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In follow up to my Quid Pro Quo article, and my unyielding commitment to put out print-worthy advice on the internet, I’d like to talk to you about South By Southwest. As you all know, SXSW is a big music industry dealio in Austin, Texas. Every band, that isn’t big enough to not care, desperately wants to perform in front of the scores of industry spooks who wield the mystical powers needed to fling careers into the glorious limelight.
Some artists are so convinced that the elusive official showcase, or hip slot at an industry party, will abracadabra them to such fame that they will do anything to play- including bothering me. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m sure there are examples of artists who showcased at SXSW and caught the eye and ears of someone with connections and went on to be hugely famous. It’s happened. However, one showcase making it or breaking it for an artist isn’t realistic. It just doesn’t work that way. But that isn’t why I don’t want you to e-mail me asking for a show at SXSW.
Every year, without fail, the emails start coming in as March approaches. I get e-mails and calls from all sorts of people looking for shows at SXSW. Wayward requests from friends, people I’ve never heard of, clients I decided to stop working with, even clients who decided to leave our roster. It’s nothing personal I’m sure. I’m guessing the folks that reach out to me for shows are also reaching out to everyone else in their Rolodex who they think might be able to help them. This is a huge mistake for almost all of them. (Now, don’t get me wrong, there are artists who have done me a favor by playing our annual SXSW showcase. They don’t necessarily need to do it for their careers, but they’re willing to help us out. Then there are the calls from my current clients, who currently pay me. They certainly have a right to ask what we can do for them down in Austin too. Additionally, I don’t hold it against those who know me who come to me for help and advice- that would be silly.)
There’s etiquette involved with asking for favors. You know how you don’t ask someone you just met to help you move? Just like you don’t ask someone you’ve just done business with for the first time to lend you a hundred bucks, right? If you’re thinking “No, I don’t know that…” then we’ve struck upon a much larger issue that will wildly impact your life in a profoundly negative way… Well, similarly, it’s inappropriate to ask a professional who’s services you haven’t retained for a free favor that, realistically his paying clients are also asking for. In fact, it’s inappropriate to ask for any favor that isn’t realistic in nature- you won’t get it, and it won’t make you look good.
When I’ve brought up such examples of poor etiquette to my classes and there are always students who question why I don’t do favors for artists simply on the merit of their music and their future potential. That’s a good question. It certainly isn’t because I’m mean-spirited, or unkind, or unethical; it’s quite the opposite. I have an obligation to my current clients. I have an obligation to do what’s best for my company as well (It currently feeds my family, to whom I also have obligations…) How would they feel if I offered a spot to someone I don’t work with, who doesn’t have an existing pull to help our showcase out? They’d be rightly upset. The other artists performing would also be upset as they’re hoping for the best showcase possible. And, last, and certainly not least, South By Southwest wouldn’t be happy – in fact they might simply refuse to let the band perform an official event. At the end of the day, all performers need to be approved by SXSW, and they, of course, are also hoping for the best showcase possible with the most buzz worthy performers at allevents.
But, that’s not all- I now know some things about the person who’s asking for the favor. I know that they don’t fully understand the game. The SXSW game, the music industry game, the communication game…you name it. I also know they could careless about me and my company. They’re not contacting us for a general business inquiry, they’re asking for a one-off specific favor that only benefits them. These are not the qualities I look for in business partners- they’re the red flags I try hard to avoid.
Now, there’s an old saying, “Ask for nothing – get nothing.” I love that saying; I believe it’s true. You usually need to be ambitious and tenacious to get what you want. You can’t sit on the sidelines and hope your wildest dream lands in your lap. It won’t. But you don’t want to start asking everyone for everything. You need to take the time and truly understand how things work before you ask anything of anyone. I have done a lot of favors in my life, and I expect I’ll happily do many more. But the favor has to make sense and the person asking has to make sense too.
Family and friends and baby enthusiasts only, unentertaining baby jargon to follow-
Most of you probably know that I have been married to my beautiful and talented band mate, Priscilla, for a very long while. We actually met in high school, and a year later a friend of mine invited her to play in a band with us. As a result, we ended up dating, taking over that band, and eventually we married. I was twenty-one and she was nineteen. …and that was a while ago. I think, a lot of people had just thought that we probably weren’t having kids- or they’d at least stopped holding their breath. But, this summer we finally announced Priscilla was pregnant.
Fast forward to about a few days ago. (And it really was a fast forward. It seems like it was yesterday.) We were still feeling very unprepared, and I have to admit I’ve been in a little bit of baby denial. I’ve been thinking to myself, No worries! You still have some time left! Which, of course, I didn’t…
I came home from teaching a class on Tuesday and Priscilla was pretty uncomfortable and having contractions that were intense. She’d been having them for the last day at least, so we weren’t super concerned. We’d also just seen the doctor that morning. But we decided to call in when they got a little worse, and they told us to stop by for a check up. We grabbed a few extra things just in case, and made the hike to the burbs where our hospital is. We were probably in the hospital for about one minute when Priscilla’s water broke. I helped her out of her clothes fast because she was worried about ruining her boots… (they’re fine, by the way.) But, then we knew we were smack-dab in the middle of baby time.
The kid had been breach for a while and was stubbornly resisting turning, so we were planning on a cesarean section already. They took Priscilla out and left me in the room to put on scrubs. I was waiting for some sort of mental break down or freakout, but, as is typical, I stayed surprisingly calm. Someone poked their head in and said, “ok, in five minutes you’re going to be a dad.” I started pacing a bit, and I said a quick prayer for baby and waited. I felt poised as if for some looming adventure and I was starting to feel adrenaline.
When they called me in, I went straight to Priscilla’s head, walled off from the rest of the operating room. She was scared and very nervous so I sat with my head next to hers trying to help her stay calm. It was such an odd feeling waiting there. Pretty soon I could hear the staff talking about our baby, and I heard little squeaks and squeals. I stayed with Priscilla as baby started to cry and I wished I could be with both of them at once. They called me over to cut the umbilical cord – which I had only learned I was supposed to do earlier that day. …it was creepy.
I had thought about how I would feel seeing my first child for years without knowing what my reaction would be. And seeing her I was still caught not really knowing how to react at all- but I was drawn to her. She was upset, and purple. The nurses were handling her with gloves, putting a diaper on and weighing her in. I didn’t know if I could touch her, but I just wanted to grab her up. Finally I asked and they said of course I could. I’ve seen and held babies before, but never a newborn, so I was feeling out of my element but driven to be close to her. She was fussing and I put my finger in her hand and she quieted down. I’ll never forget that. I had the camera around my neck and snapped a photo. They swaddled her and gave her to me and I carried her over to Priscilla so they could meet.
After that, the next forty-eight hours have been a weary and exhausted, but very happy blur. I swaddled my first baby, changed my first diaper, and helped Priscilla as best I could to get what she needed to recover. And I slept the fatigued sleep that only parents and the deranged know.
I still think it’s odd that after this bizarre endless and sleepless night, our daughter will go home with us, and things will simply never be the same. I couldn’t be more happy about that, although I still have only logical guesses of what that means. What I do know is that this little kid has got me. I had a murky thought drift in while on my way back to the hospital after stopping home to feed our cats (who can tell something is up…) I would, without remorse, hesitation, or the slightest regret, die to protect her, or do anything else I needed to do for her. It was a very peaceful thought, honestly; nothing would be more right in the world than me giving her everything I’ve got.
We’ll keep you all posted, and enjoy the pictures!
Henrietta (Henri) Peach Priebe was born January 30th at 2:25 am weighing seven pounds and fifteen ounces. She was twenty inches long, and a purple-ish hue.
I haven’t really given much actual music industry advise on this site since I started it. There are too many people tossing advice around out there, and no shortage of musicians who think they don’t need advice, and very little about the exchange appeals to me. I think that’s one of the reasons I enjoy teaching — It gives me an appropriate place, time, and specific topic to dole out advice. This unregulated, free-form, internet know-it-all advice from everyone is… not good. In fact, even the information I see from people who have one or both feet in the music industry is typically terrible. And, one final stupid article was the straw that broke this ass’s back…
The article I read gave three simple steps on how to get into CMJ Music Marathon in New York. Step one was to be able to attend a fest in New York in October without getting paid to do so. Step two was to have music industry buzz. Step three was to make sure you promote the show once you get it. So that’s three steps, and of those three, only one is an actual step sandwiched between the obvious and the unrelated. Sorry to waste your time by rehashing, but I want to illustrate how bad a lot of the advice out there is. Bad and pointless. But, just like this nut job here, I don’t like giving criticism without also providing resolution.
So, I could write an article on how I would go about getting your band into CMJ. In fact, I could lay out a strategy to get your band there without Sonic Bids or an Agent, or even solid buzz, but I’d rather address the more broad issue plaguing musicians and those who give them advice: Quid Pro Quo.
If you want to know “How to get into CMJ?” you’re asking the wrong question. The right question is “Do I have anything CMJ wants?” Well, what if you’d rather find a booking agent and let them worry about CMJ for you? Fair enough. Do you have anything a booking agent wants? Do you have anything a label wants? Or a manager? Or a music editor? If you’re think “Yes, I do! I have great music!” You’re dead wrong. Having talent is the prerequisite to getting into Music Business 101- its not the reason you ace the class.
I’ll break this down into steps.
Step one: Decide what you want. A showcase at CMJ. A Publicist. A manager, etc…
Step two: Find out what they want in return. Buzz, money, reputation, history, etc…
Step three: Honestly evaluate if you have what they want. If you do, approach them through a proper channel. (Hint- if you don’t know the right way to get in touch with someone wait until you do) If you don’t have what they want go back and try and figure out how to get what you’re missing.
People don’t seem to understand that its damaging to ask for things your career doesn’t yet deserve. It shows anyone who’s paying attention that you don’t know what you’re doing. Whereas the opposite is true when you ask for only what is appropriate. This helps build a positive reputation. If you come baring gifts, and understanding what’s required of you to make a relationship mutually beneficial people will take you seriously. Quid Pro Quo: This for that.
Contact: David Priebe FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MAUDLIN’S NEXT CREATIVE PROJECT- A BABY – TO RELEASE IN FEBRUARY
Maudlin Frontmen David and Priscilla Priebe Expecting Their First Child
David and Priscilla Priebe made an official statement from their computer in their apartment today that Priscilla got knocked up. The joyous announcement comes just weeks before the couple will celebrate eleven years of marriage, and fifteen years of sharing the stage together in various projects. The Priebes met with a crack team of doctors and paranormal investigators who all corroborated the ten year old pregnancy test Priscilla found. They further predicted the avant garde release date of the baby will be February tenth, far from when musicians traditionally release projects. The timing might seem like poor planning given its proximity to SXSW, however the Priebes have assured people in their statement that there was no planning at all. By now, most people probably assumed if they intended to have children they would have- however those people underestimated how vastly unorganized the couple is.
The news comes in the midst of the recording of the bands, yet untitled, third full-length recorded. The project was started in late May in famous Master Mix studios now located inside The Institute of Production and Recording (where David instructs.) Maudlin intends hold the release until after buzz has died down from the baby project – as not to have to two competing projects out at the same time. Instead, the two songwriters say the will continue working on the project, and spend greater time on the writing and recording process, as well as likely extend the number of songs to be completed. The finished project is tentatively set for release in late Spring.
Given the new development, the group has slowed down its typically very active schedule; however, Maudlin will continue to perform through the end of the year. The band is sad to announce that they will miss this year’s CMJ Music Marathon, which they’ve performed at the previous three years running. However, despite the increased physical demands, Priscilla has continued to play without slowing the bands notoriously energetic stage show in the Midwest, and the group has engagements schedule through December as far as Michigan.
As the pregnancy progresses Priscilla is committed to maintaining a regular routine, including performing, which is her greatest artistic passion. Priscilla has become known as a great example of female prowess in the male dominated music industry, where female roles are often confined to singing alone, or carrying less technically demanding instrumental roles. Her work as a songwriter, guitarist, and wild performer set her apart from background singers and tambourine players. Continuing to play through a pregnancy is rare for musical performers, and almost unheard of for ‘rock and roll.’ Priscilla’s commitment to continue to perform comes from, not only a desire to continue her passion and self-expression, but also to continue to redefine roles of women in music.
In addition to performing on stage with Maudlin, David and Priscilla will soon start performing a small number of shows in their side project, or ‘alter ego’ Tyrant Sea Bear. Tyrant Sea Bear is a group that lives by its mantra, ‘Tyrant Sea Bear was whatever it wanted to be- because it was the biggest bear.’ The group promises to explore music that, for one reason or another, doesn’t make sense to perform with Maudlin. Moreover, they intend to include some music that could be performed while sitting down, which may be more comfortable in the months to come.
David and Priscilla couldn’t be more excited about their announcement, and hope that all of their friends in the musical community in Minneapolis and across the country will celebrate with them. They’re excited to take on this new adventure while continuing their passion for music. They would like to reassure people that they are not disbanding, and plan to start playing shows this Spring to support the new album after a brief hiatus. However, for those who are paranoid, the group has several in town shows schedule that can be found on their website, and they will be planning a local “going away party” show prior to Priscilla’s leave.
Maudlin is an indie rock band headed by husband and wife team David and Priscilla Priebe. Along with Nick Larsen, they record and perform music in their native Midwest and across the country. The group is characterized by their wild live shows, and their avant garde, yet easily digestible songs about the human experience and things that go ‘bump’ in the night.
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The Show and Tell sessions (held every fourth Sunday at The Kitty Cat Klub in Minneapolis, MN) are now being recorded in full- in the next couple of months we should be getting some up loaded here to listen and download for free! Till then, here’s a taste of last months. This is a song by The Less Complex couresy of Ryan Siverson Photography! Enjoy!
…and I just realized I never posted about this… Well, it was MAGICAL. Nothing else could describe it. PBR proudly sponsored, Redbull was reluctantly involved, Rock The Cause helped out, and, of course, Santa Clause came as well. Special thanks to Mike Minehart for taking lots of great photos! I will let pictures and video tell the tale…
Pictures of then went wild with there rap hit!
Psychics, stolen cars, lying receptionists, and Gold Bond- This is my account of 2012′s SXSW. If you’re in a band, work in the music industry, live near Austin, or watch the news a lot, you’ve probably heard of South By Southwest. If not, here’s a brief summery… every bar that has live music in the live musical capital of the world has live music all day and night for five days while every other imaginable space in town is turned into a temporary live music venue. Then hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians, and other weirdos descend on Austin to feast on the insanity that ensues. So, naturally, I show up as well. This is what I remember.
I had the distinct pleasure of riding down in a van with Savannah Smith and a new band called Enemy Planes. I’ll tell you more about them in another post… But, any intense event should begin with an equally intense journey. A two hour plane ride is not enough to transport you into the alternate universe that Austin becomes in March- a Twenty hour van ride on the other hand? With one lay over for a Radiohead concert? Perfect.
We arrived in the Lone Star State late Monday night and then first had to drop a few stragglers off at a ritzy subdivision of a swamp of some sort. We took a wrong turn down a gravel road, and didn’t know if we’d be able to back out or turn around with the trailer in tow. The headlights of the vehicle did a poor job of lighting the dark and foggy terrain that sloped unevenly down and out of site in front of us. We all sat motionless in the van while trying to decide what to do. Naturally, sleep deprived and delirious, I presumed this was the end and we were going to die here, so I volunteered to leave the safety of the van and scout ahead on foot. There are alligators in these parts of Texas, vicious nocturnal hunters that are hard to see during the day, let alone at night! …I mean, I presumed there were alligators anyway. It made sense at the time. There was a lake for sure, and where there’s lakes, there are alligators. Long story short- I didn’t get eaten. But I did find a spot for the van to turn around. …I guess this part of the story isn’t exciting at all… but pretend you think there were alligators too- then it sort of is. Anyway, I would soon find out that many more dangers awaited me in the heart of the city.
Tuesday morning we all rode into downtown Austin early. The city comes alive around noon with day parties, some sanctioned by SXSW, many more sanctioned by no one in particular, but all luring pedestrians in off the street with free food and drinks. My primary goal in going to SXSW is always to network. My secondary goal is to see how much free crap I can get- weather I need it or not. My first official stop of the day as at a Mexican restaurant called Casa Chapala where Savannah was playing. After eating some free things and watching Savannah play, I went to catch up with the rest of my troupe including Craig (if you’ve been following the last several years of posts you know him) at Club Deville. I like this place a lot only because it’s built like a fort into the side of a hill with steep rock faced walls surrounding it’s patio.
It was while I was photo bombing a group of individuals by this very wall that I met Mimi. After the snap of the flash her friends all scattered, but Mimi stayed, transfixed with the dashing and mysterious stranger who had just jumped into the photo and into her life. At first she seemed like an ordinary drunk who was likely unstable to start with. She stated that she also liked the wall, and that she could climb to the top, twenty feet up, with ease. Given her current unbalanced state, naturally I encouraged her to try. She got a foot off the ground before she realized this was a mistake. But, upon turning from the wall she looked at me as though seeing me for the first time, and grabbed my hand. Trembling she told me that she was a ‘Ren-rat’ and had special powers. Ren-rat is a slang term to describe the hordes or goths, larpers, and other unfortunates who participate in the Resistance Festival on an annual basis. She described growing up at the Renfest in Shakopee- which is a suburb of Minneapolis, because her parents were also dorks. She had gained acute psychic abilities while she grew up- more than likely in a vain effort to wish herself somewhere else.
It didn’t all add up to me- after all, she was dressed like a normal person- but she was intensely concerned for my safety, and I was intensely amused, so I heard her out. She proceeded to tell me that I had great powers myself. Perhaps this was why I was able to foresee I couldn’t climb a sheer rock cliff without trying. She grasped my hand and gazed at my palm and bit her trembling lower lip. I was in danger. I helped people, but I may soon help them so much that I hurt myself. My fortune line also didn’t follow my life line. She said that I would earn lots of money, but for other people, not myself… Stupid clients! I thought. Soon I grew bored with Mimi and made my departure. It was only a few hours later when we would meet again.
Bar close released mass of zombies on to the streets of Austin. Our van arrived out front and I got the call that it was now, or never if I wanted a ride to the hotel. As I exited the club some explainable force made me look to my right down the street. There was Mimi… sort of crawl-walking around. I went over to assist her. She was on the phone with someone.
“Hey Mimi, need some help?” Mimi just looked back at my with that all-knowing drunk stair. ”It’s David, the guy with super powers, remember?” I asked. Recognition crept into her eyes.
“Oh yeah, here, talk to him,” she said as she thrust her cell phone at me.
“Hello?” I asked.
“Damn it, is she loaded again? Is she just totally bombed?” a gentleman asked on the other line. I glanced at Mimi.
“Yes,” I answered, “she’s gone.”
After a few more expletives he asked if I could get her into a cab. Asking someone to get a cab at bar close in Austin during SXSW is sort of like asking someone to go find the Ark of the Covenant real quick for you. But, it appears I have special powers- so I actually did find one quickly. But my powers were no match for Mimi’s. The Cabby refused to drive her anywhere in here inebriated state. I took her back to our van to freak out the boys. We offered to give Mimi a ride to where ever it was she comes from, but she wisely refused a ride from five weird looking dudes in a large nondescript white van. I left her peacefully curled up on the sidewalk, and I have no notion of what may have become of her. God speed Mimi, God speed!
With knowledge of the future and what Austin had in store for me looming ominously in the back of my powerful mind, I headed back to the hotel room for much needed rest. Soon the morningafternoonish time would be here, and we’d need to wake up and head back into the belly of the beast.
To Be Continued…
Day one free items collected: Taco platter, four shots of tequila, psychic encounter, two dozen vitamin waters, and two boxes of cereal.
I was going to write an article about my trip to the East Coast and back with Savannah Smith… but I think it’s better to just leave that title and let you fill in all the blanks…
By now you’ve all heard about the ancient Mayan calendar that predicts that Jerry Bruckheimer’s movies will all be so bad by December of 2012 that even just seeing a billboard for one will kill you. (Amazing information to glean from a calendar written by people who have been dead for over a millennium!) But, maybe you haven’t heard about some of the other dumb ways people think our planet may plummet into a bizarre Mad Max sequel. Solar flares. These could come and wipe out all the electricity globally. How about the super volcano? It’s right underneath YOU Wyoming. Good luck with that. Or, what about the next animal flu? Birds and pigs are one thing, but what the hell will we do when we get something REALLY bad, like Shark Flu?
Now, I agree with all the naysayers- I’m going to die. I even agree that the world will end sometime. AND, I’m not even worried about that one. I know some dead people already, it will be nice to catch up. Plus, if we all die, I’ll know a lot more dead people. Also all the people who have had near death experiences say really nice things about being dead. …Except for the ones who say they went to hell… So, what AM I concerned with here? Well, I’ll tell you. I’ve seen some of these movies. The Road?! …thanks for that one Cormic- what a great combination of boring and morbidly depressing. The Happening?! Sometimes when I see M Night Shyamalan’s flicks I think he puts crap out, sits back, waits, and then says “What, people still came out to see this one? Really? Ok, ok, I can still do worse.” (Rather than link you to what ‘The Happening’ really is, I’ve embedded a video by the same name that you will enjoy more.)
Folks, what scares me more than anything is being trapped in a boring post apocalyptic world, watching the world blandly expire. Barf.
So, what’s the solution? How can you stop the inevitable? Can we really launch Bruce Willis into space with a nuclear warhead every time an asteroid comes by? Not realistic. But maybe, just maybe, if we’re all going to die anyway, we can have a little bit of fun with it. Eh? So, I’m sure you all know what I’m thinking of- Zombies AND Dinosaurs. Duh. Can the Gub-ment stop the massive tidal wave of destruction? The guys who try to fix a leak of harmful oil in the ocean by dumping more harmful chemicals in on top of it? Ask any of the guys who helped clean up the Exon Valdez spill- oh wait, they’re all dead now… Nope, not likely. But, as always, I’m sure they’ll know all about it before some terrible, terribly boring disaster takes place. So, all I’m asking for, is for them to implement my simple Zombie/Dinosaur plan of action about… lets say, one year before things get really crappy.
Where will they get Zombies and Dinosaurs? Well, I would like to think that first we would try Zombie viruses, and Jurassic Park style DNA experiments. But, if all else fails, we could always go animatronic. Once they’ve figured out the ‘how’ they just need to mass produce both, and then release the Zombies and Dinosaurs into the unsuspecting populous. Now granted, some people won’t like this. Maybe some people don’t even know how to kill a zombie or out smart a velociraptor, but I think we can all agree they would be the minority. They would also be the very first to die, leaving behind a wealth of firearms and canned goods for the rest of us.
Now, of course, none of us would be able to survive forever with millions of zombies swarming and a hundred deadly species of dinosaurs roaming around, thirsty for blood. However, the fast paced thrill ride would be just the shot of adrenalin we need. And the colorful sights and sounds produced by the new monsters would keep our imaginations preoccupied and, dare I say, enchant us, up until the quick-ish painful end- Eaten alive in an entertaining, honorable, and fulfilling death, long before boring natural disasters ravage our already lifeless planet. I guess it would suck to be the Dinosaurs in that scenario though… back on top… for a second, and then boom! Another boring asteroid extinction.
I know what you’re thinking- WTF?! Why hasn’t anyone else thought of this yet? I have no idea. I can only hope that Uncle Sam already has and they’re just waiting for the right time to surprise us! Lets all keep our fingers crossed!