Tag Archives: Online Communities

Free Swag From Guitar Center!


So, did you read the last post about the Guitalele & Guitar Center’s price match guarantee?  The whole thing is pretty awesome, especially if you’re a musician and you actively purchase gear.  It’s worth checking out, so click that link.

Once you’ve read that, this will make sense:

The gig bag & the stand are a perfect fit!  Thanks again to Luke for the excellent customer service, and to YaJagoff for sparking it!

Guitar Center does me a solid, and I didn’t even initiate it.


On the Saturday before Christmas, we were headed to a family gathering & gift exchange.  On the way, we stopped at Guitar Center in Monroeville so I could pick up a book of Christmas Carols that I had seen at the Guitar Center in Robinson.  I didn’t find the same book, but was pleased with two that I did find.

Guitalele GL1

Guitalele GL1 (Photo credit: matsuyuki)

Usually, I’m the one who lollygags in guitar stores, but the wife has taken up the ukulele, and over the past few years she’s the one that lingers near the ever-growing uke section at music stores.  In Monroeville’s Guitar Center, the ukes were right by the music books, so we both started looking.  Bethany was the first to spot our newest acquisition… The Yamaha GL1 “Guitalele“.  We both were fascinated by it, and I played with it a little as she asked “Do you want this as an early Birthday present?”

At first, I said no and went to hang it back up, but flipped over the price tag and saw that it was $99.99.  She gave me the “just get it” look, so we both new I just landed an early birthday present.  I do enjoy the wife’s ukulele, but the GCEA tuning did always mess with me.  Now I can play the ukulele without having to play the ukulele.  Although, if tuned “properly” the guitalele should be ADGCEA.  Of course, I dropped it to E because I didn’t like pretending it was a guitar with a capo on the 5th fret.  Although, I may have to get thicker strings or just suck it up & put it back in the A tuning.  They’re sort of like rubber-bands at this point.

Well, that’s just the first part of the story.  The second part stems from some interactions on Twitter.  I’ll try to post it all here as it happened, thanks to @YaJagoff and Luke from Guitar Center.

A simple question.  I gave the easy, flippant, and predictable answer.  Rock musicians are supposed to rail against the establishment and big business, right?  Well, Guitar Center proves to be awesome here…

These are the links I sent to Luke at Yourvoice@guitarcenter.com:

I only half-jokingly asked “Any chance I could get a gig bag or stand for free?”  I mean, it never hurts to ask, right?

I was met with a response saying I was getting both of them for free!  We discussed shipping details & the right size gig bag in a few more email exchanges… but they’re now on the way to me via UPS.

I’ve written to companies before, but I’ve never had any of them seek me out on a social media platform in a conversation that wasn’t even addressed to them.  It’s pretty cool that Guitar Center believes in their price guarantee so much that they actively go after any perceived detraction.  It’s also cool that they’ll not only go up against brick-and-mortar stores, but online retailers too.

That being said, the “little guys” could argue that they have no way to compete.  They can’t buy in quantities & therefore probably not at such a low price… so there’s no way they can pass on such savings.  Free enterprise, supply & demand, competition, it’s all very interesting & a continually evolving battle.

At any rate, I win out here… with a free gig bag & stand.  So, thanks to Ya Jagoff!!! & Luke for helping to set the whole thing into motion!  I’ll post some photos of the gig bag & stand as soon as I have them.

So, does the Guitalele count as a guitar in my “13 Guitars in 2013” goal?

Guest Post: How to book your band.


I’ve posted advice for existing and aspiring bands before, and I thought this email from a pro would be useful.  It was sparked when I saw his Facebook status the other day: “Great way to start the day: my favorite venue in the country complimented my email skills in contacting them to booking a date. It’s the highest praise I could hope for.”

The status went on to some comments & basically the author said he’d share the knowledge with those who cared to learn.  I asked if I could post it in a blog, and here we have it.  If you’re in a band on any level, pay heed to the advice below.

As far as background on Bengt, he’s in a band (& been in many), he records bands, he’s booked bands, and he’s generally been in every part of the scene.  He knows what he’s talking about.

Action Camp

Action Camp

On to the advice & the guest part of this guest post:

♪♫♩♬♩♫♪

Alright, so here is what we usually send like 99% of the time. There always a bit of customization but this is the basic format:

1. Greeting, name the booker if you know it (usually listed on indieonthemove.com or their website)

2. Band name (with a link to the website), genre, location.

3. Date(s) requested in bold. They love that, it makes it easier read. If you can swing 3-5 dates that’s best, it gives them room. Do them a favor and check the website for those dates first, they appreciate that a ton. Also make sure to follow their booking procedure to the T. A lot of places have a specific way they like to work (Facebook message, Sonicbids, email format, etc). If you do it right it shows you listened so you’re already at the top of the pile.

Also, if another band that’s played there before suggested it, tell them so. It’s like introducing yourself to anyone else and starting with saying you have a mutual friend. It’s a job reference.

4. Links to music, video, press – let them decide if they want to book you. The more you talk about how awesome you are and why you should be booked, the more they think you probably suck and are trying to gloss over it. It’s like handing someone your demo and saying it’s not your best work.

5. If you played there or in the city before tell them. If you know what you drew and stuff be honest, they love that.

6. Offer to help build the bill, and specifically name bands you know or have contacted already.

7. Thanks in advance, Thanks for your time, etc.

8. ALL of your contact info including phone numbers. It shows you are easy to reach and you have your shit together.

One final thing: DON’T say someone famous produced your record, quote random blog reviews, list facebook or twitter numbers, anything like that. No one cares about that if they know what their doing in the working touring circuit. Steve Albini producing your record won’t make 100 people come out in Dayton on a Monday night, and facebook and twitter followers are ostensibly your imaginary friends that only you can see. Plus, even you have 4,000 people odds are only 10 of them are near the venue you are trying to book.

Here is exactly what I sent to Southgate House:

Hello Morrella,

We are Action Camp, an art rock duo from Pittsburgh, PA.

We’re looking to see if you have Friday February 15th or Saturday the 16th available to book in the Revival Room – both look open on your calendar but I wasn’t sure if you would do a full house those nights. Our music is pretty different from what’s going on those nights so I’m not concerned about audience bleed over. This would be our 4th time to Southgate, 7th time in 3 years in the Cininnati/Newport scene. We know plenty of bands so we’d throw a bill together with 2 or 3 locals to help support.

- You can hear our music at actioncamp.bandcamp.com or at our website below.
Here is a recent video from our 2012 summer tour
- And some press from our Winter tour just a couple weeks ago.

If these are unavailable I’d love to work something out in the future. Southgate was/is by far our favorite venue on tour, I can only assume the new house is great. Sincerely, I (Bengt) booked a venue in Pittsburgh, and based many of my practices on the way SGH was run by Rick and his crew.

Previous dates:

Parlour 10/1/2010 (Gallery Opening, free show, 100+ attending)
Parlour 1/2/2010 (w/ Duppy a Jamba, 97 paid)
Parlour Summer 2009 (Flux Capacitors last show, well attended, don’t have stats)

Our most recent dates in the area were both in Cincinnati:

12/8/2012 The Comet Cincinnati, OH (100+, free show)
7/5/2012 Sitwells Coffeehouse Cincinnati, OH (smaller acoustic show, last minute add on tour)

Thanks in advance, can’t wait to see the new place,

- Maura + Bengt (Action Camp)
http://www.action-camp.com
actioncamp@gmail.com
###.###.####

So that’s it, pretty simple. Just be honest and to the point. I also should point out that this was 1 of 10 venues we emailed on Christmas, and he got back just a day later with this response:

“Thanks for writing. Those dates aren’t announced yet, but they are spoken for. How about Wed Feb 13, or Sun Feb 17?

“PS – very well done email, especially listing previous show turnouts. You’re way ahead of the curve on that one, and it did persuade me to jump on this, and get you in!”

I always email every venue that would work for us in a city, it’s better to have choices than no show at all.

Hope this all helps,

- Maura + Bengt (Action Camp)
http://www.action-camp.com
actioncamp@gmail.com
###.###.####

♪♫♩♬♩♫♪

So, there you have it.  Got it?  Good.  Doing research in advance before you ask for dates seems like a no-brainer, but apparently it needs to be said.  I guess some bands naturally put more thought into stuff.

I’m not sure how you’d approach this if you had no previous gigs in an area… perhaps we can get Bengt to comment further for new bands, first time tours, etc.?

Check out the Action Camp video here:

Pizza Hut actually █████████ to a █████ but then ███████ it.


I tweeted this…

They tweeted this…

https://twitter.com/#!/pizzahut/status/195944183775756289

(They have since deleted it.)

I tweeted this…

Of course, this was all in reference to my apparently infamous maze.  We’ll see if we get a reply.  I’m guessing not, since they deleted their tweet.

Wow.  Do they have an internal policy regarding not answering me?  Holy cow, that is so funny.  Luckily I have a screenshot show that the tweet did indeed exist.

@PizzaHut | @AiXeLsyD13 how humorously cool! We’ll relay this information to our internal team.

Fantastic.

I caught your tweet, Pizza Hut!  Ha ha.  You responded to me.  I win.

I almost forgot, they never responded to this either:

Hey Pizza Hut, my guts are not a water park!

Do you think they "get" that it makes me poop?

Bronco Scores Again!


Well, I didn’t get Jalapeño Bites back at Arby’s yet, but I did answer a tweet from Radio Shack… and it got me a free T-shirt and some moral support for the cause!  Messing around on Twitter & insanity are well rewarded these days, I guess.

I DM’ed them and told them of me real name and my cause.  I think more companies are engaging people personally & directly with Twitter like this, and it’s a great thing.  Who doesn’t like free stuff?

Today the mailman delivered some goodies…

Bronco Jalapeño wins a Radio Shack T-shirt!

Free stuff!

The card s pretty cool too!

Eric, While this shirt can't replace Arby's jalapeño poppers, we hope it comforts you through your withdrawal. Thanks for tweeting at us and for being a fan. Tweet us a pic of your new duds when your shirt gets there. Thanks again! - Billy

@Bronco_Jalapeno #ThanksRadioShack...? Yes, yes he does.

Hilarious.  How fun is that?  I do need some soldering stuff, I guess it’s off to Radio Shack for the stuff next time I need it!  (I might get a couple of capacitors to mess around with.)

So, thanks to Radio Shack for being cool, for the laugh, & for the T-shirt!

The dangers of posting punk rock lyrics on the internet…


This whole thing just blows my mind.  You must read this story.  It’s entertaining and scary all at once.  It’s even oddly comforting to a certain extent… but mostly scary (and entertaining).  Sorry to make light of it all, but it’s quite amusing.  I think the author knows that, and was part of the motivation for sharing.

This is how I became aware of the whole thing…

@livefastdieawesome H E R E W E G O ! #fbi #foia

@livefastdieawesome H E R E W E G O ! #fbi #foia

Being a fan of letters to places, and this being a big place…  my interest was piqued…

Reading it floored me.  I mean how crazy is this story?  I can’t do it justice by framing or summarizing… Just go read it:

…even the stars are ill at ease.

I’m still waiting for part 2.  For real.

So kids, be careful quoting random song lyrics or movie lines on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or whatever’s next.  The FBI is watching you.  Or, don’t be careful and make your next highly political crust punk band J. Edgar Twitter or Facebook’em.  Make songs titles as provoking as possible.  Maybe you’ll get some agents to come to shows.

FBI Badge & gun.

FBI Badge & gun. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My guest post on Ya Jagoff!!! | Who Designed The Fast Food Drive Thru?


I thoroughly & regularly enjoy YaJagoff.com.  The rants & raves remind me of my own lunatic ramblings, especially all the goofy yinzer parkers and things overheard on the bus.  I’d suggest adding Ya Jagoff!!! to your blog roll or news reader or subscribing via email or following on Twitter or Facebook or whatever you kids do these days.

One of the cool things about the site is that they occasionally feature guest blogs, and I was invited to send one in… so I did!  Check it out, and maybe even comment when you’re over there.  Take some time to poke around.

Ya Jagoff!!! | Who Designed The Fast Food Drive Thru?

Who Designed The Fast Food Drive Thru?

Who Designed The Fast Food Drive Thru?

My guest post on Ya Jagoff!!! | Who Designed The Fast Food Drive Thru?

Pepto’s #GotUCovered


Heh.  Sorry for the TMI.  If this bothers you, be glad you didn’t see my delirious lack-of-sleep & fever-induced Facebook post yesterday.

Pepto-Bismol in sink

Pepto!

At any rate, don’t be fooled that Pepto-Bismol will stop you from puking.  Apparently I caught some stomach virus that’s going around.  I think now my wife unfortunately has it (after she so graciously cleaned up & nursed me back to health).  I believe my grandma had it a week ago, and now we hear that Bethany’s uncle has it.  It’s nasty & going all around.  Wash your hands!

Alex Skolnick Schools Me on Grunge, Metal, & Punk. Ha ha.


Don’t know what started it all, but I saw this…

And decided to say this…

So, he actually replied:

Heh.  Alex seems like a cool cat.  I’ve read countless guitar magazine articles that he’s written, and saw him perform once with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.  Damn, he’s good.

Some other stuff has ensued…

At any rate, Twitter is fun, and it’s cool to get a nod & from some of your heroes & maybe start a conversation.

Ah, here’s what stared it…