I haven’t been a full member of a band in several years now.
…and I don’t regret it one bit.
And in the current times we live in, I encourage you to quit your band too; because if anything, it is probably holding you back.
We are sold many things in this culture. One of the most invasive yet subtle things we are sold on is not the latest techie gadget or newest fashion, but ideals. Bands are a manifestation of this. The idea of a band is ingrained in our culture so deep that it’s impossible to truly quantify.
Lets be honest, we all want the fairy tale ideal of a band. A group of guys who’s combined chemistry and passion takes them from rags to riches, and their music completely grips us and changes the world at large. The only thing wrong with this is, it will not happen to you.
The day and age of the rock star is gone. The idea of a band of sworn brothers on with a common mission to change the world with their music is just a fantasy. Lets face it, in today’s world you need a special breed of people to push the band forward… and I’m pretty sure those people are not in your band.
You need people that are willing to live a certain type of lifestyle. People who have passion and drive that borderlines on dysfunction. People who are willing to sacrifice time from their friends and family and money to do something that offers nothing of material value in return. These facts alone already knocks off 95% of Americans.
Truth is, your band probably consists of one (maybe two) people who write all the songs. This guy basically “is” the band. The rest of you ride on his coattails, and bitch and whine the whole way along. Eventually, he is going to either see the bullshit and have enough, or be tied down by the white picket fence and 2.5 kids if he’s not careful.
So where am I going with all this? If you come to the point in life where you’re finally (and honestly) somewhat serious about music, then start acting like a fucking professional.
Everything you’ve come to know up to this point has been a lie. Drop the dream and embrace the reality, this is much bigger than you.
Bands that stay alive in punk and metal scenes for years and years know this; its about the community of people. Humans are social by nature, and we exist in large social networks, not small egotistical bands who think the next record deal is just knocking at their doorstep, because it’s not.
Get involved in your scene, get to know guys that play in the bands that you like in your area. Get to know bands you don’t even like, its all about networking. If you keep on coming up with excuses not to do this, then be honest with yourself; music is just not that important to you anymore. Every social network has a familiar structure. It’s about the inner circle. You need to step out of your comfort zone and get to know people who’s music you like. They might be strangers, but they don’t bite. Most of the time its not the talent, but how well you can get along with people which determines your destiny in the world.
If you are the singer/songwriter, find guys who will back you as needed. If you don’t write songs but want to play, then shut the fuck up and get behind the guy who does. Find your role and play it.
As you get involved with the scene opportunities will develop, I guarantee it. Remember, you don’t owe a blood oath to any one band. If you pick up a gig playing with some guys and a better opportunity comes up, take it. They will understand, even if they are butthurt at first. If you make your priorities known, then there will be no grey area.
Don’t tolerate bullshit; if the band is full of talk and no action, quit immediately. Don’t make excuses for others slack, you have to take care of yourself first. Find those people who are on the same page as you.
Eventually you will find out that being a gun for hire with networks to many bands is way better than being chained down to one band. It is more rewarding to yourself and you will find music much more satisfying and enjoyable.
Don’t limit yourself by just being in a band, be a part of a scene. Its our relationships with people that drive us forward, not our egos.