Friday, November 29, 2013

The Attention-Grabber Question

Greeting, People! It is I, Van Hammersmith. I have returned to you at last, to once again dispense my wisdom. Some of you might remember me as a long time advice guru on another website, but as the saying goes, I've gone solo. So be it. Every rose has its... something. Point, or spike, I think. Anyway, here's our first question ever on my very own pirate blog!

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Hey Van,

I'm the front man for a hard rock cover band, and we have played several shows in a short amount of time since our line-up was completed. I am told that I sing very well, my guitar work is top-notch, and the band as a whole sounds very tight. My question is this: how do I develop a more "visible" persona? Besides playing and singing well, it's my job to grab people's attention, and I need some suggestions from the all-knowing Van Hammersmith as to what gets the crowd's attention and KEEPS it.


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Chewy! Dude! Long time no roar. This is a serious issue you're dealing with, my Wookie friend. Having a true stage personality can mean the difference between people looking at you and thinking "These guys are rocking my balls off! Even though I've just had reconstructive knee surgery, I've got to go dance!" or someone saying "That guy kinda reminds me of I guy I used to work with at Pottery Barn."

I've met a lot of fronties who would have been better off as roadies. I've also met some roadies who would have made great fronties, except for a total lack musical ability. Because being a fronty really is about personality and confidence. You have some of the tools necessary, or so you claim. You sing. You play. You lead your band. But do you lead the room?

You need what I call "alpha wolf mentality." That means when you are on that stage, you have to regard yourself as the dominant wolf in the pack. Now, imagine yourself up on stage. Imagine it's a big room. Let's say there are four hundred rowdy drunks in there. Yes, some of them could kick the ever-loving shit out of you in a fight. Some of them (maybe even many of them) have way, way hotter girlfriends than you. And since we are all such different creatures, every single person in that room is probably better at you than something.

But that doesn't matter. Because you are the LEADER. This is your microphone stand. This is your guitar. And this is your wolf pack, Alpha. They are looking to you for leadership. Yes, there is pressure involved. You musn't disappoint them, but there is also freedom. There is freedom because you have to know, I am their leader, and they will follow. Whatever you do will look cool, because it's you doing it.

Yes, this requires confidence. It requires the confidence to look out at the audience and say, "I am your leader. You are here to look at me, and listen to me, and love me. And if you walked in here not knowing who I am, you will leave loving me."

Once you are totally steeped in Alpha Wolf confidence, it will start oozing out of you. The look on your face will go from "Wimpy Willy" to "I Own You Muthafuckas." You go from "I'm going to try this little kick and try and look like a rock star on TV even though I know I'm going look like a donkus," to "ABSORB MY ATTITUDE, AND CHEER FOR MY ROCK STAR KICK!"

Own the attitude. Stage presence isn't about having certain "moves." It's about strutting up on the stage with a smile on your face because you know you're going to be awesome, making eye contact with the audience because you know you're awesome, and making weirdo guitar-face during your solo because you know your solo is awesome.

Attitude, you Wookie star-pilot. Attitude.

Wait, Van! You shout. I need real advice, not mumbo-jumbo about confidence. You sound like a cheap knock-off self-help flake. And I'm telling you right now, I would stab Doctor Phil in the neck with the broken neck off a shattered Mosrite guitar, walk up on stage covered in his blood and shout into the microphone, "ONE, TWO, THREE, FOUR!" and start playing some good old dirty rock and roll.

But you may say, what does that have to do with anything, Van? Sure, we'd all like to stab Dr. Phil in the neck, but I was asking how to grab an audience's attention and KEEP it.

I know, Chewy. I heard you. Stop shouting. And you need to listen to me before I stab YOU in the neck with the neck off a broken Mosrite. It's about attitude, and knowing that you rock without being a cock. You don't have to be a cock to rock, but you gotta walk with the rock like you're cock of the walk. Get it, ya fock?


And I was just kidding, Dr. Phil. We're cool. I'll get you that twenty I owe you real soon.