12 (String) Gauge Shredder

May 20, 2008

Dear Dude,

I’ve been playing guitar for 5 years now and I love thrash, death, speed, and black metal! My band plays in drop C tuning just like yours and I have been trying to find out what string gauge is best for that tuning? Does it even matter? I just buy whatever size is cheapest right now. It would be really awesome if you could answer this question I have always wanted to ask a touring guitarist.

Thanks,
12 (String) Gauge Shredder!

Dear 12 (String) Gauge Shredder,

Finding the right string gauge for me started the day I picked up my first guitar. I will never forget the strings were dirty feeling and seemed so tight I couldn’t imagine being able to move them the way I had seen Angus Young and other sick guitarists move theirs. String gauge can affect the way a guitar plays and feels in a big way. If I picked up a guitar that has some light 09 – 44 strings on it, I can’t keep it in tune. And if you cant keep a guitar in tune it doesn’t matter how fast or sick you can shred cause it will pretty much always sound like shit. So what’s the right gauge for Drop C.? I don’t think the answer is that cut and dry but I can tell you one metal heads journey.

The first guitar I played actually had something like 09 – 46 gauge strings on it. It never stayed in tune and played pretty terrible (although I also had a lot to do that). When I finally got good enough to even know what the hell string gauges were I bought my first pack, Ernie Ball 10 – 46. I went heavier because I could already tell the thinner strings sounded thinner and didn’t have as much balls as the heavier, thicker ones. Later as my playing progressed and as I experimented with other strings and sizes I came to love the Ernie Ball Light Top Heavy Bottoms (10 – 52). I had been playing in drop C for a few years before they came out with these and it changed my life. Before them I had to buy individual strings to get sets that had thicker bottom strings and thinner high ones. I like the thick bottom end but wanted to be able to push around the thinner strings real easy.

A few years later I stumbled onto the idea of using a wound G (or in our case F) string. It’s a bitch to solo on but it really does make the guitar stay in tune better. The wound string adds more tension and allows the guitar to hold the tuning just slightly better. Recently the dudes in Senses Fail turned me onto Ernie Ball 11 – 54 Beefy Slinky strings. It actually says “Optimal for Detuning” right on the pack now! These are the strings to use if you want your guitar to hold that tuning in drop C. They’re not that glamorous and it takes some work to move that old wound F string around but like I said it will sound golden.

Now there are many, many other brands of string makers than Ernie Ball. I have also used and love: Blue Steel Strings, Di’addario Strings, and SIT Strings to mention a few. At one point you will get a chance to use them all. I suggest you bring a good amount on tour if you go. You don’t want to end up in some random ass town and realize you’re out of strings and have to play with some mismatch of sizes. Right now, live, I’m actually using SIT strings. They play the same way to me as the Ernie Ball’s but I find they have a bit nicer tone. Another interesting thing is that live I don’t use the .11 – .54 strings like I suggested. I actually use .10 – .52’s I don’t like the way a guitar plays with a wound F string, so live I still use the standard three wound, three regular set.

There you have it my advice and then a whole paragraph about how I don’t even follow it! Why? Because in the end its about two things: environment and feel. If I’m in the studio tracking some rhythm guitars I will probably use 11 – 54 gauge strings with the old wound F string. If I’m tracking some leads or solos I will use the same gauge set as I do live (.10 –52’s) with no wound F string. As with most things involving the guitar a lot of these choices come down to personal preference. Just take it from a dude, try them all, once you find that gauge that feels good under your hands you’ll know it.

The Dude

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Dudes Gone Wild!

May 19, 2008

Dear Dude,

I have been rocking in an established band for many years now, and our singer has caught the dreaded L.S.D (Lead Singer Disease, aka: he has gone crazy). Now, I know rocking and partying go hand in hand, but this guy seems to be taking it to the limit. Quite frankly, his spiraling out of control is bringing myself and other members of the band down. So, what is a fellow dude to do? Do I kick a little ass or do we sit him down and try talking and tell him that he seems to be going through a mid life crisis?

Thanks,
Dudes Gone Wild!

Dear Dudes Gone Wild,

Lead singers, dude, they are their own beast! But coming down with a case of the old overactive partier syndrome, well that can happen to any member. We have all seen the VH1 Behind the Music rock star cliche stories of alcohol, drug abuse, and self-destruction. It’s such an old story most people ignore, or almost, expect it. Why is this so cliche? Because, it happens a lot and it’s often times the true story. Most good musicians have a certain kind of compulsive personality that can easily turn into addiction. Not only are we compulsive by nature we are also around a lot of free booze, and well…lets just say partying. So, what’s the right move for dealing with an overactive partier in your band?

The first thing you have to do is search yourself to make sure you’re aware of all your feelings. Are you straight edge, or do you not drink? I was the sole straight edge member of my band for almost 12 years and let me tell you, it does really suck. If you’re not straight edge but you just don’t drink it’s going to be pretty much the same for you. Basically, It’s going to be lame when dudes are partying. You have to remember drinking socially can be done healthily. It is possible to only have a few drinks every once in a while, it is possible to go on tour and get rip roaring drunk a few times and still come home a relatively healthy person, shit it is even possible to have an amazing time as the only sober person in a room. It’s not all sober extremists and drunken Axl Roses,  there can be a middle ground.

Maybe, you do party and still have a problem with the level that other band members party. I would say you too have to do a little soul searching. One thing I have noticed from being around functioning alcoholics in bands (and almost every band I meet has at least one) is that they like to judge. Not to mention people with substance abuse problems sometimes like to make claims they know will hurt other people in order to misplace blame, or deal with other internal issues they may be having. It might be a hard look but you have to remember you need to make sure you have thought how your views may impair the judgment of your peers. My point is you need to make sure the judgment of your friend is coming from a place of compassion and genuine concern. Otherwise there may be some subconscious motive you may be missing.

Also, remember when anyone first starts partying they will go through a ‘honeymoon’ stage. They tend to be more social about it and will probably do everything in excess. Hopefully, after being hung over in front a whole lot of people at a show, or just being physically wrecked on tour a few times from drinking, your dude will hit his stride and mellow out. Some people (especially dudes in bands) don’t get to go through that phase of partying that most others go through in college. Lets be clear, do not use this paragraph as an excuse for inaction, use it merely to gain perspective. If you think that none of the last three paragraphs apply to your situation, then please, start communicating with him!

That’s right, after all your band members really should be your brothers and sisters. Vince Neil once said that a band isn’t really a band unless it acts like a gang and a family. I actually fully agree with him. I think if your singer is a person you have been in a band with for a while, is someone you genuinely care about as a person, and care about making music with in the future, you should express your concerns to this person and put it all out on the table. See, bands think in collective consciousness so you want to make sure your band (i.e. family) members know that abusive and aggressive self destructive behaviors are not condoned by the overall group.

At first I would try a simple short conversation. I suggest you do it alone just you and the band member in question. It’s best not to make a scene and you don’t want the member to feel like everyone is ganging up on him or her. Make sure you keep the conversation positive. Its good to start by telling the person you care about them and their friendship. You just want to put it out on the table that the partying concerns you a little and you want to make sure that the members health isn’t being neglected. Your band member may get pissed, may react angrily but people don’t like to be judged even if they are doing something wrong. Remember your friend has a right to make his or her own life choices but that doesn’t give them the right to be self-destructive. You need to acknowledge that you respect your friend’s decision but you want to put it on his or her radar that you are concerned. Friendship is a give and take, so you need to be willing to give your friend the respect to let him or her make their own decisions and they need to be willing to respect you by giving your concerns an honest ear. Try to end the conversation on something positive and leave it open to be discussed later.

This is a hard position to be in. You don’t want to make it a big deal if it isn’t, you don’t want to turn you band into a mess of personal problems, and if your not a partier you don’t want to open up the whole “I party, you don’t” argument. It’s all about intentions, keep them honest and sincere. Its probably not going to be a fun conversation but it will get the ball rolling. So look inside yourself and take a hard look at the situation from all angles. Decide whether now is the time to act and if so start a dialog. It is by opening the lines of communication you can fight dissent amongst your band members, quell any inner tensions, and most of all do the right thing as a friend.

The Dude


Stay at Home Face Melter

May 14, 2008

Dear Dude,

First off, at 28 years old, I’ve been following DH since you played about 8 years ago in an old church basement in Cincinnati so, naturally I’m a big fan. I’m in a unique situation, similar to yours. I have my Masters degree in Counseling, and a Bach’s degree in Social Work. I work now getting kids who are addicted to drugs off of them, and I love my job. I’ve been playing metal since I was 13 and my band, if I may say, melts faces. But we’ve all made a choice to play as a hobby. We love our families and our jobs here at home. But one question that keeps coming up is: Is there any way to have your music distributed on a national level (by a label or otherwise) without national touring? We just would all really love to go to Best Buy and be like “Hey, that band, Pterodactyl Battle, yeah that’s us. You can buy that here”. So, if in your spectrum of amazingness, possibly from a bubble bath, you can offer some good advice outside of giving up (heard that one), then your spectrum of awesomeness could only increase. Thanks so much (for your music and help)

Thanks,

Stay at Home Face Melter

Dear Stay at Home Face Melter,

Being in a band at home is actually harder then most people think. I have a bunch of friends who are in bands but also have other “careers.” It’s funny because when I was a kid I just thought it was all or nothing, like rock star or bust! You were either in a touring band or your band didn’t matter. Now that I have been slugging it out for this long I can tell you there are many ways of rocking in life, not just the full tilt rock star touring action. So you’re not in a touring band but you want to get your music distributed on a national level with out touring. Can it be done and if so how?

Lets get something out of the way first. Getting your CD in Bestbuy is probably not going to happen if you’re not touring. Also getting signed to a bigger independent record label is also probably not going to happen. I say ‘probably’ because you may be able to prove all of the above wrong by doing one thing: being an amazing, amazing band. Now that’s going to be really, really hard so I would think realistically. The truth is neither of these things needs to be part of your ultimate goal anyway. What I am saying is that you already have a way for your music to be distributed internationally and at very little cost to you. You already have a way to sell your product to the world without a record label OR best buy. You already have… the Internet.

First you need to record your music well. Its going to be self financed at first so play shows, do a car wash, play more shows, work a normal job whatever you need to do to get some cash. If you have a career and other band members do too, then its up to all of you to pool your money for a recording. Remember its like a tattoo, you will have it forever so be willing to spend a little bit more money and time on it then you first thought you should.

Take that recording and put it up on itunes, your website, Myspace, Pure Volume, Sound Exchange or any other website that sells MP3’s. I did that with my own band, Man and Wasp. We recorded the songs ourselves and released it on the Internet ourselves. Now we have a band that never tours, never plays, but has a record available for purchase anywhere in the world over the internet. It allows us to just keep writing songs and not have to think about the pressures of touring in a band.

If you want an actual product, well then, you can very simply start an online store. Bands of your size can get CD’s pressed themselves at places like Furnace CD. It’s actually run by the man who signed darkest hour to their first record deal. You can order say 1000 CDs and then set up a site to sell them through. It may mean doing a little more work yourself and fronting a bit more money but it will mean that you will have an internationally distributed record without having any pressure to tour what so ever.

All you have to do from here on out is promote the site. Play shows, pass out fliers, you can even “cyber” tour (you know just add friends to your myspace and promote your band via the internet). Especially if your career happens to be a boring desk job. Believe it or not you could use that cubical time to do some real “tour” work on the computer.

There is really only one reason for a record label to sign a band that is not going to tour all the time. And that’s out of pure love for that band. How many record labels in 2008 are making that decision? Lets just answer not enough. So fuck it, there is also no reason to sign to a record label if your not going to be touring or doing it full time. You don’t need them. You can do everything yourself, on your terms, and on your time line. That’s what the future of music on the Internet is really, at least I believe. Soon we will all be able to create music and distribute it ourselves straight from artist to listener.

The Dude


Drummer Bummer

May 13, 2008

Dear Dude,

I play bass in a metal band. We are just starting to get serious and want to do more things, such as play shows, make a demo, etc, etc. The thing is, our drummer is not exactly the most talented drummer ever. It is quite hard to write new stuff with him, and he does not know our songs very well yet. Should we stick with him and hope he improves?? Or move on to a new drummer?

Thanks,
Drummer Bummer

Dear Drummer Bummer,

As bands grow they often have to go through some major changes, especially in the beginning. Every band I have been in has had at least one line-up change before it got solid; it’s just the nature of being in a band. Regardless, it’s often a difficult, traumatic, and basically, the shittiest situation you can be in as a band member. It’s difficult to ask a band member to leave when there’s a personal dispute, but it’s even more difficult to ask someone to leave because of their ability. So, before you pull the plug think over a few things.

How bad is he really? I mean you have to live with the people in your band. Travel together, eat together, and sleep together. You’re basically going to be married for a short time to all these dudes (or dudettes) in your band. With that in mind if your current drummer is your tight bro take that into consideration. I mean if he’s cool, chances are you can probably (and tactfully) bring up the situation with him. You can tell him you want to play shows, record a demo and that means practicing a lot more! If he’s into it and you think he can actually get better, well then your boy deserves more time. A few hours of shredding in the practice space to get him up to speed is well worth it. To be blunt, you’re going to have to live, eat, breath, sleep, shit, with these dudes, so if he feels like family make an effort to keep him in the band and start practicing with him a lot more.

Ok, so you thought about it and well, you still think he’s not the right fit for the band. My advice then? Absolutely ask him to leave. I mean if you’re serious about doing this band and he is not willing to work, or just can’t keep up with you, then my advice is move on pronto. You need to be musically satisfied in a band too and if he is not going to cut it, it’s much better to move on now than later. I have seen bands hire a session drummer to play parts their own drummer can’t and it usually always results in the original drummer quiting the band. Its ugly, but dude, you don’t want to have to mess with this problem farther down the road. When money is on the line shit gets way more stupid, believe me.

The reality is being in a band with a good friend who has worked hard to get to his or her talent level is always more rewarding and fun then being in a band with a hired gun (you know someone you don’t know that well who jumps from band to band riffing). So stick with your man if you think he or she has got what it takes. Those hours of practicing will make you a better band anyway. Just remember if after that (or during) you feel it’s just not right and can’t get better well then go with that instinct. There just so little time, why waste it making sub-par music?

The Dude


Sweep’n Maniac!

May 12, 2008

Dear Dude,

I have been working on my sweep picking for a long time now. What pick gauge thickness is better for sweep picking? 3.0 or 1.0?

Thanks

Sweep’n Maniac!

Dear Sweep’n Maniac,

Sweep picking is the new black, but if your not just running up and down the neck as fast you can (and actually doing something musical), it can be a really cool and useful technique. Many people don’t realize how much pick density, hardness, and size can affect your playing. So, to answer this question I just had to ask a few shredders I know.

First things first, I use the Jim Dunlop 1.14 (although mine are provided by In Tune guitar picks) If you’re not into numbers it’s the dark purple pick Dunlop makes. I have used this hardness pretty much since 1996 and really cannot play with any other gauge. I would rather play live with a penny as a pick than use a thin pick. I just don’t get the control I want, I just can’t rock with a limp pick.

But, don’t just take my word for it. One quick phone call to my main man, (and co-guitarist of Darkest Hour) Kris “Weenie” Norris, reveals a slightly different outlook. Surprisingly, Kris uses a very thin .66 gauge pick. To a dude like me that feels like a piece of paper, but believe it or not I have seen Kris melt some frets with that little flimsy thing. However, Kris still suggests a heavy pick for sweeping even though he uses such a thin gauge. He attributes his wrist problems and chronic pain to his decisions to go against his own advice and still use a thin pick.

Kris and I agree that the harder the pick the better the control, even though we both actually use two different gauges. To settle this I had to call the only other dude I knew who could put this question to rest. And that’s no other then Mr. Devin “Fucking” Townsend. Now if you don’t know who Devin is, well he’s a sick ass producer, shredder extraordinaire, and (even Kris would agree) a badass motherfucker on the guitar. Devin’s advice is to go the middle road. Too thin and you don’t have enough control. Too thick and there’s not enough give. He suggests the Dunlop Green .88 picks. He likes the real big kind, not the old standard size picks. Dunlop calls it the “triangle pick.” Now I tried to jam with this pick once but it felt to me like I was playing with the top of plastic coffee lid.

Now, even though we all actually use different gauges, we still agree on two main points. One, the harder the gauge pick the better the control. Two, don’t use too hard of a pick gauge or the pick will have no “give.” If you’re not sure where to start, go with the standard size Green .88 picks. It’s a good middle road. Now you can play around with hardness after you get used to that (If you want more give go a bit thinner, if you want more control go harder). My personal feeling is stay away from anything harder then 2.0 unless you really feel it. In the end you need to feel what’s right for your playing and try every size and thickness. Once you feel the pick that’s the right thickness, you’ll know it right away. It just will feel, right

The Dude


Demo Shop’n

May 9, 2008

Dear Dude,

My band is currently circulating a four-song demo, but I haven’t sent it out to any record labels yet because it sounds like what it is: a demo recorded for a few hundred bucks. We want to show labels that we have our shit together as a group, and I think having awesome gear and a really nice-sounding demo would help prove that. We’re saving up money to buy better gear and make a crisper recording, but how much does production quality matter when shipping out demos? What do we need to show labels in order to prove that we do, in fact, have our shit together and are ready to make this band our careers?

Thanks,

Demo Shop’n

Dear Demo Shop’n,

Getting a band signed has always been, well, interesting to say the least. I have seen bands get signed over anything from someone leaving a demo in a bathroom to someone at a label thinking a band was a totally different band at first. The jist is that sometimes it just seems like dumb luck, and of course it always feels like other bands have more money to invest then you do, better connections, better hair cuts, etc. You get the idea; in band life the grass is always greener. So how much does production quality matter? What do record labels look for? To answer those questions I went straight to the top to get some feedback.

First, I turned to the person I’ve known the longest who works at a record label. Wouldn’t you know it just happened to be the founder and owner of Victory records, Tony Brummel? Tony took some time out of his day to give me some feedback to pass on to you.

I asked Tony how much demo production matters to him when he’s thinking about signing a band. Tony replied, “It depends on the band but, if someone has the gift they can hear magic from a boom box recording. More importantly seeing the band is the best “DEMO.” Seeing is believing. Trust me you can even ask the dude.” Tony is of course referring to the signing of my metal band, Darkest Hour. It wasn’t a demo or even a CD that really got us signed. It was our live show for Tony and the Victory staff that sold us.

On whether production value is more important than songwriting Tony answers, “Songwriting, its all about the band. I always try to make the decision after seeing a band. With Protools and today’s current recording technology I have heard a lot of great demos and then ended up seeing a very mediocre band.” No doubt that Tony is right on that point. Computers have given artists many tools and at the same time given those same artists many crutches.

I also reached out to another friend of mine, Josh Grabelle, founder and owner of Trustkill Records. Josh was kind enough to write us some thoughts on what he looks for when signing bands:

“The bottom line is this is all about the music, it has never been about how GOOD it sounds recorded, after all, a band should be reaching more people with their live show than they reach with their recorded music. When I got into punk and hardcore in the late 80s, the records I loved back then sounded like TOTAL SHIT. I didn’t care at all though, I loved it. Again, it’s about the music and the feeling you get, not the production or how many hours you spend on pro-tools with auto tune. In the early days of Trustkill I would sign bands that didn’t even HAVE demos, let alone shitty sounding demos… it was about the music. Now, 10 years later, any band can record a demo, the shit is so easy my Grandma could do it with Garageband.”

Keep in mind you still need to be competitive… Now a days you can’t just send in that boom box recording, it has to at least sound like the band does live. Josh expanded on this point by saying;

“To say that the QUALITY doesn’t matter isn’t entirely true. If I open up 50 demos in one day and one of them sonicaly kicks the shit out of everything else, what does that tell me? Either these are a bunch of rich kids, OR, more likely, these kids take their ART and their BAND very seriously. THIS is what we are looking for, a band made up of kids who are willing to throw it ALL away for their band, give up their life, their jobs, their girlfriends, to get quality gear and truly get a grasp on what it takes to record music in the proper way. So, do you NEED to have a PERFECT sounding demo to send to a label? No. But if you want to compete against the other 10 bands in your high school, or the other 10,000 bands in the country, you should put in the extra work.”

There it is that ugly word right at the end: work. It’s almost as ugly as ‘practice’ but the fact that it shows up a lot in this column, has to mean something right? Anyway, it’s clear that record labels are looking for a band that can play a good live show, that spends it’s time working on songs and music, rather then buying amps and looking on eBay for guitars. They are looking for dedicated, hardworking, musicians who are willing to risk everything. Why? Because a dedicated musician should be driven enough to go for it, no matter what the odds. My advice is read this letter and listen to that demo again. Do you feel like it’s a good representation of your band? Are the songs good? Are you confident your band can hold its own against other bands out there. If so, start shopping that bad boy and playing some shows. If you read this letter and change your mind about that demo then make sure your band is ready to slug it out. Practice and jam as much as possible till you find the sound that says you. Practice (MORE!) until you can play those songs with your eyes closed (this is so you don’t waste anytime when it comes to laying down those tracks). Then find a studio (but preferably someone who has recorded local bands, or bands for cheap. You don’t need to spend a million bucks just make it sound like a good representation of your band live). Take that demo and those songs on the road and share them with the world. Whether or not you sign that million dollar deal you have to always remember the reason your writing all theses songs and going through all the bullshit is to be able to share music with people. If your intentions are true and the music does speak to people, well then don’t worry, there will be plenty of record labels that will want to sign your band.

The Dude


Tough Crowd

May 8, 2008

Dear Dude,

My band has played about 20 shows in the last year, performing with groups ranging from Lennon (soloist with only a keyboard and microphone) to Swedish melodic death metal. Winning over crowds usually is never a problem, especially since we have an energetic live show. The exception is at the extreme metal shows. Our most challenging gigs have been as openers for Katatonia and Arsis. Their collective musical ability is almost limitless and their fans know that. We do all the things that a good metal band does (double bass, harmonized riffs, solos, etc), but we’re nowhere near the most technical group out there and do not have the tens of thousands of dollars to buy mind-blowing gear like those bands. What do you recommend we do to not only improve our song writing and musicianship in the long term but also win over the more elitist crowds in the short term?

Thanks,
Tough Crowd

Tough Crowd,

I have played in front of some hostile crowds, and a lot of times the way a band acts can be like blood to sharks. If you antagonize the crowd and give them a reason to turn on you they probably will. I once saw Phil Anselmo turn an entire arena against him in Pittsburgh PA on the 2004 Ozzfest. He came out and the first thing he said was “PANTERA’s DEAD!” No one wanted to hear that and their set was definitely ruined by that vibe. As a Pantera fan I was bummed and put off by it too. If it can happen to one of the best front men in metal then it can happen to your band. There is just no way to totally control how a crowd is going to react but there are definitely ways that you can control the room and hopefully put your band in a position to get the best reaction you can.

First things first: Don’t antagonize the crowd. If there is one dipshit in the front yelling and the rest of the crowd are into the show, then ignore him or her. This is hard advice to follow and I myself am guilty of diving into a crowd with a Les Paul and middle finger in air, but let me tell you from experience, this rarely makes new fans. Now I am all for fucking shit up and not giving a fuck but when you cross the line into antagonizing or aggression you may end up on the angry end of a crowd and crowds can turn into mobs. So be nice and remember you are there to make fans. If someone totally disrespects you you’re going to have to react, but remember no one wants to watch you and a few boners in the audience argue the whole set so keep it positive and you will win people over.

With a metal ass crowd it’s important to be organized and deliberate with everything you do. If you’re playing with some sick ass bands then you better be tight, and you better practice. It doesn’t mean you have to out-shred every band you play, but it just means pay attention to your shit. The number one way to get heckled is to suck, so make sure you are all playing the songs good and tight. Practice is how you will absolutely improve your bands overall song writing and musicianship.

In addition to having the right attitude and putting on a well thought out, interesting show, it’s important to adjust to your surroundings and be able to rock no matter what. If you’re in a punk ass VFW hall with a few bands and 100 kids all having a great time don’t carry yourself like a rock star. VFW halls, punk shows, DIY venues, these are not places to act like a dick rock star (in fact there is never a reason to do that). It will just get you a bad reputation. On the same note if your playing a packed rock club with tons of kids you got to remember you need to reach the kids in the back. So get out there and demand their attention, demand their respect, and most of all demand that they have a good time with you. My band has morphed from DIY shows all the way to OZZFEST and it’s not easy to do. But you can do it with dignity and pride if you are for real and honest.

Bottom line, music shouldn’t be a competition. It shouldn’t be like sporting events where everyone walks away and says so and so band blew everyone away. Unfortunately, some idiots think the opposite, so don’t worry about how other bands sets go or who gets what response. Just focus on putting on a sick show and making friends. Notice I didn’t say, “making fans.” On stage there is a big difference between seeing that crowd in front of you as friends rather than fans. If you can rock with that mindset you will be ready for any audience.

The Dude