Newsletter 8-05-08

Hey Everyone,

I’ve been really busy working on Banding Together: a Benefit for the Spondylitis Association of America (more info very soon), so I am going to keep this week’s newsletter short.


Some new CD reviews on & of new albums from Readymade Breakup, The Undead, and Anthony Fiumano. Enjoy J


Speaking of Anthony Fiumano, if you missed his interview last week on Lazlo’s Den it is now up in the archive at

Coming soon on Lazlo’s Den, interviews with Alter Ego, Bobby Steele of The Undead, and the director of Raiders Of The Lost Ark: The Adaptation (which will be shown at Asbury Lanes on August 16th).

~~~’s Free Concert at Buddie's Tavern will return on Saturday Aug. 23rd with New Day Dawn, Zigman Bird, and the Brixton Riot, and we’ll be doing a special show the Friday after, Aug. 29th, with the band who put out my favorite album of last year, The Winter Sounds! Also on that bill will be Kosmic Daydream, and Alter Ego.


Concert Picks of the Week

Lazlo (
Thursday night at Maxwell's check out Holler, Wild Rose! Their album, "our little hymnal" is an amazing musical creation that sounds to me like if Thom Yorke fronted Sigur Ros. Also performing at Maxwell's that night is Bill Owens Five.

Jim Testa (Jersey Beat)
Thursday Aug 7
THE SPINTO BAND, Public Record, The Homophones - Union Hall, 702 Union St. Brooklyn - 7:30 pm, $10, 21+

Previously signed to Hoboken's Bar None Records, the Spinto Band hail from Delaware and play magical indie-pop with thick harmonies and all sorts of fun accoutrements, from percussion to keyboards to kazoos.

Gary Wien (Asbury Music)
Picks this week include Wednesday night at the Saint in Asbury Park where A Night In Progress, an evening of all new material and hosted by Rick Barry returns. This month features brand new songs by Christine Martucci, Lou Montesano (from Status Green) and Rick Barry. The Saint also has a good show on Saturday night with Tommy Strazza and the Model Citizens / Chris Batten and the Woods / from Nashville, The Mulch Brothers / Amanda Duncan / The Mill Stone.


And now it's time for this week's Pissed Off!

I frequently see e-mails from bands that say something to the effect of:

“hey friends,

We’ve got a gig coming up opening for (insert well known band name here), at (insert a venue name that a well known band would play at), and we need your help.

In order to get the gig we have to sell tickets, so please, PLEASE, buy a ticket from us. This is the most important show we have ever played, and it is really important that you buy a ticket from us and come out and see us.

Tickets are (generally somewhere from $20-$30). I know it’s more expensive then usual, but it would really help us out, and you’ll also get to see (insert well known band name again) too.

So please contact us (insert e-mail address and/or phone number here), to purchase a ticket and help the band you love play to a bigger crowd opening for (insert well known band name one more time).”

Here’s the problem I have with these things.

First off, I think it’s horrible that there will always be a band willing to take this selling tickets deal. Shouldn’t the big name band that is causing to price to be more than 2 times what you’d normally pay to see the local band, be the band responsible for getting people into the venue? I know venues need to make money, but it shouldn’t be beholden upon the local band, many of which can’t get 20 people to come see them when they’re playing for free, to get people in to a show where they are doing a 30 minute set opening for some big name act.

But as long as there are local bands willing to take these gigs and sell the tickets, the venues will continue to do it.

But here’s the thing, besides the nuisance of having to sell tickets, the gig itself may not be as good as you think. If you’re the first of 3 or 4 openers, you’re going on right after the doors open, and many people don’t show up to see the opening acts, because they only want to see the headliner (the band that is the reason they spent $20-$30 or more for the ticket).

Even if you’re the band on right before the headliner, the audience that is there is usually getting antsy. While I love watching good opening acts at a show, most of the audience is there just to see the headliner. Your band’s set is viewed not as a cool band before the headliner, but rather the audience see you as the band that is keeping the band they want to see from playing. So while you may manage to win over some new fans, don’t be surprised if it’s not a lot.

I know I sound negative, and I’m sure I’ll get e-mails from bands that have had good experiences doing these “pay to play” sorts of deals, but I’ve heard over and over again from bands their negative experiences of doing these gigs and how they’ll never do it again, but there is always some new (often naive) band that is all too willing to sell tickets to play not fully aware of what they are getting into.

So let the musician beware…


That's all for this week folks.