And so the new year begins and off we all go marching ahead with new gigs to play as well as many repeat bookings for which we are extremely grateful. It's funny to think that we started Kal's Kats just three years ago exactly and likewise Kalamazoo Dance Band just two and half years ago and every year we have played a full diary of over 65 gigs with our full band (s) and played some fantastic venues and events and seen our name up in lights right next to and on the same bill as some well noted and published acts in the UK and that for us is such an honour and privilege - clearly this is an arduous uphill battle in one i would call pitcher/catcher scenario where as a pitcher you are constantly throwing the 'ball' i.e. advertising your band or sending details and the catcher either catches and responds to you or simply lets your ball drop to the floor or shoot right past them - The converse of course is the aspiration that the phone rings off the hook where folks constantly want to book you to come and play for them and we love it when this happens but of course you have to tread the boards along the lines of some of the other bands who have been around since the 80's - however, I've got a big basket of those balls and will keep throwing them :-)
I'm often asked would you scale the band down from the 9/10 piece to perhaps a 4/ piece and my answer is always the same in that I simply wouldn't do so since i think you lose the depth and quality of sound that has given you that market position in the first place and of course the last thing we would want now especially with mobile phones and cameras able to upload to youtube in an instant is having taken a gig and playing a 4 piece band with little to no stage presence and playing songs that are lacking depth and all of a sudden they are across the world like ink in water and of course we are in a world of instant gratification and so whatever someone sees in the first instance is what they balance your entire presence on. So with that, we'll always be putting our full band complement out for every event.
This is a passion and a pursuit and i'm sure every musician feels the same - of course you can't run around the globe for free, but as long as expenses, salaries plus etc are covered, then go out and do the finest and very best that you can and leave each and every customer loving you and wanting you back time after time - of course a client or agent doesn't mind paying a going rate when they know you will deliver and delight the audience. With that point in mind, it reminds me of W. Edwards Deming when his statement refers to 'Delighting customers' which means that if you do the very best you can armed with the knowledge of what they want, then the likelihood is that you will do right. I watch many of the greats to see what they do, what are the little nuances they include, how do they keep their act fresh and vibrant and entertaining such that folks will want to promote them forward and mention the band name in their daily chat eg back to work on Monday and 'oh wow what a weekend, we went to see 'so and so' band and they were superb, you ought to go and see them' etc .
I always believe in treating every gig as if it was our first or last one you were doing so much so that you don't compromise in any way at all. Set your stage to the best you can, play a great programme that has been built around the feedback and responses that you have mentally stored from customer feedback and always interact with the audience, teach them to dance, have some cheeky banter, do some silly things and remember they are watching every single thing you do and moreover possibly sending it worldwide at the very moment you are playing.
It is a wonderful 'treadmill' to be on and we have and continue to meet such lovely people on our travels and ironically of course, it is the people who make the events what they are. eg if we were asked to play at the Albert Hall but no one was there, then it becomes a very lonely and hostile place, therefore it's back to the people - look after them and they will look after you.
We sure are looking forward to 2018 and seeing all the lovely folks again and it's great news that we are also launching The Regency Dance Orchestra this year with a particular focus on the music of the 20's and 30's - ballroom, sequence, Latin
We now have quite a complement of offerings:
Kal's Kats - swing band, Great Gatsby, Peaky Blinders events
Kalamazoo Dance Band - Glenn Miller, Rat Pack and Strict Tempo ballroom
The Regency Dance Orchestra - 20's and 30's ballroom dance
Thanks to everyone for your continued support and friendship - it really does mean so much to us and love catching up with you. All the best for 2018!!