Some years back, a venue in St. Louis called the Creepy Crawl (um...OK) decided to post a list online of 39 annoying things local bands do. I'm not sure how they came to 39. Maybe they ran out before getting to 40. Maybe they were trying to be clever. Whatever the case, they took it upon themselves to let bands know why they are painfully bothersome to club owners. And, in truth, they have quite a few of them right. For those things, I feel your pain.
But, I'm not here to address those or the ones obviously specific to Creepy Crawl and their no-pizza-eating band jerks. There were plenty of items on the list that definitely required at least some kind of rebuttal from a sane musician and since one wasn't available, I'll take a crack at it.
1. Bands that feel compelled to bang on their drums and guitars in an annoying display of lack of talent before the doors open. Usually this occurs when we are trying to talk to someone on the phone or give instructions to employees. There is a place for this type of behavior, its called your basement.
First, if the band isn't any good, don't hire them. Who told you to hire them? That's on you. As far as the "banging on their drums and guitars" before the doors open, I'm happy to agree that excessive noodling around or jamming is really stupid, but most of the time, those of us who want to sound good call this portion of the day "sound check."
4. Local bands with managers.
I get it. There are some really ridiculous guys and gals out there who think they are in a position to "manage" an artist when, in reality, they are like that woman on Seinfeld who thought Jerry was a prima donna and hovered over him constantly. Still, a good manager can help bands do what they do well -- namely, play -- and assist in the tedious and thankless work: collecting money, for example.
6. Bands that bring their own "personal" sound-tech. After seeing him try to operate the soundboard for five minutes the house sound man concludes that this guy has absolutely no clue how to operate a PA. Accordingly, the band sounds like total shit.
Unless you have a really good sound guy, this might be a necessity. Nothing is more distracting than a sound guy who doesn't know you at all trying to be creative with your music by bathing it in reverb and putting a kick ass gate on the snare that sounds like a Def Leppard record.
11. Bands who all arrive at the same time but no one is willing to play first. Subsequently the show doesn't start until 11:30 and everyone has 10-minute sets.
Sorry, but this is on you. We are not here to set your schedule for you unless it was agreed upon up front that we will do it. Your club. Your rules. Your schedule.
12. Top 3 signs that the band will bring no one to the show: 1) 2 Weeks before the show they say, "We're gonna pack your place!"; 2) 1 Week before the show they ask, "What's your capacity?"; 3) Upon arriving at the gig they ask, "So how many people do YOU usually get on a Wednesday night?"
I would have been absolutely fine with this if you had said "Saturday night" but you said Wednesday, so I'm going to have to say "Piss off." If you think a local or even a regional act is going to stuff your club to the gills on a school night, you are delusional or haven't been in the business that long.
Story continues on the next page.
17. Bands who pester you to book their band's "side-project". Side-project is another name for self-indulgent crap so embarrassingly bad they can't dignify it with a name and gives them a cover why none of their friends will come see them "perform". (Would you go see your friend masturbate if they asked you to come watch?). Note to bands: think of your side-project as a project never to get booked again.
Saying this without listening to the band makes you sound like a moron. Plenty of good musicians have side projects that are equally as interesting and sometimes even better than the primary band. Try getting a demo or checking out a live show before you decide it is the equivalent of masturbation. And, gross.
22. Band members that ask 10 times throughout the night for a water or soda (usually in a nasally whining voice). Typically this occurs when your in the middle of doing something important like counting down the drawer or dealing with actual paying customers. They usually like to precede their requests with a "Do you think its possible I could get a...." etc. etc. We feel like responding "Do you think it's possible you could shut the fuck up and go away?".
Oh, yeah, pouring someone a soda is SUCH difficult work for you back there. Look, since most of us KNOW we aren't getting anything besides soda or water, how about just providing it without being a dick? Frankly, since you probably pay your bands the same wage bands were getting paid like 20 years ago (seems standard practice), the least -- and I mean literally the least -- you could do is give them some water. What is this, freaking ancient Egypt?
24. Bands that leave gear behind. This happens at least several times each week and then we get the deluge of frantic phone calls in the following days about have you seen this or that piece of equipment and on the phone act like we should know where their stuff is. Its amazing how something that is so important to them the next day gets so carelessly left behind the night before. We're the Creepy Crawl, not Bob's Nightclub and Repository of Leftover Band Shit. Keep track of your shit and take it with you when you leave!
Well, sure, because you've never left your cell phone or a credit card at a bar when you left, right? Listen Señor Perfecto, shit happens. No one WANTS to leave gear at your hole in the wall, but sometimes, usually in the rush to get out of there after last call when every drunk in the place won't move 10 inches out of the way while I'm carrying a 100-pound amp, something gets left behind. No one is saying you have to check for us, but don't be a dick when we are worried? Just help a brother or sister out.
30. Bands that bitch and beg to play a longer 45-50 minute set. They do this knowing everyone else only gets a 1/2-hour slot.
This is all I need to know about your "club." If you are cramming bands into 30-minute sets, that tells me you are trying to force feed your audience like 10 or 12 bands per night. I'm guessing you sell tickets to your bands and say they can have one dollar back for every ticket they sell too? Way to prey on the kiddos, big boy.
39. Bands that read this list and then send us emails like this one: "dont take this the wrong way i am just a guitar player but ur annoying list was some what funny, but it makes u guys seem like a bunch of pricks u would not have ur joint with out the annoying bands. i frequent ur place when my friends play but if u dont treat the bands that deserve respect with respect they will not play shows and tell others and so on and so forth just a little concernced."
Well, this is just fucking true, text-speak notwithstanding.
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