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  #1  
Old 10-16-2009, 05:20 AM
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Default theatrical attire onstage

Am I totally crazy? I'm just frustrated every time my band plays out that we look like a bunch of dorks in black jeans, black concert t-shirts. There is nothing unique about the look of anyone in my band except me; I have a pretty radical looking traditional shao-lin hairstyle (like chow-yun-fat in Crouching Tiger or Jet Li in Fearless). The guys in my band, well they just don't give a crap when we play a show with 15 other bands that look like everybody who hangs out at the music store and we look no different. I proposed we go a little theatrical with our look to spice it up and maybe people might remember who we are by associating our killer sound with a unique look. The cool thing about my band is that we are from totally different ethnic backgrounds, I'm asian (filipino), My guitarist, Luis is 100% Cuban, My other guitarist, Doug is 100% Jewish, my bassist, George is a huge Black man, and my keyboardist, Justin is like 75% Irish. My idea was to just dress in ethnic extreme:

Men's cheongsam Kung-fu coat for me, African Kaftan for George, Guayabera Shirt for Luis, Rabbi vestments for Doug, Irish Kilt for Justin. I think it would just make a lasting visual impression to go along with the lasting musical impression...

My band just totally dismissed the idea. What do you think?
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Old 10-16-2009, 06:24 AM
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Default Re: theatrical attire onstage

Great question Dios. One of the original bands I was in quite a few years ago now, went through this same dilemma. 'How do we make ourselves stand out from every other band out there?'

Over a period of a few weeks very few stones were left unturned...from the predictable - Beatle-esque, same, same but different clothing (think Sgt. Peppers). To the sublime - mascots etc (think Iron Maiden). To the utterly ridiculous (everyone wearing diff. hats) - WTF!!

At the end of the day, everthing we came up with just sounded so contrived and 'forced'....it just wasn't 'us' at all. In the end we settled on just being real....which meant being ourselves. Sure we tried to shop for clothing at diff. shops and make ourselves less dishevelled and a little more noticeable than what we were, but I gotta admit I found it incredibly difficult finding an angle so that we would 'stand out' from all the other bands out there.

I'm looking forward to following this thread and hearing some cool ideas that would have been beneficial nearly 20 years ago.
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Old 10-16-2009, 06:38 AM
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Default Re: theatrical attire onstage

Over 10 years ago now, I was in a band, we looked not different than most other bands.

Someone got the idea we should dress up a bit, which lead to dressing up a lot, and we doubled our fan base pretty quickly.

Of course, now I look back and shutter at some of the looks I had, but at the time, it worked our for us well for us, and (helped) get us a lot of record company attention.
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Old 10-16-2009, 07:17 AM
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Default Re: theatrical attire onstage

Thats a pretty crazy idea, in highschool I was in a 3rd wave Ska band and at a gig i decided to cut up all my clothes and cover the band in random stickers. That was a good gig and we had lots of interested people afterwords.
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Old 10-16-2009, 09:23 AM
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Default Re: theatrical attire onstage

Yeah, image is pretty important to making a band stand out. I try to approach it like I am going to the club or going to a party. I think for theatrics the music has too call for it. I want my group to look cool but not necessarily costumes either. A good image will make you memorable but a bad costume will make you just as memorable in a negative way. I was in a group with a guitarist who insisted on wearing ridiculous overbearing outfits for shows. I would have to call him before gigs and be like "ok man what are you wearing tonight?".
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Old 10-16-2009, 09:25 AM
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Default Re: theatrical attire onstage

Its a shot, try it. Look at slipknot and all the other bands out there that dress up in crazy outfits, there's no way you can forget something like that ya know. Its always a good way to stand out, but on a good show chap!!
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Old 10-16-2009, 10:17 AM
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Default Re: theatrical attire onstage

I think the idea is to look at what the music is about, what you as a band are about, and expand on that - ham it up ... make it larger than life and have fun with it.

Some examples from different genres - Led Zep, Pink Floyd, Kate Bush, Kiss, Art Ensemble of Chicago, Queen, Nirvana, Sex Pistols, Grace Jones, Jethro Tull, Stray Cats, James Brown, Elton John, Marilyn Manson, ELP, Nina Hagen, NIN, White Stripes, Beatles, Screaming Jay Hawkins ...

The common thread - all were (at least eventually) true to their own sensibilities and expanded on what they were about to make their image seem larger than life.
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Old 10-16-2009, 04:47 PM
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Default Re: theatrical attire onstage

Really, if you think like your audience instead of musicians, a band will be percieved as "better" if they are fun, interesting to watch, and more entertaining. Like it or not, the music takes a back seat to the show from the audience perspective.

Compare that to a band who is musically better, but not fun to watch, doesn't engage the crowd, and generally just stands there playing great sounding music.

The crowd will go see band #1 before band #2 every day of the week.

I think it's a good idea to try and be entertaining, no matter how you do it. (interesting garb, good repoire w/ the audience, fun to watch)

But you can't force it, it has to be something you all want to do. Just do your thing Dios, at least you have a vision, it can't hurt.
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Old 10-16-2009, 04:59 PM
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Default Re: theatrical attire onstage

There is a fine line between "adding theatrics" and "looking like idiots."

OP - If I was in your band I would be all about that, and I would def see a band who dressed up like that as well.

Funny story...In high school my band had an original song called "fat girls" (I was an immature 15 year old lol) and at the battle of the bands we had our friends dress up like Anna Nicole Smith and sing back ups and eat potato chips. People talked about that forever.
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Old 10-16-2009, 04:59 PM
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Default Re: theatrical attire onstage

Assuming your proposal is not a joke, that may be the worst idea I have ever heard. How could anyone take you seriously dressed like the United Nations. Just a few questions though. Why would a Filipino where Chinese garb and have a Shao-Lin hairstyle? Wouldn't a barong Tagalog would be more appropriate. Why would the Irish guy wear a kilt? Irish men don't wear kilts, Scotsman do. I'm also certain that not all Jews are Rabbis, some might even be offended by someone pretending to be one, you know like Catholics and Priests. Maybe, you should dress as the signs of the Zodiac, like Spinal Tap proposed. That'll get their attention. Or you could just play better than the other bands on the bill, that always impresses me and makes me remember a band.

Last edited by ChrisCirino; 10-17-2009 at 01:23 AM.
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Old 10-16-2009, 05:07 PM
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Default Re: theatrical attire onstage

What is the name of the band, and what kind of music do you play.??
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Old 10-17-2009, 04:53 AM
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Default Re: theatrical attire onstage

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Originally Posted by ChrisCirino View Post
Assuming your proposal is not a joke, that may be the worst idea I have ever heard. How could anyone take you seriously dressed like the United Nations. Just a few questions though. Why would a Filipino where Chinese garb and have a Shao-Lin hairstyle? Wouldn't a barong Tagalog would be more appropriate. Why would the Irish guy wear a kilt? Irish men don't wear kilts, Scotsman do. I'm also certain that not all Jews are Rabbis, some might even be offended by someone pretending to be one, you know like Catholics and Priests. Maybe, you should dress as the signs of the Zodiac, like Spinal Tap proposed. That'll get their attention. Or you could just play better than the other bands on the bill, that always impresses me and makes me remember a band.
How could anybody take YOUR band seriously?:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H4-5F...eature=channel
They look like a bunch of Mon-Fri 9-5'er white collar dudes going to a sunday barbecue, not a metal band.

The Philippines is not a distinct, individual culture. The General population is descended from a global mish-mash of gene pools including Taiwanese, Spaniard, Chinese, Indian, and aboriginal. Although Catholicism is the majority, Hinduism and Bhuddism are widely practiced. The cheongsam jacket is widely worn in all of asia, from china, malaysia, Thailand, Korea, Vietnam and the Philippines.

As for Kilts, the Ulster, Tara, and Clodagh are recognized as distinctly IRISH kilts, while there are family Tartans worn by Irish clans and also generic national kilts.

If someone gets bent out of shape if Doug looks like a rabbi, well there's a saying that there's no such thing as NEGATIVE publicity.

Seriously, I've been to some concerts where the guys have had hideous garb (Tool as Ozzfest when Maynard wore a skirt and a bra comes to mind) But seriously, you're more apt to remember a band that stands out visually than one that does not.

The zodiac thing sounds interesting. What would you suggest?

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What is the name of the band, and what kind of music do you play.??
Burn the skies- progressive rock/ metal
www.myspace.com/burntheskies
www.burntheskies.com
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Last edited by diosdude; 10-17-2009 at 02:11 PM.
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Old 10-17-2009, 07:24 AM
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Default Re: theatrical attire onstage

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Originally Posted by ChrisCirino View Post
Assuming your proposal is not a joke, that may be the worst idea I have ever heard. How could anyone take you seriously dressed like the United Nations. Just a few questions though. Why would a Filipino where Chinese garb and have a Shao-Lin hairstyle? Wouldn't a barong Tagalog would be more appropriate. Why would the Irish guy wear a kilt? Irish men don't wear kilts, Scotsman do. I'm also certain that not all Jews are Rabbis, some might even be offended by someone pretending to be one, you know like Catholics and Priests. Maybe, you should dress as the signs of the Zodiac, like Spinal Tap proposed. That'll get their attention. Or you could just play better than the other bands on the bill, that always impresses me and makes me remember a band.
I dunno.

How did any take Motely Crue seriously in the 80's?

Skipknot in 90's? Kiss in the 70's?

The list goes on of bands who've done some weird looks and somehow made it big.
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Old 10-17-2009, 02:10 PM
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Default Re: theatrical attire onstage

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I dunno.

How did any take Motely Crue seriously in the 80's?

Skipknot in 90's? Kiss in the 70's?

The list goes on of bands who've done some weird looks and somehow made it big.
That's my point exactly, TY DED. If you were at a Halloween costume party and a bunch of dudes dressed up as say, Warrant, would you be able to tell them apart from the guys who dressed up as Winger? What about the guys who dressed up as Sum41 and the guys that dressed up as Blink 182? Paramore and Evanescence? Get the point?

What band is this?


Kiss?

No, It's a Tribute band called "The Band formerly known as Kiss". Kiss has a distinct band identity that is instantly recognizeable. Why would it be the "worst idea ever" to try to go for that?
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Old 10-17-2009, 03:57 PM
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Default Re: theatrical attire onstage

I once wore a black suit with a white shirt and black tie to a gig. I looked Reservoir Dogs sharp. I didn't sweat as much as I thought I would so I wore it to the next gig and the bass player and keyboard player did the same. We looked stupid. Morticians in a wedding band with the singer and guitar player looking like last minute fill-ins.

Sometimes the Billy Bob Thornton look can work for one person but it can also backfire when everybody tries it.

You're in a metal band. Be bold and bring back the spandex, boots and big hair. Maybe it will catch on again.
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Old 10-17-2009, 04:10 PM
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Default Re: theatrical attire onstage

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You're in a metal band. Be bold and bring back the spandex, boots and big hair. Maybe it will catch on again.
LOL - and don't forget the platforms, tight leather pants and bananas :)
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Old 10-17-2009, 07:44 PM
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Default Re: theatrical attire onstage

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Originally Posted by TTNW View Post
I once wore a black suit with a white shirt and black tie to a gig. I looked Reservoir Dogs sharp. I didn't sweat as much as I thought I would so I wore it to the next gig and the bass player and keyboard player did the same. We looked stupid. Morticians in a wedding band with the singer and guitar player looking like last minute fill-ins.

Sometimes the Billy Bob Thornton look can work for one person but it can also backfire when everybody tries it.

You're in a metal band. Be bold and bring back the spandex, boots and big hair. Maybe it will catch on again.
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LOL - and don't forget the platforms, tight leather pants and bananas :)
or extremely tight girlpants for the guys with no shirt or an unbuttoned shirt...
i'll try to get pics uploaded soon if i can get them.
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Old 10-18-2009, 06:24 AM
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Default Re: theatrical attire onstage

It's been done...If any of you folks are old enough to remember the '70s.

Here's Peter Gabriel taking it to the extreme...
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Old 10-18-2009, 08:25 AM
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Default Re: theatrical attire onstage

If you look at some of the live performances of the modern/indie rock collective known as "Of Montreal," I don't think you can get much weirder than some of the stuff they do.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5VeIL7juFE0 (yes, that's the actual music video... holy crap)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HCEPcCyBOrY

Just be confident and funny.
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Old 10-18-2009, 10:24 PM
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Default Re: theatrical attire onstage

Why not go for a suit & tie look when playing metal? I think combinations that deviate far from a certain stereotype are as memorable as anything extreme. When I was in a metalcore band I was determined to wear a suit & tie when performing (but we never got to performing - long story).
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Old 10-18-2009, 11:28 PM
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Default Re: theatrical attire onstage

You're right, we are not cool, but from what I saw on burntheskies.com neither are you guys. I did like your music though, hope you find that singer.

Bottomline: Image is important, but ultimately it's the music that matters. Every band mentioned in this thread has great songs and players, the theatrics are just icing on the cake. As for the signs of the Zodiac thing, just watch the scene in Spinal Tap where David St Hubbins girlfriend becomes manager of the band and wants them to go in a new direction.

Last edited by ChrisCirino; 10-22-2009 at 12:58 PM.
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Old 10-19-2009, 02:08 AM
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Default Re: theatrical attire onstage

I once went on stage in my jocks. That got a bit of attention.

I wouldn't do it now. People would drop dead at the site! Or go blind.

Imagine a naked Alfred Hitchcock.
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Old 10-19-2009, 02:22 AM
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Default Re: theatrical attire onstage

Here is my stage attire. Do you think that its too much?
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Old 10-19-2009, 02:25 AM
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Default Re: theatrical attire onstage

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Here is my stage attire. Do you think that its too much?
The shades are a bit much mate.
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Old 10-19-2009, 03:19 AM
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Default Re: theatrical attire onstage

You're right, I'll lose the sun glasses!
I have to warn you, I have pink Bunny eyes!
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Old 10-19-2009, 07:24 AM
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Default Re: theatrical attire onstage

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You're right, I'll lose the sun glasses!
I have to warn you, I have pink Bunny eyes!
If that's the case you better go easy on the booze, Bob.
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Old 10-19-2009, 09:25 PM
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Default Re: theatrical attire onstage

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Men's cheongsam Kung-fu coat for me, African Kaftan for George, Guayabera Shirt for Luis, Rabbi vestments for Doug, Irish Kilt for Justin. I think it would just make a lasting visual impression to go along with the lasting musical impression...

My band just totally dismissed the idea. What do you think?
I agree with the band. You'll end up looking like the village people.
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Old 10-21-2009, 12:03 AM
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I agree with the band. You'll end up looking like the village people.
Hmmm, the village people? There was the cop, the indian, the biker, the construstion worker. One of the biggest disco bands in history and one of the biggest selling touring acts of the 70's. Why in the world would we want to repeat that level of success?
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Old 10-21-2009, 12:42 AM
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Default Re: theatrical attire onstage

I dunno...I guess I'm indifferent to how the band *looks* and would rather hear a killer show. Sure it seems obvious but I do think it's the most important thing. I went to a Clutch show in town a couple of months ago and they were dressed like any average shmuck in the crowd...but they tore the freakin' roof off...and the energy in the room was palpable.
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Old 10-21-2009, 02:18 AM
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Default Re: theatrical attire onstage

Dressing like a schlub is fine for lots of bands. It depends on the audience's expectations. I like to dress well and I like playing with people who dress well. The audience usually wants to believe the performers are special people and dress adds to the experience.

Diosdude, if you are playing the kinds of venues where it would add to the audience's experience to dress in some unusual or stylish way, then do it. If you can't get your bandmates to go with the idea of stepping up the dress in some way, they're either lazy or self-conscious, which are not good qualities. So, how much do you enjoy playing with them? That's the bottom line.
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Old 10-21-2009, 02:44 AM
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Default Re: theatrical attire onstage

Dress for Success!
That still rings true in both corporate and musical situations!
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Old 10-21-2009, 04:42 PM
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Hmmm, the village people? There was the cop, the indian, the biker, the construstion worker. One of the biggest disco bands in history and one of the biggest selling touring acts of the 70's. Why in the world would we want to repeat that level of success?
LOL! You're right......you may have something there!
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Old 10-21-2009, 04:45 PM
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I dunno...I guess I'm indifferent to how the band *looks* and would rather hear a killer show. Sure it seems obvious but I do think it's the most important thing. I went to a Clutch show in town a couple of months ago and they were dressed like any average shmuck in the crowd...but they tore the freakin' roof off...and the energy in the room was palpable.
That's the point, Z. We already have a killer live show/ sound and we're at the point where we're asking ourselves "what can we do to stand out from the crowd?"

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Dressing like a schlub is fine for lots of bands. It depends on the audience's expectations. I like to dress well and I like playing with people who dress well. The audience usually wants to believe the performers are special people and dress adds to the experience.

Diosdude, if you are playing the kinds of venues where it would add to the audience's experience to dress in some unusual or stylish way, then do it. If you can't get your bandmates to go with the idea of stepping up the dress in some way, they're either lazy or self-conscious, which are not good qualities. So, how much do you enjoy playing with them? That's the bottom line.
We play the South Florida circuit for heavy metal, mainly. There's about 5-6 clubs/ venues that are on the "A" list of places to play and another 20 or so places that are on the "B" list/ typical metal bar. There is a sea of thrash bands, death-core bands, metal bands, Post hardcore power-pop bands and Screamo's, but if you put them all in a lineup, only 10-20% of the population actually stands out musically, 10% have really pro, polished stage acts, and only 1% stands out visually. I still have not seen the local band that does all three, My band is one of the few that is 2/3 of the way there. There are a few bands around that dress up but then they end up sucking on stage so it kind of hurts them that the audience is expecting them to be "special people" but then they end up being a garage band that likes to play dress up.

Again, this is not an attempt to substitute talent and stage presence with appearance, it's rather an attempt to enhance it.
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Old 10-21-2009, 07:31 PM
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Default Re: theatrical attire onstage

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Again, this is not an attempt to substitute talent and stage presence with appearance, it's rather an attempt to enhance it.
That is the right way to approach it. Your dress, stage presence and other things will either support your music or detract from it. I think you should try to get your bandmates to stop dressing like lazy, self-conscious schlubs, if you can. You have the license to look different than everyone else, and you are expected to, so step up to it. Good music touches on other aspects of people, including clothing, and you should dress to match what you play.

If you "turned up the volume" on your dress, you might get other band people to turn up their volume as well. Nothing wrong with a little competition when they see you getting positive attention for looking like a stylish pro entertainer. Get some catalogs, Web links and magazines with the kids of clothing you are talking about and show them to your band mates.
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  #35  
Old 10-21-2009, 07:33 PM
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Default Re: theatrical attire onstage

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Originally Posted by bobdadruma View Post
Dress for Success!
That still rings true in both corporate and musical situations!
Very true. The corporate CEO and bassist for KISS look radically different, but the success of each depends on how they dress (and a bunch of other things, too).
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Old 10-21-2009, 09:27 PM
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Default Re: theatrical attire onstage

I think you are on the right track by considering your band's appearance on stage. The way I see it, when you are performing live, you are putting on a show that is both aural and visual. If you don't exploit the visual side of things, you are really missing an opportunity to make a bigger impact and a better show.

As for your idea, I don't like it so much. Being clownish about ethnicity may be a turnoff for some people. Even if being clownish is not your intent, it may well be perceived that way. People can already see your band is ethnically diverse. Wouldn't it be better to treat it like it's really no big deal?
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Old 10-22-2009, 05:13 AM
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Default Re: theatrical attire onstage

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Originally Posted by zambizzi View Post
I dunno...I guess I'm indifferent to how the band *looks* and would rather hear a killer show. Sure it seems obvious but I do think it's the most important thing. I went to a Clutch show in town a couple of months ago and they were dressed like any average shmuck in the crowd...but they tore the freakin' roof off...and the energy in the room was palpable.
But see, that is their image.

Every band has an image. It might be simple, or complex, but it's still there.

You can say a band looked like the audience, they they attracted that audience that has the same look as the band does.

A country band may look like their audience too, but it's not the same look as a modern rock band that looks just like everyone in their respective audience.

You wouldn't wear a tux to your underground rock show, and you wouldn't wear an old pair of jeans to a wedding casual, but in each case, a decision about the bands look was taken in account.

The Beatles were considered outrageous looking when they 1st became big, and they wore suits like everyone else!
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Old 10-22-2009, 06:13 AM
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Default Re: theatrical attire onstage

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Originally Posted by DrumEatDrum View Post
But see, that is their image.

Every band has an image. It might be simple, or complex, but it's still there.

You can say a band looked like the audience, they they attracted that audience that has the same look as the band does.

A country band may look like their audience too, but it's not the same look as a modern rock band that looks just like everyone in their respective audience.

You wouldn't wear a tux to your underground rock show, and you wouldn't wear an old pair of jeans to a wedding casual, but in each case, a decision about the bands look was taken in account.

The Beatles were considered outrageous looking when they 1st became big, and they wore suits like everyone else!
You're right, that is their image. I guess what I meant is; they put no effort into their image. They're a bunch of guys in jeans and t-shirts. No wigs...neon jock straps...nipple clamps, etc. Pretty much as minimalist as you get in rock 'n roll.
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Old 10-22-2009, 07:22 AM
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Default Re: theatrical attire onstage

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Originally Posted by zambizzi View Post
You're right, that is their image. I guess what I meant is; they put no effort into their image. They're a bunch of guys in jeans and t-shirts. No wigs...neon jock straps...nipple clamps, etc. Pretty much as minimalist as you get in rock 'n roll.
Well, jeans and t-shirts is kind of the "in" thing right now.

The Beatles wore suits with slightly long hair, it was radical. Then everyone did it. So tye-dye and really long hair became the new thing. Then everyone did it. Which gave way to more leather, until that got old.
When bands 1st started wearing spandex in the 80's, it was radical. And then after 10 years, everyone did it to the point is was boring. Then Nirvana came out with jeans and old flannel. It was a radical look for a rock band at the time, because it wasn't expected, and then everyone did it. Flannel gave way to plain t-shirts to avoid looking too stuck in the 90's.

Now plain jeans and t-shirts is the expected look. Other than Slipknot and a few others, almost every rock band from alt to punk to metal and everywhere in between has the jeans and t-shirt look nowadays.

So some might think this particular band had not much of an image, but if you look at the history of rock-n-roll, it could be argued they're following the latest trend (although I'm not saying that is in fact what they're doing...just pointing it out).
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Old 11-29-2009, 05:13 PM
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Default Re: theatrical attire onstage

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-oMkry35F8

how about the whole laid back look?
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