In this post, I wanted to, as accurately as i could describe, the feeling of ‘so you want to be a rock n roll star?’ reality check to those not in the music profession. It’s a reality check on your life, your ego and anything you want to do in any profession.
– You need to play. You’ll have to go to an open mic. You put your name on a list, waiting in line to play. If you’re lucky, you’ll get a chance to play. Depending on the popularity of the open mic, you may not get a chance to play. I’ve been to some open mics where you have to arrive HOURS (i’m not kidding) to put your name on a list to perform.
– when you perform, know this : most folks at the venue are not going to listen to you. You’re background noise, at best. They don’t care if you’re song is about the girl/man who broke up, your dog, your political views, anything. You’re the equivalent of the TV in the corner showing the sports game, etc. In a sense, that’s YOUR competition for attention.
– try and win the heart of the crowd? good luck. Try to 1) play for yourself 2) win the attention of someone watching you perform. It’s like someone with ADD x 1000. It’s an uphill battle, depending on the venue. Some venues, folks are there to hear you.
– it’s times like this where you earn your stripes. you build up a little ‘tough skin’ or ‘grit’. You’ll need it. I always say the worse thing to happen is to be ignored. It can be worse. Much worse.
– every band starts in the same spot. the bands/acts you know and love all have stories of open mics/shows where NO ONE is listening or paying attention. it’s not for the faint of heart or ego. Buckle up.
– no one is there to see you. your girlfriend/boyfriend/friends don’t want to hang out late at night to hear songs they don’t know/don’t want to hear again. Ok, they’ll hear you once, but you can’t ask every time for them to attend. If you’re lucky, someone is at the bar/coffee shop to hang out.
– sing your heart out. sing for yourself. you might win someone over in the crowd. maybe.
– do it again. and again. and again.
That’s the basic structure to start out from nothing. I’ll see you in 5 years when you start to break even, in monetary terms. Good luck. That’s the mendoza line. That’s where everyone starts. I won’t lie, its not easy. It takes a lot to just get THIS far. This is one night. Multiple this by 5 years. It’s not for the faint of heart.