Thursday, January 29, 2004

How to get a gig here (Music version)


Once again, I've been stuck behind this desk for way too long. As a consequence, I haven't been able to get anything other than serious desk jockeying done. Which means that writing about Art is going to be difficult - as I haven't seen any new Art since Maurice Richard. And even then, it wasn't new to me.

So, I figured that since I've been talking a lot about the music happening here, I'd let everybody know how to go about getting a gig here, if you happen to be a musician.

It can be summed up in three words: Talk to me.

However from experience I have written out what I consider "guidelines" and I call "The Missive" and other people refer to as "the Rules." I can't stand the concept of rules, and so anybody who calls them that is pretty much looked at as a perfect example of toe-sucking boot licker, or perhaps they've just had too much liquor and they're looking for some toes to suck, I am never certain.

That all being said, they are constantly evolving, and as I have never gotten around to being a full-fledged geek, I am never certain which version is the one that somebody has read. Therefore, I'm now going to go way out on the limb and post them here, complete with additional commentary. Assuming that I continue to not see art tomorrow, I might post how to get a gig here (Visual Art version) tomorrow - but you never know.

So without further ado:

What you need to know in order to play music at Zeke�s Gallery

1. No plugs.

2. Two (2) sets, about 45 minutes each.

3. Before and during the show please announce that deposits are being accepted for the CD that will be made of the show. $5 and it guarantees a low number.

4. Before each set, please announce to the audience where the fire exits are, and that in the case of a fire or another catastrophe, that jumping out the window is a much easier and faster means of getting out of here, and that breaking a leg (or legs) is much more preferable to dying.

5. Doors open at 7:30, band on stage promptly at 8. I strongly urge you to say "7:30" to anybody who asks what time the band will play. Most Montrealer�s are tardy, this way there should be no latecomers.

6. Soundcheck at 5:30, sharp. In order to make sure that the recording doesn�t suck there must be a soundcheck, it is not so that you can set up your instruments and make sure you hear each other, it is to make sure that the microphones are recording you properly. The entire band needs to be here by that time. If there are problems or difficulties, let Zeke know in advance, at least one day in advance. If the band is late for soundcheck I will cancel the show (sorry, but it is an extremely important facet of the show).

7. I suggest a "free contribution" instead of a ticket price. A published ticket price serves as a barrier to entry. (�Jeez I only have $10 in my pocket, why should I give it to them?�) Once people are in they do cough up cash. Depending on the crowd, and the band we�ve been averaging between $3 and $6 per head.
I am in the process of revising this policy. My thoughts on the matter are now more along the lines of "screw 'em if they can't pony up the cash." Musicians and galleries need to get remunerated, we all have rent that needs to be paid. I like the idea of $10 a ticket, or $5 if you're a member of the gallery (remind me to explain membership here in the future). What I'm stumped on is the split between the gallery and the band - if you have any ideas please let me know, ok?
8. I have a collection box here that works well. Or you are welcome to use a guitar case or some other means.

9. No postering outside. There is a $500 fine for postering, from my perspective there are way more efficient uses of time, energy and money to publicize stuff. Handbills personally delivered, posters in appropriate places/stores (i.e. Universities, other venues, caf�s, indoors etc.) This is the one things where I will become a meany and totally nasty, and cancel the show at the last minute if I find out about posters (sorry, but I do feel very strongly about this).

10. There are seats for 25 folk, standing room for about another 25. If more people people show up, in the past they have sat on the floor. Getting the place full is not rocket science. You need to tell people, and the more people you tell, the more people will show up. If you are to shy to tell people, or think it beneath you to tell people, or think that there are better means than telling people about your show, then there probably are better places to play. Getting 12 fannies in the seats makes for a very good audience.
If you're reading this far, and you're not a musician with a band, you might want to consider paying attention to the right hand column, I keep it up to date as to who, what and when is playing here. You're always welcome
11. Having a small flyer, and handing it out to everybody you meet and talk to, starting two weeks before the show aids in helping them to remember when and where the show is. Giving a pile of flyers to your friends and asking them to help in promoting the show is also an effective means of getting those fannies in here.

12. As far as promoting the event I figure on about a 1% response rate to email, a 10% response rate to direct mail. And a 50% response rate to personally handing out flyers to people that you know (for every 2 you give out, one person will probably show up). Leaving the flyers in stores, clubs or other locations are a waste of money, time, and contributes to the garbage problem, it has a worse response rate than that of email. Also you might want to make sure that everybody in the band is involved in promoting the show. If there are 4 of you and you each get 4 people and they come with a date, the gallery will be jam packed.

13. Telling people that it will be a live recording and taking deposits for the recording also is highly recommended

14. Two weeks before the show I automatically email Voir, Ici, The Mirror, The Hour, La Presse, The Gazette, Le Journal, Le Devoir, CFCF, CBC (radio and TV) Global-TV, CJAD, Mix96, CKUT, CISM, RCAAQ, MontrealPlus.ca, ZeD TV, Instant Coffee and L_S_D and unless there is something screwy they all list the events here. However, just having a listing will not get anybody to show up, if you have sold 2,000,000 records and/or have the number one record on Mix96 and/or your picture has been on the cover of Spin then a couple of people might show up due to a listing.
If you know of other places where I should publicize events, please bring 'em on
15. One week, and then 2 days in advance of the show let Zeke know how many people you are expecting, so that I can figure out the best configuration of the gallery.

16. If there are any chairs, music stands, or other accessories that you require, please bring them with you. The gallery has a limited amount of chairs that are all required for the audience, and no other accessories.

17. If you would like help in making/designing a flyer, the gallery has more computer power than it needs and a fair amount of graphic design capabilities, I�d be more than happy to help make them and/or design them. If you start handing them out about 2 weeks in advance of the show, to everyone you meet there will be a very good turn out.

18. The show will be recorded for a future CD release. The CD will be a limited edition of 100 copies, maximum. CDs sell for $15 retail ($13.04 + GST/QST). The gallery gets $6.52, the band gets $6.52, and the government gets $1.96

19. If you would like you band to be included in any of the promotional material sent out by the gallery after the show (i.e. four color glossy flyers, samplers, etc.) you should learn and play "Zeke and the Wheel" by RB Morris. We come out with a sampler, once a year, and a CD of various bands all playing the same song attracts way more attention than yet another generic compilation. If you would like a copy of the song, or sheet music ask Zeke.
This seemed like a good idea at the time, and it really is a kick-ass song, but it is way too complicated. Or in other words, I have lost the damn CD that I used to have, and I have never been able to track down the sheet music
20. If you would like to use the recording for other purposes, please credit the gallery on the CD (�Recorded at Zeke�s Gallery, 3955 Saint Laurent, Montr�al, Qu�bec H2W 1Y4 on date, available as a limited edition CD from Zeke�s Gallery.�) Copying it for friends is not suggested, as it takes $6.52 out of your pocket.

21. The cover of the CD will be in the style of all the other CDs here. There are no liner notes, no song titles. The name of the band (or the musicians) �Live at Zeke�s Gallery� the date, and the volume number are what gets printed on the cover.

22. The band will get one copy of the CD to verify and check that it is suitable and acceptable to release. I strongly urge that you not worry over missed chords and other mistakes, and concentrate on the sound quality of the CD. If there is more 80 minutes worth of music it is the band�s choice as to what gets cut.

23. If you would like to videotape the event ask Zeke beforehand so that we can figure out the logistics and organize things (plugs, camera placement, who will operate it, etc.) before soundcheck.

24. No cameras with a flash.

25. No drugs, other than those sold at the gallery.

26. Zeke is a heavy smoker. Smoking is permitted in the gallery.

27. No practicing at the gallery, before during or after the show. Know all your songs before you arrive.

28. Mention to everybody in the band that it is a very good idea to say "Hello" to Zeke and introduce themselves.

29. Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday are the available nights. We book events a minimum of a month in advance, with a preference for 6 weeks or more in advance.

30. Zeke needs the names, addresses and telephone numbers and instruments played of ALL band members, before the show.

31. Mentioning the artist who made the art on the walls is a very good idea.

32. Please, don�t move the plants, furniture or touch the art without asking first.

33. It is imperative that you come to the gallery before the gig. Getting a feel for the place is a very good idea, and Zeke needs #15, and #30 before the show, dropping them off in person doesn�t hurt.

34. Folk involved with the gallery (namely yours truly) will spend about 10 hours working on your show (set up, sound check, post-production, etc) if you and your band can�t do the same with regards to rehearsals and promoting the show please strongly consider playing at another venue.

35. Please give Zeke a copy of your set lists before the show. It helps immensely with the editing of the CD.

36. Announce before, during and after the show that CDs are available for sale, and that Zeke is taking reservations/deposits. It helps immensely in sales.

37. If I don�t hear from you a week after getting the proof copy, then I will assume that it is copasetic (in other words � it meets with your approval) and release it for sale. If there are changes, corrections, or problems with the proof copy you must let me know before seven days have passed, again, it makes life easy at this end.

38. 4, 6, 9, & 33 are the only ones carved in stone, if there is something that you want to change or add, talk to me. I�m open to all suggestions and possibilities. All you gotta do is ask.

Now that you've read 'em, drop me a line, and lets do a show, ok?

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