Due to some awful behavior I witnessed recently at a show, this month’s MxC is something of an…etiquette lesson. You’re welcome.
BE ON TIME. If doors are at eight and load-in/soundcheck starts at six, be there at six with your whole band and all your shit, ready to go. Don’t stroll in with your gear at nine before you’re supposed to play. You’re not the fucking Rolling Stones. (They would be on time.)
AVOID TROUBLE. Don’t pick fights. Don’t respond to someone picking a fight. Don’t let your bassist fight. Don’t make a fight worse by trying to break it up if you’re not 100 percent sure you’re actually capable of doing so. Stay the hell out of it. This will lead to you not getting arrested. Also, your band will probably be asked to play there again. Since, like, you’re not assholes. Good for you.
IF SOMEONE TELLS YOU TO DO SOMETHING, DO IT. Move your gear. Set up merch somewhere else. Be cooperative. They have a job to do, too. And they’re in charge.
DON’T GO OVERBOARD. Drinking at a gig is fine but excess is really unnecessary. Many years ago I went to see a [now-defunct] band [who shall remain nameless] play two hours north of me. I was young and super excited and when they came on, everyone was stoked. They ended up playing two and a half songs because their singer was so drunk he could barely stand and could not remember his own lyrics. Instead, he spent 20 minutes telling us in graphic detail about his first sexual encounter, with a girl who had been from North Jersey. I don’t think a room full of 200 people could have possibly been less entertained. Don’t be that guy. That guy doesn’t have a band anymore.
YOU ARE THERE TO PLAY. Not to get free drinks, not to make out, not to act like you’re cooler than everyone else there. Don’t be annoying.
MAKE IT AS EASY FOR THE PEOPLE RUNNING THE SHOW AS POSSIBLE. Be present and be approachable. Be helpful. It will forge bonds and friendships and you will be asked to come back.
DON’T BE A PRISSY TOURING BAND. If you drive miles to play a show and are told when you get there that you’re opening, by God, suck it up and open. They don’t know you in this town. Locals rule. Locals draw a local crowd. You know this. Shut up. When you’re handed a couple bucks at the end of the night, say thank you and leave graciously. They took a shot on you. Hopefully, you didn’t disappoint.
DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES MESS WITH OR STEAL SOMEONE ELSE’S GEAR. I’m not even going to elaborate on this. It should be punishable by death, end of story.
DON’T MAKE A MESS. Come on, clean up after yourself. If you knock something over, pick it up. If you spill something, wipe it up. Running to the bathroom before you puke is totally punk rock. Really. I promise.
DON’T BE BELLIGERENT. You can go wild on your own gear all you want, smash a guitar or two, whatever. But the moment you start destroying another person’s or the venue’s property is the moment you should be escorted out and not paid for the night. Don’t be a dick. Also, don’t put your audience in danger.
DON’T BE THE ANNOYING 18+ CROWD. Look at you, you’re able to get in. Don’t be stupid. Don’t try to sneak drinks, don’t be rowdy, don’t get shit shut down for everyone else.
DON’T BE THE ANNOYING 21+ CROWD. Look at you, you can drink here. Don’t be stupid. Don’t start shit, don’t piss yourself, don’t give alcohol to the annoying 18+ crowd.
“ALL AGES” MEANS EVERYONE SHOULD BE ACTING APPROPRIATELY. Clearly.
PLAY LIKE YOU’VE SOLD OUT A STADIUM, EVEN IF THERE’S ONLY EIGHT PEOPLE THERE. Rock ‘n’ roll isn’t about how many records you sell or how many people show up to see you play. It’s about connecting to at least one person and giving them something to hold on to. Remember the first band that made you feel like you were a part of something? Yeah, it’s like that.
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