Rock Cellar Magazine is proud to introduce a new category called The Bottom Line – featuring anecdotes and musings from Bill Cinque, seasoned music industry vet and author of The Amazing Adventures of a Marginally Successful Musician, available now in our Online Store…
You poor thing, you really think your band sounded great.
Tsk tsk… Wait a minute. I wasn’t even at your show last night. In fact, this page was written on August 27, 2016. I couldn’t possibly know what transpired at your gig a mere 12 hours ago.
Am I psychic? Do I own a time machine? Am I the smartest man in the world?
The answers are no, no and, well, I like to think so.
Sorry, Ace. It’s time you took a lesson in Musical Cryptography and Colloquial Decipherability. Your first assignment is to figure out what you just read…take a moment…ok, let’s proceed.
I will do my best to interpret some of the most common language you will hear directly after you walk off the bandstand. As with all matters in this book, I will do my level best to handle this with the delicacy it deserves.
SOUNDED GREAT OUT FRONT = you sucked
THE BASS PLAYER WAS SOLID = he sucked
THE MATERIAL IS REALLY COMMERCIAL = it sucks
GREAT STAGE PRESENCE = don’t sing
THE CHICK SINGER IS AWESOME = I want to have sex with the chick singer.
Just for fun, read that again out loud and really fast. It’s hysterical.
Be realistic. All your friends are trying to be supportive. They know how excited you are about your new band. They are truly happy for you. They drove 20 miles in the rain and paid $14 for cheese fries and a glass of something brown just to give you an audience. You come running out of the foot lights and say, “So, what did you think? Did you like that last tune? Don’t you love the new drummer? You know you can tell me what you really think.”
Right about now is the moment of truth. Your college roommate, Uncle Tad and J.J. from Shipping & Receiving all look you right in the eye and start using words like “amazing” and “awesome.” Then, as if scripted, comes a stream of the previously mentioned overused phrases.
Hey, you had it coming.
Asking these people how they liked the show is similar to your girlfriend asking you if she looks fat in that skirt. The truth? You want the truth? Every Jack Nicholson fan knows the next line. No one wants to crush you. No one has the heart.
Bad shows are going to happen. There will be any number of reasons for a bad show. Sometimes it’s the soundman. Sometimes it’s technical problems. Every once in awhile, you have to face the fact that the band just wasn’t up to the task.
In reality, the good shows will far outnumber the bad. You have to learn from the mistakes. You have to trust your ears and instincts. Be analytical. Take the time to record or video several of your shows. Dissect the set. Be prepared to take some criticism.
Choose your words carefully when critiquing your band mates. Be open to making the appropriate changes. Be willing to rehearse these changes. You can’t always rely on your close circle of friends to tell you how well you’re doing.