Be Visible From Space: How To Start Boosting Your Image

MMy adopted sister pointed out that I have the fatal signs of G.A.S… Gear Acquisition Syndrome. Yes, it’s true! I just ordered this:

Josh's mega, mega justification

Ohhhhhh Boy! I can’t wait for it to arrive! It matches my yellow and black Nike’s (courtesy of my mama)

Doc, is it bad that I bought a guitar to match my shoes?
No, son, it’s called having an image.

I can no longer justify guitars as tax breaks, even though they are. I am writing this one off in my mind as a necessary expense of visibility, which is what I’d like to discuss today.

I learned a lesson the easy way last year when I was playing my first stadium gig. OK, I was one of many local musicians playing at a sub-minor league stadium for a charity event, and only a smattering of people noticed me, but – there were close to three thousand people there, and I did get to say “What’s up, Waldorf? Are you ready to ro000ccck?”

One of my buddies said he showed up, and saw my rig set up from across the stadium. He wasn’t sure it was mine, but then saw the Plutonium orange Ibanez RG and said “oh yeah, that’s Josh’s setup.”

Visibility, be it literally, such as highway safety colored guitars, or from a multitude of positive interactions with people, is something worth boosting. Get out there and shake hands (and don’t give ‘em the dead fish grip), look people in the eye, and say “Hi, I’m here to rock your face off. Hope you enjoy!”

What can you start doing right now to boost your image in the industry and the scene?

Here’s what I’m doing – maybe you’ll get some ideas (remember, I have an over-the-top persona, blending close to a musical comedian). I know they’re specific, and may only work for me. Take it with a grain of NaCl2 (salt).

  • Zany colored guitars. I’ve got the M-16 (photos coming soon; friend me on Facebook in the meantime to see it there), and the Tiger is on the way. I plan on spray painting a strat, and that’ll be my AK-47. Add that orange Ibanez, and I’m literally visible from space, bro!
  • Shoes. Talk about a great conversation starter, and something for people to remember you by. My current favorites are a pair of Nike’s that match the Tiger guitar (yellow, with a black swoosh). I’ve gotten money playing street music because people liked my lime green wrestling shoes. Ironically, they walked away when I started playing, which was discouraging, but hey, I got the buck!
  • Positive, professional interactions. Be polite, be on time, smell nice, thank people after the gig, and be that consummate pro that you’re striving to be.
  • Talking to the crowd. It’s just fun! People seem to like it, too. Hey, it makes me feel like a million bucks. For all my cynical comments, I genuinely like people, and connecting with them from the stage, including them in the music, lifts the whole room to a better place. Are you ready to ROCK?!
  • Stupid props. I’ve got a cordless drill a la Paul Gilbert (check it out on YouTube) that alternate picks really fast, and makes a cool sound with the pickups! Now that’s 9.6 volts of pure memories.
  • Of course, playing good! I’m working so hard on writing, playing, and putting on the best show that I can. For me, time onstage has helped me a lot. Practice does indeed make perfect, or at least a good rock show. Well, I’m gettin’ there. I’ve come far enough to see how far I’d like to go!
  • Free stuff. I’m working on my marketing strategy right now… OK, just pondering it. But it seems that an investment into free stuff like stickers, CDs, etc, is probably the best advertising budget. I’m not sure yet, and I’ll report back to you when I figure it out.

Hopefully these actions gave you a few ideas of your own. The point is – take action! All the World’s a stage… Own it!

Hey, maybe visibility can be my mega, mega justification of my new guitar on the way. Can you see me now? World, are you ready to ROCK?!

This is a guest blog post by Josh Urban. Josh is a musician with a unique perspective on music. Always a thinker, he gains insight wherever he can find it, be it in the clubs as a working musician, busking on the city streets, or teaching in the classroom. A naturally enthusiastic fellow, he is always fired up about bringing the lessons he’s learned to his readers. Maintaining a website, a blog, and a monthly newsletter, he aims to make musicians stop, think, and play with a little more intensity, integrity, and inspiration. You never know who’s listening.