Expecting Greatness Without Proper Preparation
By David Lowry
“If you don’t think what I do is the best show on Earth, let’s see what you’ve got!” — Gene Simmons
You could learn just about everything you need to know about the music business from this statement alone. As a manager in this crazy business, I constantly hear things like “If someone would just give us a chance, they would see how great we are. We blow everyone else off the stage.” I have to admit I very rarely ever see something like this. Most of the time it’s just another band with very little stage presence, a set and show that never changes, improves or really entertains. Why is this, I constantly wonder? Is it because people don’t have enough time? They don’t have enough drive? Well it’s a little bit of everything really but mainly, they don’t know how to prepare and use their time wisely or efficiently. Many bands say “well the music scene has changed and it’s harder to get noticed” honestly that is just an excuse period.
The reality is that at the level most of the people reading this are at, it hasn’t changed at all. You still had to do everything I will talk about here just to get noticed and get offered that big record deal in the past. Today you have to do this, and at many stages in your career you may now have to do it all by yourself unless you can pay a team to help you, but the good thing is today you can keep control of your own music career, which may or may not be a good thing depending on the artist.
When I was younger and recruited as a tennis player to play for the Navy sports team, my coach once told me after I was getting frustrated with my inconsistency “Look kid, you may have got here on your own without lessons, but you can’t get down on yourself for not being able to pull of what you haven’t trained and prepared for. Unless you are Chris Evert the number one player in the world, you have absolutely no right to.” Okay I just dated myself I could have said Tiger Woods but the point is made. Bands that haven’t achieved the level they want shouldn’t get mad at themselves, the scene or the music business when they haven’t ever even learned to prepare properly for this business. If after years of serious effort, practice, planning and execution you still aren’t achieving the results you wanted, then you can get mad and frustrated. Until then you are swimming upstream. So turn yourself around and start swimming with the flow so you can get to your destination faster.
In order to get to the next level that every band seems to think they are ready for takes usually a lot more work than they are putting in and truthfully until you get the very basics down like I have posted in past blogs you aren’t ready for the next level. There are obviously many things to be covered here but for the sake of this blog let’s just talk about live performance.
Live performance is the proof in the pudding. If you don’t have the best show at least in your neck of the woods, then you really have nothing. You need to practice, prepare and plan your lives shows. From everything on how to talk to a crowd to how to prepare the right set list and how to put on an energetic entertaining performance. Your practice time should include all of these things and you should never practice with out playing like you would on stage. Why? Because, it takes practice to put on the best show on Earth! You have to practice moving like you would live so you are used to performing that way which leads to making fewer mistakes, check out what does looks good vs. what doesn’t and just as importantly keeping yourself in shape for your live performances so you don’t get tired or worn out. Live performance takes an extraordinary amount of energy and you should be in shape for it just like any athlete prepares for their performance.
You need to find a way to bring a live show or performance that blows people away. What does that mean? I don’t know for your band and can’t tell you until I see it, but the problem is no one is even trying to figure it out. Besides great songs, this is the most important part of your career. This is what creates viral social media marketing. It makes people buy your merchandise at your shows because it creates the emotional bond between fan and the band. It is wins over the skeptics and the industry people you need to help your career. Bands seem to be very unoriginal when it comes to live performance and it can be very hard to tell one band from the other.
To put it bluntly, “No one cares about your career, until you do.” This means until you are willing to truly focus, get together as a band, start acting like a business and a band that can actually blow people away, you are just another band taking up space and spamming every ones Facebook wall trying to get attention the wrong way.
I ask you this; can you beat Gene Simmons at his own game? Learn from the very best at what they do. Quit posing and acting like you are the next big thing when you aren’t because you really haven’t done what you need to do. Become the next big thing because you want it more than anything, because you have put in the time, effort, planning, practice and execution and then let the crowds decide who puts on the best show on Earth. Actions speak louder than words folks. If you are going to talk about how great your band is don’t you think you better deliver on that statement?
Remember you are only as good as your last show.
Till the next time. Get it together and good Luck!
David Lowry is the President of The Lowry Agency, a full service artist management agency that works with musicians, speakers, entertainers, actors and models based in Nashville, TN. David manages and or books the musical careers of Brother Cane, Damon Johnson (Brother Cane, Thin Lizzy, Alice Cooper), Rob Balducci, Dave Weiner, Jon Finn, Kris Bell and Mindset Defect. For more information please contact The Lowry Agency at http://www.thelowryagency.com.
Ironically, the very few bands who became great “without really trying” had no expectations of greatness – this is the rarest of all combinations. Their efforts outmatched their expectations, but it was transparent to them and us, because they were doing what they loved, which made it seem effortless when it wasn’t. So many others learned the wrong lesson from them, thinking that there was no effort required beyond shameless self-promotion and hype to become successful. Oops.
I love this article – sure the information is solid, but that isn’t why – it’s the undertone that everyone is looking for a “break” somewhere, and that, that place just doesn’t exist.
With all the emphasis placed on such highly publicized talent-shows and “fame & fortune” following stints on reality TV these days, we keep (or I do anyway) getting the impression that someone is trying to direct us all to “loopholes” – (in my humble opinion) it takes years to build and overnight success.
Thanks for this. 🙂
Thanks for reading it! “Breaks” are usually actually created through the hard work. They very rarely just “happen” along. Being ready for when the do appear is the key. If you aren’t ready then you lost the opportunity. That is the undertone.