‘The Dick Head Effect’ on live music.


‘Dick head’ is a vulgar, slang term, and is usually reserved for stupid, irritating, or ridiculous people, particularly men.*

The “Dick Head Effect” is hurting the small venue, developmental, live music scene!

We’ve all seen him. He’s the obnoxious lout who tries to grab a share of the spotlight by clamoring onto the stage, usually mid-set, demanding the audiences’ attention, while disrupting the show, distracting our focus, and generally ‘dissing’ the hard-working musicians who have planned and worked for months on this opportunity to showcase their musical vision!

Unfortunately, we can’t just ‘laugh it off’ with a quick trip to the “boys will be boys” excuse file.

Sorry, but as a promoter stymied by dick heads, I AM speaking out!

For more than a year, I produced a very successful ‘open-mic’ night.

Unfortunately for my production; a live stage opportunity I was generating for hundreds of local aspiring musicians, the ‘Dick Head Effect’ killed us!


The cost of insurance for the event!!

When it came time for my annual insurance renewal, I disclosed that I was producing a monthly open mic event. My insurance company was quick to inform me that, I was liable for ANY misadventure which may occur, regardless of fault or intent, at my rather humble open mic!

My household insurance rate was raised 500% to cover said! 500% home insurance increase for a show I was carrying the cost of equipping (lights and all PA gear), producing and promoting, and immensely benefiting a local business who had agreed to offer up her cafe space as our performance venue at no pay to me! Unfortunately, because of this unexpected cost, I was forced to cancel my show.

Very recently, I was discussing the dearth of live music venues with a road manager of a very successful feature band touring through Vancouver, and who were playing 2 nights at this city’s premier  downtown music club; the Commodore (I’ll NEVER forget playing THAT club!)!

“Developmental opportunities for bands are being lost all over North America and Europe,” he lamented, “… not because of the insurance companies, but because of dick heads!” He continued, “Not only are record companies not injecting developmental funds into a bands career, but insurance companies have priced many small venue promoters out of the business!” In the case of the insurance companies pricing many small promoters out of the business, this is  because of what I’ve termed “The Dick Head Effect!”

The “Dick Head Effect” is very real! It happens when someone is injured at a live show, and sues the promoter for injuries. It can manifest as a trip over a cable, a collision with a microphone, or a drunken fall off the stage. It comes disguised as a disgruntled musician who was denied a ‘fair chance’ for a moment in the spotlight at an open mic, and then acting out, causes harm to himself, or to someone else. Or, it can occur when a ‘young buck’ has had too much to drink and, forgetting where he is, hurts himself with his stupidity and, sues the promoter for creating an opportunity for injury. It happens for a multitude of reasons, but the result remains constant; shows, and opportunities are being cancelled.

I am truly sorry, but as a promoter I have worked far too hard for my house and home, to lose it all to a poser who masquerades as an angst-ridden rapper, or a self-centered  long hair who ‘just wants to rock!’

Small venues are vital for the development of aspiring performers, to the realization of their dreams, to the growth of their vision!

As long as there are ‘dick heads’ among us, that developmental atmosphere is under threat!

If you see it happening, you can help out by dealing with “dick heads,!”

Because, they have spoiled too much already!

Hear my music at:

Stream my music

Drew Barnes videos

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Let’s make an assumption. You have a GREAT song, and you’ve produced it as well as you possibly can. Now, let’s get real!

That baby ain’t going nowhere without GREAT marketing!

There really are millions of great songs out there. The ones that make it big are well-marketed.

Marketing consists of the following points that make up a package in the music industry:

  • CONTENT: your GREAT song, well produced.
  • IMAGE: who are you? Who created this great musical work?
  • PROMOTIONS: understand your audience, let them know what you are doing by communicating with them respectfully, and give them what the want and expect from you.

These are the fundamentals of marketing.

For example, if you see yourself as a star-studded, circus-like entertainment extravaganza, then market yourself as such.

If you are instead, a dark, moody indie artist, your marketing should reflect that.

Whoever you are as an artist, and whatever you do, your marketing must portray that very essence of you!

Consistent, assertive, and entertaining should serve as touchstones of your marketing campaign in the music making industry.



In the music business, it all begins with a song.

But, what is my ‘Inspiration For A Song?’

I have a need. My need is to write songs, and create music!

My inspiration can come from anywhere, anytime.

When that inspiration comes, I use my smartphone, a notepad, or any scrap of paper I can find, or even the skin on my arm, to write down and capture an idea and turn it into a song!

Maybe I am out for a beer, when I am inspired to write a song about a bar-room musician, as in BEERHALL HERO.

I find a song after a fun night at work with a pretty co-worker, and as if by magic, come up with NO COMPROMISE.

A casual outing with a woman friend leads to YOU’RE A WOMAN I CAN SING ABOUT.

My point being, every happening, every circumstance, every moment has a song!

A sunrise or sunset, a walk on the beach at high tide, a traffic jam during rush hour, or even something as simple as a great day at work, all serve to inspire me to fulfill my own personal need to make music!

The ‘Inspiration For A Song” may be different for everyone, every time, but if you have an inspiration for a song, follow your inspiration, and create your own music!