My band's been getting some pretty good gigs, and we're really excited to be playing right now. It's just a great time for us.

But how does a band generate the kind of fanbase where you have people actively seeking your next show, seeing what's up, checking out your songs, videos, etc.? I understand there's probably a level of quality in recording. But how do you get people to support your band?
Use the social media and interact with fans/people. It's another way to advertise your band.
Basically the main way is to play a lot of gigs.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
^^^ I would be interested in what would qualify, to you, as a person somewhat engrained in the industry, as to what would separate a "good" recording from a "great" one. When shopping around for quotes recently on an upcoming EP the prices ranged from $5k to $20k inclusive of a producer. The $5k studio is a popular local studio who have created some records that I really love. The $20k studio is arguably the best studio in Australia, songs that are featured on the charts are usually recorded there. However obviously not everything there is instantly a hit, in itself recording at the studio does not garuntee you success.

I guess the question is, for your first EP is it really necessary to go for that top studio? It really is a crapload of cash and at worst will sell at your gigs as much as the cheaper EP did.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Well, I'm not engrained as a musician - I play for fun these days, and never had much of a career. I have worked as a music journalist and done some PR, so I can speak from my experiences in that regard.
I recently interviewed a local producer - he was the guitarist in a reasonably successful metal band (two major label deals, some big tours, etc...), and he's produced some local radio hits as well. The quality of his recordings is superb, but more than that is the time spent in preproduction. A band he recently recorded spent months rewriting their songs with him. He has a proven track record, so the extra money they spent was well-worth it: I can tell you that their new album sounds phenomenal, but also has better songwriting than their past material. Better songs means more of a chance at "making it" (whatever that means these days). So in that regard, the extra money is definitely worth it.
They also spent a few grand on a professional music video, not to mention a new van for their tour.

Now, spending money like that is a big decision. You have to be confident it's going to pay dividends. I can't see too many bands doing that on a first EP - most bands need to get the experience of doing things on their own first, as it's been my experience that the first and second EPs are big learning experiences in a lot of ways.

So to answer the question, a "great" recording means that the sonics are up to radio-play standards, but the songwriting is also up to radio standards. Sometimes you can get that in a lower-end studio, and sometimes you need to shell out a few bucks. Depends on the band, depends on the studio.

And the quality isn't so much for the people buying at your shows (though that's important) but for the radio stations you'll try to get to add your songs, for the people checking them out on YouTube, for the record companies that might get wind of you after a successful tour, and yes, for the journalists you'll reach out to to try and get coverage of your band. Back in my music writing days, the newspapers and webmagazines I worked for got inundated with CDs. We'd throw them on, and if the recording quality wasn't there in the first 20 seconds, it told us that the band was half-assing their record, so why should we both reviewing it or interviewing them?
I think is all depends on where you are as a band, it's obvious if you've been around a while and are looking to really expand beyond your town/city that investing in professional quality media (recordings etc) will really help you get those higher level magazine reviews and radio appearances.

Though if your still playing within your local scene and are looking to establish a foothold there I'd suggest there's a lot more cheaper ways to grow your fan base.

It follows the same idea except on a cheaper budget, there are so many ways to get yourself out there for free these days you should really use them to your advantage.

You can probably make some decent enough recordings on a cheap budget, also every smartphone these days has HD video recording so you could easily make music videos or a band video blog.

You can then push this media out to your local area through social media, local radio shows, local music bloggers, aspiring journalists etc.

I'd say exhaust those avenues first.
Talk with your fans.
After playing a good show, if they come to compliment you, don't be an ass and talk with them, you could actually start a real friendship with some people, or at least, they will surely remember you

And then, be active on the internet\facebook, keep in touch with them, make them feel that there are people behind that band name, people that you can actually relate to
Connect with your audiences, with social media available you have many options to take. But keep people updated with what's going on and be consistent with it. You can also promote your band with this (a lot of new bands that are becoming popular do this).

Play great shows and deliver your best performance. The point is to stand out amongst other artists and make your band unforgettable, so that people would still be pondering about what they just saw for the whole night. In that case social media is very useful if they decide to check you out when they get home.

Like the guy above said, talk to people off-stage and make sure they have a way of finding your band before you go. You can probably even give them a CD if you have one.

With that said, I recommend recording your music (in high quality) and find different ways to distribute them. It is the reason for there being a band afterall.

Lastly, just be active. Don't go silent for months, even when you're not touring or whatsoever. Keep people interested.
Consistently expose yourself to different crowds of people via playing with different bands. This may be harder if you live in a small town with a very small music scene...in which case some travelling may be in order.

If travelling IS required, having some quality recorded music to distributed at these shows is mandatory in my opinion to get people hooked and to KEEP them hooked.

Social networking is important to keep people interested in between shows and music releases to prevent "dead areas" in your bands activity.