Cris: You’re the more dapper member of the band. You’ve got the vest, the hat…
John Thomas Griffith of clients Cowboy Mouth: I’m glad you noticed.
Cris: Is this just what you’re comfortable in?
John Thomas: You know, I've always thought fashion and rock ‘n’ roll kind of go together. I grew up listening to classic rock. Bowie and the glitter era. KISS. Stuff like that. So to me it kind of went hand in hand. It’s almost like you can’t do one without the other … in my book. Of course we entered into the age of the 90s and grunge and it was t-shirts. Then we had the Hootie era where you looked like a college guy. And I get it. But I like style.
Often times developing social media content is creating order out of disorder. It is conveying or encapsulating emotions, thoughts, ideas into something not only coherent, but bite-sized. And mining those nuggets that make for good content can be messy, time-consuming work. Some people get disillusioned when the 10 minutes they spent stamping out cookie-cutter memes didn't yield much interest or engagement. Sorry. Good content takes more effort. - Cris
"The blues material from Robert Johnson's day, the prewar blues, was so fascinating to me because of the fact that it is pop music but there are no choruses. It's a different way of having repetition and themes and a different goal for a pop song. The music is shared by everybody because it's passed down through tradition. The whole spirit of what one is going for is radically different than pop and that really became exciting for me because I could see a new way to reach people." - Todd Park Mohr of Big Head Todd and the Monsters
A different perspective. Sometimes good social media content offers a new perspective. You are not necessarily showing people something they have never seen. But you are showing them something from a vantage point they have never had.
I took this picture of client Rich Redmond while he went through sound check. Why climb up on the catwalk? Well, for one thing, it's fun to go up there. But more importantly it was a chance to get some photos and videos from a different vantage point. A lot of people have watched drummers during a concert. A small percentage of those people have watched a sound check in an arena. And an even smaller percentage have watched a sound check in an arena from the upper catwalk of the stage.
Giving people a view they might otherwise never get to see... that kind of content has value. - Cris
I've never been a fan of the tactic where people post a photo of themselves in front of a crowd and then say, “Tag yourself!” You see it done by musicians at concerts and business people at conferences. Basically these people are saying, “We know our content is not interesting enough that you will share it of your own accord, so we are hoping to trick you into spamming your connections.” - Cris
I am excited because today I am going to attend a client's sound check, that time before a concert where they make sure that the mics are working, set the sound levels, etc. I love going to sound checks. To me it is fascinating to see everything being prepared, especially since this is a big concert that will take place in an arena. And there are other benefits, besides it being my idea of a spectator sport.
For one thing, it is a nice reminder that it takes a lot of work to make something look effortless. Bono once said of U2's concerts that they were trying to create intimacy on a grand scale. And with well-run shows, it seems that way. Somehow you feel a direct connection with the artists. You get lost in the moment and think that the concert just involves the few people on stage. But sound check is done with the amphitheater in full sunlight or in the arena with all of the lights on and the curtains pulled back. You see the buses, the trucks, and the large numbers of people who are needed to pull off the illusion of intimacy later.
The other benefit, from a social media perspective, is that sound checks are a treasure trove of content in the rough. You can get great, up-close photos and video of the instruments and the musicians. And while great photographers can capture amazing moments during the show, you get video and photos of a different flavor at sound check. Sometimes the musicians are more relaxed, quicker to smile. Sometimes they are more contemplative, focused on tuning, gear placement, etc. It is an interesting peek into who they are and how they prepare.
Sure, nothing beats the actual show. That time is magic. But for music geeks like myself, there is something special about watching a sound check. - Cris
Cris: How have you changed as a singer over the years?
Kim Wilson of the Fabulous Thunderbirds (client): I’ve changed as a singer in a lot of ways. I mean, basically I’ve just gotten better. Singing is a lifelong skill that you have to be a journeyman at for a long time. Some people have natural talent. I had a little bit of natural talent at it, but the people who I wanted to sing like were all the greatest singers ever. So, it’s still a work in progress.
Interview excerpts plus bonus materials delivered to your email every Friday (usually)
Anyone can publish a post. We can tell your story.
See the full list of Bands To Fans interviews