1. Don't tell the sound guy he looks like a young Angela Lansbury.
2. Show up for the opener and listen - they could use the support.
3. Help the drummer load his kit (looking in your direction singers...)
4. Treat the small shows like the big ones - you never know who will be there.
5. Don't be a dick to staff/fans/other bands. If you were as good as you think you are, you wouldn't be carrying your own gear.
6. Crowd sing-alongs don’t work when there are three people in the crowd.
7. Never EVER give that one asshole who screams "Freebird" what he wants. If you cover Freebird you deserve to be locked in a room with Justin Bieber while being forced to listen to Insane Clown Posse for the rest of your days.
8. Gear goes on wheels - future you will thank current you.
9. Never hit on your bass player's girlfriend...have you seen the size of that guy?
10. You really get to know your bandmates on the road. Make sure that is something you are prepared for when adding new members.
11. Yes, there is a chance your singer wears makeup and secretly loves Air Supply.
By Kristi Agne
“When I first started out, I was a hype man for this gig and chose to do a freestyle with mad swears to an audience of parents and kids (wasn't aware of it). Grandmaster Flash, who was hosting the event, cut me off and told me (and the audience) that I was what's wrong with hip hop today. I was quickly escorted out to boos and mean words thrown my way. I was 17.
As for advice, understanding who your audience is and what type of venue you're playing helps. Also, having enough material rehearsed and having different versions of your songs/sets catered to a specific audience & venue (for example: small intimate crowd & venue with more laid back versions of your songs) creates more of an personalized experience for an audience.“
“This may be cliché, but perform at a high level no matter who's watching. It can be hard to really turn up at show when your friends and a bartender are the only ones watching, but going through that only prepares you and allows you to appreciate the larger crowds you hopefully play in front of.”
Jasmine McFarlane: What is the worst thing that ever happened to you at a show? Any OMG moments?
Mighty Fox: Technical difficulty is our biggest hurdle. I feel like we are plagued with it. Whether it is an amp that just craps out, the monitors feeding back, or a cable just decides it doesn't want to work that night. We have worked at getting the gear we need, but i’ll be damned if we go more than 3 shows without something going wrong. It’s been a blessing in disguise, however, because it has taught us how to get through a show even when things are going awry. How to “roll with the punches”, if you will, and still put on the best show you can despite the dilemma.
Being a newer band we don’t really have too many OMG moments, in a negative way at least. Our first show as Mighty Fox was definitely a huge positive moment, however. So many friends and fans came out before they had ever seen us. We played at The Beat Kitchen that night and the support was overwhelming. It was one of those shows where we finished playing and couldn’t help but have a huge smile on our faces. It was truly surreal. We can’t even begin to explain the gratitude we have for our friends and fans.
JM: What advice would you give someone who is trying to book their own shows? Is there a self booking band etiquette?
MF: 1. Network. It is the key to making it in this industry. As much as it may suck, who you know is everything. Hangout at shows, bars, whatever. Have a business card or a CD to give away. You never know who you are going to meet. Talk about your band. It can be hard sometimes, but if you show people how proud you are of what you are doing they will want to know about it too.
2. MAKE AN EPK ( Electronic Press Kit ). It surprises me how many bands don’t have one. This is your musical resume and most promoters/bands will not give you the time of day without one. We use Reverbnation for ours. It’s not expensive and easy to make. Get one, please.
3. Be humble. You are not the biggest band in the world until you are the biggest band in the world. Even then there is someone who is better than you. Be on time to shows, thank everyone that helped you. Thank the bands you played with. Be the people that everyone wants to hang out with. When you are someone people want to work with, they will work with you.
JM: Recall your first gig ever. How did it go? Tell me where it was, who was there, the turnout, etc.
MF: I mentioned this in question 1. We played our first show on Feb. 13th, 2013 at The Beat Kitchen. It was an amazing show. The turnout was awesome. We were blown away by the support we had gained through networking and meeting new friends in Chicago. This town has been so good to us. We have met so many amazing people who support Mighty Fox whenever they can. Since that show it’s great so see the new faces, and new friends we can meet or have met as well. Chicago is an amazing city, with an incredible love for music. We love this town so much, the last 2 years have been incredible.
JM: Have you ever crowd surfed? If so, how was that?
MF: Of course! When I was just a wee lad of 17, punk rock was all that I cared about. And with a punk rock show comes moshing and crowd surfing. It is what it is. Kind of a game of trust with a lot of complete strangers. I have definitely seen some stage diving go wrong in my day. Lets just say I don’t do it anymore.
JM: Do you guys think about what you’re going to wear for a show? Is fashion important for your band image?
MF: This is always a hard question to answer because, unfortunately, the music industry is almost as much image as musical talent. Image is very important for a band. These days you have to create a three dimensional aspect to your music to get people’s attention. It takes time to do and we are still working on defining our image as a group. But to be short, yes, we do think about what we wear. If you start thinking about your music as a business that you love and want to build, you think about all aspects of it. What we look like is almost as important as how we sound or the lighting on stage. There is a difference between putting on a show, and just playing some songs on a stage. Every aspect of your show is important.
JM: What is your favorite venue/least favorite venue? Why these?
MF: My favorite venue to play would have to be Lincoln Hall. Every time we play there everyone is extremely helpful, and the sound engineers are incredible- it sounds like you're playing at an arena! They also just put in a new green room which is great.
My least favorite venue to play at would have to be the Subterranean. The sound there is great and the staff is really friendly and accommodating, but those stairs....I once had to carry an 8x10 up the stairs and it has haunted me ever since. What if they turned the stairs into an escalator?!?
JM: What is your best memory performing and why does it stand out to you?
MF: My best memory performing would have to be with Mighty Fox at North Central College in Naperville. We were opening up for Yellowcard so I was a bit nervous at how the crowd would respond. We had tried out some new things in our set so I was anxious to see how they would turn out. The stage lights were rather dark that night and I couldn't see into the crowd until the bridge of our first song. When the lights had flared up, looking out, I could see that every person in the auditorium had gotten out of their seat and rushed to the front of the stage and were clapping and singing along. It was cool to know our music could vibe with that many people that had never heard us before.
JM: What are you doing when you’re not performing?
MF: We all work in the service industry. Collectively we bartend, serve, or manage at restaurants.
After weeks of planning and construction, The Music Garage finally launched our Premium Hourly Studio on May 17, 2014. This spacious rehearsal studio features incredible sound, our best gear, a lounge area and a host of other amenities aimed at the touring musician. The room has already seen Iron and Wine, Wild Belle, Andy Timmons and !!!.
To book an appointment, give us a call at (312) 997-1972 (2 hour minimum).
You can join our community of bands, producers, and Music Industry Professionals in an environment like no other
- Sound Treatments
- Central Air Conditioning & Heat
- 200 Amps of Clean Power
- High Speed Internet
- Extensive Sound Proofing Including 16" Thick Walls
- Covered Loading Dock
- 2 Freight Elevators
- Simple Month-to-Month Lease
- Off street parking in a safe neighborhood
- A hand full of rooms at the Music Garage have been retrofitted with custom booths and suites. These rooms are perfect for recording, mixing, and engineering. Each room is a different size and shape and are in extremely high demand.
Our beautiful 1,000 sq foot tuned room with 350 sq foot attached control room is the ideal space to tune up for a show or get ready for your next big tour.
The space is also the perfect location for your next album release party, small concert, live stream or photography session.
The room features 24-hour lockouts, 3-phase power, easy load-in and a multitude of audio and backline packages. The room accommodates up to 10 individual monitor mixes, side fills, 32-channel console, eq,compressors, gates, effects, and an engineer to ensure that your rehearsal or event all goes according to plan.
In addition to all of those amenities, the Showcase Room provides the following:
Five minutes from downtown
Private security keyed elevator accessibility
Custom-tuned 1,000 square ft live room with wood walls and high ceilings
Adjoining 350 square ft custom tuned control room also available
200 amp 3 phase Camlock service in the Showcase and control rooms. For conventional power there are approximately 50 – 20 amp 110 outlets in the Showcase room.
Experienced and professional staff – We’ll work with you to make sure all your sound and lighting needs are met. Full backline available (even those impossible to find items).
Additional rooms available for production, catering, lounge, tech and storage.
Private off-street bus parking
“We have seen so many facets of the business come and go. When you do find something that makes you step back and say “whoa dude!”, you treat it like your own personal discovery….not to keep it secret, but to share it with your fellow production friends as a hot connection. Such is the case with The Music Garage. I look forward to many years of business and friendship….”
Rocko Reedy, Production Manager, Def Leppard and Journey – Stage Manager, U2
Music Garage is home to Vic's Drum Shop, voted Best New Dealer at NAMM 2012 by The Retailer. Open Mon.-Fri. 12-8pm, Sat. 11-5pm Sun. 12-5pm, the Drum Shop offers just about anything and everything a drummer could want; 1,500 cymbals, 800 models of drum sticks, 3,500 drumheads, 1,000 percussion items, 120 snare drums, and 125 drum kits.
With entire rooms dedicated to gear and a drum repair service to boot, Vic's Drum Shop is a must for every drummer.
For more information, visit vicsdrumshop.com or call 312.770.1200.
Our professional and experienced staff, lead by Victor Salazar, are on-hand to assist with any questions, advice, and concerns during your percussion shopping experience!
Victor Salazar (former General Manager of The Drum Pad in Palatine, IL) has opened shop at Music Garage to build the most dynamic drum community in the country.
For the Music Garage, Salazar’s addition reaffirms its mission and its dedication to Chicago musicians. The Music Garage is committed to providing serious musicians the facilities, tools, and information needed to achieve their goals. Grounded in the tenants of professionalism, convenience, and superior customer service, the Music Garage is happy to work alongside Vic's Drum Shop in its growing community.
For the last 15 years, Victor ran The Drum Pad. His tenure in Palatine, in addition to his 37 years as a drummer, has afforded him the opportunity to become the leading authority on all things drums.
"I've known Vic for 10 years now and I've never met anyone in the drum industry with more knowledge and understanding of the instrument than this man. Every time I come through Chicago I make a point of hooking up with him. He is THE drum equipment guy. His recommendations to me have always been perfect - and he's someone that I think of as a real friend." – Gavin Harrison (Porcupine Tree, King Crimson)
Victor is a professional in the true sense of the word. He has produced over 90 events in the past 16 years with acts such as Mike Portnoy, Terry Bozzio, Stanton Moore, Steve Smith, Jimmy Chamberlin, Thomas Lang, Mike Mangini and Chad Wackerman to name a few.
"I've known Victor since the mid-80s, and I've watched him become a celebrated personality within the industry. Equally comfortable behind a kit or out in the business world, his passion for all things percussion is contagious. His knowledge of music, musicians and gear is vast…What more can I say? A dear friend and a great guy." – Todd Sucherman (Styx)
From hourly rooms to monthly spaces, Music Garage provides a diverse range of rehearsal studios to meet the needs of every artist from beginners to professionals.
All acoustically treated, our studios range in type including private rehearsal studios, shared rooms, engineering suites, drum rooms, and hybrid shares.
Music Garage, in combination with Vic’s Drum Shop, is proud to offer their newest service: Private drum lessons in our state-of-the-art teaching studios!
Our instructors are degreed professionals with diverse backgrounds, and have the ability to teach all levels and styles. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned player, our instructors can help you achieve your goals.
Lessons are $25/half hour without any long term contractual obligations. We are offering lessons six days a week; weekdays 12pm – 8pm and Saturdays 11am – 5pm.
Check out our Instructor Bios!
Please contact Vic’s to sign up: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 312.770.1200.