September 16, 2010

Want to view ad-free?

You may have noticed the "donate" buttons in a few places on the site. They'll probably come down soon, largely because people seem to think they get special privileges, faster posting, etc. if they donate. Nope. Lame. is free, it stays free, all the features, for everybody.

And getting something for nothing seems wrong. OK, not nothing, running the site isn't free. Takes time. Takes Money.

Still, I think a version where:

  1. You get something.
  2. You know what the benefits are.
  3. You still get to use the whole site whether you give or not.

works best. So. You know those ads? From nice people like TheStage and so on? They're here because, frankly, they help keep the lights on. They're not going anywhere, I'll take them as long as they'll let me.

But maybe you've seen them enough. OK, you can help defray the costs another way. But not for nothing -- this is even better, because you're helping out a fellow musician.


If you either purchase my CD "Acrophobe" ($6), or purchase the instant-download version (for at least $4), and email me to let me know you did so, I'll set your account to the magical "no more ads" status. Forever.

For this to work, you need an account. You may or may not have one yet (see the FAQ). And you'll need to be logged in. The site is not psychic (yet).

You do have the option to download the CD for free; go right ahead, please -- but that won't spare you the ads, sorry.

Let's just see how this goes...

<a href="">Acrophobe by Paul Roub</a>

p.s.: if you've donated in the past and want in on the ad-free list, drop me an email

April 2, 2010

What I Did With Your Donation, Chapter 7

I gave $7 lunch money to Champaign County CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) by visiting Blind Post and clicking two or three buttons.

What is CASA?

What does having a CASA volunteer mean to a child? Imagine what it would be like to lose your parents, not because of something you did, but because they can't - or won't - take care of you. Now, into your life come dozens of strangers: police, foster parents, social workers, judges, lawyers, and more. Having a CASA volunteer means having a trained and committed adult, by your side, who has been appointed by a judge to watch over you and advocate for your best interests. That volunteer will make sure you don't get lost in the overburdened legal and social service system or languish in an inappropriate group or foster home. They will be there for you until your case is closed. It can make the difference between homelessness and a safe home, between dropping out and completing school, between unemployment and success, between jail and becoming a productive member of society.

Champaign County CASA currently serves nearly 600 children, thanks to our volunteer advocates. The children we serve range in age from newborn to 18 years of age. Last year over 35% were under age 6.

Seven bucks. Two minutes. Go.

March 4, 2010

What I Did With Your Donation, Chapter 6

I licensed the cover art for my CD-in-progress.

Found the perfect shot at iStockphoto, purchased same. Saved me from having to step in front of a camera myself. Thanks!

Still working on the rest of the CD process — recording is scheduled for later this month. Pre-orders, and bonus reward options, are available at the project's Kickstarter page. For everyone who ever said "I can't thank you enough for", I'd say a $10 CD order is more than sufficient :-)

December 13, 2009 - mobile version

You may notice a new menu item at the top of the page - "mobile". If you access via your cell phone, you've probably noticed it's not terribly well-designed for that.

The mobile site, is designed to be small, fast, and simple. It does one thing - shows you listings within 10 miles of a zip code, city, or address, on any given day.

Click on a club in the resulting list to see the time, address, phone number, web site, and any comments on the night.

That's it. Just what you want, 90% of the time. Let me know what else you'd really like it to do.

Follow on Twitter

I've added a Twitter account for, @openmikesdotorg.

No, you won't hear about what the site had for breakfast, nor will it show you pictures of its cat.

What it will do is tweet each time a new open mike listing is added. Each listing will be tagged with its city and state, so a search for #Los_Angeles_CA will let you watch for new LA listings. Each post is also geotagged based on the club's address, so you can do a location search near you if you'd prefer.

October 1, 2009

What I did with your donation, chapter 5

OK, actually, there haven't been any donations since the last update, but what I did anyway was to contribute to the Gordon Withers solo Cello album project. And so should you.

September 19, 2009

Magazine looking for women reinventing themselves

This is from Dana Hudepohl, a writer for MORE magazine:

Do you know a woman in her 40s or 50s who wants to reinvent herself into a singer/songwriter or comedian? To feature in a national women's magazine, I'm looking for women ages 40-59 who want to seriously pursue singing/songwriting or comedy for the first time in their lives. The ideal candidate will have only recently gotten her feet wet in her desired field (maybe she's tried out her talents at an open mic here or there), but should not have achieved too much success yet. She should have a compelling back story of why she wants to make this drastic life change-- more than just "I've always wanted to do it." If chosen to be in the article, we'll hook her up with a celebrity in her fantasy field to review her work and provide some guidance. Please note: We will not be able to consider women who are not in this age range, who are already making a full-time living in one of these fields or who have been pursuing singing/comedy for many years.

Interested candidates should contact Dana at Deadline: Monday Sept 28. Thank you!

September 18, 2009

Call for poets in northern Virginia

A visitor named Neal Warren was less than thrilled with a couple of open mikes he found on the site (once again, let me recommend calling to confirm a night is still going on) — finding them particularly less-than-wonderful for poets.

He's looking to get something together in his vicinity, poetry-focused and -friendly. Check out his Craigslist ad to that effect.

September 13, 2009

(More) Power to the People

Just rolled out some new editing capabilities for owners of open mike listings. If you've submitted one of the listings on the site, and you've registered an account, this means you.

Previously, you could edit the day of the week, the host's name, start time, and whether or not a night was still active. All that is still there, but now you can change a listing from "every week" to "1st and 3rd Sunday of the month", "every two weeks starting...", etc. In the past, this required my intervention.

Please let me know if you have any trouble with this feature, and of course tell me if there's anything else you'd like to see added.

July 22, 2009

FAQ: Why isn't my listing up yet?

I received this question today, as happens once a week or so. Often enough that I keep thinking it's in the FAQ list, but no. So now it is.

The primary excuse / explanation / underlying misunderstanding is: this is a one-man shop. Hi, I'm Paul, and I'm that man. A man with a full-time job that has nothing to do with this site, a wife, two kids, and some free time, at erratic intervals. It's during some of those intervals that submissions get seen, read, reviewed, corrected, published.

So usually, the answer is a simple "I haven't looked at submissions in a couple of days. When I do, you're in." It's almost always within a day or two, but sometimes the rest of the world doesn't cooperate. This has been one of those months.

So what can you do to speed the process along? Hint: the less touch-up I have to do, the fewer clicks needed to publish your listing, the sooner you'll go live.

Want to make sure things take a while? Here's how:

Leave out the address, or give vague directions in lieu of an address
Now I have to look it up, make sure it's the same "Casa del Java" as yours, etc.
Submit a listing that's already here.
This one's easy — it will never be published. Add a comment to the existing night instead, if you have something to say about it.
Forget to mention the day(s) of the week
More often than seems sensible, I get submissions listed only as "weekly". I'll email and ask for clarification, and about 1/3 of the time I never hear back. Use your real email address, please, for both our sakes.
Include 10 pages of all-caps, unpunctuated, whitespace-deprived description.
I need to clean this up, at least a little, to keep the site from looking overly insane. Takes much more time than clicking "Publish", and gets deferred.
Forward a 3rd-person email with vague details about an open mike
Now I get to deduce what state Someplacetown might be in; find the address; hopefully find a phone number; try and guess if that's just one Friday, every Friday, the third Friday of the month... There's a form. Please, please use it. Thanks.

And finally, while emailing to see what's up with your listing may prompt me to check the backlog (generally 5-10 submissions per day), it won't necessarily move you to the top of the list. But politeness helps. And rudeness really, really hurts.

June 21, 2009

What I did with your donation, chapter... 4, I think?

Yeah, #4.

Selfish this time; grabbed a new switch to go along with the new pickups I'm putting in my Tele.

June 18, 2009

It's Not Just You

Feeling nervous at that first (or second, or 20th) open mike? You're not alone.

So are, roughly, all of the other performers. They're just more practiced at dealing with that.

Case in point. I've been playing for... argh... 35 years. And performing for, let's say, 30. But I'm currently in the leading-up-to-a-gig phase, and I, uh, don't handle it flawlessly.

Read about my nerdiness, and maybe feel better about yours. Then go out and play.

June 11, 2009

Running a Successful Open Mike

An user, starting up a new open mike, asked for some hints on running an open mike.

From my perspective — watching nights come and go from the listings, and personal experience as a host and performer — a couple of hints:

  1. Have a regular schedule. Every week, every other week, first and third Tuesday, etc. "2nd tuesday except the third week, when it's on Friday, and an extra Wednesday if there's a fifth Tuesday..." will die, quickly, because no one knows when to show up.
  2. Spread the word — here, elsewhere. craigslist, upcoming, Facebook — everywhere musicians may look. Preferably a few weeks before you start.
  3. Make the rules and sign-up times clear — bad word of mouth comes quickly if people come expecting a different format, or show up too late to sign up. Singer-songwriters finding what turns out to be a full-band covers-only jam will not leave happy; nor will aspiring MCs who show up at a piano bar.
  4. Similarly, players will love you forever if you let them know what equipment is available / expected. Are amps available, allowed, or forbidden? Can guitars be miked, or must everyone be acoustic-electric and plug in? And piano players will flock if they know a keyboard or upright is available.
  5. The host can make or break a night. Encourage people to listen; praise one and all for having the balls to get up there in the first place; and please don't let your best buddy play his full 35-minute Seals and Crofts medley while everyone else watches and waits for their allotted "2 songs or 10 minutes".

June 9, 2009

Photo uploads are back

All better now. Thanks for your patience.

June 1, 2009

What I did with your donation, chapter 3

I went to Kickstarter and backed JigGsaw's EP-in-progress.

February 8, 2009

What I did with your donation, chapter 2

With the latest couple of donations (thanks so much!), I purchased two copies of Matthew Sabatella's Songs in the Life of Abraham Lincoln. Planning on giving them to my kids' school library.

If you get a chance, I urge you to check out Matt and the gang live.

January 5, 2009

What I did with your donation

Donations are accepted here at, but that's not widely publicized. It's boring, it's not interesting to you, and it's completely optional.

When I do receive a donation, I tend to spend it on independent music. That $10 I received the other day (thanks!) was spent on Plover. Just thought you should know.

January 4, 2009

10 things not to do at an open mic

MelloNello: 10 things not to do at an open mic

September 3, 2008

The Collected DHC Open Mic [sic] Tips

An open mike long-listed on this site just ended — at The Mainstage in Seattle. For most of that run, the host was a band called Dave Hates Chico. They used to its fullest, keeping their listing updated (and therefore often on the front page, hint, hint) and supplying frequent “DHC Open Mic Tips”. Since the open mike is now history, those tips have vanished from the site. I thought it was worth collecting them here.

  1. when the host tells you “one more song, make it short,” that means a little ditty under 3 minutes. It does not mean a 17 minute extended version of American Pie. If you don’t have an under 3 minute ditty, learn one.
  2. bring your own gear. Hard to overstate this one. As kind as it is for some hosts around the country to loan you a guitar, and it is indeed very kind, the host is already (usually) providing microphones and cords, mic stands and a PA, and if you’re lucky, a monitor. Come to the show like you mean it, and bring your own guitar, or whatever you play, and be tuned up and ready to go.
  3. All you hosts out there, don’t disappear once the musician has begun. Random hums, screeches and screams from the speakers can be really unpleasant for both the musician and the crowd, and if you’re off on a smoke break, that means there is nobody fixing stuff when it gets off kilter. (Dave Hates Chico is occasionally guilty of this one - we’re working on it.)
  4. Call-in signups vs. People who show up at the venue at the appointed time. This is a tough one. DHC is of the mind that those who show up should get the first priority slots, but on the other hand, regulars who give you the courtesy of telling you that they’re coming out to the show help to eliminate the guesswork. It’s up to the host to figure out the balance. How’s that for a non-tip? Either way, go out planning to stay late. Are you rockers or a knitting circle?!
  5. Don’t bring your emotional baggage to the sign-up. If you have to be up at 5AM for work, and you didn’t get the first slot, please don’t try to whine your way up the list. Lots of people want to go early, and not everyone can. Besides, open mics should always rock late night. Plan on sticking around, call some friends over, and make your set worth the wait.
  6. Go start a new open mic. Every city in America should have a list of open mic nights on this site as long as New York City’s. Any venue with a stage, or even a corner that can be cleared out easily, can handle an open mic on a slow weeknight. If you can convince a bar or cafe owner that you can bring some folks in, they will likely give you a shot. Come join our army of the night…
  7. amidst all the griping about hosts “signing up their friends” and how “unfair” that is, we may be losing touch with a little concept called “paying your dues.” This isn’t Sunday school, folks - it’s a cutthroat scene out there. Those “friends” of the hosts are the regulars who have kept the open mics going through the years, especially during the lean times, and they deserve a little special treatment. Just because you got there an hour early to sign up you, your friend, your friend’s lover, and some dude you met in line for coffee that morning, that does not guarantee you the first four spots on the list. If you’re not prepared to play late, don’t come.
  8. Be an Applause Starter. If you see a song being finished, clap. You don’t even have to love the song. But it keeps the momentum going so much better when there is applause between the songs, and often, without an Applause Starter, people will just sit there self-consciously, not wanting to be the first to break the silence. Be the Thunder-Giver.
  9. False endings suck. Those songs that seem to finish off, and just as the audience starts to clap, the song kicks right back into its 5th verse - DHC hates those. If you’re really good, and you can project to the crowd that the song has not yet finished, and THEN bring it home, that’s different - otherwise, if you employ the false ending and get your audience to applaud too early, you will make them look foolish and piss them off. Then they won’t want to clap for the real ending. Nobody is a winner here. If you must do it, do it well.
  10. Holidays. They can be unpredictable. Hosts should always keep the people informed of changes to the schedule. With that being said, DHC will not be hosting the open mic on Tuesday Dec 25 or Tuesday Jan 1, as these are both big national holidays.
  11. The best open mics are in constant motion, and this motion relies on everybody being on their game. Hosts must command the room and build the anticipation between acts while the musicians are breaking down and setting up, and make that microphone on the stage the center of attention. The players should be in tune, of course, and know the songs they’re going to play. The audience - well, what can you do with an audience but appreciate them for being there at all? If they talk loud and don’t listen, don’t sweat it. They could just as easily hang out in another bar or coffeeshop down the street. Love your audience and let them love you back.
  12. Is your friend going to come up and accompany for a song or two? No problem, as long as it’s not too much of a hassle to set up. But that does not mean extra songs. And from DHC’s experience as guests at other peoples’ open mikes, griping for one more song after already going overtime is one of the easiest ways to get on a host’s “no list”. It pushes everything off schedule, all the players before and after whine about how this person got more songs, and it becomes a headache. Always leave the crowd wanting more.
  13. Depending on the venue, there should be no expectation of silence or respect for your performance. Some of the quieter coffeehouses develop a vibe of shut-up-and-listen, and that’s fine, but more often the musician needs to go out there and earn the silence from the crowd. If you can’t handle people having a quiet conversation within your earshot, stay in your bedroom and work on your act until you can handle playing for real living breathing people. Nothing more annoying than getting shushed and scowled at for ordering a double tall latte during someone’s set. Of course, loud hecklers and drunks are a slightly different story, but they can also be kind of fun in a perverse way.
  14. If you host an open mic, or know someone who hosts an open mic, and their (your) open mic is not listed on, for crying out loud, get it on there! I bet there are lots of great shows out there that nobody can find - they need to use this resource. It’s like being a plumber and not having your name in the yellow pages.
  15. Outros are as important as intros. I don’t know if it’s just Seattle audiences or if it’s like this everywhere, but the crowd is often hesitant to break the silence of the room with applause. Like they don’t know if they’re supposed to, “because nobody else is clapping, and if I clap, will everyone look at me like I’m a dork?” This is the job of the host - to bring the performers to the stage, introduce them to their audience, and after they play, thank them for coming up. This lets the audience know when to clap. When a host brings them up but neglects to thank them off, the people often will not respond, although you can tell that they want to. It’s embarrassing. Work the intros and the outros with fervent delight.
  16. Generally, charging admission to your open mic sucks. True, two dollars isn’t going to break anyone, but it’s the principle at stake. At the same time, it also sucks when someone comes in with a guitar, buys one coke and nurses it for 2 hours while they wait for their turn. There are arguments on both sides, but it comes down to this: open mic nights are not meant to be big moneymakers, and they shouldn’t be treated as such. They are generally held on slower nights, when there is less expectation of big crowds anyway. If you have a room full of people playing music, eating and drinking and having a good time, and all you can see are dollar signs, maybe you’re in the wrong business. And again, for the musicians who want their open mic nights to stay free, pull your head out and buy a few drinks, coffees, sandwiches, whatever it takes to help the venue stay strong.
  17. Do what you can to let the public know when there is going to be a guest host. For instance, Dave Hates Chico is off to NYC tomorrow morning, where we will be using the network of connections provided by to rock that city to its structural core. We will not be returning until Wednesday the 27th, but we will have a guest host, Andi Francoeur, taking our place on Tuesday the 26th. So now you know - the show will go on, and she will also be bringing it live to the Web-based masses.
  18. Drums. This is another one of those areas where the space determines the appropriateness. Drums are hard to fit into most open mic venues. If they can be set up beforehand and moved out of the way, that’s great. If not, they will either sit up on the stage and take up space, or the set-up time will eat up your entire slot. That being said, I have seen some of the best sets played with no more than a simple snare drum head, cymbal and a pair of brushes. All right there on the drummers lap, easy up and easy off.
  19. Just relax and have fun.
  20. Bring friends. I can guarantee you, at least at the Mainstage, that bringing a group of your buddies to come watch you play will earn you immediate cache with the hosts. If you have 8 or 9 people at your table, and all the other musicians brought nobody, you will get your choice of slots, and probably an extra song or two.
  21. Leave the people wanting more. If you have one more song left, and you have the choice of 1) a really long and emotional song, or 2) a short and snappy little number that usually gets applause, choose option 2. It is more memorable, and in a good way.
  22. Don’t ask the audience whether they “want a fast one or a slow one.” Or whether they want a new or old one, or an original or a cover. If you have two or three songs in your slot, pick the songs that will have the greatest impact and play them the best you can. The audience does not want to choose for you.
  23. Know when to call it a day. DHC has been hosting the Mainstage Open Mic since the summer of 2007, and is now going to pass it on to a new host in May. The spring’s transition into summer should prove for some excellent summer rock, so we hope to see you there, as we fight you for a spot on the list.
  24. For the final tip, in a message string that may be gone by tomorrow, I guess all I can say is “do your thing and do it well.” I would love that sentiment to be all flowers and rainbows, but it’s actually not. In our travels we have encountered a LOT of musicians who don’t quite have it down. There is potential, but it’s just not ready for the stage. That’s cool, everyone has to have a first time performing in front of people, and nobody expects a stellar performance. But it is when those beginner acts complain about not getting respect from the crowd that it becomes a little bit ridiculous. And when that “first-timer” sound is coming from a performer you have seen dozens of times in the past, and the sound just doesn’t improve, it makes you wonder. To keep people’s attention, the songs need to be good. Period. People come to the open mic to hear and perform music, and good music is always preferable to bad music. But for people to say “you should all sit quiet and still and respect my courage,” that’s a little bit silly. Nobody came to see a display of courage. Or maybe they did. Maybe that’s all that anyone cares about and I don’t know what I’m talking about.

August 11, 2008

The official rules for Jenocyde's ideal open mike

7. If you know you are good, don't pretend to be shy as if you don't want to perform in order to get people to beg you to play. It's not cute.

The official rules for Jenocyde's ideal open mike

February 13, 2008

Policy Change

I've gotten more and more submissions in the last year for pay-to-play open mikes. I'm not talking about venues where there's a cover or minimum for everyone — that's an interesting argument to have (see the many listings here where that very argument goes on), but I don't see it as particularly preying on people desperate to perform.

On the other hand: a $20 performer's entrance fee? $5 to sign up? Those need to be deleted, and new ones will not be accepted. exists for the benefit of the performers, first, last and always. And this crap in no way helps musicians, poets or other artists.

I'm not immediately going through all 2,000+ listings — let me know if you see one that's still here, and I'll take it down.

(Comedy open mikes are excepted from this rule, as this would otherwise eliminate a huge chunk of the listings.)

December 14, 2007

Want to try something new?

There's a new feature in the works -- a new (hopefully better, certainly more fun) way to search for open mikes near you.

Just enter your location -- could be just a city, could be a full address -- and get a Google map of the area, with upcoming open mikes highlighted. You can zoom in and out, drag the map around to look at other areas, and pick what upcoming days you want to see. The map will update automatically.

Want to see just open mikes really close to you tomorrow night? Easy. Everything in the next seven days in a wider area? Also easy. Click on any of the markers, or the club names down the right-hand side, to show a bit more detail about each night. Click on the details to take you to the full listing for that open mike.

Feedback is very welcome on this; as is your understanding that this is brand-new, not-yet-thoroughly test code.

Go here to try out the new search. And head over here to let me know what you think.

November 15, 2007

Annoying Open Mike behaviors

Instar Music News: The Best and The Worst of Open Mics

I've shared so many of these annoyances... or perhaps caused them.

August 14, 2007 on the Day Job blog

The Day Job blog ("true stories of real performing artists changing the world, one day job at a time") had some awfully nice things to say about Erin at Day Job takes a witty, interesting look at the world, from a perspective most of us should find familiar. Go, now, read, subscribe.

April 6, 2007

Does ASCAP care about original performances?

Having read a somewhat-incendiary comment re: ASCAP here, I decided to try and get some answers. Rather than call, and possibly misquote, the person named in the comment, I figured I'd address the issue in writing. I've emailed several apparently-appropriate folks at ASCAP, asking the following:


Subject: Questions re: performance of original works in a non-ASCAP-licensed establishment

I run a website ( listing music open-mike nights across the US and Canada. Listings often include the "originals-vs-covers" policies of the establishment -- the understanding being that you can't go performing licensed works without the venue being under ASCAP, etc. licenses. The further assumption being that if I'm performing my original works, it's a non-issue. Even if I'm an ASCAP member (which I am, by the way), I can't really infringe on my own rights. I notice, for instance, on your website (at the following:

"Whenever music is performed publicly the songwriter and music publisher, who created and own that music, have the right to grant or deny permission to use their property and to receive compensation for that use."

So no problem. I own my songs, and publish them, under ASCAP in both cases. I grant myself the right to perform them, and grant the club the right to have them performed. Ta-da.

However, a commenter on one of the listings has posted the following:

"As per Sarah Alana of ASCAP it is ILLEGAL to play live music, even if it is an original piece of work and your a member of ASCAP. If the location that you are playing at is not a member of ASCAP. This is a violation of Federal Law and copyright infringement. For further questions or inquires you can contact Sarah Alana of ASCAP at (800) 910-7347 ext.89"

Apart from the "this is a violation of Federal Law..." sentence, which sounds fairly paranoid and wrong, I was hoping to find out from ASCAP what the deal really is, and post a response / rebuttal in your own words.

Does ASCAP really concern itself with performers playing *their own* compositions, whether licensed or not, at non-ASCAP-licensed establishments? If so, *why*? If not, thanks for confirming that the world still makes sense.

I'll publish any response, in full, with no edits, at (where this email is also posted).

Thanks for your time.

Paul Roub

Benevolent Dictator,

I'll keep you posted on any responses.

Update 1:, although listed on the site, isn't actually a valid email address.

March 28, 2007

You can now delete your photos

You know those photos you've added to listings on If you decide one's got to go -- it's an ad for a long-past featured performer, or your drummer didn't approve that particular likeness for public display -- you can just head to your profile page, scan the "Your Photos" list down the left side, and click the little [X] next to that particular photo.

You can't "undelete", so be careful. Of course, you can always just upload the picture again.

March 17, 2007

Editing Open Mikes

Easily the most-requested feature on -- "how can I edit my listings?" Short answer until now: you can't. Leave a comment, and I edit them.

New longer answer -- if it's really yours, and you're logged in, you can edit parts of the listing. See the help page on editing for details.

You can't delete comments, yet -- you'll eventually be able to delete your own, but you'll never be allowed to delete others'. And you can't yet change, say, a weekly open mike to monthly, etc. -- that's still on the drop-me-a-line list.

Feedback is welcome, as ever.

March 12, 2007

Did you miss us?

If you've had trouble accessing in the last day or so, sorry about that. Depending on which router you came through at our service provider, you might or might not have been able to reach the site. Other sites on the same server? No problem. Anyway, I felt your pain -- my home network connection definitely came through the "bad" side.

December 4, 2006

Photos, rev 2

Remember the whole add-your-open-mike-photos-to-Flickr thing? Yeah, done with that.

A brief delay before photos appear? Fine. Two weeks later and user photos still aren't viewable? No thanks. I'm a fan of Flickr in general, and if you're keeping all your photos there, it makes sense. But for our purposes here, it's just a lousy match.

So, I've installed my old friend Gallery, tied things in a bit in code, and now you can add your photos to an Open Mike listing immediately, no delays, no approval process, etc. You do need to be registered and logged in to, but that takes a few seconds.

See the Mocha Moo listing for an example of this feature in action. And remember, as with comments, submissions, etc. -- this is open to anyone. You don't have to be the host, the club owner, etc.

October 10, 2006

Health Insurance Consultation for Musicians

As brought to my attention by Stolie, the Future of Music Coalition has launched HINT (The Health Insurance Navigation Tool). And I quote:

There are two parts to this project: First, we have written a number of articles that give an overview of the options available for musicians. Second, we are offering a free telephone advice service where you can talk to an insurance expert about your situation to understand your options.

We see this project as a safety net for those musicians who remain uninsured because of lack of support or clear information. Those musicians who reach out for help will get it. With this small step we hope to bridge the gap between confusion and need.

So that rocks.

September 27, 2006

Open Mike Tours, redux

Ryan Michael Galloway's "Songwriters, Get Out Of Town" notes that he's doing the Open Mike tour thing, and using the "I'll Be There" feature to do it.

He seems to have left out the link to his profile / upcoming open mike list, so I'll point it out myself:

September 15, 2006

The other side of the sign-up sheet

Marissa "Con Gusto" Meizel's Open Mic Ranting definitely merits a look. I'm definitely all for a "tuning for longer than 30 seconds counts as a song" rule.

12. ACTING LIKE YOU KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING IS NOT THE SAME AS KNOWING WHAT YOU ARE DOING. ... I am talking about getting onstage, throwing a fit about the sound or your mic, or whatnot... and then being out of tune or off-key.

And remembering the last time I hosted a night, if you're one of the "hang out outside, run in for my set, then leave" types, damn right I'd remember you next week and slot you dead last.

Maybe everyone should host an open mike for a few weeks, just to gain some perspective on what the horrible, mean ol' host is dealing with.

September 8, 2006

LA Times open mikes article

Check out Jeff Miller's "Acts of Daring" in this week's LA Times Calendar section -- he spent a couple weeks visiting a bunch of area nights and writing up his impressions. Definitely a familiar ring to a lot of these nights, although this one caught my eye...

[At Suzy's in Hermosa Beach...] Regardless of whether he knows the performer, the host sings harmonies from his seat.

Just speaking for myself, but I'd probably want to beat the guy senseless. Just ask first, you know? It's OK if, for a few minutes, attention is not on you.

This is what I get for posting before I've had coffee. I'm sure he's a perfectly nice guy.

But still, ask.

August 18, 2006

Intro to Open Mikes at The Practice Room

Over at The Practice Room, there's an excellent piece on Open Mikes -- pretty much the "what, why and how?" article I should have written years ago, but wouldn't have written nearly as well. So it all works out.

July 21, 2006

Open Mike Tour article at BloggingMuses

Check out Don Makoviney's article "Songwriters, try an Open Mic Tour" at Good stuff, and not just because he points out the "I'll Be There" feature as a way to do this. :-)

July 6, 2006

"Making Music" open mikes article

Julie Pinsonneault's article in Making Music magazine, "The Other Side of the Mountain", is out now. She looks at open mikes from the point of view of conquering new territory, overcoming fears, etc. I'm quoted briefly at the end:

"I think an open mike is a more forgiving and friendly environment as opposed to paid gigs or contests," said Roub. "There's an understanding that you're not Dave Matthews."

I'm sure that's what I said, although probably in a less-coherent form before editing. Kinda funny example for me to pick, though, as (a) I'm not really a big fan of DMB and (b) is there a more-covered artist at open mikes?

June 21, 2006

Open Mike tours...

The "I'll Be There" feature at was originally inspired by users who wished for a way to do a self-booked open-mike "tour", and publicize it... Seemed sensible to be able to do both in one place. And now it's in use for just that -- see Seward's Folley's (sic) page for their summer open mike tour.

May 15, 2006

Minor calendar changes

The calendar may look a bit different than you're used to, but nothing's really changed.

For starters, the selection of state / month / year / area code now happens off to the left -- bringing it in line with similar navigation in the rest of the site. The left navigation is not used when printing calendars, so they will still run the full width of the page.

The bigger change is that we no longer display all the listings from past dates, at least not by default. That is, if today is the 5th of the month, the entries up through the fourth will be omitted, replaced with an ellipsis "...". Click on the ellipsis to reveal all listings for the month, including those that have already passed.

As alway, feedback is appreciated.

May 8, 2006 mentioned in MusiciansCast podcast

Episode 90 of the MusiciansCast podcast has a nice mention of (although they link to us as, which does work :-) Seems like a brief, useful, podcast - info of interest to aspiring indie musicians.

It's actually Dave Wemble of The Indie Bible who mentions the site, and his references to "provinces" reminds me that I really need to update the site to better reflect that we definitely handle Canadian listings, too.

Why are there so few Canadian open mikes listed? Because we don't get that many submissions. Why is that? Because I'm an idiot and haven't done a very good job of letting people know they can submit Canadian nights...

April 14, 2006

Addresses, please

A quick note / plea to submitters -- it really, really helps if you leave a correct email address when submitting. I frequently (read: several times a week) need to ask a follow-up question or two before adding your submission. If I can't get hold of you, and there's not enough info to go on, your night never gets posted.

For example, if the person who submitted Sarah's Cafe in Lancaster, PA happens to see this, drop me a line -- I need to know some specifics about the schedule there.

Which brings up another helpful point -- if the only schedule information you have is "call for dates" or "check the web site", I can't add you to our listings. No dates means you never show up on the calendar, so there's not much point in adding the night (about 90% of our visits are to the calendar).

PHP / Yahoo Maps integration notes

Got around to blogging the steps I took to get decent map links from the listings here. See the results at Better Yahoo Maps in PHP

The old days

When I talk about starting this site partially out of memories of great open mike nights from the past, I'm mostly thinking of John Soler's open mike, long ago, at the Cactus Cantina on South Beach. Just found an archive of an old New Times article about that very thing...

July 14, 2003

Free Advice to Clubs

OK, this one really has nothing to do with Open Mikes, or, or me, or the musicians who make up most of the site's readership. It's for that other percentage, the club/bar/coffeehouse owner/manager/employee.

I have a very simple request. This is me speaking as a visitor to your site, and potentially to your club:

Include your full street address on your home page. Preferably everywhere, and at least somewhere.

I know, how obvious could this be, right? You'd think. But time and again, as I search for correct street address and contact information for a new listing, I get all excited that the venue in question actually has a site. And not quite half the time, it takes a pretty thorough search to find an address. And about one quarter of the time, I find none.

Now, I applaud the listing of menus, drink specials, entertainment calendars. But if any of those interest me, I might actually want to come down there. "In the heart of Old Town" or "across the street from Gilby's BBQ" won't help if I didn't grow up there.

That's it. That's my request. I thank you, and your new customers - who can now find you - thank you too.