Hey everybody. It's Sunday night as I'm writing this, and although I'm crushing beers, I'm also taking it a little bit easy tonight. After all, tomorrow I've got to put on a fancy suit, put a bunch of old newspapers in my briefcase, and head out there into the mean streets looking for a job. My plan is to start in the mail room but then somehow get the CEO's hot-honey wife to fall in love with me, and then somehow save the whole company through the power of rock and roll.
Will I play the solo from "Walk This Way" while standing on the table during a board meeting? Yes, I think I will.
Anyway, I want to draw all your attention to my previous post when I told you that I'm looking for bands to interview for an upcoming project. Starting-out bands. Gigging-at-the-local bands. Your band. Read the post, then read this chump's question and my derisive answer.
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What's up, Van?
I recently moved to the big city, I've written some material that I finally feel it's not corny crap, but I don't know how to start out. I'm in search of a drummer and a bass player but my internet searches have so far been fruitless and I haven't been here long enough to actually know people. I need your veteran rock'n'roller wisdom on how to start fresh in a new place where you know no one, since I'm sure you've had your fair share of travelling.
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Another nameless questioneer. I will call you "Cheshmire." Well, Cheshmire, I have traveled and toured and toured and traveled, it is true, but I must admit I have not often moved to a town where I knew nobody at all. Usually I go to a town because there's somebody there that either wants me to hold them in my big strong arms and love them all night long, or because they want me to come and join their band.
Actually, I've only moved twice to join bands. Once was a very short trip, two towns down the highway. My lease was up and I needed to find a new place, and I was sick or riding the bus every week to go to rehearsal, so I just got an apartment closer to where the other guys lived. That wasn't such a big deal because it was only about sixty miles, but hell, I had to figure out a new laundry place, a new grocery store, everything. But hey, finding that stuff on your own in a new town... that's how you get street smart, man.
The other time was when I moved from Philadelphia to San Francisco. My band at the time, a country covers band, had broken up, but an old buddy was starting a rock act in Frisco and invited me out West. I know what you're thinking: "Philly and Frisco are pretty much the same." Yeah, that type of thinking will get you beaten up.
Anyway, I've addressed this issue in columns many times, long ago, but since I want you to read this new column instead of poring through the archives at that other website, I'll answer your question fresh and new! How do you meet other players? Hmmmm.
Here is the easiest answer. Go to where the musicians hang out. That means find out where the guitar and instrument stores are in town and go hang out there for a while. Don't just lurk around, looking like a thief. Approach and talk to one of the staff. Tell them you are new in town and you don't know much about the local scene. Tell them you're looking to meet other players. ASK QUESTIONS. Here is what you need to find out:
1. What are the bars where the local bands play. Who gives a shit where Aerosmith plays when they pass through town? Find out where Joey Dirtmonkey and The Buttfucks play on Saturday night. Find out what bars host the local jams. Ask about a few different places. Is there a rock bar? Country? Goth? God, I love Goth bars. Because I love Goth chicks. Sexy nerds dressed in fishnets and latex? I am there all fucking night. I spike up my hair and show up in a leather jacket and no shirt and walk around saying I know Jaz Coleman. Awesome.
2. I lost my train of thought. Right! Ask the guy about local practice facilities. They might be a good place to check out. They often have a posting board where people are looking for players. You might bump into some people too, but don't hang around like a dickhead stalker. Put up a poster with your details: "Guitarist named Cheshmire seeks band. Must love Prong. Email email@example.com."
3. Ask the guitarist guy if he knows anyone looking for players. Ask about the local scene, ask about where people connect in this town. And if he gives you a dickheaded shrug to all of your questions, find someone else to ask. And go to the other shops in town too. Talk to as many people as you can. Usually if you ask five people you'll get five different answers.
After you've pumped these assholes for information, drop twenty bucks on some new patch cords, or strings or something. Don't wimp out and buy a pick. He'll say, "That butt-tard asked me questions for twenty minutes and then spent fifteen cents. If he comes back DON'T WASTE YOUR TIME ON HIM."
Next, go to a jam night. Bring your guitar. Ask to play. Ask the hosts who the regulars are and introduce yourself. Say you're new in town and you're looking to meet other players. You gotta talk to people, baby.
That's the problem with this internet thing, man. It's easy to meet people, but it sometimes makes people forget how to approach strangers in real life. Be brave, be cool, and don't get too wasted.
I'm out of time. Take care, babies. Email me at mistervanhammersmith on yonder gmail.com with your questions. Follow me on twitter @vanhammersmith and find me on Facebook. When I finally get 25 "likes" I'll post a URL.
Kiss me. I secretly love you.