When a decades-dormant rock band decided to release some new-old-stock material, they accepted some help from lofgren to, spoiler alert, triple their crowdsourced fundraising goal.
Decades ago, in what geologists now refer to as the Flannel Age, a punkish quintet of Nashville rockers unleashed their eponymous debut album upon an unsuspecting world. Chagall Guevara, (the album) by Chagall Guevara (the band) shot to the top of, well, probably some chart somewhere. It was 1991, after all, and memories are fleeting (and Google was of no help). The band, obliquely named to reference being artistic revolutionaries (think about it), did strike a proverbial chord with fans around the country and achieved enough success to warrant a second album.
An album that was never to be.
See, the boys in the band had soured on their original deal with record company MCA and had been trying to extricate themselves accordingly. When such efforts proved fruitless, the band turned off their amps and walked about. Leaving a few finished tracks and a rumored live recording unreleased, along with at least a few fans royally bummed out.
Including one Kevin Lofgren.
Fast-forward 30 years and one pandemic later, and the now definitely older and possibly wiser members of Chagall Guevara were kicking around what to do during their days in COVID-19 lockdown. So they cracked open the vault, found those masters of the live show and decided to release the recording. All they needed was around $40,000 for mixing and production.
The band decided to run a crowdfunding campaign in hopes their long-suffering fans would help push their new old recording over the finish line. In the band’s words:
“On November 15th of 1991, at the height of the band’s musical powers, Chagall Guevara’s live show was recorded to 24 tracks of analog splendor in front of a very rowdy hometown crowd at Nashville’s legendary 328 Performance Hall. With the band’s full cooperation, it has now been lovingly mixed by Russ Long, who began his illustrious career as a recording engineer and producer by mixing Chagall Guevara’s live shows. That live album, now entitled The Last Amen, is finally ready to be heard.
“Despite the band’s break-up three decades prior, everybody has stayed friends. And a certain pandemic has provided time for some vault-digging, which uncovered a total of four tracks that were being prepped for the band’s follow-up album and have never been heard outside the inner sanctum. And then there are rare tracks that would make this project even more support-worthy.”
It turned out CG’s fanbase had gotten older, too. And richer. The $40,000 goal was hit in 24 hours. Which made Kevin (who had obviously backed the campaign) realize that there was more – much more – that could be done.
So Kevin reached out to the band and offered them some free marketing advice. Which they actually took. Good for them. Kevin started by reworking the copy on the Kickstarter page and rejiggering the backer rewards in an effort to increase both the donor count and contributions per donor. And, lo, it worked.
Then Kevin asked for the princely sum of $500 to run some Facebook ads. And because of something called “technology,” he was able to track how well the ads did. In this case, “well” equaled $25,000. So, the band slid him another grand in ad dough for the greater marketing good. Which spawned another $60,000 or so directly attributable to the ads, and another $20,000 that the band is certain came from sharing of said ads on Facebook and Instagram (pro tip: never argue with the client when they’re giving you credit).
Getting the word out.
We ran five different ads, aimed at various demographics. We’ll give you a peek at one of them here. We aimed this to male fans aged 45-64 who like The Clash:
To say it worked would be an understatement of epic rock stardom proportions.
But wait, there’s more.
Once the campaign reached the first stretch goal of $100,000 (which meant the band would produce another new song), the boys created a second stretch goal of $125,000. The reward? They would reunite for one live show in Nashville, assuming the pandemic ever subsides. Kevin produced a video (below) that was very intentionally created to look like fans made it and not the band, which, they did. Kevin asked real fans to send him videos of themselves looking sad and forlorn. Not unlike a PSA for abused dogs, the piece featured sad, simple music and Kevin himself as the much, much less attractive version of Sarah McLachlan. The video alone contributed more than $30,000 of the last $44,000, $25,000 of which was needed to secure the show.
Here is the ad that led people to the video:
And here is the video itself:
From their initial goal of raising $40,000, the band ended up raising $144,000. Additionally, the band is confident the campaign has actually grown their fan base. Probably because people on Facebook keep telling them that they’re new fans. One example:
Again, we don’t argue with the client. We just kick back and enjoy the literal sweet sounds of success. At least we will as soon as they release the album.
To see the Kickstarter campaign, visit: Chagall Guevara Kickstarter
Oh. And go check out their 1991 debut album, if you’re into bands like The Clash. Their lyrics alone are awesome.
The best rock band you’ve never heard.
Kevin is one of the biggest music nerds you will ever find, and he’s been lucky (well, more like tenacious) enough to help some of his favorite artists revamp their websites, overhaul their marketing plans, or even (as in this case) rise from the presumed-dead. If you’re an artist of any mold and would like your creations flung far and wide to the masses, give us a shout. We’ll help you out on what’s called a “performance basis,” so you only pony up for hard costs up front and pay us when what we create works for you where “works for you” means “it makes you money.”