if you have already formed a rock band, I hear ya. I'm with you in spirit and I feel for ya man. I know where your soul is coming from. This ain't for you. I'm trying to save the ones yet to follow the path to self-destruction. Bare with me here..
Whether you're a Yank
or a crooner
or just a record producer
in need of new material who would sell his next door neighbors pet dog for twelve dollars if he could get away with it, there are a number of things to consider when forming a rock band.
Forming a Rock and Roll Band is probably the greatest, most creative, and most vain form of sadomasochistic self-expression the world has ever known. It can lead to incredible psychological trauma, physical trauma, head trauma, bodies in duffel bags, did I mention trauma? Oh it's just awful. There'll be broken noses, broken friendships, broken dreams, broken bottles.. and that's just the roadies. Provided you ever get to a point where you can afford to hire some.
- Consider joining another band instead and help them succeed.
It's better to leech onto a band that already exists and become a hangers-on. Starting from scratch making a whole new band? Have you any idea how many bands are made, every day? Two guys get together in a garage and wave gestured hand signals in the air and announce they're a rock band and laugh and eight months later one of them is upstairs with his head stuck in the commode and the other one is on the street chasing after the tow truck who just run off with the van and all their equiptment. And you have to pay the bills. No. There are enough rock bands on this planet already. Alright.
- No really. Don't.
Bands live and die every day. What makes you so special? I'm warning you. You make another band I'll rip your bleeding arm off. Listen. What kind of noise you gonna make? Arena Rock? Garage Rock? Glam Rock? Angst Rock? Hair Rock? Rythmic Rock? Modern Rock? megadeth Corporate Rock? Fraggle Rock? It's been done! You gonna be the first to create an incredible string band eh? Have an idea to create the first boy band? Try the six hundred and sixty-six thousandth maybe. How can you possibly think you have something new to offer the world that the world hasn't already heard before? Don't think you're different. What makes you think you're special? Statistics show that by the year 2015 everyone on the planet will be able to say I'm with the band. We have too many bands. This planet is growing topheavy from all the equiptment. Stop it.
- Coming up with a name.
What would be an excellent name for a rock band you think? Write out your personal favorite ideas in a looseleaf notebook. Look in baby name books and read magazines. Actually look at the text instead of just the pictures. Go through your album collection and look at all the great names for bands that have come before you: Pink Floyd, The Rolling Stones, Led Zepplin, Dire Straits, ZZTop, The Beatles, Monty Python and all those other names. Try to think of a name that sounds like it belongs in that pantheon of great titles for great bands. Conjure up in your mind the one combination of words that fate has instilled within you because the history of rock n roll has not been fulfilled until you came along and filled the final gap in perfection. Think of a name that when people peruse the record stores and happen across your name on the shelves and in the bins, they won't go "what the hell kinda stupid name is that for a band? Like we don't got enough bands with cooler names than that."
- The Basics
You have to have a percussionist. This could stop you in your tracks faster than anything. If you are actually lucky enough to find a percussionist who isn't doing drugs or insane or both or worse, marry him/her. I don't care if s/he's the wrong gender, get handcuffs or have yourself permanently surgically joined at the hip. Drummers are hard to find and harder to keep, especially if they're good. However, bassists are a dime a dozen, so be sure to keep them in their place and treat them like dirt. Repeatedly ask him why he spent all those years learning how to play the bass when what you really need is a drummer, because you'll have three bass players before you find another drummer. Oh, and at least two guitarists but you can stick a trident into a crowd of people and pull out a guitarist. It's like bobbing for apples. Don't worry about keyboardists. You can hire someone to fix things in the studio to make it sound like you have a full orchestra behind you (see Thomas Dolby). You don't need to hire a keyboardist full time. They look boring on stage.
- Get an agent or promoter
TRUST ME on this. If you're a musician, even if you have the head that it takes to be able to promote yourself, you're gonna want to focus on your art. You can't do that if you spend all your time lining up gigs and networking and making contacts and playing the local music politics in your area with other promoters and club owners and all that stuff. It's a bitch. Find someone you know you can trust. Someone good with numbers. Someone with a vested interest in your band's success. Keep your eye on them and supervise but also don't get in their way. Let them do the stuff that doesn't involve actually holding the instrument. You'll sleep better at night. Believe me.
So in summation and post-script, there are a number of things to consider before actually starting a band. There's already a lot of great bands out there. Maybe try hitching up with one of the other bands already in your area. If you live near a major city, or even in a rural area, chances are there's other likeminded
individuals already making a go of it. Especially if you're a drummer, chances are they need you, or would at least let you jam with them in rehearsals to see what you're made of. If you have to make yet another band that exists, you have to have a name. Although A Bunch of Guys Who Just Happen To Have Instruments
is something you can call yourself, it's not really a great name. And finally there's some raw pieces for the band you'll have to consider if in fact it's rock music you want to create.
Now understand much of the above is tongue in cheek. Let me attempt to be a little serious here for those of you without a sense of humor
. =) Chances are if after all this you still want to form a rock band, just keep in mind it's not going to be easy. I've spoken to guys in bands, and they don't do it for the money
. You're insane if you think that's gonna come easy. There's a lot of better ways to make money
. (Although some admit there aren't many better ways to definitely score the chicks *smirk*). They do it because something inside them drives them to do it. They just love it, and that's great, but before you embark on something like this, my point, and I do have one, is painfully evident. There are a lot of things you have to deal with before you actually form the band.
Thanks for reading. =)
More Things to Consider