“We gonna pitch a Wang Dang Doodle all night long…”
I had heard the song a number of times, but I had no idea what it meant. One night at Hunt’s in Burlington, Vermont I got my answer.
Koko Taylor, had just finished a smoking set at Hunt’s closing with “Wang Dang Doodle”. Her band was heading outside for a quick break. As the drummer passed me, I asked him, What was a “wang dang doodle”.
“A fight” he answered. “It’s when a bunch of guys mix it up and start swinging.”
That song was one of Koko’s signature tunes. Now you know.
Here’s a great version with Jerry Garcia and Bob Weir on acoustic guitars. Bob Wasserman plays bass. Neil Young is playing harp.
The following was part of Neil Youngs annual fundraiser for the Bridge School.
Now let’s talk about how the Dead were able to form relationships.
One of the best techniques The Grateful Dead used was that they freely gave away their music.
This allowed the Grateful Dead to build a strong relationship with their fans.
They knew how to cultivate relationships. They realized the importance of relationship marketing.
Early on in their career they were involved in a number of free concerts.
At one point, they pulled a flatbed truck into the middle of San Francisco, unannounced. They set up a sound system with all of their instruments, on the back of the truck, and they played a set of music. The entire area was shut down.
They also palyed a number of free concerts in Golden Gate Park.
This was a way for them to share their passion for their music. Their fans loved them.
Early on the Dead had no problem with people recording their music during live shows. As Jerry Garcia explained, to David Letterman, once they were done with the music, “they can have it”.
In spite of allowing fans to record all of their concert and trade tapes, the Grateful Dead, still sold plenty of albums. They sold out huge arenas. toward the end of their touring days, the Dead would play arenas for two and three consecutive nights.
The Grateful Dead were masters of relationship marketing. They built a wildly loyal fan base, by giving of themselves. And by giving away their music.
The lesson here is clear, for all Internet Marketers. Give away something of value. Give part of yourself. Then build a relationship with your customers.
You can listen to some Grateful Dead, here:
Find more Grateful Dead stuff, here.
Junior Dead Head
For Part 2 of Internet Marketing Lessons from the Grateful Dead, let’s look at their Unique Selling Position.
This is a recording of The Grateful Dead from the Filmore East 4/29/71.
You can hear them doing a version of Uncle John’s Band, right, here:
The Grateful Dead offered their own, USP (Unique selling position).
As promoter Bill Graham said: “They’re not the best at what they do, they’re the only ones who do what they do”.
Like most performers, the Dead did tours of multiple cities, during the Spring and Fall. Most performers will bring the exact same show to each city. That is the same exact song list for each concert. Even the encore is the same.
Not so with the Dead. Each show was different and unique. You can hear the New York crowd go wild after this tune. Even Bill Graham asks: “Is there anyone like the Grateful Dead?”
The Dead’s USP was that they were different from most every other rock band. Their best shows were totally spontaneous. They would not play the same songs night after night, they mixed things up.
Not only were the songs different, each concert was a virtual marathon. Dead shows lasted an average of 4 hours (with a break between sets.)
When you attended a Grateful Dead concert, you knew you were getting you money’s worth.
You were not only going to a concert, you were going to an event.
So much so, that the crowd became a part of the concert. The fans of the Grateful Dead even named themselves Dead Heads. Some fans became so fanatical, they would follow the band from city to city for an entire tour.
The Dead knew this, and realized that this was part of their USP as well. Not that every concert was spectacular, because it wasn’t. With the Dead, sometimes the magic worked and sometimes, it didn’t.
So what’s your USP? Are you trying to define your self as different or are you just like everyone else?
Here’s the encore from the same show:
You can find additional concerts and Grateful Dead information, here: