Get On The Bus!
A Case Study in Increasing Club Draw for an Out-of-Town Band

Playing in New York City is very important to us. We are Spinning Images, an original alternative rock band from the isolated town of Yorktown Heights. I don't know of too many bands getting signed by playing local bars in my area, so we realized that to do something with our music, we needed somebody to hear it. The obvious answer was New York City, one hour away. We booked a few NYC gigs but the club owners weren't too pleased with the number of people we were drawing to our shows. There weren't enough people in their club buying drinks. That's all that really matters to these club owners, and they will tell you this straight out. You can urinate for an hour if you bring 100 people, but Pearl Jam would never get another night if no one showed up. So how does an unknown band bring people to a club? We had a bunch of supportive friends, but they lived an hour north of the city. Nobody wanted to drive down. The solution was simple. We could rent a school bus and shuttle our friends and fans to and from the show. My dad thought of the idea after I told him about the problem we were having with our draw. We checked the yellow pages and got quotes from a few companies in our area. It's important to find a company based near the pickup and drop-off area. This is because most companies rent buses out, based on the amount of time, until 2 a.m.. After that there is usually an extra charge. We would sometimes go on after 10 p.m. and it was about 2 a.m. when we arrived back at our upstate drop-off (my house). But then the bus only had to drive down the road, so the driver, with a healthy tip, looked the other way. Which brings me to the driver. Tip the driver well ($75) if you expect them to put up with rowdy kids and ignore what might be going on behind him. One complaint, and you won't be able to rent any more buses. We learned this the hard way. Also try to get the same driver if you like them-- you never know when Edward Rooney, or some real dick may show up to drive. How do you expect to get away with anything? Another good tip is to clean the bus before the driver leaves, the less evidence, the better. The whole night was full of little expenses like this, but we thought if we had enough people we could at least break even.
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