The Brandos want your money in order to make a new album. I want a new Brandos album to happen. So, indirectly, I want your money. I will elaborate this below, but for the impatient tl;dr folks: I suggest you go to https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/365667282/the-brandos-new-studio-album and give the band your money. Thank you!
The Brandos are one of my five favourite bands in the world. I admire and enjoy they music ever since I saw them live in Stuttgart back in 1995. So far I’ve attended 19 of their concerts. Some were hot (Winterbach 2006), some were accompanied by snow (Stuttgart 1998), some were loud (Stuttgart 1997), others were simply sonic bliss (acoustic gig in Stuttgart 1996). The band awed (“The Keeper”), the band rocked (“The Light of Day”), the band folk-rocked (“My Father’s Gun”), the band stayed true to itself throughout the years. The music tends to be serious. You find dark stories and moody characters galore (look no further than “Hard Luck Runner” and “Partners”). Then again, the lack of stainlessness in our lives (bonus points for anyone recognizing this reference) is also reflected in a manner that moves your heart (“Over the Border”) and gives you hope (“Hard Times”) – and if all hope is lost at least solace (“My Friend, My Friend”), sometimes even redemption (“Hallowed Ground”). The Brandos are equally sincere and passionate, which is what sets them apart from ordinary (classic/guitar) rock bands. I backed the project earlier today. Now I will “Pass the Hat” to you.
The Brandos Go Kickstarter
The current crowdfunding effort is unlike most other musical Kickstarter/Pledgemusic/Indiegogo projects, because the value of the rewards does not match the price tags. The majority of album campaigns are basically presales in disguise. The Brandos offer a new single (with exclusive bonus tracks) for $25. Commonly, one gets the whole new album for that money and then some. The band is not trying to fool anyone – what is offered in the various options is what you get. The Brandos get the money needed for a proper record. My impression is furthermore that successful funding would facilitate the album production and make a late 2015 release a realistic possibility. Most of the money will benefit the recording process of the album. Only a small share will be needed to fulfill the various rewards.
From the point of view of the band, this is about covering the album production costs (partially or completely I don’t know). The label is going to take care of promotion, manufacturing, and distribution. (These three jobs will be handled external firms, I know; but the label provides the infrastructure and, hopefully, tour support.) From the point of view of the fans, backing the project feels more like a donation than like a trade. It’s certainly no bargain. However, the backers can enjoy the feeling of gratification when the new album is made, because they stood up for good music. Because they made their “Contribution”.
The time frame is short. Right now – with 19 percent funded – it doesn’t look too good for the project. (Funding on Kickstarter is all-or-nothing.) Yet, with more than a week left, it’s still possible to reach the goal of $25.000. “The Last Tambourine” has yet to be dubbed. There need to be 820 more fans chiming in with $25. Or 200 willing to contribute $100 or more. The Brandos have been under the radar for most of the last seven years. Reaching their old audience is a challenge. Hopefully, the band or the label can bring the project to the attention of radio stations that used to play the Brandos. More importantly, though, the current campaign could benefit from some additional options, I think.
Suggestions for Improvements
Add a new cheap option – say $5 – with, for example, an (early) download of the new song that is going to be on the single. This won’t be enough to reach the goal but it might create positive vibes (as fans generally like to support their favourite bands) and bring in at least some more dollars. Bandcamp could be used to fulfill the rewards without too much hassle.
Add more music to the options / more options with (more) music. My first thought here is that there have to be various live recordings – mainly audio, but possibly also on video. As an exclusive reward for maybe a hundred dedicated Brandos fans, a sub-perfect sound and production will deter no one from the band. The easiest addition could be a download of the “Live at Loreley” album (which has been out of print for some time). The album has two bonus tracks from other concerts – those two shows (one from 1987, one from 1998) would be something I’d love to hear, even if it were a quick rough mix. Throwing one of them into all the available options is likely to convince anyone who is hesitant because they feel they don’t get enough rock for their money. There are, of course, many other shows I’d love to revisit – early gigs, rare live cover versions, more Irish songs played by the whole electric band etc. A fan once gave me a recording of an unplugged show from 1995. It’s only Dave and Scott Kempner – and the duo sounds marvelous! Hearing those stunning versions of songs like “A Matter of Survival”, “Partners”, “Cheyenne”, and “Walking on the Water” will make any Brandos fan drool. Offer ten different shows, each for $30, and who knows how many dedicated fans will get some or even all of them.
Speaking of unplugged performances: A video of Dave Kincaid performing an acoustic version of a Brandos song of the backer’s choice would be a very tempting option for me – and probably for other fans, too. I’d set the price tag at $500 – maybe even $400. And maybe offer acoustic Creedence Clearwater Revival cover versions for $600 per piece.
Another attractive option could be access to unreleased demo recordings. “My Way to You” from before the first album was used on the “Contribution” compilation album; “Partners” is supposedly the initial demo version of the song. What about other demos of songs that were rerecorded for the (first couple of) albums?
The one thing that might annoy potential backers for which I have no remedy the necessity of having a credit card and a Kickstarter account (the latter one is free and can be deleted after the project has ended – and the chosen rewards have been delivered).
Finally, if you like the Brandos but not the available options because you’d want the new album itself and then some: The new album will be widely available thanks to Blue Rose Records, so you can quickly buy it for, say, $20 once it’s released. A ticket for a Brandos concert will cost you about $30. Now imagine a $75 option that contains the single, the album, and a concert ticket. Sounds good, right? The only catch is that you will be paying $25 now, then $20 when the album comes out and $30 when the band goes on tour. On the bright side, you don’t have to pay everything upfront and in case the tour schedule doesn’t fit into your calendar, you can actually save the money for the concert ticket. What are you waiting for? Go to Kickstarter and give the band your money!
How about this: Instead of buying me a birthday present, support the Brandos with your money. It will make me happier than a pair of socks. And you will even get a Brandos single at the end of the year! My birthday is in the summer, I know. Who cares? I want a new Brandos album to happen – and you can help!
Links of Interest