Articles by B.D. Lenz

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Pt. 10, Video and the Evolution of the Press Kit

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I first started booking gigs for my band during the days of mailing tapes: manually copying cassettes and their inserts, then delivering an armload of clunky packages to the post office. If someone had the ability to burn CDs on their own computer and mail something digital, that was a big deal! Then came the rise of the online press kit and the ability to bypass cranky postal workers. The electronic press kit (EPK) is still relevant and saves a ...

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Part 9, The Boring (Must Do) Stuff

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When most people think of leading their own band, they imagine the freedom of playing their own music, the adulation of fans, and the exhilaration of touring the world. What they don't often imagine is sitting in an office writing up contracts, requesting deposits, and filling out insurance applications. These dull tasks aren't why musicians started playing in the first place. Yet this columns is about the logistics of running a music business, and sometimes boring paperwork is just as ...

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Pt. 8, PR for Dummies

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I've often thought to myself: “Miles Davis never had to deal with things like mailing lists, and websites, and posters... and press releases!" While this is no doubt true, we live in a different world than Miles Davis did and we're not Miles Davis. Throughout this column I've tried to stress how, in this modern age, you can manage the entirety of your career all by yourself. An important aspect of any artist's career is Public Relations. PR ...

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Pt. 7, Touring Logistics

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In my last column, I covered the first step of booking a tour: getting the gigs. And while it's easily the most important part, it's really just the beginning of the road. There are matters including transportation, lodging, gear and PR, amongst others, to still contend with. Logistics isn't the most exciting of topics, especially to an artist. These details might make your eyes glaze over like playing “Giant Steps" in all twelve keys, but if you're managing everything yourself ...

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Pt. 6, Touring: Booking the Gigs

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Booking a tour for your band might be about the most ambitious (and insane) endeavor you will attempt as a musician. To do it requires that you apply many of the skills that I've covered throughout my columns, including booking, networking, PR and use of social media, as well as some I haven't, such as tour management, driving...and psychotherapy. I've booked many tours for my band throughout the US, UK, and Europe, and if you're doing it all ...

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Pt. 5, Digital Drink Coasters?

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In the previous installment of this column, I discussed the undertaking of making a record on your own. In particular, how to fund it and how best to spend those funds. Now it's time to talk about what happens once those boxes of CDs have arrived and are cluttering up your basement... Now what? How do you sell these things or will they just become expensive digital drink coasters? Well this is the eternal question and there's no ...

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Pt. 4, Making Your "Kind of Pepper"

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In this DIY age we find ourselves in an unprecedented situation, where releasing recorded music to the world is available to anyone with a computer and an internet connection. The gatekeepers who have traditionally chosen what the public ought to hear have found a gate that's become really large. That, along with the decline of record sales, means there aren't as many labels in existence and the ones that are rarely take chances on new artists. But, this change in ...

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Pt. 3, Brick Walls And Railroad Tracks

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I wish someone had warned me about the two biggest press kit photo clichés before I perpetrated both. These are either getting your picture in front of a brick wall or next to railroad tracks. They're easily the most overused backdrops in all band press kits and, like every other offender, I believed I looked thoughtful and profound when in fact I looked like a transient waiting for the 5:30 express. I've seen others where a guy is holding his ...

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Pt. 2, Booking 101

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“Hi, [insert club name] my name is [insert your name] and my band is amazing. Please book us on [insert date] and pay us [mucho $$]." If it were only that easy. Throughout the years, I've learned that booking gigs is often as exasperating an endeavor as listening to the Kenny G Christmas album. It requires specific strategies depending on the type of gig you're booking (i.e. club vs. festival vs. private event). Previously, I talked about ...

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Pt. 1, Ashley’s Graduation Party

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Who is B.D. Lenz and why does he get a column in All About Jazz? The answer to the first question is that I'm a jazz guitarist/bandleader based out of the northern New Jersey area. The answer to the second question is because I asked. I've been leading my own band since I graduated from college in 1995 and, during that time, have released ten CDs (six independently) of my original music, have had my songs ...

TAKE FIVE WITH...

Take Five with B.D. Lenz

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About B.D. Lenz: Mix the sophistication of jazz, the grit of blues, and the grooves of funk and soul, and you have the recipe for contempo-jazz guitarist B.D. Lenz. The New Jersey native has played guitar since his early teens, is a graduate of Musicians Institute in Los Angeles, and has studied with such masters as Mike Stern, Vic Juris, and Charlie Banacos along the way. Lenz has released 9 highly-acclaimed recordings as a leader featuring greats such ...