Ben Weinman is the founder and lead guitarist for the band The Dillinger Escape Plan. I got to know Ben several years back, when he was kind enough to guest lecture in a course I was teaching. I was impressed by Ben’s business acumen and entrepreneurial spirit. However, I was not prepared for the sheer power and ferocity of his and his band’s live performance, which I learned about later.
In this interview, Ben shares with us some tips regarding how bands can make the most of their live performances.
What struck me throughout was Ben’s observation that in an internet-era, in which people can view pretty much any band’s performance online at any time, there must be a very compelling reason for someone to leave the house and see the performance in person.
For Ben, this means ensuring that there’s an air of excitement, surprise, and energy in EVERY performance the band puts on—an attitude they’ve held from the beginning. They determined that no matter the size of the audience, they were going to honor their own commitment to the band’s music and their show.
Interestingly, as Ben notes, this does not mean that all parts of the performance should be unplanned. In fact, it requires an extra level of preparedness—making sure you have your parts and set-list down, as well as making sure your gear works—in order to have the confidence to have the necessary freedom to keep things exciting on stage.
The interview is full of crucial tips on playing live from an artist who does it better than just about anyone. Check it out, and if you haven’t discovered The Dillinger Escape Plan, you’re missing out.
George Howard is the Executive Vice President of Wolfgang’s Vault. Wolfgang’s Vault is the parent company of Concert Vault, Paste Magazine, and Daytrotter. Mr. Howard is an Associate Professor of Management at Berklee College of Music. Follow George on Twitter.