Warped Tour is arriving soon – what are you doing to get ready for it? On the hot cracked pavement of a metropolitan fairgrounds, 50 bands will be playing in one day. You WILL get sunburnt, you WILL get tired, but you WILL carry on, thanks to reading this guide.
1. Bring sunscreen. This is the #1 mistake most people make when attending Warped. Last year I got a burn that was peeling for a week all over my face and neck. Get some powerful stuff, and be generous with it. You may not be able to fully prevent a sunburn, but it will be 10x less painful if you use some preventative measures. Offer to let your friends use some too, nothing’s worse than a 2 hour+ car ride with complaining sunburnt Warped junkies.
2. Stay Hydrated. Water is extremely expensive, and generally the temperature is 70 degrees and up. If your Warped venue has a lot of pavement, it will accentuate the heat. Heat stroke is the last thing you want when you are rocking out to your favorite bands.
3. Scrape up as much money as you can. EVERYTHING is expensive as hell at warped. 16 oz of water can cost 2 dollars, and 20 oz of gatorade can be 4-5 dollars. Of course you will want shirts as well.
4. Bring a backpack, or buy a string bag first thing when you get there. Carrying merch around to all your shows can get annoying if you don’t have a bag for it. A word of advice though: the string bags are a little prone to ripping, so keep that in mind when you purchase it. If you put cd’s in it, make sure their corners aren’t touching the cloth of the bag. Wrap your cds with your t-shirts.
5. You are allowed to bring in up to a gallon of water in with you. The jug must be either sealed or empty. The security will search your bags and pat you down to make sure that you aren’t bringing in any guns or alcohol. If you REALLY want to bring in some booze you’ll have to be much more sneaky with it. Be careful with other recreational drugs as well, they will ding you for them if they catch you.
6. Most venues will have places to fill your water containers, but they will most likely be hard to find (probably to raise beverage sales). Keep that in mind when bringing in a water container.
7. Eat a wholesome breakfast. Food lines are LOOOOONNNNNNGGGG at Warped. And the food is just like any fair food, shitty and processed. Gives you a sugar buzz for a while, but you may crash later. A good breakfast will keep you going for a while before you need to take time out from seeing bands to feed yourself.
8. As soon as you enter the gates, find the closest layout diagram and list of bands and showtimes. Usually there will be somebody handing out pamphlets with this information at the gates, but if they are not in plain sight do your best to find them.
9. Plan, plan, plan. Once you have your info pamphlet, you need to plan for the bands that you are going to see. Some bands play at the same time, so you may not be able to see all of the artists that you want. I showed up too late last year and missed Man Overboard. Sad times. If you want a front row spot for your favorite band, show up to their stage 30-45 minutes early.
10. Be careful with your cell phone. If you are wearing jeans that aren’t baggy, you should be okay, but keep your phone’s safety in mind when moshing to hardcore-ass-music. 200 or more dollars is nothing to scoff at. If you’re wearing something similar to basketball shorts, you might want to think of a different method of carrying your phone than in your pocket.
11. Circle pits and mosh pits. They are hella fun! Push people around and go crazy, but help people up when they fall. It’s common courtesy.
Thanks for reading! I hope your Warped Tour experience is fawkin’ rad, now get out there and raise some hell!
In today’s world of consumerism, we are confronted with many choices which lead us to leave dissatisfied with our purchase or not make a purchase at all. This rings true of guitar string sales as well. You need to know what strings do what and can be best applied to the music that you make. I will be using Ernie Ball as an example in this article, but you can get whatever brand you like. Over time, you may develop a preference for a certain brand, but for now it doesn’t matter one bit.
In my experience, the most important factor in string performance is the gauge, or how thick the string is.
Packs of guitar strings are generally classified by how thick the high e string is. For most practical uses on electric guitar, these gauges range from 9 to 12, 9 being the thinnest and 12 being the thickest. Thinner strings make playing with precision and string bends easier, and thicker strings make heavier sounds.
These strings tend to be used for more solo-centric music such as Classic Rock or Metal. Most common string gauge associated with E standard tuning. These strings don’t do well with detuned instruments.
These strings are good for music that involves a lot of palm muting. It helps the string sound thick, but not overpowering. Pop-punk and Modern Rock artists tend to use these strings. Soloing becomes more difficult, but the strings can be successfully used in lower tunings.
Here’s where the real chugs thrive. These strings can stay taught under less tension and thus be used in even lower tunings, being commonly used in C standard tuning and Drop C tuning. That doesn’t mean that they can’t go lower, but thicker strings will handle the lower tuning better. 11 Gauge strings are commonly used in many different Heavy Metal genres.
This is where shit starts to get extreme. When artists want a thick fucking sound they use these. 12 Gauge strings are often utilized by guitarists wielding a guitar between the tunings of B flat standard and A standard, also including their congruent Drop Tunings. Soloing is a bitch on these, but many artists manage. Tremolo-picking-type soloing is more often performed on this type of string, and less bends, hammer-ons and pull-offs are done. You will hear these strings in Heavy Metal genres, Extreme Heavy Metal genres and some experimental artists will use them too.
But what if I want to chug hard AND do awesome solos???
Good news: You can have your cake AND eat it too! Some string brands offer mixed packages of strings, for example the thinnest 3 strings in 9 Gauge, and the thickest 3 strings in 10 Gauge diameter. All in one convenient little package. Ernie Ball’s Skinny Top, Heavy Bottom strings are an example of this. If the string combination that you want is not in stores, you can make your own combinations using 2 or more different packs of strings.
There are also all kinds of different string coatings that will influence tone and longevity, but that’s a story for another article.
Do you ever get buyer’s remorse after buying band merch? “I should have chose one of the other 10 shirts they were selling, this one sucks!” The more choices a buyer is faced with, the less satisfied the buyer is with his or her purchase. They tend to think that one or more of the plethora of decisions they could have made would have had a more desirable outcome than the one that they chose. The less choices that are available to a customer, the easier it is to rationalize the choice and feel confident that it was the best decision.
When everybody has something, the demand seems to increase for it. Think of the iPhone. Apple gets a ton of free marketing from the fact that their phone dominates the market. It’s mob mentality, if everyone’s doing it, why shouldn’t you? If you choose a single logo to place on your shirts, people will become curious as to what it means once they have seen multiple people wearing it.
There was this band called AngelMay in my hometown, and they only offered a single shirt design. It was black and showed only their logo, which was the men’s restroom logo with angel wings on it. I had a friend who had their shirt, and everybody would always ask what it meant. More of those shirts started to show up all over the building. AngelMay quickly became the most popular band in the whole town.
Carrying fewer designs is a win-win: You pay less for production, and you get more recognition.
Less $$$ spent + more recognition = happyfuntime for your band
Until next time.
Too often on our Facebook feeds we see people shamelessly promoting their hopeless band. Clicking through to their bio reveals their unbridled dedication to the pastime: “We play music.” Pretty pathetic. Might you be one of these annoyances? If any of these statements apply to your band, you may need to re-evaluate your life.
1. Not enough cowbell
2. Your singer is a whiny bitch
3. Your bassist thinks his amp should be audible
4. Your recording studio happens to be your mother’s basement
5. Your band has a keyboard player
6. You listen to Paramore
7. Your drummer plays jazz when he should be playing punk-rock
8. The mic you use to record cost 5 dollars at Radio Shack
9. The mic you use to record came from a Rockband game
10. Your guitar solos sound like Lil’ Wayne on a bad day
Bass strings can be expensive – so you want to keep them for as long as possible! The problem is, after a few months of use, dead skin and oils from your hands build up in the strings and hold back your strings’ true tone. So how do you fix this? You clean them! How? Boil them.
Get a pan, throw some water in it, and get it boiling.
Coil up your strings so they aren’t flopping out of the pan. Then throw them on in the pan.
Boil them for anywhere from 10 to 15 minutes. When they are ready, use tongs or whatever you like to take them out.
Dry them off with rags or a paper towel and let the rest air dry.
Restring your bass and your strings will sound brand new!
Creativity can be a tough thing to manifest, here are some tips to get you started.
Collaborative credit goes to Chris Savitski.
Never be afraid to fail when coming up with music; try new interesting things, even if those ideas might work better in your head than on paper.
If you have trouble writing lyrics, or don’t like the way your lyrics sound, write a song daily. No matter how bad it is. Nobody has to hear it. Doing this will increase your songwriting skills exponentially.
FINISH SONGS even if part way through you decide they suck. Truth is you wont be able to write a very good song when it finally comes time if you dont have experience.
Being scared of what people will think of you is the absolute worst thing for your music. It stifles your songs’ creative value. If you’re constantly trying to conform to how other bands sound just to be accepted your music will suffer.
Record everything you do. You never know when you’ll get into a groove (especially when jamming) and by the time you finish you might not remember what you were doing that sounded sick.
When finished recording, don’t just tuck the recording away and forget about it. Listen to it within 3 days to see what sounded good, see what needs improvement, and to smooth out the diamonds in the rough.
Try to include vocals as you’re coming up with songs; coming up with the music first then adding vocals sometimes works, but often the music and vocals will build off of each other. (so as you’re coming up with the music for the refrain, try finding what the vocal line is gonna be, then maybe the music will change based off of that)
COLLABORATE! Maybe the thing your song needs is female vocals, or some deep cello notes. Every time someone brings something new to the table you have huge opportunities to be creative. Be sure to offer your help with their music as well.
Maybe this is your first band, or maybe you don’t want this one to end in flames like the last one. Either way, you want it to run like a well-oiled machine. Here are some tips to cut the band conflict short and make the most of your group.
1. Don’t teach someone an instrument – you don’t know if this person is musically inclined, and you definitely don’t know if they will like it for the long term. I’ve been in this situation before. The person I taught turned out to be a leech of time and resources.
2. When forming your band, try to choose members that either enjoy similar music, or are open minded towards all music. For instance, don’t choose one guy that will ONLY play death metal, and another who will ONLY play country. Often having a broad spectrum of influences helps creativity, but when members aren’t willing to work with other genres there will be friction between them.
3. Recognize when someone’s just in your group for attention.
Signs of this are:
- Showing up late
- Not learning their part
- Not contributing to the creative process
4. Don’t be too controlling. Let the creativity flow between everyone, don’t take the songwriting all upon yourself. You’ll just get fatigued and your bandmates will get angry. They want a slice of the glory too.
5. If any member is perpetually making excuses as to why he is late or never showed up, he or she doesn’t deserve to be a part of your group.
6. Jam. Just jam, have fun; don’t spend 100% of every practice writing, just play together. This is the only way to grow more comfortable musically and truly get to know your band mates’ musical styles.
7. When recruiting members, be wary of very headstrong individuals.
|Adj.||1.||headstrong - habitually disposed to disobedience and opposition|
You might think they make you look “HaRdCoRe as Fuark xX Xx” but 90% of the time, they will fuck you over in the end.
Band conflict might have stopped thousands of music groups before you, but it’s not going to stop you now that I have armed you with these tips. Now go grow a dick and fuck the world!
Have plenty of these available. Also make past releases and EP’s ready for your fans. Download cards are also a good idea.
You can get really creative here, put anything from your bands logo to a full-fledged work of art on your band’s shirt. Experiment with different shirt styles and be sure to have girls shirts available.
Plain and simple. Order wristbands with your band’s name on them. You can also choose different widths of bracelets, one inch bracelets are quite popular lately.
Try to give these out for free. People will stick them everywhere for you, so it’s basically promotion.
Not everyone buys hats, but when they do, they tend to wear them often. This offers good promotion.
Once again, these get worn more often than t-shirts. Just make sure they fit well so your supporters will, wear them often.
7. Booty Shorts
Nothing feels better than seeing your band’s name on a chick’s butt.
8. Electronics Skins
Everybody wants to personalize their stuff these days, so why not throw some laptop and ipod skins, with your name on them, on your merch table?
If you’re like most bands, your fanbase probably consists of 14 year olds that are yearning to represent their favorite things on the walls of their bedrooms. This is why you should sell posters at your shows.
10. Novelty Items
Keychains, vinyls, koozies, coasters, special edition signed merch, and any other knicknacks you think your fans want. The customer is always right, right?
Are you sick of playing the same songs day after day in your drummer’s garage fantasizing about making a career out of your music? You need to get out and play some shows in your town, but you probably don’t know where to go, or what to ask. First you need to ask yourself: do I want to play for free to get exposure, or do I want to get paid for this gig?
Free concerts. I’m a big supporter of starting out playing for free. This way you will get more people to show up, because they have nothing to lose, except maybe an hour or two of their life. Also, supporters of your band can bring their friends because they won’t complain about having to pay for a band that they don’t even know. The way I go about getting free gigs is going into or calling the establishment, bar, club, old folks home, etc, and ask if my band can play during ‘x’ time on ‘x’ day. I tell them that I don’t want their money, and don’t want a ticket cost. If it is an establishment that sells beverages or food, then chances are your fans/supporters will reimburse whatever costs are associated with your playing that night. Cause they like food. Or drinks. Hell, even lap dances if you’re playing at a strip club. Another thing you could do is ask to open for a bigger band to be exposed to their audience. There might be a ticket cost, but as I said, you don’t have to reel in an audience yourself, there will be one there already.
Paid concerts. I suggest these if you have already done a number of free gigs and have developed a fanbase in your local area. These might require more work to land, because you will either need to have a reputation of being a money-maker for the establishment, or prove to them that you can make it worth their while. A lot of people will recommend making a press kit or a demo tape to show to them how good you are, or how your music is relevant to the people that regular the place. The venue will either pay you directly, or the ticket cost will go to your band.
Lastly, if a festival of some sort (fair, music festival, or any other large gathering that includes band concerts) is coming to your town, it’s a big opportunity for your band. Ask around about who you should talk to in order to play a gig at it. You might get paid, you might not, but who cares! You have a great opportunity to play in front of a lot of people and hopefully score your band some new fans.
What’s something every artist wants? They want people to listen to their music. So unless you’re some super-underground introverted act, you will want listeners. Getting people to listen can be half the battle for an upcoming artist. I’m writing this to help all the new guys out.
So we will assume that you have an album or at least an EP recorded. You want to get it out there, but you’re not quite sure how. The first step I would reccomend is uploading the song to streaming social media sites, such as Myspace, Purevolume, and Youtube. This method is nice because you can guage how many people have heard your music using the view counters on these sites. On Youtube you can add tags to help people search for you. Add as many tags as it will let you. More keyword opti0ns = More views. After that, you should upload your music to the service CD Baby. It will distribute your music to multiple outlets, including Itunes, Spotify, and Amazon Mp3. This does cost money, but if you are good enough you will make all of that money back from the sales of your music. The point isn’t to make money off of your music right now, it is to just make it as available as possible for anybody that might possibly want to listen to it. That is why I believe in selling your music cheap, but not giving it away free. The reason that you shouldn’t give it away 100% free is because people might view it as less valuable. Then they won’t take your music seriously. You should sell your songs for 99 cents a piece. If you want to you can sell them cheaper, but I wouldn’t reccomend going below 69 cents per single. Also, you should sell your album for around 5 dollars. This way people think that they are getting a good deal. This is a win for you because they now own more of your songs than they could have bought for single price, without the percieved value depreciating.
I’m sure you’re sick of promoting from your keyboard, so let’s talk about some methods that can be put to use in real life. Playing shows. This is a tried and true method, used since the beginning of music. How do I go about playing a show you ask? You can do two things. You can get booked to a venue, or you can set up your own show if you have the space. I won’t cover getting booked right now, but once you get a show, you need to promote that show. The more people you get to your show, the more people will listen to your music, obviously. Some ways you can promote your show include posting flyers everywhere and advertising it on your band’s social networking pages. You should play more shows in your area and surrounding areas and eventually plan a tour to get your music out to the most people.
-Street art and graffiti. The more places people see your band’s name, the more important it will be perceived.
-Seed a Torrent. If somebody wants to promote your music for free (albeit illegally), why not let them do it?
-Give out download cards to a specified number of people at one of your shows.
-Walk down the street with an ipod and headphones (not earbuds). Ask anybody you see if they want to listen to your music.
-Give shirts with your name on them to people in exchange for promotion.