Answered by: Michael Laskow
I am an experienced harmonica player who has had great luck running into the right people to get me gigs with some good players (The Guess Who, Warren G, etc.). Other than randomly running into people, how can I find bands that would be interested in having me play with them? I don't want to be in a band. I would just like to get on gig for a little extra flavor in the band's set. If you know of an agency or management firm that handles individual players and helps to find gigs, I would like to know about it. It would be much appreciated.

Thank You,
Coop


Congratulations Coop,

You may the first person to ever stump me! ;-) There is a guy in LA who specializes in finding the right players, and assembling the right road bands for solo artists signed to major labels, but he probably wouldn't be interested in hooking you up with the once-in-a-while gig. The people he places mostly seem to live in LA, and have some how or other auditioned for him, or have been in previous, major label level bands.

And before a thousand more of you call or e-mail me, asking for a hook up with this guy, let me tell you that his name is Barry Squire, and I no longer have ANY idea how to get in touch with him. We haven't spoken in years. Try Google!

Michael



Is it a good or bad idea to contact a production company after you've been forwarded to further promote your music?

Sharmon

Hi Sharmon,

It's a good idea... no actually, it's a great idea. You always want to do EVERYTHING you can to forward your career. If you've been forwarded by TAXI, that's a sign that you're talented, and good at what you're doing. Now that you know THAT, you should get busy and get your music out there using every connection you've got. Good luck!

Michael



I just got some e-mail saying that two of my songs have been forwarded.

Now what? Is someone going to call me or send me a message? Do I need to do anything? Is there any way I can find out the status? Please let me know.


Dain

Hi Dain,

Really, there's nothing you can do but sit back and wait. Why? Because that's the unwritten rule of the A&R community that they don't call unless they LOVE what they hear. One of my closest friends is an A&R person, and he doesn't even call ME unless he hears a hit! And this is a guy who is coming to our home with his family for Thanksgiving — that tells you how close we are. ;-)

The reason they don't call is because they are incredibly busy as it is, and the last thing they want to do is spend 15 minutes on the phone with some asking, "Well, can you tell me what you didn't like, or what I can do better?"

It would be great if they COULD do that, but they owe their time to the companies they work for, and educating the public isn't in their job descriptions, unfortunately. They're not all jerks, like many people perceive them to be. They're really not. If you could see the time they take to meet, greet, and mentor our members each year at the Road Rally, you'd see what I mean. Almost all A&R people are music lovers and musicians themselves — they're just overwhelmed with work.

The other thing to know is that they may not get around to listening to your CD for months, even though they requested the material from TAXI. We've seen cases where a member got a call back more than a YEAR after we sent the music to the label!

And in the end, my own personal observation has been that one or two forwards do not make a deal. I know it's exciting, but we've seen a definite pattern over the last 14 years — it's the members who get lots of forwards over time are usually the people who get deals.

Any hit songwriter and most top artists will tell you that it took them YEARS of trying before somebody gave them that magic call. Even the Beatles got turned down by tons of labels before they got signed by George Martin.

And finally, I want to address the infamous "follow-up call." We used to give our members the name of the person at the label or company that we sent their music to... that is until a few idiotic people did some truly unbelievable things like calling and threatening A&R reps if they didn't sign them. Yep... we were amazed too. But remember, Charles Manson was actually a struggling (and pretty decent in the musical sense) singer/songwriter, who had auditioned with Doris Day's son, Terry Melcher, a local, LA-based producer. He passed on Charlie, so Manson and his gang went to Melcher's house to ostensibly "convince" him to sign a deal. Unfortunately for Sharon Tate, she and her boyfriend were renting Melcher's house, and the rest, as they say, is history.

In the end, I've NEVER met an A&R person who heard a hit and said, "I think I'll wait for the artist to call me. If they do, I'll sign them." Trust me, when they love what you've got, they'll call. But be patient, because it often takes MUCH longer than you would expect!

Good luck,
Michael



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