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Make Money Makin' Music! Part 2

  • Make Money - Makin' Music... hurrah.
  • Get $ Notes for Notes ... Groovy;--)
  • If you're new to the game, it's best to read thru from the start - experienced players can delve in where they like.
  • Beginners  - you probably have a lot of similar equipment already, this will help you fill in the gaps. There's loads of options open here so take your time and good luck.

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Musicians Lucky Penny width=51 height=45 How to Make Money in a Covers Band Part 2 In part 1 we looked at the following topics, so if you need to refresh your memory, or didn't read it yet please start at Make Money - Makin' Music Part 1

Tips on Picking a Make Money Set-List

Look around at the local venues available and see what's hot at the moment. Put your head(s) together and try to come up with a versatile set list. Think of who'll be listening to them.

If anyone's new to singing, pick simple tunes that suit their voices. Don't be afraid to change keys if necessary. If your frontman can pull off a lot of the gig already, then slowly introduce the newly acquired lead-vocal contributions when they're at pro-level. Keep building up the repertoire over the coming months.

Go to see other bands and see what's going down well. Get a vibe for the places you'll be working in. I would suggest not to approach any of the staff or management about gigs, if you've just downed a mountain of beer.

In general, I always find that a combination of Golden Oldies and Contemporary stuff that suits the group and the gig, is a good way to go. Don't make the common mistake of including too many slow and mid-tempo songs in the set. For a 2-hour stint expect to play about 25-30 tunes. Keep it around 20 fast, 3 slow, 7 mid-tempo songs.

If you can program MIDI, you can download songs off the 'Net and tweak them to suit your particular lineup. For example strip out the guitars/vocal line or whatever's needed, and play those bits live. Sometimes it's easier to build a song from scratch. You also buy various varying quality MIDI files. These can be tweaked (funny word, but handy) to suit.

I'm sourcing a good place at the moment.

If you can't program MIDI, I would seriously suggest that you learn how to. If not you'll need to hire someone to do it for you. That's exactly what we're trying to avoid. Here's a book, The Midi Files that will interest you if you want to know more.


Musicians Lucky Penny width=30 height=26$ Make Money Special! $

The Dreaded Band Naming and Gig Hunting - Helpful Tips

Spend a long time on the name of the band. Don't stop 'til you come up with something you can all live with for a while. Once you choose a good 'un, you'll be promoting it bigtime! So no moniker-changes after a few weeks, it's too much wasted advertising and time.

Musicians Lucky Penny width=30 height=26$ Make Money Special! $

Make Money - PR and Gig-Hunting

- Gift of the Gab! It's easy if you have the goods to back it up. A great set and good reliable gear. A well dressed band and a good demo pack made up especially for getting gigs. Include great 3 song demo, photo's and a small blurb about the band. Oh yeh, write down part of your setlist including your strongest and most popular songs. Think about 'pleasing the punter' songs - the gig owner will.


Musicians Lucky Penny width=30 height=26$ Make Money Special! $

Demo Recording/Design & Packaging/Artwork/CDs Do all this yourself on your PC. Use these promo-packs to secure gigs, and sell the CDs on the night. Make a professional looking and colorful portfolio of the band. Include photo's, set-lists, band-info, etc. Make it SELL the group. Try to imagine looking at it through the eye's of a typical Venue's Owner/Manager. What's in it for him, and will it improve his business.

You can package lots of gig hunting and promotional stuff easily yourself, with your PC and a bit of artistic input. CD's can be recorded, burned and packaged no problem, so there's no excuse for us anymore - boo-hoo.

You can easily set up a band Website and start promoting local and even worldwide if you want.


(A small Van or Hatchback should do the trick, ) Whichever one of you does it, It's fair to pay the going rates as normal. Maybe everyone drives themselves.

Gear Set-up - - see our tips on set up Equipment/Skills


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Stage Lights/Show

Stage lights are a major asset to any band. A big plus I find, is that having a nice little (or big) moody lighting-system, make's the gig a lot easier to play.

Lighting Stage Lighting System 1

Lighting Stage Lighting System 1

Lighting pack includes 8 PAR 38 Cans, an Elation Stage Pak Dimmer System, and a truss-style lighting stand for professional and very stable mounting.

Hey if your really ambitious and you must have that fog machine Here's a good popular one ...

Elation Z-1200 II 1200 Watt Pro Fog Machine

Elation Z-1200 II 1200 Watt Pro Fog Machine

The Elation Z-1200II dominates the entry level fog machine market with its high performance output and high tech features. The Z-1200II is equipped with the ECO thermal control system and the patented UNICORE heater technology. The systems electronic thermostat can detect even a very slight temperature drop and will automatically re-heat the machine, which results in a thinner, consistent stream of smoke, as opposed to "black bursts."In addition, it is armed with on-board DMX-512 to work with club lighting directors, installers, designers, and DJs who need more fog control.The machines heater core can easily be taken out from the heater block for a quick and easy cleaning to prevent clogging and insure trouble-free performance. The heater element is like a powerful jet stream that can deliver large bursts of fog.The Z-1200II comes with a high quality pump and electronic low-fluid detector also known as Thermal Cut-Off (TCO) which automatically shuts off the pump when the fluid level is low, protecting the machine from damage.

Musicians Lucky Penny width=30 height=26$ Make Money Special! $


If necessary, go on a short, basic Electronics Course, and save yourself a fortune over the years. You might be eligible for a government-subsidized course if your not working at the moment. Try checking out Night-Classes or your local library for a good deal.


Musicians Lucky Penny width=30 height=26$ Make Money Special! $

Make Money - Financial and Business Transactions

(Depending on what your earning, you might need the services of a trustworthy accountant who knows the Music-Biz well. Ask around and do a bit of detective work here. I suppose If your making enough money to pay tax on it, you must be doing something right).

I strongly recommend that you immerse yourself or someone in the band does it, in the Music BIZ end of things. This is crucial if you want to succeed just like in any biz. There's a lot of "advice" on the 'Net elsewhere but really good and useful stuff is hard to find. Here's an excellent music business guide from a top music guru to help iron things out.


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3 - 2 - or 1?

That is the question ...

3's Company

For our purposes here, a TRIO is the easiest to start with, because the band has many of the above resources at it's disposal. Most musicians already possess their own Musical Gear and Computers. Of course it's 3 mouths to feed, but between the lot of you, your bound to possess most of what's needed, gear and skills-wise.

Here's a classic 3-Piece example that works amazingly well...

  • Frontman /Lead and Backing Vocals/ doubling on Guitar if necessary/ Business Affairs/ PC Artwork/ Driving / Roadie
  • Electric/ Acoustic Guitarist/Lead and Backing Vox/ Maintenance/ Demo Recording/ Gear Set-Up/ Roadie
  • Keyboard Player/ Lead and Backing Vox/ Live Sound & Lights/ Programming/ Gear Set-Up/ Roadie

I played in a line-up very similar to this one and it works very well. We promoted the band and gigs ourselves. We recorded an 8-Track demo in Lanzarote by one time Ozzy (and other big names) Drummer/Writer Mr. Lee Kerslake. It was in a beautiful little studio somewhere in Sunny Arrecife. Hola guys...We sold cassettes and CD's during the Summer season and used it back home in Dublin as part of our Band Package to get loads of gigs. You can easily do this type of thing on your PC.


Musicians Lucky Penny width=30 height=26$ Make Money Special! $


2's a Crowd

I also played in a 2-Piece in Ireland with the above mentioned Mr. Hoey. We were called The Crybabys. We done the demo you heard at the start of this page, Bittersweet Symphony (the Verve). It was part of our promo kit. We got this big sound when we played it live too! G'wan, G'wan Gerry.

  • Once again we split up all duties between us. We both programmed songs and found this to be a huge advantage. The set was sung more or less 50/50 between us.
  • Backing tracks were played back live using a Roland Sequencer, a trusty little workhorse.
  • We used an advanced lighting system (ha) and a big fluorescent backdrop to help the visual end of things.
  • We both agreed we had to work harder performing, without a great frontman running around the stage like a madman. God bless 'em...Especially in the beginning, but it was a challenge we overcame.
  • We allowed ourselves the luxury of an Italian/Irish, Driver/Helper called Nino. Ahh, if only they were all as good as 'im...

Musicians Lucky Penny width=30 height=26$ Make Money Special! $


Yes I covered this one too.

I done a few seasons in Spain on me lonesome. The set was 3 hours long. Ouch...The pay was cool but it can be a lonely road sometimes.

Here's a few things I found out to ease the journey -

I recorded all backing tracks (with backing vocals) onto a Mini-Disc, and live, I played Electric or Acoustic guitar along with it. I also had an Alesis SR16 Drum-Machine rigged up, for a bit of variety. The SR16 is just brilliant - top of the list 5 years running in the UK music polls! Mine's sitting here right beside me as I write and it's well earned it's position in the studio and live.

Alesis SR-16 Stereo Drum Machine

Alesis SR-16 Stereo Drum Machine

For serious programmers and use as a sound module the Alesis SR-16 Stereo Drum Machine delivers comprehensive MIDI programming and implementation. Its samples can be tweaked with the Dynamic Articulation that alters the drum tone depending on how hard it's hit. Comes with 50 preset rhythm patterns, each with an A and B variation plus A and B fill, for a total of 4 different rhythms in each pattern. 50 user drum kits give you plenty of versatility. Also includes 2 stereo outputs, headphone out, 2 footswitch jacks, 12 velocity-sensitive pads, 16-voice polyphony, 24-bit resolution, and 20-255BPM tempo range.

It's great to have a drum machine like this beside you onstage for requests and stuff. Have a few basic patterns ready to go. A few numbers I just sang Accapello and some with the Acoustic Guitar. It's nice to be able to switch around this way. It's more interesting for you and the audience.

I used a Quadraverb Effects-Processor and a few pints to smooth things out.

As you might have guessed by now, I put together a demo CD, and small portfolio containing photo's, info, a list of songs and so on. You can pick up loads of gigs that way.

Here's a quick listen to a tune from my gig-hunting demo CD. It's a David Gray number called... 

Music Note width=32 height=32 Please Forgive Me Written and Recorded by David Gray

... taken from his cool CD - White Ladder

  • This demo - David O'Toole
  • (Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Programming, Sampling)

So you can hear that it's quite possible to keep it interesting in a one-man + tech band.

Yes, going it alone can be sometimes hard going, but you get a certain amount of job-satisfaction out of doing it all yourself. It a good opportunity to push your skills to higher levels. Plus, with a small stage set-up it's easy to move it all around. I took this little Unit of One to Mallorca, Australia and Switzerland. And there's no one else to blame if anything goes pear-shaped! Yippee...Is that good or bad?


Hope you enjoyed and picked up some useful tips and info in our Make Money - Makin' Music Special...More Gigging Tips and Tricks





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