Down to the nightclub! Kenny Vaughan and his trio playing their regular Monday night gig at
Nashville’s 12th South Taproom—an intimate pub where you can chat with the musicians between
sets. Photo by Ariel Ellis
In my February 2013 column, “The Importance of Being Social,” we talked
about the scope and significance of online
networking, and how to make a social site
work in your favor for musical pursuits. In
today’s world, communicating online (rather
than actually speaking on the phone or in
person) is certainly the norm rather than the
exception, but there is still a twinge of the
old soul inside of me that craves the old way.
Granted, I send emails and Facebook
messages like the rest of you—I’m just not
saying I like it. Don’t get me wrong: If you
are trying to land session work, gigs, writing
partners, or looking to find a band to
play with, then having an online presence is
extremely important. I don’t discount this
at all. What I’m doing is making a case for
the original friend—a living, breathing individual
you can actually hold a conversation
with—not the one the Internet says you
have a lot of.
Have you ever noticed there are a lot of
musicians who don’t tweet or use Facebook
on a regular basis? It’s not often you see
a tweet in the vein of “I wrote a hit song
today,” or a top session guy posting that “I
just got paid triple scale.” They simply go
out and do their jobs without the fanfare
the pop stars feel they should bestow upon
us. There is a very fine line between promoting
and bragging. That said, anything
we post could be viewed as being cocky—and the more high profile the gig, the
cockier it could appear. Like anything else,
it’s all in the presentation.
Even though we’ve been hashtagged and
poked to death over the past few years,
we’re actually still in the infancy of social
media. And I’m not trying to fight the phenomenon,
but instead embrace and evolve
with it. The only caveat is that it’s on my
terms. Too often, we get swept into the fray
because someone else is on a website and
we think we should be there too. Instead of
simply reacting, find out how a particular
site works and then make the choice if it is
right for you.
Having your nose buried in a computer
screen, however, can only get you so far.
You need face time to get real results. No,
I’m not talking about the iPhone feature.
Face-to-face interaction with someone is
still the most effective way to negotiate, create,
and sell. When you present yourself or
ideas in front of someone, it makes it a lot harder for them to say no, simply because
of the emotion tied to it.
It was reported in a recent survey that
people are discovering the bulk of new
music on YouTube. This is a good thing.
There is plenty of worthwhile stuff on
YouTube, from Rig Rundowns (shameless
PG plug) to rare concert footage. But not
getting out of the house to check out the
bands and get hit in the face with tone and
volume is bad. What happened to going
to see live music and then actually talking
with the musicians after their set? Where
are the late-night, pint-riddled discussions
about tube versus solid-state, or flatwound
Fortunately, those days are still alive here
in Nashville. Pick any of the East Nashville
bars on a random Tuesday, and you’ll see
players who tour with some of the biggest
names in the industry. And they get together
and talk. You’ll hear about road stories,
new gear, available gigs, and sessions that
may be coming up. Yes, Nashville is certainly
a saturated market—with more musicians
per square mile than common sense—but I
would imagine that there is a place in your
town where musicians interact or hang. If
not, maybe it’s time you find or start one.
I’m sure that more than a few of you out
there are content with communicating primarily
online and have no plans to change.
If that’s your thing, then rock out. But
remember this: No man is an island. We
need the interaction to mold our relationships.
I could hire you for my band straight
off the Internet, but you’ll be gone in five
minutes if you don’t have people or hang
skills—blazing chops or not. Conversely,
there are many marginal musicians that get
great gigs because they have a great attitude
and positive outlook.
Am I saying ditch the Internet? Of
course not. The Internet and social media
are both fixtures in our lives. Yet these tools
should be used to complement our lives, not
run them. The music we so love to make
is best heard live, and interacting with the
people who make it is best done in person.
There is a great big world full of musicians
waiting to play music with you. You just
have to go talk with them.
has been fighting his rock-star frontman
urges for decades, holding down the low
end for such artists as Steve Cropper, Sister
Hazel, and Phil Vassar. Join in his “touring
therapy” on Twitter @shinybass