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My translation of Hugh MacLeod’s “Ignore Everybody”

January 4, 2010

Hugh MacLeod's "Ignore Everybody"

Here is my off-the-cuff totally subjective translation of how Hugh’s 40 ideas apply to my music carreer-
1. Don’t worry about what others say or think.

2. Be as original as you can so others won’t give you advice.

3. Don’t think you have to write the next “Sgt. Pepper”

4. That crazy idea for your next group of tunes that you keep thinking about is the right one.

5. You don’t need a publisher or a record company.

6. Don’t over-analyze, get it done.

7. Don’t think about what will sell, say what you have to say.

8. Keep your current source of income while you are creating your next project.

9. Keep you own culture as creative as you can.

10. Climb your mountain-not someone else’s.

11. Your Squire Strat and free laptop recording program are all the gear you need.

12 Play Austin when there’s no music festival going on.

13. Discover what is unique in how you do you music, what it is about, or to whom it speaks.

14. Play the cover pick up gig for $100 if you need the money, but play your originalswhere you won’t feel pressure to change them.

15. Live to gig another day.

16. When the gig is not right, be willing to walk away, politely.

17. Hang out with people who can teach you something.

18. Remember passion- what yours is, and who expresses it to you.

19. Don’t spend much time thinking about how the gigging scene used to be better.

20. Sing you own song in your own way.

21. LP, CD, MP3, Album, EP, Single-media is always changing.

22. Say what you must- don’t dumb it down.

23. You are your own most important audience.

24. Don’t worry if it will sell- no one ever knows.

25. Set an appointment to write.The inspiration will follow.

26. Keep at it while you’re looking for your own angle.

27. Write what resonates for you-don’t think of the listener.

28 Don’t ask anyone what they think of your work.

29 Be authentic- don’t seek awards or recognition.

30. There will be a price to pay-be willing to pay it.

31. There will be chaos in creativity- embrace it.

32. Most musicians’ best work was done when they were broke. Bling is a burden.

33.Your songs and shows will change as you change.

34.It is one thing to not pursue luxuries, but it is another to have a bed, food, health,transportation, and a space to create.

35. Most musicians had way more fun in their garage band than in their top 40 six-nighter band.

36. You are most free when you are not famous. Appreciate it.

37. Write your blog, post your songs. Those who like them will hang around.

38. There is as much satisfaction in one person’s appreciation of your work as their is in a whole room of people shouting and stomping their feet.

39. You made your CD, toured, sold quite a few- now what?

40. It will be costly to follow the muse, but you will never have to wonder “what if?”


CyberPr’s Nine week blogging contest-week 1

December 18, 2009

I have had a hectic year touring, doing the booking, PR, web updating, and band personnell management, and just as I was reflecting in October Ariel Hyatt’s free Musician’s Guide to social media success was released. It reminded me of the things I needed to do on the internet, so I purchased her Music success in 9 weeks book and decided that I was going to go through it and implement the recommendations. I am an old-school gigger, and that has become incredibly inefficient.

Chapter 1 is goal setting. “What the mind can believe, it can achieve”- Napoleon Hill. “You’ll see it when you believe it.”-Wayne Dyer.  This first part of the book is familiar, as I have heard these ideas expressed in other places. So I wrote down my goals. I did this for the first time on Oct. 16, 1994, and achieved all but one- I still need to lose some weight. But the rest I have surpassed.

Current economics of an average gig in an average music venue on an average night

December 18, 2009


Turnout- 100 people

Gross income- $500

Soundman deduction-$75

Doorman deduction-$50

Net income-$375

Share per band for 3 bands- $125

Share per member in a three person band- $41.67

Don’t bring a knife to a gunfight….

December 17, 2009

The video is Paul Pigat at VLV last April.

I got an Iphone back in March, and after getting the hang of it I can’t imagine using a regular phone again. I haven’t tried a Droid, but I have used Apple computers exclusively for the last 5 years and have been very happy. It does need to run multiple apps, though. That can’t be too far away.

Of course people ignore their email now, text is the status quo. But I got pitched twice in the last week to get my own Iphone app.  I can see that. so now I better research that. I really don’t like AT&T,

and Iphone is at best mediocre as a phone, but I only want to carry one chunk in my pocket. Then again a text makes a noise and springs up on the screen- is the Iphone App going to do that?

Definition of an expert- Someone from out of town

December 14, 2009

In Feb. 2008 I received an email from a promoter saying he was asked to hire us for a festival in Spain. We played that festival Sept. 12, 2008, going on at 2 A.M. to a crowd of about 1800 people- our biggest show to date. The organizers, a Harley club in Castellon, said we were very well known and popular there, and assumed that we had roadies and flew to all of our gigs. We each got our own hotel room, and were constantly asked if we needed anything.

Conversely, the two clubs closest to my house in Boulder County, Colorado are not interested in having us play there.

In the 90’s we’d tour California, get good gigs and turnouts, so I moved there in early 2004. Once I lived there it was much harder to book gigs there. Since I moved back to Colorado in 2007 I am constantly contacted to play there.

This past summer I took a tour booking class with Jeri Goldstein.  Our tours in the 90’s were much more profitable than our tours this past year, and I wanted to examine my modus operandi.  The conclusion I have come to is that I am better off flying into an area to play a Fri.-Sat.-Sun. with a local bassist and drummer than to put a band in a van and be struggling like crazy to find shows  Monday through Thursdays in secondary markets. A lot of Jazz players tour this way.

Homeless in Hawaii

December 13, 2009

In my young adulthood I would frequently get in my VW bug and go on a long weekend camping trip in Colorado with only $25.  I had been in the Boy Scouts and the Rangers as a kid, so sleeping in a tent was no big deal. We’d usually try to incorporate a visit to a ghost town, a mountain pass, a hot spring, and a timberline hike.

This summer the band did a Colorado tour where several of the stops were door deals, and to economize we slept in tents at Crested Butte and Telluride. On long camping trips, as long as the weather is O.K., you get the feeling that you could go on indefinitely. Jewell lived in her VW van while she was gigging regularly at a coffee house in San Diego, so she wouldn’t have to get a job to pay for an apartment.

In Hawaii there are showers at the beach, and a state health care system. There is a bus that will take you all around Oahu for $2. I then started to think about all the people who have service industry jobs they dislike, and an average of $10k in credit card debt, and are falling behind each month, and are living where they live because they were born nearby. I wondered who had it better.

Make Your Own Gig

December 11, 2009

On Thanksgiving I was walking down Kalakaua Avenue to the Halekalani (house without a key) when I came upon Troy Fernandes, playing the hell out of the Ukelele. He had a generator, P.A. system, card table, stack of CDs (better move ’em quick), and an ipod with backing tracks. I bought his CD as a gesture of appreciation even though I ripped it onto the Ipod and will never play it again.

I started thinking about how in times past it has been a tough world for niche instrumentalists. You had to have a critical mass of people liking you in a limited geographic area to convince a venue to give you a gig. Now people can see you online, so it is less appealing to pay $10 to park on Sunset Strip, $10 admission to the Viper room, $10 for a two drink minimum, to see a performer in their 35 minute slot,  for which they have paid the club $250 up front. The staff attitude is thrown in for free.

Mass media will still tell you you need to be sexy, ripped, young, and singing an impassioned love song to be great, but they are rapidly losing control of public consciousness. It’s a great time to be in the music business, but man,it’s a lot of work!

I just sent out my Reverbnation mailing list for our two gigs this weekend in Denver. I looked at the click through rate last week-it ain’t pretty. For Hillbilly Hellcats, my band, it has come to the point where T.V. song use and downloads are working well, but live shows are mostly an advertisment, something to put on youtube, something to show that we exist and can play our instruments.

We are getting a lot of likes and fans this week on My $100 payola to them is about half used up. I’m not paying any more, so I wonder if having an established fan base there will keep us in rotation- I hope so.


December 11, 2009

A few weeks ago Ariel Hyatt sent out the free Rockstar 2.0 report, and I quickly skimmed through it. It reminded me of all the internet tasks I still had left undone. The first thing I resolved to do was get my text mail list together, since I have been hearing repeatedly that email and Myspace were soon going the way of the model T. So now there is a flourescent sign on my guitar amp that says text hellcats to 69302. When you do, you get a coupon back for $1 off on a Hillbilly Hellcats t-shirt.
Next the email list guilt set in, so I started the research. Would it be Eweber, or Icontact, or Constant Contact, or Bandletter, or Reverbnation? I like the way Reverbnation was linked to everything else, so I filled out my Reverbnation pages, signed up for the mailing list and gigfinder. Followed the impossible directions from several videos to set up Myband on my Facebook personal and fan pages, and in one month have gone from #427 rock band in Denver to #27. We now have 62 addresses on our Reverbnation email list, which I was proud of until Derek Sivers casually mentioned the other day that there’s an advantage to having a non-html mailing list.
A trip to the Durango Songwriters fest in October re-introduced me to Barbara Russell, and I left the showcase with Barbara as my new coach at On her first phone call the next week I bought Carla Lynn Hall’s Twitter for Musicians- I have been tweeting aimlessly and wanted to get it right.
Then an archived call of Barbara’s introduced me to Patrick Schwerdtfeger and his Webify Your Business book, a great 52 week plan to get it together on the internet. I am 4 weeks into that.
With the aid of Myspace, Google, and Craigslist, my dream of gigging in Hawaii came true mid November. My Colorado bassist pulled out of the trip 10 days ahead of time, but through Craigslist I found a bassist in Honolulu who also managed a music store and backlined the gigs. I got on the plane with two confirmed Hawaii shows, but after the first show in Honolulu booked four more in the next two weeks right on the bandstand. It seems that Hawaii venues have a problem with bands from the mainland actually showing up due to flight costs and logistics. Nothing like being there in person to establish credibility.
I wanted some reading material for the plane flight, so I downloaded Gary Vaynerchuk’s Crush It! onto my Iphone Kindle app, and had finished 8 chapters by the time the plane landed in Honolulu. I knew then that my dormant was going to be pointed to, where my primary blog was going to be a video blog, not just written or photographic, as explained by Gary. I made 3 Hawaii videos and they’re up there.
Oh yeah, in my briefcase was Ariel’s 9 weeks book 2.0, and I posted on my Facebook hillbillyhellcats that I was going to work through it once and for all.
Well, the Hawaii shows went great, and I landed back in Denver Dec. 1st to 10 degree weather, my mind plotting how I was going to sell all my crapola, tie up my loose ends, and relocate to Honolulu.
I was somehow reminded of, and took the plunge Monday, buying 4,000 plays.
The next day my Rev it up with Taz album had risen to #7 on the Amazon Indie retro charts- I like to think it wasn’t a coincidence.
I have backed off touring for awhile to get my internet chops together, and to methodically work through 9 weeks. It all feels very hectic, but let’s see what’s been done-
1. text list
2. email list
6. Facebook personal and band page from 15 contacts to over 500.
7. re-upped sonicbids and have sent to 12 submissions
8. re-upped broadjam and have sent in 6 submissions.
9. Sent out offers on Craigslist, Twitter, Reverbnation, Myspace, and Facebook to teach guitar lessons via Skype today, at several fans’ requests.


Chuck Hughes

Playing Hawaii 5-0.

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December 10, 2009

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