bassist Duff McKagan
has a ten-point plan for musicians who hope to make their careers in rock'n'roll.
He's looked back on his career with Guns N'Roses
, his short stint with Jane's Addiction
and his current roles to offer some insights ahead of a local music festival in his hometown Seattle.
McKagan says in his Seattle Weekly column: I must say there's really nothing I'd chance about my story thus far. But it may be helpful if I could dispense a few dos and don'ts to new and up-and-coming rock bands.
I've walked into a few brick walls in my time and made it because this person or that showed me how to walk around them.
Duff's ten-point plan:
If you got into music for the chicks and drugs, and not the passion of a song and the power of musical moments go home.
Don't smoke crack on a leased private jet. The smell gets into everything!
Like the people in your band or use the animosity within your band as a springboard for great art.
Have a kick-ass band name. Unless your band is so good that your name is secondary, choose a title that means something to the band, and has some sort of imagery that is a reflection of the music. Let's face it, the name "Muse
" is kinda lame. But once you see or hear the band, the name is the last thing you think about.
Don't sign a deal that ties you up with one particular manager. There is no real upside for the artist here. If a manager believes in you and can get you good tours and nice licensing deals, well, then just give the manager commissions on that stuff. Trust me: not signing a deal keeps a manager hustling for the artist.
Don't get addicted. Drugs and alcohol can seem sexy and fun until you can't live without them. Then it's all dumb and terrifying.
Watch how the business works around you. Ask questions and never be embarrassed to do so. How much does a T-shirt cost to make? or What does publishing really mean?
are just two examples.
From the start, try to ascertain that you and your bandmates have the same goals. When GN'R started there was a different lead guitarist and drummer. When Axl
, and myself booked a punk-rock style tour of the West Coast in 1985, these two other guys didn't want to leave the comfort of LA. We went and found guys who did Slash
and Steven Adler
Get used to being away from cozy shit and the safety of home. Bring your teddy bear if you need to. And get Skype.
Don't be an asshole to other bands. If you are good and stay around for a while, being an asshole is going to make life very hard for you.
Thanks for the report to RockRadio