The Do's and Don'ts of a seasoned performer

The music industry is a competitive industry, and talent is obviously a large part of that. However, there are things you can do to improve your professional reputation and increase your chances of success.

Hoodoo_Gurus2-(1).jpgJMC Academy Lecturer and Hoodoo Guru's musician Rick Grossman is a seasoned performer having been part of The Hoodoo Guru's for over 20 years as a bassist and also been part of legendary act the Divinyls. Rick talks us through some of the important lessons he's learned over the course of his career - the Do's and Don'ts of the music industry.

Read the transcript: 

"I think a seasoned performer is someone who has a lot of experience in the music industry.

One of the most important things that we talk about is learning the ability to listen to the other people you're playing with, listening to the song as a whole instead of your own little part, working as part of a team for the greater good. That's what I think is really important. That will also give you longevity in the industry. If you are aware of the people around you and you can appreciate and give them space, it really goes a long way.

Career killers - arrogance! It's a big career killer. People don't like to playing with arrogant people. Even people I know who are the main act like Jimmy Barnes, James Reyne, people who write their songs are the featured solo act. They got there because they're not arrogant. On stage, never let an audience know that you're suffering, in any way. Being condescending to an audience can be really awful, kind of making out you've got an in joke that their not into. Audiences don't like that.

To keep a great working relationship with band members, you have to have respect. With the Hoodoo Guru's, we've always taken the music really seriously and the rest we take with a big grain of salt. When we record and write songs, we take that seriously and also we know each other so well now that we kind of second guess each other and we know what upsets one another. I can ring up our singer and get him really upset within 30 seconds if I want, as he can with me. I know what pushes his buttons. It's a great thing to be able to play with musicians that you've played with for a long time. It's an almost telepathic thing on stage. It's beautiful. You actually know what the persons going to do.

As far as rehearsal and preparation, we've actually paid our dues in the Hoodoo Gurus. We'll rehearse if we haven't played for a little while but we've got to a point where we have a really good bottom line. We'll go and rehearse if we want to play new songs or old songs that we haven't played for 20 years. We've done the hard yards with that stuff. We would go in for two or three weeks to rehearse before a tour. If we haven't played say, for a month or a couple of months then we'll go into the studio and set up the gear and just blast through some old songs we haven't played and it's like getting yourself fit.

Our band is very physical and you know an hour and a half of it is so full on so we try and do that. We've been very lucky, we've had the same manager forever and he's very knowledgable as far as copyright and contracts go.

As far as record labels go, it's a funny thing because we're signed to Sony Music Australia and the second in charge (2IC) of Sony is a huge Hoodoo Guru's fan. That makes a huge difference knowing that somebody at the record company actually likes you.

As far as resolving conflict in the band, we have band meetings and know each other so well now that usually someone will say "What's your problem?" or "What's going on?" and it gets aired. I've been in all sorts of situations with bands, open sort of animosity, violence.

If you don't know your stuff, you don't have a good time. If I want to go and play in a band you know it's different here, at performance nights we have, I can't relax. If I have to get up and play with one of band, I just worry about whether the guitar player is coming in here or the drummer is going to do this - so I find that quite difficult. If I go and play with the Guru's, I prepare in a certain way so I can get up on stage and not even think about it. Little things like being late, that's the number 1 crime! You know being late for rehearsal, if you're working with other people, you're letting down all of them. You have to be careful not to be sucked into the image of the whole thing. It's the love of music that will get you through."