“See you back at the amps, man!”

The drugs are still working!

From age 18 to age 28, I was in the music business. So what’s that got to do with you and your business?

Bear with me, and all will be revealed …

We were lucky – really lucky – because I literally left school and, within six months, we had a manager AND a recording contract.

Our manager was a guy called Adrian Millar, one-time business associate of Andrew Loog Oldham (Rolling Stones/Small Faces producer/manager) and friend of the infamous Janie Jones, renowned for being a madame in London during the 1970s, and jailed for her involvement in the BBC Radio One ‘sex for airplay’ payola scandal.

One of Adrian’s favourite pastimes was to parade his ‘boys’ (me and the other band members) at such illustrious London venues as Tramp, the private, members-only club and restaurant located on Jermyn Street in Mayfair.

To say that we had a great time would be to paint a truly dismal picture of my early adult years! Let’s just say that I grew up very fast!

But it wasn’t so much that the extremes of the celebrity lifestyle kept my interest in how to create my own fame and fortune, it was more the other side of that coin that really interested me.

Hence the title of this blog: “See you back at the amps, man!”

You see, that oft-used phrase was used at every gig as the cue to grab your pint and guitar, and make your way back on to the stage after the break.

But in those early days, every gig was a ‘showcase’. Adrian would only book us into those venues where we would be seen by those who mattered in the business. So, no pressure then!

One such venue was the Marquee Club – at the time at its most famous location in Wardour Street, Soho, London – where we were to play on three separate occasions.header image

Now for those of you who don’t know, a prestigious venue usually meant the dressing rooms were in the toilets: well almost, but you get the point.

Back to the pressure!

The point was that whatever the venue, whoever was in the audience, however prepared or unprepared you felt, you HAD to PERFORM. And if you didn’t … well, let’s not go there.

So, if you like, although I had already – from an early age – learned the discipline and artistry needed to be a professional musician whilst singing as  a choir boy in Canterbury Cathedral, nothing had prepared me for being the absolute centre of attention where my whole future utterly depended on my – and the rest of the group’s – performance.

Which is what today’s blog is all about.

In my humble opinion, everything these days, is a performance. It’s what my business is built on – it’s what your business is built on. If you don’t perform, you starve.

So how does my experience then, inform what you can do today?

It goes like this: You’ve warmed up the audience in your first half (they’ve met you and are prepared to listen to your proposition). Now, you have to go back on stage and make them fall in love with you! My goal was not just to win over my audience, but for every last one of them to become a fan. How would we go about achieving that? The answer was in two ways: 1) get a standing ovation, and 2) get them coming back for more (the next gig).

In business terms, this means: 1) getting them to place the order, and 2) getting them back to buy more (priming them for upselling).

And back then, there was only one approach, one way of achieving our objective. MOVE YOUR AUDIENCE! Make them feel something.

Singer-songwriter Paul Simon once said: “I don’t want audiences to feel a specific thing – I just want audiences to feel”.

Which is precisely what I advocate and teach business owners. Ignore the emotional pull of your message and you risk losing the sale, losing the relationship, losing the customer.

If we hadn’t given our audience ‘all the love, man’, my career in showbiz would have been very short.

Just look at the entrepreneur performers of today: The Dragons, Alan Sugar, Richard Branson – they’re all at it. Performing to camera like there was no tomorrow.

It’ll soon be thirty years since I started showing people how to perform for profit. If you fancy just a fraction of that kind of success, recognition or celebrity, then get yourself along to one of my performances. Inspiring your performance will be my privilege!

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Posted on March 30, 2011, in Music Business, Showbiz Shockers. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Good point well made! Easy to perform too when you are passionate about your product and you have ready listeners.

  2. This is great QJ and it leaves me to think back, when I was playing bass guitar in a cover band. Rehearsing already was fun, but the gigs were great. The kick of really performing, not feeling AND setting the groove (and for the bass, this is important), teamwork. And did you also think of the sound checks? I loved them! Hitting the string and instead of my regular amp (which at these occasions often served as monitor) only hearing the notes, also FEELING them. Through my body. This was a completely different dimension! The analogy to your story here is the factor fun and joy. You can not perform just doing your thing. You need the passion. That’s what’s driving performance. Because you love it to be part of the setting. To move it. To make people move.

  3. “The whole world’s a stage” – so the saying goes. An interesting blog – but what I really want is to see the photos of the band! Sounds brilliant.

  4. QJ, an awful lot of what you say is hitting home!
    Its also, as you say, about building rapport and a relationship with your “audience”.
    A lot of training and practice before hand also helps….
    Keep them coming,
    Liz

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