I’ve been thinking about doing a series of tips for bands just starting out. I figure my band is successful enough and I’ve learned enough that I have some wisdom to pass along. I’ve been doing it for a while and have noticed a lot of truly awful things that bands pass off as normal behavior so hopefully I can make the world a better place by helping to prevent this.
I, in no way, profess to know everything about ‘how to make it in the music biz.’ If I did I would be writing this from the lounge of a tour bus and not from the free couch in my $355/month apartment (Or maybe I would be writing it from this couch between tours). At the moment my band has 272 likes on Facebook, 206 followers on Twitter and 682 fans on Reverbnation. I’m OK with these stats because we do well playing out and people seem to be enjoying our stuff; however, if you disagree with my views I encourage you to share your own. This tutorial is intended to help people catch up with where I’m at (or perhaps surpass me), if you have another way of doing things which will bring more success I’d love to hear it.
And for full disclosure the I’ve stolen the title from a column J. Yuenger of White Zombie did for Guitar World
PART 1 – Start a Band for the Right Reason
The only reason you should start a band is because you love music and have fun playing it. You shouldn’t start/join a band to make a lot of money, get rich and famous and/or to get chicks. There are much easier ways to accomplish these things than play bass for 20 people at a bar in the sticks. And if you’re heart isn’t in it… well, you’re not going to succeed anyway.
The first thing people always ask about my band is whether or not I make any money with it. I’m honest and say “Yeah, we make a little.” The truth is that I’d like it all to go back into the band to pay for gas to get to/from show, musical equipment and eventually I’d like to have physical CD’s instead of the download only “Lost in Translation” on bandcamp.
I don’t really worry too much about making money because it’s my hobby. My band is my old motorcycle that I’ve bought to restore, my model train set, my hunting, my fishing, my stamp collection, my woodworking and my sports. I figure I spend about an equal amount of money with my hobby as what other do with theirs.
And if you’re just looking to make money you have a better chance making it standing with a sign on the freeway off ramp.