Yet another rant: Making It...
(06 Mar 03)
Making It With A Band
Making it with a band
This one is already tough because it's actually pretty hard to make it with a band, to be successful and live on that. Simply because there are a lot of bands out there, and the music scene has changed a bit too. (the latter thing is debatable, I know!)
Anyway, first you have to decide what kind of music you wanna play. I don't mean what style. I mean whether you wanna play your own music, or cover stuff.
If you decide to play your own music, you have chosen the tougher route in my opinion. Because, depending on what style of music you make, it might be a bit tougher to get gigs as an original band, while a coverband might have it a bit easier (depending on WHAT that band covers, and how many other coverbands are in the area that are focussing on the same music).
Now, first of all, you have to pay attention to that BAND-CHEMISTRY. I mentioned this in my last rant. It is not only important that the people in the band get along, all of the people involved should have similar goals.
See, I have seen bands where all members really were not big friends or anything. They had no social contacts other than the band, but they had similar goals and that kinda worked... until they went on tour for three weeks and had to spend those weeks together in a nightliner and the same hotel.
Those opportunities, small tours together, or a huge number of gigs in a short period of time can be tough for a band, and is one ultimate test.
I have seen that go wrong with a band I was in. We got along great right from the start, had a lot of fun at rehearsals and during the first few shows. But once we went on a mini-tour (6 dates in 1 1/2 weeks), we were really stressed out. Because we weren't used to spending that much time together, and we learned a lot of new things about each other.
What I mean when I say "Everyone should have similar goals"... well, I explained that last time. A quick reminder: it won't work if two of the bandmembers wanna "make it", play out a lot, record stuff, while other members of the band are just happy to get together once a week and play an occasional concert.
I know it's tough, but you should try to clear that point up as soon as possible
Also, there MIGHT be a point where it's "friendship vs. the next step".
An example? A former student of mine was in a band with 4 really good friends. They had known each other for years, and they were determined to become successful with their band. Now, their drummer finished high-school and decided to go to a college which was pretty far away (he considered it important to go to that college). And so he was available on the weekends or throughout school-breaks only.
That sure slowed the band down a bit, limited it. Of course, the other guys could have done some different stuff for the band (like i.e. meet up to write some songs, which could have been rehearsed on the weekends, WITH their drummer). But the other guys felt that that was too much of a limitation for the band. And now they were at a point where they had to decide... kick their friend (those guys have been friends for years!) out of the band, or live with the limitation, maybe missing a few good chances with the band (missing time to work together, or play shows that were booked on week-days).
Or what about the security-thing?
I mean, some people in your band might have a good secure job, where they earn the money they need (i.e. to support a family), while some of you might be a bit more "free" (i.e. working at a 7/11 to make some money to pay the bills, and have enough time for the band, plus no one to support).
There's a band with 5 members. One of them has just gotten married, and is expecting his first child. He has got a pretty good job, and is earning money to support his wife and child, while saving up some money for a house.
Guys, that is completely understandable!
Now, others in the band are single, and they have those kinda "just to pay the bills"-jobs, and they wanna take the next step... invest some money to get into the studio to record a really good demo, prepare some expensive promo-material, play out more to promote the band.
The married dude says something like "Dudes, I am happy to play out with you guys, but I can't play those weekday-shows, I need to go to work and I'd like to spend some time with my wife. Can't we just stick with shows on the weekend. And... once we "take the next step", I dunno whether I can invest more time into the band, which will be necessary".
Again, here we've got a tough situation.