How to Make a Band Work
Bluegrass Now, April 2002
by Brian Kimsey
The fourth edition of Pete Wernick’s excellent book, How to Make a Band Work, fell into my hands the other day and all I can say is, “Wow, what a book!” In 141 pages, Wernick paints the “The Big Picture” regarding booking gigs, promotional material, contracts, transportation, what to expect at the gig, doing your show, personal relationships, working the stage, amplifiers, microphones, etc., etc., etc. There is a wealth of good information here and it’s all based on Wernick’s actual experience in working with Hot Rize and beyond.
Now, you might be thinking, “But I don’t have a band and I don’t want to be a professional.” It doesn’t matter, this book works on at least three different levels. First, for anyone with professional aspirations, this book is an absolute must as you’ll save yourself a lot of time, money, and heartbreak if you just read and consider Wernick’s shared experience.
On another level, if you are the type of bluegrass fan who enjoys a behind the scenes look at “how things are done,” Wernick’s book provides excellent insight into what it takes to be a professional musician. You’ll get a rare glimpse into just how much work goes into getting a band on stage, which will then give you a greater appreciation of the artists you are watching perform.
Finally, Wernick’s book provides some interesting insights into Hot Rize history. We learn, for instance, the truth behind Red Knuckles and the Trailblazers, and the reader gains awareness of the personal interactions that took place between the various band members. It’s all great reading and I absorbed the book like a dry sponge in a rainstorm.
My conclusion is simple: I think you should get this book. You’ll enjoy it, you’ll learn a great deal and you’ll either be inspired or properly discouraged from taking your band on the road. (Mel Bay Publications, Inc.)
“Get this book! A gold mine of information.”
“A wonderful piece of work! It is organized, informative, enlightening.”
Barry Poss, Sugar Hill Records
“A great idea, extremely well done.”
Ken Irwin, Rounder Records
” An excellent guidebook that can’t fail to be of interest and help.”