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Ingredients For A Successful Original Band - Part 1- Tough Protocol
By Michael Fletcher
Michael Fletcher is a world class guitarist and has been deemed as the guitar instructor to the stars.
Many of his students are top national ...
Join me next time for a continuation of this subject. Hold on to your hats though, things are about to heat up.
© 2008 Michael E. Fletcher. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.
The moment the word original comes into play, at least 90% of the competition just fades away. This is great news for guitarists, as it is for all musicians and songwriters, and for many reasons.
First, and for example, we all know that most airplanes cannot fly at 35,000 feet. Some are only equipped (designed) to fly at much lower altitudes. It's basically the same with musicians. Some will aspire to do great things in music and others won't. Whether this is due to fear, lack of faith (in one's own talent), or any other of many, many reasons, some musicians will rise to the top, while others will not.
In my opinion, the first successful ingredient for any original band, is to make absolutely sure that all of the players are on the same page with this realization. The original journey will not be an easy one. However, keep-in-mind that the majority of turmoil is taking place in the cover band level of music and performance. Just look at any local musician's classified ads; someone is always looking for somebody else. It's like a whirlwind of musicians, all caught up in the club circuit types of performances. Mass chaos comes to mind.
It's important to understand that the Top-40 music scene (club circuit) is not a bad thing. However, this is where the masses dwell. The competition between club bands is fierce throughout the world. After all, almost every musician wants to be paid for his/her work. It's actually less crowded at 35,000 feet (national and international concert stages). However, this level of performance and profession is much more difficult to achieve. Hence, less crowded. Not everyone is willing to play in this high risk arena (the music industry). Most are satisfied in their own particular comfort zone (local performances). Why? Once again, it could be the fear element or any other of a number of reasons.
An original band is completely different! An original band, for example, generally composes it's own material and desires the opportunities to share that material with a more worldly audience. Further, an original band is generally seeking a record contract/publishing deal with major distribution, promotion, touring, and all the fixings, as they say. In short, this type of group is ready to hit the road no matter what. They, most likely, have a true belief in their talent and are willing to proceed. Therefore, the next ingredient to be considered is the undertaking itself. It's magnitude! Make no mistake about it, this is where the big boys play. Don't jump in unless you're ready to climb the highest mountain without knowing what's on the other side. Even with years of music industry experience, thousands upon thousands of musicians take up residence on the Boulevard Of Broken Dreams every single year. However, they seem to pick themselves up and do it all over again. This is determination, belief, and faith at it's very best.
A decision to become an original artist effects everyone and everything in life. There are wives, children, businesses, and numerous other responsibilities that must be considered, consulted with, and informed of all aspects of the original artist journey. If everyone, directly involved, understand the possibilities and the consequences, then we're off to the next ingredient.
Next ingredient; ripples! That's right, ripples!
Imagine smooth water in a beautiful swimming pool. Imagine it's wonderful calmness. Now, imagine throwing a stone into the middle of the pool. What would we see? Ripples! Several ripples.
For the original band, everything inside of that first ripple is the core. Only the closest of the closest people should be considered as being included inside of that first ripple. Think of it as the ultimate security zone. In the end we all make our own decisions, however, most of us have heard or read about the horror stories pertaining to original bands that have been ripped apart because that first ripple was penetrated by an individual(s) who had a secret agenda. Therefore, why would any of us place an entire operation (family included) in harms way?
It's up to you and your band mates (and family members) to decide who and what is included in that first ripple. Just remember, the first ripple will make or break you in the end. In short, you're establishing the ultimate enterprise. Treat it as such.
Second ripple: This ripple would most likely consist of sound technicians, lighting technicians, security, engineers, producers, and other ground level personnel.
There is a concept that is taught in certain professions and actually required of certain professions such as law and medicine (among others). In application, strive to keep everyone outside of that first ripple at PROFESSIONAL ARMS LENGTH. Think about that! Professional arms length. What does it mean? Let's examine the answer.
People in general (audiences), are very attracted to those of us in the entertainment industry. In fact, some will stop at nothing to become a part of the scene. In many instances, they're attempting to penetrate all outer ripples in order to get to ripple number one, the core. Devices (ripples) should always be in place to prevent this type of penetration (band spokesman, security, manager, etc.). If anyone can just penetrate at will, then failure is almost guaranteed. Someone just breached the security zone and sunk the battleship. Game over. Tilt! Next player please.
It's tough enough to maintain this type of protocol at a local level, let alone the Hollywood, Nashville, New York, or Chicago (wherever your enterprise ends up) music scene. Let me share a nasty little secret. Some of the most unscrupulous people in the industry are those who actually make the industry roll. Beware! The ultimate attempt at penetration. If one doesn't understand the music business, then for the sake of your loved ones, stay away until fully educated in the industry. This way, you'll at least have a fighting chance.
Professional arms length! Remember it. It could very well make the difference between success and failure in the music industry.
Are you beginning to visualize the ripples now? Good. Hopefully, this concept will help to protect you and yours along the way.
Needless to say, the original band is similar to a traveling circus. It gets in and it gets out quickly. What does this mean? When was the last time you attended a circus, a concert, a Broadway Musical? Let's go through the steps. You purchase a ticket. You show up at the event. You're directed to your seating. You watch the show and then suddenly you're back home eating a pizza. Notice anything?
RIPPLES! From the parking lot, security, ticket takers, ushers, and mysterious other types of personnel; all ripples. Consider this question. At any of those events, did you get the chance to penetrate any of those ripples, let alone ripple number one? Of course not (back-stage passes exempt). Exactly the point! This was not an accident. The ripples are intentional. More than likely, you were kept at a theatrical version of professional arms length! Now, that's entertainment.
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