One of the most epic concert shticks was to go on a destruction tirade on stage destroying drums, guitars, amps, and anything else that produced music. This trance-like routine captivated fans and left them with something to talk about on the ride home. Artists that took part were seen as true rock and rollers, willing to essentially burn money on stage to show that they gave it all for the performance. Currently, the wreckage has pretty much seized and who can blame musicians. With the costs of instruments, the lack of paying gigs, and the short sets that characterize the current seven bands that make up a bill on any given night it’s become nearly impossible to make such activities a part of a band’s performance arsenal, but fear not friends. We have come up with four easy steps to bring the destruction back and within a reasonable budget. It is our belief that invoking some old rock star shtick will take any small bar band straight to the top.
1. Get your hands on some cheap gear.
Before you would have to roam around pawn shops and yard sales to find some really cheap guitars, but now the miracle of ebay has made it simple. You can easily find some guitars for under $100. The brand or how the guitar or bass sounds is not important, remember you will be destroying these instruments. If anything having a guitar that sounds like shit will make your actions at the end of the set justifiable. Your fans will leave with the feeling that the quality of your performance is so important to you that you lost it when a guitar couldn’t get their shit together. On drums bands can’t really go cheap, but you can have workarounds such as bringing an extra super cheap floor tom that you don’t really use for anything. Your drumset will look bigger and the drummer can be a part of the destruction. Same logic works for keyboardists, bring a second cheap casio keyboard to throw into the destruction.
2. Order of destruction.
Although a destruction sequence appears to develop at random, it should actually be a carefully choreographed ballet sequence. An out of order destruction will not leave memorable moments in the minds of your fans. The composition of your band will determine the process you will take. The front person should begin the festivities (usually it’s a guitarist) but it could be a bassist, if you’re front person is a singer he cannot begin the destruction. Rather, singer only’s should just wave their hands and headbang when it starts. As the front person begins to enter the destruction sequence the other members should play background noise. Distortion, feedback, and drum rolls should be taking place in the background. The other hand held instruments should go second, while leaving the drummer and possibly keyboardist playing background music. Last, the remain members should simply knock their instruments down. In the case of drums, throwing those extra floor toms should suffice. For the keyboardist, throwing your dummy keyboard could work.
3. Being budget conscious.
This is the most important step towards being able to do a destruction scene every show. We’ve already mentioned getting your hands on cheap gear, but here are more tips to be budget conscious. Don’t bother replacing the drum heads from the dummy floor toms, no one in the crowd will know when you actually tore them. For all the fans know the drummer was just so powerful that it tore in the middle of a song. It’s a good idea to have a half-stack without one speaker. The empty hole will serve as the target where you can shove your bass or guitar to destroy the amp. After every show simply replace the fabric with some cheap black fabric that can be attached with hot glue. Keep a bunch of the same cheap guitars around so you can keep frankensteining a new guitar.
4. The big don’ts.
There are things that you just cannot do if you are going to consistently destroy the stage after every show.
- Do not slam your instruments on the stage. The venue owner will not appreciate such things and you may run out of places to play pretty quick.
- When you break things do it towards the stage, not towards the crowd. The last thing the venue owner needs is a patron getting hit in the eye with a pickup.
- Play at least one real song with the destruction instruments that way the fans feel that this is an actual instruments you use, not just shtick.
- Make sure you have a group of friends who can clean up the stage after you. The lamest thing in the world would be to destroy your instruments and then have the whole venue watch you pick up the pieces.
And that’s pretty much it kids! Have fun destroying.