#62263  by RiverRat
If you ever think of starting a Dead Cover band withing 100 miles of Boston... You MAY want to reconsider...

It's harder to find a Dunkin' Donuts than it is to find a Dead Show!

If you have ever lived here or visited, you may appreciate the absurdity of that statement. There is a Dunk's on nearly every street corner, sometime two. And you rarely have to drive for more than a 1/4 mile before you find another one.

Here a recap of this weekend:

June 13th...
Playing Dead @ Harper's Ferry- Allston, Ma
Fennario @ The Skellig - Waltham, Ma
August West @ Spanky's - Fitchburg, Ma

June 14th...
Playing Dead @ Harper's Ferry- Allston, Ma

and now the icing on the proverbial cake...

June 12th
DSO @ Hampton Beach

June 13th
DSO @ Hampton Beach

June 14th
DSO @ Cape Cod Melody Tent

Now I know that there a lot of factors at play here... and the distance may not seem that great. But ultimately, I think to ONLY winners here will be DSO. Every other band playing WILL see a drop in attendance, either because of DSO or because of another one of the Dead bands. Some folks will be forced to make a choice between PD and Fennario... Or Fennario and August West... or DSO and any of the above!

Some people might say that this is a GOOD thing, having this much music from all these great musicians in such a short space of time. But it doesn't go over well with the club owners, they DO NOT like to book a band and not turn a profit! That has a ripple effect because they see booking ANY Dead band as a losing proposition and that makes it difficult for everyone in the future.

I know that gigs are booked far in advance and not everyone is on the same page, and some just plain don't care to be on the same page. But how could any one of these bands have missed the 3 nights that DSO was rolling through, or thought that booking a gig opposite was anywhere close to being a good idea. And this is NOT the first time this has happened. There have been instances where competing bands have booked the same night only miles from each other.

To those of you in any of the bands mentioned that perceive this as a PERSONAL attack, it's anything BUT that. I have been nothing but civil and diplomatic in my dealings with ALL of you. If you believe that this was an attack motivated in part by my association with Big Rhythm Wine, think again. My role in "The Organization" extends beyond BRW and I do not want for work as a result of that. And I certainly do NOT derive any benefit from going off and slagging you guys for what I perceive as a series of exceptionally poor BUSINESS decisions. But I cannot sit by, watch a clusterfuck of monumental proportions take place and just shut my mouth and let the moment pass without saying SOMETHING. This has ramifications that may not be immediately apparent for everyone that's involved in the local music scene.

DISCLAIMER: This is purely MY OPINION on the subject, feel free to discuss it and perhaps shed some light on YOUR position regarding the subject.

Now I'm off to the Vet to put one of my cats to sleep...
Last edited by RiverRat on Wed Nov 25, 2009 7:34 am, edited 1 time in total.
 #62264  by Tennessee Jedi
Me thinks you are putting too much stock into it.
I see your point ... but booking gigs is hard enough without worrying about the next guy/DSO in town.
It is crowded up your way with Dead bands .... but also lots of heads.
Besides the bands up your way did a good job with pre and post Dead show partys/gigs during last tour ...
I think the guys I jam with would never have the mindset that " Well we played last week so lets give XYZ band a turn ... "
Sorry about your cat.
 #62265  by strumminsix
Sorry 'bout your cat, dude!

I think your bigger point is lost in all dem words:
4 dead bands in 1 area = low turn out at each venue
low turn out at a venue = unhappy booking people who will be apprehensive of booking dead bands
Dead bands not able to book = bad

FTR I avoid booking us when DSO or the Dead or I can easily tell other Dead bands are playing nearby.
 #62268  by Emoto
Sorry about your cat, man. That totally sucks.

I think there are several different ways of looking at this.

From a pure marketing standpoint, e.g., "what kind of band could I start that would be the most commercially successful?" one would have to select some type of band other than a Dead band. So, if making money is the goal and having lots of gigs at commercial venues like bars, then you are correct.

However, I suspect (but have not asked them) that most of the Dead bands playing in our area do it because that is the music they love, and commercial success ($) is not much of a consideration to them.
 #62269  by Rusty the Scoob
Personally I am rewarded best when we have a good crowd and everybody has fun... so splitting the crowd into 4 venues is a bummer.

I'll take credit for screwing up and booking the same night as DSO. :? I was just so happy that I personally booked a gig for the first time ever, after playing strictly sideman for 12+ years, that I took the date that was offered and checked the calendar afterward. I think Vic booked PD after, or at least put it up on the site afterwards. :? So yeah, I totally agree with the main point of this thread. But so far we seem to be able to play as much as we want and then some, so I'm taking this as an isolated incident and a lesson learned for next time.

So anyway - come see us! One Night Only! I even drew a map. :lol:


Edit- I missed the note about your cat. I'm really sorry to hear that! :(
 #62273  by playingdead
Bummer about your cat, Ray.

Your dates are a little off, though.

DSO played in Cohasset last night, 6-11. That's their closest show to Boston proper.

Playing Dead is playing 6-12 and 6-13 at Harpers Ferry in Boston -- the same nights DSO is in Hampton. Those dates were booked in February, long before DSO's were (I checked Pollstar when we made the booking). Harpers Ferry's policy is not to publicize the dates until after the next scheduled appearance is played. We usually put it up as a TBA on our schedule and put it on our calendar after we played our April show there. We notified the club when we found out about DSO and the club elected not to change the dates.

PD has tried to be pretty cool with the other bands in this area; we didn't try to get into Harpers Ferry or Johnny D's (two of the larger clubs in the area) initially because The Knot played both places. When The Knot slowed down and stopped playing more than 2-3 shows a year, we started playing those venues. Typically, we'll put 300 into Johnny D's and anywhere from 200 to 400 in Harper's Ferry. We still had 200 at Harpers even when Ratdog was in town the same night opening for the Allman Bros. I don't know how we'll do tonight.

PD has never tried to book clubs down on the Cape, although we have had requests to, some from fans, some from club owners, because Big Rhythm Wine plays there frequently. We don't want to horn in. PD does not try to book on the North Shore, either, because Old Brown Shoe plays Dead music up that way. We stuck to Boston proper and Worcester on occasion, with some trips to NYC and Vermont.

PD played shows at a good sized club in Worcester as far back as 2003 and as recently as February and April, but now Fennario is playing there, so we aren't trying to book there anymore. PD has played a number of shows at The Skellig in Waltham and The Burren in Somerville in the past; Fennario is booking gigs there too, now. So we won't.

Another band in Western Mass had a name almost identical to ours and was calling the same venues we play out that way trying to book gigs. We had to ask them to change their name to avoid confusion as we are more established.

I suppose it's up to the individual bands. For my band, I try to be deferential to the other musicians and not try to book Playing Dead shows in venues they play at or in the towns or geographical areas they already have a draw in. If I see some other band is playing, I won't book a gig the same night, or one town over the same night, which has happened to us as well (I even rescheduled a date or two as a result).

But that's just my take on it. No one owns the Grateful Dead's music. People will see who they want to see. Anyone can play anywhere.

Am I thrilled that DSO is in Hampton this weekend? No. But I think two nights of Playing Dead for $7 a night is a better deal for Boston heads than two nights of DSO for $33 a night with the ticket charges, especially in this economy.

There are four Journey tribute bands here, too, by the way. Such is life in the big city.
 #62274  by bcresci
1960strat wrote:I am jealous. We dont have any in NYC/NJ
Ditto. I wish we had more down here in Atlanta. For being a pretty reasonably sized town, we don't seem to have much in the way of Dead jam bands. If some of you have bands down here and just aren't as vocal on the board, speak up.....
 #62276  by Emoto
playingdead wrote:There are four Journey tribute bands here, too, by the way.
Oh, the humanity! :shock:
 #62277  by playingdead
Emoto wrote:
playingdead wrote:There are four Journey tribute bands here, too, by the way.
Oh, the humanity! :shock:
Some of 'em are pretty good!

I sold some JBL monitors to the bass player from the "new" band in town, we had an interesting conversation where he talked about how hard they are working to play every cut exactly like it is on the record, right down to which bass and guitar and amp to use on each tune. He was kind of dissing the other Journey bands ... "that guy plays one guitar all night" ... "their lead singer looks like a short version of Uncle Fester" ... it was wild.
 #62281  by NashvilleMike
bcresci wrote:1960strat wrote:
I am jealous. We dont have any in NYC/NJ
How is that possible?
bcresci wrote:Ditto. I wish we had more down here in Atlanta. For being a pretty reasonably sized town, we don't seem to have much in the way of Dead jam bands. If some of you have bands down here and just aren't as vocal on the board, speak up.....
Double ditto for Trashville...It is really bad this weekend because we have the CMA festival going on. Every finger lickin', walmart shoppin', booger eatin' moron who eats what the music business sells them is downtown right now. The country music biz is BS in case you didn't get it.
On the other hand Bonaroo is this weekend but for the first time NO Grateful Dead representation (no Phil & friends, Rat dog etc...). They got Springsteen and Snoop Dog instead. WTF happened to the world?
I can't promise you gigs but If any dead cover band plays here I will get at least 5 people there and you can crash at my house. :D Maybe Playin' dead should do a southern tour...Atlanta, Nashville, Memphis, Athens, Cinci, etc...
Boston has always had a vibrant and varied music scene. I saw everyone from Arlo Guthrie to 7 seconds play there in the 80's. I guess it is hard to stand out in such a market.
I am also sorry for your kitty. Nobody loves us like our furry friends and it is heartbreaking to lose one. :cry:
 #62296  by RiverRat
All good points guys... it sucks to see a "Perfect Storm" of sorts, I hope that everyone has a great turnout and an awesome time.

Strummin'... You summed up the gist of my message nicely.

Rusty... Shit Happens! I hope you have a good turn-out and that you have fun playing... I wouldn't beat myself up over it if I were you, we all learn from life. I know how tough a gig can be when there is no one in the house to let the "Music to play the band..."

Emoto... Yes, most musicians play for the enjoyment but not many bar owners are in business for shits and giggles.

TJ... Yes it is crowded, literally... But it can be difficult packing a house or getting folks out if you AREN'T a DSO, Ratdog, etc... Playing Dead is really the big hitter on the block in that respect and they have the best draw. The shows around the Shows were no-brainers, you have a "captive" audience in that respect.

Your last remark is a tough one, read Vic's statement and see that usually this isn't a typical thing. Which is why I used the "Perfect Storm analogy"... It's not a matter of simply "giving XYZ a chance", but making sure that you don't shoot yourself in the foot by booking against another band and essentially forcing some people to make a choice of one band OR another.

Vic... every single statement you made was right on. Sorry, I screwed up the dates and didn't fully fact check before I sent the message. Clearly you did your homework and went with what you felt was best for PD and best overall. I do know that Harper's and a lot of other place book WAY in advance and they don't promote until after the last gig. If I'm not mistaken, they also limit you to NOT performing within a certain radius of them for a certain period of time before and after a show at their place. It's good to see you were prepared to adjust the schedule to work around the situation, it's unfortunate that Harper's did not want adjust with you... C'est La Vie!

I also understand that not stepping on toes is something that goes on, there have been gigs passed up for those reasons. I think this thread show that it was a series of unfortunate events and not a deliberate act... And I'm sure those damn Journey bands don't all talk shop and agonize over Neil's gear on RUSCHON.COM... 8)

Economy aside... My money would go to any of the bands EXCEPT DSO... that's my $.02!
Thanks for all the kind words guys... She crossed the bridge @ 1:00 while I held her in my arms at the vets office, sitting on the floor... We were listening to Looks Like Rain from Without A Net on my PDA phone.

And I'm sorry I took all of the rage and pain inside me and funneled it into the message I sent earlier...
 #62297  by strumminsix
RiverRat wrote:And I'm sorry I took all of the rage and pain inside me and funneled it into the message I sent earlier...
No apology necessary. Anyone who cannot understand exaggerated emotions when dealing with loss is a person I never want to know.
 #62298  by Stevo123
Ditto. I wish we had more down here in Atlanta. For being a pretty reasonably sized town, we don't seem to have much in the way of Dead jam bands. If some of you have bands down here and just aren't as vocal on the board, speak up.....
I'm in Atlanta, been trying to get a group of sorts going with some friends of mine at school but having trouble finding a bass player to get on board. We found one recently that goes to our school but have been hit-and-miss with our schedules the past few weeks to get together and jam. The drummer, the lead guitarist, and I have been having some absolutely nasty jams lately though! We wouldn't be an exclusively dead cover band but we would most likely be playing a lot of dead tunes along with a lot of funky stuff a la the meters etc. Once we get back to school in a month or so we're really gonna try and hit the ground running, learn tunes and get out playing (assuming this bass player works out and can do what's needed). If and when we do get something going i'll post on the boards here. If there's any bass or keyboard players in Atlanta on the boards here get in touch with me!
 #62301  by Emoto
RiverRat wrote:Emoto... Yes, most musicians play for the enjoyment but not many bar owners are in business for shits and giggles.
Yeah, that's why I try to get out and see people when they're playing locally. But, on the other hand, where would we be if Jerry and the boys had really worried very much about what the bar owners wanted? Of course, none of us are them, but I'd hate to suppress whatever tiny spark of magic there might be in a band by worrying about the bar owner. Just my opinion, not meant to seem argumentative.