Blitzing The Bookers
Before the manager takes over and pins you to the bottom of the bill for the Simple Minds tour you have to find your own gigs. It's not easy. But it can be easier. So whether you're looking for your first (or your last) gig, just follow our advice...
Look in either the weekly music press or the local paper, and get the names/addresses/telephone numbers of some suitable venues (there must be one). Pay attention to the type of music they normally put on - there's no point in saying you're a post-modern psychobilly industrial noise polka band (even if you are) as very few landlords/booking agents will know what you're talking about (if they want to know more, they'll ask). Try something general like heavy rock, alternative, pop, reggae, or the like, remembering that descriptions like punk or oi won't be too popular in most cases. List your achievements in the way of previous gigs, recordings, reviews, etc. Make the point that you can draw a good crowd. Don't forget that the person on the phone will normally prefer a crowd-puller to a consummately credentialled combo.
You'll normally be asked for a tape and, if you have them, some press clippings. Try and make the package you send as compact as possible by putting two or three songs at most on the cassette, along with the group's name and a contact telephone number. Photocopy any reviews you've had, but don't overdo it - not everyone is fascinated by the minutiae of your six month career.
Check the name and address of the person to whom you should mail your press package (as it's called in the trade). A week after they ought to have received it, telephone again, and hassle politely - have they had a chance to hear it, what did they think, when can we have a gig, please? If they say no, ask why not. The reply will be either a helpful hint for the next time you ask, or mind your own business. If they say yes, you've got your gig... (further hints next month in Part 34)