How To Book My Band
Getting Your First Gig
This is the first chapter in my guide "How to Book My Band". If you like this, please consider picking up the guide at Amazon!
You've got your sets all practiced, your promo material all put together and are ready to book your band. Getting on the stage of your chosen club or venue for the first time can be hard. The easiest way is to own the club, but most of us are not club owners. So, how do you get booked? Here are some tips to try:
Offer to play for free
Sometimes this is the only way to get your foot in the door. It's typically called “paying your dues”. If you go this route, work a deal with the manager where you will play for free but if you can get X amount of people through the door they’ll pay you a certain amount. You could also offer to play for free the first time and if an agreed upon number of people come, they will book you again and pay you. Then promote like hell. Call everyone you know, put up flyers everywhere you can, post it on your website/facebook/twitter, everything you can think of.
Offer to open for another band
This is how my first band got our very first gig. We opened for the most popular band at the time and brought in a large group of our friends. When we played our friends packed the dance floor, cheered loud between songs and bought a lot of drinks. As soon as we finished our set the owner offered us our own gig a couple weeks later. A lot of bands will welcome this because they don't have to play as long that night and (if you play for free or real cheap) make just as much money. If they do agree to this, be cool, not cocky. Help them as much as you can getting your gear out of the way and their gear in place. If you don’t get a gig right away, you may have to open for them a few more times.
Invite the club/venue owner to a party or practice
So, you may not be able to get in the club you want the other two ways mentioned above, but you could throw a party and invite the club owner. If you go the party route, use the same tactics of inviting a lot of friends that will cheer you on the whole time. Make sure he/she feels welcome and has a good time. We were able to open for the other band mentioned above only after the club owner saw/heard us, so we invited him to a practice to see that we weren't lame.
Play an off night
Most bars reserve the weekends for their top draws and rarely let a new band come in and risk losing sales, but will have bands throughout the week until they have built a big enough following to play the weekend. This will often pay little, if anything at all, but you’re still paying dues, right? Here is another chance to get all your friends out and show the club you can rock the house.
When you're starting out, no gig is beneath you. The early gigs are usually where the best stories come from!