Rock band 101
I'm a big believer in self education. So, when I can't figure out something, I look for the answer.
Imagine my surprise when I decided to Google "how to start a band" just to see what popped up. Besides the obvious, (find other people who play; if you don't have equipment, go buy some; start playing together) there was nothing useful for the next generation of green band kids.
So, I reached out to some local (and not local) legit indie musicians to get some advice. The response was so fruitful, it's a two segment story. Here's what they had to say:
"Instead of playing every week or so, play every couple of months. Maybe, even once or twice a year. Make your hometown show a big party that people will look forward to. This will give you clout around your town and in the region."
- Black Pistol Fire, Austin
"Put everything on the line every night wherever you are playing. Just because you had a bad day, or the club sucks, or there are only five people at the show, doesn't mean you shouldn't play with every bit of energy and enthusiasm you have. If there is one person there, you owe them the best possible show you have inside of you."
- Mark Linskey of Hudson Falcons, New Jersey
"Shake everyone's hand you can."
- Meg Michelle of The Freakouts, Houston
"Play for yourself, not a target audience."
- Neal Tolbert, Victoria
"Do as much DIY as you can. You would be surprised at what you can pull off with the average computer these days. If you can't, then look online for the DIY small businesses or ask other bands where they get merchandise to promote themselves."
- Scott Free of Apples For Eyes, Austin
It's just money, don't let it ruin your night."
- Doug Blank of Doug Blank and The Violent Man, Austin/Victoria
"Don't be afraid to ask for money. Those guys who play covers aren't afraid to. Your original artistic musical vision is easily more valuable than the regurgitation of some pre-written 60s songs. You're doing something better. Act that way."
- Edwin Kuykendall of Poor Favor, Victoria
Timothy Danger is the music and content director as well as a co-host of the Old Man and Bitter Girl Podcast, which focuses on independent music, art and culture. He is also a musician.