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Fan Landers

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

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Are you a musician? Is your group having issues? Ask Fan Landers! Critic Jessica Hopper has played in and managed bands, toured internationally, booked shows, produced records, worked as a publicist and is the author of The Girls' Guide to Rocking, a how-to for teen ladies. She is here to help you stop doing it wrong. Send your problems to her — confidentiality is assured, unless you want to use your drama as a ticket to Internet microfame.

Dear Fan,
We were out on tour a few weeks ago and our fiddle player had her very fancy and crazy expensive 200-year-old fiddle stolen straight from our van. She has used it daily for 20 years and it is a part of her identity, and an essential part of our bands sound. So how do we deal with the loss as a band? How do we possibly raise the funds for a new one?
Sincerely,
Randy

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Fan Landers

What to Do About the Overconfident Manbaby in Your Band

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Tue, Jul 22, 2014 at 3:00 AM
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Are you a musician? Is your group having issues? Ask Fan Landers! Critic Jessica Hopper has played in and managed bands, toured internationally, booked shows, produced records, worked as a publicist and is the author of The Girls' Guide to Rocking, a how-to for teen ladies. She is here to help you stop doing it wrong. Send your problems to her — confidentiality is assured, unless you want to use your drama as a ticket to Internet microfame.

Dear Fan,

I have been in an up and coming band for a little while now. I love playing with them and we are killing every festival and moving up in the world. We are finding success, good things keep coming and the potential for it to just get bigger and better is all there.

So I am left wondering why the fuck the leader of the band forgets to do shit like bring merch to gigs? Or say the name if the band during the gig? Not follow up on great opportunities? Not write a set list and stand around looking stupid trying to figure out what to play next? Gets super high before gigs and forgets the easiest changes?  

I understand that some of these things aren't big deals. I just feel like I'm a professional. I want to play that way. I want the show to be that start to finish. We have some nights where we murder the set in a good way. The crowd is freaking out and loving it. Other nights that are just duds because the main guy doesn't seem to care or thinks it's OK to not give 100% when there aren't as many people at a gig. 

Yours truly,
Petey

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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Fan Landers

Things Bands Do That Keep Promoters From Booking Them

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Tue, Jul 15, 2014 at 3:30 AM
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Are you a musician? Is your group having issues? Ask Fan Landers! Critic Jessica Hopper has played in and managed bands, toured internationally, booked shows, produced records, worked as a publicist and is the author of The Girls' Guide to Rocking, a how-to for teen ladies. She is here to help you stop doing it wrong. Send your problems to her — confidentiality is assured, unless you want to use your drama as a ticket to Internet microfame.

My dearest Fan Landers,

I run a DIY space and book shows around town in majestic Chicago. We need your help! Rather, a lot of bands, presumably new, need your help.

Too often I get bombarded by a handful of bands that are relentless in asking for shows. I'm talking an email a day and phone calls, on top of the 50 new show requests per day we're sent.

Could you offer some guidelines on how much is too much, and explain the difference between appropriate persistence and annoyance? I never want to rule a band out before I hear them, but some cases have become borderline harassment, which makes me never want to talk to these people again. 

Kelly Nothing, Animal Kingdom

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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Fan Landers

Why Your Band Shouldn't Play Benefits for Free

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Tue, Jul 8, 2014 at 3:56 AM
fanlanders_headerrrrr.jpg
Are you a musician? Is your group having issues? Ask Fan Landers! Critic Jessica Hopper has played in and managed bands, toured internationally, booked shows, produced records, worked as a publicist and is the author of The Girls' Guide to Rocking, a how-to for teen ladies. She is here to help you stop doing it wrong. Send your problems to her — confidentiality is assured, unless you want to use your drama as a ticket to Internet microfame.

Dear Fan,
My band is pretty popular here in the Pacific Northwest and so we get asked to do benefits at least one a month.

Shows are not our entire livelihood, but the bulk of it, aside from merch and some CD sales and Bandcamp revenue. We are politically-minded and community-oriented people, but our ability to play for free is limited.

How kosher is it to ask for a small guarantee for benefits? We are usually a headliner or a support headliner for touring bands. Some of the things we get asked to play are not very well put together, and so the success of the event rests on our fans showing up and rocking out.

Sincerely,
A Seattle Band

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Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Fan Landers

Here's Why Your Band Isn't Getting Signed

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Tue, Jul 1, 2014 at 3:21 AM
fanlanders_headerrrrr.jpg

Are you a musician? Is your group having issues? Ask Fan Landers! Critic Jessica Hopper has played in and managed bands, toured internationally, booked shows, produced records, worked as a publicist and is the author of The Girls' Guide to Rocking, a how-to for teen ladies. She is here to help you stop doing it wrong. Send your problems to her - confidentiality is assured, unless you want to use your drama as a ticket to Internet microfame.

Dear Fan Landers,
For the last few months my band has been doing fairly well. We had a successful tour - with some press here and there - and we've released some albums and tapes that have sold fairly well.

About six months ago when we received an email from the head of a very legitimate label saying how much she liked our material. We met with her and we discussed our band and basically danced around the issue at hand.

It seemed like she wanted to sign us, but nothing was presented to us and we didn't want to seem presumptuous. We still keep in touch and she has come to our shows. Recently she emailed me saying how she liked some of our new songs.

What's the deal here? Why is she keeping in contact, but not offering a contract or anything? Is she trying to develop a relationship and then present a deal? Or is she looking for us to write a record and present it to her first? Very confused, not sure if I should be hopeful or not. I don't want to make the wrong move!

Help!
-S

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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Fan Landers

Should I Choose My Band or My Career?

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Tue, Jun 24, 2014 at 3:15 AM
fanlanders_headerrrrr.jpg
Are you a musician? Is your group having issues? Ask Fan Landers! Critic Jessica Hopper has played in and managed bands, toured internationally, booked shows, produced records, worked as a publicist and is the author of The Girls' Guide to Rocking, a how-to for teen ladies. She is here to help you stop doing it wrong. Send your problems to her - confidentiality is assured, unless you want to use your drama as a ticket to Internet microfame.

Dear Fan,
We just returned from a two month tour. We survived, we don't hate each other. But it was very humbling because nothing really turned out the way we thought it would. I lost quite a bit of money just from feeding myself, and paying bills while away. In the next year we want to focus on writing our next record, but because we have a booking agent who is constantly scouting tours for us, we still live under the impression that any month we might get a support tour that we can't turn down.

I'm torn because I just landed an interview for a corporate music position, and it is the kind of job that would make it difficult to tour. At what point do I stop postponing my own personal, professional development for my band? I'm also not the only band member making sacrifices. None of us like our day jobs and we all barely make ends meet, but we also unanimously want to keep this project going. Do up and coming bands take a break from touring, or does that kill momentum? We have already done two national tours behind our first record.

xo,
Alexa

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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Fan Landers

Quit Working For Free!

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Tue, Jun 17, 2014 at 3:52 AM
fanlanders_headerrrrr.jpg

Are you a musician? Is your group having issues? Ask Fan Landers! Critic Jessica Hopper has played in and managed bands, toured internationally, booked shows, produced records, worked as a publicist and is the author of The Girls' Guide to Rocking, a how-to for teen ladies. She is here to help you stop doing it wrong. Send your problems to her - confidentiality is assured, unless you want to use your drama as a ticket to Internet microfame.

Dear Fan,
A few months ago I recorded some songs that I did not expect anyone to listen to. Except they did. And my local scene seemed to think I did a pretty good job, so I started playing out a lot locally. Eventually, I landed an opening gig for an older artist who is one of my biggest influences. Which led to opening a whole tour for him. Yay! But...that led to him assigning me booking and PR duties because the aforementioned artist is "self managed".

This has all been a really awesome experience since I'm a total rookie, and this artist has become a really great friend and mentor. But the work load is getting out of control and I'm not getting paid! It started as a few small favors, so we never talked money, but it never stopped. Now it looks like I'm expected to do this for a while. How do I keep this opportunity and friendship without getting taken advantage of because I'm a fangirl? I really love this musician as an artist and a friend, but I barely have a grasp on how to book my own shows and do my own PR, let alone run someone else's. I'm overwhelmed! Help!
Ms. Manager

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Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Fan Landers

How to Kick Your Drunk Keyboardist Out of Your Band

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Tue, Jun 10, 2014 at 3:14 AM
fanlanders_headerrrrr.jpg
Are you a musician? Is your group having issues? Ask Fan Landers! Critic Jessica Hopper has played in and managed bands, toured internationally, booked shows, produced records, worked as a publicist and is the author of The Girls' Guide to Rocking, a how-to for teen ladies. She is here to help you stop doing it wrong. Send your problems to her - confidentiality is assured, unless you want to use your drama as a ticket to Internet microfame.

Dear Fan,
Is there a way to kick someone out of your band, gently? After a few months with a new synth player we are all getting tired of his flaky behavior, being late to practice, and him being too drunk to load out. He's a nice guy but we need to find someone else who is as committed and responsible as the rest of the band. I don't want him to think we are judging him or make him feel bad.
The Singing Drummer

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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Fan Landers

Should Our Band Get Back Together, or Retire?

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Tue, Jun 3, 2014 at 3:30 AM
fanlanders_headerrrrr.jpg
Are you a musician? Is your group having issues? Ask Fan Landers! Critic Jessica Hopper has played in and managed bands, toured internationally, booked shows, produced records, worked as a publicist and is the author of The Girls' Guide to Rocking, a how-to for teen ladies. She is here to help you stop doing it wrong. Send your problems to her - confidentiality is assured, unless you want to use your drama as a ticket to Internet microfame.

Dear Fan, 
My band [redacted] recently got back together for a short set at a special show. We had a wonderful time and sounded better than we remembered.  The audiences reaction was overwhelming; people came up to band members and requested/demanded more shows.

It had been a few years since our last show. We had never officially broken up, we just couldn't find the time to get together and practice. Another member had become bored and we all drifted apart amicably. Now this same band member is pushing us to get more shows booked. While I love that idea, I only want to do a few because of other projects I have going. Do we owe it to the people to keep rocking or can we slip gracefully into an early retirement?

Sincerely,
Possibly Princess Leia

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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Fan Landers

What To Do When No One At All Cares About Your Band

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Tue, May 27, 2014 at 3:26 AM
fanlanders_headerrrrr.jpg

Are you a musician? Is your group having issues? Ask Fan Landers! Critic Jessica Hopper has played in and managed bands, toured internationally, booked shows, produced records, worked as a publicist and is the author of The Girls' Guide to Rocking, a how-to for teen ladies. She is here to help you stop doing it wrong. Send your problems to her - confidentiality is assured, unless you want to use your drama as a ticket to Internet microfame.

Hello Fan,
My band has had no luck with press or blog sites. The link I send them is an unpublished page, so the only people with access are people I send the link to. I can track how many plays I get and I don't get any. So they aren't even making it far enough to dislike us.

This is our second record and it came out in 2013. I have also been sending our new video, filmed in a beautiful turn-of-the-century Baptist church. The song is about a closet lesbian I dated who was sad and unhappy, hiding who she really was from her Baptist preacher father and very conservative family. I don't include that part of the story in my emails - should I?
Y.S.

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