Sisters Doll Vox

A Managerial Guide to the Business

Band managers are a funny lot.

They are the people who seem to lurk quietly in the shadows, barking orders and coming across as the killjoys on occasions, but also being the unseen guiding light behind a ship that could easily veer in the wrong direction and self destruct.

They are an unknown quantity, not given enough respect in certain quarters but treated warmly like saviors by the people who see it most.

The bands themselves.

It is an unenviable and sometimes thankless job, but one which requires dedication, understanding, commitment and an unwavering belief in your band.

But most importantly, it is a job that requires patience and care and the ability to nurture, a point not lost on Peter Hoffman who is currently in Cairns with his band Sister’s Doll.

Peter, who also heads Magic Brands, is a seasoned campaigner in the field, having worked with musicians such as Gene Simmons and Kate Perry, to things like Playboy and Chevrolete, but through it all he says that keeping your feet on the ground and your head firmly in place are two of the things that have kept him and his life grounded.

“I think being a manager has changed from the old days where it was basically setting up deals,” he explained.

“With Magic Brands we’re starting a thing called ‘Young Guns of Rock’ so what we’re focusing on is young bands and I see my role as a manager these days as a mentor, someone who has to hopefully show the kids a safer way to get their music out there rather than get ripped off. Sister’s Doll, who I’m currently managing, have been ripped off by their manager previously and there’s always the sharks out there waiting to rip everybody off so my role as a manager is to make sure that doesn’t happen. It’s to teach them about the business. I think as a manager at the end of the time when I decide there’s not much more I can do for them that they should be able to manage themselves. We have monthly board meetings, the guys control their money – I mean, I obviously manage the money – but the final sign off out of the bank account is up to the guys so if there’s something in there they don’t understand or they don’t know then they ask me. Because we’re looking after a younger clientele, certainly to mentor them and to get them on the road as much as possible. The Doll’s, since last August, have done I think 45 shows which is fantastic. I don’t think there would be any band in Australia working as hard as that. You have to be the Devil’s Advocate as well, with things like songwriting, what they do on stage and social media. You really have to watch that carefully. It’s easy to write something quickly that you think is cool but all of a sudden it’s BANG, there’s a backlash, so it’s all those things and you really are mentoring them across the whole spectrum.”

Another thing that Peter and his management group thing is of utmost importance is drinking within a band. It isn’t that he is against the notion of having an ale or two, but thinks that in the work environment it is better to drink after the performance not before. “Part of our management deal,” he explained, “is that on tour, from the start of the day until the last fan leaves, that there is no drinking of alcohol, so it is essentially a dry zone. There are a few bands that I’ve looked at and thought were alright but their attitude to alcohol worried me. I don’t need the hassles of people getting drunk. To me if you want to be a dedicated musician then you have a responsibility to your fans and I know that it suits some bands images to act that way but I still think you can do that without being drunk. It’s just a policy we have.”

Managers can fall pretty easily into two catagories. Either one who is working towards the best interests of the band or one who is working towards the best interests of themselves, and Pete say’s it’s pretty easy to see what type of manager a person is going to be by the degree to which they care about their band.

“I think a good manager is mainly mentoring,” he re-iterated.

“I think a good manager in any job is a person that can lead people, a person who can delegate responsibility and show people how to handle those responsibilities and at the end of the day a band, if you want to make it, is no different to any other business. You have a business plan, you have your structures – whether that be a tour manager, sound engineer or lighting guy -you all have to work as a team. So a manager I think is the co – ordinator of all that and makes sure that the pieces fit together. Certainly with the young bands it is teaching as well and I also think you have to be able to step back and allow their creative juices to flow.”

With all his experience across the board, Pete still doesn’t know the secret ingredient to success – but it’s not through lack of trying, and if there is one bit of parting advice he can give it’s this.

“The best analogy I refer to is if you want to be an Olympic swimmer or an Olympic runner, as you are growing up your parents are probably going to spend something like $50,000 on you with training and the like. Music is the same. You’ve got to get your equipment. You’ve got to do the demo’s, do the recording, go on the road. When you are on the road you won’t be able to hold down a job, so the reality is, like an Olympian, you have to be committed and most importantly have a support network. Music is an investment, that’s all it is. You have to invest your time and your life and commit everything to it if you want to make it. If not, then you may as well not start.”

Kris Peters

Sister’s Doll play the final two shows of their tour at the Edge Hill Tavern tonight and at Cairns Cruising Yacht Squadron Saturday afternoon from 5 p.m

© Copyright 2024 | NQ Music Press