One thing that sets a good band apart from a crummy band is... PROFESSIONALISM. I know, you don't actually "make" much money playing down at the Adios Lounge on a Wednesday night. You still have to go to your shitty real job in the morning, BUT... people did pay their hard-earned clams to see you. Even if they got in for free, think of all the other things they could have done INSTEAD. You have an obligation to them. Be a pro.
First and foremost... practice, practice, practice. Go see other bands and ask yourself, "Are we good enough to play shows yet?" Be honest.
Buy decent gear. You don't need to be a gear geek; just get good stuff and keep your equipment well maintained. Guitar and bass players, change your strings. Drummers, change your heads, and get rid of those broken cymbals--they sound horrible.
Make sure you all show up at the club with plenty of time to unload your gear and get everything set aside before showtime. Always have at least one backup guitar and one backup bass. Drummers, set up your drums completely before putting them aside, and take a backup pedal and an extra snare drum. Nothing kills a show like trying to borrow a bass drum pedal in the middle of your set.
Get your gear onstage quickly, and don't noodle around like those dorks at the Guitar Center. When you're done mesmerizing the crowd with your hot rock action, get your shit off the stage right away. THEN you can greet your adoring throng. There are other bands on the bill, and they have egos as big as yours.
THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT! Unless you're a bona fide headliner, NOBODY wants to hear you play longer than 35 minutes, 40 tops. You are not Bruce Springsteen.
So... bands, let's get our shit together. We owe it to the poor people who come see us play at these dumps with disgusting restrooms.--Eric, the Gloryholes
The Gloryholes' Knock You Up is out now. The Gloryholes' Want A Divorce comes out in October.