Create A Buzz: If You Build It They Will Come!


Building a music career is hard work. Every day, month and year you repeat the same grind: build the band, write the songs, record the songs, rehearse the songs, perform the songs, promote the band, advertise the band, solicit industry, publicize to the press, build the website, create the message boards, forums, and chat rooms, assemble the street team…it goes on and on until you think your head will surely explode from the mountains of menial tasks that face you, the unsigned artist, each day.


Still, after putting in all of that work a band will hit dry spells, slow times and glass ceilings. Some days, your already slow move forward, seems to retard even further. Sometimes it feels as though you’ve peaked and will never advance. There are even days you want to blow off all of this tedious monotony, get a job in the electronics department at Target, and call it a day!


But even as your face is smushed up against the glass ceiling of a never-changing cycle of music business grunt work, hope is just over the horizon. See, there is something that you never stopped to think about all the while you were chasing the elusive brass ring of music stardom…all of this time, you were in control. If opportunities have stopped coming your way, then make your own. If you want to be a rockstar, develop a situation you can star in and rock. You have the power and the ability to be anything and everything you have ever wanted to be if you learn to simply create your own buzz.


The following are a few tips that may help you to get started creating your own buzz in order to push past the obstacles and keeping moving down the Yellow Brick Road of musical superstardom:


1.) Create Your Own Gigs—Tired of whining that you never get the gigs you want? You know: good clubs, weekend shows, prime slots, longer sets, decent pay, good bands on the bill, press attending, industry confirming and most importantly, your band headlining. It’s ridiculous to waste time complaining, when you could be booking, planning, promoting and playing your dreams gigs right now. Sure it will be a lot of time invested and it may mean putting smaller gigs on hold for awhile in order to promote one giant show, but the payoffs will inevitably outweigh the work…and the best part is, it’s all about you. You are the promoter. You are the stars of the night. You pick the date, the times, the bands. You invite the press and the industry. Within a month or two, you could be playing the types of gigs you have always wanted, and all the while getting press, making money, collecting names for your mailing list and building hype for your band that even the stodgiest industry can take notice of.


2.) Join The Ranks Of The Press And/Or The Industry—You know what they say…if you can’t beat them, join them. If you want to get industry or press to notice you and your band, what better way than to become a member of the industry or press. Pick up a gig writing for a local magazine and review your friends’ bands and the shows you promote. Intern at a record label and meet friends in the industry to invite to your gigs. Start a management/promotion company and book your band and your friends’ bands to become better acquainted with clubs and their booking agents. You’ll find it will be much easier to deal with industry people when they consider you more of a peer and not just another band asking for help.


3.) Numbers, Numbers, Numbers—It may sound ridiculous but in the entertainment industry (as in any business), your perceived worth is tracked by your numbers. Web posters, gig patrons and listeners of your music all translate to numbers and the big ones impress fans and industry alike. If you want club bookers, managers, magazine editors and A&R to notice you then make sure your numbers are up. Web hits, fan group members, online community friends and people on your personal mailing list all add up to your bankability as a band so keep driving those numbers up and watch the doors swing open wide for you.


4.) Teach, Volunteer, Take Classes, Join Groups—If you want to meet new people, gain different opportunities, and find fresh ways to obtain your goals, then get out where people are doing what you seek and mingle. If you play and instrument, start teaching and get to know the bands of your students. If you see big events happening in your town, volunteer to work them and get to know the management, talent and audience alike. Take classes and join music organizations not only to learn but to network. There is a whole world of entertainment people out there. Get to know some of them and make those folks a part of your band’s promotional circle.


By following these tips and others soon you will find that your band is enjoying the opportunities and buzz you were only dreaming of before. Best of all, you’re now in charge of your own career and musical destiny; creating profitable situations for yourself. You are playing good shows and coming home with money in your pocket. You are selling your own product to pay for band expenses. You are filling your press kit with reviews, interviews and mentions of your band. You are meeting people and building your mailing list. You are establishing your reputation as an important member of the artistic community. No longer waiting to be thrown a chance by some industry member, you have taken command of your musical destiny and cast yourself as the star of your own show. Now, don’t you feel better?



Sheena Metal is a radio host, producer, promoter, music supervisor, consultant, columnist, journalist and musician. Her syndicated radio program, Music Highway Radio, airs on over 1,000 affiliates to more than 126 million listeners. Her musicians’ assistance program, Music Highway, boasts over 10,000 members. She currently promotes numerous live shows weekly in the Los Angeles Area, where she resides. For more info:

Leave Your Drama At Home: More Rockin’ And Less Squawkin’!

No matter how we, as human beings, live our lives…drama happens. And the average musician has more drama than the crazy cat lady down the block has bags of used litter on her porch. At every turn, your average wannabe rockstar has a crazy squeeze, a crazier ex, a harem of would-be lovers, and a gaggle of insane stalkers. Then there’s the band drama, manager drama, club drama, fan drama, gear drama, and let’s not even get started on the online drama potential. Before you know it, your band makes "Desperate Housewives" look like 60 Minutes.

Certainly, no one ever said that music was going to be a safe, secure and solid profession to get into. Any industry that pays buckets of money to young, pretty people for jumping around and showing off is bound to inspire zaniness to some degree or another. And the creative process often brings with it a certain amount of tortured genius that fuels the seeds of drama like miracle grow on weeds. Plus, there are more than twenty million musicians around the world that are clamoring for maybe a thousand record deals like contestants on "Survivor" running obstacles courses for a single meager chicken wing. If there was a country built on drama, a musician would be its queen.

However, as much as the music biz is filled with glitz and glamour and the stuff that tabloid headlines are made of, it is also a business. And if there’s one thing you don’t want in the middle of your business, it’s drama. There’s a reason why doctors don’t fight over dying patients about their golf scores, pilots don’t announce to a plane full of passengers that they’ve been dating the stewardess, and the chef doesn’t come to tell you he forgot to wash his hands before he cooked your four-star meal…drama does not belong in business. Whether you’re aspiring to get a record deal or searching for a cure for cancer, leave your drama at home!

The following are a few tips that will help you to navigate the gossip and erratic turbulence of life in the music industry without becoming a slave to your own drama:

1.) Don’t Let The Internet Suck You In—Every since the invention of the internet, there’s been more drama in cyberspace than at a convention for bipolar drag queens. It’s easy to gossip and backbite while you can stay anonymous, so the internet has becoming a breeding ground for anyone and everyone with an agenda, an out-of-control jealousy problem, an axe to grind, or an unbelievable ego. Angry, upset, small-minded people with inferiority complexes like size of Shamu will use the internet to poke at your band with a cyber stick. As hard as it may be, you need to learn to let it all roll off your back. As long as they’re posting about you, it means they’re listening. Removing their inflammatory posts, or replying with similar negativity, feeds the drama until your entire message board is about the trouble-maker on your web site and not your music. What if a potential magazine reviewer or an interested label rep is perusing your page with interest only to find more info about your fight with some internet psycho than about your band? It’s not worth risking a loss of opportunity to engage in drama.

2.) Drama Doesn’t Belong At Your Gigs—When you’re at a show, your goal is to make music, engage the audience, sell CDs, and win the club over so that you can play there again and again. People make room in their schedules, pay for gas, and fork out cash for a cover charge and bar priced drinks, just to hear you play your songs for them. They want to be entertained; to get away from the pressures of their real lives and escape into the safety and excitement of your music and lyrics. What they don’t need is more drama at your gigs then they get from their office co-workers, their wacky neighbors, and bully at their kids’ school combined. Whatever problems you’re having in your personal and professional life, keep it away from your fans and your industry contacts or they’ll start to remember your shows more for the drama than for the music.

3.) Your Manager Is Not Your Therapist—Although a manager’s professional duties make them almost like the band’s parent, don’t cry to mommy every time the drummer calls you a name or your girlfriend decides she wants to play the field. There is too much music industry drama that your manager has to deal with every day, to add to his/her troubles by piling a heap of your personal woes on top of his/her already overburdened shoulders. If a club owner stiffs you at the door, tell your manager. If another band records one of your songs without permission, tell your manager. If your wife compulsively flashes her breasts at your shows, send her to a therapist, but leave your manager out of it.

4.) Take The Crazymakers Off Your Mailing List—A lot of damage control can be done simply by eliminating from your mailings the nuts that show up and bring their own boatload of drama. If you know that your ex has never gotten over you, that she’s off her meds and that she likes to show up and start swinging at every girl she thinks is catching your eye…why would you invite he to your shows? Comb your address book with a big, black sharpie pen and ink out the stalkers, crazies, attention-getters, and overblown drunkards that will turn each and every one of your gigs into a three-ring circus of drama that you’re forced to ringmaster from the stage during your set.

Once you remove the drama from your musical career, you’ll find that your gigs go smoother, your website is a more positive place for fans to hang in cyber space, and the industry is less wary about getting behind what you’re doing. It may seem silly, but too much drama can often be a warning sign that something is really wrong with a band and you may find that industry types will become gun shy around your band if they’re worried that your reputation as drama queen will be more trouble than it’s worth. Working in the music business is hard enough. Don’t give anybody any reason not to work with you. Be smart. Leave your drama at home and show the industry that your music is what’s most important to you and your band.


Sheena Metal is a radio host, producer, promoter, music supervisor, consultant, columnist, journalist and musician. Her syndicated radio program, Music Highway Radio, airs on over 2,400 affiliates to more than 126 million listeners. Her musicians’ assistance program, Music Highway, boasts over 10,000 members. She currently promotes numerous live shows weekly in the Los Angeles Area, where she resides. For more info:

Get Up, Get On And Get Off: The Early Bird Catches The Record Deal!

Imagine this…you’re in the local hospital’s pre-op ward waiting for the removal of your pesky rupturing appendix. You wait and wait in side splitting agony while your doctor chats it up with the nurses, gathering phone numbers from the hot ones. After what seems forever, he gets you prepped and begins the surgery. What should have been a 20-minute procedure turns into two hours. He cracks jokes and talks about his cherry red Ferrari, while you’re lying unconscious with your abdomen split open. Finally, you’re sewn up and ready for recovery but super surgeon and his crack anesthesiologist are having a heated discussion about the science of their golf games and have seeming forgotten you’re passed out underneath them with tubes stuck in every orifice. If this were your surgery experience, you’d freak out, sue the hospital and your hot-shot doc would wind up cleaning bedpans at the state convalescent hospital.


Sadly, like our skirt-chasing doctor, many musicians think that the consequences of their actions are immaterial and treat their audience with the same lackadaisical disregard that the before-mentioned doctor treated his poor patient with. These selfish creative types show up to gigs late, set up at their own leisure (roughly the same pace that a 100 year-old tortoise would run the Boston marathon), play as long of a set as they please (regardless of their designated set time) and break down/clear the stage at their own whim with little or no regard to the club’s schedule.


However, if you asked any of these artists, they would say that they consider music to be their career…and shouldn’t a career be treated with the same importance and professionalism whether you’re a budding rockstar or an established surgeon? It should, but often it’s not and bands then find their reputations are tarnished with labels like: slow, lazy, and irresponsible simply because they seem unable to get their show on (and off) in a timely manner. Get branded as a slovenly flake and watch the music industry folks jump ship faster than the rich ladies on the Titanic.


The following are a few tips that will help you to get up, get on and get off in a timely, professional manner that will impress the powers-that-be and leave you fans wanting more:


1.) Have Everything Set Up Before You Set Up—It’s not like you just found out you were playing five minutes before. Gigs are booked days, weeks or months in advance so there’s no reason not to be well informed and well equipped prior to your arrival and set up. Guitars and drums should be tuned, drum kits and guitar pedals set up and dialed in, and song lists printed and distributed so that set up time is minimal. Once the stage is free, a professional band will simply haul their gear onstage, plug it in, and do a few last minute tweaks before they’re ready to rock and roll. The ancient tortoise rockers, however, will plunk the road cases down on the stage and then force friends, fans and industry alike twiddle their musical thumbs in anticipation while each piece of gear is pulled out, unwrapped, wiped off, place into position and screwed in slowly but surely. Truthfully, it’s about as interesting as watching paint dry without the guilty pleasure of getting high off the fumes.

2.) Sound Check/Line Check Is Not A Mini Concert—You may view your sound check as the concert before the concert but you’re not making any friends dragging out your sound check to an hour and a half while bands are lined up out the door waiting to set up their own gear and check their sound. Same goes for the line check. You may be surprised to know that audiences aren’t all that excited to sit and listen to you work out your live sound in front of their eyes and on their time. Save the lengthy tune-up and checking for the Making Of The Band video. Get your levels quick and get to rockin’!

3.) Plan Out Your Set Time Well Before Your Set—The key to a tight set is the prep work that goes on before the night of the gig. Many artists believe that the longer they’re onstage the more the audience gets revved up, but there is something to be said about "too much of a good thing." Plan out your set, time it and then time it again and make sure that it comes in a few minutes under your designated set list time. Little passive aggressive tricks like cramming in two or three extra songs at the end of the set or coaxing your friends into screaming for an encore only serves to enrage your sound man and confuse your crowd and extensive tuning and chatting amongst yourselves and audience members in between songs is just plain tedious. The tighter your set is the more professional it sounds to the ears of your audience and the happier you’ll make your bookers, promoters and club owners.

4.) Tear Down Should Be The Quickest Of All—If you thought your set up was quick, your band’s tear down should be lightning fast in comparison. So much time is wasted every night at a music venue as musicians dawdle after their sets, drinking and chatting with friends, while their gear lies piled up onstage, preventing the next artists from getting set up. Pick up your instruments, haul them of stage, and take them outside or into the green room. There you can wrap your gear up, clean it off, and pack it away into cases and into your cars. Then, it’s time to toss back a few beers and gab with the masses until closing time, without interrupting the flow of the evening.


Imagine this…you’re in a local club waiting to check out an act your label has sent you to scout. You wait and wait, growing more bored and more drunk while the band you’ve been sent to see chats it up with the women in the room, giving t-shirts and CDs to the really hot ones. After what seems like forever, the band takes the stage and begins their set. What should have been a 30-minute showcase turns into an hour or more as the band plays a loose set, stopping often to tune, complain about the sound, yell to the bartender for drinks and crack jokes with select audience members; while you sit unimpressed trying to get a feel for the band’s style. Finally, their set ends and you wait to approach the band on behalf of your label but these super rockstars are still onstage wrapping up endless cords and wiping down each piece of gear while they chat with each other about how much their set rocked. If this were your A&R experience, you’d give up waiting to speak with these lazy musicians, go back to your label and tell them to forget about this particular band and these hot-shot rockstars will wind up working at Starbuck’s until they go on Social Security. This doesn’t have to happen to you. Learn to get up, get on and get off. You’ll soon have the reputation as an easy-to-work-with, professional, reliable band. After all, you never know who might be in the audience to see you on any given night.



Sheena Metal is a radio host, producer, promoter, music supervisor, consultant, columnist, journalist and musician. Her syndicated radio program, Music Highway Radio, airs on over 2,400 affiliates to more than 126 million listeners. Her musicians’ assistance program, Music Highway, boasts over 10,000 members. She currently promotes numerous live shows weekly in the Los Angeles Area, where she resides. For more info:

Fan Etiquette: Are The People Who Love Your Music Ruining Your Band’s Reputation?

They’re generous, they’re consistent, they’re giving…and most of all…they love your music. They’re your fans and they come to every one of your live shows, fork out money for cover charges, CDs and t-shirts, bring your band gifts, throw you house parties, and spread the word of your music on the internet and beyond. Your fans are the single most important ingredient to the success of your band. Without them, you’d be rocking out in your Aunt’s basement to an audience of none…well, maybe her cat.

But there can be a dark side to the hoards of happy humans drunk on your future #1 hits. Sometimes the folks barreling in to see you play, or flooding your websites with their online presence are causing more harm than good to the reputation of your band. Rude behavior, message board flaming, compulsive sticker-ing and flyer-ing, may all seem like helping to your flock of followers but to club owners, industry and those newly interested in your music, they may seem like trouble-makers, belligerents and vandals.

It may be simply a case of over-exuberant fan zeal. Your fans think they’re preaching the gospel of your band to anyone with eyes and ears: by dropping your postcards all over town like a bird with irritable bowel syndrome, by filling up strangers email in-boxes with bulky MP3s and HTML photo-heavy notices about how much you rock, and by yelling your band’s name at the top of their lungs during another band’s set like a parrot with Turret’s Syndrome. These unsolicited over-promotions…albeit well-intentioned…are hard for the average person to separate from your band’s own promotional efforts and may not be appreciated in the way they were intended. On the other hand, it may be that your fans are so revved up by the love of your music that they’ve become arrogant, aggressive and just plain out of control in any arena (or cyber place) your band inhabits. At any rate, you may find that you need to dial these folks back a bit to create a environment that is fan-friendly without comprising your band’s opportunities.

The following are a few tips that will help you to guide your supporters in their quest to be adamant fans without allowing them to turn into an obnoxious, rowdy, gang of rabid baboons.

1.) Communicate With Your Fans—A lot of problems can be eliminated by simply setting up a line of communication between your band members and your fans. For instance, if you know that a particular club forbids setting around flyers, postcards or other promo materials, post it on your website with the upcoming show info-blast. Set guidelines for your band and for each individual show and let your fans know that they need to follow these simple rules or they’re no longer permitted to attend live gigs and to post on your cyber message boards. A little information can go a long way and your fans will be happy that you let them know what they can and can’t do at any particular show.

2.) Learn From Experience—Sad but true, often the best way to learn what’s not appropriate at shows is for inappropriate things to happen. When fans begin their overblown behaviors, benign-intentioned or not, you will learn by the reaction of the clubs, the industry and your other fans what’s okay and what’s not going to fly. A good example is this…placing bumper stickers on club walls may be encouraged at some places but forbidden at others. The first time you get a call from a red-faced bar owner screeching through clenched teeth that his men’s room walls have to be repainted, you’ll know that it’s time to email your fan base and let them know to leave their reserve of band stickers at home when the band plays that club again. In another example, it may not occur to your band that certain fans are behaving rudely to club personnel or to your other fans, at your shows, until someone makes you aware of it. At that time, you may need to email your naughty fans and let them know that certain bad attitudes are unacceptable at shows, and on your message boards, and that fans who can’t be pleasant will not be invited back.

3.) Friends And Family Are No Exception—As awful as it sounds, often times a band’s family and friends are the most out of control and obnoxious at shows…and on the web. Maybe it’s because they’re more emotionally invested in the band and its members, or maybe because the musicians forget to remind their loved one about fan etiquette. You and your bandmates may think it’s a given, but some of the biggest jerks, idiots, and rebel rousers at gigs are your loved ones. It doesn’t matter it’s the bass player’s ten year-old brother to the drummer’s 60 year-old dad, you don’t want to be banned from your favorite showcase venue because granny kicked the bouncer in the shin. Don’t be afraid to sit your friends/family down and spell out the live show/internet rules for your band. Sometimes you can’t control the fans you don’t know, which makes it all the more important than ever to control the fans you do.

4.) Lay Down The Law—Once you become aware of the "problem" fans, it’s time to explain to them what they can and cannot do at your gigs and on your website. Before banning anyone from visiting the band’s shows and sites, try sending out a polite, but firm, email with some specific guidelines and a serious warning that the next step will be cutting these bad elements out of the band’s loop. It’s important to try not to make the email too harsh, as it may insight further acting up. So, just deliver the message in a casual way, explaining that their actions are hurting and not helping the band…a fact that they honestly may not realize. Honestly, you may need to give it some backbone so that your jerky fans really understand that their jig is up. If you’re having trouble with someone you know well…a particular friend or family member…a phone call or face-to-face meeting might better do the trick. No matter how the message is executed, it’s important to let your fans know that certain behaviors will not be tolerated by the band under any circumstance. Most fans would rather shape up that be cut out of all of the fun, and the band’s reputation will be safe from troublesome followers for the time being.

It’s true that fans are a band’s biggest asset. But left uncontrolled they can also be the biggest liability as your band takes on the responsibility and reputation for the antics that its fans pull at live shows and on websites. Like crazed leprechauns, full of mischief, each fan’s silly stunts and nasty attitude problems will eat away at your band’s good name with tiny bites…like a school of piranha in a stream eating a full sized goat down to the bone in seconds…until your band is left, a former shell of itself, wandering your town trying to figure out why you can’t get booked and no one visits your website. It’s not a good sign when you see a tumbleweed blow through your music career. Nip it in the bud now. Control your fans behavior. Trust me; you’ll be glad you did.

Sheena Metal is a radio host, producer, promoter, music supervisor, consultant, columnist, journalist and musician. Her syndicated radio program, Music Highway Radio, airs on over 2,400 affiliates to more than 126 million listeners. Her musicians’ assistance program, Music Highway, boasts over 10,000 members. She currently promotes numerous live shows weekly in the Los Angeles Area, where she resides. For more info:

Managers: Can’t Live With Them…But Can You Live Without Them?

You can’t throw a rock in any metropolis on Earth without hitting someone claiming to be a manager. Where musicians go, managers follow. It’s as accepted and expected in the entertainment industry as an out-of-control cocaine habit or a failure to pay taxes. When you tell people you’re a musician, one of the first things they’re going to ask you is: Do you have a manager? However, those in the throws of the music business know to ask an even more accurate question: Do you have a good manager?

"What’s the difference?" you may ask. Isn’t any manager better than no manager at all? While it would seem that the answer to that question is unequivocally, "Yes", in reality it’s a bit like asking, "Isn’t having a herpes-ridden prostitute for a girlfriend better than being single?" In truth, bad representation is far worse than a lack of representation. While, it’s a fact, that there are things your band will probably never achieve without the aid of a manager, agent, entertainment attorney, etc., bad representation can stagnate a career…stop it dead in its hurling climb to the ranks of superstardom or even worse…undo some of the hard work the band has already done.

Sad but true, a bad manager can take a perfectly good band and turn them into a thing so foul that old gypsy women covering their faces with rags will spit and give your band the evil eye as you pass. Ok, that may be a bit dramatic, but seriously…all your band really has is its name and its reputation, so why would take a chance on either of those by putting the whole of your band into the hands of someone that you’re not 100% sure has your best interests at stake?

The following are a few tips that will help you to decipher whether or not your manager can take you to the top or turn your band into a flop:

1.) The Drummer’s Girlfriend Is Not A Manager—Sure, she may get names for your mailing list, invite her girl’s beach volleyball team to all of your gigs and post your latest pictures on your website photo gallery, but she’s not really your manager. She’s a helper, she can be the president of your fan club, the head of your street team and the world’s sexiest roadie but she probably doesn’t know how to put together a press package and make the calls that will get you into an A&R rep’s office for a meeting. This also applies to: boyfriends, wives, husbands, booty calls, one night stands, moms, dads, cousins, aunts, uncles, neighbors, nieces, nephews, grandparents, grandchildren, pets and the homeless guy who roots through your trash at midnight. These people may all be well-meaning and you can accept their aid in dozens of ways (it takes a village to build a popular unsigned band) but don’t give them the label or the powers of a manager.

2.) Treasure Your Fans But Don’t Let Them Manage You—This should be a given but you’d be surprised how many over-eager, slightly-obsessed fans move from semi-stalker to mega-manager in a few simple weeks. I cannot stress how simply wrong this entire concept is for two dozen major reasons the most important of which is: fans need to be kept at a distance. There is a reason why that same person comes to all of your shows no matter how many you play, gets there early, sits up front seemingly paralyzed starring at you enraptured. Either they’re in love with someone in the band or they’re insane. These may be reasons to get a restraining order but certainly not reasons to make someone your manager. A band’s manager knows every secret of each musician, every person in each member’s personal life, where you keep your money, where you live, and who’s in your fan/contact database. This is not information that you want someone who has 450 cut-out pictures of you on their bedroom ceiling having at his/her disposal. Enough said?

3.) Don’t Sign A Contract Unless It’s Worth It—Manager’s like control. That why they choose to be managers and not people who macramé wall hangings with the mane hair of ponies. Thus, most managers will try and evoke you into signing a contract. In the entertainment industry, contracts are like marriage certificates…before you sign one be sure your band wants to be tied to the same person for long time (a year, two years, five years, etc.) because they’re much easier to get into than to get out of. For example, if you sign a contract with an efficient, but somewhat green manager, who is helping all he/she can to get you everything possible from what little resources he/she has and then Gwen Stefani’s management team approaches you after a big gig and wants to put you on tour with John Mayer. Do you think if you tell them, "We love to take your tour but we’re under contract with someone else for the next five years, can you hit us up then?" the offer will still stand? Not so much. So, if you must sign contracts, keep them short and make sure they give you room to act, think, play and communicate with others without getting clearance from your band warden (manager). And make it includes an exit clause. Read up on it.

4.) Sometimes Bigger Is Not Better—Although it’s a huge ego stroke to brag to all of the other musicians backstage at the Whiskey A Go-Go that your manager works with Grammy award-winners and stadium sell-outs, sometimes an unsigned band can get lost in a huge management firm. While Mr. Big Stud Manager is busy picking out Madonna’s dress for the American Music Awards, he may forget to ask Quincy Jones to attend your bass player’s birthday gig at Billy-Bob Wang’s Tofu BBQ Shack. The problem with huge managers is that their focus often goes the acts that are making them 15% of 100 million dollars a year. Your 15% of $45.75 a year after expenses is probably not his highest priority now or ever, and what good are his super amazing industry contacts if he never remembers to invite them to your gigs?

Having a manager is great but only if they provide more benefit to the band than the sum total of your band members and band helpers can do for yourselves. If you find someone who can open doors, take your music places it cannot go on its on and has your best intentions at heart, then grab that contract, sign it and enjoy the benefits. If not, you may find yourself: conned, stalked, ignored and/or legally bound to someone that puts their own agenda (well-meaning or otherwise) and their own ego above what’s right for you band. And whatever you do, don’t sit around waiting for Mr./Ms. Right to wisk your band off its feet and carry it off on his/her white horse to the Fairyland where everyone gets a record deal. You, as its members, know more than anyone, how to do what’s right for your band and nothing will attract the perfect manager faster than seeing musicians who are out there, doing their thing, and making headway in a very difficult business with a great attitude and terrific music.


Sheena Metal is a radio host, producer, promoter, music supervisor, consultant, columnist, journalist and musician. Her syndicated radio program, Music Highway Radio, airs on over 2,400 affiliates to more than 126 million listeners. Her musicians’ assistance program, Music Highway, boasts over 10,000 members. She currently promotes numerous live shows weekly in the Los Angeles Area, where she resides. For more info:

I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead: The Dirty Life and Times of Warren Zevon by Crystal Zevon (Ecco)

A cult artist dies, after experiencing a burst of increased celebrity as a direct result of calculatedly marketing his own impending demise. Old fans are reminded of how much they always dug his work, and a few new ones arrive to explore the back catalog. Then comes the book, an oral history compiled by a long-suffering, long-forgiving former wife, the result of a promise to the dying man. And for Warren Zevon’s fans, be they diehard or more casual, everything changes forever. For in addition to his undeniable gifts as a wordsmith and piano fighter, the delicate character studies and the self-mythologies, the werewolves and the pot roasts and the neo-noir visions of Los Angeles, it turns out Warren Zevon was something of a monster. And his shenanigans—born of cruelty, drug abuse, family skeletons, egomania and OCD—are revealed here through the words of those who loved and suffered alongside him, coloring the music with broad strokes of memorable misbehavior and strangeness. The result is a big, messy, sad and rather moving piece of mass biography in which the various players move in and out of Zevon’s orbit and reflect upon their mutual impact. Perhaps inevitably, given the damage done, this is less of a creative biography than a psycho-chemical one, and at times it is relentlessly dark and repetitious. But anyone who finds Zevon of interest as an artist will appreciate the guts and care Crystal Zevon exhibits in assembling these tales, and it’s a must for fans of rock and roll horror stories. (Who could have imagined that this thoughtful, intellectual fellow who hobnobbed with Stravinsky as a teen would personally surpass the excesses of any half dozen cock rock idols? Only everyone, it seems, who ever met the man.)

Rare Bob Lind Appearance in LA November 1st

A message from Andrew Earles about a very rare and Lost in the Grooves performance not to be missed!


My good friend DJ Ian Marshall is putting on a show on November 1st at Little Pedro’s with the 1960’s folk rock enigma Bob Lind. This will be Bob’s first gig in Los Angeles in over twenty years and he still sounds fantastic.

For those of you unfamiliar with Bob Lind, he is best known for his big hit song of 1966 “Elusive Butterfly”. Following the success of that single Bob went on to record two exquisite baroque-pop LPs in 1966, “Don’t Be Concerned” and “Photographs of Feeling” with legendary over-the-top producer Jack Nitzsche (famous for his work with Phil Spector and Neil Young). These 2 albums are underrated, unknown classics and must haves for fans of sixties music in the vein of The Left Banke, The Byrds, PF Sloan, early Gordon Lightfoot, Judee Sill, Donovan, Richie Havens, Val Stoecklin, Margo Guryan, Love, Dylan…etc etc… but Lind’s strange poetry, unusual guitar chords and unique vocal-stylings are truly indescribable. A nice CD comp of his material from this period is out-of-print but still findable in used shops- it’s called “You Might Have Heard My Footsteps”. The original LPs are commonly found in the folk section of used record shops in the $1 to $12 range.

In 1971, Lind released another fine album in more of the mellow singer-songwriter vein, with tinges of country rock, entitled “Since There Were Circles”. Guest musicians on these sessions include Gene Clark, Bernie Leadon, Larry Knecthel, Carol Kaye & Hal Blaine. This one is harder to find on LP, but a CD re-issue is in the works.

Bob lives in Florida these days. He has been in and out of retirement as a performer since the 70’s. Please don’t miss this rare chance to see a performance by this extremely gifted and unusual singer-songwriter. DJ Sir Ian of Marshall will be DJ-ing a set of great 60s & 70s obscurities in the folk-rock / baroque vein; so this will be a fun themed party for anyone who likes this sort of thing. This is an early invite- I’ll repost as soon as I have any news on an opening act (if there is one).


Bob Lind appearing at
Little Pedro’s – WEDNESDAY NOVEMBER 1st
901 East 1st Street (south of Alameda)
Los Angeles, CA 90012 (basically Little Tokyo)
doors 10pm, $8.00 cover charge.

Don Waller on Radio Birdman

Last Wednesday, I cornered rock crit and bon vivant Don Waller in the lobby of the Wiltern Theater between the BellRays and Radio Birdman sets to get his thoughts on this historic event. Before I started the tape recorder, he told me I was wasting my time, since he had nothing much to say. I know Don well enough to know how absurd that statement was. Here’s the "Back Door Man" zine founder on the state of rock when Radio Birdman first came ’round, the underappreciated glories of the Australian scene, and his expectations for the evening…

Lost in the Grooves: Do you remember Radio Birdman from 1976, when the record came out in the US?

Don Waller: Yes.

LITG: And what was the scuttlebutt on the street?

DW: Well, the record came out, and it was like anything else on Sire—there was so little that was new at the time, that of course everybody was interested in it. I remember hearing it and not thinking all that much of it. "Oh yeah, it’s okay." It was just kinda dwarfed by, y’know, the Clash and the Pistols, the Talking Heads, the Pretenders, all the other stuff that came out. In retrospect, the record has aged well. The fact that they didn’t play here didn’t help ’em. They broke up before anybody really got a chance to know who they fucking were! So I’m looking forward to seeing them tonight. And I like the fact that they put out a new record along with the tour, because we’ve seen enough people get back together with no new product. And this is just as good as the other record, actually, it’s not that much different. And they have an idiosyncratic sound. The keyboard thing is a weird touch; I’m a big fan of double lead guitar bands or triple lead guitar bands. I like guitars! And the fact that they got 4/6 or 2/3 of the original band back to do this is fine. I’ve heard the New Race record that these guys did with Asheton and Thompson—it’s pretty decent. Again, it’s an artifact that’s aged well. All that shit on Dave Laing’s "Do the Pop" compilation is really good. Not all that much of it got heard here. Some of it’s on that "Nuggets 3" record, that "Children of Nuggets" record that came out a couple years ago.

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LITG: So you hadn’t heard any of that stuff before it got comped?

DW: No, I didn’t hear the Celibate Rifles or the Lime Spiders or the Eastern Dark’s "Johnny and Dee Dee"—an amazing song! "Slave Girl" is pretty great. All that stuff. But we never heard the Master’s Apprentices or the Black Diamonds or that sixties Australian/New Zealand shit, and that’s all really good too. It’s on the "Nuggets 2" box, and that stuff’s as good as anything that was cut anywhere. In Australia, it’s really hard to get to the other side of the world to here or to England. I mean, to be as good as the Easybeats or as good as AC/DC, or even the fucking Bee Gees if you wanna go that direction. I mean Jimmy Barnes is a real good singer, should have been bigger.

LITG: Who’s that?

DW: Jimmy Barnes, was in Cold Chisel and all that. He’s got kind of a Paul Rogers kind of voice, almost like a Frankie Miller kind of thing, but in that quality. He’s a draw in Australia. It’s just tough for them. But the good stuff is really good. And the thing about this is that it proves if you do something good and you really mean it, y’know, it’s like Zen parable of throwing a pebble into a pond, you don’t know where the ripples are gonna go. The good stuff gets discovered, t he good stuff gets word of mouth, the good stuff gets passed on down. Especially when things are bad, then people start rummaging through the bargain bins or the cut outs and the thrift stores and all that stuff—because that’s all bohos can afford anyway! Basically, in a fuckin’ Paris Hilton world…

LITG: End that statement, Don.

DW: Well, ellipses. It’s really nice to see Radio Birdman playing their first date in L.A.!

LITG: That was Don Waller, who told me he had nothing to say. Thank you, Don Waller. (laughter) What are your expectations for the show?

DW: I’m looking forward to it. I think they’ll be good. Based on the new record, I think they’ll be very powerful, very Detroit. That’s the thing, Deniz Tek, there’s something in the fucking water in Detroit. They still produce good bands, the Dirtbombs, the White Stripes, the Detroit Cobras, all that shit, they still keep turning out good bands. God bless ’em!

Radio Birdman at the Wiltern

above, Radio Birdman live at the Wiltern, pic: Kim Cooper 

Radio Birdman debut US show

Truly great, career-spanning performance from the Birdmen at L.A.’s
Wiltern last night, despite an unsympathetic soundman and some
equipment snaufus. They are entirely as fierce and poetic as a fan
could want, and this is not one of those regrettable reunion shows
that breaks hearts. I’ll post a proper report at LITG once I get back
from SF over the weekend (they’re at Great American Music Hall
tonight)… but if you’re debating seeing them in SF, Seattle or
beyond, the answer is emphatically: “yeah hup!”