Are Fans your Band’s Friends or Foes?  (Part 2)

The Lucas Cates Band makes Friends!You remember this one– the blog post about the recent survey results indicating the #1 thing a band or artist needs to do in the current form of the entertainment industry is– to make your fans your friends.  You can easily re-read it here

This shouldn’t be a surprise, especially when you consider how most musicians are getting both the “good talk” and support from their fans/friends in 2014. People want to connect, and while social media can be great for so many reasons, it still doesn’t give you the personal touch the survey shows is wanted, needed, even expected.

The last post also touched on the idea of being an artist who isn’t afraid to take photos, sign autographs, or simply hang out. Sure, it may feel weird as you meet-and-greet with a bunch of strangers. But by the time it’s over, you’ve given them something they’ll never forget, and you will end up being rewarded for it.

Examples of Bands Who Like Friends, Not Foes

KISS makes Friends!KISS – This band is a large-scale instance, and we’ve found those opportunities to shake hands, grab a photo, and talk to the various members. I will never forget it, and they remain a personal favorite.

Bret Michaels – Did you see his recent (free) Madison show? He was engaged with the crowd, hung around to take photos, and talk with fans/friends after it. His actions also lit up social media in a very positive way.

The Lucas Cates Band – Full disclosure? The guys in this Madison-based group are friends, but I’ve always been impressed with their effort to meet and thank every single person at a show, including those where they opened for national acts like the Gin Blossoms. It would’ve been easy to steer off course, but they believed in business first (making fans your friends!) and then fun!

Take it from Anvil

Anvil makes Friends too!There is one long-time, internationally-touring band I recently interviewed, who solidifies this idea of spending time with fans/friends at every show. And they do it after more than 30 years on the road! Lips Kudlow, lead singer and guitar player for the Canadian heavy metal band Anvil, tells me he still considers every night a new opportunity with a different audience, and another way to continue building your fans/friends base.

“I value every single person and give them my heart and soul, both on stage, and when we get the opportunity to meet after the show,” Kudlow says. “We have worked so hard to get here, and want to connect directly with our fans to give them a memorable experience, something they’ll value. I really don’t understand any other band who doesn’t appreciate it and even complains about it.”

Kudlow calls it an obligation, something his band owes their fans. He says they will often stay for hours to meet people, sign autographs, and take photo’s. And he believes it is because of this personal interaction, the band is continuing to grow its fans/friends base, allowing them to release the group’s 13th album late last year, start another tour (Anvil just played in Milwaukee and Chicago), and discuss the real possibility of a second documentary focused on the band. Kudlow says, “I don’t call any of the dealing with fans/friends a job. I actually don’t feel complete unless I do it after every show.”

So, there’s the survey, some of the responses within it, examples, and the thoughts behind the idea from one band– who believes in the importance of continuing to build those personal connections. What will you choose to do?

Teri Barr is a multimedia feature writer, radio host, and award-winning journalist. She has work appearing regularly in local and regional publications, along with producing news and webcasts at the national level. If she's not on assignment for a project, she may be banging on her drums, hunting for the next road trip to enjoy a live show with her husband Brian, or snuggling with their cat Harrie-Yeti. You can find her on twitter, facebook, and at http://teribarr.wordpress.com

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