Just What Denver Needs:
Another Leech in the Rock and Roll Food Chain
Continuing in our series, ALTERNATE PROFESSIONS FOR ALTERNATIVE MUSICIANS, we turn our attention to the career of Professional Band Consultant.
In a poll of bands that had recently broken up, the most common reason cited for failure was “We just didn't know what we were doing.” The second most commonly cited reason was, “The lead guitarist was an asshole.”
Operating under the adage, “You can only fell a tree if it's smaller than your saw,” Mistacio Titcombe has chosen to address the former problem, leaving cocky lead guitarists to someone with more patience and more unbridled enthusiasm. Not that Titcombe isn't enthusiastic. She is; almost annoyingly so. She's just not masochistic. Although, now that I think about it, she was sporting rope burns around her wrists. That's neither here nor there.
What is here and there is the fact that I found an ad on the back page of last week's Westword that advertised a new company called Sound Advice, whose promise was to “…provide sound, practical feedback GUARANTEED to put your band on the path to success.”
I called the number, talked to Ms. Titcombe, and we met at Confluence Park . Sitting on the bank of the Platte we watched children brave the rapids on their parents' air mattresses. The temperature was 101 degrees.
Stapping Dan: I'm not certain I understand what a professional band consultant is.
Mistacio Titcombe: I give bands good, helpful advice.
MT: Nobody gives bands good advice. It's shame that the only advice they get is from their friends and club owners. Friends lay it on too thick. They're afraid to hurt your feelings. Club owners are motivated by extra-musical factors. They care about filling seats and selling beer. They say the same thing after every show, “Hang fliers, get press, why wasn't anybody here?”
Newspaper articles by goofballs like yourself—I say that will all due respect—gravitate toward negative reviews because that's what people want to read. Instead of offering constructive advice for bands, you scare the shit out of them.
So, for a small fee, I freely offer my services as a quality consultant. I'll tell the band where they can improve. Your bassist needs to get his rhythm chops down. Your lead singer is too ugly. That name is hopeless. Songs are too long. Decide on a genre and stick to it. Stuff like that.
SD: How do your consultations work?
MT: At first I was going to have the band members fill out a questionnaire like the ones you fill out when registering for an on-line dating service (not that I would know, ha ha). It would get everyone's opinions about everyone else in the band, what kinds of goals people had, maybe do some testing for violent mental disorders. I figured the form would help me sift through the various issues and recombine the constituent parts in a harmonious fashion.
But when I set out the make the form it got very confusing so I decided that you can learn pretty much everything you need to know about a band by watching one show.
SD: Have you accomplished anything noteworthy?
MT: I've gotten one band to break up. They were a terrible match…a metal band with a rap singer. Who would want to see a show like that? Thank god I nipped that bud. It could have been real messy.
SD: Any success stories?
MT: Not yet. Overnight sensations don't happen overnight.
SD: Do you have any general advice you'd give to bands out there?
MT: I think Denver needs a gay band. Not ABBA covers or whatever stereotypical stuff Hollywood is pushing this week, but a real, good out and out gay rock band; a little bit Queen, a little bit Creedence. Denver has a big gay population. They would rock out, if only they had a chance. So, I'd advise any band out there to be gay, appeal to the gay crowd.
On a different front, I think Denver needs a good hunting band. There are a lot of decent country bands in Colorado but none that go after the second amendment crowd. You'd think someone would appeal to these people. You get a band that sings about hunting, you're gonna make it big. Coloradans love guns. It's that simple. Look at Ted Nugent. HUGE Denver fanbase.
So those are my primary pieces of advice get gay or get hunting.
SD: What about a gay hunting band?
MT: That might not work. The number of homosexual hunters in Colorado is diminishing every year. It wasn't that large to begin with. But now we're talking about less than five hundred people. That's not enough people to sustain a band. You want the broadest unexploited demographic, not the narrowest.
SD: Your obvious talent in demographics aside, what qualifies you as a music advisor?
MT: I played piano for several years until I was thirteen. Plus I listen to a LOT of music.
SD: What do you charge for your service?
MT: Anywhere from $50 to listen to a CD up to $600 for the Wilderness Expedition.
SD: Wilderness Expedition? Like the Boy Scouts?
MT: Sure. We'll take a trip into the mountains and spend some time together, write songs, have a blast. Mostly it's about the good times. Also I have a thing I call the Pearl Street Seminar. I make the band play two acoustic sets on Pearl Street Mall in Boulder . While they play the first set, I interview passersby and get input which the band incorporates into their second set.
SD: How much does that one cost?
MT: You're going to love this. The band puts out a hat during each set. I get paid the difference between the two. For instance, if the band makes $70 during their first set and $170 during their second set, I get $100. That way, I'm really earning my money.
SD: What if the band makes less money as a result of your advice?
MT: I seriously doubt that would happen. Anyway, nobody's taken me up on the offer yet so there's no way of knowing.
SD: You could just tell me.
MT: And ruin the surprise? Never!
At this point a young boy began drowning in the creek and Mistacio dived into the water to save his life.
--Strapping Danforth, August, 2004