I am done with a VERY busy weekend. I had four shows this past week. Saturday was the largest show I had ever done, in bands (10 bands on the bill!) and in show attendance. Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday I had the pleasure of hosting Seasons After and Gears on their ‘Lost In Space’ tour. Great guys to work with and know.
Today, let’s talk about the importance of having an image.
What does Cradle Of Filth, Twisted Sister, Dimmu Borgir, Arch Enemy, Marilyn Manson, and Slipknot all have in common? They all have a specific image for their band. For this particular post, we are going to focus on image while performing live.
Having an image not only uniforms your band, it also helps make your band recognized among others in the same or similar genres who do not have a particular image. If you show any rock lover a photo of Slipknot without their band name, the person is still going to recognize them as Slipknot. Same goes for Twisted Sister, and so on. Slipknot, for example, with the masks made it a fun exercise in their earlier days to try to find out what they really looked liked. If you are a fan and can remember, they didn’t release their true identities until post-Iowa.
Twisted Sister, for example, took glam rock to a new level with their appearance (nearly everywhere, on and off stage) that shocked parents and priests alike across the globe. Long hair and leather was no stranger to rock in the 1970’s but they introduced the full on cross dressing, setting them apart from bands who had a similar sound. In a particularly amazing effort, Dee Snider (vocalist for Twisted Sister and one of my favorite people in rock n’ roll) showed up to the PMRC hearings in the 80’s in the same outfit he played shows in.
Of course, not every image needs to be quite as extreme as Slipknot or Twisted Sister. I once worked with a Tampa local act called Screaming At The Silence. Their image was as simple as all of them wearing vests with their logo as the back patch. If I remember correctly, each member had additional patches on their vest, but the back patch was all the same. I adamantly disagree with anyone who says not to wear their bands merchandise on stage. Scrims are overdone and especially in heavy rock, sometimes the name of the band is not always clear when they announce it.
I think having a particular image makes your band more interesting as well. Another act that utilizes this very well is The Convalescence. Their image is dark, like their music, and they easily stand out from the crowd when you line up other deathcore acts. It adds a feel to their music and stage performance that will make them significantly more memorable when catching their set. And trust me, you very much want that.
Just something to consider. A well formed image in your live performance along with a just a couple stage props can make all the difference in the world.