of a buddy’s basement in years. I think the Manitou band is called Helleborus?

        Also that might be the weirdest shit I’ve ever heard. I can get down with some corpsepaint (or that kabuki makeup KISS wears), but you’ve gotta take that shit off some time.

        • more beer

          Cool I was hoping I wasn’t insulting you. Nah I don’t think it is that band I have heard of them.

  • GoatForest

    This article should be tattooed on a lot of local bands’ collective foreheads.

  • Jeff Manteiga

    Who’s this veggie who refuses to use his real name? What patch are you from? Come to my farm any day fam, me n my boys will carve you up gourd.

    • HessianHunter

      I’M HOMEGROWN IN THE LAND OF 10,000 LAKES, YOU SCRAWNY STRING-OF-SPAGHETTI-SQUASH LOOKING MOTHERFUCKER, AND I’M ABOUT TO DROPKICK SOME ADORABLE GREEN BOOTIES STRAIGHT INTO YOUR CONCAVE SOLAR PLEXUS. I ALREADY BOUGHT MY PLANE TICKETS TO SHITSVILLE SO GET READY TO FUCKING DANCE, YOU TURD-FARMING SHEEP FUCKER

      • Rolderathis

        Quality post.

  • Iam TheHuman

    Honestly. I expected to read this and get annoyed but you hit all the points that we as a band (Amerakin Overdose) consistently agree, request, and promote. I am so refreshingly surprised at how thoughtful and to the point this post was.

    From a fellow DIY touring act. Thank you.

  • Mike Wiley

    but, what if the touring band sucks ass and brings in absolutely no one, did, no work whatsoever to promote the show and is “touring” just to mask them being homeless with acoustic guitars?

    • HessianHunter

      Then why did you agree to play with them?

  • Nope

    The touring band isn’t owed the entire take. Fuck that. My band fund doesn’t need to suffer because you think your art is important enough to book a 3 week vacation from your real job (If your musician ass has one). Here, I already worked to set up the bill at a cool venue and get another good band on the bill but take all the money, too!!! Fuck off with that.

    • Garbageface

      What if the touring band handles all the booking and you just show up and play?

      • Nope

        Id still want a split.

    • Howard Dean

      Why not just book solo shows? Then you wouldn’t have to share the take with anyone–especially that nasty touring band with the large, dedicated fanbase that accounts for 80%+ of the crowd.

      • Nope

        Then they are clearly popular enough to deal with a promoter and not be my headache.

    • RJA

      Most of the points made are reasonable- I found this one a bit questionable too? What if the “touring” band accounts for a lot of the audience or a little- definitely some grey area there

      • Mormon Nailer

        Most touring bands who end up doing OK have a transitional period where they go out on the road and realize they’re suddenly a much bigger draw than their last tour. The gracious ones are reasonable and accept that they are getting paid on their past performance. The less-than-gracious ones make a fuss and end up burning bridges that they will need to rebuild a few years hence when their buzz wears off and they wonder why the same venue doesn’t want them back.

    • Yea, I’m with you man.

    • Mormon Nailer

      “Local bands” who spend a couple of weeks on the road change their tune pretty quickly.

      • Nope

        I’m not sure what you mean by that. I wouldn’t go on tour if I couldn’t afford to take the hit of making no money or bringing in next to nothing for 3 weeks. It wouldn’t be a local openers fault if I didn’t plan ahead and manage my expectations.

        • DTB

          “I have not toured so I have little experience to bring to bear on this discussion.”

    • HessianHunter

      If you treat your band like a business, you probably shouldn’t book a show featuring a no-name touring band with no draw.

      If you think a small band that’s touring to your city is tight and you believe in their music, you should be gracious hosts so they want to come again.

      • Nope

        If you treat your band like a business, you shouldn’t give your operating income away.

        • IF YOU TREAT YOUR BAND LIKE A BUSINESS YOU DO WHAT CUSTOMER WANTS INSTEAD OF PASSION AND YOU SPEND 80% OF YOUR TIME COMMENTING HERE OF PRACTICING

    • DTB

      don’t think anyone said ‘all the take’, just take care of the touring band first to a reasonable degree taking into account their extra expenses – or just don’t set up or play the show. shit i’ve done like six tours and only ever once got all the door (support didn’t show so fuck them).

      • Nope

        I was referring to the article which definitely says give all the money to the touring band. I hear what you’re saying. I’m not going to demand a cut of the hat at a basement show but I’m def getting my cut at a venue that requires a sound staff and promotion. I typically offer up lodging and buy merch, I just don’t like it when people think they deserve above and beyond because they are on tour.

        • DTB

          I think that is more reasonable.

        • HessianHunter

          I pretty clearly said “at small DIY shows”. When I say “give all the money to the touring band”, I’m talking about the $120 in a hat in a basement or drink sale cut from the local dive bar. The kind of shows where no one is making “real money” but you have the opportunity to support a band you presumably respect who has the gumption to hit the road. If we’re talking about over $500 in door sales, then sure, hook up the local bands who hustled to make a big show.

          I’ll say that, as a dude in a buncha bands, if our “fair cut” is going to be less than $50, I would rather that just go toward the band on tour. I value DIY touring on principle because I think it enriches music scenes everywhere, and that solidarity is far more valuable to me than $50 I could have much more easily made working my real job.

  • Morbidly Obese Angel

    Bad stage banter is the most painful thing to witness at a show. The only thing worse is being onstage with that asshat who’s doing it

  • BAK

    Thou shall not play so loud that you push the audience out of the room.

    Seriously, no one likes the “this one goes to 11” shit. If you start playing to a full room and than look up and see a half full room, you are too loud (or you suck).

  • Óðinn

    I like it when bands do this…

    https://youtu.be/CoyF73Mc18M

  • Max

    I had no problem sharing my rig back when I was playing bass in a band.

    But on drums? Nah, that’s just too difficult, in this day and age, for the sort of kit I have. I play double-bass, so my snare drum’s right in the middle. Most drummers don’t do that. I like to have my ride cymbal and hat cymbal set quite low compared to most. And I’m kinda hopeless on other people’s kits unless it’s standard rock music.

    I did once let another drummer borrow my kit. All he did was complain about the set-up afterwards without saying thankyou.

    • Managainst Catfish

      Not to mention that skins & especially cymbals are fucking expensive. Share cabs? Sure. Drums? Nah.

  • The Metal Pigeon

    Loved reading this —- I’d like to add one more detail though, if you’re a local metal band, avoid stage banter BUT IF YOU MUST, please don’t deliver it in the growling voice or your grimmest black metal voice. Because there simply isn’t an illusion to shatter since we’ve already heard you talk to your bandmates normally while setting up your gear. Take the Mikael Akerfeldt route if you have to talk, speak in your normal voice, be polite and keep it short!

  • ClaySConrad

    Sorry if you’re not making any money, but nobody should be playing for free, local or otherwise. Keep that for the garage. If you’re not good enough to get paid, you’re not good enough to listen to.

    • Mormon Nailer

      That’s not really true. Any all-ages venue that books original music is unlikely to be making any profit. If you want to play original music, you have to be a bit altruistic and do it for the satisfaction of getting heard. The money may come eventually but if you wanted to play in a band because you thought it would be lucrative, you’re not very smart.

  • Sho’ nuff

    Another commandment left out.. help promote the show! You can’t expect folks to come out to watch your band/the show if you don’t let folks know you’re playing/there’s a show. If you work at or near the place, help throw up a couple flyers..if you’re on facebook, send out some invites or make a post that says, “heyyy, there’s this show”..if on Instagram, post the show flyer..it takes 2 seconds and everyone has the capability of being able to reach people that others are not able to or know.

    • Mormon Nailer

      Locals always complain that the venue didn’t promote their show enough. I have seen shows with 20 people and I have seen shows with 200 people and I can guarantee that the venue promoted both shows equally. Flyers are a nice throwback and fun to collect but they are basically about as ineffective as possible. That said, even in this day and age, it’s amazing how poorly local bands (and venues) understand the basics of social media. A few weeks ago, I knew a local band was playing on a certain night but I wanted to know when the show started. The venue had zilch on their Facebook about the show, the local had a flyer with the line-up and the name of the venue, one other band, two TBAs and NOTHING ELSE. No address, no door times, no start times, no cover charge. Ugh.

  • Paul Caporino

    Thanks for writing and posting this, Hess.

  • Corvin Blacke

    Tip your wait staff! Don’t forget that in your banter! Also, thank the sound person if there is one, especially if they do a good job. No one ever thanks the sound person… and they fucking love it when you do. Even if you’re touring do it, because you may be back one day and people remember little acts of kindness.

    Good read, and a damn good reminder.

  • Steven Cannon

    …Funny how I’ve been doing a music magazine for over 25 years but THIS shit is still stuff that i don’t really know that well… But then again, my “being in a band” experience never lead me to going on tour for any length of time… Maybe one day… I think I see PLENTY of interview material for bands ahead… Great read…

  • IF YOU ARE ELITE AND TRVE MAKE SURE NOT TO TALK TO THE VENUE OR OTHER BANDS BEFORE TURNING THE STAGE INTO A GOAT SAUCE SLIP’N’SLIDE BECAUSE THE DARK LORD KNOWS A SINGLE ACT OF POLITENESS WILL NULLIFY YOUR EVOL CONJURING AND IF THAT HAPPENS YOUR BAND WILL HAVE TO RELY ON ITS FIFTH-RATE DISSECTION RIFFLINGS AND MEDIOCRE PIE-PLATE BATHORY DEAD HORSE DRUMBEATING

  • Brendan

    banter between songs is fine… if it’s natural, joking with the audience, talking about the next song… but no pleading for responses.
    There are few thinks as cliche and pathetic as a band asking “how you doin’ tonight? C’mon! I can’t hear you!”
    The lamest thing some bands do is ask the audience to cheer or dance… it’s literally begging for approval.

    While I am a firm believer that there should be as little time wasted between songs… sometimes, things happen.
    A band needs to interact with the audience.. not act like they’re in an empty rehearsal room, ignoring them.
    Something breaks, or otherwise goes wrong, on stage…. the lamest thing a band can do is go silent, turn their backs on the audience and wait while the problem is fixed.

    EXAMPLE:
    A drummer and soundman are quickly fixing or replacing a broken snare stand for a minute.
    While that problem is being fixed, there’s no reason the singer can’t take that minute to bullshit with the audience, whether it’s about the next song or even just a joke.

    A band going silent and turning their backs on the audience is like dead air on the radio and it just kills the mood in the room.

  • Michael Rocha

    Rule 6 is bullshit. Sorry but we need money just as much as anyone else. If your band chooses to go on tour that’s your choice. Maybe if your band isn’t big enough to tour and make money off of it you shouldn’t be touring. Your financial problems are not our responsibility.

    • Mormon Nailer

      Let’s say, twenty people show up and pay $5. Are you going to ask for your third or give it to the guy that drove 300 miles?

      • Nope

        I’d ask for my third.

        • Mormon Nailer

          Good for you! I can tell you have what it takes to make it in the music business! Straight to the top!

          • Nope

            Nah, I’m not trying to make it in the business. I’m trying to subsidize my hobby’s costs by offsetting studio time and mastering costs. I’m asking for what I deserve and worked for. Asking for other bands splits is asking for a handout.

          • Mormon Nailer

            At least if you collected model trains you would be able to sell them when you got bored.

          • Nope

            You’re so smart. My artistic endeavors are just like a child’s playset. Yeah.

          • Mormon Nailer

            You don’t sound like much of an artist. More of a business man. Like Gene $immon$

          • Nope

            Lemme guess, you were born in the 90’s. Fuck off.

          • Ted Nü-Djent ™

            What’s your bands name if you don’t mind me asking?

          • dchris24

            You sound like you’re in a “touring band” that hasn’t figured out basic economics and/or your music doesn’t adequately fund your hobby.

          • Nope

            Exactly. I’ve also seen one too many touring bands that haven’t spent enough time with their craft. There’s plenty of good local bands in my town that have no interest in touring for many reasons so if they give up the only compensation they see it won’t be recouped in another city. If you want to tour that’s awesome, but don’t expect others the give up their cut.

          • Mormon Nailer

            I’m way too smart to be in band.

      • Michael Rocha

        Ask for my third… Sorry but I dont play for experience or exposure. They made their decision to drive 300 miles not me. Maybe I’ll let them keep the money if our merchandise sold well

        • DTB

          that you are deliberating over whether to hand over your $40 or keep it suggests that merch does not shift well at a Michael Rocha concert

          • Michael Rocha

            It was a hypothetical situation so…

        • Mormon Nailer

          Spoken like a true artist. Or the guy who sells socks at the flea market.

          • dchris24

            Why is it a local band’s obligation to subsidize expenses of a touring band?

          • Mormon Nailer

            It is in the “local bands” best interest to accommodate those in the same situation saddled with higher expenses. Typically, when a big drawing, touring band comes to town, every local band begs to get on the bill and suddenly they are less concerned about how much they are getting paid. Of course, locals are under no obligation to anyone but cooperation works to their benefit and to the benefit of most in the long run.

          • Michael Rocha

            Lol yeah nice strawman, to bad it isn’t a legit argument.

    • Our home shows generally draw well over 100 people. If a touring band comes to our town we have no problem making sure they’re paid. But if we’re the majority of the draw, we’re not playing for free, period. Our time and effort is just as valuable as the touring band who uses our draw to help them get people in the building. If they’re drawing 500, that’s a different story. But even then, they usually make sure WE are getting paid fairly……

      • Ted Nü-Djent ™

        How much money does your band generally make when you play?

        • It depends on the club – we get guarantees at most of the suburban clubs, or if its a “hot” club, they pretty much keep it to door deals only (and this is fine as well). And as we only “tour” regionally (IL, WI, IA, IN, MI, MN) and on weekends, our home shows usually net 4 figures, and the away shows are a combination of maybe a hotel room, stipend, and merch sales (merch sales are a staple out of state) unless we’re playing a club we’re well-established at. Ultimately, every show we do is an EVENT, and we expect all parties to do their part to ensure the event is successful.

          • Ted Nü-Djent ™

            Yeah I wouldn’t give up that much cash and I’m 99% sure that this article is geared toward small underground DIY shows. It’s cool that you can earn that much per show. Do you have anything online to check out?

          • Ted Nü-Djent ™

            Yeah I think you’re comparing apples with oranges here. Your music is definitely a lot more accessible and therefore likely to draw a bigger crowd.

          • I’d call that a fair assessment. I always call us a “tweener” band since we have opened for a lot of 80s acts and we’ve opened for FFDP, Alter Bridge and acts of that sort. But even so, my argument still stands….A band shouldn’t tour and expect the locals take for the night. You stand on your own merits

  • Brendan

    i agree with the short sets… unless you are the headliner with several albums of material that people came to hear…. even then… just pick the best stuff from those albums.

    For all the opening bands… you know which songs of yours are strong and which are weak. If you don’t know that… then you are deluded and you will not last.

    Better to play a short strong set than lose the momentum of the band and the energy of the crowd by filling out your time with your lamer songs… or worse… covers

    • I ONCE SAW A SHOW WHERE ENSLAVED PLAYED FOR 40 MIN AND OPETH PLAYED 150 MIN

  • Sauce

    You make some great points but you also kinda sound like a butt hurt regional player who isn’t getting enough attention or money. Everyone deserves pay. Not just a touring band. If you think you deserve all the money as a touring band.. You’re a greedy asshole.

  • Brendan

    “All the money” for the touring band is excessive, unless they are the headlining main draw. But definitely the lion’s share if the door take is small.

    If the door take is good and the local bands packed the place… yes, give a little extra to the out of town touring band to help support your music scene and to help spread good will, but pay the drawing bands accordingly

  • Adam Frost

    I agree on some points of this but, you have only yourself to blame if you book a tour without having guarantees that at least help break even. There’s definitely no for sure plan to make every tour a success but come on dude.

  • Brendan

    The other reason you need to get the fuck off the stage when your set time is up is because you deciding to go over your time and do an unwelcome encore or you deciding to go to the bar instead of breaking don your equipment… is you fucking over the other bands on the bill and the promoter.

    It causes a ripple effect.
    you don’t like going on at 9:30… so you start late and play long in an effort to play when more people are there is helping cause the midnight band to not hit the stage until 1:00AM, you selfish prick.

    Congratulations… you think you won because you went over your time and played those extra songs… well guess what.

    The bands you fucked will remember you and now you know why the promoter isn’t returning your calls about another gig.

  • Brendan

    Promoter advice….
    When possible…

    When booking a large amount of local bands, provide a backline (rented or otherwise) cabinets and basic drum kit.. bands only needing to bring heads, cymbals and snare
    Not only will it make the show run more smoothly with quicker change overs, the minimal cost for rental (or borrowing) of a backline will be offset as most local bands will accept the added minor overhead expense to avoid the hassle of having to haul all their shit to and from the gig.

  • Large Fireball

    WOW BOLD TAKES

  • Hordes of Nebula

    Commandment VII: Thou shalt offer the touring band a place to stay if at all possible.
    Hotels aren’t cheap and sleeping in the van can be almost impossible if you don’t have a large van. Nothing is better than playing in a city where I know that we have a place to stay because in almost all cases floor > fully packed van.

    Great article btw. I’ve seen all of these broken in the past and I’m glad somebody is calling people out on it. The worst ones imo are the people who play well over their allotted time and make the touring band play last. I’ve dealt with both more times than I can count and it never fails to piss me off haha. I’ve rarely had problems with the local bands talking door money but it does happen every now and then but thankfully pre-arranged guarantees are a thing and often help avoid that problem.

    • DTB

      this imo. i’d take terrible bands who play too long for their cut of the door every night if it meant i could stay somewhere with a shower.

  • Ron Hanisco

    I thought this would be another lame observation by some wanna be band dude, but this is actually all true. Good job on the article, man.

  • STEDDY

    “Thou shalt get over thyself.”

    Dude goes on and on about not embarrassing oneself…. while doing it.

    • Sgt. Al Powell

      What the hell you talking about, man.

    • Spear

      Says the guy who upvotes himself.

      • STEDDY

        Whoops! Accident 😉

  • STEDDY

    And now, Steddy’s Golden Rule (brought to you by rich, chocolatey Ovaltine):

    “ANY sincere, engaging interaction with the audience is infinitely better than dead air.”

    Now, go forth and rock…. AND KEEP YOUR DAMNED MONEY! YOU EARNED IT!!

    • Sgt. Al Powell

      You’re not pissing in somebody’s pool, are you?

      • STEDDY

        Not sure what you mean. Am I disagreeing with ‘God’, here on a couple of his points? Yes. That cool with you?

        • Sgt. Al Powell

          What’s the matter? You don’t think jockeying papers around a desk is a noble effort for a cop?

  • Shayne

    I agree with everything except that last one. Just because I’m local, doesn’t mean I should play for free. I’m all for making sure the touring band gets paid, but I would want to work those details or prior to the show so that there’s a minimum for them. Otherwise, what are you doing playing songs for people in the first place. Sure it’s fun, but it’s a fun job, not a fun past time for some. If done right, you shouldn’t need to play for free and the touring band will get paid.

    • Ted Nü-Djent ™

      Enjoy that $20 split 4 ways. You earned it.

  • Stephen Paige

    Kinda contradicted yourself with condemning pay to play promoters but then insisting that you accept zero money to play the show. Tfoh.

    • It’s almost like there’s a difference between paying a promoter to play a show and helping a young band survive on the road

      • I HATE WHEN THERE IS NUANCE TO A SITUATION AND I HAVE TO THINK ABOUT OTHER PEOPLE THAT IS BULLSHIT

    • Ted Nü-Djent ™

      Kinda didn’t realise that those are 2 seperate situations didn’t you? Tfoh.

  • Th3ShakeMaster

    Agree with most of it, but the idea of a touring band not playing last when the rest of the bill is locals would mean the touring band isn’t actually good enough to be touring. Which seems to be the current meta of heavy music at least. Bands forcing tours when they should be home working on their songwriting abilities. You don’t truly succeed by exposing your sub par music to the most people possible. You work hard at writing until you’re capable of writing and recording great music that will spread like wildfire and create a natural demand for your band to tour.

    • Snooty McWords

      While that sounds like a nice ideal, I don’t believe that is a realistic expectation anymore.

      There is such a humongous number of bands out there right now, that I believe the music alone is incapable of cutting through all the noise; it takes a proper combination of timing, hard work, support and even luck to really get a band to the point of properly headlining even minor tours.

      Most label deals right now actually require bands to go out on tour to do their own promotion for a minimum number of days per year (lower tier bands on Relapse, Prosthetic, etc) and often to get to that point, the band has to repeatedly put itself on the road in order to generate its own hype and get noticed in the first place. Labels won’t take a serious look at bands that aren’t already demonstrating their willingness to put the effort in.

      And in the spirit of community, and fostering the health of the scene in general as delivered by bands willing and able to put themselves out there, I think a time swap of 45min is a small price to pay.

      That said, it shouldn’t be smallest and newest local band playing last…it should be the local band with the most reliable draw, and a good way to ensure the evening closes in a professional and happy manner for everyone.

    • Ted Nü-Djent ™

      That’s probably the exact opposite of what a band should do.

  • Adam Brandford

    You sound retarded. Playing in a local band is just for fun, a release. You’re supposed to have fun with it. Retard.

    • You sound like a pleasant person that is fun to be around.

    • Glenn Stefani

      This was an exceedingly stupid comment. My condolences to your parents, teachers, and all who have the misfortune of interacting with you regularly.

      • Adam Brandford

        You’re right, this article is an exceedingly, excessively long comment with silly ideas that american’s can’t afford to go on tour and play music. I do feel sorry for the author who doesn’t realize that a lot of people play for fun.

        • Glenn Stefani

          These rules do a lot to ensure that the fun you have playing is something other people will support in the present and future tense. If all you wanna do is play for fun, fine. Do it on your own fucking time. If you want to convince other bands, venues, and most importantly audiences that what you’re doing for fun is worthy of them giving a shit and facilitating in the future, it’s important to curtail your fun having so people don’t hate you for being a clueless piece of shit.

          • Adam Brandford

            There’s a difference between being clueless and being an isolated canadian who had to try and learn things and expose himself to ideas and the world. You’re an asshole. I don’t see why I can’t be a prick too. Retard.

          • Glenn Stefani

            Nobody in the audience or sharing a bill with you gives a shit about the roots of your cluelessness, so in effect, the “difference” is totally moot. I’m being an asshole to you because you’re a total idiot and I don’t respect you. You seem to be asking why you can’t treat your audiences similarly. Your shows must reeeeeeaaaally fucking suck.

  • Joe Ayers

    “there’s no reason for a local band to accept ANY of the door money at the expense of paying the band who drove to your town to play. ”
    Fuck you.

  • Ihavenouseforaname

    Yeah about not getting paid to play because you’re “local” is kinda bullshit dude and has nothing to do with getting gigs or not.
    Generally we do give it to them. We usually always play for free, lucky to get a drink ticket half the time, and if at the end of the night someone hands me cash and it’s only like $25 it is getting spent on their merch. You hand me $50 and I’m buying merch but all the members are getting $5 in gas. It’s not like we haven’t invested untold amount of time and spent on gear like everyone else just like the touring band (which we’ve been on the road too).
    On that though, we went to San Diego and the cunt promoter handed us $5 and I threw it back at her face.

    • Ihavenouseforaname

      Also when the venues and promoters know you’ll play for free, they will never pay you to play. It just becomes expected you’ll play for free (which we will but fuck). “It’s good exposure”…yeah go fuck yourself and your “exposure” only people we’re being exposed to are the drunks that have already seen us before.

      • TheRevJim

        ^ THIS. 13,000,000 to the Nth times.

      • HessianHunter

        Are you “playing for free” or are you graciously letting the touring band make more money?

        You’re talking as if the venue will pay out less if a local band wants the money to go to the touring band. That never happens. I’m not saying “Let the venue be cheap with payout”, I’m saying when there’s less than a couple hundred dollars to go around among bands, the cool thing to do is to just give it all to the touring band the show was booked around instead of taking your $40 “fair cut”.

  • If you’re a well-established local band that is not touring, apparently, there is NO REASON to do a show with the touring band if you’re just going to give THEM your money. Doesn’t work that way. It’s a partnership. An equitable distribution. ESPECIALLY if the local band outdrew the touring band by far. The touring band can A. Make it up in merch sales, since most locals already have ours. or B. Offer gigs back, except for the fact that they’re always touring, so that’s limited at best. The ONLY commandments needed is 1. Thou shall NOT be an asshole and 2. Thou shall work with all other groups to make THIS EVENT successful.

    • Ihavenouseforaname

      Out drawing them is common. I do agree with his point of having them go 2nd to last just because of that. Definitely seen the crowd disappear after we’ve played and left them playing for just the other bands and the bartender.

      • Absolutely – they should get a prime spot since the idea is that our fans will like their tunes! We play out of state often, we just don’t “tour” in the traditional sense. So I don’t mind helping other bands out (that is what it’s all about after all) but there is no reason I should not be paid just because some touring band is on the bill. I find that premise entirely ridiculous. UNLESS…..I’m paying them out of pocket and they’re going to do the same for me when we play their town. However, we’ve attempted that twice…..and both bands have never reciprocated. (one broke up, and one plays at home maybe 2 times a year)

        • Ted Nü-Djent ™

          So you’re in it for the money then?

  • TheGranulatingDarkSatanicMilfs

    To all the people upset about Commandment VI: If what you want is to get paid at any costs, GET A REAL FUCKING JOB!

    • UNCOMFORTABLE HOT TAKE

    • Nope

      That’s exactly what I tell touring bands who need gas money, too.

      • IF ONLY TOURING BANDS HAD FIGURED THIS OUT EARLIER WHO KNEW IT WAS SO EASY

        • Nope

          No shit, right? Who knew touring took more money than their music makes them. Crazy.

      • dchris24

        Spot-on. Local bills aren’t charity shows for touring bands that don’t understand basic economics.

  • Jason Robinson

    Last Commandment is BULLSHIT. IF the touring band sends flyers saying they are headlining and they book the show as headliner then they DO NOT play second to Last. Thats THE Epitome of an amateur move. 2nd to last IS NOT the headlining spot. If you are on tour and want to build in an area you are not familiar with DONT send out flyers with your name the BIGGEST on the bill. Whens the last time you went to an arena concert and the Headlining band played Before the last band. Give me a Break. Don’t DO IT.

    • HessianHunter

      What about this article suggests to you that I am talking about shows in fucking arenas, or that I think playing 2nd to last is “headlining”?

      • Jason Robinson

        I book. I work with Humble bands and Cocky Bands. I get flyers from “middle”bands all the time acting like they are headlining. Promote yourself as you are. I also play in a band. Making a Rule that the touring band gets all the money is just Fucking stupid and shows the lack of business you know. a 3 band bill and the locals bring out 100 people for a touring band who has never played the region before and you Demand in a Rule that Give the touring band all the money. Fuck You. Get a Fucking Grip. If you have a gig swap arrangement with the local bands and YOU are gonna give them the Entire door when you give them a gig in your town thats one thing but flat out saying GIVE THE TOURING BAND ALL THE MONEY. You’re out of your mind this is a business not a charity. talk about entitlement.

        • YO THIS THREAD IS ABOUT DEATH METAL BANDS WHERE ONES THAT HAVE BEEN AROUND 20 YEARS OFTEN ONLY BRING OUT 100 TO 200 PEOPLE GET A GRIP ON YOUR MIND AND EMBRACE THIS TRICKLE DOWN WISDOM

          • Jason Robinson

            Oh shit i didn’t notice that If i did i would have known that Death Metal is held to lower standards than other Genres and wouldn’t have commented at all.

          • IT IS NOT ABOUT STANDARDS IT IS ABOUT THE HARSH REALITY OF MONEY AND THE FACT THAT THESE GENRES MAKE VERY VERY LITTLE YET GAS AND FOOD STILL COST THE SAME AND SO WE CHOOSE TO HELP EACH OTHER FIRST AND CLAIM OUR CUT SECOND AND IT WORKS GREAT BECAUSE ANYONE WHO ACTUALLY WANTS MONEY AND ARENAS AND TO WEAR SHIRTS WITH COLLARS AND TENNIS VISORS AND DRINK BUD LIME-ARITAS STAYS FAR AWAY FROM US AND MY LAWN

          • Jason Robinson

            You’ve never been to a real Metal Festival then. There are some Metal and Death Metal bands that do very well. Again, its the difference between Professional and Amateur.

          • MAY I SUGGEST ATTENDING A READING COMPREHENSION FESTIVAL AT ONE OF YOUR ARENAS https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/3d3f5db1c0aa5c2eb7a5a500c415828b4c76c50edbfe67a36505bec4a1c60bab.jpg

          • Jason Robinson

            May I suggest turning the off your caps lock and getting off the energy drinks. I do not work at an “arena” I book at a club with 100 capacity. I know ALL about small shows. You’re still an Amateur.

          • I AM YELLING BECAUSE MY HEARING IS BAD AND I CAN’T SEE THE WORDS BECAUSE MY EYES ARE CLOUDED BY ENDLESS GRUMPINESS DOES YOUR ARENA HAVE A BATHROOM DOOR

          • Snooty McWords

            By jove, I think that is perhaps the point of the article!
            Namely, that by the very nature of the genres involved (obscure black/death/tech/grind/noise) that essentially everyone involved is an amateur.

            When it comes down to it, no one is going to ever recuperate costs for equipment, travel, time, etc, and especially not in a way that allows them to leave a day job.

            As such, their day job is their profession, and their music is an amateur passion.

            But the real point of this apparently contentious element in the article is that since we, as fans and musicians, are all amateurs, it makes sense in the long term to help out those on the road as a matter of practical empathy in the short term, and as a scene-investment in the long term.

            Again, I mention an earlier comment I have posted which states that if the show takes in sufficient capital, then it can by all means be split fairly and/or evenly amongst the bands.

            But as has already been discussed, this article is about the shows that happen in artspace warehouses that legally cannot charge at the door and so operate on donations only, since they also do not have a liquor license.

            In those cases, which are very frequent for those of us in such bands, it makes more sense to invest in the community first and ourselves second.

          • Snooty McWords

            What’s more, I would tender the following as an alternative title for the article:

            “Hey Amateur Bands! Here are 6 Tips to Help You Behave More Professionally! (despite the fact that we will never be paid like one)”

          • IT IS TRUE I AM AN AMATEUR MUSICIAN BUT I AM A PROFESSIONAL GRUMP I CAN’T SEE THESE WORD WITHOUT MY TRIFOCALS AND I CAN’T HEAR MUCH SO I GOTTA YELL A LOT

        • Ted Nü-Djent ™

          Lol. DIY shows are a business. I know someone here who needs to get a grip. And it ain’t the author of the article.

    • Dude, this post is not about arena shows. At all.

      • Jason Robinson

        Ive been booking and playing shows with local national and regional acts for over 20 years. What part do you stop being and amateur and act like a professional?

        • If your band can pull a crowd of 50+ out of town in places they have not played before, then sure, play last.

          This is targeted at local bands, who will likely be playing with DIY touring bands that might pull 5 dudes out on a Saturday night.

          Local bands need to help support one another so we can get that number from 5 to 50.

          • Snooty McWords

            I would even say that the whole local vs touring draw is more symbiotic than it appears at first glance.

            Most people don’t really go out of their way to go to a local-only show (unless it’s a unique occasion, album-release, halloween, etc) but likewise those people probably aren’t hip to every single lower middle tier black/thrash/death/grind/etc band trying to wiggle their way across the states. As such, those touring bands aren’t really a ‘draw’ on their own.

            BUT, when you combine the novelty of a mystery touring band with locals who are known to put on a good time, then it gives everyone a reason to go out. It’s more interesting than just the usual locals, but it also guarantees a friendly opportunity for everyone to hang out with familiar faces.

            So even if everyone knows the local bands, I would say that the ‘draw’ is created by a synergy between the locals and the touring folks and, as such, there is no clear way to say “bigger draw should equal bigger pay” as many here seem to claim.

          • + 10,000 points

          • Snooty McWords

            Thank you fine chap for your thoughtful contribution of internet points! I shall endeavor to be responsible in their use by re-investing them here in the community as a whole rather than hoarding them to my insignificant self.

  • MCBusStop

    I’m confused. The article is a list telling bands what they should do, but the headline says the article is what bands should stop doing. So does the headline mean that bands should not listen to the opinions that follow it?

  • TheJShip

    Just curious….where in Oklahoma did this happen? I’m an active musician in OKC.

  • Decent
    read. I would include. Commandment VII- Only one show a month.
    Commandment VIII- Evolve; don’t do the same show/gimmick for 9 years
    (changing band names does not count). Commandment IX- Do not attempt to
    run a blog and a band at the same time.

  • Its funny, a lot of this is why we started doing what we do. Having booked, played, and attended hundreds of concerts, we’d gotten a pretty good grasp of underground music ecosystems on a national scale. But time and again we’d communicate what you’ve laid out above and more to bands or promoters or venues either because we were working with them or friends with them and just offering some advice to help them increase revenue or decrease work, and no one would do anything to help themselves out.

    So finally we just said, “fuck it,” formed an organization, and took the reins into our own hands while adding some intelligent databasing and mapping functionality. Works pretty well so far.

    The underground scene worldwide is perhaps the best thing humanity has going for it, but it is so goddamn stubborn and latched onto something like an early 80’s business mindset. The creativity is great, the organization not so much. But this is a problem that is only a problem because very few do anything to resolve it, kind of like Charlie on It’s Always Sunny with the beer and paint-huffing and cat food and incessantly meowing cats problem. DIY in the 21st Century ought to be a far cry from the 20th Century version, but there’s a bit of lag in that transition.

    • IM SORRY THIS IS AMERICA WE BASE ALL OUR DECISIONS ON AN IMPULSIVE SENSE OF ENTITLEMENT NOT STUPID SHIT LIKE DATABASES AND BEST PRACTICE

  • van avery

    Hmm, well, there is nothing I hate more than a band that plays song so back to back no banter, or interaction with the crowd. It’s boring and shows no connection, and makes the fans feel detached or that the band doesn’t give a shit to be there playing for them. I go to the show to watch a band and it’s members to vibe off the band, might as well stay home and watch videos of the band.

    As for touring bands, every band that comes through here gets set up with riders, and contracted payment. , yeah 2nd to last is best spot usually but that’s for all local bands only, if a touring band cane through here and played 2nd to last they would throw a fit lol.

    Last two shows my my band played I would love to see the reaction telling black dahlia murder, and obituary you guys are gonna open for us we are gonna headline.. hahaha wroooong. ….

    Give the touring band all the money? HELL NO!!! last show BDM got 1200 guarantee and we still made 450 whyb give up that 450 ? Lol. Bands starting out gotta pay the dues we did but a touring band should already have thier deals made before even starting thier tour, so it should never be on the home team players to sacrifice at most times much needed income.

    BUT I couldn’t agree more with to much play is baaaaaad. To many shows and to long is the worse. People get bored to fast, 8 minute songs will result it people going for refills smoke breaks and eventually an empty stage front. 30 45 minute power packed energetic performance keeps em into ya, playing every weekend just gives reason for a fan to say …”naw I’ll catch em next weekend”

    • van avery

      But I guess every city is different. I’ve toured to every state in the US and the scenes seem to differ by coast. East and west are completely different.

    • PRETTY SURE THIS ARTICLE MEANS TOURING DIY AND LOW TIER BANDS NOT ESTABLISHED NATIONAL ACTS BUT I ALSO CANT BELIEVE ITS NOT BUTTER

    • HessianHunter

      I’m very clearly not talking about playing with a band like Black Dahlia Murder here. I’m talking about the small band from a state or nine away who asked someone in town (maybe you?) to help set up a show for them in your city. If you respect them enough to agree to play a show with them, even though they probably have little to no draw on their own, the courteous thing to do is to make sure they get taken care of as much as possible. If the show only pulls in a couple hundred bucks, that means just letting them have it all. Then they’ll be excited to come back to your city, and they can probably help you play a show in their neck of the woods, where YOU can take all or most of the door money!

    • Ted Nü-Djent ™

      Urine idiot

      • Van Avery

        I mean if a band wants to play out of town or tour blindly , not secure a guarantee for payment, and rely on the good will of other bands to give you thier pay, then hey rock on. Id suggest bringing mouth wash to get the dick taste out your mouth from all the bjs for gas money home.

        • Ted Nü-Djent ™

          Does dick sctually have a taste? Anyway, I get free fuel from a company car so no bjs from me. Unless I really like the guy, then that’s a different story.

  • Tyler Eaves

    I’d add: If it’s a weeknight (especially), the first band should start no later than 8PM.

  • This is the BEST article I have ever read considering this topic. I feel like I want to scream sometimes when local bands have their head so far up their ass they can’t see this…

  • Nate Girard

    Honestly I’m with you except on #6. As a DIY touring band, we act as independent promoters and put together full lineups for ourselves. We have been on tour for 8 months solid and played over 160 shows in 2017 by doing this. Even doing that much work, we still mostly set an even split on door deals, but do negotiate more for ourselves if there is a guarantee for the show or bar ring. We are still developing our fanbase in 90% of the markets we play, so we see our split as earned because we set up the show. Rule of thumb is, don’t get to bitch if you left your tour/slot/money/livelihood in someone else’s hands. You want the cherry time-slot? Book the show and advance the locals yourself. Get there first and don’t be afraid to speak and act as an authority if a local thinks they can change the terms/ order day-of-show. Specifically relating to your OKC story, why were you playing a show with a band you’d never listened to before-hand and why did you have no idea they were a harsh noise band? Also, you totally sidestep the responsibility of the touring band to have and sell merch. We have made way more money off merch than off door for most shows. The bands that draw and have pull in the scene know what they’re worth and deserve to be compensated. If you’re on tour and aren’t hustling to sell merch bc you expect locals to hand over the door, then you’re already spinning your tires.

    • IF YOU CAN SUSTAIN AN 8 MONTH TOUR I DO NOT THINK YOUR IDEA OF DIY IS THE SAME AS THE ARTICLE BUT WHAT DO I KNOW I’M HAPPY IF I CAN MANAGE AN 8 MINUTE ERECTION

      • Nate Girard

        DIY stands for “do it yourself” right? Or am I mistaken? Of course my idea of DIY touring is different from others, that doesn’t discount my advice. My way works great for what I’m trying to accomplish. I’m also not writing a Ten Commandments think-piece to “teach” random bands how to make my job easier for me.

        Some touring people do it half-assed for free beers and a working vacation, some do it with sustainability and a professional livlihood in mind. Either way, if you aren’t getting what you think you deserve (beer, money, fans, prime slot, prime venue, prime night of the week) I can pretty much guarantee that taking a more hands-on approach will get you closer to your goals than writing a ten commandments think-piece and hoping every annoying band reads and abides by it.

        • GrumpDumpus

          THIS BLOG IS ABOUT FRINGE DEATH METAL BANDS WHERE HANDS ON IS THE ONLY WAY TO PLAY A SHOW OF ANY KIND I AM GLAD YOU HAVE PROFESSIONAL LIVELIHOOD IN MIND BUT IF WE GOT WHAT WE DESERVED WE WOULD JUST BE GETTING A 24/7 PADDLIN’ FROM GRANDPA SIMPSON

  • NYC1977

    Fuck giving the touring band all the money. Are you out of your fucking mind? Why should local bands who bring people give all their earned money to a band from out of town? Here’s a thought – if you aren’t popular enough in other cities to at least be able to sell some t-shirts, then don’t tour. There’s this thing called the internet which enables bands access to, like, everywhere and everything. If you are from Detroit, and can’t sell a shirt or a CD in Boston or New York, stay the fuck home.

    • FUCK ANY SENSE OF SCENE COMMUNITY OR INVESTMENT I’M HERE TO GET PAID SON I DID INDEED DO IT ALL FOR THE NOOKIE

      • NYC1977

        You get paid when you earn it, which is a foreign concept to the entitled musicians, especially those who want to “tour” when they can’t even bring ten people to a hometown gig. Thankfully, there are still musicians out there that work hard before overstepping their reach.

        • FOUNDATION OF EXTREME METAL IS OVERSTEPPING YOUR REACH AS THE GREAT BLASPHEMER RINGO STARR SAID “I GET BY WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM MY FRIENDS”

        • I love when right wing rhetoric is applied to underground music. YOU WANNA TOUR PLAYING BRUTAL DEATH METAL, YOU BETTER PULL YOURSELF UP BY THE BOOTSTRAPS AND QUIT LOOKING FOR A HANDOUT.

          • WHERE HIS COMMENT GO I WAS GONNA RENDER THE SICKEST BURN COMPARING IT TO THE REAGAN ADMINISTRATION COMBINED WITH MY ATHLETE’S FOOT

        • Snooty McWords

          I do not believe the author intended the article to mean that only touring bands can receive any profitability from a show.
          I believe his context is that for such small-scale shows as are rather common for oddball death metal bands and the like, that they should receive the lion’s share simply to cover costs.
          If I had to hazard I guess, I’m thinking he means somewhere between 100-200 dollars a night, which hopefully should cover most major gas and food costs, but is far short of what I would dare to refer to as “getting paid”.
          By the end of such a tour, after vehicle and gear maintenance, a band such as he refers to will be lucky to break even.
          As such, it is not entitlement, but rather a helpful community strategy that strengthens the scene as a whole by encouraging interesting groups to travel and make new connections. A local band one week may be the touring band the next, and so the strategy is mutually beneficial for all.

          I would not apply the same reasoning to genres with a higher profitability factor though, whose bands exist in a different economic ecosystem.

          • HessianHunter

            Snooty gets it!

  • DTB

    I’ve toured quite a bit as headline act/featured band and fortunately the bands out there that we have played with rarely egregiously fall foul of any of this kind of stuff. They all seem pretty professional and helpful with sharing gear (yes you can use our kit, can we borrow your cab, etc.). Even thinking back to the days when I was crawling through the local scene there were no major issues except maybe my first band who routinely fell foul of the commandment about being able to play. Maybe I got lucky.

    If any rule gets broken it’s usually that someone plays too long (recently on a co-headliner with another touring band had a third, local, band as opener: they did longer than both headliners) but even then I’ve only ever seen it be an issue once – and it was my friend’s band who played for an excruciating hour of pedestrian prog piss that meant every band after them on a four band bill had their 35 min slots cut to 20-25. I gave my friends hell for it and they went to the bandleader…who fired them a week later. They’re doing nothing now.

    I see a lot of dissent in the comments over whether they, as the local band, should give up their cut. As the touring act I don’t expect to have someone else’s cut, sure. But also I don’t want to play with Young Conservatives who ultimately encode the reason that people start skipping their town into their weirdly entitled behaviour. In local live music you really have to take the L sometimes. Trust me when I say that being money-grubbing among the largely leftist-liberal coterie that makes up any nation’s DIY promoter ranks is a BAD LOOK.

    Only time I’ve ever really raged about a payout was a show in northern France. 100-120 in, 5 euros each, it was a squat too. We got 150 euro, our worst payout in that town on our largest show. The rest was split evenly between the opening act (ok, legit, maybe they got some people down), a guy who screened a film before them (not billed and watched by 8, including me and our guitarist) and the DJ. I had to be dragged away. Fortunately we’ve been overpaid enough to make up for that kick in the balls.

  • Andrew Love

    Some of this is kind of just common sense stuff, but a LOT of it sounds like a musician ranting because they’ve had some shitty experiences “touring” (note: touring is not driving around for a month in a few states playing dive bars, it’s booking several months on both coasts of the states or hitting most of the countries in Europe etc).

    If you aren’t ready to support yourself on a tour and don’t have a proper booking agent so you have to rely on having a good show every night then you aren’t ready to tour. If you’re going to go out of your local scene, plan on making literally nothing and paying for everything you’ll need if you’re a DIY band that way when you do make money at a good gig it’s just a bonus. Yes you’ll lose money until you make money, but that’s how you get exposure and get to the point that you aren’t relying on local bands to get you to your next show. And that’s coming from a musician that almost always gives their cut from local shows to the touring band and has never been bothered by it. Every band I’ve been in that has made good money it’s mostly from either guarantees or merch sales, not door splits. This could have actually been a helpful list, instead it’s just a rant that could have been prevented had the band planned things out better…

    Don’t tour for money unless you have backing to help you, tour for the exposure and rely on yourselves to get through it. If you’re persistent and your band is actually good (and a little lucky) then eventually it will start to pay off.

    • IF TOURING IS NOT DRIVING AROUND FOR A MONTH DOES THAT MEAN A GERMAN BAND VISITING 8 NEIGHBORING COUNTRIES OVER THE COURSE OF 4 WEEKS IS NOT TOURING IT’S JUST REGULAR OLD PUMPELMUS GEMEINSCHAFT??

    • DTB

      wait, so touring is something you can only do if you basically don’t have a regular job? i think you’re applying your experience of a thing and saying that is the baseline standard for a thing. also this article is about DIY booking which means pretty much no one has a booking agent other than a member of the band. i agree you shouldn’t tour for money as in you should not expect to get rich but you should at least try to recoup and no amount of later exposure is going to help if i’m out of petrol money today.

  • Jean-Christophe

    So uh… who are you and what made you the god of doing shows ? What entitles you to speak in such a condescending manner for tips that are most self explanatory ? Waste of time.

    • WHO MADE YOU GOD OF DISMISSIVE COMMENTS I SEEM TO HAVE TROLLED MYSELF BY READING IT

  • Charles Glisson

    If you do NOT HAVE a “National Following” and try to “Headline” on a “National Tour”, I would say that
    Blaming the “Local Band” at the show, for YOUR lack of “Business Sense” is plain ignorant.

    • dchris24

      Yep! Played too many shows with mediocre-at-best “touring bands” that had no reason to do so, other than they wanted to. And you want my band to subsidize it? Get bent.

      • Charles Glisson

        Agreed, you should “Become” a Rock Star, BEFORE “Acting” like one!

        • PLAYING IN A WAREHOUSE ART GALLERY IS INDEED THE PINNACLE OF ROCKSTARDOM

        • Lacertilian

          CAN’t really TELL if YOU’RE being “satirical” or just A “random” MORON who is “acting” mad ONLINE™.

      • DTB

        most local-draws who never get out of town often suck and only get shows with touring bands of a decent rep because you have friends. your exposure is being subsidised by good bands who have ambition.

        • dchris24

          So much wrong here. You seem to be referring to nationals and not your average run of the mill anonymous band from, say, Phoenix that decides to hop in the van and play clubs all over the southwest.

          If a touring band has a “decent rep”, then my band doesn’t need to subsidize them.

          As far as your assertion that most local bands who don’t leave town suck? While there are plenty that do, there are plenty that A) have done it and realized the financial difficulties of making it work, B) have no desire to do it, or C) do it on a limited basis if it makes sense to do so. Just because you decide to go on tour doesn’t mean your band is good or knows WTF they’re doing.

          • DTB

            but DIY shows – in my experience as a former DIY promoter – don’t just put on random-ass I-want-a-show bands. Doubly so if they’re from out of town. I used to get asked a lot and I said no a lot because I want the bands I do put on to be taken care of properly. There’s usually (unless you are especially tolerant or crappy) an element of curation on behalf of the promoter. I don’t know anyone who is just randomly putting on out of town bands who haven’t gotten their name out behind some kind of product, however marginal or obscure. That would be suicidal.

            Therefore the touring band either must have a reputation or they’re a bunch of total chancers (I bet the latter happens waaaaaaaaay more rarely than this comment sections is making out). And surely you must concede there are multiple gradations of ‘fame’ (for want of a better word) and hardly anyone is actually stupid enough to go out on the road thinking they can wing it. In my 15 years playing in bands and putting on shows I can only say I’ve come across maybe two bands like that?

            Metal and punk and their multiple microgenres are the perfect case-in-point. You can build word-of-mouth on the boards and blogs and zines without actually having made any money. That’s kind of a rep but it won’t mean shit outside of the incredibly narrow purview of underground rock music or whatever. And it doesn’t mean that rep protects them from not actually needing this imaginary $40 that we’re all talking about way more than your live-down-the-road ass.

            Fortunately I never encountered any local bands like your good self. I’m not saying you’re not entitled to recompense. I just think…look at the bigger picture here guy.

        • Nope

          I’ve watched excellent bands play to 5 people and terrible bands sell out rooms. Britney Spears had amibition, but go on and tell us more about how local draws suck. Is DTB short for down to bullshit?

          • DTB

            that’s why all our record collections are stuffed with those local bands who never quite took themselves seriously enough and why we routinely shun bands that try and get the word out.

            but yes that is what DTB stands for, treat yourself to a mint julep.

          • Nope

            Actually, you don’t know a fucking thing about my record collection but I guarantee you it’s full of local bands that do short tours once a year. They also plan ahead so they don’t look like amateurs and ask for more than their cut because they drove somewhere, or they have to eat, or lodging is expensive………

          • DTB

            if they’re touring once/twice a year, like, playing consecutive dates that include midweek days, and have physical product, then they’re not what i personally would distinguish as a local band. they clearly have a reputation that extends beyond their immediate geography. that’s like, the exact situation my band is in. when we do home shows to help draw for a touring band they come first. simple as that really. maybe i’ve been spoiled!

          • Nope

            I would see them as a dedicated group of music hobbyists, or local band. They just contribute a month or so every year to getting time off from work and setting up a tour. I mean, it’s certainly far from a professional business endeavor in my mind. Your mileage may vary.

          • Snooty McWords

            It is certainly far from a business endeavor because the reality of death metal is that by the very nature of its limited demographic it will never be truly lucrative.

            “A dedicated group of music hobbyists” is actually a perfect description of such groups and exactly why we happily help the traveling bands first.

  • Charles Glisson

    And you left out another Commandment;
    Thou shall NOT expect “Serious Compensation” if you attempt to use your LIVE SHOW as a “Paid Rehearsal”

  • James D. Adam Broxson

    The funny thing to me is that there are local musicians who also try to make their passion their job.. so the give every single cent to the touring band idea is a little bit imbalanced imo.

    • THIS MAY WORK IN SOME GENRES BUT THIS IS A DEATH METAL BLOG ABOUT THE UNDERGROUND WHERE BANDS WHO REGULARLY GO ON WORLD TOURS STILL HAVE DAY JOBS DRIVING BIG RIGS IN NEW JERSEY

  • MaximusMurderous

    Salute for the Kozowyk nod. dude is criminally underrated as a frontman as is/was The Red Chord

  • Casey Burns

    Some rules like some of these are meant to be broken. Others are good, such as the one about overstaying.

    So says the Father of “Baywitch” who is a musician himself.

  • K Lawrence

    STAGE BANTER
    This list is based on the perspective of a band. Bands do not perform so other bands can see them. They play for the audience. If your guitarist needs to tune to drop d, the 30 seconds of dead air really brings doen the energy. With just a little bit of interaction with the crowd, you can keep sone of that energy going. How do you think popular bands got good at stage banter? They practiced in while paying their dues touring the small clubs and shows.

  • OhSoRight

    Great column. I’ve been following underground bands for over 40 years, and this advice rang as true then as it does now.

  • Sterling Archer

    THOU SHALL NOT MAKE ENEMIES OF THE CROWD; You’re not a star, and you need all the fans you can get. So DO NOT PISS OFF THE CROWD. They’re PAYING money to see. If you turn on them, then they’re gone forever and will bad mouth you to everyone they know. Don’t antagonize your audience.

  • Lucas Wilfred Finnamore-Smith

    Honorable mentions to the article from somebody who’s worked in small venues for years would be:
    “Stop smoking during the other bands’ sets (especially if they are on tour and you just brought all of your friends outside with you).”
    And
    “For fuck sakes, buy at least one beer. Touring bands get way more of an exception, but half of the locals..I know you have a day job. And if you must, at least stop doing it directly behind the venue and get the fuck in your van or walk down the street.”
    And
    “Enough with the goddamned guest lists. A couple people per band, sure, but if one band throws on 10 people that is 100 less bucks at a ten dollar show going to the rest of the bands.”

  • Eddie Ahrenhoerster

    Just out of curiosity: what if you have more than one touring band on the bill?