Monthly Archives: February 2014

About Being “BOOKABLE”

Are you an absolutely excellent band or awesome musician who can’t seem to find the amount of, or quality of gigs you’re after? Chances are, in spite of your incredible talent, you aren’t ‘bookable’!! 

To explain, there are thousands or more artists, with superior skill, musicianship and playability, but they have not put together the necessary essentials that would make for the kind of experience agents are trying to sell to their audiences. 

For example, DON’T be an Artist or Band who possesses ZERO:

*YouTube Performance Videos (videos of your studio recording with the CD cover jpeg showing won’t get you on stage) 

*Website or page with a Schedule of Past/ Future Events (Promoters want to know if you’re working)

*A Well Written Bio (Excellent Grammar, Crisp & Truthful)

*Your Story and/or Other Useful Promotional Media (Have You Won Any Awards? Played with Anyone Famous? Overcome some huge setback? Everyone wants to know!) 

*Viable Contact Info (other than your email & number on the bar napkin) 

*CDs or Merch to Sell (Any & Everything Memorable to Sell works – try toothpicks!)

 

Other Artists, especially Newcomers have Zero clue of:

 

*What to Charge (Free should not be an option and paying the club should be outlawed)

 

*What Back-line Is (Immediately after talking to Club Owner/Promoter, befriend the Sound Guy/Gal!)  

 

*Appropriate Load In / Stage Time / Load Out (Timing is Everything and Your Respect for it Should be Absolute!)

 

Education for the EntreMusician is First Base. Knowing What – and When to do What should be in place before you make the call or send the query email. Your business sense should be as tight as your act.

 

A cautious “Catch 22” is for promoters to book an act that has all of the aforementioned elements in place and do them very excellently, but lacks the talent to move a crowd…they will usually work with this act first, knowing they must sell the sizzle.

 

We’ll talk about additional bookable components next week. Like “Are You Reliable?”

 

If you have a question, comment or disagreement about “Bookability” please respond! 

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SONGWRITING SUCCESS SECRETS

I was recently sent an email to download (yet another) e-book on how to write successful songs.

It was jam packed with interviews and stories of the countless (mostly Rock & Pop composers) who have “made it” and how you and I could win the 2015 Grammy for following the same steps, using the usual sounds, production methods and recording techniques of these trailblazers. Well you know me, I downloaded two copies to two different email addresses so I wouldn’t be left out!

But deep in the back of my mind I knew. As I clicked through page after page, I knewAnd You Know that I Know, that YOU Already Knew too!

Nobody really knows what’s going to be this or next year’s biggest hit – or the New Sound – or the multi-trillionaire seller. No One ever knew – Ever!

From “The Monster Mash” to “The Macarena” to “Who Let The Dogs Out?” to Gary Glitter’s “Rock & Roll” (The “Hey” Song yelled at all football games) – not a one of those songwriters used a particular formula or followed a previous ‘step by step’ process to ensure the popularity of their tune – and most of the copycat songs, which took a huge bite off the original, were shown to always come in second (or worse) place!

Remember Billy Ocean’s “Caribbean Queen” vs The Incredible “Billie Jean”?

Now to have Robin Thicke set against the stalwart “GOT TO GIVE IT UP!” And then for him to Sue Marvin’s family…?

? ? ? ? ? ? ? What!?

The EntreMusician should never be the one who follows the crowd. They should never use their software to steal the groove template from another record or rip off chord progressions with a slight of hand key change for Air Play. Nor should they spend thousands of dollars in seminars and workshops which fatten the pockets of primadonna producers who can’t – or won’t admit – that they got lucky by being truly genuine the first time, but kept reprocessing the same groove while the spotlight was on full blast. Once planned obsolescence kicked in, they have to do these workshops to keep any light on! 

Now this is not to say that songwriting is not a legit craft. It most certainly is.

All Songs has form, structure and absolute elements which must be in place to move the body, soul and spirit in whatever direction the writer wants to take the listener. But it’s just as soulful, jazzy and funky to break all the rules and get rich on that!

Just as every hit song has transcended formats, styles and genres, great songwriting always ignores boundaries, patterns, recipes and rules to go straight at the heart to express the essence and depth of the writer’s purest intention.

And That’s The Secret!

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Second Sundays 2014 Season is here! Phil

Second Sundays 2014 Season is here! Phillip K Jones kicked off February. Laura Varcho on March 9. View Highlights http://youtu.be/Y5YoT1VzQTk

A Song’s Life

This past week, as I celebrated my 49th Birthday, I was able to muse through some of my vinyl, exploring the music I grew up listening to. I was laughing to and at myself. I’m old enough to intimately know the drums & synth sounds, popular reverb settings and production techniques that defined the particular era or genre. Heck, I’m old enough to hear some of those same sounds and samples common in today’s music!

I could not believe how much my tastes had changed. Yet, in other ways, how my perspective had remained steadfast. Some Albums I put on, having once loved, investing hours of my teen-aged life in learning every lyric, phrase and note, now curiously repulsed me that I’d ever given that groove any attention at all. Thankfully, there were many others which once again captivated me from measure one. Those were the records which helped build the man, musician and producer I am today.

The distinctions were immediate. It was hardly ever the sounds chosen, the production method, the clarity of the recording, the dexterity of the musician or even the artist him/herself. Though these credentials proved important in presentation, when broken down to the core, it was always the magic of the song.

The song. 

 Its essence, construction, practicality, soul, freedom, relevance and magnetism.

 I proceeded to find different versions and covers and the reaction was the same. (With the exception for a horrendous version of Sly Stone’s “Thank You (falettinmebemicelf)” by Charlie Singleton of Cameo fame – Yech!) A Good Song is A Good Song is A Good Song. Whether sang accapella, performed as a samba or symphony, the elements of a great song transcends gender, genre and generations.

An EntreMusician’s first purpose is to create and compose such a song to share with the world. Before pristine recording, mixing & mastering applications are considered. Before software, plug-ins and microphones wear out your wallet – Before complex marketing strategies are developed to make your download available on iTunes and Spotify, have you created a song someone can remain emotionally chained to as she ages, marries and eventually becomes a grandmother? Or will he wonder why what sort of fad was he going through and vow never to listen to it again?

 

I was listening to Bob James‘ “Grand Piano Canyon” as I wrote this. 

Each Song Spectacular. An Album that transformed my mid-20’s

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Substance. Abuse.

The Grammy’s. The Academy Awards. The Super Bowl. 

These and similar events threaten to be occasions which will change the very nature of our very lives and if missed, shall abandon us to the meager status of societal outcasts. Yet, year after year, they prove to be no more than spectacles of hype and disappointment, devoid of any real value.

A more defined mocking irony is that of a profoundly prolific actor who gave the world so much, continually expressing the absolute brilliance of his craft, now found dead with a needle in his arm, ultimately revealing how empty life must have been for him.

The Entertainment World promises to deliver the highest value, engagement & quality. Those lauded are presented as experts, professionals, cream of the crop, top of their game, worthy of the highest accolade, honor and respect. Keenly scripted “Reality TV” elevates gross dysfunction to super stardom while simultaneously berating other famed reality faces who would speak their minds on personal, spiritual issues true to their own hearts.

Double, triple and quadruple standards abound and it’s often difficult to navigate through the cluttered glitter of fantasized ecstasy from that which will truly bring life to one’s soul.

Unless you’re intentionally seeking.

The purpose of the EntreMusician is to define truth. Whether using symbolism, figurative language, hyperbole or literal form, the pure artist never distorts or abuses real substance. Art lives and breathes. And Gives. She makes her aim crystal clear. He points true north and brings us along for the journey.

We constantly ascend during the process.

I was listening to Dave Holland Quintet’sPrime Directive” while constructing this blog. 

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