• Ludo works hard to build an audience. Phil Kosch, a member of Chicago’s Treaty of Paris, learned how driven the band was when he invited them to play a free show in Naperville, Illinois. He says, “We kind of neglected to tell them it was under a canopy, next to a river with this really bad sound system.” This kind of free show with bad venue and bad sound equipment was not a problem for Ludo; instead, it was an opportunity to further build their audience. Members of Ludo work hard to reach the audience, for Ludo has worn out two vans in four years. They definitely make sure to spend time with the audience. On the Warped Tour, members of Ludo were shocked that members of other bands did not spend time shaking hands with members of the audience. And audience members do appreciate that kind of contact. In 2006, the band played their “Cinco de Mustache” show in St. Louis. Present was an Island Records vice president, who was impressed by seeing “1,200 kids singing along to all the songs,” says Dan Friedman, a lawyer who handles Ludo’s record contracts. In fact, the vice president was so impressed that he offered Ludo a record deal, saying, “You’ll have paper within a week.”
• The Ramones worked hard at their concerts, touring constantly and playing even when they were ill. In their early days, bass player Dee Dee Ramone was making $125 a week but had a $100-a-day drug habit. Still, he showed up on time for concerts — for one thing, Johnny Ramone fined band members $25 for showing up late. One concert, because of the drugs, Dee Dee was ill, so he made his way to the side of the stage and vomited — but he kept on playing! Also early in their career, Johnny Ramone was playing guitar so fast and furiously — creating a wall of sound with his downstrokes — that he cut his fingers. He kept playing although so much blood ended up on his T-shirt that the audience thought he had smuggled in blood capsules to use in the act. Later, as a result of the relentless touring, Johnny developed such thick calluses on his fingers that it was impossible to cut them.
• The Bangles had several hits in the 1980s, and like other bands, occasionally a member left the band and was replaced. For example, in 2005 bassist Michael Steele left the band. Why? Reality got in the way. Most of the Bangles have children, and they put family first, fitting in Bangles time whenever they can. Ms. Steele was the only member of the band without children, and Bangles lead singer Susanna Hoffs says, “Fair enough: she doesn’t have kids, so she has more time to really devote to music, and it was probably extremely annoying to her when Back to School Night or something might bring down an entire tour, y’know? But that’s just how it is for us. But I really wish her well.”
• At age 16, White Rabbits bass player Adam Russell dropped out of high school because he was annoyed that his teachers insisted that he listen to them instead of reading books such as philosophy texts by Nietzsche, Moby Dick, and physics textbooks during class. Later, he moved to New York where he played music and got a job in the Strand bookstore, for which he had to take a test before being gainfully employed. The test included such questions as “Who wrote The Age of Innocence?” and “Who wrote Catcher in the Rye?” Not surprisingly, he had no trouble passing the test.
Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved
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