Hey man, me and my bud have been trying to get a serious band going for over a year now, but all the drummers and guitarists in our area always flake out on us when we get something promising in the works. Advice?
Flaky Band Mates
Dear Flaky Band Mates,
There are few constants in the music business that I have witnessed but one of them is definitely that musicians are NOT reliable. The age-old stereotype is sadly often times true. But that doesn’t mean ALWAYS TRUE. There is also sometimes musicians who are reliable, dedicated, determined, and willing to go through just about anything for NO MONEY. They are motivated by the urge to rock the world! They are motivated to put on sick rock concerts! They are…you get the point. That’s the type of dude that you want to be in a band with.
Now that doesn’t mean every person has to be a leader or some motivated work-alcoholic. It takes many different types of dudes to make a team of dudes that work well together but, that’s advice for a different day.
So how do you replace or avoid members that are too flaky? Well the first thing you need to do is to find new people. You need the numbers, you need options, and there are tons of ways to do that. I love putting up fliers. It sounds pretty old school but it kind of works, for real. Find your local Guitar Center (or a great local music store) that is tied in with local musicians and put up fliers! My favorite is Atomic Music in College Maryland. It’s a good example of a real community music store, and I love to see that there are still places like that out there. Guitar Center would work too. Just find where local dudes interact because its like blood for sharks. Where there is gear there are dudes.
There are, however, more subtle ways to meet musicians. My personal favorite is to ask other musicians you’ve met on the road. Now you may not be touring yet so that won’t help at all. But maybe you have been in another band that played one show or you have been to shows of local bands. There has to be other local bands in your area in similar situations. If you haven’t been around local bands then you need to start going to local shows (if your not sure how to do that well….just write in another question). The point is network with other musicians and you will eventually find dudes who you will like to jam with. I mean, that’s how Van Halen formed!
So, is that it? Well no, not really. I couldn’t leave out a response about this without mentioning the Internet. The most important communication tool of the 21st Century. If you’re creating music get on the Internet and post it. Make a Myspace page and send it around. If you want to survive and do music you love, then shit, you may have to resort to doing something as lame as finding dudes over the internet. It just doesn’t matter, the point is you have to try, and like I said ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE.
Now you will still find flakes, but that just comes with bands in general. I can tell you that as soon as you start networking you WILL find dudes who feel the urge to rock as hard as you do. To sum it up: network and try to get your music out there anyway possible. Your best bet is to tie into your local music scene. Find those other dudes who are making it work and rock hard with’em!