How to Make It in L.A....

Two weeks ago in "Blurt," Guerilla Transammo said "never again" to L.A. gigs. A pay-for-play setup between the band and the Cat Club (and a snafu with their chartered bus) made for a bad experience.

Joe Rinaldi, a former longtime San Diegan who books L.A.'s Viper Room, says, "If they had a bad experience, they chose the wrong club." Rinaldi says venues that require bands to purchase tickets in advance (pay-for-play) shouldn't be dealt with. The Viper Room, the Troubadour, Spaceland, and the Fold don't require pay-for-play while "all our other competitors -- like the Whiskey, the Gig, the Key Club, and the Cat Club -- do."

Rinaldi offers a couple of guidelines to help insure local bands' success in L.A. clubs.

Number 1: San Diego bands with a good draw should invite strong L.A. bands to open for them here; the L.A. band, in turn, can get San Diegans on the bill of a well-attended L.A. show. "That's what [San Diego--based] Reeve Oliver did. They just had 60 people come to see them because they networked and built their draw up here."

Number 2: "Get fans organized in 40-person blocks. If you can deliver 40 people, every club would love to have you come up and be part of their shows. The bus thing works....

"There are four or five [San Diego] stalwarts I can name who can sell 500 tickets in San Diego but who can't draw 30 people in L.A.... We had 3 Against 1 on a recent Friday. They didn't bring a bus. It was horrible." Rinaldi says it wasn't 3 Against 1's first gig at the Viper Room, and he will give them another crack on December 2.

Rinaldi says his fondness for Dirty Sweet has encouraged him to have the band open for national acts. "We think they will go somewhere, so we're trying them on important shows." Rinaldi says San Diego bands are welcome to contact him on weekdays, noon to 6 p.m., at 310-358-1881.

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