Friday, September 10, 2010

Love For Sale

Gather round, kids. I have a story to share.

A long time ago, like in the 1970s, there was an edgy band in New York City. And the name of that band was Talking Heads.

Talking Heads were a really popular group. But they didn't start that way. They were first a couple of guys in design school who wanted to start a band, and the singer had to talk the drummer's girlfriend into learning how to play bass. Then they hooked up with a guitar and keyboards guy who once was a Modern Lover. And they played gigs in grimy little punk clubs like CBGB until they had built a big enough following to get signed.

The band made it big. I mean really big. Every time they played, they were burning down the house.

But. like all good things, it couldn't last forever. The singer wanted to do different things, and work with other people. Talking Heads found themselves playing together less and less.

Around this time, the drummer and his bassist girlfriend, who were now married, decided to start a new band. They sounded like this:

That band did okay, and released albums sporadically long after Talking Heads broke up. But I hadn't thought about them for years.

And here's where the story gets personal.

One day, a couple of months ago, I noticed my old friend (and longtime pusherman to my teenage vinyl habit) Bill had made friends with Chris Frantz on Facebook.

"Chris Frantz from Talking Heads?" I wondered aloud. And yes. It was. And he only had a few friends. So of course I sent him a request. Within 10 minutes I, too, was friends with Chris Frantz. (From Talking Heads.) So I tried talking to him.

I wasn't the only one. Chris seemed to make friends with about 10 new people a day. Many of them wrote on his wall, and he usually wrote back. He talked about songs, and records, and gigs, and his wife, and their vacation in Bretagne. And it was all very everyday stuff.

Now, Chris is up to about 3500 friends, and he keeps making more in small batches, chatting with them, and sharing stuff.

And guess what? Tom Tom Club is about to embark on their first concert tour in years. I know because Chris keeps talking about his preparations.

That's right, kids, I've been social media marketed to. And I don't mind at all.

Why? Because Chris is just like anyone else on Facebook. He talks about his life, his loves and his past. He shares jokes and links and pictures of pretty actresses. He promotes his work too—but then again, so do I. This is the same guy who played for small audiences at parties and clubs in the mid-70s, and gradually expanded his network of friends and supporters. He's just updated his venue.

In short, he's doing it right.

The moral of the story is that there's no better way to sell yourself online than to just be... yourself.

UPDATE (from FB):


  1. Ottawa show... and free tix for you and your friends ;). Nice one Tom.

  2. Ottawa? Yuk. Worst crowds for ANY type of music I have ever seen. All musicians should avoid at all costs.

  3. ANON: What shows did you see (or play) here?