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Sunday, November 1, 2009

Be A Pro

There's nothing like good customer service. I even think it's worth paying a little more for great service. In the world of the performing musician, good customer service is contained in being professional. And by professional I don't mean making a living at it. I don't mean any particular level of technical prowess on your instrument. I mean common courtesy. I mean doing what you say you will do. I mean not behaving like a dumbass. One definition from Merriam-Webster: following a line of conduct as though it were a profession.

For the second time this year Strange Land ventured south of the border to Illinois. We played on the north side of Chicago at the Redline Tap. Cool place, good food. Big thanks to Progulus listeners Iceman and Falcon and their friends and family for coming out. 

For the second time this year, a show in Illinois was partly hosed because other bands didn't show up. Click here for the scoop on the previous show. This time there were five bands booked. One cancelled a few weeks before the show. Two more were total no-shows. No call, no excuse, nothing. We were expecting to play a 30 minute set. We played for an hour. The other band that did show, Seeking, was cool. Glad to meet them.

But what kind of a moron do you have to be to just bail on a show with no notice? I've seen other examples of not being pro. Chewing out the sound guy. Wrecking the venues property. Being rude to the other bands and to the staff. Getting drunk and making a fool of yourself. Sorry, but acting like a "rock star" doesn't make you one. I know I'm weird but I've never thought it was cool to behave like a typical rock star. The closest I think you can be to getting away with it is when you actually are a rock star with millions of dollars and a team of lawyers. Even then, I'll still think you're an ass and your behavior isn't cool. You'll just be better equipped to not care and get away with it. 

We are probably the most punctual band in the state of Wisconsin. I feel bad if I show up five minutes late. We treat the sound guy with respect. We thank the venue and the other bands we play with. We thank the people who came to see us. That's pro, and that earns us the respect of venues, sound guys, bands and fans. That gets people to buy cds. That gets us invited back to the venue. That gets us invited to open for national acts. That gets other bands to trade shows with us.  And that is why we are entering out 11th year as a band. One measure of success in my mind is survival. We've made it 11 years, 3 albums, and dozens of shows because we've outlasted so many other bands. One of the biggest keys to our survival is our commitment to being pro. 


BG said...

What you are describing is soooo typical.
People regret their commitments and when all they have to do to keep people somewhat "happy" is to give notice, they don't do it.
I suppose this has something to do with loosing face....but in the end you are only hurting yourself...I guess you can tell were certain bands will NOT be playing in the future.

guitarsean said...

I think it gives a bad rep to all bands, too. If a venue gets burned on a regular basis, they'll start treating every band like crap. I can't count how many times we've shocked the soundguy by saying "thank you" and "what can we do to make your job easier?"

stringray said...

The Essence Of Progression trail did stop in our town yesterday and it was amazing. In longer solo sections Russell Allen went down and ran around in the audience (prox 100 people) and kissed the girls and hugged the guys, doing party and being happy. On stage he did some extra treatment for the people who came all the way from Vienna and Chech Repuplic to Munich for seeing them live. He's been with the audience after the show, doing autographs, chatting, and partying while his band mates packed their gear.

I bet people will have a way better rememberance of him than of any guy with this "rock star" attitude. That's what at least their face told me.

guitarsean said...

that's awesome Ray. I love it when that wall between performer and audience goes away.

stringray said...

Though it was Damian Wilson. What a mistake....