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Top 10 Reasons Your Efforts to Find a Band via Craigslist are Failing

Well, things have changed in everyone’s lives, and I find myself in search of someone new for my band. Apparently Craig’s List has become a very popular place for musicians to search for a band to join, or to search for new members, or to try to find people to start a band. But Craig’s List seems to have its own set of challenges. So I’m going to vent a little, and in the process give you a few laughs.

If you’re a musician looking to join a band,  and you’ve been trying & trying, responding to tons of ads, or running ads of your own, yet you just can’t seem to get into a band, you might pick up some tips here.  So read this very carefully. Here you go – my Top Ten Reasons You Can’t find a Band with Craig’s List:

 #10: You don’t include any samples of your playing when you reply. You know the ads that say “PROVIDE A LINK TO YOU PLAYING” or something similar? And instead you reply with something like “yo man i can tolly jam im jus wat u lookin 4,” a phone number, and no links. What part of “Provide a link to you playing” is not clear?

#9: You say something like “yo man i can tolly jam im jus wat u lookin 4” in your reply. (See #10.) Really? You can’t take time to actually create an intelligent, articulate response? Do you think that your lack of effort in the message will cause me to think “Damn! He must put a LOT of effort into his instrument since he saves so much time and energy on his crappy messages?” You might want to rethink that strategy…

#8: You don’t actually READ the entire ad. You see “drummer wanted” and shoot off a reply. You include links to your awesome video of your blood-spitting drum solo in your zombie-face make-up, and wonder why the guy has not hired you. Had you read the entire ad, you might have noticed he was looking for a clean cut jazz drummer for supper club work. Or maybe you’re the jazz drummer sending links to a death-metal band. I don’t know. Just read the whole ad, okay? Dumb-ass.

#7: You respond to an ad saying you’re available; they email you back with some questions, and YOU NEVER REPLY!! Oh come on! You know you’ve done it! Someone replies with a couple of questions and you decide that it is just too much trouble to answer. You’re thinking “Wha? My playing is awesome! They should just make me the new bass player! I don’t have time to answer their lame questions.” Besides, it’s really none of their stinkin’ business whether you have a valid driver’s license or not, right?

#6: Your ad says “Looking for a working band only!” Ummm, dude, if they are working they don’t need you. Or are you so awesome that they will instinctively realize that they should fire the current bassist (or drummer) and bring you on board? So let me get this straight – you have done absolutely nothing to help get this band to the point where they are working every weekend, and you just want to step in and get the glory and the money? This coming weekend?  Oh come on! Just what is it you’re bringing to the party that is so awesome that you get to skip all the effort it takes to build a song list, skip the crappy gigs that lead to name recognition, skip the months or years of building relationships with bookers & venues, and just walk in & say “Show me the money?” Get over yourself.

#5: You are too specific in what offshoot of the sub-sub-genre you are willing to play. “Awesome drummer available – want to join or form band that performs post-apocalyptic-emo-grunge-electro-acid-party-music in the style of The Pissing Lizard Crew, siNK hOLE wReAckaGE, or Vibrators4mercy.” So there you sit in your basement, patiently waiting for one of the other 8 people in North America that actually have heard of these bands to email you with an offer. Maybe you should see if the mall is looking for a janitor, so you can pay some bills while you wait…

#4: Your ad has a conflicting message. God, if I had a nice, crisp $5 bill for every time I’ve seen this kind of ad I could buy a good, used Paul Reed Smith guitar: “Bassist available. Serious inquiries only. No flakes. Working band preferred. I have all pro gear, including a really nice First Act bass, a Behringer 1×10 amp, and a really long Dynex cable so I can put on a good show. Willing to buy bigger amp after a couple of good paying gigs. I work nights, so only call between noon and 4pm.” Dude, you’ll want to keep the manager of that Pizza Hut where you work happy, because I don’t see your big break coming any time soon.

Bonus! #4b: Or what about this guy: “Drummer, can play all styles. Looking to join oldies or country rock band. No jazz or metal bands, I can’t play that weird crap.” Listen champ, either you can play all styles or you can’t. Pick a side and stick to it. Jeez.

#3: The headline on your ad just says “Drummer.” Seriously, this is such a total dumb-ass thing to do. People reading it don’t know if you ARE a drummer, if you WANT a drummer, or you recently SAW a drummer. Chances are, however you mean it, most people will think it means the opposite & skip your ad. So just be clear – say “drummer looking for band” or “drummer wanted.” And don’t be cute with something like “NWRBLF drummer.” What on earth does that mean? For all I know it means “Nerdy White Rapper Becoming Lousy Fat drummer” or ??? How the hell am I supposed to know you meant “Nearly Working Rock Band Looking For drummer?” Keep it simple, stupid.

#2: Your replies to the people that answered your ad are not prompt. You only reply on every other Saturday night between 7:11pm & 7:21pm. Or maybe you use some other arcane formula, but the point is that you ran an ad. Within hours you have responses. The professional thing – hell, the courteous thing – to do would be to reply to these people promptly, even if it’s only to say something like “Sorry, I downed an entire bottle of Jagermeister and thought I’d start a band made up exclusively of creepy old men and a hot goth chick. Changed my mind,” and be done with it!

#1: You’re a guitarist. No offense, but really dude! There are more guitar players in the USA than the total population of some countries! And I’m not talking small countries, either. Seriously, open a window, chuck that stupid metronome as far as you can throw it, (even with your eyes closed!) and it will hit a guitar player. Seriously. And he is probably pretty freakin’ good, too. Just look at all of the YouTube videos of some pimple faced, stringy haired 13 year old dork playing some Yngwie Malmsteen shit at double speed. I should know; I’m a guitarist. No one asks if I can play, they assume that’s a given. The things they want to know are: if I fit the accepted American Idol Usable Age Range (18 to 29 – everyone knows after 29 your ability to play magically evaporates); do I have the Required Look for whatever genre they play (everyone knows you cannot play <begin death growl voice> METAL </death voice> without the right amount & right types of tattoos or play emo without the right haircut), and will my mom let us practice in her basement. The bands can be that fussy because they have sooo many guitarists to pick from. Maybe some of us should take up drums or bass… maybe then we could start a band…

So there you go, a sadly incomplete yet ample list of reasons you can’t find a band through Craig’s List. I hope you got a chuckle out of it!

(Illustration by the awesome Michael Morris. Visit his site.)

(Originally published on

Rock guitarist Clark Colborn has been performing & recording for decades. Based near Chicago, Illinois, he has recently released his second solo album, titled “Again.” Low points in his career include showing up to hang out with Ronnie James Dio while wearing a flannel shirt & having performed “Hungry Like the Wolf” in the style of Van Halen.

Reader Comments (8)

I agree, Craigslist is not a good experience for finding band members. One thing not mentioned here is that the section is a musicians "community" site so if you're looking for band members, you have to sift through ads from promoters, teachers and more.

That frustration is why I just launched a site that fixes some of what you mention above, including a way to easily embed YouTube and Soundcloud clips within the listing.

The site is called Bandfuzz:

It's free and has no ads.

February 8 | Unregistered CommenterAlex

Hilarious! Love this article, and its so damn true too. I use a classifieds site and SO MANY IDIOTS do almost all of the above.. very hard to find band members with this level of idiocy.

March 24 | Unregistered CommenterTashi

All of these are true and I've run across all of them and more on a regular basis. An ad will say "band needs bass player" and will say nothing at all about their ages, type of music played, covers or originals, etc. and then act like they're pissed you called on their ad because you don't fit the bill. There is no cure for chronic stupidity and Craigslist is a hotbed of stupidity.

October 8 | Unregistered CommenterJim

Wow, Great article. Funny, but painfully true! Had gotten some whoppers myself, looking for a 2nd guitar, got:

- Play guitar, just moved here, if someone can loan me the guitar and amp I can play. Do you know anyone?

- See you're looking for a guitar for a Blues band. Any chance of doing some Beatles grunge style?

Etc, etc. ad nausium.

October 8 | Unregistered CommenterBobby G

Yes, you were wearing flannel... Maybe it was chilly? Hmmm, it couldn't have been because you were hanging with Ronnie James Dio (RIP) so it had to have been 125 degrees there. Glad you got that opportunity, and thank you for the article.

November 15 | Unregistered CommenterDrummer looking...

#4 & #6 are too true. I'm trying to get a Floyd band together in my local scene and it's amazing how many guys want to just show up when we're earning rather than build something together or they want to build something, but don't have gas money to get practice or can't afford the new strings! "But really want to jam dude!"

January 22 | Unregistered CommenterFloydy type guy

Actually, #7 isn't necessarily the person's fault. I responded to an ad and received a response. I responded to that but never heard back. A week or so later a band found me from my musician available post. Turns out that they were the same band but the 1st person never received my response.

Relying on Craigslist's email hiding stuff is quite dubious.

June 17 | Unregistered CommenterAB

Before moving to San Francisco I looked at Craigslist and was very impressed by the fact that it looked like I could try out with 1 or 2 different bands pretty much every day until I found a match. Then, after moving here and getting serious with the Craigslist posts, it became painfully clear to me that 99.9% of the posts are for any or all of the above mentioned reasons, totally useless and disheartening to any musician who is serious and wanting to get something going.
The one good thing about Craigslist is it shows how many dreamers there are compared to actual musicians, so if you're an actual musician, just get off the computer and go find others of your kind, the good old tried and true method! It has worked since the beginnings of music, no reason it should not still work Craig!

June 20 | Unregistered Commenterearthling

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