When you get down to it, being polite is pretty key in the music business. You seem to run into people over and over and your reputation precedes you. This is true whenever you spend time around any community, be it music, technology, or even living in the your hometown. Pretty soon you run into a friend-of-a-friend and, then, the fewer numbers of "jerk stories" that the new person has heard about you, the better.
But what is polite? Most of us know the basics of polite society - say please and thank you, keep your commitments, be honest, etc. But I've learned that there's one other cardinal rule, especially when it comes to the music business:
DON'T WASTE PEOPLE'S TIME.
This seems pretty simple doesn't it? Oddly enough, it doesn't seem to be crucial to some people. It means simple things like "Show up on time for rehearsals and performances" and "Be prepared to play well". But it goes further than this... People have a limited amount of time on this planet. As such, they allocate this precious resource by devoting only certain amounts of time for given activities. Usually, the time devoted to musical entertainment is relatively small. If you don't have anything new or entertaining to say musically, you're wasting people's time. If you delay another band's arrival on stage, you're wasting people's time. And this is what happened to This, Not This! last night.
We played a small venue. We were the second of two bands on the bill. We (and our fans) politely waited through two sets of a band that, frankly, was insanely boring. It wasn't that they didn't play well - all of the band members (other than the percussionist/singer) were relatively competent and, at times, the drummer and bassist rose to levels that were actually listenable. But they didn't move and the music, being mostly instrumental, with the same instrumentation, tempo, and rhythm, got boring really, really, really quickly. Think of shoegaze, but in the style of early 1970's Traffic, and without interesting parts or tonal variation - just minute after tedious minute of pentatonic noodling over a ii/iii progression. It was two hours of musical hell (OK, maybe the first fifteen minutes were bearable, but after that, they'd exhausted their entire musical vocabulary and then it turned into hell), but then it was over and This, Not This! was there to save the musical evening! Right?
Wrong... These idiots took about a half hour to tear down. The percussionist, for chrissakes, sat there with a socket wrench and retuned his fucking bongo drums before packing up. We actually started helping them move their stuff offstage after about fifteen minutes of waiting. All the while, these jackasses were discussing how great their performance was, how wonderful it was playing, all while making us and our fans wait. My sincere hope is that these retards get booked to open for some hardcore band sometime and get their shit physically tossed off the stage and broken for delaying things. And after all of that, they didn't even repay the courtesy of listening to us - they cut out after about ten minutes of our first set. Really great guys.
Luckily, they gave themselves a name that made them easy to remember. And, here's a hint for everyone... Don't give your band a name that a critic can write a one-line put-down to kick off a scathing review. You know, sort of like if a punk band named themselves "The Sucks". The reviewer can say, "They certainly did..." and that's too good a line to pass up, even if your band is pretty good. And, speaking of your name, band last night, my critique would be "You certainly were." In addition, you wasted two-and-a-half hours of my life, you seem to be inconsiderate assholes, I hope your musical careers in this town are short, and, if I'm ever asked about you, I intend to let people know how much you suck.