Friday, July 30, 2010

The day the music business was killed....

I always intended to use this blog more than I do. However, just like everything in life I get busy and things get put on the wait list and then pushed aside. I have been thinking about it a lot lately and decided I will do my best to get back to posting on this thing. Be it bands you should check out, show updates or like this post a big fucking rant.

Lately I have found myself in this frustrating catch 22 with everything booking related. I know that if I cease to do it I will be unfulfilled and miserable but if I do it chances are I will end up frustrated and somehow pissed off %50 of the time. Mostly, it is things I can endure and ignore and just continue to do my job. I sat down recently and thought about it what are the sources of my frustrations with booking?..... That led me to a landslide of thoughts on the underground music scene in a whole. I thought I'd share those with you all be it if you are in a band, do the same thing as I or you can just understand where people are coming from I felt my thoughts were worth being shared.

Just in the past decade alone (damn, I'm old) I have watched the once thriving underground music scene(s) go from complete awesomeness to complete shit. Not just here, everywhere. There of course are several factors that have proven to be the reasons for this.

Major reason number 1 - THE INTERNET.

The internet has made people lazy. There is no longer any work in obtaining the music you want to hear. You don't have to seek out bands or trade tapes to get the music you want. You can just look it up and download it. For free, also adding to the decline in the music industry. The consumer, the fan has become lazy about the stuff they like. To be a dedicated fan it takes no more than clicking the like button on a facebook page and illegally downloading the bands album.

Bands are lazy because of it too. Fuck going out and telling people about my band.. I will just spam the fuck out of everyone including my grandmother on social networking sites about my band. Got a show? Digital flyer. Only posted to the internet.

Then with all that, the said band gets 20,000 "likes" or friends on a social networking site, there goes their head and ego. A false sense of entitlement. I can't tell you how many times in booking of recent times a band has told me how great their fan base is because they have 8 million friends on a social site but when it comes to a live show they draw 0.

With that all comes laziness abound. Bands no longer think it's important to respond to things, to post important things. It makes you lazy. I'm guilty of it. If you are reading this even if it doesn't apply in the same situation, you're most likely guilty of it too.

Underground bands once thrived hard because it was hard work that got them where they were. To be a band of importance back before the internet you had to tour, you had to promote. You couldn't sit back in front of a computer and tour once every 2 years.

Reason number 2 - RECORD LABELS

The currently state of the economy and the fact that no matter what people do to stop it music can be pirated anytime, anywhere with no effort - the music business of most record labels is dead. They don't have the money they once did to promote bands properly. To support their touring, to put out their records properly. Now a days, even if a band has a label they do most of their own promotion and touring work on their dime. Which leads to jaded pricky musicians. I can't hate for that, in that case I would probably be a little pissed too.

Reason number 3 - VENUES/PROMOTERS

As stated above the economy is shit right now. Everyone has to fight a little harder to make what they make and keep it. One thing I noticed here in my hometown is that the harder it gets the venues get greedier. They want to charge you so much to run a show it hardly leaves you money to pay your bands with. They like to use cute words for it so the rape seems less painful such as "production costs" There was such a day when you used to just pay your sound guy, pay your door guy and make sure your bartender gets hooked up. Don't let venues fool you their cash cow is booze sales. If the bar is doing good there is no reason they should want all your money your show made. It's bullshit. It's a scam and its benefiting off other peoples hard work.

As far as promoters go, they are your middle man to your band and the venue. They are the bullshit buffer. They are there to pamper your ass facilitate a show and avenue for you to rock out. In a lot of cases the headache they go through is definitely worth some form of compensation. However there are a lot of promoters out there that will fuck bands and try to hand them 0-$10. That's bullshit. If there is 5 people that came to see you it's worth more than that.

I am a promoter/booker. I don't keep money for myself. Sometimes, I wish I did to compensate for the migraine I get in return but I started doing this for the love of a scene and the music and that's probably how it will end. I never get more pissed off than when I hear of a promoter fucking over bands and running with the cash. Get a day job you fucking hack.

In most cases of slimey promoters it's some jackhole that has no musical talent whatsoever. They don't want to work a real job but has always wanted to be a musician, so this is great for them because they can live through the bands by booking them and profiting off their backs.

I am sure I could continue to ramble on my reasons for why the music business is fucked. I could probably go on for days. Those are the main points.

In regard to those reasons I'm sure some of you can guess as to why doing what I do can be a pain in the ass sometimes. Shit rolls downhill.... You see....

Let's say you got a band that is fairly well known, they have a label that could give a dick less about them that dosen't support what they do financially at all. Let's say they need to tour. Let's also say that they have 40000 internet warrior fans. Let's say they are booking with me. Here I am dealing with a super pissed off money hungry band with an inflated sense of self entitlement that is putting monetary demands on me along with any other demands they see fit. Could you image how angry this could make me? Then at the same time you have this rabid fan asking you about the show and when and how it's going down and you grin and smile... If they only knew. But that's besides the point because you want to make them happy. Because somewhere 13 years ago, someone else was doing the same thing you are now that made you love music.

Bottom line is... If you make music, do it because it makes you happy. Never forget why you started playing music. If you become a jaded fuck rockstart, usually there is no turning back.

If you book shows like I do, may the force be with you and remember your satisfaction can only be brought by the fan that says thank you to you.

If your the demanding jaded musician reading this, the only thing that might work in your favor is to travel back in time and kill the internet. You may have a chance then for your wildest dreams to come true. In the meantime think about how you treat people who treat you good and try to some them a morsel of respect. Even if you tell someone fuck off or fuck you that is working hard for you atleast you gave them something to go on.

-Evil Abby 7-2010

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Show Booking and Promoting 101

So here it is finally. My take on properly booking and promoting a show. Not that I am the total Jedi master, but I do have some years under my belt.

Enjoy! Don't forget to leave comments if you dig it (or if you think I'm a retard!)

Show Booking and Promoting 101!

So you got a band, you got some tunes. Your friends seem to dig it and your mom. You are ready for the world of live shows! Or maybe you are in a band that has already played out somewhat but are looking for some tips to improve your game... Either way I got you covered...

Part 1 - The Hard Part - Getting the Gig

For most bands this is the hardest part of the game. Obtaining the gig to showcase your "business". I consider a band a business, if you run a tight respectful business you will always have "customers" (IE; people wanting your band to play shows) If you are a shitty boss for your company no one will want to buy your product (IE; your band). Get it?

Here's my tips for getting your feet wet the first few times:

1. Network your friends who are in likewise bands (if this applies) Most the time people get shows by word of mouth from their friends. Before you ask for help make sure the people you are asking don't think you are a complete asshole however. I have had this happen where people asked for shows, went to one of their "friends" to get some background on them and their own friends said they were assholes and not to deal with them!

2. Find a cool Booker / Promoter that needs opening bands. Explain to them that you are new to the scene you want to get your feet wet and you aren't looking for tons of money, time or a bucket of just green M&M's. Most likely the promoter will appreciate it because most the time touring bands come with a big price that puts the pinch on time slots and money that other local bands get.

Even if they don't need bands at the time that you contact them, making them aware of you is always good. However don't drive them nuts. One email will do. People sometimes send me 8 emails in a row about getting a show. I admire their enthusiasm, but enough is enough. Sometimes people make me want to stab my computer. If you can annoy the promoter without even doing business with them yet, not a good sign!!

3. Talk to the people at the clubs you go to. This is probably the hardest, because most the time people who run clubs are insanely busy. However if you are a regular at a venue and the staff knows you chances are they will give you time to make a plea. Probably even blindly book you.

4. If all else fails, make demos get out to shows and start handing those bitches out! You can talk for your band all day long but at the end of the day the music has to speak for itself. Not everyone is going to listen to your myspace. Sometimes you have to do it the hard way.

Which takes us to part 2.....
Promoting Your Band!!

I'm from the old school. For the most part most of us old people believe that hard D.I.Y. ethics died with the electronic age. Myspace, Twitter, Facebook, etc has made people lazy. With the click of a mouse and a few words they can post shows, bulletins about shows and make flyers using photoshop. Don't get me wrong it has made things easier, but it comes with downfalls.

As much as the bands of the scenes have gotten lazy and don't make demos to hand out or flyers to pass out anymore... The labels, promoters, clubs etc have gotten lazy too. People can just email instead of talking now and with that people get bombarded with emails so a lot of times people and bands get ignored.

Even with technology however I can tell you that your fans or your "could be" fans would much rather have a paper flyer to save or a burnt demo CD than having to look at your myspace page for it. It gives them something to take with them a souvenir of sorts. Of for fuck sake even a flyer with your logo and myspace address on it. Something physical. It leaves a lasting impression.

Things to do to Promote Your Band

1. Flyers! Actual paper ones! People really do keep these. I know I always do. Most the time they remind me when I pull them out of my pocket the next day, if nothing else I end up looking the band up online.

2. Demos! Even if they were recorded on your granny's karaoke machine, it's better than nothing. They don't need to be pretty a cdr and a website address and logo will do.

3. Be nice. No one likes dickheads. Even if you know your band is fucking awesome, don't be a pompous cocksucker. Let people figure it out on their own. Nothing is worse than an ego. I can't stand people with big heads. Everyone should be your friend in the beginning the music world is a dog eat dog business there is plenty of time later to make enemies! Trust me.!

4. Don't be a jock rider. No one gives a fuck about who you are friends with in bigger bands. If your band sucks, it doesn't matter if Lemmy Killimeister is your uncle or not - doesn't stop your band from sucking!

5. Network! Deliver pizza for a living? Talk about your band! Wait tables? Tell people about your band! Go to other shows!

And Most Importantly!!!!

Sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labor!! HAVE FUN!

No one joins a band to be miserable. You picked up your instrument for the first time and had FUN! A lot of people can never remember that after they have been in a good band for a couple years they loose sight over the reason they did it in the first place. Something to always remember.

And last but not least...

Some Tips to Not Forget!

1. Promote!! Network!!! Hard work yields good shows.

2. Treat people like you want your band treated. You act like a fucking asshat, chances are people are going to give it right back to you and the rest of your band.

3. No one cares who your friends are! Only if you suck or not.

4. Don't blame your shitty turnout on your promoter / booker. OK, some of it lays within the promoter but I would go to say at least 75% of the draw is YOUR BAND. No fans? Shitty show. Simple mathematics. Promoters aren't miracle workers. It's a very thankless job, so be nice to them.

5. Never demand shit! Always ask. Unless you are making over a 6 figure income a year and your first name is Gene and your last name is Simmons don't make demands to venues/promoters/bookers. You just look like an ass.

6. IF it ceases to be FUN, it's not worth it!

-Evil Abby 10.21.09

Keep checking back! Keep it evil!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Blitzkid returns to The Nasty Nati!

Details are coming along currently but this is what is solid so far!

December 4th @ Dirty Jacks 18+ (sorry young ones! The Hatter was booked solid :( )

With support by your fave Nasty Nati bands
The Reanimated (always classy....)
Shriek (Yes! The fucking return! So metal it will be titanium!)
Pumpkin Slut (They'll fuck your sister for free....maybe throw candy and condoms at your face.)
Season of the Witch (Not "Seasons" retards. )

Details to come! Now subscribe to this blog like good minons.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

It's Alive!!

I've spent a lot of time at home as of lately because my gallbladder's rebellion to stay inside me and be quiet. So with my new found free time I've been attempting to update all my stuff - including this blog and all of my promoting and booking business stuff.

So with that I plan to write a series of little how-to's on here, relating to working with bands and what-not. The bulk of questions I get from random people have urged me to just write it all out. So stay tuned should be having a plentiful update on here in the next couple days!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Reanimated - Devilution Video!

I'm very proud of this video. I directed it and took over 2 weeks to edit and put it all together. It's for the song Devilution (yes, the bar riot song to most of you) off of the album Scream at the Screen. You can check out The Reanimated

I'm proud of these guys they have overcome a lot to become a great band. Even though they are a pain in my ass I love them to death!

Check it out and let me know what you think!!!

Keep it Evil!

-Evil Abby

Friday, April 3, 2009

How It All Started.....

I was going through folders of really old stuff I had and I found my old zine files. Which brought up a subject I wanted to write about - and share some stuff from the folder. Enjoy!

I've been asked numerous times how I know a lot of the bands I do and how I ended up booking shows. I decided to make this post about that and give a little background on why and how I started doing what it is I do.

All throughout growing up music has always had a significant role in my life. My father was a guitar player and always encouraged us kids to listen to what we wanted with an open mind and try different musical endeavours. I took up piano. Actually I took classical piano classes for 6 years. Now if given the choice between the piano and the bass guitar - I'm going for the strings. Anyhow...
(An Eerie LN flyer sent to me years ago when I was doing my zine. They are no longer together but most the members have a superb new band called The Horrifics check them out!)

My parents were always the cool parents that all my friends wished they had. My mom bought my tickets to my first real concert at the tender age of 13 that was Cannibal Corpse and Brutal Truth. HA!

When I was a young teen I was into metal a lot. Everything from Slayer to Deicide. My parents, aunts and uncles used Metallica and Iron Maiden videos as a babysitter for myself and my cousins.. Ha! When I turned about 16 I started getting into a lot of punk. I've always been eclectic too much of one thing bores me. Maybe that's why I own Harry Belafonte records.

Anyhow, I had always had a deep love for music with a darker theme. I loved (and still do) The Misfits, Samhain, Danzig, The Cramps, The Damned, TSOL and the likes. (This was sent to me along with a burnt CD, my first thought was this is probably going to suck! (No offense Alex!) Boy was I wrong ha!)

When the Misfits made their way back together with Michale Graves and started touring it seemed like horror punk was getting a revival. So I decided to cultivate my love for this darker music with a printed zine. I called the zine Necrophiliacs Anonymous. To me the name was hilarious.

This was far before the days of Myspace. When bands actually used the postal system to make contact with people. When people actually went to Kinkos and printed, pasted and stapled their nights away making zines.

One of the first bands I featured in my zine was Blitzkid. I had ordered something through the company Angry Young and Poor and got a printed catalog along with my order and in the back of it was a hand drawn ad (by Goolsby) about a horror punk band out of Virginia called Blitzkid with some contact info. So I shot off an email and asked for the demo or whatever it was the ad was for.

A couple weeks later I received it and it blew me away. These guys were stuck between mountains making awesome music. Eventually I helped them launch an site back when that was around and became good friends with those guys. I've gotten to see them go from rocking away in very small clubs to touring Europe and being in bands with Doyle. Holy shit. In some weird way it's like watching kids grow up. Makes you sentimental in a sense or it makes you feel old hahaha.. Sometimes I don't know which.

Another band that was around then was The Vladimirs from Cincy. They always played out back in the day - mostly to metal crowds but everyone loved their music. No matter if you were a metal kid, punk, horror punk, straight edge everyone enjoyed the Vlads shows. It was like having a hometown Misfits, because everyone even your mom probably digs the Misfits. Mine does. I always kept contact with these guys and as soon as I got the zine up I put them in there too.

We can only hope they will play out again very soon. (Very old newsletter sent out by The Vladimirs with info and releases)

To make a long story kind of short, (because I could sit here all day and type stories out about bands!) most the people I met while doing my zine eventually led to me booking shows. Back in 2005/2006 I was in the mood to get involved in the scene I love again and decided to start booking shows at Sudsy Malones here in Cincy. Since no one was booking what I wanted to see why not do it yourself?

So, I called on people I knew. I got Blitzkid to come play for the first time in years and it pretty much went from there one show turned into two which has now turned into so many I can't count and by time I'm 40 I will probably need hearing aids. I must say we now have a pretty fantastically killer horror scene here in Cincy. I would dare to say it's one of the very best on this side of the map. I know, I've been on tour to other cities. My dedication and love for music is why I continually book shows. To have people say thanks, that show was killer. However I do miss my zine days and that's why I have the blog!

So in a nutshell, that's where it all came from and that's why I book shows today. I love all the people I have met in my travels and musical endeavours and every time I book a show it's like a huge party and all my friends are invited!

Keep it evil people!
Until Next Time!
-Evil Abby

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Interview with Alex Story of Cancerslug

The band Cancerslug is Alex Story. Cancerslug has been around for almost 10 years now. The only constant thing has been Alex. He writes all the material and the music and has a revolving door of musicians that have helped him make Cancerslug a live band.

Cancerslug just put out a new full length album called "Tales of a Butcher" and they plan to tour this summer to support it. They will finally be making their way to Cincinnati to play and before that happened I wanted interview Alex. So here it is.. Enjoy!

Interview with Alex Story of Cancerslug

Evil Abby - Tell us about the new album "Tales of a Butcher" word has it that it has 28 songs on it? That's a whole lot of Slug!

Alex Story - It's definitely the longest CS album to date, running just over an hour - but with almost 200 songs to my credit, it still only scratches the surface of what we've done. We tried to pick a good variety of songs to put on it that represented most of the different styles that the band has done.

EA - How did you guys working with the Metal Blade artists Randy Butman & Jack Goodwin (Paths of Possession) and Erin Fuller (Hell on Earth) come about? How did they contribute to the new album?

AS - Well, Cancerslug never had a "regular line-up". I write all the music, words and recorded most of the albums myself. Letting different friends help on recordings and tours here and there. I had a different line-up on every album and on every tour. People come and go, and sometimes come back again.

I grew up with Randy in Alabama and we started out playing around the same places in different bands. We kept up with the different projects that each other did and eventually we did some shows where Cancerslug played with Paths Of Possession a few times. Paths even did a cover of "Soulless".

Randy and I had talked about playing together for a long time, so we finally just did it. Jack said he was down to lay some guitar and I loved his guitar style. Erin who had played in an early version of Paths and was friends with us said he would handle the drums. It all worked out great. They really made the songs sound tight as fuck. We were all real happy with how it turned out. I think its the best representation of the band so far.

EA - You also had Brian Elliot produce and record the album. He is known for working with bands like Soilent Green and Lizzy Borden. Did working with him add anything to the sound of the new album?

AS - Definitely. Brian is an awesome guy. He cut us a great deal and worked his ass off to get 28 songs recoded/mixed/and mastered in under a weekend. He really understood what I was going for. He also didn't let me get lazy. I'm the king of "that'll do" hahaha. Almost every album we have done has been all 1st takes. He let me experiment with some different vocals and get the best sound. He has a great ear and is super easy to work with.

EA - So who in the band is the metal fan? Seems like you guys take a lot of influence from the metal / death metal genre but make it your own.

AS - We all pretty much hate music. I think most bands suck actually. Can't listen to hardly anything. I grew up on punk and metal... so that's the bulk of my influence. Then there are influences across genres. So when I write I add in a little blues, a little jazz, a little whatever. Its all just rock n' roll to me. I try not to let it be classified. Rock n' roll spirit with punk energy and metal orchestrations in short blasts of inspiration with a blues mans heart.

EA - I remember back in 2002 I think when I wrote my paper zine and you sent me a burned cd that just had the words Cancerslug and Whore on it. I also remember having to lend that cd to more people than I could count. Since back then what accomplishments do you think you guys have achieved?

AS - It's hard to say. I never really expected anything of Cancerslug. "Success" to me is just making good music, playing good shows and recording good albums. I never wanted to be a "rock star" and still don't. I've turned down record deals and opportunities that people have called me stupid for. I guess the best accomplishment is that by doing this band I have been able to travel all over and play shows with bands that I grew up being a fan of. Having my boyhood heroes tell me that they loved my music. So that's pretty cool I guess.

EA - Where do you see Cancerslug going in the near future?

AS - I never really plan it out. I always said that once I got bored with it I would quits. But, its been 10 years and I'm still not bored hahaha! So who knows, but I'll continue to make the kind of albums that I want to hear and not worry about what anyone else wants.

EA - Your songs are melodic and catchy but the lyrical content most of the times are of things that most people only witness in nightmares. Is there certain life experiences for you that tend to push the pen when you write your lyrics?

AS - I think its just metaphorical analogies of things that everyone thinks, even if they don't talk about it. There is no light without shadow, there is no shadow without light. But at the same time, I like to throw hidden meanings into the songs.... That way, the listener gets whatever they come looking for. If they just want the funny "did he just say that" bullshit, then that is there, but if they look a little deeper into the lyrics we have a definite message.

EA - I took 6 stitches to the face from brass knuckles at a show from a straightedge kid who couldn't take a joke about a "sensitive" word a band member I was booking said.. The show ended in a bloody full bar brawl with the cops. Have you guys ever dealt with anything of that nature due to your lyrics?

AS - Whenever you are considered a "violent band" then you always get idiots who just come to show how "tough" they think they are. We have been attacked all over. The funniest part to me, is that people assumed that since we were angry and from Alabama that we must be racist, KKK or something. So we had his huge skinhead following for a second. Until they would come to the show and see that we had a black drummer or an Iranian girl playing bass or an Indian guy on guitar or something and be all bummed out hahahaha! I love to disappoint peoples perceptions. I've come away from more than a few shows bloody and bruised up. No one has ever stopped us and usually people find out the hard way that we bite back. So do our fans

EA - You guys are well accepted amongst the "horror punk" community is this something that you embrace?

AS - I hate labels on any kind of art. It's all rock n' roll to me. I liked the Danzig bands (Misfits, Samhain, Danzig) The Damned, Bauhaus, The Cramps and shit like that. Those bands were obviously an influence on my music. Most of the bands that people consider "horror punk" I just don't like. Music is a personal journey, so if that works for you great, its just not my cup of tea.

I think the make-up and bullshit is out-dated and stupid at this point in time. Most of them can't write for shit. I mean OK, just cause you can play a chord and say boo! Doesn't mean you should paint a skull face and start a band. I mean, if you like "spooky pumpkin patches" and "ghosts and bats" and "the boogeyman" then whatever. To me those bands are more like R.L. Stine's Goosebumps or some kiddie bullshit. I prefer real life horror.

EA - There are crazy stories about Cancerslug shows. Things about you bleeding and everyone thrashing each other. Are the stories true?

AS - We have had some legendary shows. Only one way to find out - come to a show. I can say this, even people that HATE us... always enjoy the show.

EA - What is the craziest show you guys have ever played?

AS - Really hard to say. There have been many for many different reasons. I have personal favorites but then someone will remind me of something really fucked up and I'll be like "Oh shit, I forgot all about that!" hahaha. When the band is at its best the shows usually de-evolve into madness. People in the crowd (normal people) usually end up doing things they normally would not. It becomes almost a religious experience with blood the sacrament.

EA - If you could play with any bands on one bill alive or dead who would it be?

AS - The Doors with Jim. Black Sabbath on their first tour. The Germs final show. The Cramps touring Bad Music for Bad People. The Misfits 1982. Fear 1982. Black Flag 1982.

EA - What are your influences musically?

AS - I grew up on late 70's early 80's punk and 80's thrash metal. There is a little of everything. All the Danzig bands (Misfits, Samhain, Danzig) Bauhaus, The Damned, The Cramps, The Doors, Slayer, Metallica, Fear, Black Flag, Black Sabbath, Kinghorse, At The Gates, Neurosis, Rasputina, Morrissey, Dax Riggs, Jucifer - too much shit to name hahaha.

EA - So, summer tour? Where all are you going?

AS - Still plotting it all out now. We may have to do it in small 2 week at a time deals, breaking the shows up here and there. But we are gonna try to hit most of the country.

EA - Come rock and party with the SlugCult of Cincinnati??

AS - We'll be there and it'll be sick.


Big thanks to Alex for the interview. I owe him beers when they play here! Make sure you check back here for updates on the exact date Cancerslug will be coming through. As soon as they figure it out, I will get it booked. Also make sure to check out the links below and get a copy of the new album on Drink Blood Records called Tales of a Butcher.

Slug Cult Rise!