Local Bands: Don't Sleep With Your Fans
By: Henri Benard "I wonder what your mom is like?" Those were the words I heard waking up next to a girl, whose name I honestly don't remember, one morning in my bed. They changed my life and made me realize I was going about this all wrong. My band, Dry River Yacht Club, had a year for the books circa 2009. Every band member who wasn't in a committed relationship at the time was constantly meeting new people at shows and usually going home with them. Now, that doesn't mean it was like Gene Simmons, but if you are reading this, let's just say it's safe to assume you know how it goes in the wee hours of the morning.
The occasion I am describing is just one of many I found myself in, but this was the last straw. I noticed an adverse affect on the band's popularity for a bit, and I really think it was due to our enthusiasm for sampling the local cuisine. I noticed that this particular girl, whom I never saw again after that morning, never showed up at a concert, either. And this was a girl I had seen at at least twice before our "big night." So in the words of Fire Marshall Bill, here's why local bands shouldn't sleep with their fans:
The Air of Mystery Is Only Beneficial While Still Mysterious Just because you can doesn't always mean you should. There is something magical about initial attractions, especially with musicians. There can be an air of fantasy and suspense to a rocking performer, one strong enough that it can keep people interested and entranced to continue to show up because of this wonderful mystery. If bands are constantly removing that from their fan base, they're removing that exciting aura. And that aura is the true magic that any great band possesses.
If You Hit It, They Just Might Quit It Bands and musicians can develop the wrong kind of reputation. It's fun being the party band, but at the end of the day, let's get real here: It's about music first, and the party second -- or at least it should be. If people are showing up because a band has a local reputation of the members "being easy" all the time, they are not really showing up for the music. And that's only going to last until the band has exhausted their local resources. Usually, people tend to hate (or at least strongly dislike) that musician who didn't call them back after they hit and quit It. So that guy(s) or girl(s) they banged can actually translate into their (and their friends) not coming back.As With Your Set Length, It's Better to Keep Them Wanting More
Flirting sometimes is the classier move and can be a lasting winner. We have all been there, right? We all know that whole situation where some potential groupie approaches you after a rocking set and starts laying it on thick! And I most certainly have taken of advantage of said situations on numerous occasions, so I am not trying to sound above this or preach abstinence or anything like that. I guess all I am saying is that maybe it's best for bands to try and not do that every show if they are really trying to build a local fan base. They should still have fun and enjoy those moments though. Being flattered never hurt anyone ;)
Do You Think It'd Be All Right If Could Just Crash Here Tonight? Sleeping around can kill a band's local buzz entirely. True fans will always be true fans, and they will continue to support because they love the music, I think there is no argument there. However, all those attractive fans who used to always come around at every show might start to attend less frequently, and eventually they might not come at all. If the band goes national, well then hey, there is not really much to say about that here. But when a band is staying local, they need to make sure they keep their light bulbs bright and shiny so everyone can continue to see them lit, not dim.
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