5 Reasons To Start A Band (Other Than Fame And Fortune)
October 20, 2019
Adam Mezzatesta in Advice, Advice, Band, Music Business, getting started, scene, stage fright

Let’s be honest - we’ve all had ‘the dream’. Millions of adoring fans singing every word back to us, an army of teamsters at our beck and call, an endless supply of money and every other vice under the sun, never having to deal with the daily grind, the 9 to 5, or the Man ever again. Please note the emphasis on ‘dream’.

We need to careful in this day and age - particularly us millennials, who apparently want everything done for us already - that we’re doing things for the right reasons. On the one hand, we can’t expect that whatever we create is a guaranteed meal ticket; on the other, we shouldn’t create something solely to become a meal ticket. If you work for your meals - or even make them yourself - they’ll taste better anyway.

There’s plenty of fulfilment to be found in the act of creation, and plenty of reasons beside fulfilment to start your own band. Some of the best bands are those who broke new musical ground, risking the ‘no commercial value’ label (or even risking having no label at all - see Bohemian Rhapsody), and some who so blatantly sought fame and fortune have since become laughing stocks (see any hair metal band).

So let’s forget all the garish glitz and glamour for a second, and take a look instead at what’s really great about starting your own band:

5 Come Together Right Now!

We’re not saying you aren’t already a team player, but starting a band merges your individual identity with the collective identity that comprises the sound and vision you all share. All of a sudden, you’re part of something that’s bigger than you, and that’s great for perspective. You’d be surprised at how much of your own time you’d be willing to sacrifice for some greater purpose, and a band quickly becomes that greater purpose. After all, how silly does ‘I can’t play the gig on Friday, I still have half a season of Game Of Thrones left to watch’ sound to you?

Moreover, a band will give you a great sense of camaraderie that’s rare to find. Unlike a sports team, you can’t exactly ‘lose’ at being a band (unless everyone hates you), but you do get to tackle bigger and bigger challenges as you develop together. And for every misstep, you’re always going to be there to pick each other up again.

4 Ticking Away the Moments that Make Up a Dull Day

Some might say routine is lethal, but in some cases it can be good for us to have a regular activity to look forward to. And breaking up a stressful week of work with a couple of letting-your-hair-down sessions is certainly one of those cases. Even if you’ve been too busy to schedule in a date with your partner, a night out with your mates or dinner with your parents, you’ll still have your weekly dose of human interaction that doesn’t take place in front of the water cooler.

Being an active musician improves your timekeeping skills in more ways than staying in step with your metronome. When you graduate from your garage to the rehearsal room, you’ll soon realise that you’re running on your band’s time. And time is money, as well as time - so you can’t waste a second of it. You also need to show up in good time for your gigs, because ‘the show must go on’ (the full version of that saying being ‘the show must go on with or without you). So take your time. Hurry up. Choice is yours, don’t be late.

3 We Built This City

Local music scenes always benefit from new bands cropping up, whether it’s the refreshing scent of new blood to flush out the stale clots of boredom, or a little friendly competition to prompt existing bands to up their game. And even if you’re in a small pond, once you make that initial splash, your waves will soon rock the boats of all the other big fish, and you’ll soon be welcomed into their school. There are few things in life that can rival the warm, fuzzy feeling of being accepted - plus, there’ll be plenty of useful tips and hilarious stories coming your way from the other local bands.

New local bands are good for other areas of your community, other than your local music scene. Every gig you do (providing it’s at least moderately well attended) will generate custom and revenue for your local pubs. You’ll also be breathing new life into local charity events, fetes and festivals, which will give attendance a much appreciated boost. Also, you’ll be keeping those kids who come to your shows off the streets, which we all know is of the utmost importance.

2 Don’t You Forget About Me

Of course, we’re all comforted by the fact that we’ll live on through our loved ones - and these days, what with our lives being documented by regular selfie updates, our social media accounts - but most of us still feel the need to make our lives mean something, to do something future generations can remember us by. And what better way of doing that amongst your friends and family than becoming a local legend?

Granted, this may sound as if it’s contravening our ‘other than fame’ rule, but it’s more than that. It’s you participating in local events, birthdays, weddings and the like. It’s you bringing joy to people you care about, and not being afraid of letting them having a laugh at your expense on the odd occasion. It’s you giving up your time so everyone else can enjoy theirs. You might not get to see your name in lights, but it’s still an honour to see them on the village pub’s chalkboard.

1 I’m Doing It For the Thrill

Last but not least - in fact, probably most - being in a band is one of the most exciting things you can ever do. There’s nothing quite so simultaneously nerve-racking and satisfying as getting up onstage and blaring out the music you’ve created with your bandmates. It’s empowering to the point of feeling godlike for a solid 45 minutes. In the practice room you’ve created a beautiful sound out of nothingness, and on the stage you’ve got the whole world in your hands.

Even if you suffer from stage fright early on, you’ll learn to love it soon enough. It may even help you deal with other scary moments in your life, like having to give public speeches or presentations - you’ll know that now you can handle the spotlight.

And, finally, you could also be doing the musical community the greatest favour of all: inspiring future generations. Music is, as we musicians know, more of a continuum than a fixed point in time. Sure, there are highlights that shine especially brightly, but the main thing to remember is that you’ve got to keep the flame alive for when your time comes to pass the torch. Just remember to pass down some wisdom with it.

Written by Joe Hoten

Article originally appeared on Music Think Tank (http://www.musicthinktank.com/).
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