By Ken Casper

Internet music promotion is very important to me and fills a certain need I have to get our music heard. That would be the music of my band, Crush! Without the ability to promote our music via the web, I'd certainly feel a void in my life, not to mention a flush of free time. But after walking off the same stage on which .38 Special and Rare Earth later put on one of the best concerts I've ever attended, I know there is no bigger thrill than playing on a big stage with a megawatt sound system, a killer crew of engineers, stage hands and producers, and thousands of people out front. Well, that weekend in Florida when I met my wife may have topped this, but I can't think of another event that was close to this high.

I want to tell you this story because it was our Internet promotion and success that made this gig possible. Over the past two years, we've had numerous #1 chart rankings on Mp3.com in some really large and hard-to-top genres like Alternative General. When we market Crush! to promoters and club owners, we certainly tell them about the $10K in earnings from over 600,000 plays we've delivered from that site alone. Our Internet success was definitely a trump card in landing this concert appearance.

It was an absolute blast playing our first real concert appearance. We had rehearsed as much as we could. We didn't have to worry about remembering guitar riffs or vocal lines. But the pre-show setup ran late, causing the entire show to start a half hour late. We were supposed to have a nice leisurely sound check from 4 to 5 p.m., even play a couple of songs, and then start the show at 6 p.m.. As it worked out, we stepped on the stage at 6:15, got tuned up, got some rough settings on the amps, said "check 1-2-3-4, `man that's muddy - feedback shrieks - that's too hot - ok - much better, thanks," and then, at 6:30, Future Bob introduced us and we were on.

So finally the fun starts. The pressure is off. All the months of practice are behind us. The crowd is into it. The sound has taken a life of it's own. And therein lies the magic of making music. The sound produced by a band is so much more than the sounds produced by each artist individually. It's probably hard to understand unless you've ever played in a band, but It is magic. And when it all comes together, it's a thrill beyond your wildest expectations.

It was certainly the highlight of my musical career, and one that left me longing for another shot, a chance to take what we learned this time and improve on it. Just simple stuff can make such a difference, like asking the one question, which I wish I had thought of before that first song: "How loud should I crank this Marshall?" From listening to the bands that followed, I came to the conclusion that closer to 10 than 4 was the correct answer.

I figured the sound engineers would fix it all if we just played like we knew what we were doing, so a big thanks goes to those pros. I also want to say kudos to The Falcons and Wild Side, the other local bands who participated. And, of course, great salaams to Rare Earth, who not only had the hottest sound that night, but were also really nice guys. And finally, hats off to Donnie VanZandt and .38 Special, who sounded just as good as they did twenty years ago and wrapped up the show with a great finale.

Since we don't have another concert appearance scheduled, it's time to return to Earth and figure out how to get one. In the meantime, it's back to writing more songs, recording them better and practicing harder. And since I can't control my musical fate any other way today, it's back to promoting in the ways that I know will at least get our music heard: the Internet; asking for favors; begging for listens; sending emails to everyone on my list; playing the music of other artists I know and enjoy; networking with other artists and in general just being a friend. Let me know what I can do for you.

Ken Casper is a lead vocalist/guitarist/songwriter for Crush! and can be contacted at


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