Let me tell you a little bit about myself. I was in a touring band a few years ago, Pistols & Petals. Of course, you’ve heard of it but I’m gonna pretend here that you haven’t for a little modesty’s sake. Our band found huge success, touring the world three times and selling out baseball stadiums, Paul McCartney style. We had four records that went gold and each of ‘em hit No.1 on the billboard charts. I’m not saying this to brag, but rather to establish my expertise in this area. I know exactly what musicians need to do to succeed in this business. I know how to make the audience melt in my hands like butter and I’m going to offer you some simple tips so you can do the same.
Here is a short list of essential tips covering what you need to know about stage banter:
1) Talk to the audience like they’re your friends.
Who wants to be talked down to? The audience doesn’t want to feel in awe of you or even impressed by your flawless musical technique (even though this is what music schools will have you believe). The audience is coming to see your show because they want to feel some sort of musical connection with you, the artist. People pay money to feel good about themselves, not to be alienated by a snobby musician. I feel that this is a sort of obvious tip, but I just thought I’d lay the simple groundwork first.
2) Leave your ego at the door and pull yourself up by the bootstraps.
This business is hard if you haven’t figured that out already. Unless you are Pistols & Petals, you will face rejection CONSTANTLY. What? You expect people who have a mortgage to pay and kids to feed to actually give a crap about your music? People aren’t going to care at first, and they won’t have any qualms letting you know it. The thing is, you just have to push through the insults and indifference, pick yourself up and keep going. Don’t get discouraged, because the secret about the music business that no one tells you is that the this industry is really a war of attrition. Whichever musician lasts the longest wins. Simple as that, folks. So you gotta tell yourself whatever you need to say in order to get your ass up and haul it to the next gig. And the next, and the next.
3) Lock up your rollerblades in the trunk.
Lock your rollerblades up in the trunk. It’s really tough to get from the car to the gig if you have rollerblades on. Venues frequently have stairs, which make it really difficult to navigate yourself from the parking lot to the stage. Furthermore, you definitely want to make sure you lock the car door up real tight because I don’t know what kind of sheltered upbringing you grew up in, but, newsflash, people steal. Especially the sweet pair of Nordica rollerblades that your buddy, Chris got you. After you’ve safely locked your rollerblades in the trunk of your 2004 Jeep Cherokee you are ready to start playing.
4) Grab the mic relatively loosely.
I know that you have a lot to prove, hotshot, but an overly tight grip on the microphone can constrict your hands and make them cramp up. Cramped up hands means that you can’t wave them around in circular motions that sync up with your hip gyrations. Non-synchronized hip gyrations means little to no tips. And us musicians thrive on tips.
5) Don’t eat the pasta and forget to water the life and wallet.
Don’t eat the pasta and forget to water the life and wallet. Wife and kids gotta wife and kids to feed.
And that wraps it up, folks. I know second hand that this business ain’t exactly a walk in the park, but you can bet every penny you got, that it’s damn well worth it. I hope this short list of stage banter tips for musicians is going to help you on your journey.
Last, but not least, feel free to share your success stories after having implemented these tips in the comments below.