The author that wrote the article was originally assigned the task of reviewing some highly successful local bands that play in LA, Nashville, or New York. He was to find one that meets the editor's requirements of specializing in private parties (weddings, corporate events, etc.) rather than being a touring band for a famous artist. The author looked at those bands and then proposed to the magazine that they consider a band from other cities since that might be more applicable to the majority of readers of the magazine that don't live in one of the major music cities. The editor agreed with the idea so several other bands were reviewed and Spectrum Band was ultimately selected for the article. Scroll down to read some excerpts from the article:

Written by Matt North and reprinted by permission of Modern Drummer Publications

"How many drummers enjoyed two paid gigs a week over the last decade with bookings extending a year in advance? How many of us, if we chose to, could comfortably leave our day jobs to play full-time? And how many achieved this without getting on a bus or sleeping in a hotel? I know several drummers who want more recognition for this hard-earned skill, but I know fewer who know where to begin after leaving the practice room. This knowledge—an ability to bridge great ideas into realistic experiences—is what sets St. Louis drummer/bandleader Tim Callihan apart."

MD: "In 1991, Tim began turning a local career into a thriving business that’s as dynamic as those of players we admire on the national scene. What's intriguing is not that Tim has been the backbeat behind Chuck Berry's Johnnie Johnson and former Ikette Jackie Staton, or that bassist Tom Kennedy worked regularly for his band between tours with Dave Weckl. Rather, Tim pursues his other passion by day as an aeronautical engineer for Boeing Aircraft. In other words, this guy knows how to put things together that fly."

MD: "Is there anything you do as a leader to maintain relationships?"

Tim: "For every hour enjoyed on stage, there’s easily another ten hours taking care of business so musicians can get to the stage. I do the work behind the scenes so that all the band members need to do is show up. I even provide full disclosure of payments so there's no mistaken sense of an imbalance for compensation. For example, players earn extra for creating song lists, moving equipment, acting as emcee, etc. The big thing is to keep everyone musically challenged and let them contribute their ideas for songs, arrangements...most anything. There has to be a rotation of material so the band doesn't go numb. You can't please an audience if the musicians on stage aren’t having fun."

MD: "What happens between when a client calls and the day of the gig?"

Tim: "I send back a full list of costs so they can decide if we’re in their budget. Keep in mind, I’m not pursuing forty-dollar bar gigs and that is simply because we prefer to be more exclusive. My clients are music lovers who want the best players they can get for a great event. Those circles are where we direct our energy. Everything a client needs to know is on our web site [www.spectrumband.net] except our rates, and I do that as incentive for them to contact us so we can begin a dialog. It’s a people business—no one hires an upper echelon band until trust is earned. If they want to hire us, I send a contract that requires a $500 deposit. After experiencing cancellations that were too last minute to replace with other work, I’ve realized that deposits are important.

An initial worry was that contracts and deposits would scare clients off, but the opposite happened. Clients value us more and feel more secure, since both parties get a legal commitment. It also attracts the right clients; those who balk at deposits will probably balk at the cost of nine musicians for four hours. It's a good filter.

Embrace Competitors (Even If They Don’t Embrace You)

MD: "You transitioned your engineering talents into building quite an impressive home recording studio in your basement. Tell me about that and how it's even attracted competing bands."

Tim: "It's called Chesterfield Sound. It has an analog 24-channel board, a drum booth, too many microphones to list, and a tracking room with headphone stations for up to eight musicians. It's our rehearsal space too, so the band just walks in and plugs in. We're constantly tracking new demos without studio fees —- not that it was built for free, but you know what I mean. I don't advertise, I just keep it as my little hidden gem. Word of mouth grew and other bands started hiring me to engineer their demos."

MD: "So other local bands book your studio to record demos that are ultimately used to compete with your band for work?"

Tim: "I never thought of it that way, but yes. I have no problem with that. St. Louis has a strong support system among musicians. If I can't take a gig, I'm fine referring it to a “competitor” for lack of a better word. Others have certainly done that for us, and we always reciprocate if we can. If there is any competition among bands here, it's the good kind that increases quality for the whole market."


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