Years ago when I joined the Trinity James and Big Bad band, I learned one important lesson. You have to look good on stage. This doesn’t mean that I needed to have six-pack abs or perfect hair. It did mean that I had to put some effort into what I was going to wear during my performance. Did I have a look that worked great?
Trinity would be nice about it and handed me a pair of boots as a gift. Really, he wanted me to trade out my old sneakers for those boots to fit into the band’s look better. That was the beginning of my love for vintage western style shirts to which I still have today. Plus, it made the band look more unified.
Let’s start by talking about one word, performance. Start thinking about your shows as a performance. People are paying to see you perform. If they wanted to just hear your music then they could easily just stream your latest CD on their smartphone. When people come out on a Thursday night, they expect a performance. If you deliver an amazing performance then you’ll have a fan that will come see you again and again. A good performance starts with a great look. That is the first thing people will see and you’ll be judged the instant you walk out on stage.
When you get on stage, does the crowd think you are the sound engineer? If you are dressed appropriately then people will instantly know you’re part of the band. There is something about bands that have a look that gets the crowd excited. When you see a band that looks like they belong on stage, you already have a good impression of the band. If you see a bunch of slobs walk out then that band will have to work hard to prove themselves to you.
One element to think about is what image does your band want to project. Take some classic bands like New York Dolls, Led Zeppelin, and Motley Crue for example. The New York Dolls had a look all their own at that the time. They wanted to be punk and glamorous. I think when you look at the band, you get that feeling straight away. Plus, you knew they were the band when they walked out on stage. Same thing with Motley Crue. They had a similar look to the New York Dolls but threw in a harder edge because their music was heavier. Led Zeppelin was more natural about their look, other than Jimmy Page’s dragon-themed suit. Their music was more organic so it makes sense to be more down to earth in their look. They still had a look that made them cool and unified as a band.
Let’s chat more about being uniform in your look. Trinity James once told me that our band wasn’t unified in our look. I hadn’t really paid attention until he said something. Once I saw it, I couldn’t unsee it. At the time we had Trinity with a more country look, another guy with a rock look, and a couple of other guys in whatever street clothes they happen to be wearing that day. We looked like we were four different guys that just came together at that moment in time. If your band has a unified look, your band will project a stronger overall presence as a whole. Your band should be greater than the sum of its parts. There is nothing like when a band comes out looking like a unified gang ready to give you the performance of a lifetime.
One band I know, Baghdad Scuba Review, would change their look every show. One show they would all wear mechanics coveralls, and then they would all wear political T-shirts the next. The key is that their look was their uniform for the show that night. When six guys all walk out in coveralls, you know instantly they are in the band.
Try to figure out what your band’s look is. Think about what you want people to think when they see you. What would you expect to see if you paid to see a band like yours? Have fun with it, and of course be creative.
Check out this article as well: http://www.musicthinktank.com/blog/how-to-make-your-stage-presence-memorable-with-fantastic-fas.html
Glenn Fricker from Spectre Sounds Studios, has a great video on this topic. His video gives you great tips for capturing the best band photos and what NOT to do. It is also just plain funny if you need a laugh. https://youtu.be/iNHFsAXYby0
Did you like this article? If so then please leave a comment below. Let me know what your look is as well. Don’t forget to grab a FREE copy of my 5 tips to making money from your music.