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The Band Rules

I was spouting off on facebook earlier today and stumbled into writing down some core beliefs.  I’ve been asked to put there here for posterity!  These are some of the core ideas from a book I’ve been working on called “A Great Way to Make a Lousy Living.”  I need to finish that thing….

Here are the Band Rules (they go to 11):


Band Rules:
1. You should be playing. Working on the website, promoting your event on facebook, doing whatever people do on Instagram, drinking and talking about playing- These are not being a band. These are distractions. Playing is the bricks, this other BS is the mortar, but if you’re playing less than you’re doing this other crap, you’re not really a band.

2. Your gear needs to work. If you can’t get through a week of shows on your amp/drumkit/guitar, you’re an instrument owner and hobbyist, not a musician. Also, if a string isn’t the same note at the 12th fret as it is when it’s open, it doesn’t work.

3. Respect sleep. If a band member falls asleep and you draw on him with a Sharpie, kill yourself. If a band member falls asleep and you move your chair between him and the dressing room door so that you can protect his sleep, you’re comrades and soldiers together. If someone in the van is sleeping and you turn the music down, ditto. Sleep and water are your best antibiotics. Protect each other.

4. Never say “All your songs [x] or [y],” ever, unless it’s to say “… are amazing”. Otherwise, you’re probably trying to say some passive-aggressive bullshit. Always try to talk about the exact thing that you’re talking about. If you’re not sure what you’re talking about, shut up and think about it.

5. With regards to the above: Boredom is anger and anger is fear. See also: “If you’re not sure what you’re talking about, shut up and think about it.”

6. Your bandmates are the most important people in your life, after your family. That’s why you get so angry with them. You’ve only got so many years to pour into your art, and that’s what the fear is about. Make sure you trust the people you’re working with not to waste your life and you will find that the fear becomes manageable. When fear/anger reasserts itself, do your best to remember this.

7. The most important person at a show is the guy who paid full price to get in. Ultimately, that’s who will define your success.

8. Bands get the audience they deserve. Sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly, but ultimately you will find yourself playing for exactly who you should be. Ask Third Eye Blind.

9. Music may be your first choice to make a living, but it’s not the only way to make money. You being broke isn’t helping anyone. 

10. Any significant other who asks you to choose between them and your band doesn’t love you, no matter what you think or they think.

11. Seriously, though, unless your name is Art Blakey or John Bonham, no drum solos.

One Response to The Band Rules

  1. Lemuel Reply

    April 26, 2013 at 4:10 pm

    In thinking about this from a personal perspective as a member of the collective (a band), the hard part is the balance of #1 with #9, which also sometimes means you have to balance those with #3.

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