Everyone knows the key to rock stardom is getting some megalomaniacal, socially inept music writer to declare your band "totally awesome" in print.
But how do you secure the attention of the elusive cultural elite? Blow jobs? Blow? Bacardi? While all three of those time-honored options are surefire four-star review producers, you'll need additional ammo. Before you break out the kneepads, contact your coke dealer or hit the boozer, make sure you've sent your local music journos a press kit. Ship this sucker to the ink-stained scumbags at least two weeks before your show, and make sure you include:
1) A copy of your music on CD Record players and tape decks around newspaper offices are as rare as vegetarians at Ruth's Chris. Yes, you have links to your website, where Mr. Writerboy can download your songs. Be proud: That's a great use of techno savvy. But a busy music writer who has to churn out 20 write-ups in two hours isn't going to have time or energy to go to your site and pray that his Real Audio is unclogged. Send the CD.
2) An evocative black-and-white photo. The more inspiring, the better. If you have a picture showing band members staring soulfully into the middle distance, standing in an "edgy" urban environment...yeah, send that one. Yes, you can email them as JPEGs or PDFs, but know there's always a chance of technical difficulty that could knock your chance of a photo in the listings out of the running.
3) A press release carefully inscribed with who, what, where, when and how. Don't be daft: Make sure your release contains all the facts about your band and the upcoming show. And don't forget to put a contact number so the writer can get in touch with you. Who knows--Miss Sassytrousers may want to make you this week's centerfold bunny.
After sending off a press packet, you should:
1) Call the editor or send an email as follow-up. Just don't expect a response. Music editors are faced with a tsunami of phone calls every day from slimy publicists, usually in New York or L.A. Trust that if an editor needs to contact you, she will.
2) Invite the writer to the show. Just don't hound her or expect her to show up--a gentle offering of admittance is just enough to show you care.
3) See blow jobs, blow and Bacardi, above.