Today, New Jersey/Brooklyn progressive metal band Binary Code release their first new music in nearly six years, Moonsblood. Produced by Eyal Levi, it marks a progression of their sound. Still heavy, but with more melodic and moody elements than the last time we heard from them, with the Priest EP. With a solid amount of touring under their belt over the years, guitarist Jesse Zuretti reached out to us with a list of five things that touring rock and metal bands should never do to their fans and friends. Read on, and pick up Moonsblood here.
I wanted to start by saying “Successful” Touring Bands, but that’s so incredibly subjective. Success to me is about life accomplishments, not financial accomplishments. To some, it’s the complete opposite, and it’s not necessarily wrong to think that way. A wise man once said, “I’m not better than you, I just think different.” I’ve always been incredibly communicative with people who appreciate what I’ve done with music I make, so I may be a little biased here. But regardless of that naiveté, I feel these simple points could benefit someone starting to see some success from their hard work, or even someone who has been killing it for years but can’t quite figure out why they’ve run out of lifelines. I’m writing from my own learning curve I’ve had to learn to conquer, as well as what I’ve seen while touring with my band and bands I’ve worked with on their tours. So let’s start out with a sick acronym I came up with to appear cool:
DRIP – Delusional Rockstar Image Perception
1) Don’t ignore your fans and friends
This seems incredibly palpable upon first glance at those words, but the truth is, many touring musicians who suffer from DRIP have a problem with seeing past their own nose to begin with. You’d think that being able to tour the country/world and make even a modicum of capital gain would imbue touring musicians as to where their success comes from: the fans. Some of the most successful (and I’m leaving out my “bunny ears” for this because I truly mean success in every sense) musicians I know are incredibly interactive with their fans and treat them like they’re no different than they would anyone else.
2) Don’t treat your fans and friends like they’re beneath you
Don’t treat your friends (more so than fans, mostly because a lot of fans are musicians too) like they’re beneath you on a human level because they aren’t touring the country. Keep in mind, when your dumb band was playing in VFWs and dive bars before you proved your worth to the music industry, you had to count on friends to be there to help your ego stay afloat during the trials and tribulations of your career. Treating your friend who owns a business and finds success in a different want than you do doesn’t make them less than you. That’s DRIP-y.
3) Don’t let your fans into your personal life
This is a common mistake made amongst the incredibly excited, newcomers of success that comes in all shapes and forms. When you start getting messages on a regular basis on Facebook from fans of your band, it can be exciting. More often than not, if you’re the type to feed into this, you’ll find that you let the excitement translate into a temporary state of euphoria that allows your mind to feel very comfortable with divulging information. Even worse, the ego can kick in and you start to get a little too pedagogical with unwarranted lessons for your fans that they didn’t ask for.
4) Don’t expect your friends to worship you
Your friends usually don’t worship you the way your fans may let off. When your friend of 10 years wants to hang out with you because it’s been ages since you hung out last (typically before you were a successful-ish musician), it doesn’t mean they’re honored to be graced with your presence because you shred guitar. Your friends more than likely see you as nothing more than a pal to hang out with to play Cards Against Humanity, not some 8-string guitar deity from Planet Squanch (kudos if you get the reference). Oh, hey, we’re talking about the ego again! Thought we’d moved on from that. DRIP’n.
5) Don’t go to your friends only when you need them
This kind of ties in with #1. You’re a self-proclaimed rock/metal god in the middle of Calexico on your way to the House of Blues in Hollywood when you find yourself stranded next to pitch black sand dunes and the remnants of immigrant poachers’ empty Budweiser cans and McDonalds garbage. Your 2000 Dodge Ram 3500 Van (past self-reference here) took a dump on your band, and the guarantee on the tour isn’t providing enough “success” to call a tow-truck. So you call your friend Phil “Tandy” Miller (kudos part 2 if you catch the reference) who lives just 63 miles away from your stranded point. Prior to your emergency, Tandy has tried messaging you several times to see how you were doing and how band life is, but you don’t respond to him because you’re too busy being DRIP-y. But your van is a metaphorical damsel in distress, and you’re desperate for help. What you’re doing is incredibly one-sided and defies the laws of good conscience. Your good-guy options are: 1) handle this issue on your own without reaching out to people you bury under your ego, or, 2) be a good friend and let the helping hand extended your way be a reminder to you to keep in touch with your friends.