Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Tricks to getting backstage!

As I mentioned briefly in my posting about Tina Turner, I used to have a real talent for getting backstage and meeting famous people. And I'm not talking about the time that I worked at MTV, but way before I was part of 'the business'.
So, what's the trick to getting backstage? Well, you have to see it as a sort of game or as a military operation. Wander around at the back of the club or venue & try to figure out who 'the players' are. Pretend not to be too bothered about about what's happening on stage. Instead, just look at who's doing the sound, who's doing the lights & who seems to be having a say in what's happening on stage. When any of these people go over to the bar, start up a conversation with them. Not about the band, but something along the lines of 'So you guys got it all figured out then? Looked like you were having some problems earlier' or 'My God, it must be hot working with those lights, I'm miles away from them & I can feel how hot they are' or even a simple 'got a light?' (if you're a smoker) or 'know what time it is?'

Just try and start a conversation. Whatever you do though...don't act desperate! Pretend that you couldn't care less about everything that's going on. Be cool.

Once you've chatted a bit, move on and come back to that person a little later (again, part of the whole act of being slightly disinterested). When you approach that person again, act cool but familiar with them. You can (again) ask for a light, check if you can just leave your bag up where they are or ask for a pen, scribble something on a beer mat and pass it back (something funny works best)
At the end of the gig you should check what the plan is for afterwards with that person: 'Are you guys going anywhere afterwards? There is a good party on tonight' (of course, it helps if you know the owner/bouncers of the club and can phone through a guest list). Also check casually if the band may want to come along.

If the person doesn't respond to that though, try another trick of mine. Ask if you can use the toilets backstage as the ones out here 'are disgusting'.

By now, the person should have already invited you to come and meet the band (they usually love the fact that they can do this and impress). If it hasn't happened yet, say that your friend/sister (who ever you are with) is a big fan and would love to meet the band, could he please sort that out? Or, if you are alone, say that you got tonight's ticket from a friend who is the real fan but who's sick and couldn't come & then ask if you can take a picture for her of the band.

Enough tips for you?

Of course, this all works better if you're a woman. But I am a woman, so I can only tell you what's worked for me in the past. Also, in the whole process of this, try to meet more than one of 'the players/crew' there. You always need a back-up plan or plan B, just in case person 1 is not the most helpful. Oh, and as soon as you know the person's name, use it. Say 'Steve, can you pass me that?' or 'John, can I leave my bag here for a minute?' It is all about acting familiar with people, without it looking like you are trying too hard.

Anyway, good luck. Enjoy the game and send me some cool pictures once you've met the act you wanted to meet.

In my next post I'll share some of my own funny experiences of 'meeting the bands'.

Oh and by the way, there never is any need to do anything as desperate as this...licking someones staff/backstage pass ; )