Archive for the ‘How To’ Category

KZSC Local Brew

January 13, 2016

KZSC Local Brew

Attention bands:

If you are not already tuned one of the best local music show in Santa Cruz, check out Local Brew on KZSC (88.1 FM) on Saturdays from 9 a.m. – Noon.  If you have new music or upcoming shows to share, contact the show via their  Facebook page or by emailing

In the meantime, tune in this Saturday and spread the local music gospel.

Getting on the Radio

February 23, 2013


Way back in January SCRS hosted a ‘Getting on the Radio’ panel. It was awesome. It was also winter flu season, so a lot of people emailed and said they were sorry they could not make it. Here are the top things I learned as well as an audio link if you feel like listening.

Audio Link:

We *hope* to find someone to help us edit down the video, but don’t hold your breath for that, right now, focus on reading.
Featured Guest Panelists:

“Sleepy” John Sandidge [DJ – KPIG & KZSC]
Lois Rosson [Program Director – KZSC Santa Cruz]
Geo Warner [Volunteer Coordinator for Music Programming KUSP]
Sandino Gomez [Free Radio Santa Cruz]

1. Getting your own radio show on Free Radio Santa Cruz is the easist way to get your music heard. They are also the only local station that will take digital files

2. If you send KZSC (and 99% of non-commerical radio) a CD in a paper sleeve, it will not make it on air. It must be a digi or a jewel case. If you have to, hand make a few of your sleeves into this format for radio.

3. When your CD arrives at KZSC it goes to a processing locker, it gets labeled and put into the air room for general staff to play for about 2 months. After that, it gets added to the perminent collection, or it gets purged.

4. For all stations, always list what tracks are not FCC compliant on a sticker on the CD.

5. Forget commercial radio for now, they won’t even look at it. Instead make a connection with a non-commercial DJ in your area.

6. Email is the best first contact. Introduce yourself, let us know to expect your CD.

7. Follow-up to break through the noise. Try not to be annoying but following up shows the station that the musician really cares about being played and that can shift you to the top.

8. If you are producing a CD – remember:

  • Make sure the cover doesn’t suck. People DO JUDGE a CD by its cover.
  • List times at the end of songs (radio stations do NOT like it when they don’t know the times, makes it hard for them to build thier set, etc.) AND numbers in front of the cuts.

9. If you are sending a CD – remember:

  • Include a letter size flyer (ONE SHEET ONLY) with the CD – include name of artist (and how to pronouce if unusual), genre category, contact info, breif quote & descriptoin of music, list any gigs you are promoting or tour you are doing, use easy to read fonts. Make sure there is a picture of your CD on the flyer in case it gets seperated from the CD. Do not go into a narrative history of your band – it does not help and nobody will read it. Save that for your website bio.
  • If you are sending a CD to promote a specific show – list that time sensitive show date on the outside of the package when you send to radio. TRY to send at least a few weeks in advance of the date. The earlier the better.

10. College and community based radio is poised to take over. They are the only station around that still have a real local focus and mean something to communities.

Music Festival Workshop Notes

November 28, 2012

Thank you Santa Cruz Music Community for coming out to our panel on Monday. My excitement and energy for working in the music community was inspired anew.

As promised I have attached my festival spreadsheet to date as well as my personal notes. I tried to mostly include festivals that already have 2013 dates but there are plenty more to add. Send me any updates/additions and I will keep it current. A current downloadable PDF will live here – along with other resources referred to in my panel notes.

Please feel free to share this information in any way, shape or form, as long as you don’t make money off the info without giving me a (large) cut.

If you have additional resources to add to my section (favored web designers, graphic artists, photographers, etc.) pass them on. If you or your band is not represented here (or is misrepresented) please forward that along as well.

Again many thanks for everything, especially the generous donations to help us cover the room rental cost.

Plotting the next meet-up now.. stay tuned for January.

The Art of the Application: Applying to National and Regional Music Festivals

November 15, 2012

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Art of the Application: Applying to National and Regional Music Festivals

Monday, November 26 – 6-9 p.m.
Santa Cruz Institute Of Contemporary Art @ The Tannery
1050 River Street #127
RSVP on Facebook

Open to all local musicians or those that love them. Cash donations will be accepted to help cover the room cost but nobody will be turned away for lack of funds. We will also accept unopened candy and booze.

I have never met a musicians didn’t want to play the ever elusive festival. Let’s pool our knowledge, and make everyone smarter on all aspects of the process – from packaging yourself beforehand to promoting yourself once you get on the bill. We’ll share some stories, you can ask some questions and if you give me your email address I will share my spreadsheet with all the festivals and deadlines I have compiled. Questions – email


Robert Cray, Peter Rowan and Flaco Jiminez were among the very first artists Tom Miller brought to Santa Cruz back in 1979, when he began his 10-year stint booking OT Price’s Music Hall. He later booked Henfling’s, before moving on to his present gig booking Don Quixote’s International Music Hall in Felton.

Graduate of Berklee College of Music’s Artist Management program, Dan Sheehan started VEG Presents (Vibes Entertainment Group) in 2011. He is the co-producer of the California Roots Festival as well as manager to local artists including THRIVE, Matt Masih & The Messengers and The Whiskey Avengers.

Jeff Sloan two time Grammy Award winning artist and engineer has made his home in Northern California after escaping Oklahoma in 1987. After working on the road for many years now serves the entire bay area music scene with his live sound engineer, production, stage managing and back line technical skills. He is planning on dying a starving artist!

Andy Zenczak is a freelance producer/recording engineer and owner of Gadgetbox Recording Studios. Over the past twelve years he has worked with over 300 bands and songwriters, mixed over 1000 songs for commercial release and is on a constant crusade to help local artists get the viability and exposure they deserve from their music.


Jennifer Gallacher has worked in the music industry for the past ten years as the director of marketing and promotions at Dancing Cat Records and most recently as the owner of Santa Cruz Rehearsal Studios and manager of local band Wooster. In addition she is the publicist for Club Fox in Redwood City.


October 11, 2012

Bands, if you are not already on Earbits commercial free online radio, get it done. Submit your music here. Earbits has a mission to provide an amazing music discovery platform and connect artists with their ideal audience. They are super committed to the musicians they work with. The site is super simple and user friendly.

Send us a link once your music so we can take a listen.

The 54th Grammy Submissions Are Now Open

July 6, 2011

Starting this week, the Grammy Foundation will be accepting online entries for titles released between Oct 2010 and July 2011.  The first round of submissions will be open from July 6th – 27th, 2011. The Grammy Foundation announced in their April press release that categories have been updated.

Click here to submit your release.

Open Spots at the 34th Haight-Ashbury Street Fair Stages

March 23, 2011

Want to play the Haight-Ashbury Street Fair? Here is your foot in the door.


Battle of the Bands Fundraiser which will be showcased at:
THE BLUE MACAW at 2565 Mission Street @ 21st Street

— 20 bands will Battle for 2 Open Spots at the 34th HASF Stages —
Competition Dates:
Rounds One – Five
March 30th – Wednesday
April 14th & 28th – Thursdays
May 19th & 26th – Thursdays
May 27th – Friday
Admission: $7.00 – $10.00 (sliding scale) at the door
Doors open at 8:00 pm – show starts at 9:00 pm
  • Each Round will feature four bands competing to advance to final showdown
  • The five Round winners will compete at the FINAL
  • The top two bands will perform at 34th Annual Haight-Ashbury Street Fair on Sunday, June 12, 2011
  • 1st place band will play at the Stanyan Street Stage; 2nd place will play at the Masonic Street Stage.
  • Bay Area Bands only
  • Original music (No cover bands)
  • Open to all musical styles
  • Submissions of Interes are now being accepted.  Please contact:
Michael Xavier at (415) 664.2970 /
Ace Annesse at (415) 438.0772 /
  • Some opening slots are still available for our BOB fundraiser
  • Our cut off date for submissions is April 15th
  • Each band will get an audience clap count at the end of their set and then a second clap count at the end of the evening
  • There will be no judges or sound meters, so it is up to the bands to pack out the club for their set
  • Musical greatness is encouraged, but having a large crowd will help your chances of winning in the end of the night

Couches, Concerts and Caffeine – Tips on how to book the acoustic music series at the Ugly Mug

November 18, 2010

Complete blog can be found on The Good Times Making Noise site.

The Ugly Mug
4640 Soquel Drive
Soquel, CA 95073

Connect with The Ugly Mug on Facebook.
All ages

• Booking contact: Dick Brundle of Fiddling Cricket Concerts – 831-475-4938 or

• Preferred method of contact: Start by introducing yourself at one of the shows (either at The Ugly Mug or  Mission City Coffee Roasting Company). One you make a oersonal connection, than email.

• Timing: The acoustic music series only runs twice a month (usually 2nd and 4th Wednesday) so they are booked at least a few months in advance.

• Genre: Folk, traditional, bluegrass, old time, blues, Americana, Celtic, world music and eclectic mixes.

• Sound: in-house sound system and a designated sound engineer.

• Capacity: You need to be able to draw at least thrity of your friends, but they can hold up to about sixty.

• Schedule: Doors @ 7 p.m. – show from 7:30 – 9:30 p.m. Tickets are always $10 at the door and artists gets lion’s share of door proceeds (no need for a tip jar).

• Misc: Food, beer and, of course, coffee are available at shows (no laptops).

How to – Listen to Your Local Booking Agent

November 12, 2010

I recently received an off the cuff tutorial from a booking agent at a Bay Area venue. They agreed to let me share thier typical sentiments with you. I decided to keep their sharing anonymous to protect their right to future rants without reprecussion. There are so many gems in here it is enough to make your head spin.

Bands take heed!

How to Query Club Booking Agents

Figure out how each club agents wants to be contacted.

Agents differ in the way they like to be queried and it’s up to you to figure out the right way to query each one.  Some prefer, phone, some prefer email and some have specific call times.  Remember it’s about the way they want to do business, not the way you want to do business.  I personally do not like to be sold on the phone; I just want the facts in writing so I can easily reference them.  Others are the exact opposite.  Usually you can figure out the way an agent wishes to be queried by visiting the club web site or by simply asking her/him.  Bear in mind that many agents have multiple roles and limited time and that you are likely to be one of hundreds the query them annually.  Don’t take it personally if you don’t get a quick response.  Just be persistent and a bit creative until you develop an effective working relationship.  In my dual role as booking agent for musicians, I can name at least three CA club bookers that most people can never get a response from.  I can get an answer in 15 minutes from each one simply because I figured out the right way to query them and they appreciate it.   

 Be Clear and Concise with your message. 

If you are calling on the phone, start and end with your name and number.  If  querying by email, put your band name and available date in the subject line.  This may seem like a no brainier but 90% don’t do it.  This is the single biggest way to stand out and expedite a response.  Vague email subjects and lengthy babbling messages followed by hastily left names and numbers are a clear red flag that you will be a pain in the ass to work with.  Or worse yet, I may just bury your message until I have time for it and we all know what happens to buried messages.  Remember, you are selling your band, not your personality, so get to the point.   

Tell me what I want to know.

I want to know what your draw is, at what ticket price and what exactly you will do to help promote your show.  If you have prior plays tell me about them and don’t bullshit me cause I probably know the booker at that venue.  If the prior was part of a package or it was the venues grand opening, don’t act like your band sold it out.  If you are just starting out, developing your fan base just be honest about it and the agent will be in a better position to help you.      

Show me what you can do.

 Send me exactly what you would send the press, speak to me the way you would a reporter, reference your successes, have a website with sound bites and tour history, and good photo’s and press releases.  Impress me that you have a fan base and what it takes to get them to my venue.  This is 2010, not 1973 and if you don’t have a grip on your own promotional efforts, and expect a club to do it all for you, you are in for a rude awakening.   

Don’t waste my time:

Here is a typical phone message I get 20 times a day.

Hello – I am so and so and I am with the band such and such and we are a really great band, we play this and that and one of the guys used to play for so and so.  I grew up in blah, blah, blah, and I really like your club, I used to go there to see so and so.  We have played their several times and the old booking agent/Owner really liked us and the fans liked us too and we would like to play their again, or if we could be an opener in the big room.  Anyhow, you can check us out on our My Space page (or some other social networking site I have to sign up to, to see).  Call me back because I would like to talk to you about it.  My name is garble and I am at 3817654647 (left as fast as possible, requiring three listens to make it out).  And I am thinking “what kind of music?  When did they play?  What date are they available?  Was it a package or did they headline?  And what the hell is garbles name and did they say 47 or 07?  Is that the impression you wish to make?        

Spare me the guilt trip

I could care less how many times you have called or emailed, I get 30 calls and 100 emails a day and if I am not getting back to you there is probably a good reason (see above), or I just flat out don’t have the time.  You whining about it may gain you sympathy from your mommy or therapist but all it does to me is let me know that you are a thin skinned little cry baby with limited initiative that will be difficult to work with.   Do you want the gig or do you want to make me feel bad.  It’s your choice.

Follow up

Simple rule – do what you say.  If an agent is asking for something, that request will serve as a test to see how capable you are.  If you can’t follow up with the agent, how are you going to follow up with press or tech advancing or virtually anything?  It’s your career so act like it.

Book again

If you come in and do a decent gig – don’t wait to re-book it, call me the next day.  This lets me know that you want to grow with my venue and that you want to be part of my regular programming.  Don’t wait till one month out or go play at three other local venues without the courtesy of even a phone call.  Believe me, unless your name is Eric Clapton my club will do just fine without you, but having a regular gig in your back pocket is money in the bank and your fans will appreciate it too.

Don’t jerk me around

 The us vs. them days are history.  If you think you are gonna beat me up for gigs or squeeze me on fee’s, or denigrate my marketing team or staff or another venues team to somehow imply that you can do better than you have done, you will not be playing my venue.  There are so many great bands out there looking for gigs that bookers like me can simply choose to work with people they like and people that are capable of growing in this climate.  I literally have no real competition for 40 miles in my sized venue.  You can get on board or not, it really does not matter to me.  Attitude has no place in 2010, we either work together or I work with someone else.   I am not in business to make you money, I am in business to bring great music to my community and put butts in seats.  If we do that, the lion’s share of the money goes to you and your fan base grows.  Its win win for both of us.

A Band With A Plan – Tips on how to book a show at Don Quixote’s International Music Hall

October 15, 2010

Complete blog can be found on The Good Times Making Noise site.

Don Quixote’s International Music Hall
6275 Highway 9
Felton, CA 95018

Connect with Don Quixote’s on Facebook
Seated listening shows are under 21 with a parent.

  • Booking contact: Tom Miller
  • Preferred method of contact: Start with a phone call at 831-335-2526 (always leave a phone number in your message) and then you’ll probalby switch to email 
  •  Timing: Touring artists are booked further in advance. You an often find dates at even 3-4 weeks out.
  • Genre: Wide open. Come to Tom with a plan and he’ll talk about it. They host an ecclectic mix of genres from around the world.
  • Sound: in-house sound system with a designated sound engineer.
  • Capacity: Bringing in 125-150 people on a weekend night is a good start. Bringing in 80-100 people on a weeknight is a good start.
  • Schedule: Weekend shows normally start at 8 PM, weeknight shows at 7:30. On Sunday there is a matiness at 1 PM.