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You'd be amazed at the publicity you can get when no one knows who you are. Just wear a T-shirt with your name on it. Try it. It's great. Go to any cool venue in the greater Atlanta area and hang out near the bar. By wearing a shirt no one has seen, you're da man. You'll look like you're the smart guy who discovered this obscure artist and had the good taste to buy his merchandise while he played to an almost deserted room. If people say, "Cool shirt, what's his music like?" make up something profound. Something along the lines of, "Well, Jim takes the character studies of a Tom Waits and combines them with the seminal guitar punch of a Stevie Ray Vaughan."

Being a relatively unknown musician, I can get away with it. This guerrilla ad attack has helped my band get gigs in some clubs just because people have seen my name and gotten familiar with it. They assume that my band can kick ass and, more important to the club owners, they figure we can pack the place. Naturally, the problem I face now is that people have begun to put my name and face together, so I have to be careful where I wear my own merchandise. If I'm hanging out in an Atlanta club wearing a Jim Spruell T-shirt, there is a pretty big risk involved. Even in my semi-obscurity, I may be recognized. I could come off as a self-absorbed, self-promoting jerk with a shitty wardrobe. And I hear that enough at work.

Self-promote yourself in these cool Atlanta clubs: For acoustic stuff -- Eddie's Attic 404-377-4976; for your standard rock -- The Cotton Club 874-1993; three levels of musical oddities -- Masquerade 577-8178; various local, regional and national rock acts -- Smith's Olde Bar 875-1522. Or for one truly odd night -- The Clermont Lounge 874-4783.

Jim Spruell is Senior VP-Executive Creative Director at Austin Kelley

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