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Visual appearance........how important is it it?

Discussion in 'Studio Lounge' started by HiString, Mar 31, 2003.

  1. HiString

    HiString Guest

    Also posted on a different BBS, but you get that :D

    OK, this may seem a bit harsh but in todays industry climate, marketing (selling) an image seems more important than selling the music.

    That being the case, how important is it for a band and it's members to be critical of their own appearance.........including, style of clothing, tidyness, their own physical condition, etc., etc.

    Is a band limiting their chances of getting a deal, if for example they have a bass player who looks more like Demis Roussos, (think of an overweight Greek waiter ), rather than everyone looking as though they are candidates for the next "boy band".

    Comments anyone?

  2. AzureCrystal

    AzureCrystal Active Member

    If your music is compelling, NO. Just look at the Dave Matthews band, he is nothing to look at, but his music reels them in. Same with Santana(he is around 55), no one there looks like Sting either.... But if you are going for Top 40 Pop, then YES.
  3. TheSoundman

    TheSoundman Active Member

    Bachman- Turner Overdrive is certainly not in the "boy band" category. I don't even think they were remarkably talented musicians.

    But I will say this- they were accomplished and professional musicians. And some of the nicest guys I ever worked with on a live show. They did write a couple of pretty catchy tunes, too.

    I think some attention to personal appearance is in order. Even if you don't look like a young male model, it doesn't mean you can't own one or two nice stage outfits, or exercise reasonable personal grooming. On the other hand, a band called "The Naked Teenage Female Supermodels" would probably be more popular live than on the radio....
  4. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    I think it's all about how you look on the TeeVee. If Dave Mathews was a fat slob, or if Santana didn't hear a hat and if he wasn't already established they wouldn't be getting the push that they get from the record companies. BTO were popular in the day of the radio star.. those days are long past. BTO would probably not make it these days. It's all about image if only because the record companies won't promote you if you’re not good looking. They perceive it as too much of a liability. .... Kurt
  5. AzureCrystal

    AzureCrystal Active Member

    Singer from Jamiroqai, Luther Vandross(before he lost weight), singer harmonica player from "Blues Traveler"; Can't be fatter or plain, very popular blues band, Steve Ray Vaughn was nothing to look at either, hey, PHIL COLLINS !! Not one of those guys are pretty faces.... Enuff said, I still maintain that with great music and incredible performing, you get the stage pass anyway..... Yes, the record companies do have their bread and butter acts like Brittney and N'sync, but they also have musical geniuses on their roster which they can afford to retain while they fill their pockets off the pretty faces...
  6. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    I just have to disagree, almost all of those acts mentioned are from like 15 years ago! I don't think they would get anywhere today. Phil Collins was in Genesis and wasn't old and bald when his carrier started.. Stevie Ray was waaaay before video was so important, same with Luther ..... Jamiroqai I can't speak to, as I am unfamiliar with that one... Name just one successful breaking act that is fat, ugly, old ??? I am fat and old :D and I don't want to see fat, old or ugly on the Tee Vee. There may be an ocassional exception but it is far and few between ..... Kurt
  7. eskimo

    eskimo Guest

    "Name just one successful breaking act that is fat, ugly, old"

    The Dixie Chicks?
  8. HiString

    HiString Guest

    Yeah, but they have titties..........and they are female titties, not man-titties :D .

    Guys, your comments are all appreciated, and each in it's own way is valid.

    Kurt, I think you have nailed it when you referred to the TV/Radio thing. And I tend to agree with you.

    The reason for my question is simple...........take a band (actually my son's), guys are or have been to date all of acceptable appearance,.....ages around 19 to 22yrs,.....style of music can be likened to Matchbox 20 or Vertical Horizon,.....the singer/songwriter can REALLY sing and write,.....at a meeting with one of the leading industry lawyers in the country, the legal eagle thought enough to offer to shop the majors for the guys.

    The problem is that while my son and the singer wanted to increase rehearsals to at least 2 per week and start looking for "quality" gigs on weekends, the drummer and bass player didn't want to commit......both are too reliant on the income from covers bands they play in. They are now being replaced, and a bass player has been found who isn't too bad at all, but his appearance pretty well matches my earlier description.......he honestly just doesn't "look" right. So here I am.........trying to figure out whether appearance or lack thereoff is important or a possible liability.


  9. GravityJim

    GravityJim Active Member

    John Popper is a great example, because he is the most unattractive dude to front a hit band in a long while, and because he summed it up: "The hook brings you back."

    Styles change, haircuts change, production techniques change, but the hit record bidness is still about catchy songs. Not a lot of reach from Stephen Foster to Diane Warren in my book... send 'em home humming. Would anyone have heard the Beatles if Epstein hadn't cleaned them up, got them to stop throwing punches and eating lunch on stage, made sure their suits matched? I seriously doubt that four guys in Rocker leathers would have torn down the Sullivan Show like that.

    Great, hooky, catchy songs and a look that says "I'm just one step ahead of the curve," and you're there, whatever the time. Then all you need is a massive infusion of luck and a self-promoting attitude that knows no boundaries.
  10. Alécio Costa - Brazil

    Alécio Costa - Brazil Well-Known Member

    Hey Kurt, you are being to hard with you. Just cut some pizza and things will be fine. ALso, what about some Les Mils Body combat aerobics?

    After 30 you start growing to the sidewalls only!lol

    what about Mamas and Papas? Rusk? Van Halen?Rolling stones?

    I wouldn´t want to be a Rick Martin clone also.
  11. Beau Landry

    Beau Landry Guest

    I think Kurt is pretty dead-on on this one. These times are strange. Have you heard that quote "In lew of creativity, there is an undo emphasis on sexuality" ? I think that's what is going on these day's. Even most of the independant music sucks (if you ask me) and the worse it gets, the better looking the "talent" becomes. It's hand in hand. It will change though. It seems like these waves have been happening all through the history of popular music, right?
    "Ugly" and talented, Beau Landry
  12. producerman1

    producerman1 Guest

    Hey Everyone,

    Nice topic... perhaps if R.O. gets to launch an independent label they can be one of the first labels to break the "Brittney" model. Now I am not saying that all labels operate the same way regarding looks. For instance many of the alternative rock bands that have that "Doom and Gloom" feel to them are far from modelesque. Although they do have an image. It seems you have to be extremely beautiful and sexy or extremely (how can I say this) tatooed and beligerant to get a break these days.

    Since I was 17 I have had many people tell me (because of my playing) "You should be in L.A. or New York". So I went to these places and let me tell you... Unless you have the apperance of a skinny heroine addict or you look like you are going to kill your parents or are pretty enough that both men and women want you, then you are in for a big let down.

    It surprises me though when I go to shows like Steve Morse, Yes and the like, how many people actually show up because of the musicianship. Not because their names were plastered all over MTV or because they were having sex with a dog in a video, but because they are "True Players". It seems those days of "recognizing" musicianship are long gone, and thats a shame. Now I am not claiming to be God's gift to the music world but I have a few chops and I would hope I put them to good use when needed.

    Well thats enough of what seems to have turned out into a rant. I will just keep on playing and writing in the same melodic fashion and hope for the best before I have to trade in my guitar for an oxygen tank and wheelchair.

    Best of luck to all in attaining you dreams.


    ( o}===;;;
  13. Divo

    Divo Member

    I was working with a vocal Quartet in Australia, and at one stage we managed to get ourselves signed to a reasonably large label by Ausie standards. Unfortunately it all went belly up when two of the members didn't reach "optimum physical condition" in time for a promo tour and pre press shoots. I think you will find that most contracts will have the 20 Kg clause written in somewhere. For Guys, you don't have to be a complete sex god, as long as you can photograph ok. and are not distastefull. For Chicks it's a totally different story, if they have any Fug value then they don't stand a chance regardless how good they are. Thats what it's like over here anyway..
  14. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    If I were running a record label, looks would certainly be a consideration in my decision making process. 60% of the brain is dedicated to visual, and it would be simply a case of "sticking your head in the sand" to ignore that. Television plays an important part in promoting a record these days and hell, even if you go back to the 50's and look at the comparison of Elvis and Roy Orbison. Many would say that Roy Orbison's talent exceeded Elvis' being that Orbison could technically sing better, was a far better musician and wrote his own music. But look who became the bigger star. Looks play a part in everything in our society. Pretty girls are more likely to graduate high school, attractive people do much better in the business and job markets. This phenomenon extends far beyond the music business. Kurt
  15. HiString

    HiString Guest


    Where in Aust., are you based?

    It is interesting to look back at photos of bands/artists from the 60's onwards. I did this as a result of the comments in this thread...........I dragged out all my old sheet music (started buying that in '62), as well as album covers. It would almost appear that as long as people were physically "acceptable", within photographic or marketing standards, then the visual image wasn't going to be a huge issue...........however, one thing that did stand out was that there was almost always, at least one person in a band who had "that something" that made them attract your attention, or the way a band was photographed gave them an edge as far as visual presentation is concerned. They NEVER looked like guys that had walked in off the street. It's an indefinable "something" that can vary from person to person, BUT it IS necessary if a band is going to be marketable.

  16. Divo

    Divo Member

    I'm in Brisbane Dude... Howboutchu?
  17. HiString

    HiString Guest

    Newcastle, in the beautiful Hunter Valley..........home of Australia's finest wines.

  18. UncleBob58

    UncleBob58 Active Member

    Wazzup People!

    I agree that todays performers/bands either have to be "pretty" or have a definite image. That being said, I don't know if any of you have ever watched FOX's American Idol. One of the guys still making the grade week after week is Rueben, who without doubt could lose a few pounds. (I don't really watch it myself, but my 11 year old daughter is hooked on the show.) He may be big, but he has that "teddy bear" quality. What about Marilyn Manson? The MoFo is so ugly he had to cover it up with that outrageous image. In the post-MTV era the key I guess, to take a negative and turn it into an asset or just cover it up. God knows even in my prime I would barely have qualified by todays standards.

  19. kaverinator

    kaverinator Guest

    I would like to add some of the female logic (no comments please) on this issue. :) Whatever works. All of these people have a definite image that they stick by.
  20. HiString

    HiString Guest

    Laura (I may call you Laura? :D ), and one point that came out of that discussion was that it is always possible to turn a negative into a positive............similar to your "cute boy with personality/stud with attitude" thang.

    If, as in the present case, the bass player is rather "solidly built" without the height to match to put it politely, ......aahh damn it.........he's built like a brick $*^t house :D , one option is to get him to almost flaunt it, to take an aggresive approach to his whole "on stage/live" image............kind of like saying visually to an audience....."I'm THE bass player......if you don't like it, well tough!!!" Whether he has the confidence to do this is another matter though.

    Time will tell.

    BTW, welcome to RO.


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