Guerilla Marketing for Musicians

What is Guerilla Marketing:  an unconventional way of performing marketing and promotional activities on a very low budget. It’s intention is to get maximum results from minimal resources. For musicians, this often means performing in unexpected, unconventional places and ways.
Think there are no more unexpected places to showcase your talent as a musician? Think again. Quintron and Miss Pussycat, from my fave city, New Orleans are QUINTessential (pun intended) guerilla marketers. I’ll leave their unique branding for another installation.
Quintron (Rhinestone Records) is a musician, performer and inventor.
He’s created and marketed his ‘mad scientist’ image very successfully.
The dynamic duo are famous for their live performances – they work themselves and their audiences into sweat-soaked frenzies. Their performances have been described as: barely controlled electronic chaos, “Swamp-Tech” beats, and small explosions. Quintron spins records and creates beats using his own invention: the drum buddy, a drum machine triggered by light – this is a must see: Click on View Demo .  Miss Pussycat accompanies on maracas and puppets….yes, puppets. 
 One never knows what to expect from Q and MP and audiences are never disappointed. Their onstage antics and spontaneity compel audiences to experience them repeatedly.
Guerilla marketing coming up…
Maximum exposure on a minimum budget: last year Quintron and Miss Pussycat were an installation,
“The Parallel Universe” in the New Orleans Museum of Art. Miss Pussycat showcased her puppets, there was an interactive drum buddy exhibit and Quintron, surrounded by recording gear, he recorded his newest cd  in front of thousands of museum goers for several months. This tactic brought new audiences into the museum and exposed Quitron to thousands of potential fans he would not otherwise have been exposed to.…in the city where he lives and performs regularly…all at little or no cost to Quintron…that’s guerilla marketing at it’s best!
Would love your input about guerilla marketing techniques you’ve experienced!
P/S Quintron and MP are coming to SHappy Fun Land in Houston, July 23rdersity lecture ha.”See you There!lls
Hi-Res 2010 TOUR POSTER

Can Stevie Wonder Change Your Life?

You will never listen to or compose vocals in the same way after you’ve finished this article and watched these videos – I promise. Let’s get through a little ‘technical’ stuff first – don’t skip any reading – you might miss one of my jokes. The part about Stevie is coming soon..
Here are a few terms associated with vocal (and instrumental) techniques – if you’ve never heard them before – no prob – you’ll hear examples in the videos – but you need to know what to listen for. In case you’re wondering…I’m proving my point from the last two blogs: talent is directly related to an acquired skill. Buckle up – you’re going to acquire some compositional skills you may not have possessed before…..simply by knowing what you’re listening to.
Technicalities (and a bit of fun).
Slur: to play or sing a series of notes without a break in between. Example: Stevie uses this with the word ‘enough’ in “Living for the City” – ‘enough has several notes in it but there are no breaks between the notes because they are ‘slurred.’ You know…like when you’ve had too much to drink and you start to ‘slur’ your words….they all run together…great….now you’ve got it…next-
Glissando: to glide from note to another. Sounds like a slur doesn’t it… but it’s a bit different. Glissando makes use of ‘space’ between the notes you’re singing…you know…like when you’ve had too much to drink and the police car pulls up behind you…hear that siren? How it glides from one note to the next and back again as you’re being cuffed? Great…now you’ve got that too. In “Living for the City” when Stevie sings the word ‘City’ making it sound more like citaaaaaaay…it’s on the aaaaaaay where his voice glides from one note to the next and utilizes all the musical space in between …you’ll get it after you’ve watched the video and sobered up.
Staccato: each note is sharply detached or separated. In Stevie’s case, he likes to put a lot of emphasis on the words that applies staccato to…sort of like each word having it’s own downbeat (you’ll hear it…I promise).
Arpeggio: a group of notes played one after another either going up or going down. The notes all belong to one chord. These notes can be slurred, arpeggiated, or used with glissando (think Gypsy violin). Stevie does it frequently; it adds interest and range to his vocals…usually appearing at the end of a phrase…it extends words in an interesting way melodically. This technique was severely abused by the likes of superstars like Christina Aguilara, Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston who took it to the ‘extreme’ – as incredible as their voices are, listening to the overuse of this technique leaves me misty for a sustained note….and a dry martini….actually…I don’t drink…I just like to act like I do.
So what does all this mean? Nothing! HA! Do you need to know the correct musical terms in order to apply them to your music? NOPE! You just gotta hear them. But now that you know what to listen for…I’ll bet you’ll be listening with different ears and adding more interesting elements to your compositions.
Stevie could sing the same verse 20 times in a row and we’d never get bored because he utilizes these ‘techniques’ in almost every song. Each of these techniques has it’s own set of musical intentions attached to it:
Staccato emphasizes the musical/emotional point you’re trying to make. Glissando is for anticipation…it leads us somewhere – it creates excitement/tension (especially in the Alanis example).
Arpeggios: take us on a journey…we can skip there…we can glide there…we can go past ‘home’ and back again (as the three divas do – to the extreme).
Slurs: sort of obvious…if every note was staccato…I’d have to reach for a bottle of Crown.
For my engineer/ producer friends: You will LOVE- LOVE – LOVE this video of Stevie in the studio recording “Superstition.” In one take! Listen to live studio version and then the radio version to see how everything was mixed….perfectly (in the video the brass and sweetening vocals are somewhat overwhelming).
I’ve also added a great example of utilizing these different techniques from Alanis Morrissette. In “You Learn”, Alanis is masterful in her use of glissando – this song is poignant and she uses it to create tension – to build emotion – and she does it brilliantly, in my opinion.
P/S
If you don’t ADORE the “Living for the City” video – especially for the fashion time capsule that it is – YOU’RE drunk!