We’ve shared gigs with some great bands who’ve become great friends, just as much as we’ve shared gigs with some horrible bands who we would never consider friends. And a wise piece of advice for bands who want to share gigs: if you’re going to share your gear with other bands, then make it clear beforehand. Bands who show up to gigs assuming they can borrow whatever gear they need, wake the fuck up! You want to perform live? Then act professional and come prepared, because if you don’t have all your own gear, then you don’t have any business sharing the stage.Dutch Ovenmyspace: www.myspace.com/thedutchoven
We’ve done this several ways. Most of the time we go by contacts, friends or friends of friends who have bands. We talk to the club owners and especially the bartenders, sound men and bouncers, they see a lot of bands and have some good ideas on who would go well with us, and usually can get in contact with them. If we can, we’ll go out and see bands and talk to them about sharing or trading gigs. There is also MySpace.The Coversmyspace: www.myspace.com/coversdonepunk
In person. Start spending a lot of nights hanging out at places that have live music from the kind of bands you’d want to play with. Introduce yourself to the good ones. The best possible situation you can be in is to have gigs lined up where you need another band to fill an opener spot or whatever, so when you talk to the band you can say “I saw your set and really liked what you did. I’d like to see if we can swap out some gigs. I’ve got a gig on X date where I need somebody to play for X minutes, would you all be interested?”
If you’re looking to get your start by opening for bands, it can be a little tougher. That’s when it pays to be good friends with one or more band members so you can ask them for a favor. It’s hard to walk up to an established band and basically ask them for an opening spot without being able to show them anything like a demo CD or video of a past performance.
I’ve only been in one band that pulled itself up by its bootstraps and got to the point of playing the bigger venues in OKC. What I posted was exactly how we did it–a couple guys in the band were friends with some people in a couple other established bands. We rehearsed until we had a tight 30-45 minute set, then asked the other bands if we could open for them, basically as a favor. It worked out really well because 4 of the 5 guys in the band were in fraternities at the local college, so at our debut performance they had to turn people away because the little dive bar we played in exceeded their fire code. After that show we had a standing invite from the band we opened for and a standing invite to play that little dive bar anytime we wanted. Word of mouth and a few more opening gigs at different bars around town got us established enough over the next 6 months or so that we could call up the bar owners and book our own shows. When we got to that point, we basically kept our karma up by offering opening spots to other new bands. It really was all about the relationships, with a healthy dose of having good music and the ability to draw a crowd.Jehos
Playing with other bands on triple bills, for example, you talk to the other band directly and suggest gig swapping, if they fit your genre and you think they are in your caliber. Other than that, Messaging or Craig’s List, that’s about it. As bands, we are always checking other band’s sites out and listening to their music, checking out the competition, and when we hear a band we like, in an area we want to play, you just send them a message and ask if they are willing to trade gigs. It’s time consuming though. Your site will save us the time, the widgets are there to attract more bands to sign up, meaning more bands for “US” to trade gigs with.Craig Maxim from Southern Mischiefmyspace: www.myspace.com/southernmischiefband
As far as how we find bands, it’s 99% from Myspace. How they present themselves and promote their band online says a lot about their potential ability to draw.Ryan from Throw the fightmyspace: www.myspace.com/throwthefightwebsite: www.throwthefight.com
I think that gig swapping is a very grey area for most bands. Sometimes they work out phenomenally and other times not so well. I always recommend doing as much research as possible on any band that you may wish to swap with, i.e. do they play a similar style of music? (or at least a style close enough so that your fan bases can crossover for the benefit of both bands), do they have a history of drawing well in their home market? What clubs are they playing in their home market and on what days of the week? and most importantly are they good and reputable people?
If all these things line up and it still seems like a good opportunity then the gig swap will probably work out great. If not, you may want to think twice about it.Bryan from Zelazowamyspace: www.myspace.com/zelazowawebsite: www.zelazowa.comrockumentary: What they want us to be, we can’t alsways be (trailer) – www.filmbaby.com/films/2318