Archive for the ‘Personal Manager’ Category

King 2B Trombone 1963

About a year ago I went on E Bay, took a chance and bid on a Student Model trombone for $45 and won.

It arrived and of course it was not too good an instrument but playable.

It had been 15 years since I had played any sort of gig and the two incredible Trombones and a 4 Valve Euphonium I had in those days had long gone to pay the rent in more difficult times.

They were a King 3B that I had purchased new in the UK in the late 60’s , a Bach Stradivarius that was picked out by Bill Watrous from Peppys in New York when Bill was recording the “Leprecaun” with Chick Corea in the 70’s and I later got a deal on a Yamaha 4 Valve Euphonium for use with the 13 piece band tour in 78/79 on an arrangement of “Duel of the Jester and the Tyrant “ from The Return to Forever play-book.

What an arrangement that was by Chick and we played it all over the world when I had the honor of being 2nd Trombone to Jim Pugh,a REAL trombone player!

That was an amazing band that only really recorded on one  album called Secret Agent that also featured Al Jarreau (I’m not sure if it is out on CD as I have never been able to find it).

I even got a 12 bar solo on that album and it was atrocious solo but you have to live with those things…..

So I started practicing with my King Student model and a slide that would stick most of the time but that helps develop the lip I guess?

Then in November 2010 I got an offer of a gig with a small dance band here in Clearwater that I accepted and played my first gig in 15 years and had a great time.

There is something about going back to the basics of what started you in the business in the first place and that was for me the love of playing music itself.

So many top Music Industry people I know are actually musicians and for me I had forgotten how hard it is to be a musician and play well and the hours that go into practice and developing ones craft.

Then a couple more gigs came along and the limitations of my instrument began to show so I decided to treat myself at Christmas and buy a new instrument.

I went back to E bay and there were 100’s of trombones for sale including my favorite King 3B but they were expensive plus one never knows their condition really and how good the slides actually are until it arrives at your doorstep.

So I decided to go to Sam Ash on US 19 and try some new horns which I did and the young brass salesman who seemed very disinterested in selling me one mentioned that Sam Ash in Tampa near the Bucs ground had more horns so I gave them a call and one Saturday drove across the Causeway up Dale Mowbry Way to the Sam Ash store.

They had more horns for sure but still mostly the student models or overpriced F Change and Classical type horns that are no real use to a Jazz type player.

Then at the end high on the wall there was this Silver Trombone with a price tag that said “Silversonic” the magic word as it had to be a King!

With great anticipation the very helpful salesman, Michael, got down the horn and sure enough it was a King 2B in perfect condition with a Silver bell and a slide that actually worked  .

Perfect instrument with a smaller bore than the King 3 B which was ideal for someone who doesn’t play so much anymore and who needs to redevelop his embrasure like yours truly plus there was 10% off.

How could I refuse so I didn’t and walked out the store  with my King 2b in an original King case in perfect condition (See picture above).

I tracked down the serial number on line and it was made sometime in 1963 in the best years 1960 to 1965 for these instruments and made in the original H.N.White factory in Cleveland.

Now if you listen carefully while driving through Florida you will hear Clearwater’s Andy Martin struggling to play along with the Gorden Goodwin Big Band Trombone play along CD.

Not pretty for sure but I’m having a great time playing again and as a Personal Manger friend of mine said to me “Oh no! is that what happens to managers when they get old ,they end up as trombone players?”

There’s a joke there somewhere which reminds me.”Whats the difference between a dead Squirrel and a dead trombone player lying in the road?

Ans: “The Squirrel was on the way to a gig”

An excellent article on selling your gig.She says it all and more. 

Excellent stuff.

Thanks Cheryl

Ron

Cheryl Hughey

 

 

 

 

Selling the Gig

 

 

 

 

by Cheryl Hughey 

 

 

After a lot of hard work, you’ve been invited to play at the biggest club in the area. You’re elated. The excitement builds as the date draws near. The mojo is flowing and you’re ready to own this town.  The phone rings and the venue representative tells you that the city’s hottest monthly magazine wants to feature the act on a full page spread.  That amazing photo you sent via email had sealed the deal. It was just what the editor wanted but you need to send a high resolution copy ASAP to make the deadline.  Unfortunately, you have no idea where the original is located. You try to buy some time but it’s a bust.  Without a high resolution image, the magazine will not run the feature. You’ve been sunk by not being prepared.


Sadly, this story is based on an actual event that happened to a handler of a national act. As any working musician or supporting professional in the business knows, getting press and packing venues are all part of the game.  How well you draw a crowd determines your assumed value.  If word gets around that you’re pitching hard but not delivering the numbers, you may find yourself in a bind. However, learning to maximize publicity opportunities can increase your worth and improve your relationship with venues.

What are the things needed to help you sell your brand and put butts in seats? Below is a list of the basics everyone needs in order to effectively promote a concert:

At least one high resolution photo by a seasoned photographer

-The photo must be current. Nothing is worse using a decade old photograph and not being able pull it off in person.  Avoid Photoshop abuse.  Overcorrection is obvious.  Cheesy “cut and paste” backgrounds are for amateurs.

Updated biographical information

-It pays to hire a professional writer. A solid biography says you’re serious to any reporters reading it.

-If you’re a solo act with a band, provide the name/instrument/website of each band member in advance to the venue. There are fans that love their sidemen. It’s your job to show them off.

-Don’t forget that all information must be verifiable and accurate. No cheating.

Quote page

-This is a list of things the press has said about you previously. Keep each quote short and simple, as it will help the venues create flyers or e-blasts for the event.

Description of the set

-What type of music are you playing the night of the concert? This helps the venue accurately sell you…especially if you often play in various configurations or genres.

-Send at least one copy of the current CD to the venue publicist in advance. Landing a preview of the concert can be dependent the timing of getting materials to the newspaper.

Video

-If you have a professional video of your band, send it in advance to the venue for potential television news coverage.  Do not send uncut footage or send YouTube links.  You need to have the actual video file.  Also, the video needs to be of superior quality for a news team to use it. Rough video shot by a home camera that hasn’t been edited will more than likely not work. Just because you posted it on YouTube and its gotten lots of hits does not mean it is of broadcast quality.

-Note:  The term “B roll” is sometimes used to describe the preferred style of footage.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B-roll

I hope we’ve provided you with some helpful tips.  Use these tools wisely and you will be well on your way to creating a solid reputation for being in charge on and off the stage.

Contact:  cheryl@cherylhugheypromotions.com This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Cheryl Hughey

Executive Director

Cheryl Hughey Promotions

347-878-6610

www.cherylhugheypromotions.com

www.twitter.com/cherylhughey

www.facebook.com/cheryl.hughey

Original web site: http://www.lynnbriggsunplugged.com/

There is a transition an artist has to make that is not an easy one to achieive especially in these difficult times.

As Shakespeare said ” To be or not to be that is the question

We’ve all been sidemen and some us are both content to be so and others have no choice but there is whole group of artists that want their own band and careers.

Being a sideman is a necessary part of ones progress as an artist in fact its essential but at some point if one wants to have his own band one is forced to make that transition and there is moment of decision.

When working with Chick Corea he tells the story of playing with Miles Davis and they were in the studio recording I believe (Not sure what album).

Chick is playing some particularly energetic and fairly long solo and Miles comes over to him and whispers in his ear “Chick why don’t you get your own band” and  walks away.

Well thats exactly what he did and his “be” became a bandleader with his own artistic identity and we are all better off for that decision.

Of course Chick is such a phenomenal composer and musician he had to go there as being in someone else’s band was just plain ridiculous as Miles observed and he couldn’t be contained within what was for him such a restrictive framework I would imagine.

Unfortunately we are not all in that position but I’ve noticed over the years with developing artists there is always a point when they have to make “that” decision.

It comes in different ways but it always comes and usually involves a decision where one turns down a well paid sideman gig to do ones own thing and its a difficult one to make.

But unless you make that decision you’ll never see YOUR name on the marquee and you’ll always be that sideman.

Many artists straddle the line and make it work but I’m not sure it actually works.

Its hard to envision many established artists as ever being sideman but they were?

Was Pat Methany ever a sideman I guess he was?

Chick, Sonny Rollins, Miles, Mahldau and Sting?

Sure they must have been but they all made the “decision” at some point and I bet there is always a story about everyone of those decisions that would quite interesting to hear.

I’m not talking about being a Guest artist/star with another headliner artist, I’m talking about being a sideman.

I’m not belittling sideman either thats not my intent as we can’t all be stars with our names in lights so sideman are essential to our business and nothing to be ashamed of but thats not the point I’m trying to make here.

However when record deals were plentiful, many great sideman got their own deals and even sold good quantites of CD’s/Albums but when push comes to shove it turned out they were still sidemen after all.

I would even go as far as to say these days the artists that are still doing gigs in their own name are all established leaders already and were so before the recent downturn in the music business.

Witness just how hard it is these days to develop a new artist in todays market place.

In my opinion there will never be another Beatles because the current music business model doesn’t allow or make it possible for the development time it takes for a band like the Beatles to come about which is a sad state of affairs and the subject of another blog maybe.

So some times one has to put aside any financial considerations and go for it?

Just go for it and turn down that sideman gig no matter how hard it is to do.

As Shakespeare the band leader said just before a gig at the White Swan Inn in Stratford Upon Avon in 1594 (he was 30 years old at the time)!

“To be a sideman,or not to be a sideman:that is the question:

Whether “tis nobler in the mind to suffer

The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,

Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,and decline that casual wedding gig as a sideman?”

My apologies William!

.

I get many requests to manage upcoming artists and bands etc.

Its tricky to respond and not discourage them in doing so and every manager does have one or two developing artists that he believes in but in some ways an artist has to “earn” a manager.

There is no income for the manager with the developing artist and there may never be any and even managers need to eat and pay their rent and expenses.

There seems to be this point when an artist has so much going on that they have generated for themselves that they have to have some serious help such as a management company.

We call it handling the minutia and there is plenty of it to handle.

Booking the Travel,Book the band,payroll,PR liaison scheduling interviews,prepping the dates,organising the tour in general,comp tickets and backstage lists and on and on.

Plus lets not forget all the personal stuff such as….. the Drummers girlfriend just ditched him…..the Guitarist wants to play of his own songs…the singers cat died and so on.

Bigger acts have tour managers and Personal assistants (PA’s) to assist but these artists are not the problem we are discussing here.

Besides handling the minutia the manager is really responsible for the big stuff such as getting the the record deal,the agent,the PR company, Independent Radio promotion and full liaison with all those people.

There’s plenty to do with the successful and expanding artist.

But here we have the artist who is just getting going in these difficult times. He has a view gigs for his band and is doing his demo’s or CD , maybe he’s playing in other bands as well and lets say he’s even having some success and creating interest which is ideal and an essential part of this scenatio.

You get the idea and its going to be difficult for this artist to find a manager for many reasons not the least of which is there are not many good ones.

So whats the solution?

GROW YOU OWN

I’ve seen this work and in fact I’m a product of the concept.

I know many managers who started as Road Managers,PA”s ,Tour Mangers,Promoters,Roadies, Publicity assistants etc.etc.

Then there is the other level where lawyers,agents,producers and record Company employees and execs become established artists mangers which is a different scenario but almost the same idea.

So how do you do this?

Look around you as there are always friends who (and this is the big PLUS) love the artist or his music even mates,girlfriends or wives can qualify.

These later two have an added problem as there is an emotional attachment and if things go wrong that can be very skicky.

Plus I’ve noticed wife/managers sometimes have a hard time, its not 100% but it can happen.I’m not sure why but I believe its to do with the phenomena that a wife,husband ,girlfriend,boyfriend,relatives have a hard time being objective about the one they love and sometimes management takes that objective unbiased point of view.

So look around those people around you and evaluate if there is someone thats shows interest and has potential and see if you can work something out.

There’s a million ways to get started and it depends entirely on the circumstances as usually money is at a premium.

They can help set up the band,make calls for you,drive you to the gig whatever you need.

But there is an important part of this idea here and that is you want them to learn the business so give them responsibility and a chance to do so plus see if the can handle it that responsibilty. As they develop put them on more of your lines and relationships and introduce them to people so that they can take those lines over for you.

Of course there are many variable factors such as their aptitude and ability but if they have what it takes they can be a better manager than anyone you’ll ever find elsewhere.

Time is a factor as this may not be a fast process so its takes time and it would be nice to pay them something as soon as you can.

There’ll be a point when you can enter into a formal agreement with them as a manager or assistant and they then go on percentage basis but more about that  some other time.

If you think all this sounds far fetched thats how I started as a Tour manager with very little idea what I was doing but I learnt fast,I had to.

For example I know a drummer from a band he was playing with that now manages several major jazz artists and still manages the original artist if played drums for.

I know a photographer that was a fan of an artist that now manages that artist and several others.

I’m sure there are many similar stories in fact I’d go as far as to say there is not a successful manager out there that doesn’t have a similar story.

Many major artists now have their ex lawyer, agent ,producer or Record Exec as their manager which though a different scenario is still similar and shows their is no school for managers.

Oh that there were!!

Its an idea so give a try if it makes sense to you.

I came across these 3 links on the Crazed Hits Web site and found them very interesting.

For managers the 360 deal forum is very good as this is a fairly new concept for Record Deals.

The Chris Blackwell interview was really surprising as I heard odd things about him over the years but here talks a lot of sense.

If you are looking for a record deal then Peter Paterno’s interview is a must see.

http://www.crazedhits.com/forums/showthread.php?t=677 The 360 Deal with Don Passman as moderator

http://www.crazedhits.com/forums/showthread.php?t=265 Chris Blackwell Island Records President

http://www.crazedhits.com/interview-peter-paterno/ Attorney Peter Paterno

Very informative if you are interested in whats really going on in the music business these days.

Enjoy

I think one of the greatest enemies and at the same time, for an artist especially, one of the greatest assets is an “EGO”.

Its impossible to be an artist with any talent and to not have an “ego” or a sense of ones uniqueness and talent maybe a better way of saying it.

It is essential in fact and part of what is needed to stand out there and perform.

Anyone who stands on a stage and starts performing his art and expecting, dependent on the ego’s degree, to seek the admiration of that audience MUST have an ego but does he also have the HUMILTY?

When the ‘EGO’ takes over, look out, as in my opinion the artist is lost.

I have personal experience and I know my ego collapsed my career or was certainly a major factor in it’s demise.

It is a very humbling experience believe me.

I remember one artist I worked with who started to “loose it” as his career hit a bad patch  and demand this and that and one of his demands involved some legal matter so I had to call his attorney.

On explaining to the attorney the demands he said “oh sh.. he’s started to believe his own bio” which is a great way of stating the situation.

This is maybe more a lesson in life experience but I find humility so refreshing and something an audience gravitates towards in the end.

There is nothing better to experience than sheer talent with humility…don’t you think?

To see some amazing performance by an artist that takes ones head off delivered with humility is a stellar experience.

Of course the greater the performance the more ego one can show.

Ego is something a manager has to deal with and both allow and control or not let get out of control at least.

The manager often gets to see a level of the ego that the artists audience never experiences but I think an audience can sense it if its over the top.

I was trying to think of artists with great talent and yet humility.

How about John Lennon,John Coltrane,Michael Brecker, James Taylor,Andrea Bocelli to name but a few you may or may not agree with my choices.

A little humility whoever and whatever we are or do, I believe, is an admirable quality and much more pleasant to experience than an ego which after a while becomes extremely boring.

Good site called CRAZED HITS that has video interviews with top Music Execs.

One has to registar to go on but its worth it.

Like this one with Bruce Lundvall of Blue Note Records.

http://www.crazedhits.com/forums/showthread.php?t=676

Basic site:

http://www.crazedhits.com/

Here’s an article from the New York Times about Glen Barros and Concord Records acquisition of Rounder Records.

It struck me just how positive a viewpoint this is in light of all the negativity coming out of record labels these days

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/10/business/media/10concord.html?src=busln

Sometime ago I read a very informative book called Positioning:The Battle for your Mind” by Al Ries and Jack Trout

http://www.amazon.com/Positioning-Battle-Your-Al-Ries/dp/0446347949

It recently came to mind again when an artist who approached me for help and said he had been told he was the next Coltrane and then actually wrote that himself in his own bio!

Two things struck me.

1) The pretentiousness of the remark of the idea there could ever be another Coltrane?

2) What lousy uncreative positioning!

The book  based around various ad Campaigns from the 70’s & early 80’s one of which was by Avis, the rental car company and this amongst others is given as classic example of successful positioning and hence marketing of ones company,product or service.

At the time Hertz were the big guys,the NUMBER ONE,the most successful Rental Car Company with the largest share of  the marketplace and they still maybe incidentally I don’t know.

Their ads had O.J. Simpson ,then GOOD positioning,running through airports to get his car ,the older amongst us may remember them.

Avis were NUMBER TWO in the pecking order with a much lower market share when they came up with a one liner brilliant ad campaign.

AVIS….. WE ARE NUMBER TWO BUT WE TRY HARDER!!

Consumers responded to the ad as they were able to relate Avis to Hertz which was Number One in their minds and customers rented Avis’s cars.

The result was they boomed and took some huge portion of Hertz’s business and it is a brilliant example of the correct use of the technology of “positioning”.

Another was 7 UP who by relating themselves to Coke and Pepsi Cola as “THE UNCOLA” and 7 UP was able t0 establish itself in the consumers mind as a desirable alternative to the established Colas.

The authors actually state its nearly impossible to displace the leader in the market place. Number ones are Number ones for instance look at Xerox and Hoover as the activity itself is named after them even though they are companies who are only leaders or first into the market with their product.

Incidentally we use this technology of positioning all the time whether we realize it or not.

Examples:

He’s like another OJ Simpson!

I’m Smooth Jazz not Straight ahead.

We are a better soap powder than TIDE!

I’m the next John Coltrane!

All of the above examples are to me very weak attempts at positioning and there are many examples in the book of successful positioning techniques.

Plus for me when I see something like this in a bio, especially said by the artist himself ,like “the next Michael Brecker” “better than Chick Corea” “sounds like Miles Davis“….I am immediatly turned off and become suspicious.

Firstly if you are that good there is no need for you to say it as others will and others who are in themselves opinion leaders that people listen to with respect.

Notice that AVIS did not claim to be NUMBER ONE, far from it ,they stated the truth that they were NUMBER TWO BECAUSE THEY WERE!    But they tried HARDER!! ( So they said?)

They did not go against HERTZ (THE NUMBER ONE) as they weren’t that pretentious or more correctly that foolish enough to do that. They were SMARTER than that  BECAUSE  THEY TRY HARDER….QUITE BRILLIANT and it caused an enormous increase in their share of the rental car market and hence profitability.

If some Opinion Leader in your activity like say, George WeinHerbie Hancock or a major respected critic (if they exist) says you are the next Miles Davis then “maybe” it has creditability but ,please,  saying that in your own BIO ?..no way and please don’t do that because to anyone who knows his stuff they are going to laugh….loudly.

Sure it tells whoever reads it some things such as “you own a tin mute” and “you play jazz” but not much else and you just went against the NUMBER ONE which can be fatal to your career believe me.

Its obvious if one just looks at what Coltrane and Miles did and how much they did and for how long they did it … but please give yourselves a chance and don’t go against the NUMBER ONE ‘s go another route get smart like AVIS or the AD MAN who came up with the slogan.

Don’t let your record company do it either as I see it all time.

THE NEXT NORAH JONES.

BETTER SONGWRITERS THAN THE BEATLES

Give me a break!

And one can’t say “NEARLY as good as Coltrane” either that doesn’t work.

How about “Reminds one of early Coltrane or a ‘Sound reminiscent of Miles” both more humble and more truthful!!

GOOD WORKS THAT SPEAK FOR THEMSELVES is both humble,truthful and actually works.

And read the book as there’s a lot more to this subject of positioning than I know and the above are just the obvious gaffs.

Yours

The Next Irving Azoff!

P.S.  Its interesting to me as I realized whilst writing this that artists when successful become Number Ones or Leaders in their market place that cannot be displaced. How could there be another Mozart,Beatles,Beyonce,Black Eyed Peas,Phil Collins,Willie Nelson etc they are number ones in a unique and very creative way. It almost defines the successful artist or performer and who they are.

It also makes award shows silly to me and categories like best “New Artist of the year” or “Best Album of the year”become something of a joke and I think it should be the “Top 5 Artists” or “Best 10 CD’s”  much fairer and saner I feel.

Here’s a very interesting article that illustrates what and artist makes from their music on line.

Its all based on earning the minimum wage and what one would have to sell to achieve that.

Its quite surprising.

Ron

http://mashable.com/2010/04/15/music-artists-earn-online-infographic/