Bar bashing professionalism

Cmdr. Ross

Silver Member
I have 2 gigs this weekend and, as always, I break out the good collard shirts for the shows.
I've had buds ask me why I "dress up" for what basically amounts to a bar-bashing show where no one will really care.

I care how I (and the band as a whole) look & that's the main reason I put the extra effort into looking good.
Anyone else here take that extra step in dress, equipment prep or other things that most others don't do?
 

SVBJECT

Well-known member
I have 2 gigs this weekend and, as always, I break out the good collard shirts for the shows.
I've had buds ask me why I "dress up" for what basically amounts to a bar-bashing show where no one will really care.

I care how I (and the band as a whole) look & that's the main reason I put the extra effort into looking good.
Anyone else here take that extra step in dress, equipment prep or other things that most others don't do?
Apart from doing a few covers here and there with put together one of groups, I've always dressed up on stage for whatever I'm doing.

I hate bands that don't (within reason, baring in mind their style/look/oeuvre)- or worse yet a band that looks awesome apart from the one guy who looks like they just left their geography lecture or whatever, or in the realms of metal the whole band in spikey leathers and makeup and then one dude in a black t-shirt. Or bands that all dress up but clearly did not discuss outfits with each other and just look like a mess. If you wear scruffy jeans and a t-shirt because its punk and that's what you do, thats fine. If you were jeans and a tshirt cos its what you put on that day and didn't consider the gig, you have no business being on a stage.

Its a performance. Everything should be considered.
 

doggyd69b

Well-known member
I have 2 gigs this weekend and, as always, I break out the good collard shirts for the shows.
I've had buds ask me why I "dress up" for what basically amounts to a bar-bashing show where no one will really care.

I care how I (and the band as a whole) look & that's the main reason I put the extra effort into looking good.
Anyone else here take that extra step in dress, equipment prep or other things that most others don't do?
I made the mistake of wearing a long sleeve shirt once..... but normally I don't "dress up" I just wear comfortable jeans or shorts and a nice shirt. I can play barefoot but I will never walk around a bar with no shoes. I never had to worry about me or the band mates looking bad (Even in metal bands at least everyone looked the part).
 

doggyd69b

Well-known member
Apart from doing a few covers here and there with put together one of groups, I've always dressed up on stage for whatever I'm doing.

I hate bands that don't (within reason, baring in mind their style/look/oeuvre)- or worse yet a band that looks awesome apart from the one guy who looks like they just left their geography lecture or whatever, or in the realms of metal the whole band in spikey leathers and makeup and then one dude in a black t-shirt. Or bands that all dress up but clearly did not discuss outfits with each other and just look like a mess. If you wear scruffy jeans and a t-shirt because its punk and that's what you do, thats fine. If you were jeans and a tshirt cos its what you put on that day and didn't consider the gig, you have no business being on a stage.

Its a performance. Everything should be considered.
I would worry much more about the music than the band looks. Slayer and Anthrax both started with spiked leather outfits, they both got rid of them because the realities of performing with heavy leather... you sweat and you stink badly so shorts and t-shirts for them as told to me by Scott Ian their guitar player and confirmed by Kerry King. Now bands like Devo and slipknot are known for their outfits so they have to pay attention to that.
 

SVBJECT

Well-known member
I made the mistake of wearing a long sleeve shirt once..... but normally I don't "dress up" I just wear comfortable jeans or shorts and a nice shirt. I can play barefoot but I will never walk around a bar with no shoes. I never had to worry about me or the band mates looking bad (Even in metal bands at least everyone looked the part).

I would worry much more about the music than the band looks. Slayer and Anthrax both started with spiked leather outfits, they both got rid of them because the realities of performing with heavy leather... you sweat and you stink badly so shorts and t-shirts for them as told to me by Scott Ian their guitar player and confirmed by Kerry King. Now bands like Devo and slipknot are known for their outfits so they have to pay attention to that..

But here you say a nice shirt, specifying not a casual any-old shirt, then quote me saying that one should worry about it, countering with saying you wouldn't worry about it and give examples of people who chose not to, then examples of people who chose to do it. Not certain what point your trying to make.

I'm making no judgement on what is done, just saying one should think about it, whatever it is. Of course the music comes first, because its a musical performance. Of course if you do a full costume, you need dress rehearsals etc to make sure it doesn't interfere with the performance of the music, because thats professionalism. Of course there's a hassle in all kinds of ways to costumes, the more elaborate, the more hassle, that's just common sense.

That said I don't think personally stinking is a good enough reason to not wear something for a performance. They crowd cant smell the stage that well, yes there are limits - I worked a venue we had to ban pigs blood being thrown around, but ones self smelling of sweat by the end of a gig? Shower! Anyway, each to their own, all I'm really saying is do what you like, but make the decision from a perspective of well thought out, regardless of what the conclusion is, don't rock up looking like you haven't given it any thought, cos I (and I'm sure others somewhere) will think less of you, your band, and your performance.

If you get on a stage, regardless of what talent or skill you are using on that stage, you are a performer, and should have at least considered all controllable variables of your performance. If you don't, you are a bad performer.
 

SVBJECT

Well-known member
I have this fight my band mates.....their argument of 'we're just a pub band' doesn't wash with me but there isn't much I can do about it.
I continue to hold my own standards high and let it be.
Ha, this reminds me.

When I was about 14 I was practicing with some other kids and we had a little gig coming up. Now during practice one day I noticed they were all stood still staring at their hands and strings making sure they were playing right or whatever.
I said, "when we're on stage, we should probably move around more, try to get a bit of energy, you know? Like good bands you'd go and see,"
one kid replied, "but we're not a good band."

Those immortal words. You are only just what you do. If you do more, you are just that. If you do less, you are just that.
 

Winston_Wolf

Platinum Member
If you get on a stage, regardless of what talent or skill you are using on that stage, you are a performer, and should have at least considered all controllable variables of your performance. If you don't, you are a bad performer.
This right here! Thoughtful consideration of what to wear may still end up meaning jeans and a t-shirt, but gig attire shouldn't be an accident.

Too many people in bands apparently think that the audience isn't looking at them, and isn't listening except when they're playing. Neither is true.
 

KEEF

Senior Member
Ha, this reminds me.

When I was about 14 I was practicing with some other kids and we had a little gig coming up. Now during practice one day I noticed they were all stood still staring at their hands and strings making sure they were playing right or whatever.
I said, "when we're on stage, we should probably move around more, try to get a bit of energy, you know? Like good bands you'd go and see,"
one kid replied, "but we're not a good band."

Those immortal words. You are only just what you do. If you do more, you are just that. If you do less, you are just that.
My annoyance is compounded by the fact that - musically at least- we are a good band. If they would just be willing to step it up on a 'professionalism' level, we could be a great band.........

I often bemoan them on here but I really should just give it up - they've been going 20 years and I've been involved for 13 - it's not gonna change.
 

doggyd69b

Well-known member
But here you say a nice shirt, specifying not a casual any-old shirt, then quote me saying that one should worry about it, countering with saying you wouldn't worry about it and give examples of people who chose not to, then examples of people who chose to do it. Not certain what point your trying to make.

I'm making no judgement on what is done, just saying one should think about it, whatever it is. Of course the music comes first, because its a musical performance. Of course if you do a full costume, you need dress rehearsals etc to make sure it doesn't interfere with the performance of the music, because thats professionalism. Of course there's a hassle in all kinds of ways to costumes, the more elaborate, the more hassle, that's just common sense.

That said I don't think personally stinking is a good enough reason to not wear something for a performance. They crowd cant smell the stage that well, yes there are limits - I worked a venue we had to ban pigs blood being thrown around, but ones self smelling of sweat by the end of a gig? Shower! Anyway, each to their own, all I'm really saying is do what you like, but make the decision from a perspective of well thought out, regardless of what the conclusion is, don't rock up looking like you haven't given it any thought, cos I (and I'm sure others somewhere) will think less of you, your band, and your performance.

If you get on a stage, regardless of what talent or skill you are using on that stage, you are a performer, and should have at least considered all controllable variables of your performance. If you don't, you are a bad performer.
I stopped doing anything based on what others thought of me about 30 years ago...
 

SVBJECT

Well-known member
I went to see Faust on Monday gone, performing the whole of Faust IV with a string trio. Was awesome show (two incredible drummers) but one member let the side down.

So theres only one surviving/performing member left, who was in a multi-(somber)coloured but somewhat reserved waist coat. Except for this, the whole band (the rest of his clothes included) were reserved blacks and greys, the string trio had matching trilby hats, and attention had been taken to make sure they all looked like an ensamble.

The only exception, was the girl on tambourine/backing vocals, who it turned out was the daughter of the og guy, and tour manager.

It didn't help that she couldn't keep time on the tambourine for shit. It didn't help that while I suspect a few of them were not quite sober, she maintained this inane grin that looked like a prozac OD topped up with a quick E before getting on stage. The worst thing?

She drew ALL the attention with a bright diamond patterned muli-coloured checkered body warmer thing...
 

doggyd69b

Well-known member
I've seen bands were the members don't look part at all but when they get on stage they just kill it. Lane (the singer from Alice in chains) introduced himself, asked us if we have heard of the band (I told him no but I hear they were good), he agreed and left, then the concert started and there he was on stage singing with the opening band! I couldn't believe I was just chatting with the dude. but He did not look the part at all, he looked like a Hawaii surfer dude with dreads and all. So for that instance and having Anthrax and Slayer at the same concert, I still sustain that I focus on the music, now if I went to see In This Moment or Behemoth then I will also focus on the costumes because they are a big part of their performance. but if I wanted to focus on their costumes mostly then I will go watch a F*&(% musical.
 

Paul Blood

Junior Member
In my band, we wear black pants and matching shirts. Maybe it’s cheesey by today’s standards but we always look sharp, not like a bunch slobs.
We do Latin music, so most of clients are dancers who dress nicely too. Rick Vanhorn who wrote a column in Modern Drummer that I think was called “ Club Scene” said that the band should try to dress a step up from the clients. I prefer to wear something that’s sets me apart from the clients that looks sharp and professional.
 
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cbphoto

Gold Member
How a band looks on stage *does* make a difference. However, if y'all get up there, lookin' hot & professional, and deliver garbage you'll be labeled posers.

Flip side, if you play very professionally and look homeless, non-musician people will not remember how well you played.
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Well-known member
I dress the part for each band type:
metal and punk: camo shorts; band T; Chuck Taylors (also my every day wear too)
country/rockabilly: usually blue or black "work short" things, a hot rod T and/or 50's bowling shirt; Chuck Taylors
jazz: usually khaki's, shirt and tie, or tux if it is formal; we have also played some casual gigs where I wear cargo shorts and a button down with no tie

my equipment always looks brand new/squared away etc. No stands without felts and cup washers; drums clean; rims steel wooled to a shine; mic cords all neatly aligned, and tucked under the carpet; the only sign of wear is stuff that happens naturally, and more on my basses than drums

I generally don't judge a band by their looks, - I have been blown away musically by some bands who looked like "tourist dads" - and have been disappointed WAAAYYYY more times by bands who looked the part...

but when I see jenky equipment, I have a negative view of them right away...unless it is a crust punk; gutter punk or street punk band.I expect beat up stuff at those kind of shows. But man, if you are using shoddy, duct taped, beat up, bent, rusty stuff, generally, your playing will reflect that I think
 

Icetech

Gold Member
I have 2 gigs this weekend and, as always, I break out the good collard shirts for the shows.
I've had buds ask me why I "dress up" for what basically amounts to a bar-bashing show where no one will really care.

I care how I (and the band as a whole) look & that's the main reason I put the extra effort into looking good.
Anyone else here take that extra step in dress, equipment prep or other things that most others don't do?

I actually wear dress clothes everywhere i go, with leather soled dress shoes (and OMG the most comfy shoes ever) Takes me the same time as putting on jeans and a t-shirt and i feel better bout myself cause i look better :) Only time i am not in these clothes is when drumming.. mainly cause i'm a basement dweller and prefer shorts/socks for playing.
 

Cmdr. Ross

Silver Member
I still sustain that I focus on the music, now if I went to see In This Moment or Behemoth then I will also focus on the costumes because they are a big part of their performance. but if I wanted to focus on their costumes mostly then I will go watch a F*&(% musical.
I saw In This Moment before they went all "metal musical theatre" and can say I miss the raw, gritty performances they used to do. Now it sounds all processed & polished and just isn't the same.

Leading me to my original point of look can be just as important as the music.
 
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