Local band books gigs


The Barcode has done many performances in the North East Ohio area.

Kevin Bluffestone, Staff Writer

A bar-code is typically associated with a purchase of an item. However, this bar-code is different.

The Barcode is a local band run out of Highland Heights, Ohio. 

Running the band is a lengthy process, and the booking of gigs has to be done six months to a year ahead of time. Sometimes, the group can get rejected just because they don’t have “loads of fans”.

All of the gigs are found and arranged by lead singer Todd Bluffestone. He said, “Getting a gig is lots of phone calls, finding out who to talk to, finding out who does the booking. It generally takes about on average six calls before anything is actually booked.”

Once Bluffestone finds a gig, he has to negotiate with the owners. He said, “I have an idea of what our value is at a location by knowing how much they pay others based off of networking, and knowing facts. All that kinda dictates where we start.”

According to Bluffestone, the band hasn’t been practicing a lot recently, but make sure to practice once a week and add new material or review rough spots from previous performances.

“We try to pick the best set list for the location and go after it,” he said.

Walt Blaze, lead guitarist for the group, has his own approach for the music. He said, “I am self taught, so I learn by ear. If we add a new song, I listen to it repeatedly.” 

Blaze has set up his own pre-gig routine. He said, “I like to have a list of what we play in advance, so I am always prepared. I like to stretch my body a little bit and exercise.”

Bluffestone and the drummer, Steve Shutts, have their own personal equipment to set up. Bluffestone said, “The drummer usually takes the longest to set up his own equipment, so he generally works on getting his own stuff ready, while I’ll usually work on the lights and sound system before I get into setting up my own components.”

The bass player, JB Smooth, and Blaze also do their job to set up. “Walt will set up his components and then continue to make sure everything has power to it. Then JB will set up his components plus the mixing board and start running cables,” Bluffestone said.

Blaze has a unique and small amount of electronics that he needs to set up. He said, “I have a special pedal that allows me to change the tuning of the guitar without having to tune the guitar [by hand], and I have a wireless system that allows me to walk around; that’s it.”

After their gigs, some gear can be damaged if it rains or is just worn out. Bluffestone said, “If we have to replace damaged equipment, we have to  replace damaged equipment. Hopefully it’s not a big ticket item, but we also put aside a percentage of the income to handle the expenses like equipment.”

According to Blaze, he doesn’t have the luxury of insurance policies and when equipment is damaged, he has to buy new because of his lack of finances for insurance.

After one gig, a major rain storm came through and damaged some of the equipment, causing Bluffestone to spend a day going through and finding out how much they had lost due to the storm.

Bluffestone has figured out how to handle all of the expenses. He said, “Our expenses are figured into our income on a budget that we have. It’s all done by percentages.”

The band also has their own merchandise that they sell to make extra money. Bluffestone said, “We don’t have a lot of merchandise right now, [but] we have sold t-shirts  put out on the website, but not enough traffic goes through there. We do a lot of marketing ourselves.”

For more information, check out the website, www.thebarcodecleve.com

JB Smooth was asked for an interview, but was unavailable to be interviewed.