Re: [Harp-L] Help with starting a band?

Wow, Mike, sounds like you're really working hard. Good luck in this
latest project.

I've been in a duo for six years now, with some harp whoring on the
side.  My duo generally gets modest, but loyal crowds. Sometimes we do
better than others, sometimes the owner is happier than others.
Basically we keep enough clubs happy to gig 2-3 times a month.
Obviously, we don't do this for a living.

You, however, have always seemed more serious about this.  All I can
say in terms of advice is that it's the rhythm section that gets
drinkers in the door and keeps them there.  Or, to paraphrase- "It's
the drums, stupid."  I'm really convinced of this, especially if the
goal is to get younger people in the room, and, more importantly to
club owners than to family guys like us, of course, to get women in
the place.  Apparently they like to dance. Go figure. I can count on
my fingers the amount of times we've had hot young women dancing to
just the two of us for the first four years of our existence.   Since
we've included some percussion - a la Mr. Satan  - this happens much
more regularly, and guess what, our crowds have grown as well. It's
still a work in progress, but I really wouldn't dare undervalue
percussion when it comes to your gigging success if you want to get
out of coffeehouses. When I play out with full bands - regardless of
the quality of the band - the crowds are always bigger and more

Again, good luck!

 - Blake

On Jan 7, 2008 1:07 PM, Mike Fugazzi <mfugazzi67@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> I've decided to start my own band...the Mike Fugazzi
> Band if you will (working title only).  It will be in
> the style of bands like R.L. Burnside, Otis Taylor,
> Moreland and Arbuckle...kinda punk blues I guess.  The
> idea for this group is to focus on groove more then
> soloing, however.  Many of the songs won't be 12
> bars...There will be a lot of vamping.
> I would like to keep it small to more then
> three members.  I am torn between a format that has
> harp, guitar, and drums or a format that has harp,
> guitar, and another guitar (with mandolin and banjo
> too).
> My goal is to play smallish local clubs a couple of
> times a month.  However, I want to do some of the
> bigger shows around town too like I did with my old
> four piece.
> Care to help me weigh the pros and cons of each
> approach?  I want to go after the college crowd.  I
> suppose the hippie types would be the niche.
> One pro of having a drummer is the production of a
> danceable beat.  It would also let the band fit an
> outdoor stage better.  The drummer doesn't need to be
> fancy...just hold a good pocket together and keep the
> tunes driving.  Having a drummer would bring more of a
> party to the stage.
> However, having two string insturments would add some
> sweet textures.  I would try to avoid having two
> electric or two acoustic guitars going at once.  I'd
> want to pair an electric with an acoustic, mandolin,
> or banjo for example.  It would open up some jamming.
> It would also make it so I wouldn't have to handle the
> majority of leads and solos if I didn't want too.  It
> might be easier to do some of the old Son House type
> tunes as well.
> Any thoughts?  I can line up either combination for
> auditions.  I have a song list of 40 covers and have
> been working on writing originals too.  I also know of
> bookers in the area that would let me get a start.  I
> went through each song trying to decide if the songs
> naturally favored one style over the other, but most
> could work either way.
> Mike Fugazzi
> Harmonica/Vocals
> "Music should be healing; music should uplift the soul; music should inspire. There is no better way of getting closer to God, of rising higher towards the spirit, of attaining spiritual perfection than music, if only it is rightly understood."
> -Hazrat Inayat Khan
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