Somojo Magazine

 Ever wonder why your favourite unsigned band doesn’t play as much as you would want to go to their shows?

Life As A Rock Star with Clint Hell

Ever wonder why your favourite unsigned band doesn’t play as much as you would want to go to their shows?

Let me, a grumpy ol’ bloke, describe the process of an unsigned band’s struggle to get a gig.

First of all, most unsigned band members need a full time job to pay for their playing. And many have families. I mean, working full time takes a certain amount of hours a week (and oftentimes more… ;-). Raising kids of various ages certainly demands a helluva lot of time. And then you need to create new material and rehearse it. Plus the fact that you actually have to find the places to gig.

And let me tell you it has become increasingly hard to get a gig if you’re not a well-established band these days. You first need to find the actual place, and then the person responsible for booking bands. And in-between work, family and creating/rehearsing you need to get hold of that person. If you can’t make ten calls a day, this alone will take you anything from two days to a week.

Ok, so now you’ve talked to the person responsible. In Sweden, it’s still a lot about sending CD’s – so then you need to send the CD and wait for it to get arrive and be opened. AND for the person to actually listen to it. This also demands a lot of calls, simply in order to bug the person enough to get his *#&#ing thumb out and listen to it. Once you get this far, you still need to make a few calls to that person, ‘cause they very often seem to ‘misplace’ their calendars. Or forget to bring them. (I dunno, but a carpenter isn’t quite likely forget his hammer, now would he?!)

Finally one lucky day this person answers, has listened to your CD, likes it and has – against all odds – managed to bring his/her work tool, i.e. the calendar, and you can make the actual booking for your band! This whole procedure can take anything from five days to five weeks. The reward for this work is – TA-DAAA!!! – a meal and, perhaps at best, two pints. No money for gas, guitar strings, rehearsal room rent or anything. Because, you see, this is your hobby – you’re not a professional that needs to be paid.
(I wonder if the bar staff would pour me my pint if they didn’t get paid to do it…? ;-)

Ok. So now you’ve managed to get quite a few gigs in. You’ve performed them and it gets a little bit – just a little bit – easier to get gigs. Next move then is most likely for the drummer to quit the band and start studying. Or the guitarist being unable to rehearse as his other band is getting gigs in. Or the singer or bass player to change their minds about what music they want to play, so they move on to another constellation to fulfil their new musical vision.

You then have a choice – let the band die or keep moving. If you decide to keep moving, you’ll have to start finding new people to replace the one/s that have quit. And create new material as the old songs ‘belong’ to the period when that person that created some parts of it – or actually wrote it – was a member of the band.
(Told you I was a grumpy ol’ bloke, right?)

Life as a rock star…? Yeah, right. ;-)

Clint Hell


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