Dingbatz, Dopes and Death
Hope everyone is enjoying the Summer! Have some time just before the 4th, so wanted to catch everyone up on the latest…. MERICA!
So when we last spoke I mentioned how the Summer was looking up for us playing some great shows in more higher profile venues! Toads Place show went over well in May, we had a good time and we were ready to hit a few more places in June!
First one we had was our debut at a famous local NJ venue called Dingbatz in Clifton. I managed to hook up with an agency for the state and after a few back and forths with them we were able to secure this date. I have heard of this place before and have seen some people “in the scene” wearing their shirts but I never got the chance to play there, so I was super looking forward to venture out into some uncharted territory.
So after work we all made the trek to the Garden State to load in and get ready to play. One of the other cool aspects of the show was we got to play another gig and hang with our pals Wading Nine who we got the chance to play with at The Chance prior! Total coincidence that we were on the same bill, but it was great seeing them again and has been really nice to hang with an old friend from back in the High School days all of them are super cool dudes and a great band…make sure to check them out HERE
So when we got on stage, although once again there wasn’t a lot of people there (which will be the main topic later) all of the bands, the crew and the people that were there seemed to really like our set! We got a lot of compliments coming off stage from everyone, which like I said with Toad’s It’s really rewarding when you get praise from other artists and to get to convert other people who don’t know you into potential fans.
Plus one of the other bands from the night called Behind The Horror took some great professional shots from the set and our pal Mike from Wading Nine shot a video of one of our new songs! All in all, although out of our own pockets still a great, fun night which with these cats, we always have fun!
So after that, we were also scheduled to play that following Friday (which I won’t name the venue, but you can figure it out) which we were also psyched about. We had played their prior and this time we were opening for a pretty popular band called Bobaflex so with the promise from the promoter of not having to sell a certain amount of tickets like last time., I was excited to go back and try to win over their crowd as well!
After chasing down the promoter to ask about load in and set time, the response I got back was not only “can you be there by 5pm?” but also “well how many tickets did you pre-sell?” and my heart sank.
First off, if you are local to the area and maybe if you are some band full of teens, you might be able to get there at 5pm on a Friday, but in our case we are not “professionals” at this. We have actual jobs, kids, spouses and we all work. Weekends? Sure, I’ll be there at the ass crack of dawn, but don’t expect people to take time off to run over there especially if you tell us DAY OF the show after I had to chase you down.
Second, as I said in a few past entries I understand the whole selling tickets thing nowadays I have come to terms with that with these bigger venues. The thing that killed me was not only were we told to pre-sell, they wanted us to physically pick up the tickets from their box office (9-5pm mind you) to sell.
To be completely honest and I don’t want to trash the venue personally, we have done this more than once before with them and it sucks. For an out of state band to have to physically pick up tickets at a venue during regular business hours is ridiculous. Toad’s Place gave us tickets to sell digitally and print out and Dingbatz mailed me tickets to sell months in advance to my address. I am not going to drive 2 hours round trip to pick up tickets. It’s called a stamp.
So after some back and forth we were told we could not play the show and honestly? I was fine with it. We had already played the week before but the thing that killed me was I actually had 4-5 people coming and one didn’t get the message on Facebook and texted me that night saying “where are you guys?” Luckily he was cool with it and was going to see other bands too but that pissed me off. If we knew ahead of time, we would of made arrangements, but this was told to us day of the show after I was told “no no ticket requirements, if you sell over 25 you make money” which even that stinks but, you live you learn.
Which brings me to kind of my main topic of the entry….attendance and support…
Saw this pic on Social Media and it totally resonated with me because I’ve been there countless times, in both scenarios and it can be a touchy subject when bands or artists vocalize this to their audience and/or fanbase.
It’s been great to finally get to play some of these respectable venues now with the band and no matter what, we always seem to win over who is there and have a good time. But, being honest because attendance has been tough for us at these shows, I am getting the feeling that most of these we won’t be playing at again anytime soon.
Being in my late 40’s myself, just like getting to some venue during “day job” time, getting out to see a show at a local club/bar can be tough. I work all week and have a 90 minute commute one way. I am a father to two beautiful daughters and as they are getting older I want to spend as much time with them as I can. I also play in two bands that thankfully keep me busy with rehearsal/gigs almost every weekend in the Summer months so for me to take one of those precious”days off” to see a band that I love? It can be a difficult choice to make. Not to mention being sober now, the thought of me being in a bar when I technically don’t have to be is not very appealing.
So trust me true believers, I know the struggle so if someone apologizes to me for not being able to go to a show? You don’t have to apologize I totally get it.
For our band we try to schedule dates not only weeks/months in advance, but I try to keep it to one show every 4-6 weeks apart and in different areas to spread them out. Gives people time to make arrangements to go and if you can’t make it because it’s too far away? No worries, we will be in your neck of the woods eventually.
So the point I’m making with this entry is not to cry the blues about show attendance, or selling tickets or any of that stuff. I appreciate every single person who streams a song, or likes a post or reads these silly rants I really, really do! I just feel like especially with this blog I like to not only inform the readers news on what we are up to, but just to give a little insight to people who maybe aren’t in bands, or maye ones who don’t perform anymore how it is out there being a "working musician” these days especially being someone who is putting out original music. It’s something that I feel like I will never stop doing to some capacity until I’m in the ground because I feel in my true heart of hearts I HAVE to. It’s who I am.
To close, I recently had a death in my family which although expected was something that was very difficult for myself, as well as my family (we as a family also decided not to blab it out on social media out of respect and not to make a big deal of it out there).
One of the things when I was attending the wake which was nice was I had numerous family members come up to me during small talk saying things like “hey, I follow you on Facebook and I enjoy checking out your music” or “wow, I didn’t realize you have shirts and even socks when I went on your site! I want to get something does that money go to you guys?” which I thought was very kind. You sometimes forget when you post this stuff that it’s out there and some people, although they might not be able to get a sitter, take time out, drive and attend a show live, there are other things you can do to support your favorite local original artist or band.
Give em a like, share their stuff with your friends, buy a pair of socks, stream their music or videos online in the comfort of your couch under a blanket eating cheetos. Every little thing like that not only makes the band you like feel good, it helps the machine keep running, the lights on and gives them more and more opportunities to do the thing they love.
Also when I was there during that sad time? There were my friends. The few who dropped everything, made the trip, put on something nice, came in and gave me a hug and supported me and my family by paying respect.
THAT’S the only audience I’ll ever need…..ever.