Posted Feb 07, 2012 12:02 PM
I am offering you the advice of a young, at times disheartened yet resilient musician in his early twenties, who has been in enough bands to know better. The following statements sound very preachy-meachy and they have been written in such fashion to make a lasting impression, and perhaps to make me look a little tough. Lord knows I need it. But really, I'm just trying to share my humble, sincere opinion on why several of my bands didn't work out.
1. A band is a joint venture. Just because it was your idea to start up the band, or just because you were the founding member, doesn't mean you own the shebang. It should now become the property of the band as a whole and its respective members;
2. Give every member an equal say when making decisions;
3. Don't bring complete songs to the table, no one wants to sing your poop. It's a lot better to poop together;
4. Never, ever, ever get upset or depressed when a song isn't coming together. You're supposed to be having fun;
5. Be remotely polite when talking about musical ideas. Never tell a band member that sucks or that's poop. People care deeply about their intellectual property, which reflects on their abilities of the craft, and you could seriously upset someone, cause conflict, and in the long run it will come back to bite you in the buttocks;
6. Be open to different ideas, give them a chance. Quite the same way that you didn't like your favorite band the first time you heard them, you may not like that riff your delirious guitar-playing band member keeps hammering your ears with on the first listen either;
7. Arguments, disputes, fights, etc. are unavoidable, but don't forget to kiss and make up quickly. Leave no room for resentment;
8. Beware of the blinding honeymoon phase, i.e. the first two or three months of being in a new band. This is when you're so in love, you make grand gestures and investments that you may come to regret soon enough;
9. Beware of dating the only chick who will love you back;
10. Beware of dating that drop-dead gorgeous cold witch who will make your life hell, and no, anyone who has been there can tell you that the sex isn't worth the trouble. This leads to the next point;
11. If you don't get along on a personal level with your band members, you're musical venture will probably be short-lived. It's almost always impossible to stay together for the kids, your beautiful lovechildren, your songs;
12. If there are drugs involved you have two options. Option one: partake and be another lazy, stoned-out-of-your-mind drummer who falls asleep during band practice not at, but on the drum kit (what a pitiful sight that was) or the bassist who trips backwards over his amp and severely injures his knee during a gig (laughable, but still a pitiful sight). Option two: quit the band. In case you try and put up with it, a guaranteed disappointment and waste of time is surely coming your way;
13. Never think that you're hot ****, but if you are, keep it to yourself at all times;
14. For god's sake will you shut up when the band is recording?!
15. The obvious be professional, arrive on time, have your gear ready to go, keep phone calls and texting to a minimum when practicing, don't start playing Call of Duty in the middle of practice or whatever it is you kids procrastinate with these days;
16. Work hard before you party hard;
17. And finally, if you happen to have your band crumble before you, simply decide to leave it or probably the most demoralizing of scenarios get kicked out, don't despair! Think of all the free time you now have and put it to good use. Practice more, write more, maybe even get out of your musician's prison, your lonely bedroom, and go do something different for a change.
An elder, more experienced band member once told me that being in a band was more difficult to deal with than his sorry state of matrimony, and I have had the displeasure of meeting his nagging, soul-sucking wife. I suppose he was right. There exist as many band related problems in the world as there are guitarists on UG and that's a helluva lot of problems. However, I have only covered the ones that have personal relevance, so feel free to add more from your very own experiences in the comments.
Put into writing for your entertainment and edification by Giu Phirtskhalava.