Tuesday, February 15, 2011

No Such Thing as a Cute Drunk, Especially In A Band

You go to the store and the clerk obviously has been drinking. He makes mistakes on register, drops your soda, making it spew when you open it, and smashes the bag of chips you bought while bagging them. And this is not the first time either. Do you keep stopping there, or do you go a little further down the road to the next store?

Most of us would go on down the road, and wonder how the guy keeps his job. Most jobs do not allow such behavior. But there seems to be an exception to the rule, and it is the music business.

We have all seen it. The band drinking on stage, or taking turns leaving the stage, coming back just a little more happier than before. And many of us have seen bands that have gotten smashed – flubbing rifts, stumbling and forgetting words. How many times do you go to see that band that continually does it?
Yes, it is an 'accepted' habit among the bands. The venues allow it, and some even 'pay' the bands with food and drink. But does it make good business sense?

Bands and musicians need to wake up. Yes, your music IS a business. People pay good money to see you, whether they pay a cover charge, buy a ticket, or simply spend money of dinner and drinks, they are still paying. It is your job to give them their moneys worth. Venues need to wake up as well. Pay the bands in cash, not drinks. Do you allow your kitchen help or wait staff drink on the job? Why then, do you allow the band?

Many bands dream of 'making it big'. Well, making it involves hard work and having the “right person” see you perform. Every time you are on stage, no matter where you are, you never know if that “right person” is sitting there watching you. And if you think seeing you suck down a beer is going to get you a contract, think again.

All musicians need to treat every gig like it is an audition. Every member needs to be on their game at all times, from the support staff to the front-man. Front-men especially, for you carry the added responsibility of setting the image the band projects.

If you are happy to just play the local pub, then have a ball, get drunk and keep doing whatever it is you do, a year from now, you might still be there. But if you are a serious musician, and want more than that, then it is time you take the business seriously and treat it as such. Scouts are everywhere, and they are looking to invest in music, otherwise they would just by stock in Jim Beam or Budweiser.

Just my rant - what is your thoughts? Later - Renagade


Dede said...

I have often wondered why no one has taken the time to explain to members of a band, that getting "happier"/ drunk is not going to get you a contract, just a hang over. Never could figure it out that I can't drink at my job, where is it written that band members can.


Gypsy Trading Company said...

Amen. I agree... having worked in the bar business, been a bouncer and dealt with the many drunks on hand during that time, only 3 of the bands that played our circuit made the cut, Alice n Chains, Soundgarden and Mother love bone. However, having said that, as soon as that cut was made, it was on to the drinking, and or other things that made them happier. It is a sad business, all the way around, it's been practiced in the music world since long before the 60s, and we have lost many a talented musician to this. Unfortunate but true, and although I commend you on the post and agree wholeheartedly, I doubt one will pay attention.