Methods and Strategies that Absolutely, Positively DO NOT Work.
By Matt Martino
I was recently exposed to headabovemusic.com and I have to say I think it’s a fantastic resource. The industry has changed so much in the last decade and it makes it pretty overwhelming for an artist to find their own path. To have a place where musicians can pool their knowledge and experience is valuable and of great benefit to everyone who is trying to advance his or her career.
I was very flattered to be asked to contribute to headabovemusic.com, however, it puts me in an unfortunate position, as I have virtually nothing to add that is going to be of any benefit to anyone in any field of music at any juncture of their career. After several days of brainstorming for some kernel of knowledge I may be able to pass along that would have any value to anyone else anywhere, I am still left with no ideas. Even the most valuable lessons I’ve managed to learn in my years of playing music….things like: always keep gas in the car, money can be exchanged for goods and services, food is an important source of nourishment…..they seem like things that, I suspect, most others have figured out as well. If not, please feel free to print this paragraph out. Post it on the fridge even.
But despite my inability to offer any tricks or shortcuts that might assist other musicians in reaching success faster or more efficiently, I still may be able to help. Because while I’m unable to point to any specific strategies or methods and say with certainty, “This works”, I am an AUTHORITY on other methods and strategies that absolutely, positively DO NOT.
So….here is a brief list of things that (and you can take my word on this) will in NO WAY benefit you or your musical career.
1) DO NOT NAME YOUR BAND WITH A CLEVER REFERENCE TO GENITALIA, MALE OR FEMALE
Here were the finalists for the name of my first band, the one I was certain would be filling stadiums at this point in my career: The Family Jewels, The Bush Pilots, The Cliterales (pronounced clit-er-AL-eez), The Sacs. The winner? Stank Willie & the Red Hots. Ever hear of us? You’re not alone.
2) IF YOU ARE IN A HOTEL ROOM AND YOUR GUITAR PLAYER PILES HIS CLOTHES IN THE CORNER, DO NOT URINATE ON THEM
Believe me, I get it. The stripper locked herself in the bathroom. It was dark. You thought he was going to have to wash them anyway. But trust me; he is NOT going to understand. It’s not going to matter what the excuse is.
3) IF THE DRUMMER IN YOUR BAND CALLS A MEETING TO SAY HE HAS BEEN DOING MORE WRITING AND WOULD LIKE TO HAVE MORE CREATIVE INFLUENCE, JUST QUIT
Seriously, the band is over. I’m sorry.
4) CONTRACTING A DISEASE DOES NOT AUTOMATICALLY MAKE YOU A SPOKESPERSON TO INCREASE PUBLIC AWARENESS
Parkinson’s disease is an affliction that affects the nervous system. Its causes are mysterious and often puzzling to doctors. At the time Michael J. Fox was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, he was a respected, veteran actor, known for being intelligent, well spoken and conscientious. He was a logical choice to speak on behalf of those struggling with the disease.
Gonorrhea is an affliction that affects the wiener and you get it because you KNEW Michelle had it and you STILL couldn’t control yourself. Sorry, but there’s no spinning this positive. Just go to the doctor. Announcing at shows that you have it and calling for safer behavior in an effort to utilize your own stupidity as a PR opportunity is a bad, bad idea. Don’t make pamphlets and take them to the health department to hand out either.
Also, be aware that if anyone sympathizes with you it’s because they have it too. Your best bet is to just spread the rumor that they have it in order to deflect attention from yourself.
5) IF YOUR PAROLE OFFICER TELLS YOU TO STOP RUNNING, JUST STOP
This may be applicable for people in other professions as well. And I understand that this one might stir some debate. Your adrenaline is pumping, he’s a little overweight, you know you can get away. Well, you probably can. And you might not even hear anything about it for a long time. But one day when you’re taking a dump in some McDonald’s bathroom in the middle of Nebraska and two cops bust in and haul you off without even letting you finish, and you get some on one of the cop’s pants because he kept grabbing your collar and yanking you around even after you TOLD him FOUR TIMES that you only needed like another 30 seconds and you end up lying in your own filth with your pants down, handcuffed in the back of a cop car, you’re going to have some time to reflect on things. And I’m willing to bet the incident with the parole officer is one you’ll consistently come back to.
Ok. I hope these tips are of some help to someone, somewhere.