5 January 2013

Dressing room Etiquette + gig day
Bands should never share their dressing rooms, however cavernous they may be. We never do.
This probably comes across real bad, like, proper prima-donna stuff - but it is, as you will see, quite the opposite.
We don't do it so we can spend the day staring at our pathetic figurines in the mirror, thinking; yep, I'm cool - but, so we can deliver the best possible gig, every time.
Some bands love having a big entourage around and carry along an assortment of hangers-on in tow, like a dysfunctional circus troupe.
I've always hated that, and like most decent, cool bands we've met along the way, we try to keep our gig-days self-contained, reserved only for musicians and crew. 
After the gig, that's a whole different party game altogether, where friends, lovers, strangers of all kinds and anyone holding a napkin and a pen is totally welcomed to join the post-gig party. But never before the gig.
Bands are funny little entities, and what we've found from experience is that keeping ourselves to ourselves tends to deliver better gigs, as the slightest distraction affects how the pack behaves, interacts and the flow of the evening.
In the past we used to dread the times our manager, or PR person would turn up earlier and hang around in the dressing room all day. 
They meant well, of course, but part of the problem is that we're reasonably nice people, and whenever there's someone else around, we can't help but try to be a good-host, chat away, entertain - so, by the time you get up onstage to do what you're there to do, some of your precious energy has already been burnt, your voice is a bit tired and you can't quite remember where your tuner is. Not good.
Pre-gig time can also be the band's last-hope-saloon to change arrangements or setlist, for no matter how many bleedin' rehearsals you've had, there's always an extra verse to be added, a chorus to be chopped.
There's usually also so much new information to be digested and organised on the day, that the less different it rolls from a rehearsal, the better.
So - my advice to bands is this:
  • keep your dressing-rooms to yourselves and crew only - it's a sacred space for focus, prepping and bonding.
  • sometimes there may be 2/3 bands on the bill, and only 1 dressing-room available: in this case, try to allocate areas, corridors, loos/wherever for each band - so everyone can have their own haven.
  • friends, lovers and music biz people on the guestlist always want to say hello, wish you good luck before the gig:  don't need to, we know you wish us well. Instead, please come after the gig, preferably holding a cold drink, ready to give us a big hug. That will be nice. 
  • But try to wait a good 15 minutes before you show up, give the poor sods a chance to re-apply mascara, find tic-tacs etc.
  • Lastly: dear bands, please try NOT to leave a shitty mess behind you, like you're trying to say: "fuck the government, fuck my family, fuck everyone. I'm in a rock'n'roll band now - I don't need to clean after meself. wayhey" -
    Just remember: the only person you're gonna be pissing off is the venue cleaner, who, by all accounts, probably already has plenty of reasons to be pissed-off about, right?
  • (down drugstore memory lane: Daron used to be very good at organising the dressing room, both before and after the gig: bottles of water to the left, used glasses to the right, everything perfectly aligned and colour coordinated - I now try to carry his mantle and make sure the only thing we leave behind are hopefully good memories...)
There - now you know how to behave like a proper band on gig day.
As for how to misbehave and be totally improper - I would not know a thing about that - honestly. x x x


Jimmy Ckarksville said...

Jack Nicholson doesn't count!

isabel monteiro said...

obvsl - our TM keeps a handy little list of carte blanche names, like JackN, Johnny Cash, Jason Donovan, Jimmy Clarksville etc - and thats only the 'Js'... x