Craig Crofton's Golden Rules for Playing Gigs
1. Always turn up on time!
It goes without saying that punctuality is important in any job but with music it is even more important. I once had a gig at Bristol Harbourside Festival and didn't allow time for traffic. I was only going a few miles down the road but it ended up me starting the gig late on a big stage.
Embarrassing at the very least and completely unprofessional.
2. When something goes wrong onstage smile.
The audience usually don't know something wrong unless you or your band mates show it on your face or start panicking.
3. Don't bring up band politics right before you go onstage.
I once was getting ready for a big gig at the world famous Glastonbury Festival when a band member refused to walk onstage due to an argument moments earlier with another band member. When he finally walked onstage he announced he was leaving the band for good. No drummer equals no gig......Gutted
4. Don't Drink too much
There is something to be said for alcohol's ability to relax your nerves but do not forget that nervous energy and adrenaline are some of the things that can keep you alert and exciting onstage. Also, there is a fine line sometimes between being inspired and making a fool of yourself while performing!
5. Bring Everything
The number of times I have been told that there will be a Mic onstage or that I didn't need to bring a music stand and needed it.......Enough said
6. Know how to communicate with your rhythm section.
If you are a sax player you still need to know what style of song you are playing e.g swing, blues, bossa nova, calypso, funk etc.. You also need to know [at the very least] what concert pitch you are playing. Also the tempo, fast swing, medium funk groove, shuffle blues. You will get a better result and more respect from your rhythm section this way.
7. Make sure you know who is paying you and the name of the sound engineer.
You want to be on a first name basis with the person paying for the gig and immediately introduce yourself to them upon your arrival. Discuss [before you play]the agreement and how and when you will be paid after the performance.
Also, sound engineers aren't just sweaty toothless blokes who smoke a lot. They are human beings too! The better rapport you have with your sound guy the better the gig will be!
8. Pack your stuff up immediately.
Even if you are Maceo Parker or Sonny Rollins, you still want to pack your stuff up as soon as possible. I once finished an amazing gig in a packed nightclub and immediately ran to the bar after our last tune as I was parched! Upon my return I found my *uninsured* MPC 2000XL sampler [about a £1000 worth] on the ground and damaged beyond repair.
*Oh yeah and make sure your equipment is insured with fully comprehensive music insurance. If you are out and about gigging lots then to not have your stuff injured is to be a fool.
9. Don't eat a ten course meal right before you go onstage.
Where possible eat at least an hour or two before you are do onstage otherwise your body wont handle it very well. I once did a gig at The Chapel Arts Centre with Ian Mathews from the mega band Kasabian. He decided to eat a 12ounce steak before going onstage and it nearly killed him. He has ever since been known as "Steak Daddy."
It might surprise some of you amateurs out there but us professionals have to practice too. The worst thing is turning up to a gig under prepared when everyone else is on point. Once again, at the least embarrassing and at the worst you might not get a call from them again for a gig!