Deciding which road to take to make it in the rock music business is crucial.
For unsigned local and regional bands that are trying to get a step up on the competition for record company attention there are two ways to proceed.
The first -- and most popular -- is to spend most days and nights playing club concerts or traveling by van from one gig to another.
The other is to spend all available time working on songwriting and polishing already-finished works of music.
For the Hoboken, N.J., rock band Gimme The Gun, it has been a difficult balance to maintain.
"The most important thing for us is the music and keeping the standards high," said drummer Ron Baron, who along with four others formed the band two years ago when they were students at the University of Maryland's College Park campus. "The lyrics and music are No. 1. Of course when it comes to getting signed by a label, a good live performance sure helps."
The band had no problem with either aspect of their music last Friday night during a show at Max's On Broadway. With more energy than most of their competition and with a rhythm section that is the tighest around, Gimme The Gun appears to be poised for bigger things.
"We try not to think about the future too much," said Baron, who quit his day job as a video producer about a year ago to become a full-time musician. "We all made a commitment to the band and that basically meant we were going to starve for a while. But we can't worry about it too much. It just gets in the way of the music."
Instead of wasting time on fruitless thoughts and fears, Baron elects to "show up at practice before everyone else and try to become the best drummer I can be."
He said the almost inseparable sound that he gets with bassist Greg Yanko doesn't come easy.
"He and I practice five or six hours a week without the other members of the band just trying to get the riffs down correctly," Baron said. "Greg is the only guy who wasn't an original member. He joined the band about 15 months ago but he's really helped keep us going."
Gimme The Gun, which also features singer Paul Conte, guitarist Larry Canning and keyboardist Frank Bango, has just turned up in the Baltimore and Washington areas the past few months, hoping to capitalize on the support of friends they made in college.
You have three chances to catch the band's funky mix of dance rock this weekend. Tonight they'll perform their entire set at Max's, and tomorrow and Saturday the band will open for Crack The Sky and Vaudeville at Painters Mill.
Concert calendar . . .
Keith Sweat, Bell Biv Devoe and Johnny Gill perform at the Baltimore Arena New Year's Eve. The New Year's Eve club slate also includes Child's Play at Hammerjacks, Hammer at Network and Obstructed View at Max's.
Also coming to Max's On Broadway, Child's Play in an acoustic set (Jan. 2).
Appearing at Hammerjacks are Trixter (tomorrow and Sunday) and Don Dokken with Beggars and Thieves (Saturday).