by MATT BACON >
So here is a thing to mull over: The one big reason that your band is not big, is you.
Now this works on a couple different levels and is going to drive you insane when I break these things down. These are points I go over all the time but I’ve had a frustrating week and I think they are especially relevant now. See, the thing that made me come to this article is simple, a few weeks ago I put together a thrash metal tour on the West Coast for October. Things were coming together pretty nicely, everything seemed roughly sorted, I wasn’t too worried. Then one of the bands dropped off. Now that’s fair enough, we had most of a DIY tour set out, everyone seemed pretty pleased about it, I personally wasn’t too concerned with how things were going to shake out. Then I tried reaching out to bands. This isn’t a situation I’ve ever had before, but it seemed like a good deal. Not so much. I’ve had a stupid amount of trouble with this, and so we enter one of the great struggles of our age, bands don’t do things.
At the risk of sounding like an angry old Republican bands don’t want to work.
They want to tour, but only if they get a bunch of money out of it and don’t have to do any work and have a driver. They want to put out an album but not if it’s going to require them to spend a year getting really well honed songs and spending two weeks and a lot of money in the studio in order to get a product that people are going to care about. They want to open for big bands but not if they have to sell tickets to their friends for a band that their friends probably want to go see. They want to get reviews of their music but they don’t want to bust their asses to make personal connections nor do they want to get jobs so that they can pay for actual music PR. These are all things bands don’t want to do. Things that pretty much no one else can do for them and which will are only going to compound the countless issues that this industry makes us run into.
On top of that, not only do bands not want to work, but they also don’t want to reply to your messages offering them work.
This is one I seriously don’t understand. How can you complain about not having opportunities when people send you emails about opportunities and you just don’t take them? I get that you have a shitty job and your manager is an asshole and that’s fine, but do you want to go somewhere with your music or not? I get that it’s hard and requires you to figure out a unique living situation, but that’s just part of the perpetual challenge of this thing. Beyond that, yes you do need to keep in touch with people. I know it’s hard to write a two sentence email every day or two but guess what? That literally has a major impact on other peoples lives. When you’re in a band people are counting on you, and if you can’t deal with that go fuck yourself, no one wants to deal with your prima donna bullshit. I don’t care about your excuses, by being inaccessible you’re actively hurting other people. Think about that next time you wonder why your band isn’t getting anywhere.
Again, even when things are totally set up for most bands and they just need to step in they will find a reason to complain.
They will go out and think “People should like my band because we work hard at writing songs” well guess what fucko. First and foremost, writing songs isn’t the hard part. Furthermore, if you think that’s why people don’t like your band then you’re clearly the type of person who thinks that you can write a record in a few days and your music is just not good. Sure it’s been done, and even done well, but two things. First and foremost, selection bias, your record is not going to be the next Paranoid and if you think it is fuck you. Second, the people who write those records in two days are geniuses. You are probably not a genius. That doesn’t mean you can’t write the next generation defining song, it just means that you need to *gasp* spend time working on your songs and developing your craft!
The point being, there are opportunities out there, it just requires you to be a little bit proactive, get a fraction organized, maybe apply some of the shit you learned in high school and use it to y’know, build a future for yourself. There is a potent and loving community out there for you to get involved in. I’ve written extensively in the past about main dudes and how compassion is the way to go, and it is, but you also need to realize when to draw the line. Figuring out these steps day by day is a process and one that requires you to sit down and grind. If you’re artistically inclined you probably are dealing with the fun of depression, anxiety and all the other twisted emotions that make so many people turn to the arts, but you need to use that to your advantage, I know you can do it, it’s a mountain to climb, but one that is always surmountable.
At the end of the day, this is an industry like any other and one where you need to work your ass off to succeed.
I know that you don’t see it, but that’s a key part of the fantasy that bands are trying to sell. Remember this too, just because you think that playing shows and writing songs is hard doesn’t mean that you’re doing all of the other stuff and when you start to do all of the other stuff is when you realize that this is a difficult industry to be in. Yet I would argue anyone who really wanted something had to fucking work for it. You make your own success, yeah we all have different starting points we have to deal with, but even bands like One Direction who had everything handed to them had to work, and so do you.