Band-life Lessons


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cactus
10-21-2007, 09:13 AM
All of us playing in a band now have more or less gone through similar experiences of frustration in our respective bands. Sometimes the tension causes ties to snap and the band to dissolve. There are times where we feel that band-life isn't for us because of busy schedules, personal issues, and just plain bad luck when it comes to the lifestyle we've gotten into.

I just wanna share in this article some things I've learned with regards to band-life. I just want to say I'm not a professional musician; I've only been playing for 4 years but I've been through a lot of bands and have had both good and bad experiences. I hope with this article I can help out people who are having a hard time with their bands and maybe even give them some new ideas on how to improve their situation.

Now enough with the intro let's get down to business!

1. Life is What Happens While You Make Other Plans

Yes I just used John Lennon's quote and I agree with what he said. What I'm basically trying to say is expect the unexpected. No amount of planning can guarantee that everything will go as expected there are a lot of things that can turn your day into ****, whether it's missing a member on the day of the gig, traffic making you late for your appointment in the studio, or even a broken string during a performance. The best way to solve this is just to keep a cool head and make the best of the present, what's done is done, just brush it off, learn from it and move on.

2. Choose the Right People To Listen To

We all have critics, but not all criticisms are relevant. I had to learn this the hard way. After failing to get past an audition 3 years ago I was frustrated and wanted to find out the source of what was bringing us down so I talked to different people and most of them said that it was my vocalist that was the problem. So I identified the problem but my approach to solve it is one that I spent the next 3 years repenting for. I told my band mates to kick my vocalist out without considering to give him a second chance that maybe he could improve. Long story cut short, I convinced my other band mates to kick him out and that's precisely what happened. This caused tension within the band because the vocalist was a very good friend of the other guitar player and the drummer. This caused the other guitar player to quit leaving the former 5-piece band as a trio. This eventually led to us disbanding and finding other musicians to jam with. I went through a multitude of bands until I heard my old band reunited without me a year later under a different name. I was skeptical about how their performance would be until I finally got to watch them. My old vocalist got better, hell, he was good. I felt really bad about my decision during the previous year, but at least my old band and me were on good terms; I even played bass for them in their first gig, and I would session for them for 2 years, until fate would have it that I was finally reunited with them and officially part of the band as their "new" lead guitar player. And right now we're making more progress in 3 months than we did in the past 3 years in different bands.

I guess the whole point of that story is to know your critics, learn to identify bull**** from constructive criticism, and to learn how to deal with band issues as a band; no third party should dictate what you should do because that destroys credibility as a band and leads to selling out.

3. R-E-S-P-E-C-T

This is as simple as it gets, respect your band mates, their opinions and musical preferences, likewise they should respect you too. As a band you guys should learn to talk issues out in the open and respect what each member has to say, this is very helpful because keeping issues bottled up builds tension that could lead to fights.

Other than respect in the band, the band should also respect agreements, especially appointments. If the gig is at 8 be there by 7, this leaves a good impression on the organizers, if you are late apologize and make up for it by playing really well. But don't make tardiness a habit especially for recording, because it leaves you at a disadvantage since you have less time to polish your work.

4. Chin Up, Pride Down

Nobody wants to hear a band talk about how good they are, they want to see it for themselves. But this doesn't mean you shouldn't show off on stage, by all means show the audience all you've got, just know the right time to show off, and once you get of the stage remember you're part of the audience now.

5. What Goes Around Comes Around

Be good to other bands, your audience, the organizers and you never know what kindness will come back to you.

6. Don't Back Down

That's as simple as it gets, no matter how frustrating or hard band-life is, if you love what you are doing you will always find a reason to push through. I have played the worst gigs where the equipment was so ****ty that it would break down during the first song of the set. I've even played a gig wherein the audience left during our first song, but after all that **** I always find something that pushes me back to the right path. I love music, I love playing in a band, and I guess music is starting to love me back; you never know when she'll love you back too, so don't ever give up.

EdawMail
10-21-2007, 09:30 AM
amen.

Blompcube
10-22-2007, 11:48 AM
i totally agree, i've been wanting to get a band together for ages, and now i've finally found people who can be bothered, i'm worried that nothings gonna go to plan, i'm so used to failing i expect failure. stressful just arranging a jam...

Limebass
10-23-2007, 05:28 PM
Sadly, I'm still waiting to find the right people to start a band with, I have this 1 friend who plays guitar, but we only jam together.

Nice article, overall it's probably a 10/10.