I was taking off my way to Amsterdam this week for the International Documentary Film Festival that have arranged for a debut screening of a documentary about the first ten years in the history of Twisted Sister (A music band)
Having a take on the narration of the story about how the band stayed strong for 10 years in New York and New Jersey bar scene dealing with survival tactics to get a record deal and yes people want to know the dark stories of those shady club owners and how they dealt with the so called ‘mob scene’. To everyone’s interest it is true that many of the owners, bartenders and bouncers names as Tony, Sal, Vinnie, Tiny, Muscles Marinara and Fat Scotty have treated them worse. In their early days, they catered to what was demanded off, if they were too loud, they turned it down. And when it came to payment they had to wrap up at the bottom of a bay without any fear of survival in future. They realised that demanding more money wouldn’t go well and took a more methodical approach.
The Brains behind a Gunfight:
They begin with hanging around with owners of the clubs, crack jokes for them to set up good moods and convince them to pay visits to their shows. Though the responses weren’t that good, they were able to size up a room pretty well but were paid low much to their dismal. No one took pains to know how well their band was doing.
So they dragged in a friend who would sit by the bar and use a clicker to count how many people paid to get in. Then they would counter check the same with the club owner and even if they said it was 150, they knew there were more than 200 who would have paid that night. They started hanging out with bartenders to have an idea of what tips did they earned and how much percentage was that of the total bar amount for the day. To have a good idea of how much the club was making per head on the nights they used to play, they would multiply the number of registers and divide it by the number of customers.
Then they started doing the same by visiting on nights when other bands used to play and have the same estimated calculations. This all was done to know if they were bringing in same amount of sales or better and in-case better they will be sure of being needed by the owner as much as they were in need of being owned.
Of Partnership Buildings:
The formulated strategy worked in their favour and they were paid more eventually which they utilised for investment in better equipments, better shows and took a move up on the ranks of the club scene. Since the legal drinking age was 18, the customer count was huge and so was many of the bars and some of them accommodated around 5,000 people. To cut it short, the owners of the clubs had put in a lot of money in these rooms and needed fill ups.
As they progressed and became popular and had drawn thousands of fan following, they started working four and five nights within a 75 mile radius of Manhattan, the pressure to perform better increased. The approach changed to being club partners. Some nights were not financially good when they would face gas crisis or bad weather conditions and as the price was guaranteed they have to stick to it.
Slowly the band became the biggest in the history of New York and New Jersey bar scene, they received money for rehearsals, demo tapes and trips to Europe and till date the club owners are friends with the band and have appeared in the documentary. They have mentioned that they were never threatened and worked entirely on economic mode to claim success.