Tuesday, September 26, 2017
Dave Carlock - A Day In The Life
WAYS TO BLOW MUSICAL OPPORTUNITIES
Originally Posted: 07-12-2013 8:00 PM
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Saying you want to live your musical dreams and making the effort to give it a shot are two entirely different things. Particularly in the Southwest Michigan area, I hear a lotta talk and see almost no action. I’m not sure what it is about the area that breeds a culture of “name your dreams then run and hide”, but it’s pretty common. Almost as common as “don’t have any dreams at all”, which I think is a shame.

For the biggest part, I’ve noticed that musicians aren’t serious about being great and don’t take the time to develop themselves. Sometimes I meet someone local who has some talent but could use some molding. That person isn’t a pro by any means, but just good enough to try throwing some opportunities their way. So why does it fall apart? Here’s a few reasons:

1) Not showing up. I know, I know, I must be joking, right? Musicians are known to be the most reliable, rock solid, consistent members of any community! What’s the only thing they love more than a stiff shot and beer, hit off the pipe, or jumping when their significant others bark? Keeping their commitments!

Sorry, but no shows really do happen. And when someone pulls a no call/no show on me, they’re history. After all, studio work is still work and the only way to make any musical dream happen is to SHOW UP. A no call/no show affects my productivity, income, and stress level. In other words, working with a no call/no show person isn’t worth it. I’ll play it myself. I don’t hire people because I have to, I hire them because I want to.

I understand that some members of the creative community have issues with rides. You don’t have to have a car to be able to offer something, but you do need to make sure you can get to work without burdening your employer for a ride. No one wants to say no, when you ask, but the producer has a lot of other things to do.

2) Not calling when you’ll be late. It’s all about communication. If you’re going to be really late, call asap to let the producer know. If you’re just going to be a few minutes late or are simply caught in traffic, call right when they are expecting you to show so you can give them the best ETA. For example, if they expect you at 10am, call right at 10am if you’re only a few minutes away. The unpredictability of traffic makes a 30-minute in-advance call not very useful. This type of considerate communication helps soften the producer’s frustration when you’re behind and shows you’re thinking as a team player.

3) Not returning telephone calls regarding music opportunities. Let me make a confession. This really pisses me off. If you are a singer or musician, and a producer, promoter, or other music business person calls you, it’s about an opportunity, even if you think it’s not. And when I call a singer who knows who I am for a session, and they can’t be bothered to get back to me even after repeated phone calls, I write them off. Life’s too short. I can give their money to someone else who thrilled to work with professionals, be able to participate in the creation of new music, and likes to get some dollars for what should be having fun. To sum it up in one word: NEXT!

Some people have the mistaken idea that singers just open their mouths or bands play a song in a dingy basement and the heavens suddenly part because THEY ARE SO INCREDIBLE. Trust me, I can count the number of times I’ve experienced that from an unsigned artist on one hand. The reality is, a good music producer is going to save you from yourself with such tact you won’t even know you sucked in that basement because he saw promise in you and saw how he could strengthen you through collaboration. It ain’t about snapping a snapshot of your incredible awesomeness baby, it’s a long way from that dingy basement till you’re ready to have a dinner with a record label and sweat it out in the back of a van traveling from show to show.

Artists also need to realize that when a producer suggests something, you probably ought to take their advice. Their concern isn’t the bassist’s long term insecurities or the opinion of the guitarist’s spouse. A producer only want the band or singer to be great so you can get outside of your small town and build fanbase.

In the entertainment business, it’s all about who you know. Even if you never end up working with them, the knowledge, experience and ability of a music producer can connect you with people from their contact list, if they think you’ve got what it takes and if they think you’re a decent person who remembers the people who’ve helped you. And who knows, you might even get a new friend who could call you at 11pm to spend an hour of your time contributing to a hit record. Things could be worse! So return calls, show up, and communicate! Someone may have been believing in you, you numbskull!

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Dave Carlock
DAVE CARLOCK -
A DAY IN THE LIFE
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