We have this joke reward system that started on the last Invincible Czars Nosferatu tour. When someone (in or not in the band) does something remarkable or really helpful, they get a Czar Star.
At some point, actual, physical Czar Stars started showing up… and I’m not even the one doling them out!
But if I was, here’re some of the things that I think deserve Czars Stars. If you do these things for your band, you probably go un or under recognized by your band mates but not by me. (Some of these are really specific to the Czars and our upcoming tour. If you did these, thank you!)
1) Playing a near perfect show nearly every night.
2) Maintaining the web presence – web site, social media.
3) Making Facebook event pages for every show. (oh, did you check to see if someone else made one already? Damn. That was a waste of time.)
4) Booking the shows. (this could be a full time job on its own)
5) Contacting press, radio, other media ON TIME (this could be a full time job on its own)
6) Having artwork/photos made and properly formatted for various uses. (CDs, posters, web graphics, t-shirts, etc.) THIS IS HUGE and nearly everything else on this list depends upon it. Artwork and images go everywhere – web site, videos, merchandise, press lists, social media.
7) Video shooting and editing (if you’re not someone who already knows about this and you take it on, you get 5 additional stars)
8) Making a pre-show playlist
9) Finding lodging
10) Selling merchandise
11) Determining day to day scheduling (departure time, arrival time, dinner time, load in time, show time, strike time, sleep time, etc.)
14) Managing the Merchandise (inventory, storage, pricing, signage and display, payment options like credit card readers, online sales, finding the best places to have it made, etc. This is another huge time consuming job!)
15) Contributing money to keep the bus moving.
16) Writing marketing language and descriptive language and knowing the difference between the two
17) Writing the music
18) Running Sound
19) Playing instruments (including electronics) you don’t normally
20) Providing transportation and maintaining it
21) Providing the practice space
22) Communicating with fans – in person or online
23) Making recordings and formatting them for various uses (CD, web, vinyl, whatever)
24) Dealing with any kind of legal issues (copyrights, insurance, etc.)
25) Accounting and Taxes
26) Cooking and cleaning
27) Getting your band out of any sticky situation
28) Remaining positive in the face of not so positive circumstances
I think it’s worth noting that simply stating a good idea isn’t on this list. Good ideas deserve recognition, no doubt, but they don’t really deserve a Czar Star until they become reality.
ex: let’s tour Europe, get our own sound/light person, make some merchandise everyone wants, break into college campus gigs, shoot a high quality video that’s fun to watch, play with an orchesrta, write a hit song, etc.
Those all sound good but realizing them takes way, WAY more time, effort and luck than just dreaming them up.
There are tons of idea-people out there who can make long, long lists of to do items but when it comes to actually executing those ideas, very few people actually make it happen.
You may never get a Czar Star because all that behind the scenes stuff doesn’t seem to matter to people who’ve never felt the pain of doing (or not doing) those things. It’s behind the scenes and if you’re doing it right, hardly anyone notices. You’re like the Navy SEAL of your band. You’re beyond Czar Stars.