Fun_People Archive
23 Apr
Zou Zou's Coffehouse Rules

Content-Type: text/plain
Mime-Version: 1.0 (NeXT Mail 3.3 v118.2)
From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Sun, 23 Apr 100 13:25:18 -0700
To: Fun_People
Precedence: bulk
Subject: Zou Zou's Coffehouse Rules

X-Lib-of-Cong-ISSN: 1098-7649  -=[ Fun_People ]=-
Forwarded-by: Fred Davis <>
Forwarded-by: ?
Forwarded-by: the indiegrrl list

[This purports to be an actual set of instructions for musicians hoping to
 play at a coffeehouse in Ann Arbor, Michigan called Zou Zou's.  Although
 it's pretty bizarre and way over the top, I've known a few venues that
 could keep up with these guys.  See what you think, and keep in mind, this
 is a non-paying gig!  -psl]


	Read what's below THOROUGHLY--skimming it could be very costly to
	you and very costly to the musical program there.

	--   For now, and until further notice from us:

	1. All concerts at Zou Zou's will be ACOUSTIC only (unless you have
	the tiniest amplification with the volume knob set on "1" or "1.5"
	(out of 10) on most amps (be very cautious if you pick a higher
	number--err on the side of the lowest number possible.) Guitarists
	who insist on an amplifier (& keyboardists who NEED an amplifier)
	SHOULD either bring a practice amp or very small amp or the smallest
	amp possible.  Going any louder than this, or bringing in "sizable"
	amp boxes/speakers, will jeopardize the music program there.

	2. All singing and song delivery will be toned down to be
	soft--mellow--and perceived as BACKGROUND MUSIC. If you sing with
	minimal tone (or with whispering), this is what would be acceptable
	there. Appear subdued, gentle, polite at all times.

	3. Choose as much material from your repertoire that would be
	perceived of as easy-listening for your performances at Zou Zou's.
	Tunes everyone knows are very desirable.

	4. Be sure in all your conduct and words on the premises and
	outdoors near the premises is G-rated AND suitable to the mainstream
	(& no political or religious confrontations or rallying or advocacy
	in what you say/do.) Don't swear, don't rhyme with or give innuendos
	of swearing or unpleasant language and such.  DON'T EVEN use
	*euphemisms* for swear words if they could cause discomfort to any
	audience, for example, DON'T tell a story about someone saying the
	words "screw you" or narrate that "they really screwed him over",

	5. Err on the side of SOUNDING likeable to the over-30 customers,
	and LOOKING young to the under-19 staff members there who are
	judgmental about who looks "cool." To look young, do nothing except
	relax and smile--these two things make you look young. You might
	want to observe how conservative & mainstream (but NOT the
	very-trendy/hip) under-19-year olds dress, and to approximate that
	look. The under-19's often can't tell if you are 18, 24, 34, 44,
	54--these ages often tend to look around the same to most under-19
	year olds, but if you dress in that real vaguely young/mainstream
	way, and if you relax and smile, they will think you are probably
	18-25, which means they are likely to like you and your music. It
	means that the staff members there have a better chance of liking
	you, and they have an effect on what the management thinks of you.
	But you still have to be well-liked by the over-30's there, because
	they make up MOST of Zou Zou's clientele. Doing ALL of the above
	can be a challenge--and may seem shallow--but it's the reality if
	you want to go over well at Zou Zou's (and a number of other places,
	Hint: the typical "musician's look" of wearing all black (solid
	color, no patterns, slogans, logos, etc.) usually makes everyone
	look "young" and "cool"--we've seen 60-somethings wearing all-black
	casual clothing be perceived as looking around 25. Age-perception
	and coolness-perception shouldn't matter--but unfortunately, it
	does. Someone who is even perceived as "a young cool (but NOT
	ultra-trendy/hip) 65 year old" will be very well liked, even moreso
	than an "old uncool 26 year old." By the way, don't wear T-shirts
	with any images or slogans that suggest any other lifestyle or
	stance other than MAINSTREAM to these gigs at Zou Zou's (Pierce's
	too.) Yes, you CAN dress like a cowboy outlaw (but no fake or real
	guns because it would scare people)--because that image of a cowboy
	outlaw (even if outlaws are not mainstream) is an image that is
	accepted by the mainstream. But NO, you SHOULDN'T wear a T-shirt
	that says "Buzzcocks" or "Metal Up Your A@#" or "Like My Monkey?"
	or "Meat is Murder" or even "Teachers Do It With Class" at a place
	like Zou Zou's, because customers reacting to any element of
	distastefulness here will walk out and you will be causing Zou
	Zou's to lose business.

	6. NO TABLES at Zou Zou's will be moved. Perform in whatever
	available space and do not get in the way of any customers who want
	to sit down, get up, etc.

	7. Do NOT put your belongings, guitar cases, etc. on ANY of Zou
	Zou's tables, chairs, etc. -- Try to stuff them under the back bar
	or behind the glass arts/jewelry case. If you can't find room, try
	to leave some things in your car, and then if you need to go back
	to your car on a break to get them, do that. Don't put any
	belongings in the way of where customers might possibly sit down
	and dine.

	8. Put your tip jars and CD's (etc.) either on the back bar or on
	top of the glass arts/jewelry case. It's okay to remind your
	audience that these are there--after all you do want tips, sales,
	etc.--but be very mellow about the way you let people know--nothing
	pushy or high-pressure type sales. Be subdued about it. Oh--and
	this includes any literature you have about yourself--it doesn't
	go on Zou Zou's tables any more--but only on the back bar or on
	top of the glass arts/jewelry case!

	9. Do not bring any literature on the premises that advocates any
	social, political, or religious cause, and do not engage in any
	verbal (spoken/sung) or nonverbal advocacy of these causes (buttons,
	T-shirts, etc. with slogans that you might think to wear--don't
	wear them at Zou Zou's or any other mainstream venue.) (Note: this
	doesn't mean your songs might not have a mild allusion to something
	religious, social, or political, but they should not be overtly
	advocating a position, especially if the position isn't mainstream,
	and/or if it would cause people in the audience to take sides one
	way or the other on the issue. "Where Have All the Flowers Gone"
	by Peter Paul and Mary which is pro-peace and anti-war but subtly
	so and not in your face, and mainstream enough, is an acceptable
	song to do, but, a song or anything you say in spoken words that
	bad-mouths the Republicans--or Democrats--or any social or political
	or religious group or individual--or that makes fun of any public
	figure or group--would NOT be appropriate here. Zou Zou's audiences
	are easily offended and the management doesn't want you to be the
	cause of their losing business. As for religious songs--gospel
	tunes are an art form accepted by the mainstream and are fine to
	do as long as they aren't in bad taste--your songs shouldn't say
	things like, "There is only one way to be saved, and that is to be
	a Christian" because the audience could contain Jews, Muslims,
	Buddhists, etc.  But, a song that says "I love my Savior because
	of all he has done for me" is just fine. Use similar standards of
	taste if your songs are within any other spiritual tradition, such
	as Hinduism, Judaism, etc. A song can be religious and devotional
	without advocating the religion as a cause and offending people
	with it. Use good taste. Animal rights: Don't perform material
	related to this--people are here eating food of all kinds.
	Environmentalism: songs about how lovely the parks and grass is,
	and how sad that they're disappearing, etc., is fine--but songs
	about how Washtenaw County is mishandling land use, protest songs
	that hit home in the local community, will cause pain and strain
	and divide audiences on both sides of the issue--so don't do them.
	Don't do songs protesting litterbugs either--if only because the
	people there are probably somewhat prone to be litterbugs--like it
	or not, many people are litterbugs-- don't insult them while they
	are there watching your show. Prejudice:  Avoid songs that protest
	prejudice--while it's a good cause, people in the audience may be
	prejudiced anyway and don't insult them. Don't sing songs with
	lines like, "I'm Asian, What the Heck, Looks Like I'm Facing A
	Belleville Redneck" because the audience might think you are
	accusing them or their cousins in Belleville of being prejudiced.
	But--lines like "I'm jealous and just maybe it's my family's redneck
	nature that's bringing out my unladlylike behavior" -- that could
	be okay because the focus is on self- blame and you aren't
	suggesting that someone other than yourself is a redneck, and this
	song has nothing to do with bigotry or prejudice, it's about
	someone's family's nature of how they express jealousy, and it's
	a funny, tongue-in-cheek song that will not likely offend anyone
	at Zou Zou's. Use similar guidelines for everything you do at Zou
	Zou's and most other venues. BE VERY CAREFUL TO AVOID ANYTHING THAT
	err on the side of performing old standard popular tunes, songs
	heard on everyone's mainstream radio stations, songs about love
	and heartbreak, etc.)

	10. Do not bring any instruments or equipment on the premises of
	Zou Zou's until five (5) minutes before 8 pm. If it forces you to
	start your show a little late, that's fine for now.
	BUT--IMPORTANT--DO NOT ARRIVE LATE for your gig. Arrive 5 minutes
	early, and start right at 8 pm, or at 8:05 pm, or no later than
	8:09 pm. Don't get loose or flexible with these times. Starting
	the show at 8:12 pm is too late. Plan ahead so that you have time
	to park your car and get there at 7:55 pm to bring in your
	instrument, etc. ALWAYS GO BY THE CLOCK at Zou Zou's, no matter
	what YOUR wristwatch says, unless the clock is way off--and then,
	sync your wristwatch to the night manager's wristwatch and go by

	11. Stop your show at 10:30 pm, no matter what time of year. This
	means any previously booked "8-11" or "8-Midn" shows are NOW going
	to change to become "8:00-10:30" shows. Be packed up and off the
	premises by 10:45 pm. These times are EXACT because the staff will
	be furious if you don't stick by this. They want to get out of the
	shop and close up as early as they possibly can, even if it's
	earlier than what the window sign says the shop is open until.

	12. Make as much eye contact as possible with everyone.  Perform
	to EVERYONE, not just to your friends and family who are there. Do
	NOT make inside jokes or comments that the WHOLE AUDIENCE doesn't

	13. Smile at everybody as often as possible, especially at the

	14. Be polite and courteous to everyone, especially to the staff.
	No matter how rude anyone treats you, YOU are always to be polite,
	courteous and smiling to everybody.

	15. Do anything the staff asks you to do, including turning down
	your volume, turning off your amplifier, etc., and do it without
	any delay, with a smile, and without any arguments or rationales
	against what they ask you to do. If the staff FAILS to ask you to
	turn down/off but YOU GET THE FEELING they would like this, then
	READ THEIR MINDS and do it. They may not communicate well, but your
	survival there depends on YOUR picking up intuitively on what they
	might be thinking--and responding to it in the most positive (and
	with self-esteem for yourself) way possible, even if you pick up
	on any negative vibes from juvenile personalities on the staff.
	Respond to negative vibes with 1.) self esteem (do not think
	negatively of yourself) and 2.) eagerness to please the staff and
	do it THEIR way, even if THEIR way seems "crazy" or "off the wall"
	to you, because it's THEIR business. Remember that you are an
	INVITED GUEST on their premises, and you are INVITED THERE TO BE
	IN THE SERVICE of their business. You are truly their servant while
	you are there--and they are not your servants and are not there to
	cater to you. You are there to cater to them.

	16. Mention how wonderful Zou Zou's is during your performance (you
	can even suggestively mention things like how good their cheesecake
	is, etc.), compliment the staff for their outstanding, warm, &
	friendly service (whether or not you think this is true), and before
	you leave the premises, thank the staff for being so kind to be
	hosting this musical program and the musicians. Be so charming that
	you err on the side of being sickeningly sweet--but also look
	sincere about it, because any hint of phoniness will be picked up
	on and it will cause problems.

	17. If a particular staff member's requests (such as the irritated
	and agitated behavior of an unstable young man on the staff) are
	questionable, check out whatever with the 30-ish short-haired
	attractive blond woman on the staff and HER word will be the
	authority to go with. Do anything SHE says (it overrules anything
	that any other staff member says.) If she is not there, take the
	word of the OLDEST looking female staff member as the authoritative
	word for that night. The owner is almost never there, but if she
	is, HER word would be the final authority. The owner is not tall,
	she appears to be between 35-45, she has dark medium- short
	(length?) hair, and is she is attractive looking.

	18. Whatever you do and however you do it, PRESENT yourself as
	TOTALLY SERIOUS and TOTALLY PROFESSIONAL, and do everything in your
	power to come across as a HIGH QUALITY MUSIC PERFORMANCE. This is
	NOT a place where you can afford to be perceived as anything less
	than HIGH QUALITY talent. Remember that PRESENTATION is FAR more
	important (in how you are perceived) than any actual level of
	musical skill--for if you PRESENT yourself as HIGH QUALITY, you
	are likely to be perceived as such, regardless of whether or not
	you are a musical prodigy or virtuoso. KEEP YOUR SHOW GOING SMOOTHLY
	(never apologize for musical errors like wrong notes or missed
	lyrics--just keep going as if they didn't happen) AND LOOK SMILING
	though YOU believe you are the best. Act well, and you will be
	perceived as an impressive performer.

	*You may already have heard advice like above before.  It is still
	important sometimes to remind yourself that MOST venues would have
	standards similar (if not identical) to the above, and remind
	yourself of these standards, so that you do not slip up and make
	costly mistakes in how you present yourself at a venue.  Periodic
	reminders of this are good for all of us.

	If you have any questions, let us know. Wishing you all success

prev [=] prev © 2000 Peter Langston []