Things to avoid if you want to stay in your band

Jul 8, 2016 | Guitarability

We’re going to let you in on a little secret; being in a band can be hard. Now you’re probably thinking, “Pretty sure we knew that already”, but we’re not referring to the whole trying to make it in the music industry thing, we’re talking about just physically being a member of a band…

Spending a lot of time hyped up around the same people trying to do something demanding and physically exertive is hard. And if you’re not careful in that situation, you could accidentally end up systematically making people hate you. Saying the wrong thing at the wrong time, not being contactable, being oblivious to the other members of your band – these are all sure-fire ways to mess it up for yourself.

If you’re passionate about making – and we mean seriously making it – as a band and not just as a second-class solo artist, then it pays to be careful what you do. Here are some things you want to avoid if you want to stay in your band…

Breezing over an idea in favour of something you wrote yourself

When one of your band mates shares a riff or chorus they have been working on, be sure you don’t knock it down without meaning to. Fake enthusiasm is obvious, especially to people who spend a lot of time with you. Don’t just say “That’s cool, but maybe try this instead…” and move on to something you wrote yourself. Work on things together – after all it’s not all about you, even if you think it actually is.

Make band decisions without consulting the band

This should be obvious but sometimes you might fall into the trap of making set list decisions and accepting gig offers without considering your band mates. Those guys deserve to be consulted about everything, as they are just as much a part of it as you are.

Insist on being louder than everybody else in practice

This is a great way to make your band mates hate you. When you’re in practice, turn your guitar up a little bit after every song. Go on, do it. But seriously, don’t – they will shout at you and possibly chuck decide the band is better without you. There is nothing worst than a wall of noise where you’re all competing to hear yourselves. Go for fair levels and actually try and hear your overall sound.

Belittle perfectly capable band mates

Try not to forcibly teach other members of the band bits of a song, especially when you know they are perfectly capable of learning it themselves on their own time. The only point you should really teach is when you are asked to teach – which in a band full of professionals shouldn’t have to be that much.

Constantly ask to borrow equipment (or worst, money)

Seriously. If you’ve run out of plectrums or you know your jack-to-jack is bust, invest in a new one. If your guitar is on the brink, only borrow one whilst yours is getting fixed. Make sure you have your fair share of money on you to pay for rehearsal rooms. Taking liberties is a one-way ticket to Outsville.

Being unreliable, an embarrassment at gig and a bad representative of the band

This covers a whole heap of things, from making sure that you don’t overindulge before playing to not insulting the sound guy (whose job it is to make you sound awesome by the way), to turning up on time to everything, to not ostracising people who could eventually turn into fans. Being reliable is one of the most important things here – nobody wants a band mate who is late to everything, no matter how good they are.

Most of all, just be a nice person to as many people as possible! And be willing to understand that a band is made up of more than just yourself – so your band mates deserve to be appreciated.

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