It's been 5 months since my AMA blew up, and a lot has been happening since them - AMA!

Update: My band is KING WHISKER - we’re a 5 piece art rock/art punk group out of San Diego. We’re on all major streaming platforms, Bandcamp, and Insta

Our insta:

Recent music video:

Recent single release:


In April of 2022, I got the chance to open for Yard Act in San Diego, just as they were starting to explode on to US scene - they played Coachella the night after our gig, and were in San Diego for a smaller club show.

Has this TASTE OF FAME AND GLORY done anything for my band? Are we wildly successful?

Here's the update - maybe other bands or musicians in a similar place will find it helpful!

The good: After about 5 months, we're in a much better place than we were BEFORE opening for Yard Act.

  • The best part personally? We made a TON of friends and (a few) fans from the Yard Act show! There were a lot of folks from AF Gang there (the IDLES fanbase), and becoming connected to this group has been one of the most amazing experiences in my life. They've introduced me to new music, have provided some amazing life advice, and have helped me stay centered in this crazy journey. I occasionally forget how much I LOVE playing music, and listening to music - the AF Gang folks have helped me rediscover some of the passion that I lost from focusing too much on the business side of things.
  • Having a major opening act credit on on resume has helped us get some bigger and better gigs, and we're going on a 7-city tour in a few weeks to keep the momentum going. It's very much a DIY tour - no major label or promoter support - but we have some really solid gigs and I think it's going to be a great thing for us. We're also playing a local music fest this month, which is a first for us.
  • The momentum from the show has really lit a fire under our ass. Since the gig, we've released two music videos and a new single. You can catch one of the videos here:
  • The guys from Yard Act are just wonderful - we spent some time with them at the show, and it was all smiles. If you haven't heard them yet, please give them a listen. They're amazing.

The "Bad" (or not-so good):

  • Honestly, nothing "bad" has come from this experience... other than the slight disappointment in the 100% unrealistic expectation of this being "our shot" - there's no "one moment" that defines you as a band. It's a lot of hard work and grinding it out - it was VERY fun to exist in the orbit of some legit "rock stars" for a little while though, in our own way.
  • What I would have done differently:
    • Hire a photographer and videographer to get some better pics from the gig. This was a MAJOR missed opportunity to get some pics of us with a totally sold out show in a historic venue. Why didn't we? Well... we're a fully DIY band and it's hard to keep opening our pocketbooks... but we SHOULD have taken the plunge on this one.
    • Some kind of email/social follow signup thing at the show. We sold a good amount of merch and made some fans, but we definitely could have done more to capitalize on the event.
    • Gotten a pre-show guarantee. We only made $100 for the show... which is pennies. Someone suggested this during our AMA - I wrote them off a bit because they were rude (or at least I thought they were...) I don't think that $100 would have turned into $1,000... but maybe it would have turned into $200, which we could have reinvested back in the band.
    • Had more fun - this is my main lesson learned during this entire experience. I want to play music because it makes me feel like a human... not because I want to be a famous boi. I have a decent day job and I'm blessed to be able to play my weird music for people. I had a full blown panic attack after the show (and several more after several shows following) because I was SO wound up on not squandering this opportunity. I lost the joy of playing a bit, but I'm working to rediscover that now.

TLDR: I'm not instantly famous, but I learned a ton of lessons and the band is in a better place.

AMA about the experience, the tour, doing DIY music videos, or anything like that. And here's my proof - I'm home sick from work today and look like a lunatic. Don't mind me :) blob:

Comments: 247 • Responses: 52  • Date: 

eqleriq280 karma

Yard Act is a major artist?

JingleBellsSwag204 karma

I definitely think so. Tons of “they’re successful” metrics to pull from, but their album debuted #2 on the UK charts, and they’re touring constantly.

They’re not one of the biggest acts in the world or anything, but they’re pretty damn successful… and their music rips.

flappy_cows102 karma

This is a big deal man, ignore anyone that says it’s not that big of a deal. This is how it all begins for you guys and I wish you guy’s the best of luck!

JingleBellsSwag26 karma

Thanks for the good vibes ❤️

Cronerburger3 karma

Dew it OP. Rip it up!

JingleBellsSwag4 karma

The rippin and the tearin - the rippin and the tearin.

Getsaround6 karma

I mean, they’re two-home owners so they’ve made it, I’d say

JingleBellsSwag1 karma

I can’t believe I’m a two-home owner!

Jmsquis113 karma

How did you go about getting onto the gig in the first place? Do you find reaching out to bands themselves via Instagram to be most successful or through their touring agents via email?

I play in an Australian band and we find all the bigger acts have supports ways before their shows are even announced

JingleBellsSwag195 karma

Great question - I reach out any time a band I think we’ll match with comes to town, especially if it’s a venue we’ve played at before (bonus points of we draw a good crowd there).

Most of the time, the answer is “sorry, we have an opener already” - for this specific gig, we knew the booker and he offered it to us outright, but being on good terms with the club owner helps (he’s since booked us on a small music fest as well - we try to be as professional and low drama as possible. Relationships with bookers and club owners are so important!)

mrbezlington25 karma

Can't upvote this enough! Used to book local supports for a small venue that had good pull with agents etc, and really it comes down to two things: do you fit with the headliner musically, and do you bring a crowd. If you bring a crowd to the shitty support slots, turn up sober (or, sober enough!) and generally put the work in on any shows, you bet your ass you're getting the golden ticket support slot when it comes up.

JingleBellsSwag18 karma

100%! Being consistent and not too drunk/high to play sounds like silly advice but it’s very important. Too many bands fall into the trap of “it’s a show I must get fucked up” and it can easily ruin a band.

A lot of people get wasted before shows due to performance anxiety, which I get… but it’s not a good fix if it effects your performance

JingleBellsSwag35 karma

also, what’s your band called? I’ll give ya a listen!

Hill_Reps_For_Jesus2 karma

Do you have management? Support bands are often from the same management roster as the headliner.

JingleBellsSwag2 karma

No management at this time - we’re close to being at that level, but we’re not quite there yet. That’s going to be one of our big targets after this tour.

Kivadavia30 karma

What are your future plans? Do you have projects already insured?


JingleBellsSwag28 karma

Projects insured? Not sure what that means - I do insure my gear tho!

Next big projects are this tour (called MEAT QUEST 22), and promoting our FOOD DIMENSION single and music video. We’ll be recording another album when we get back from the tour as well.

Periachi21 karma

Gonna guess you are the guitarist, so whats the hardest piece you ever learned to play?

JingleBellsSwag38 karma

Yup yup - I'm one of the guitar players in the band, and I also sing.

Hardest pieces I've learned on guitar so far are Highway Star by Deep Purple, and Aces High by Iron Maiden.

Periachi16 karma

Holy shit Highway Star? Damn man, I can play a shitty version of the Crazy Train solo and that's it hahaha

JingleBellsSwag22 karma

I've been there, my dude! Pick something you wanna stretch your guitar skills with and give it a go! I'll eventually learn Little Wing - that's one of my "holy grail" songs.

GottaHaveHand10 karma

Man I feel this. Started learning hangar 18 because I feel ready to learn it, and it’s been incredible and frustrating. Been one of my grail songs

JingleBellsSwag13 karma

hangar 18

Hell yeah! Good luck with it - it can be demoralizing but push though AND YOU GOT THIS MOTHAFUCKA. SHRED TILL YOU'RE DEAD!

Periachi4 karma

Thanks dude and man that's a good pick. I've always wanted to learn Eruption lol, maybe I should try to work towards that after Crazy Train solo. What projects are you working on next, personally or with your band?

JingleBellsSwag5 karma

Up next is our tour and then we'll be recording another album when we get back - promoting our single FOOD DIMENSION is a big priority as well.

I'll also do a solo album eventually :)

Ok_Description39262 karma

Little wing is a good one. And man for me it would be learning sultans of swings properly haha. Thanks for the AMA & best of luck.

JingleBellsSwag2 karma

Mark Knopfler is one of the all time greats -I'm HUGELY influenced by him. This brings back fond memories of listening to Dire Straits in my dad's car on tape deck.

breakerfall2 karma

I'll eventually learn Little Wing

Hendrix or Stevie Ray?

JingleBellsSwag2 karma

oof that's a tough one. I'd probably start with Jimi and then learn Stevie's after.

a_pot_of_chili_verde4 karma

I sat in for a band on drums and they had Highway Star in there set.

Absolutely love playing that song. It rips!

JingleBellsSwag2 karma

I got to play it with a full band in college and it was amaaaazing to play live. My buddy took lead on it, but it was still a shit ton of fun ton play. Hehe now I really wanna play it live again!

validusrex21 karma

How did you type out the entire opening post without actually writing out the name of your band? lmao. Total waste of exposure if you don't say who you are man!

JingleBellsSwag34 karma

It’s a balance, but I was trying not to make this a “Paaay attention to my band” thing - I should have included more info tho! Just added the info as a comment.

(We’re King Whisker btw - on all streaming platforms, bandcamp and insta)

JingleBellsSwag18 karma

Sorry I didn’t include this first - my bands name is King Whisker. We’re from San Diego CA, and we play art rock/art punk.

You can find us on Spotify, YouTube, and all streaming platforms + bandcamp. Our insta is (at)kingwhisker if you wanna follow along.

heresmyownthrowaway7 karma

Oh shit, another SD band to obsess over lol what are your favorite venues you’ve played here? I’d for sure come see y’all here soon!

JingleBellsSwag8 karma

SD BABBYYYY! Favorite venues are Casbah, Soda Bar, and Music Box. Ken club also has a special place in our hearts for those sweaty sweaty show vibes

heresmyownthrowaway3 karma

Hell yeah, appreciate the response. I’ve been to everywhere besides the ken club and I love me some sweaty show vibes lol I’ll check it out but in the mean time I’m checkin out your spotify and am vibing, cheers my dude

JingleBellsSwag3 karma

Thanks for listening! The Ken is great - real dive bar vibes and there's almost always great music there.


Any advice for finding these bands? Also congrats! That's a huge accomplishment

stumblinghunter9 karma

My coworkers/friends are opening for a huge artist at red rocks next weekend. This is their first "big" show besides some pretty good momentum they've built this year (collabs with decently well known artists, good turnouts at their (4?) festival shows this summer, etc)). Do you have any advice I can pass on to them at work tomorrow?

JingleBellsSwag5 karma

I’d tell em to have some fucking fun! It can be so easy to get trapped into always thinking about what’s next… which makes it very hard to enjoy the awesome moments as they come. Playing Red Rocks is Huuuuge! That’s dope!!

HeadForTheSHallows7 karma

There’s this weird thing in the DIY scene where asking for money is almost taboo.

It’s not. You want to support artists? pay us. Don’t be afraid to ask for $500. Even if they talk you down to half, that’s still $250. That’s an extra $150 on top of what y’all actually got paid.

JingleBellsSwag6 karma

I agree - it's all a learning experience for us. We're getting better at the business side of things, but we've definitely left a little money on the table by not being 100% on top of our bookings, minimums, etc.

lurq_king5 karma

I listen to KEXP all day, everyday. Why have I never heard of you?

JingleBellsSwag20 karma

Im a HUGE KEXP fan - We’ve submitted a few times to KEXP, but haven’t gotten a response from them. Honestly, I think we’re just not on their radar yet. Our only major radio play is on 91X, our San Diego rock station, and we got our foot in the door by going to shows hosted by a DJ and making friends.

There’s so many great bands out there, and only so much radio time. I really hope to be on their some day, especially with a live sesh. That’s a personal and professional dream of mine - and I’ll keep submitting tracks 🙏

I emailed the KEXP people to let them know we’ll be in Seattle on 10/6 at the Bell Town Yacht Club. Who knows!

SpokenDivinity4 karma

I’ve heard that a lot of people interested in the music have memory of one really hard show that almost made them quick. Did you ever have a moment where you thought about quitting? How did you get over it and keep going?

JingleBellsSwag3 karma

Ooof - hehe yeah. The rough ones were mostly in the early days when we were a 3 piece band playing shitty weeknight shows in shitty bars for 2 people. Those shows were an essential part of the growing/learning process, but it was rough to care so much about the project and have almost no one show up. We just had to keep our heads down and get good enough to play bigger shows on better nights.

quietchurl4 karma

How many chords can you play?

JingleBellsSwag19 karma

I know all 5 chords on the guitar, and I play them with gusto. /s

In all seriousness, I don’t know how many chords I know. I have some training, but I’m primarily self-taught and play by ear.

Outside of major/minor/7chords (etc), I’m usually 2-3 string rhythm parts and I couldn’t tell you what the chord names are for the life of me. Music theory and guitar theory are very hard for me, for some reason.

darkwoodframe3 karma

Can you do barre chords? This gives me hope I don't need them.

JingleBellsSwag9 karma

Yep yup - I play a fair amount of barre chords in a few songs, but I prefer to dance around a bit with smaller 3 note chords, especially if one of the 3 notes can be a jangling open string. That’s my fav ❤️

Morning_Star13 karma

I'm an average guitar player who just got out of begineer zone. I still can't improvise on every scale and need a long time to learn songs. Can I still find a band ?

Second question is similar: When you guys met, were you all confirmed players ? Middle ? Very good players ? Or some of you sucked and became really good over time

Last question: Jam sessions or rehearsals, wich one do you practice the most with the band ?

JingleBellsSwag4 karma

Hey man - I’d say as long as you can keep tempo and provide some basic rhythm guitar then you’re ready for a band. OR if you’re not at that level yet, find some other musicians who are at the same stage of the process as you and just jam on some basic songs. Playing with a band will speed up your learning process a ton!

When we first started playing, the drummer and I were both avg/below avg… but our bass player was unbelievably good! I could barely play much outside the pentatonic box at the time, so our lead guitar stuff was pretty uninspired. It just takes time and it alllll gets better though, as long as you practice.

And to answer the last question - we’re basically incapable of jamming. We do it some times as an exercise, but our rehearsals are pretty structured.

Morning_Star12 karma

Thank you for your answers !! I'll be more confident next time I play with someone.

Your last answer is very interesting. It breaks the myth of 5 people in a bedroom coming out with crazy licks and improv. Makes me feel less shit haha. I'm sure jamming is a skill on it's own and you guys not being able to doesn't have to do with your musical skills at all

JingleBellsSwag2 karma

Good luck getting something going ❤️

We’re more the “let me take this idea home and come up with something” type of musicians rather than “let’s work this part of the song for 3 hours so we can all test out some parts” musicians. Neither is right or wrong - we just found what works best for us.

cdrmbt3 karma

Heyyyy, I listened to your music videos and realized I heard y'all on the radio more than once. 91x or 94.9. San Diego based I assume? edit: yeah now I read all your post rather than just click the links and you mention this, heh.

Y'all have major The Evaporators vibes (all hail Nardwuar!). Also, pulling up that video reminded me of how awesome Fox Rox was. Every Saturday a 30 TV spot on the local scene and obscure recommendations.

Anyway, I'm a fan. Come to Belly Up. You'd match well with the punk/garage bands that play there... Ty Segall, Thee Oh Sees (Osees now), Black Lips, Coat Hangers, Shannon and the Clams, Tropa Magica etc.

Got any current tunes you'd recommend? I've been too into 50s and 60s music for a few months and feel a bit out of touch. I need to get back into current day.

JingleBellsSwag2 karma

Thanks for the love my fiend! SD based indeed! We’d love to play the Belly Up. ❤️❤️

I’m terms of music recommendations - I created a playlist recently of the punk and punk adjacent stuff I’ve been listening to/ inspired by. Let me know if you don’t have Spotify and I can send some different links

cdrmbt2 karma

Hell yeah, thank you! I recognize some of these bands and many I do not, which is exciting. I put IDLES in my top 10 ever, love the Viagra Boys and Parquet Courts so I'm sure I'm going to find a lot to like in this that I've not heard of.

Do you have a favorite venue to play? I'll have to catch a show.

JingleBellsSwag2 karma

Enjoy the playlist my friend! I hope hope you find some new bands to groove on.

I’d say our favorite place to play right now is Casbah - and we’re playing the casbah stage at 11:30 on 9/24 at the Adams Ave Fest this year. Very stoked for this one!

mvfsullivan3 karma

Not my music style but good luck my dudes?

Despite being a small band, have you found yourself having even the slightest power trip, and if so, can you talk about it with us all?

JingleBellsSwag1 karma

That's a very interesting question - thanks for asking.

In terms of a power trip, IDK we're all relatively normal humans, but there's a definite ebb and flow to how "cool" we think we are. We've gone from playing sold out shows at solid venues to playing dive bars with 25 people from one week to the next. Some times I think we're hot shit, and some times I think we're totally kidding ourselves and no one wants to hear our bat shit music.

To be totally honest, I guess my biggest "power trip" was going to a major concert (in the audience - not preforming) after one of our bigger shows. I was thinking "I wonder if anyone will recognize me here - I'm an up and coming musician! Some of these people must have been to one of my shows! I'm a cool dude!"

Of course I was full of shit, and no one recognized me. Then I thought I was a failure and got sad...

The more I think we're "hot shit," the more negative my thoughts get about the whole thing. I'm learning to be humble and enjoy the music... or at least I'm trying to. Like everything in life, it's a learning experience.

I try not to be too big for my proverbial britches, but I also want this project to be successful, which takes some kind of "big dreaming" mentality. It's a balancing act, and not one that I'm always successful at.

TheSuaveLobster2 karma

First off, congratulations man!

What do you anticipate being the most difficult aspect of performing on a near nightly basis? Check out the HardLore podcast if you think you’ll need any tips as a musician on the road, best of luck boss!

JingleBellsSwag2 karma

I’m a little nervous about my voice holding up - I do a decent amour of yelling on stage, but I have my warmups and various throat helping things so I’ll do what I can to keep things running smooth!

Trootter2 karma

How does getting your songs on Spotify work? Is it a hassle?

Also how do the lyrics work on there? Does Spotify generate it themselves or is it up to you to upload it?

JingleBellsSwag2 karma

We use Distrokid for all of our releases. It's super easy - you basically just upload the song, upload your lyrics and images, and set the release date.

We keep submitting to Spotify curated playlists as well... but no dice there :(

cv-boardgamer2 karma

I love this. I played in several San Diego bands. From reading this, I get the sense that we're many years apart. I would frequently play at the Casbah. Have you guys played there yet?

JingleBellsSwag2 karma

Yup! We played at Casbah 4 times this year I think, including our Yard Act gig. Amazing venue with amazing people working every aspect of the place.

something_python2 karma

I like your style. Do you guys have any plans to tour beyond the US?

JingleBellsSwag3 karma

We’d love to! Mexico and Canada would likely be first but I’d love to tour fucking everywhere - UK & Japan are high on my list, but there’s a million amazing places to play music I’d like to play music in.

SteveTheCatNut2 karma

Love that food dimension song. Also I agree about Yard Act, have been following them for a couple of years now. Any plans to come to the UK?

JingleBellsSwag2 karma

A UK tour is an absolute dream/goal of mine. There’s so much amazing music happening in the UK right now and there’s about a million bands id like to play with. For now, it’s just a matter of finances and building a fan base there that would be interested in hearing us play

andyjonesx2 karma

Can you list some please. I'm 35 now and was around during our amazing indie phase (Razorlight, Arctic Monkeys, Kooks, Franz Ferdinand, Kaiser Chiefs, etc) , and now feel (like most people of my age) that music stood still.

JingleBellsSwag2 karma

I made a playlist recently that has a lot of amazing brit bands on it:

If you don't have Spotify - check out IDLES, Viagra Boys, Yard Act, Amyl and the Sniffers, Parquet Courts, Warmduscher, Fontaines D.C., Squid, and Sleaford Mods. Not all British bands, but all verrrrry good.

neit_jnf2 karma

did you get to hang out with the major artist?

JingleBellsSwag2 karma

Yup yup - grabbed some drinks and shot the shit for an hour-ish. They're absolutely lovely guys with zero ego and a great work ethic. Gave me great vibes about a band becoming successful and staying totally humble.\_vF2E

lokiunchained2 karma

What are some good places to listen to local bands in San Diego?

JingleBellsSwag2 karma

In San Diego? Casbah, Soda Bar, Winston's, Kensington Club, Music Box, Black Cat - tons of great spots!

GregJamesDahlen2 karma

How important is it that members of a band be friends?

JingleBellsSwag2 karma

I’d say getting along is essential for any long term success. Being friends is definitely a plus, but not mandatory, especially if you have to deal with lineup changes over the years.

neuromorph1 karma

Where do you normally play in San Diego?

JingleBellsSwag1 karma

Casbah, Kensington Club, Music Box, and Winston’s most recently.

cestlavie881 karma

It’s got to be difficult to have a breakthrough in California though. Do you play local shows often? Do merch giveaways for likes and shares? Documenting your story on TikTok? People love that shit.

JingleBellsSwag7 karma

I’d say Cali is okay different than any other market, but I could be wrong. There’s a TON of people in CA, so more people means more potential ears that would like our music. It’s more crowded of a scene than some smaller states, but there’s a ton of great cities to play in that we haven’t tapped into yet.

Honestly we’re lucky to have Tijuana so close too. We’ve played one show down there and would love to have more shows in Mexico.

We’re on Instagram (@kingwhisker) and Facebook - not on TikTok yet, but we’ll likely get one up for the tour. We could be doing a MUCH better job at social than we are, but it’s just me running things for now.

ObnoxiousSubtlety1 karma

Sounds like it was a fantastic learning experience! I’m glad you’re starting to see your hard work pay off some.

Any chance you’ll be leaving the west coast anytime? Would be great to catch you live somewhere - even a stop at SXSW would be fine for me.

JingleBellsSwag1 karma

SXSW would be dope! We’ll probably do a southwest tour next, and then eventually hit the east coast if we get a real fan base going there. I’m from NY and I’d love to do a residency for a week somewhere in the city

TheHoppers1 karma

Can you play an F chord though? 🤨

JingleBellsSwag11 karma

I can, but I make the highly artistic choice not to.

genericcartoon0 karma

I just listened to the two most recent songs on your YouTube, you guys seem real fun!

I remember helping my buddies in college when they had gigs - I never did put professional equipment transporter on my early resumes.

I know how excited they were when they got to play with bigger bands - so congratulations to you guys and I wish you continued success!

My question is: Who are some of your bands bigger musical influences?

JingleBellsSwag1 karma

I’m stoked you dig it!

My biggest influences are Zappa, Talking Heads, and Warren Zevon (maybe with some Aquabats thrown in there)

My other band mates are into everything from The Clash and Thee Oh Sees to Trollfest and Idles

denumb0 karma

Love to see the prosperity brother <3 Can you share any nuggets of wisdom for a band that’s struggling to progress? We have a demo recorded and have been trying to play shows but our drummer just got into an accident so we’ve been stagnant.

How do we start to play shows once he’s back in the saddle?

JingleBellsSwag2 karma

I know the feeling dude - I’ve been there! My advice would be to get really really tight, get a group of at least 15-20 people who will guaranteed show up at your gigs. - and start finding opening act gigs for local bands you like and would sound good playing with.

JingleBellsSwag0 karma

I definitely think so. Tons of “they’re successful” metrics to pull from, but their album debuted #2 on the UK charts, and they’re touring constantly.

They’re not one of the biggest acts in the world or anything, but they’re pretty damn successful… and their music rips.

mo1400 karma

When you say you wanted to do an email or social media sign up, what would you have done for that?

My band is thinking of making cards with a QR code that links to our socials, plus adding some info on our merch sign

JingleBellsSwag2 karma

Yeah - QR code would be good, or a “join our mailing list and get a sticker” thing maybe!

Davesven-5 karma


baildodger10 karma

Probably because accurately labelling the type of music you play makes it easier for people to find it if they’re into similar bands?

They could just say ‘punk’ and people would be expecting something like the Sex Pistols and be disappointed. Or they could be vague and say ‘rock’ or ‘indie’ or ‘alternative’ and people could be expecting any number of things and be disappointed.

What label would you prefer for the type of music they play?

JingleBellsSwag3 karma

Thanks @baildodger - that’s exactly why. Art Rock and Art Punk are legit genres and best describe our kind of music.

Freadus-14 karma

Come on this is rock n roll people....let's ask the real questions we want did you get any "cast offs" at the aftershow?

JingleBellsSwag39 karma

Nah, but my wife held me all night while I had a panic attack after the show so that’s more or less the same thing. ROCK AND ROLL BABY!