I’m not dying, but before I do I want to share with you — future generations of rockers — what I know about putting on a live music rock show.

  1. The audience’s energy will match your energy. If you stand like a turd on the stage, they audience will stand like a bunch of turds. If you bob your head, they’ll bob their heads. If you move around, they’ll move around. If you show low confidence, they’ll have low confidence in you and start checking out.
  2. Don’t let your band drama show on stage. Every band has drama, but don’t let it show on stage. The audience isn’t there for that.
  3. Practice setting up and tearing down efficiently. Don’t make the audience wait and don’t be “that guy” who drags out setup extra long as some weirdo passive-aggressive attention seeking move. See previous rule.
  4. No matter how big the stage, setup as close to each other as possible. Look and feel like a combined unit of people making music. Trust me, it will be more impressive.
  5. The bassist and the drummer should stand next to each other. It’s all about the bass guitar and the kick drum locking in together.
  6. Never leave the van unattended during load-in or load-out. If you haven’t had your gear stolen at this point, it’s a miracle.
  7. Lead guitar gets the attention, but the bass guitar brings the sex. Flashy medleys get attention, but people feel the bass, no matter how boring.
  8. Don’t riff stage banter. It’s hard to be witty on the fly unless you are very, very witty. Have some prepared goofs or smalltalk.
  9. Make friends with the soundboard operator. This person ultimately controls how good you sound and can make or break you.
  10. “Come forward to the stage” is at best a one-time suggestion. You can’t control people, never ask more than once.