The Art of Creating an Effective Stage Presence
What Is Stagecraft, Anyway?
First of all, please allow me to bitch and moan about how long it took me to dream up the oh-so-bland definition above. To tell the truth, I was not exactly sure how to define "stage craft," and I am clearly still unable to define it in any kind of sexy way. Still, I suppose I can live with "the art of creating an effective stage presence," as long as I can also explain it in this much less concise way: having a great stage presence is really about learning to control and direct that often unruly stream of adrenaline and make it work for you, rather than against you. But don't you have to be born with it, you ask? Absolutely not! I know plenty of shy folks (I am one of them) who have learned to make themselves quite at home onstage. I am not sure if I can claim to know any real secrets, but I can at least share a few things that have been helpful to me. Let's start at the beginning:
The band has recorded five studio recordings and a live disc. The latest, Let It Go, released last year by Razor and Tie, is closing in on 60,000 sold. We're on the radio, on StarPolish, and on the web at www.clarksonline.com. For the first time in our career, we have management, a booking agent and a record company, all working together. We play around 200 shows a year in rock clubs all over the Mid-Atlantic, Northeast, Southeast, and Midwest regions. We're huge in Pittsburgh at this point, where we play to audiences in the thousands. Truth be told, we want to be huge everywhere. Then we could have the one thing we've worked our whole lives for: a bus! You Are What You Drive Because right now, we travel by van. Oh sure, it was fun for a while. Our first van -- a used Dodge we dubbed "The Silver Bullet" -- was basically a tin can on wheels: two seats up front and that's it. No benches, no windows, no A/C, no insulation to keep heat in or cold out. And we loved it. We laid the amps down flat (not good for tubes, by the way), put an old mattress over them, and sat on that. No seatbelts, no fear, no brains, no worries. One of the last trips we took in that van was to Davis and Elkins College in West Virginia for an outdoor festival. Somebody needed to relieve himself, so we pulled over on this two-lane country road, got out and did our thing, when one of us notices these bones in the tall grass.