1. What impresses you most about an opening band?
2. What annoys you about opening bands?
3. Any other advice for artists just getting started?
Why should you care about what a successful industry insider thinks? If you impress a headliner, the odds are very good that they will request your band as an opening act the next time they pass through town. They might also encourage you to get your act together and hit up their tour manager! At the very least, good impressions lead to positive word of mouth. If a venue manager, sound person, security staff or other acts have heard good things about you, then your band is lightyears ahead of other acts that have a negative reputation.
Our first honored guest is Betty X, noted conceptual artist and performer. She got her start in the turbulent streets of 90’s Seattle with the provocative art rock of Salon Betty. After winning two consecutive Webby Awards (1995 and 1996 for the first Interactive Salon Betty Paper Doll on the web and for the first episodic parody of MTV’s Real World with the Surreal World of Salon Betty), her style began to favor the dark side. In 1999, she formed her current self-titled solo project with a heavier, more socially (anti- socially?) relevant message. Her mark is indelibly made on other affiliated acts like Satan in High Heels, Pigface, and Sheep on Drugs.We sat down with Betty to ask her our questions.
What impresses you most about an opening band?
I’m impressed when an opening act is on time, set up and ready start when it’s scheduled. Although it’s not always the opening act’s fault…sometimes the club or the sound person is to blame. Shit often goes wrong in this industry. Try not to sweat the small stuff. Having a great sense of humor will help you survive the insanity. Respect for the other acts. Treat fellow musicians with same basic respect you expect. We’re all in this together, so I love it when the opening/support acts are friendly and supportive of other musicians before and after the show. I love to see bands invite guest musicians onstage. Ultimately, what impresses me about an opening act is professionalism, originality and the ability to put on an entertaining show for the audience.
What annoys you?
What I find annoying is excessive competition with the other bands; Not working together to promote the show/event and pitting fans against the other bands’ fans. I’ve learned the hard way from having bad nights where everything that can go wrong, does. But you learn from your mistakes and move forward. You’ll laugh at it later. The best thing to remember is that you love music and so do your fellow musicians. You have more in common than not. Stick together, create community and lasting friendships.
Any other advice you’d like to offer?
As for social media, the best advice I can give is, the person in your band that is most diplomatic should run it and answer questions from fans. Do not berate or belittle your fans…EVER. I’ve learned from many mistakes over the last 20 years managing social media for myself and fellow artists and bands like Ministry and Surgical Meth Machine…Ultimately everyone wants to be treated with dignity and respect. Unless they are just a hateful troll, treat them with respect and kindness. If they are a troll, just ignore them. Don’t feed it, don’t participate in flame wars. Basically, follow one simple rule: Don’t be a Dick. It’s that simple.
Thanks Betty! 😀
You bet!There you have it, folks. It ultimately boils down to “Don’t be a Dick.” Next week! We will have a chat with Angelina Lukacin Jourgensen, owner of Angelhaüs Produktions and Saba Tour, Inc; former manager of Ministry and The Revolting Cocks. Join us then, won’t you?