Psychobilly Freak Out!

July 18, 2008

Dear Dude,

First off HUGE fan!

I play in a Psychobilly band. We had to cancel the last 3 practices because our guitar player went out of town / anniversary / Lyle Lovett. Now he’s saying that he doesn’t like the band anymore and doesn’t feel like were going in the “direction” he wants. He claims, “were too hard to be a Psychobilly band.” When it’s he that writes most of the songs. He would rather play Honky Tonk Rockabilly and as of last month started drumming for a band that plays that style but only does covers. Anyways what do you think we should do, besides break his face?

Thanks,
Psychobilly Freak Out!

Dear Psychobilly Freak Out!

First of all breaking his face is not an option, physical violence against band members no matter how drunk, high, or angry the parties are should never be entered in the equation. With that out of the way, I can say there have been more then a few times I have wanted to “break some faces!” Music is personal, music is emotional, and music involves artists injecting part of themselves into the overall product. These three things can lead you to think emotional and irrationally about the predicament of your band. So lets try to tear away all the emotional garbage and take a look at this problem.

Ok, the main fact here is he is the main songwriter. This causes a huge problem for you and the other band members if he wants to leave. Its funny that he says its not going in the direction he wants it to while he is the main songwriter but thats not uncommon. I mean maybe he just doesn’t understand the style you really want to do, or maybe it just seems different to him when your band jams, or maybe its because he would rather play drums then guitar and not have the burden of songwriting on his hands. Whatever the reason (and I am sure I could list 10 or 15 more) his heart is not in it anymore and he is choosing to walk away from the band.

Now you are confronted with a choice. Let him leave and break up, or replace him and move on, The one thing that is clear is the current band climate is not working. So what’s The Dude’s advice? I say let him leave. Tell him you wish him luck and hope to play with his new band some day. There is no reason to fight his leaving. If he is not going to practice and doesn’t feel the music it will be a waste of time for to go forward with him. But this does not mean break up? Shit it’s just a minor bump in the road. You know how many band members I have had to replace? If I had a dollar for each time I could retire and just write advice for free all day! I have seen other bands go through major line up changes and still survive.

My advice is find another guitarist who understands the style you’re trying to rock. Shit replacing a guitarist is the next easiest thing to replacing an amp. Hopefully you will have no problem finding that dude who will fit in. I know it seems scary but move on, and most of all don’t give up. It’s a tough road but, you can and will survive, for those who try to rock, I salute you!

The Dude

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The Touring Gentleman

July 14, 2008

Dear Dude,

My band recently started touring more and although I love it to death it has really been taking a toll on my relationship with my girlfriend. At home we talk and hang out all the time, everything is cool. But as soon as I go on tour it gets ugly. We get into a lot of fights on the phone and I find myself even dreading calling her now. I was wondering how do you juggle your life at home (specifically calling your wife) while on tour? How do you make a long distance relationship work when your never in the same place and working all the time? Do you think I should break up with her or is this something that band members go through all the time? I know this are weird questions but I hope you can help.

Thanks,

The Touring Gentleman

Dear Touring Gentleman,

Keeping your relationship alive, healthy, and most of all positive, while on tour is one of the hardest things to do as a touring musician. I have watched many a rock star hide behind a trailer all night or lock themselves in a bathroom stall for that 5-hour long argument with their significant other. There is so much temptation on tour and even the idea of that temptation can drive your girlfriend/boyfriend to madness while they are at home. The most important ingredient is trust. Having that means communication is not the whole battle, its just one part. You have to make sure that your significant other trusts you and you trust them. It’s a big step in making a relationship work while on tour. This means you can’t cheat on her, you can’t fuck around, you have to be honest and stick to it. This also means that if you ruin this bond of trust you may just doom the relationship forever. The same is true for her. You must have defined and clear lines of what is ok in your relationship and what is not. Its going to be different for every couple but it is very important to take the time before you go on tour to define the parameters or your relationship. I can honestly guarantee if you address this issue before you go on tour your overall communication skills and overall relationship will be better.

I am going to admit that along with the following advice you’re going to need 3 big servings of understanding, patience, and most of all trust. These three attributes are a must to making any relationship survive life on the road and are crucial to the process. But lets get into specifics.

Designated Call Times: Born of the payphone, this is a technique that my wife and I used before the age of cell phones. That being said it’s still a nice technique and can even be applied to the cell phone/internet generation. Chances are the two of you will be on totally different schedules while you’re on tour, and it may be difficult to find a time when it’s good for both you of you to talk. Phone tag is something you definitely want to avoid. It can breed insecurity, and the last thing you want is for her to think you don’t have time for her. So, try setting designated talk time. Think about your next day in advance and pick a 20 to 30 min window that you know you wont be driving, loading in, sound checking, sitting at the merchandise table, setting up before the show, etc. I’m telling you, if you give her an idea of the next time you will talk then all that uneasiness or worry will slowly dissipate. Relationships work well when they work consistently well so try to make those calls consistent. Remember to call when you say you will, and make sure you have the time you promised available. It’s the consistency that will keep her at ease when your on the road. In this instance consistency shows you value her time and will build trust. Coincidently it works really well when your international and need to keep that phone bill to a minimum. So, Mr. Touring Gentleman start working out designated times you can talk and stick to them. I guarantee you will see things get better fast.

Embrace the Electronic Age: Personal communication is a booming field. The rock Gods have blessed us with Skype, the iphone, Black Berry, instant messenger, video chat, oh and my personal favorite, the international cell phone plan. All of the above (plus the three more techniques that just got invented as I write this) have become tools to help keep our ever globalized world expanding. It has brought personal communication to a new height and it us up to you to use these tools while on tour. Video chat is cool but usually involves needing both of you to be online in a quiet place at the same time. This is sometimes hard. Skype, ichat, and Internet phones are nice and cheap. I see many a touring musician using these more and more often. The Black Berry phone is in my personal arsenal. It allows you to do Black Berry to Black Berry messaging free anywhere in the world anytime. Instant messenger is a must, its great while your working in a loud areas or doing work on your computer while on tour. Anyway what’s my point? Well it’s to start embracing all these communication outlets in order to make sure your home your life doesn’t get neglected. The world becomes a smaller place every second, and as a touring musician you need to use this to your advantage every step of the way.

Make sure she has a life of her own: Now this may seem harsh, but this is actually a major problem I see in most unhealthy relationships on tour. You don’t want your significant other to be living vicariously through you. He or she needs to have his or her own goals, ambitions, and aspirations. Otherwise its just the YOU show and that can get old real quick. The most unattractive quality a girl can have to me is laziness. You can’t let her get so wrapped up in your life that she forgets about her own. You need to encourage her to have aspirations and goals, as well as a strong social network. I know one of the main things that helps my wife, when I’m away from home for long periods, is her friends and busy social life. Equally you have to make it clear to her what your goals and aspirations are. I mean, if she knows you’re out there slumming it so that one day you can do this or that professionally, then it’s clear you have a defined goal your working towards. Damn, in two minutes you can go from loser musician to dude who is following his dream, and hopefully it will be contagious. If she realizes you have a plan for the future she will want one for herself. This is going to take time and work but it is essential to having a healthy relationship on tour. In fact I can state that every healthy relationship I have observed on tour is between two individuals who both have clear goals and are striving for success together as a couple.

Should you break up with her? Dude that is a complicated question to answer in one email response. I can tell you that every good relationship goes through tough spots, and every good relationship involves work. But let me say this, a good first step would be to evaluate your relationship based on the above information and then take steps to try and work on those things. Ask yourself, do I do the best job in communicating regularly? Is trust an issue in my relationship? Do both members of the relationship have goals and direction that help both remain focused on the bigger picture of life? These are all hard questions but they must be asked. By forcing yourself to work on these components of your relationship you will find it will help your growth as a couple and as individuals, and it’s this growth that will make for a strong enough relationship to survive even the longest tour.

The Dude


Student of Rock

May 21, 2008

Dear Dude,

I’m 19 and attending college right now working on getting my bachelor’s degree in engineering. I love Darkest Hour and I see you’ve gotten yourself a college degree so maybe you could give me some advice. How did you handle managing your time between playing music and schoolwork? I know that a lot of guys in bands never went to college and dedicated their time to music but I really want to be able to support myself in case things don’t go my way.

Thanks,
Student of Rock!

Dear Student of Rock,

Playing in a full time band and going to college full time go together about as good oil and water. Both lifestyles seem to work directly against each other. Parents often times pressure you to quit your band because they fear it will interfere with your studies (which they always think are more important) and your band mates pressure you because they are afraid attending college might in some way hold the band down or keep them from opportunities. Is there a way to do both? How do you handle schoolwork, playing music, developing a band, and still keep your sanity? I can help with the fist couple but the sanity part, well that might just be up to you.

When I attended college it was for a total of five consecutive years. Darkest Hour existed the entire time since we had started in high school. We were a signed touring band for the last 2 1/2 years of my college life and let me tell you it was not easy by any stretch of the word. Here are some tips that can help:

  1. Use Your Breaks: The number one thing we did to work around my school schedule was to schedule touring around college breaks. We went on tour anytime I had a 4-day break. We would do weekends up and down the east coast, and on winter and summer breaks we booked longer tours. There wasn’t a whole lot of pressure to tour (and we had to book it ourselves which was hard as shit) so that made it at least easier to sneak shows in between class days without worrying about having to tour and miss class.
  2. Schedule Your Life: Another thing I would do was stack all my classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I was also working as a bike messenger for 4 of those years and was able to only work on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. This allowed me to work and go to school all during the workweek. Since Friday’s and Saturday’s are the key nights to play when your doing one off shows this worked out nicely. The other thing this allowed me to do was book long weekends. Since I didn’t have to be back to class until the next Tuesday I could leave Thursday night and we could play shows Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. That’s a nice four-day block I could do anytime.
  3. Talk to Those Teachers: It’s a common misconception that college teachers are hard asses. Honestly, I got along with almost all my teachers and it was pretty clear that I didn’t fit in. In my graduating social work class there couldn’t even have been more then 10 men total and I was one of five or so in his twenties. Oh, I guess the tattoos and fact that I was always doodling Van Halen and Pantera logos all over the place didn’t help. All my teachers knew my situation and all were pretty understanding, as long as the work I turned in showed that I had put in the appropriate amount of time and thought. Get them on your side, everyone loves a story about someone chasing their dream. Especially teachers.
  4. Learn How to Study: I’m not going to lie I didn’t go to class all the time. I now wish I had paid a bit more attention. But what I did learn fast was how to study. You need to look at how your teachers present information and learn how to pick out what is important and what you will be tested on (hint: they are usually the same thing). Doing all the reading assigned to your course goes hand in hand with learning what to study. All those weekend tours and trips, those drives are the perfect time to get that reading done.
  5. Manage that Time: In this instance college is a perfect way to prepare you for the world after it. If you continue to pursue that career in music you are going to have to learn how to juggle a whole bunch of shit at once. My fifth and final year of college I held down a forty hour a week internship, recorded So Sedated So Secure, went to school full time, and worked on the weekends. It was unforgiving and brutal most time but that’s what college is about. If I were you I wouldn’t get sucked into all the parting. It’s fun but really you will have plenty of time to party back stage. Its best to just focus and get’er done. That way you can get the hell out and start rocking the world.
  6. Don’t be Afraid to Lean on Your Friends: Lets be clear I couldn’t have made it through all those years in school and kept the band alive if my band mates weren’t cool dudes. They were always very supportive, and I owe them for that patience. I also had the very awesome support of my now wife but then girlfriend. Without her there is no way I could have made it mentally. It’s good to have friends that you can talk to especially ones that have graduated college. It can help keep you focused to draw on their experience for needed guidance.

I’ll never forget the summer before my last year of college. We had signed a record deal with MIA records. We had recorded Mark of the Judas (my sophomore year of college) and it was about to be released. I thought for sure I was about to be on tour for months straight. I couldn’t handle the idea of waiting any longer to start my real dream. I was determined that summer that I was going to tell my parents “Fuck it! I only have one year left I’ll just come back to this later, lets rock!” I went to talk to my parents knowing they were going to be pissed, but I didn’t care. Turns out my dad was real weird about it. He didn’t get mad or anything we just had this strange conversation about how I just didn’t understand. He said once I left college I wouldn’t go back, that everything changes and it just would be to hard. We kind of left it unresolved and I left for tour.

On the last day of the tour we played New Jersey and all the MIA staff came out. Yeah, they all came out to tell us that on the day our first record was coming out we were going to be dropped. Turns out the record label we had just signed to went bankrupt. I took that as a sign and decided to finish that final year of school and get my degree.

Looking back on it I can tell you how right my dad was. Dude, I couldn’t hold my shit in college right now. It would be so hard to go back I can’t even explain. In the long run, staying in school while still rocking gave me the ability to grow as both an artist and a person. I believe it was facing all of those challenges that prepared me to live life as a modern musician. It’s funny, but the one thing I always felt was in the way of my musical career (college), ended up being the one thing that prepared me most for life as a professional musician.


Dudes Gone Wild!

May 19, 2008

Dear Dude,

I have been rocking in an established band for many years now, and our singer has caught the dreaded L.S.D (Lead Singer Disease, aka: he has gone crazy). Now, I know rocking and partying go hand in hand, but this guy seems to be taking it to the limit. Quite frankly, his spiraling out of control is bringing myself and other members of the band down. So, what is a fellow dude to do? Do I kick a little ass or do we sit him down and try talking and tell him that he seems to be going through a mid life crisis?

Thanks,
Dudes Gone Wild!

Dear Dudes Gone Wild,

Lead singers, dude, they are their own beast! But coming down with a case of the old overactive partier syndrome, well that can happen to any member. We have all seen the VH1 Behind the Music rock star cliche stories of alcohol, drug abuse, and self-destruction. It’s such an old story most people ignore, or almost, expect it. Why is this so cliche? Because, it happens a lot and it’s often times the true story. Most good musicians have a certain kind of compulsive personality that can easily turn into addiction. Not only are we compulsive by nature we are also around a lot of free booze, and well…lets just say partying. So, what’s the right move for dealing with an overactive partier in your band?

The first thing you have to do is search yourself to make sure you’re aware of all your feelings. Are you straight edge, or do you not drink? I was the sole straight edge member of my band for almost 12 years and let me tell you, it does really suck. If you’re not straight edge but you just don’t drink it’s going to be pretty much the same for you. Basically, It’s going to be lame when dudes are partying. You have to remember drinking socially can be done healthily. It is possible to only have a few drinks every once in a while, it is possible to go on tour and get rip roaring drunk a few times and still come home a relatively healthy person, shit it is even possible to have an amazing time as the only sober person in a room. It’s not all sober extremists and drunken Axl Roses,  there can be a middle ground.

Maybe, you do party and still have a problem with the level that other band members party. I would say you too have to do a little soul searching. One thing I have noticed from being around functioning alcoholics in bands (and almost every band I meet has at least one) is that they like to judge. Not to mention people with substance abuse problems sometimes like to make claims they know will hurt other people in order to misplace blame, or deal with other internal issues they may be having. It might be a hard look but you have to remember you need to make sure you have thought how your views may impair the judgment of your peers. My point is you need to make sure the judgment of your friend is coming from a place of compassion and genuine concern. Otherwise there may be some subconscious motive you may be missing.

Also, remember when anyone first starts partying they will go through a ‘honeymoon’ stage. They tend to be more social about it and will probably do everything in excess. Hopefully, after being hung over in front a whole lot of people at a show, or just being physically wrecked on tour a few times from drinking, your dude will hit his stride and mellow out. Some people (especially dudes in bands) don’t get to go through that phase of partying that most others go through in college. Lets be clear, do not use this paragraph as an excuse for inaction, use it merely to gain perspective. If you think that none of the last three paragraphs apply to your situation, then please, start communicating with him!

That’s right, after all your band members really should be your brothers and sisters. Vince Neil once said that a band isn’t really a band unless it acts like a gang and a family. I actually fully agree with him. I think if your singer is a person you have been in a band with for a while, is someone you genuinely care about as a person, and care about making music with in the future, you should express your concerns to this person and put it all out on the table. See, bands think in collective consciousness so you want to make sure your band (i.e. family) members know that abusive and aggressive self destructive behaviors are not condoned by the overall group.

At first I would try a simple short conversation. I suggest you do it alone just you and the band member in question. It’s best not to make a scene and you don’t want the member to feel like everyone is ganging up on him or her. Make sure you keep the conversation positive. Its good to start by telling the person you care about them and their friendship. You just want to put it out on the table that the partying concerns you a little and you want to make sure that the members health isn’t being neglected. Your band member may get pissed, may react angrily but people don’t like to be judged even if they are doing something wrong. Remember your friend has a right to make his or her own life choices but that doesn’t give them the right to be self-destructive. You need to acknowledge that you respect your friend’s decision but you want to put it on his or her radar that you are concerned. Friendship is a give and take, so you need to be willing to give your friend the respect to let him or her make their own decisions and they need to be willing to respect you by giving your concerns an honest ear. Try to end the conversation on something positive and leave it open to be discussed later.

This is a hard position to be in. You don’t want to make it a big deal if it isn’t, you don’t want to turn you band into a mess of personal problems, and if your not a partier you don’t want to open up the whole “I party, you don’t” argument. It’s all about intentions, keep them honest and sincere. Its probably not going to be a fun conversation but it will get the ball rolling. So look inside yourself and take a hard look at the situation from all angles. Decide whether now is the time to act and if so start a dialog. It is by opening the lines of communication you can fight dissent amongst your band members, quell any inner tensions, and most of all do the right thing as a friend.

The Dude


Stay at Home Face Melter

May 14, 2008

Dear Dude,

First off, at 28 years old, I’ve been following DH since you played about 8 years ago in an old church basement in Cincinnati so, naturally I’m a big fan. I’m in a unique situation, similar to yours. I have my Masters degree in Counseling, and a Bach’s degree in Social Work. I work now getting kids who are addicted to drugs off of them, and I love my job. I’ve been playing metal since I was 13 and my band, if I may say, melts faces. But we’ve all made a choice to play as a hobby. We love our families and our jobs here at home. But one question that keeps coming up is: Is there any way to have your music distributed on a national level (by a label or otherwise) without national touring? We just would all really love to go to Best Buy and be like “Hey, that band, Pterodactyl Battle, yeah that’s us. You can buy that here”. So, if in your spectrum of amazingness, possibly from a bubble bath, you can offer some good advice outside of giving up (heard that one), then your spectrum of awesomeness could only increase. Thanks so much (for your music and help)

Thanks,

Stay at Home Face Melter

Dear Stay at Home Face Melter,

Being in a band at home is actually harder then most people think. I have a bunch of friends who are in bands but also have other “careers.” It’s funny because when I was a kid I just thought it was all or nothing, like rock star or bust! You were either in a touring band or your band didn’t matter. Now that I have been slugging it out for this long I can tell you there are many ways of rocking in life, not just the full tilt rock star touring action. So you’re not in a touring band but you want to get your music distributed on a national level with out touring. Can it be done and if so how?

Lets get something out of the way first. Getting your CD in Bestbuy is probably not going to happen if you’re not touring. Also getting signed to a bigger independent record label is also probably not going to happen. I say ‘probably’ because you may be able to prove all of the above wrong by doing one thing: being an amazing, amazing band. Now that’s going to be really, really hard so I would think realistically. The truth is neither of these things needs to be part of your ultimate goal anyway. What I am saying is that you already have a way for your music to be distributed internationally and at very little cost to you. You already have a way to sell your product to the world without a record label OR best buy. You already have… the Internet.

First you need to record your music well. Its going to be self financed at first so play shows, do a car wash, play more shows, work a normal job whatever you need to do to get some cash. If you have a career and other band members do too, then its up to all of you to pool your money for a recording. Remember its like a tattoo, you will have it forever so be willing to spend a little bit more money and time on it then you first thought you should.

Take that recording and put it up on itunes, your website, Myspace, Pure Volume, Sound Exchange or any other website that sells MP3’s. I did that with my own band, Man and Wasp. We recorded the songs ourselves and released it on the Internet ourselves. Now we have a band that never tours, never plays, but has a record available for purchase anywhere in the world over the internet. It allows us to just keep writing songs and not have to think about the pressures of touring in a band.

If you want an actual product, well then, you can very simply start an online store. Bands of your size can get CD’s pressed themselves at places like Furnace CD. It’s actually run by the man who signed darkest hour to their first record deal. You can order say 1000 CDs and then set up a site to sell them through. It may mean doing a little more work yourself and fronting a bit more money but it will mean that you will have an internationally distributed record without having any pressure to tour what so ever.

All you have to do from here on out is promote the site. Play shows, pass out fliers, you can even “cyber” tour (you know just add friends to your myspace and promote your band via the internet). Especially if your career happens to be a boring desk job. Believe it or not you could use that cubical time to do some real “tour” work on the computer.

There is really only one reason for a record label to sign a band that is not going to tour all the time. And that’s out of pure love for that band. How many record labels in 2008 are making that decision? Lets just answer not enough. So fuck it, there is also no reason to sign to a record label if your not going to be touring or doing it full time. You don’t need them. You can do everything yourself, on your terms, and on your time line. That’s what the future of music on the Internet is really, at least I believe. Soon we will all be able to create music and distribute it ourselves straight from artist to listener.

The Dude


Caught in a Mosh

May 6, 2008

Dear Dude,

What should I do if I’m in a situation where the other guitarist in my band and the drummer present a new riff and I think it fuck’n blows? It’s like a ton of random notes, not appealing sounding at all, and definitely not catchy or melodic, which is what we are going for. I tried to say I didn’t like it but they keep saying WE LIKE IT. Seriously it doesn’t even go with our music at all!

Thanks,
Caught in a Mosh

Dear Caught in a Mosh,

Inter-band politics and song writing is something you almost can never get away from. Music is art and art is expression. It’s not unreasonable for someone to get emotional about his or her music. No matter what type of band scenario you’re in, you’re probably going to have to deal with something like this. So don’t fear it. This kind of tension is what writing music is all about, and it’s from this tension great riffs, songs, and records have been made. Its not easy for most people and even some of the biggest and sickest bands go through this all the time.

The first thing you need to do is search yourself. Do you really not like the riff/song idea or is there something else going on? Being in a band can be like being in perpetual high school. There are all sorts of little inter-band dynamics that can cloud both your and your band members’ judgments. So make sure you are pure at heart, and not thinking from that place in your brain that is still pissed cause the other guitar player can play the solo to Crazy Train better than you.

Next, ask is there something I can change in a slight way to make this riff not only more smoken’, but also more me? I have noticed that when this problem usually occurs the dude who thinks the riff sucks, doesn’t like the fact that there is none of his own ideas in the riff. It can be rough justice to face, but sadly, often true. Maybe add some sort of harmony, maybe you don’t like the chord progression, or maybe the riff should be faster or slower. Chances are if you are all into the same bands and clear about what type of band you’re in, there should be a way to tweak it and make it better.

Ok, what if the riff/song idea in question really does suck. In that case, what do you do when you’re presented a riff that “blows?” It’s important to be tactful, respectful, and most of all clear as to what you think is not working. When you’re working in a group situation you have to be able to work with other people, so make sure you hone in on what doesn’t work for you. That way you can work as a team to make the idea grow, or explore other options. A common misconception is that you have to make all these decisions right away. It may not hit you right away what isn’t working, so don’t be afraid to take your time while you’re writing. This doesn’t mean never commit, it just means if you need some time to come up with the critical feedback that is going to help push the song, that’s ok. So maybe keep the riff in the song as a placeholder just remember not to let it sit there too long. Bands often times don’t like change because it involves more work.

Its important to remember a band is a team, a gang, and a collective of individual voices singing together. You need those band mates and they need you. Who knows how many bad riffs I would have pushed forward if it weren’t for my band mates. Work together and find a way to communicate with your fellow bros. No one wants to be in a band with people who are unhappy with the music they are playing. No one wants to be in a band where the members are afraid to say they don’t like something. No one wants to be in a band that isn’t honest and real to what it is. So keep your band honest, communicate clearly, and be willing to share the burden of song writing. I promise it will be worth it for everyone involved when you write that first kick as song.

The Dude


Flaky Band Mates

April 10, 2008

Dear Dude,

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?

Thanks,

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!

THE DUDE