Metalhead Money and Necrosexual go way back. Long before Metalhead Money was even a vague idea in my head, lead man Grim Jim and I met through the Six Degrees of Curtis Dewar. We shared the stage in Connecticut when Necrosexual played a show with my band Owl Maker, and we've enjoyed many blog endeavors since then as likeminded creatives trying to take over the world on social media.
And for a dude who chains steak to his junk and takes pictures of it, Grim Jim is actually a pretty smart guy. Read on for MANY knowledge bombs about networking, leveraging diverse skills, and showing fans a good time... And yes, you'll get to see the steak picture.
Tell our readers all about your band! Where are you from and when did you get started? What is your music like? Necrosexual is the most electrifying band in corpse entertainment, hailing from Philadelphia, PA. We play sleazy, speedy black metal, with meaty riffs and a big attitude.
What are your goals for your band? I want to spread the grim gospel of Necromania on the world’s grandest stages and drink pinot noir with the metal gods. The dreams that fuel heavy metal hard-ons.
What do you do for a living? I consider The Necrosexual a full time job. It’s the one thing I’ll answer my phone or email for 24 hours a day. It’s something I work on every single day. But until I’m able to pay all my bills with that black metal money, I’ve been a jackal of all trades. I look for day job stuff with skills that correlate to the entertainment industry in some way, to achieve a SINergy of sorts. For example, sometimes I’m a published journalist, which helps me write press releases for my music or pitch publications. I’ve shot and edited music videos, which also gives the Necrosexual an advantage in the motion picture game. Currently I work behind the bar in Philadelphia’s own “house of weird,” a place I’ve often performed at and played a few album release concerts. The incestuous conspiracy is vast. Also, in the past decade I’ve done all sorts of bizarre odd jobs to finance my creative habit. Everything from managing a gym (don’t), dressing up as a grizzly bear mascot for a whiskey brand in the heat of summer, painting houses, movie shoots, advertising copy firms. My personal work ethic is “just say yes,” because opportunities often come from unexpected places, plus I can always quit the second I smell bullshit. Quitting shitty jobs definitely counts as self care, and feels real nice! How do you balance your work and personal life with the band?
The Necrosexual might be like a full time job, but it’s also exhausting to be Joan Rivers of Heavy Metal. A rigorous self care regimen is needed to avoid burnout and insanity. To this end, I indulge in the escapism of exercise, travel, and food. Kick back with a comic book and violent video game. It does wonders for the mind.
What do you consider to be the best investment you've made, music-wise? Renter’s/traveler’s insurance has saved my ass on more than one occasion, as us performers seem especially vulnerable to Murphy’s Law. One such example: I came back from a video shoot in 2010 to find my apartment burglarized. My laptop, camera, Spector bass, and guitar were all stolen. Rather than being screwed, I was reimbursed for the losses, and put the funds towards a new laptop and camera. Well worth the $15 a month. And, I found my Spector bass in the window of a pawn shop a few days later, and got it back without a hassle. Sometimes, the universe has your back. Just don’t count on it.
What's the worst or least helpful thing you've ever spent money on as a musician/band?
I blew my load on way too many CDs for my first album, GRIM-1. I think ultimately, the investment sort of paid off, because I have enough CDs that I can hand them out like business cards. Even if people don’t have a CD player, they still appreciate the art work, and can use it as a coaster, or paperweight, or something.
But since then, I only do runs of 50-100 for new music or merch, which keeps costs in the hundreds versus thousands. What kind of merch sells the best for your band? And what do you purchase most often as a music listener? My autographed 8 X 10” meat portraits have been a hot item, and a real eye opener. Not everyone has a CD player, but everyone has a little space for a picture of the Necrosexual with steak on my junk. I recouped their printing costs in one or two sales, rather than blowing hundreds of dollars on tee shirts that might sit around for a few years if they don’t sell. Per my own tastes, I like all sorts of merch. I’ll always buy a metal tee shirt or long sleeve if the artwork is cool. I love patches, even if I never get around to sew them on one of my vests. I grew up on CDs, and still enjoy their accessibility over vinyls and tapes. But I also dig the retro appeal of the latter. I’m down to buy a digital download if a band is out of merch. I feel like one of the most disrespectful things a band can hear is “is your stuff on spotify?”
Can you share some tour budgeting tips? Strive to be as minimal as possible if you’re on a budget. Sure, you can buy a giant van, but you can also rent a car. Playing with the homefield advantage of your amplifiers is great, but it’s a real bitch to load and unload on the road. Are you able to play out of your friend’s cabinets and drum shells? Most bands are super accommodating to touring bands in terms of gear sharing, as long as you communicate your needs clearly in advance. I truly believe that a good musician doesn’t rely on gear to sound like a million bucks. If you can put on a hell of a show on borrowed equipment in a dank basement somewhere, you’ll be ready for the big time when opportunity calls. Plus, it’s a total amateur move to blow all one’s money on fancy gear. Most local bands who do that should have invested the time on crafting a memorably executed sound, instead of retail therapy at Guitar Center. If anything, invest in some easy merch you can sell on tour. It doesn’t have to be shirts or records, either. People love to buy koozies, rolling papers, magnets, patches, and so on. One burlesque trick I learned: coordinate with the other bands and assemble a gift basket of sick merch to raffle off to raise more money. People love to gamble for low cost and high return. Which online music or social media platforms are most helpful to your band? All of them. Talk to people who comment or tweet at you. Let them know if you have new music or merch to sell, and where they can get it. Don’t be shy with your product. People blow money on frivolous things every day. My art is worth their attention.
What does "making it" mean to you, and what do you think a band needs to make it in 2021? Playing music is the easy part. The more you can do on your own as a band or a performer, the better. The bands who seem to have “made it” are the ones who can create a community of freaks who show up at concerts and evangelize their friends. Get people to mosh when you play, every time. Or figure out another gimmick that engages the audience and makes them remember that shit until the day they die.
People are at concerts because they want to feel something. They want to rock! But also, remember your product is music. Don’t get so caught up in the hustle culture that you neglect songwriting. Don’t just sound like your favorite bands. Sound like YOU.
Ready to get grim? Necrosexual's SEEDS OF SEDUCTION EP is available on September 3 on cassette via Folkvangr Records.
Preorder here: Necrosexual.bandcamp.com
To learn more about budgeting, band finances, and more, order Money Hacks for Metalheads and Old Millennials in paperback and ebook formats: https://amzn.to/3lCsFdq