As our fans know Davin, Pip and I are all big music fans, we have gone to concerts together and they have come to see my bands play too. Davin went to see Bonjovi this weekend and my band played this weekend as well.
I had the pleasure of sitting at a table with David Bryan the keyboard player in Bonjovi and his lovely wife at the comedy club several weeks ago. Dave is a great guy and as he is one my influences he was gracious enough to answer my questions about their songs and his keyboard rig.
As I was saying on the show, Dave and I are around the same age and both still jump behind our keyboard rigs and play with our bands.
Here is the difference, he jumps on a private jet to play in front of eight thousand people in Brazil and I jump in my Honda Element and play in front of twenty five at Dingbatz in Jersey.
But the key thing is that playing in a band is an amazing experience and is radically different than stand up. In stand up it’s me alone and the focus is on me and I need to get a reaction every thirty seconds. In the band I am far from the focal point and only need to get a reaction every three to four minutes.
In stand up if the show starts at eight you arrive between seven-seven thirty and the latest you start may be eight fifteen.
In a band if your slot is at eight you show up at five thirty and then wait as the other band is sound checking, what about your sound check and setting up your gear?? Sorry doors are in five minutes and not enough time, you will have to put your stuff to the side and load your stuff onstage after the band before you is done during the show. We go on at eight right?? No man everything has been pushed back and you guys are going on at nine thirty now.
In stand up the only gear I have is my notorious little red bag for my notes, my recorder and my hack whistle. With the band two keyboards, a stand, an amp, a stand for the amp, my I pad, and my Big red bag. Plus the time to set up the gear.
If you play in a bar band you are the band for the night so you set up your stuff nice and easy before the gig and take it down nice and easy after the gig. When you’re in a rock club opening for a national act there are three opening bands and you are one of them. As soon as the band before you is done it is now survival of the fittest. You have to wait for the band that is done to break down their stuff so you can get your stuff up there and get set up and it never goes smoothly you are stepping over the other band and your own band mates and their stuff and you have move quick to get set up because if you take too long the club will cut your time and thus you have to cut songs from your set list. When you are done the process continues again.
Now, let’s talk about tickets sales; in comedy unless you are a headliner, the stress on selling tickets is really not on you. In both Comedy and Music the clubs do expect you to push the gig on social media and any other method you have, however in music you do a ticket deal. The headline act who was on MTV and where stars thirty years ago can’t fill a small club on a Friday night and that’s where you come in. the club will book you and tell you that you are required to move fifteen to twenty tickets from anywhere from fifteen to thirty dollars apiece and if you don’t sell them in many cases you have to pay for what you can’t sell.
You take a gamble and sometimes you lose big time. Six years ago the band I was in opened up for Ace Frehley from Kiss it was a big ticket outlay but I agreed as Ace was an idol of my two guitar players and the gig was on a Friday and we figured we can move tickets. The original club closed overnight and the show was moved thirty miles away to a Sunday night and we lost our shirts.
So why do I do this?? Because it’s one of the things that I love and always wanted to do, with all the aggravating things there have been some incredible moments and I have not regretted having the band and then comedy regulate my life since I was sixteen.
Check out my Face book page for upcoming shows and come on out and lets rock.