By: Ben Johnson
My co-Bozo Kelly McClure is a music publicist, and not wanting to get her fired constitutes probably 90% of the stuff I might want to post here about the world of music but don’t. This is not actually a problem. Not saying things about the world of music is often what the world of music needs. And what am I gonna say about music? Something? No way. Who cares what I think. I’m just some guy. I listen to music just like everybody. Big deal.
But: Kelly posted this thing on her social media that’s 30 tips for getting press for your band, and I read it, and it’s wrong. So, you know, I have a duty to say something. Because.
Here are some even more secreter secret tips for getting press for your shitty band.
1. Try not to suck.
This is the one everybody messes up the most. At any given time in the history of the earth there has only ever been anywhere from three to eight current bands that don’t suck. Be one of those bands. If you’re not one of those bands, consider not being a band. If you really can’t stop yourself from being a band, try your hardest to not suck. Like practice a lot, or don’t practice and concentrate on being more fun. Maybe you could increase the volume and intensity of the music you are making, or try writing a song about something that doesn’t suck. Hint: all of your feelings about everything suck. By trying not to suck, you distinguish yourself from other bands because most bands don’t even TRY not to suck.
2. Are you sucking?
How do you know if you suck, though? Here’s a good one: if you’re sitting around working on a new song with your band and you’re consciously, even vocally discussing ways you can make the song more appealing to somebody who might want to put that song in a Volvo commercial. That’s just one example of a way to suck a lot. There are others. Talking about them too hard might get Kelly fired though. Think about how actually interested you are in getting more press for you band, though. Think about why you are interested in that. Think about it hard. Maybe you could get a fucking job, and use the money from that job to pay a therapist to help you figure out why you need the approval of strangers so much (it’s because of your dad, not because you’re the next evolution of Iggy Pop and nobody knows it yet).
3. Maybe you are sucking.
If you are currently arguing about what clothes you should or should not all wear. That’s another one. If somebody in your band wants to wear shorts, you don’t have a big fucking discussion about it, you just kick that person out of the band and replace them with somebody who doesn’t suck. No discussion necessary. For example. Or if your lead singer has this concept and somebody’s making uniforms, and you think it sucks too much and is too embarrassing to participate in, quit the band. If you don’t think your lead singer’s uniform idea sucks a quit-the-band amount, wear the uniform thing and shut up about it. You didn’t think of the uniform thing, it wasn’t your idea, so you don’t need to make it your idea by telling everybody your opinion about it before you put the uniform on. You can be a band that dresses up like cave men and dinosaurs if you want. But bands who have conversations longer than one minute about what they should wear or what their “look” should be are bands in mid-suck.
4. There are ways to know if you suck.
Let’s say you play a gig. Do people other than you seem like they are having any fun whatsoever while you are playing? If not, probably you suck. “Fun” can even include graduate students nodding like they agree with your thesis, but if so your band probably sucks at sucking more so than you just don’t suck at all.
5. Maybe, actually, you don’t suck enough.
That thing Kelly posted talks about how unprofessional it is to show up in person to the offices of a publication that you want to get press from. It is a bad idea, says the thing. I agree with this. What makes it a bad idea is the execution, though. It is a very bad idea to show up at the offices of a music publication and politely wait around to meet with somebody who can help your music career. It is a very good idea to show up at the offices of a music publication and make wild nonsensical demands until the police escort you out. Feel free to name drop at an insane volume, act abusively, and engage in the use of illicit substances, and commit several other felonies and misdemeanors. Do not allow your sense of purpose to be deflated by the slumping, dejected body language of whatever poor intern was assigned to watch the front desk. You need to be yelling things like “I WANT YOU TO GO IN THERE AND TELL THAT SLIMESUCKER JANN WENNER THAT GROOVE TUBE [note: your actual band’s name is of course not “Groove Tube”] IS HERE TO DESTROY MUSIC IN THE YEAR 2014. MATTER OF FACT, WE’LL TELL HIM OURSELVES.” Then you go in and play monkey in the middle with some unfortunate geek’s yoga ball while climbing the cubicle walls and screaming “ALRIGHT, LISTEN UP, THIS IS A PARTY, I WANNA SEE DICKS IN THE AIR!!!” Remember: your band probably sucks, but working at some shitty music rag also sucks. Sure, everybody there is under a lot of “pressure” to meet “deadlines,” but not really. It’s not like somebody’s got their parents tied to a bunch of sticks of dynamite in the next room or anything. And sure, you’ll get arrested for this, but you’ll also get press. How serious are you about getting press? Pussy Riot serious? There is no way Pussy Riot isn’t, musically speaking, a shitty band. And now look at them. International celebrities with the ear of the world. That could be you.
6. Or hire a publicist who will do that for you so you don’t have to.
Kelly will probably do that. Kelly, would you do that? You should list “full scale irrational media harassment service” as a premium option. Actually, fuck Kelly. Any band with $10,000 plus bail money, contact me. I will go to the offices of a publication of your choice and holler a bunch of insensible garbage until physically removed from the premises. Then I will tell everybody in a professionally-formatted press release why I did it, either admitting to a classic “put on” by your band, or to a “put on” by another rival band, or else, if the check bounces, I will continue as my own minor internet-level public entity, “Groove Tube’s Number One Fan.”
7. Name your band “Groove Tube.”
There needs to be a band called Groove Tube that is famous. Come on. Groove Tube. Name your band Groove Tube and put out an album as Groove Tube, and I will do all the above for free. I care that much about publicity.