#Social Media

Creating a “Buzz,” it’s Your Responsibility

 By David Lowry

One of the great frustrations in being a manager for bands is the lack of drive or work ethic that come from certain members. They think they can just sit back and do basically nothing and everyone else does it for them. And then they complain when nothing is happening for them. They don’t realize that all they are doing is showing everyone how un-dedicated they are, how the band will never get anywhere and how the team around them will just quit trying to help them if they can’t even handle simple things like self-promotion.

I hear the most ridiculous things from local bands all the time, that it’s a new music business so they aren’t going to do things the old way. They think they don’t have to be professional anymore, that if they did things the old way, they wouldn’t be where they are now, which is still basically nowhere. They don’t get that professionalism and hard work never change no matter what state the music industry is in.

Without buzz about your band, you really have nothing. You are only as good as good as your last show and if you aren’t gigging at least four times a month you are in trouble. The buzz is what gets you noticed by anyone with the clout or money that can truly help you achieve your dream and it grows your fan base faster than anything else.  Your branding campaign is a big part of this, so if you don’t have one, you should spend some time planning and implementing one.

Anyone who is in the business for more than 6 months knows it’s all about the buzz for a band and yet band members would rather post about football then their latest interview or show. Creating a buzz takes time and hard work, but if a band does it all together, it will be much easier for them and will go so much faster. Too many members of bands leave it up to one member of the band to do all the work, especially if the band is named after one person. But once you committed to a band, you committed to all of it no matter whose name is on the logo.

If you have time to post about sports, someone else’s music videos, what you had for dinner or what you are doing with your family, then you have time to post about your band. If you can’t handle that, get out of the band. If you are too busy to post and create a “buzz” about your band, you don’t have time to be in a band in the first place. Quit taking up space on someone’s roster or taking gigs you aren’t going to promote and let the people who really want it have the spot. By not doing this you are simply destroying all opportunities for your band. This is simply the most pathetic thing I see from bands.

If you spend any time studying social media marketing, you will know that only 7% of your audience sees your posts on Facebook. So if you think posting once is enough, especially right before a gig is enough you are fooling yourself. It takes a strategy and consistency to create a “buzz” about you from everything like your live performances to your social media campaign.

As an artist or a band member, when someone posts your music on a site or does an interview about your band, it is YOUR responsibility to promote it and keep the buzz going about you. Many of these people who write interviews for you spend hours transcribing and editing and many members of bands can’t take 10 seconds to post it. These interviewers get paid based on the amount of clicks that come from these articles. So basically, the interview busted their butts to give you some PR for free and you didn’t do a thing to help them or recognize them or their effort on your behalf and worse you did nothing for yourself. You shoot your self and your band’s name in the foot with these people who will never cover you again because of your unprofessionalism and laziness. You can’t just rely on someone else’s fan or viewer base to spread the word about you. It takes everyone and a very concerted effort to make this buzz happen.

Creating buzz is huge part of your musical career. Every thing you do should be a part of your campaign. Every gig, radio show, interview, site you are added too should be promoted for weeks before the event if possible and after the fact. Every form of media of media should be used to brand your band and create buzz. Most of the bands reading this at their stage of the game in their career, nothing should be left out from posting flyers, to radio, both internet and terrestrial and social media…. Everything.

Bands have to realize that their fans are reading their teams stream to find the latest news on you. They have to understand the amount of “white noise” that get’s tuned out by people on social media because they know what pages are posting in general and it doesn’t interest them. Fans want to find out from the band and it’s members not their business people.

Think of it like this: statistically every person knows at 220 people in their lives. If you are a band member or businessperson you will know way more than this number. If you ignore your warm market so to speak, you are ignoring your greatest potential to gain new fans. For every person in your circle, they have at least 220 people in theirs that could find out about you, but won’t if you don’t promote. Your snow ball/viral effect starts here, not on the bands page. Most bands only have a few hundred to a few thousand fans. How is that going to be enough to promote especially if something is only being posted once?  Utilize your power, your strength and make it happen. Most bands are missing out on this because certain people can’t be bothered long enough to put down the “vice” of the week and work.

When you are at a gig and you have only 20 or fewer people there, you and your band mates should be texting, calling and reminding people to show up.  It is your responsibility to create buzz about your band until you can PAY someone else to do it and even then you still have to promote. Bands should be doing whatever they can to get people at their show. This is priority #1 in their career.

The band and its members should be “liking” all posts related to their careers. They should be doing it on their pages, their teams pages and any others they see in their streams. They should thank everyone who posts for them. The more attention a post gets, the more other people see it, especially by people who have never heard of them before. This is the most basic concept that has been social media for years now and everyone knows it, but they ignore it.  Not only that but again, it just shows disrespect to all the people posting for them. Of course you won’t catch everything, but you can catch most of it and people notice that.

There is no point whatsoever for anyone to help your band with your dream if you can’t even do the minimal promoting of yourself on Facebook, Twitter or whatever social media platforms you are using as a bare minimum.  Your band should be let go from any contract to make room for the ones that are serious and working as hard as they can to make it. When a band or it’s members refuse to create buzz, promote or try and get people to a show, it’s a very bad reflection on their management, booking agents or what ever team members they have. No company has to or should put up with that. It’s not their teams responsibility to get people to the shows, it’s the bands.

So put down the beer, get off Facebook except to promote quickly, turn of Skyrim and then have a band meeting to get bands act together. Make it abundantly clear what is expected of them and what the consequences will be if they don’t help and then put together a campaign. Come up with goals, time frames, standard operating procedures or whatever you have to do to make it happen.

This business is hard enough as it is without people giving 100%. It’s not the same as it used to be with management or agents, everyone has to work even harder to separate their clients out of the clutter of other bands and the money isn’t there like it used to be to make it worth it if the band can’t commit to the dream. Local bands had better realize this and get it together or their will be nobody their to help them at all. Nobody is obligated to help some one for free, for the small percentage of the $150 gig a band is doing or who doesn’t want it bad enough to work as hard as they possibly can to achieve their dream they said they wanted.

It’s your dream, only you are responsible for making it happen. No one else will care until you show them that you do. Not your team, not your fans, and evidently not even some of your band.

Good luck!

Endorsement Deals – How do you get them?

 By David Lowry

One of the most exciting things about being a musician is getting that endorsement deal! Playing that guitar or amp you love or maybe banging that drum kit you have been salivating over for years and it’s finally in your hands. It’s a great feeling! The questions are how do you get one? Who deserves one? What are you going to do with it once you get it? What are your responsibilities once you get one?

I find that like most aspects of the music business the artist completely doesn’t get it when it comes to endorsement deals. They all want them when they have absolutely nothing to offer the endorsement company. Bands want everything handed to them. They want someone to book all their shows because they don’t want to do it. They want management to make things happen because they don’t know how and they want free gear, clothes or what ever else they can get for free and giving nothing in return.

Endorsement deals have to be a win-win situation for both parties involved. Sometimes as musicians we forget that it takes money to make anything happen and that these companies need to make money for them to be able to endorse or sponsor artists. Ninety-nine percent of the time, the artist asking for the endorsement has nothing to offer the company whose product they are asking an endorsement for. Granted there are always exceptions to the rule in any given situation but for the most part this is the way it is and you would do well to act professional and always give yourselves the best chance possible.

So what does an artist need to bring to the table before asking for an endorsement deal? Well number one it’s all about the exposure for the endorsee. How many shows are you playing a year? How many people per average show? How good is your social media campaign? How good are your photos and videos? How influential are you among your peers and people who look up to you as a musician? Do you understand marketing and branding?  Usually these questions are answered within the first 30 seconds of reading the artists email and looking at their press kits.

Company’s really only want artists or bands that love and use their product, not people looking for any deal they can get. You should be passionate about what you are playing or using before you approach a company for an endorsement deal. Send an email and ask what information they would like to see but most importantly why you think you are a good fit for this company.  Highlight to your prospective endorsement company with the appropriate information such as your fan base size, social media coverage and plan, professional electronic press kit with professional photography and not just a one-line email with your Reverbnation link. The key here is to make sure the company is seeing how many fans you have. Facebook fan pages are great because then they can also see what your fans are saying about you. Make sure you state how many shows a year you play on average and average crowd size per show as well. Mention your touring and media plans for the upcoming year this why having a marketing plan is imperative. Have past calendars available if possible to prove you how busy you are. You need to make sure that your exposure coverage is worth it to a company before they give you any of their gear.  It’s also good sometimes to mention what products of theirs you may have purchased in the past and are currently using. Remember here that not every artist-relations person is the same so this may alter slightly.

Make sure you understand that if you get a deal you will have to put their logos on all you concert posters, your websites with hyperlinks attached and you should mention and thank them regularly in your social media campaign. You have a responsibility to growing their brand. That is why they gave you the deal in first place. Most musicians are horrible about doing this. Also please realize that just because you get a deal doesn’t mean you are going to get a ton of exposure from them. You may or may not be listed on their website or at least not prominently until you are a big enough artist to really influence the average buyer. You really want to be building a long-term business relationship with these companies so work hard at giving this the proper attention.

Most companies are not giving full endorsement deals anymore so please don’t ask for a deal if you have no money to at least pay cost on the equipment you are asking for. Make sure you are prepared to be professional with them at all times and represent them to the best of your ability.

Last but not least please don’t be “Horshack” from “Welcome Back Kotter” with your arm up squealing ooh! Ooh! Me! Me! Me! Especially after a friend or a band you know gets a deal so you run to Facebook and spam their page asking for a deal too. Remember there is a reason they got the deal. It wasn’t just handed to them.

Remember these blogs are here to help you become more professional and help you stand out from the crowd. Head the advice and you should see greater results.

Good luck!

Andy Timmons Band Plays Sgt. Pepper CD Review

 By David Lowry

Strawberry Fields Forever

Having had the pleasure of interviewing Andy Timmons a couple times on my radio show and soon to be a third, meeting him, watching him perform live one of the most amazing displays or guitar virtuosity I have ever seen and having been a fan since his Danger Danger days, I was really looking forward to the release of “Sgt. Pepper.” I wanted to see what Andy was going to bring to the table that could top his previous efforts. After all, when you are one of the most highly touted guitar players in the world, the bar is set pretty high for everything you do. I am pleased to say that Andy never lets me down and has surprised and delighted my ears once again. His interpretation of the classic Beatles “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” is simply one of the finest guitar instrumental albums if not the finest guitar instrumental album I have ever heard.

Andy brings a new life to an old classic that for many of us is very iconic and very set in a place and time in our lives. No one needs to state the importance of the Beatle’s music in pop music culture, but for Andy to risk taking on such a classic well loved album and being set up to have the “Beatles” purists take shots at him for doing this takes a lot of confidence. If you knew Andy, you know what a laid back, friendly and downright incredibly nice person he is. He always makes you feel like you have been friends forever and in so doing that, there never comes across any sense of arrogance in his demeanor in his personality or his playing that you might find with someone with such a uniquely incredible talent and skill.  In saying that though, once Andy picks up a guitar, it’s like hearing it for the guitar first time again. You get those chills and that wow factor like the first time you heard Hendrix, Page or Van Halen. The ways that Andy makes his instrument sing, you completely forget there is no vocalist there. His use of tone and dynamics help to transport the listener to a new place and Andy makes statements with his playing that are so creative and refreshing to your ears, that most other guitar players vocabulary pale in comparison and the kicker is he does it without you even realizing that he is playing one guitar, no vocals, no layers and no tricks. He imparts magic in the instrument that just wraps you up like a warm blanket and delivers eargams after eargasm like you have never heard from another guitar player.

Andy’s effort on “Sgt. Pepper” is nothing less than beyond extraordinary. It is completely musical, melodic and he did it all from memory. That just boggles the mind to us average musicians. He covers 14 songs from “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds,” “When I am Sixty-Four” and of course the bonus track “Strawberry Fields Forever.”  This is by far one of my favorite guitar instrumental albums of all time and for sure to be a classic in the genre. If you love music, the “Beatles,” melody, guitar and listening to someone that has full command of his instrument, then this is the CD for you.

You can order “Sgt. Pepper” on Andy Timmons website www.andytimmons.com.

At the time of this writing, The Lowry Agency has no affiliation with Andy Timmons or the Andy Timmons Band.

Reasons Why Local Artists Don’t Get Signed

 By David Lowry

Dealing with the local music scene these days is very challenging for management, booking, promotion companies and record labels. To be able to get any artist to the next level requires being able to take the package and sell it to the public or other entertainment professionals or companies. Unfortunately, too often the product is rarely worth buying or even helping to promote further. Bands and artists tend to have this notion that, “Without the music you have nothing,” when dealing with industry professionals. While this is true to an extent, it’s not the whole story. In the industry, we can hire songwriters that have a proven track record, hire musicians to record it and make our own successful bands that we own completely and can control. We don’t need local artists with attitudes, little work ethic or strive not be productive in furthering their own careers. We all do what we love for a reason. It’s not always about being successful but for the satisfaction for seeing someone achieve their dreams so we keep diving into the murky waters of local musicians to find those that are worth partnering with.

The package, as we refer to the artist’s business plan or presentation, has to be ready to go and that is the artist’s responsibility to get there. It doesn’t fall on anyone’s shoulders to make this happen except for you. There is no excuse, what with all the free info out on the internet in books and magazines, that an artist can’t figure out the basics of the business, create a presentation and become attractive to the people that can help them get to the next level. Until that happens, it’s hard to get a manager, booking agent or anyone else to be excited about making 0% of 0% because the artist has created absolutely no demand for themselves. The money isn’t available in the industry for developmental deals as it was say 15-years ago. Thus the artist’s chances of getting signed on with professional representations are slimmer if they don’t present an attractive market value. Here are a few of the reasons that artists intentionally shoot themselves in the proverbial foot. This is by no means a comprehensive list, just some very obvious points.

  • Not Booking Enough Shows: Most bands/artists want others to do this for them but in truth and reality, the artist should be booking their own shows until they are gigging at least 80-dates a year regionally and making money doing it. Why would anyone in the industry want to waste time booking a band that isn’t willing to do it themselves, does not understand the basics of promotion and end up making a small percentage of absolutely nothing for their work? There are no short cuts here. Pick up the phone and dial for dollars.


  • Poor Promotion: Most artists spend very little time and effort promoting and usually post a gig once or twice on some form of social media expecting people to see it and show up on such short notice. This is absolutely pathetic. Especially in a band with several members, usually only one person promotes it. In no way shape or form is this acceptable, nor will anyone in the industry look kindly on an artist that does this. You don’t deserve to get paid at all if this is how you sell your band. Believe it or not, we all look at this and notice how well people promote themselves. Also, social media sites are not the only form or promotion needed. You still need flyers, advertisements and many other forms of creative promotion. It is not everyone else’s job to do all your promotion. When you are looking for opportunities with your gigs and no one shows up for your shows, you lose on many levels and miss out on opportunities.


  • Misuse Of Social Media: If all you do is complain about the venues, management or any other form of the music business, you are signing your death warrant. Again, people in the industry and your peers see this and who would want to book you back at a venue or assist your band if this is your level of professionalism. You are a business, act like it. Grow up and quit using your bands page to complain. If you want to do that, do it in private where we can’t see it. This is common sense that seems to have escaped many artists.


  • Wasting Time Goofing Off On Facebook: If you have time to post a million personal things on Facebook but don’t promote your show then you aren’t serious about this business. Stop spending time goofing off and start making things happen for your music. Facebook is a great networking tool when used right. The excuse, “I am so busy,” is quite weak when we can see your profile. This goes for both sides of the business, not just artists.


  • Not Getting Back To People: When you approach someone and ask for their advice, services or whatever else and say, “I’ll get back to you,” then do it.  The usual excuse again is, “Sorry, I was so sick” or “I have been so busy” but again we can see your social media so if you are well enough or have time to do that, you are well enough to practice a common courtesy and get back in touch with people, regardless of the outcome you decide on. This applies to getting back to people on booking a show, a meeting, or any other situation involving your band, music or related promotions. It is also basic good business manners.


  • Not Doing Your Research: Approaching people about services they don’t even offer. This happens all of the time. You see a business name and just assume at what they do but don’t even research the company. You are wasting everyone’s time and showing how lazy and unprofessional you are.


  • Not Accepting Gigs Because You Don’t Have The Money: “Sorry we don’t have the money to drive that far,” is a ridiculous excuse for a local or regional booking. You don’t have the money to drive to open a new market but you do have money to buy beer, party with your friends, buy drugs, go camping or visit someone three states away. Again, your Facebook page gives this all away. If you do not want to play a show for specific reasons, then politely decline, thus hopefully leaving the door open for future shows. If you aren’t able to be dedicated to your vision and dream by planning in advance and having a band fund for specific use: gear, travel, other expenses then don’t even bother approaching anyone. You can’t build a solid fan base if you aren’t playing out.
  • Not Having An Appropriate Press Kit: Everyone has been doing this long enough to know you need one. No matter if you are a band, solo artist or musician looking for extra work. Everyone should have an electronic press kit (EPK) and/or hard copy press kit. Sending someone to Facebook, Myspace, Reverbnation, YouTube or other social music site, while a plus, is not a replacement for a professional media kit. If you don’t have one, you do not show serious business regard for your own career so why should anyone in the industry.


  • Sending One Line Emails Saying You Need Representation: Again if you don’t have a press kit and you can’t take the time to compose proper business letter and introduction about yourself or your band, don’t even bother. All you are doing is showing how lazy you really are. Be professional, always.


  • Only Being Able To Play Weekends: We are all looking for bands than can tour, not just play every now and then. It’s hard to break a new market and build a fan base when you can only play one quarter of the year. Not only that, but you are competing with so many other bands for these bookings when weeknights are so much easier to get. This is why people with families often get passed by. It’s too hard to coordinate everything. We all make choices in life and once you decide to get married and have kids more often than not you aren’t able to be on the road enough. This does not apply to everyone, as many do have support systems in place to allow for travel. If you are serious about your career, have this support system in place. No one makes any money if you can’t play so they won’t sign you. It may not be fair but everyone involved has to pay their bills so why would anyone sign a band that can’t make them money? It’s not about the music when it comes to getting signed, it’s about people earning a living.


  • Expecting To Work Without A Contract: First of all, one of the main rules of the music business is…always get a contract, so why you would you even consider asking someone to work with you without one? Why would a smart business owner work relentlessly to help you further your career just so you can walk away with the success they brought you? If another agency comes along and offers you a deal and you choose to go with them, with out a contract featuring a ‘buy-out clause’ your former manager or agent is screwed and may be liable for future booking, promotions or business deals being worked for your project. The standard industry rap goes that the “industry and music business” people are the ones that screw over the artists but I know from experience that artists are fabulous about breaching contracts because they do not want to pay someone. Our courts are full of artists being sued by companies for breach of contract so it goes both ways. No one should EVER work without a contract, period. No one should risk his or her business on a promise or handshake agreement. You will get the short end of the stick every time.

After years of doing this and dealing with all types and genres of artists, the most common reason for artists not getting signed is that they are not focused on their end goal. They spend money on things they don’t need such as alcohol, drugs or video games instead of putting it into their careers and business package where it needs to go. To be successful means spending money on your career, missing friends because you are busting your butt working hard, and taking your act on the road into new markets. Don’t expect your team to do it for you, to be focused on you and your career when you can’t even do it for yourselves. This makes no sense what so ever. Again, no one in the industry will get involved with an artist that can’t and won’t work as hard as everyone else.

These are also many of the reasons most artists will be let go by a professional company. More often then not, these reasons make it very, very difficult to promote you and sell your package and product or in general, make anything happen for you. This is a business and the artist needs to treat it like one. Be professional at all times, work hard always and get focused. Quit blaming everyone else for what you are not doing for yourself.

Without having a great package to work with and sell, people just aren’t interested in not being able to make any money. It is the artist’s responsibility to build their business to an appropriate level before expecting or seeking help. Remember this is business and everyone needs to make money, not just the artist.

Good Luck!

What Makes a Good Artist Manager?

By David Lowry

One of the topics I am often asked to write about is the difference between good management and not-so-good management. What makes a good manager? What are the expectations? This is a very broad subject and has many answers but let’s assume for the sake of this article that the band or artist being managed has given the manager a lot to work with. This means that the artist has a large fan base, is gigging constantly and has a business to manage. The artist always needs to be on the up-and-up and gets the manager everything he needs in a timely manner.

Working with management is a team effort. Most artists seem to think that once they sign management they don’t have to work anymore and that they can just focus on music. This is very far from the truth. Assuming that the artist is really putting the effort in to promote their careers, music, video’s and performances, then management should be in relative constant contact and operating as a team and coach with their artist. Management should be able to put a fair amount of time into all their artists especially if there is a team and not just a single person as part of the management team. Management should always be thinking of the artists best interests and have a system of organization in place to not let things fall through the cracks.

Organization is vital to make sure that opportunities don’t pass the artist by.

Management should be able to handle all requests that come in and weigh the priorities of those requests. Management should be professional enough to respond in a timely manner with a professional demeanor. Not everything that comes in is a good thing or should be acted on, but in today’s music world, the more things you have going on to share about the better. It’s all about the exposure and number of impressions an artist can develop to break through the masses of artists in this online music world.

In lieu of an artist not having financial backing, the manager often plays many roles, that of publicist, booking agent, tour manager, accountant and possibly many others. You need a manager that is set up to do this. All things being equal, please remember that if the band isn’t able to financially compensate a manager for all the “extra” work that goes into their career and the artist themselves can’t or isn’t able to handle any of these extra duties then the manager will probably focus on bands that generate income versus those that are still only making smaller incomes. It stretches a manager pretty thin to handle all that goes into an artist’s career and their goals need to be adjusted to be more realistic based on the workload.

Depending on where an artist is in their career, business and marketing plans need to be developed to help the artist progress business wise. Clear-cut goals should be put into place here. Both the manager and the artist need to adhere to them and review them at least quarterly. Managers need to help the artist define who they are, their image, sound, stage show and identify weaknesses that need to be worked on.  A game plan to tackle their weaknesses while operating on their strengths should be put into place. Performance consulting should be added to the mix. More often then not, the artist can improve greatly here with a knowledgeable manager. The manager is the eyes, ears and coach for the artists they represent. The manager supplies other things such as media training, social media consulting, business advice and many more issues. The artist needs to be open to learning, working hard and also holding their team accountable.

Most importantly, a manager needs to be able to be honest with their artists. To tell them what they are doing right, but also what they need to work on. Artists need to heed this advice. If you don’t trust your manager here, why did you hire them?

A good manager knows this is a work in progress and needs to have the patience to make it happen. The artist should know this and be on board with it too. Develop a good team, work realistic goals and remember this is a business. The manager needs to keep the artists head in the game and teach them how to run a business so as to have the most effective team possible. Remember artists, it’s “your” career and it’s your responsibility. Your manager is your teammate, coach, consultant, partner and biggest supporter. Work hard to identify the traits you look for in a manager, work hard to develop your rapport and work even harder to make sure the manager has the best artist to sell to the world.

This article originally appeared on Rusty Cooley’s website “Guitar Asylum TV”: http://guitarasylumtv.blogspot.com/2011/11/what-makes-good-artist-manager.html?spref=fb

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 the musical careers of Brother Cane, Damon Johnson (Brother Cane, Thin Lizzy, Alice Cooper), Kris Bell and Mindset Defect. For more information please contact The Lowry Agency at http://www.thelowryagency.com

Queensryche with Blackwater James at The Wildhorse Saloon in Nashville, TN November 2nd, 2011.

By David Lowry

Queensryche recently performed in Nashville, TN for their 30th Anniversary Tour at the Wildhorse Saloon. What impresses me is that after 30 years, Queensryche haven’t lost a step. It can be easy for a band to rest on their laurels after having major success – to just tour to make a living instead of always trying to raise the bar for themselves. In the case of Queensryche, they go out of their way to make sure each show is a flawless performance. Although 30 years into their career, fans can still expect a top notch live show from Queensryche.

Queensryche played a good mix of the new and old songs that defined their progressive metal sound. Geoff Tate, considered by many to be one of rock/metals greatest singers of all time, brought his theatrical showmanship and legendary vocals front and center like a great front man should do. His pitch was excellent as always and his distinctive vocal tone truly separates him from all the other vocalists out there. Geoff is always fresh sounding, inspiring and makes us wish we could all sing like him. He carried the audience through a journey of classics that brought back memories of better times and the days of our youth – cranking “Operation Mindcrime” on our stereos. Drummer Scott Rockenfield continues to impress as he has always been a great showman fueled by creativity, vitality and an uncanny sense of what to play and when to play it. His drumming has always been original and had it’s own voice within the songs. In a day when so many musicians over play and step all over the songs or vocalist, Scott brings a maturity to be admired and appreciated. Eddie Jackson was as solid as ever, bringing up the rhythm section with Scott. His playing is tight, vocal harmonies solid and he was able to interact with the crowd when able to get out from behind the microphone. Guitarist Michael Wilton played perfectly with that great “aunch” tone that Queensryche has always been known for. Watching Michael play those great chord voicings is a reminder to strive to not use power chords every second of a song. It was great to see Michael’s fingers flying around the fret board dialing in those solos we all love to hear. Parker Lundgren is a very under-rated and impressive guitar player. He plays effortlessly with great flair and filled the shoes of those before him very admirably. Parker is a great fit for the band with great harmony vocals; good stage presence and he nailed all the parts perfectly.

The Wildhorse Saloon was filled almost to capacity, which is a major achievement in Nashville for a rock band. It’s another feather in the cap for Queensryche as I have attended many shows where the venues isn’t even half full. The audience proved well versed in the new material as well as the old as they sang along with the words of every song proving that Queensryche fan base is as solid and rabid as ever. As I arrived early for the show, the line was already a block long going in both directions, another rarity in Nashville.

All in all, Queensryche is a band that has earned its reputation for being a completely unique, adventurously innovative and amazing live band. It’s well deserved and the amount of detail in their sets is something up and coming bands should aspire to. Queensryche’s sound is crystal clear, their performance and image are always top notch. The professionalism they project should be the rule for all bands and the level at which they perform should be the benchmark. Rarely will you find a band as well rehearsed as Queensryche nor as serious as bringing you a show you will never forget. They always leave you wanting more, which is a sign of an experienced band who have written a catalogue of songs that never get old.

Opening for Queensryche was the local band Blackwater James. Blackwater James came out on stage unfazed by the fact they were opening for such legends. They brought an energetic show and for the most part won over a crowd that was eager for Queensryche. As Blackwater James played, fists were pumping, heads were bobbing. From my point of view as I walked the room watching the band and the crowd, the audience really liked what they saw and heard in Blackwater James.

Singer Christopher James brings an energy and intensity that is refreshing. The twin pairing of guitar players Christopher James and Deanna Passarella are a lot of fun to watch. Both are capable guitarists with great stage presence.  Bass player Josh Burns helps drive the bus with steady grooves, passion and a great vibe on stage. Drummer Todd Schlosser is an in the pocket drummer with a sense of presence that makes him extremely fun to watch. This band has potential and is getting better every show they do.

At the time of this writing, The Lowry Agency has no affiliation with Queensryche or Blackwater James.

Musician Spotlight – Chris Green

This is the first in a new series of blogs on musicians that I come across that our agency feels deserve some recognition not only for their talent but their work ethic and what they bring to the music community.  We are honored to have Chris Green be the first musician that we spotlight.

I came across guitarist Chris Green when I had his band “Rubicon Cross”on my radio show “Live From Music City.” “Rubicon Cross” is a project featuring Green and fellow musician “Firehouse” front man C J Snare. Green has been a guest on my show twice and I have talked on the phone with him to really dig into his views on guitar playing, music, songwriting and the music business in general. I have also recently done a review of the “Rubicon Cross” self-titled EP and have really had the chance to analyze his playing and songwriting.

Green is one of the guitar players in the UK metal band “Furyon.” He has also played guitar with the Nelson brother’s creation “Scrap Metal” and has done tour dates with “Firehouse” when needed. Green played in a band called “Pride” that put out two albums on AOR Heaven (Germany) and EMI (Japan) titled “Far from the Edge” and “Signs of Purity.” Green also recorded all the guitar solos on the “Faith Healer” CD “Welcome to the Edge of the World.” Recently he recorded with vocalist Phil Lewis of “L.A. Guns” fame on the song “You’re so Vain” on the new “Liberty n’ Justice” project. Finally, Green played lead guitar on the cover of “Go Off” with the band “Evolution” from legendary speed metal band “Cacophony” on Jason Becker’s CD “Warmth In The Wilderness – A Tribute to Jason Becker.”

Green studied guitar at GIT in London and prospered under the tutelage of guitar virtuoso Shaun Baxter. Becoming well versed in many styles of guitar playing such as jazz and country music, rock became his main genre that he excelled in. Green was heavily influenced by John Petrucci of “Dream Theater’s” use of octave displacement as a key to his soloing style. Green is always constantly working on his improvisation to be as melodic as possible, while fresh and original in his playing. Green strives to improve in all areas of his musicianship constantly. It’s a refreshing trait among metal guitar players and sorely needed. Baxter says this about Green “I’ve been very impressed with Chris’ work with Furyon. He’s an ultra-proficient modern rock player, who is melodic and expressive with a great sound.”

Green is one of those guitar players that “get it.” He understands songwriting, melody, harmony and putting the song first as opposed to showing your chops every chance you get. His technical skills stack up against most of the guitar greats but so does his phrasing, which to me is the most impressive thing. Green really focuses on playing for the song and not putting to many notes in a solo. He is able to tell a story within a story and also how to arrange songs with interesting and very memorable guitar parts. He is one of those rare players that he is so good at what he does you don’t notice how good he really is. He takes his music seriously and makes sure the song is the most important thing.

I personally think that Green could be the next guitar hero. Up and coming players should listen and learn from Chris Green.  One of Green’s philosophies of playing a solo is “if you take away the chords, you should still be able to hear the changes in your solo with nothing underneath it.” While this is not a new philosophy, it is something rarely found in most rock and metal musicians. One of the great things about Green is you can learn as much from what he doesn’t play in his songs as what he does play.

Currently on a creative high for writing, Green’s main focus is writing music with C J Snare to complete the “Rubicon Cross” CD. He is also working on music for a new project he is calling Space Warf which he calls kind of a throwback to old school British heavy metal.

Here are some songs featuring Green’s songwriting, playing and stage performance in the videos with his band “Furyon.” Check out the rest of his work as well to understand the well roundedness he brings to the guitar world. Make no mistake; Green is the total package and a rising star to keep your eye on.

“Furyon” – “Disappear Again

“Furyon” – “Voodoo Me

“Furyon” – “Wasted On You

At the time of this writing Chris Green and The Lowry Agency have no affiliation.

What Makes A Good Front Man?

One of the biggest and most important things in live performance is the strength of the person fronting your band. This is a major area where lots of bands trying to make it need the most help. Take a look at the most popular front men/women of all time and ask yourself, “What is it about them that the audience connects with?”

Legendary front men or women like David Lee Roth (arguably the best front man ever), Mick Jagger, David Coverdale, Anne Wilson, Paul Stanley or Steven Tyler can give you great insight into what it takes to get your band to the next level. Doing your research into the greats and implementing what you learn can help make your band “larger than life” and allow you to capture the attention of the crowd you are playing too. Not all front men are electrifying or great looking but are still incredibly successful, just look at Ozzy Osbourne. Some front men/women are quirky or odd like Mick Jagger but there are two things they all have in common, they all have a very distinct style and presence and they all live for being on that stage. They revel in it. There is no doubt in their mind that they are where they belong. This allows them to own the stage like no one else. This is critical for successfully drawing in a crowd, creating unforgettable live shows and growing your fan base. It also means they work like dogs to keep their music out their and in front of peoples faces. Depending on the genre of music you are in, the front man or woman attributes my need to vary to certain style, but one thing always is constant, they always command the stage.

Let’s take a look at a very talented front man as an example. Gary Cherone has fronted the hit rock band Extreme and the legendary Van Halen. He is also currently fronting a band called Hurtsmile with his brother Mark. Gary has a very theatrical, animated and energetic stage presence. Gary’s style isn’t for everybody but it doesn’t have to be, as a matter of fact not one front mans is. Gary owns the stage and because of that, he has been able to front two major bands, one of the biggest rock bands of all time actually. Some people may not think Gary was a good fit for Van Halen but I completely disagree. Gary did his job and he did it well. Go back with an open mind (forget David and Sammy) and watch the live videos from the Van Halen 3 tour concert clips or any Extreme show. Trust me, he wouldn’t have gotten the most coveted front man job in the world if he wasn’t very good at what he did. Gary has captured audiences for years and has a strong fan base having sold over 10 million albums and a #1 hit single with “More Than Words” in Extreme alone. He has an incredibly compelling style and if you listen to the many different genres of songs he did with Extreme or on his solo album you can see how much a of a provocative singer and front man he is.

That charisma that Gary brings to the table is high energy, raw at times very intimate with the slower songs. You can see his theatrical background (he was in “Jesus Christ Superstar”) with his over the top stage presence, which always gives the audience something to look at. He allows them to see that he is completely into and lost in his “zone” during his performance. There is no doubt as to where Gary belongs when he is on stage. You know how much he loves his job every minute of every performance. Watch closely what he does when he isn’t singing such as during guitar solos. Notice how he doesn’t distract from or sing over the other musicians but yet he either adds to the moment or keeps the energy up while waiting for his spot to sing again. Watch how Gary interacts with the crowd and keeps them involved and how he makes them feel each performance is just for them. Watch what he says at the start of the show, in between songs and the end of the night as well. Gary gives it everything he’s got every performance and isn’t worried about the people in the crowd with their arms crossed. By the time the show is over Gary has left everything on the stage and he wins them over with a very honest and real performance. He doesn’t worry about the audience members who are negative. He let’s the people who love the show spread the word. He let’s the system work for him. Gary gives the audience what they want, a real powerful, energetic and professional show. He is a thankful performer and in return, he and the band develop a devoted international fan base and Gary is able to create opportunities very few front men have been able to do.

To many times front men or women don’t really take their jobs seriously or maybe are unfamiliar with everything it really takes to “bring it” to the show. Many are just lazy about preparing for a show. Don’t let this happen to you ever. Take a cue from Firehouse front man C. J. Snare and always be professional and prepared. Treat every show like it’s the most important show you have ever done. You have to learn how to own that stage and work the crowd. You have to “flip the switch” when you get on stage and become that “rock star.” Know what city or venue you are playing in. You should know the names of the bands playing with you that night. Engage your crowd and invite them to your party. You are the host. Bring them in and entertain them. Learn to lead them especially on a night that is tough or there are not very many people in the room and there is not an “energetic” atmosphere. You have to bring the crowd that energy and get them “into” the show.

Go back and do a study of not only your favorite front men or women, but also the ones who are very successful at being that leader. Your job is to constantly improve not only your singing skills but also your stage presence, charisma and speaking skills. Don’t let genres or eras prevent you from learning from the best. You can learn as much from a classical/pop artist like Lara Fabian as you can from a rock star like Brett Michaels.

Just remember that being a great front man or woman continues when you are off the stage as well. It is a 24 hour a day job. We will dive into that next time so stay tuned.

Good Luck!

How To Not Get Noticed

I am posting a list of 20 things to do to not get noticed by entertainment pros or endorsement companies. It’s a sad thing that I am having to post this because it’s common sense but this what we get hit with all day everyday and it is the quickest way to make sure you get no attention from us even if you do it correctly later because you have already put a bad taste in our mouth. There are of course many more things that could be listed but this should open your eyes enough to “get it” and start thinking about what you are doing or how you are damaging your career by not being professional.

  1. Spamming our Facebook or Twitter private message boxes with out having ever talked with us before and developing a relationship.
  2. Spamming our Facebook or Twitter feeds telling us to check you out.
  3. Visibly spamming contact after contact in your feed so everyone can see it.
  4. Chasing down every endorsement your friends’ band just got.
  5. Not properly following submission policies posted on their websites.
  6. Asking for free product when you haven’t proven your effectiveness as an artist in getting a brand out there.
  7. Following your friends’ contacts on social media hoping to get “in” with them instead of asking for a proper introduction.
  8. Sending sub-par material for your photos, press kits, songs or websites.
  9. Expecting anything with less than 80 gigs a year.
  10. A visible social media base of very low numbers and then saying how big your fan base is.
  11. Not knowing the correct info about your bands statistics.
  12. Posting constantly negative stuff on your Twitter or Facebook accounts whether it’s personal or business but especially about the business.
  13. Trashing other bands, promoter, agents, managers or venues etc…
  14. Writing very poor lazy introductions with properly submitting a cover letter/email and electronic press kit. Sending a one or two line email with a website is nowhere near enough, that’s just plain lazy.
  15. Sending generic emails that haven’t been addressed or written specifically for the contact intended.
  16. Trying to go through the back door so to speak. Don’t contact anyone except whom you are supposed to unless a friend has an “in” and offers to help you.
  17. Wasting a professional’s time with stupid questions i.e. “Are you taking new clients?” when their site specifically say’s “Not accepting new clients at this time.”
  18. Contacting a professional about services they don’t offer because you didn’t do your research.
  19. Showing up to gigs in no shape to play due to being drunk or stoned.
  20. Being unprofessional at gigs by being late, rude, poor performance, not setting up your merchandise properly, not working the crowd etc…
If you avoid these very simple and common sense things then you can greatly improve your chances of getting noticed or hopefully even more than that.
Good Luck!

Where Do You Find The Strength?

This is for all of the entertainers and business people out there who feel like they are doing this all alone. When you believe in yourself but you feel overwhelmed or life is trying to beat you down, how do you find the strength to keep chasing the dream? When you have no real support system or someone to drive you or believe in you, how do you keep going? These are things that many of us have to struggle with everyday, even if we aren’t alone, but for those that are, it can seem insurmountable.  For many their religion may be a big support here but I don’t want to get into that debate for this blog although a persons faith should play a big part.

I am a firm believer that activity breeds’ activity and it’s that activity that can really give you the boost you need when things seem hard. Activity keeps things happening and popping up on your radar, which helps to keep the excitement and productivity there. But what happens when you hit a slow patch or the money just isn’t coming in? How do you cope when you feel like you are doing this all alone, month after month or year after year? When you can’t pay your bills or even afford to take the next step in your career?

For those of you like me that don’t have a family or loved ones to support you or your best friends aren’t anywhere near you, let me suggest trying to really stay focused on your goals. When life’s problems creep up on us, if we do nothing it will just get worse so we have to do something. Setting your goals and meditating on them daily can really help you stay motivated through the hard times.  Keep taking those little steps everyday to make something happen and be diligent. Don’t let things fall through the cracks and let the momentum grow to carry you through.

Many times you can’t rely on anyone else and you have to be able and willing to push yourself hard enough to get through anything. Making lists of tasks to get done no matter how small can really help boost your mood and help develop good working habits and discipline. It’s usually a lack or break down of this discipline that gets us into trouble or never allows us to really get the footing we need to make things happen.

Ultimately it’s only you that can make the necessary change. In this business you have to want it more than anything sometimes to force yourself through the dire straits of life. Develop good working habits and also develop an accountability partner you can call on if you are at all able to. Other than that, focus on your goals daily, performs your tasks and do all the things your career needs to have done, not just the easy things or the ones you are good at. Part of not dropping the ball is doing the tasks that you hate doing. It’s here you will find the most success usually. Once you get things moving again, the weight lifts and your productivity increases. Now it’s just a matter of not falling in a rut again so keep the discipline up. Some times even finding another artist going through what you are going through and encouraging them will do the same for you. Give it a try!

Good luck!