Is It Possible to Stay Sober on Tour?

Categories: Ask Fan Landers

drunkkid.jpg
Flickr/andrew_mc_d
Are you a musician? Is your group having issues? Ask Fan Landers! Critic Jessica Hopper has played in and managed bands, toured internationally, booked shows, produced records, worked as a publicist and is the author of The Girls' Guide to Rocking, a how-to for teen ladies. She is here to help you stop doing it wrong. Send your problems to her -- confidentiality is assured, unless you want to use your drama as a ticket to Internet microfame.

Dear Fan,

I'm the only sober member in my band, coming up on nine years in recovery. I'm active in AA. It's a big part of my life. I love and need the consistency of meetings, regular prayer and meditation. You know, all the good stuff that makes it work. My bandmates are not sober. The festival scene which we were on all this summer is also not a great place to hang for a sober person. I find myself trapped and unable to get in a good routine with the stuff that keeps me sane and sober. I also look around and think "they are having much more fun than me. If only I were drinking." Now, of course, I don't listen to that voice for more than a second, but it can get lonely in that space. I try and do things like just be a good bandmate. Load all the gear while they are going nuts after gigs. Be of service and all of that. I also try and hit as many meetings as I can on tour. It still gets hard and I wonder how other musicians who are sober do it happily and successfully?

--A Sober Guy

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Songwriting Advice From Successful Songwriters

Categories: Ask Fan Landers

tobylightman.jpg
Screenshot from "Holding Me Down" video.
Toby Lightman, one of our experts.
Are you a musician? Is your group having issues? Ask Fan Landers! Critic Jessica Hopper has played in and managed bands, toured internationally, booked shows, produced records, worked as a publicist and is the author of The Girls' Guide to Rocking, a how-to for teen ladies. She is here to help you stop doing it wrong. Send your problems to her -- confidentiality is assured, unless you want to use your drama as a ticket to Internet microfame.

Hi Fan,

I'm a singer-songwriter who has recorded a full album of original material with a great producer. The feedback I've been getting has been extremely positive. I am not trying to become a recording artist; I really just want to write and have other people record my songs. How does an unknown songwriter go about finding a manager/ publisher with the rolodex to pitch songs to popular artists?

Thanks,
Baxter


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Should Bands Play Corporate-Sponsored Shows?

Categories: Ask Fan Landers

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Flickr/familymwr
Are you a musician? Is your group having issues? Ask Fan Landers! Critic Jessica Hopper has played in and managed bands, toured internationally, booked shows, produced records, worked as a publicist and is the author of The Girls' Guide to Rocking, a how-to for teen ladies. She is here to help you stop doing it wrong. Send your problems to her -- confidentiality is assured, unless you want to use your drama as a ticket to Internet microfame.

Dear Fan,
My band's stuck in the middle of a debate and I hope you can help us. Our band has been around for a few years, and had a pretty run-of-the-mill existence in the scene. We have an audience, but it's not huge. Every once in awhile we get a gig that covers a few cases of beer and a couple months of the band's van insurance. It would be nice to make some money, that part we can all agree on. We got offered a gig playing a sponsored show. Everything about it's different than a regular show -- there's a product car in the "venue," only [redacted] will be served, the show's happening in a place that isn't a club, the other bands are corny and not from our scene. I say we don't need the money that bad. The rest of the band says it's not a big deal and we should do it, especially since it could open the door to doing more of these easy money shows. What say you?
--Kevin

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Our Singer Is an Overconfident Manchild

Categories: Ask Fan Landers

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Paul/Flickr
Are you a musician? Is your group having issues? Ask Fan Landers! Critic Jessica Hopper has played in and managed bands, toured internationally, booked shows, produced records, worked as a publicist and is the author of The Girls' Guide to Rocking, a how-to for teen ladies. She is here to help you stop doing it wrong. Send your problems to her -- confidentiality is assured, unless you want to use your drama as a ticket to Internet microfame.

Dear Fan,
I have been in an up-and-coming band for a little while now. I love playing with them, and we are killing every festival and moving up in the world. We are finding success, good things keep coming and the potential for it to just get bigger and better is all there, so I am left wondering why the fuck the leader of the band forgets to do shit like bring merch to gigs? Or say the name of the band during the gig? Not follow up on great opportunities? Not write a setlist and stands around looking stupid trying to figure out what to play next? Gets super high before gigs and forgets the easiest changes?


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How to Kick a Drunk Out of Your Band

Categories: Ask Fan Landers

drunkband.jpg
Flickr/VACANT FEVER
Critic Jessica Hopper has played in and managed bands, toured internationally, booked shows, produced records, worked as a publicist and is the author of The Girls' Guide to Rocking, a how-to for teen ladies. She is here to help you stop doing it wrong. Send your problems to her -- confidentiality is assured, unless you want to use your drama as a ticket to Internet microfame.

Dear Fan,

Is there a way to kick someone out of your band gently? After a few months with a new synth player, we are all getting tired of his flaky behavior, being late to practice and him being too drunk to load out. He's a nice guy, but we need to find someone else who is as committed and responsible as the rest of the band. I don't want him to think we are judging him or make him feel bad.

The Singing Drummer

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Getting Post-Tour Stench Out of the Band Van

Categories: Ask Fan Landers

van5.jpg
Daniel Means/Flickr
Critic Jessica Hopper has played in and managed bands, toured internationally, booked shows, produced records, worked as a publicist and is the author of The Girls' Guide to Rocking, a how-to for teen ladies. She is here to help you stop doing it wrong. Send your problems to her -- confidentiality is assured, unless you want to use your drama as a ticket to Internet microfame.

Dear Fan,

The new band I joined just got back from a quick tour to Texas and since we got back home the van reeks like hangover sweat and stinky feet. This is my first tour with these guys but it's my van that's our tour vehicle and I can't deal. What do I do? Can I make a rule that everyone has to keep their shoes on?

Sammy

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This Is Why No One Cares About Your Band

Categories: Ask Fan Landers

noonecares.jpg
Flickr/MarkScottAustinTX
Critic Jessica Hopper has played in and managed bands, toured internationally, booked shows, produced records, worked as a publicist and is the author of The Girls' Guide to Rocking, a how-to for teen ladies. She is here to help you stop doing it wrong. Send your problems to her -- confidentiality is assured, unless you want to use your drama as a ticket to Internet microfame.

Hello Fan,
My band has had no luck with press or blog sites. The link I send them is an unpublished page, so the only people with access are people I send the link to. I can track how many plays I get, and I don't get any. So they aren't even making it far enough to dislike us.
This is our second record, and it came out in 2013. I have also been sending our new video, filmed in a beautiful turn-of-the-century Baptist church. The song is about a closet lesbian I dated who was sad and unhappy, hiding who she really was from her Baptist preacher father and very conservative family. I don't include that part of the story in my e-mails -- should I?
Y.S.


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How Do I Stop My Bandmates From Hooking Up?

Categories: Ask Fan Landers

152334967_0ad138b194_z-thumb-550x356.jpg
Flickr/aerolust
Critic Jessica Hopper has played in and managed bands, toured internationally, booked shows, produced records, worked as a publicist and is the author of The Girls' Guide to Rocking, a how-to for teen ladies. She is here to help you stop doing it wrong. Send your problems to her -- confidentiality is assured, unless you want to use your drama as a ticket to Internet microfame.

Dear Fan,
I think the bassist and singer in my band might be "dating" behind our backs. I've run into them late at night at bars, drunk and flirting with each other and making excuses about how they ended up there. I'm against extracurricular activities that might disrupt our band since we are cutting an album and gigging a ton. Do I have a right to tell them to knock it off? It's the hooking up part that seems like it could end poorly. Should I wait it out to see if turns serious? We have put years of hard work into the band already; the bassist is a new addition to the line-up. I don't want anything to screw up our chances of a career.
Corey

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Can Guitar-Driven Bands Still Make Money?

Categories: Ask Fan Landers

geeeeetars.jpg
tumblr.com/user coolbeans11
Still a viable business model?
Critic Jessica Hopper has played in and managed bands, toured internationally, booked shows, produced records, worked as a publicist and is the author of The Girls' Guide to Rocking, a how-to for teen ladies. She is here to help you stop doing it wrong. Send your problems to her -- confidentiality is assured, unless you want to use your drama as a ticket to Internet microfame.

Dear Fan,
I am a fantastic and versatile songwriter, an accomplished guitarist and the best male vocalist I know. I'm not bashful enough to downplay the fact that I've worked, focused and sacrificed my ass off to be able to say that. So it would probably come as no surprise to you when I say that yeah, I want to be THE MAN. I want to play festivals. I want to cut pro-sounding albums and tour. I want to play talk shows, SNL, and the Super Bowl. Not because I think I deserve it, or because I think I'm currently ready, but because I know that I at least have the tools and work habit to get great at it.


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How to Get Your Band Beyond "Local"

Categories: Ask Fan Landers

fanlandersrocket.jpg
Your career! Watch it go.
Steve Jurvetson/Flickr
Critic Jessica Hopper has played in and managed bands, toured internationally, booked shows, produced records, worked as a publicist and is the author of The Girls' Guide to Rocking, a how-to for teen ladies. She is here to help you stop doing it wrong. Send your problems to her -- confidentiality is assured, unless you want to use your drama as a ticket to Internet microfame.

Dear Fan Landers:
We've been a band putting out music for just over two years now and have played a few well-received local gigs, but we're struggling with finding a way to take our band to the next level. We've all come to the conclusion that without some kind of representation -- manager, booking, etc. -- our band's career will probably stagnate at the "let's play a show for 150 people in our hometown" level. Any advice you have on trying to land a connected and dedicated manager, or a booking guy that can actually book us some shows?

Thanks!
Not Famous

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