Following on from my last article (Starting Guitar In Your Teens), which seems to have been a good sucess, I have decided to risk my reputation on this site by writing another article, this time about starting a band. Some of these tips may apply yo all ages, but since I ain't got to 30 yet, I'm not in a position if they do or not.
I bit about my band history. I have been in three bands, one where I played drums and did one gig at my school without practicing, another where I seem to have gone through everything possible in a band, and the third one which I have just started now. These tips are based on my sucesses and failures and the lessons I have learnt from them.
01. Don't Look Too Far For Bandmates
There appear to be loads of articles on recruiting bandmates on this site, but I've found that when your young and confounded to school for 6 hours a day, stick to the people within it. Starting a band with friends in the same school as you is much easier then being in a band with people outside your school, particularly if they live on the other side of town. Of course I'm sure loads of people can get around this, but if you can't, don't bother trying.
02. Your Bassist Doesn't Have To Be Good
Seriously. O.K. having a good bass player is great if you can get one, I mean, why not? But don't go being picky about your bassist. As long as they've got half a brain, do what you tell them and keep time, you'll be fine.
03. Your Drummer Should Be Good
Unless your band will do purely White Stripes covers, your drummer should be good. A riff will sound ten times better once you got a drummer wiv an inovative beat behind it. There are so many drummers which can't keep time, so keep a good eye out. Also, it's likely you will practice at the drummer's place, or a specially designated practice venue, so make sure they are open to visitors and don't have a schedule which will get in the way of practising.
04. Your Singer Can Be Anything
If your singers good, let his ahhhhs and his ooooohs ring out above everyone else. If he's crap, drown him out, at least slightly. Noone wants to hear a crap singer, particularly if he/she ( I just realised I'm being slightly sexist) is the focal point.
05. Do Not Practice Somewhere Near Crowds Of Outsiders
Lets face it, being in a band at 14/15 is cool, particularly if your good. Also, most teenagers run out of stuff to do. If you try and practice, say, in school at lunch time, you will be constantly be interupted, and his is one of the most annoying things ever. And one of the most difficult things ever is telling your friends to fuck off, so be somewhere locked or isolated.
06. Get Every Gig You Can
At this level, you are not a superstar. More often than not you will be asking o play, not being asked to play. If you think that you are too good for a gig, people will shun you and word will spread that your not worth asking etc. Get as many gigs as possible (within reason), so you can build up a reputation and get more gigs, maybe get some cash, record, and have fun.
07. Have Contacts
Advertise your band, get hold of possible organisers and it helps to have someone in your band who knows someone who knows someone etc, eventually getting you a few gigs.
08. Don't Trust Anyone
If you've got a good song which gets a good reaction, don't teach anyone how to play it, write it down and copyright it. There are articles on copyright on this site.
09. Don't Get An Ego
My second and most sucessful band was great. But my frontman had the biggest ego. After playing one gig he thought we were the greatest, took all the solos off me and has now taken all the money after he insisted on keeping it. In short, know your bandmates back to front, another reason to be in a band with friends. Even tough this guy was my friend, I didn't know him and he turned out to be a right dick to be in a band with. Be careful with who/what your dealing with.
10. If Your Not Happy, Leave
Even if your the biggest band in your town, you must realise that you started a band to have fun right? If your not happy, tell your bandmates and give them an ultimatum, saying unless they do this, that and the other, you will leave. That being said, a band is a team, so you can't have everything your own way. Keep a good balance. You will be respected too if you leave a band which looks like it's getting somewhere.
So there you have it, I could go on, but I have other things to do with my life. Also sorry bout some of the spelling and grammer etc. I hope this will help teens with starting a band.
-Dave Morris, Cardiff, Wales