Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Why Your Band Sucks

So, you have a band and all your close friends think your music is great! But in reality, they're lying. They're your friends for a reason. And your music falls into one of two categories: Trying to sound exactly like a band you all mutually like or claiming to be original because you couldn't find an identical sounding vocalist.

You try to be cool and name your band something that sounds fitting for broadcast on an X radio station. Here, I'll help you: The Rejected. Oh, but you're not mainstreaming it; you're indie rock! Well, all you need to do is find a quote from a book. Here: A Screaming Comes Across the Sky! What's that? No, you're into "real" music. Your band is kvlt and sooo metal. Your stuff even has that authentic recorded in a cold, dank, Nordic parent's basement sound. Well, just make / combine names and word endings that sound like an evil god or something mysteriously ancient: Dagothera, Achronus, Mordim, etc. Honestly, I wouldn't be surprised if these weren't the names of real bands out there. And if you're punk: The Fuckshovels. I can do this all day.

What's next? Oh yeah, the members. Your crappy band has to be comprised of a guitarist, drummer, bass player, and singer. And these are the only instruments you're going to be using on every single album you'll ever make. But if you want to be pop, get a keyboardist. If you want to be metal, get a second guitarist who isn't the vocalist! And don't you worry about deviating from the master plan. You're not even remotely talented enough to realize how boring your music actually is. Move along folks, nothing to see here.

But everybody has to look the part. If you're metal, you all have long hair or are bald. If you're rock, you either look like a homeless man, or a typical, trendy douchebag. In both, women just need to dress sexy. And if you're indy, hipster geeky is the only way you'll ever get noticed. Either way, 99 percent of the time, your image is more important than your music, and you probably don't have it right.

Being musicians, you're broke. You can barely afford to change the strings on your guitar, let alone record an album at a professional studio. So, your debut EP is going to be recorded on a PC from a decade ago, on Audacity or an LE version of something with a few stage mics. Don't worry if you're metal, you're going to be compressing the hell out of your tracks and distorting your guitars to remove any resemblance of musical dynamics. 

But you've worked hard for this moment, and now it's time to post it all online and watch the fans come rolling in. And you wait and wait, and weeks go by with nobody giving a shit. In fact, the only views you have are from your friends and the one fan — who really just wants to be your friend, but you keep at a distance to retain his fandom. Or maybe you don't even do shows; you just get together and play in someone's basement. Either way, your music is being heard by the same amount of people.

Of course it's all Guerrilla marketing from here on out. Make a website, take some pictures of the band rock'n out, and spam the fuck out of everyone on any forums / social media that will let you. Leave free demos at CD and music instrument shops. Make fliers for your show and put them in random places. Try to shove whatever has your logo on it up anyone's ass who walks by you. But hey, it's really good, original music that they've heard everything like before!

Yes! A hint of success. You did a good enough job to get a thousand followers on something irrelevant like Myspace. Now your shows will really be packed, and you can finally sell your album! Oh no, they actually don't want to support your music, at all. Half of your fans are musicians just doing the same thing you are. Another fraction are spam bots, another fraction are people bulking their friends list up (who also live nowhere near you), and the last are just bands whom you've added in the hopes one of them will get curious and click on your page. I know because I did it too. However, I got a nice comment from Mark Slaughter on one of mine. And he's one of my favorite singers, from one of my favorite rock bands, of all time.

Now I'll let you in on a secret: Even if you had a good sounding demo, that's not why most people listen to  music. The popularity of your music depends on its social implications. People need to be able to talk about it! Not only do you need trend setters for fans, you also need them in the band. Until you're something people want to talk about, the average person isn't going to give a shit. And even average musicians don't care about your work because it's derivative and has been done a million times already by more talented people, including them.

This is why nobody is clicking your links; this is why nobody is buying your CD; this is why Anvil didn't get their actual break until they had a documentary made about them — despite fitting perfectly into the cheesy heavy metal mold, being signed, and playing some big shows. Hell, I don't even like their music, and that documentary got me to listen to them and even, momentarily, enjoy it. Context can go a long way.

See, the problem is you're all a bunch of tools without real personalities. You see other tools make it, and you see them with money, women, and fame. But you don't see the majority of them in debt, barely getting paid after signing a record contract, the horrible touring schedules, etc. It's survival of the fittest out there, and more people are failing after they've "made it" than going on to having long, high paying, illustrious careers.

This blog is the exact opposite of what you'll hear from the average musician. Everyone thinks they have so much integrity, artistry, originality, and talent. They also think the same about their favorite bands. The truth is most of them don't, and it's all bullshit. Musicians with extraordinary talent write music that only people with a deep appreciation for the higher arts and a complex feel and or understanding of music can truly experience. And real musicians, on whatever skill level, try to make art. Only scam artists make and sell knock offs.

Luckily for you, the average person just needs and wants generic, broad appealing lyrics. Why do you think so many talent TV shows revolve around singing and none are solely instrumental based? I mean fuck, we've even elevated DJs (record player, players) to musician status as a culture.

Originally, this was going to be a two part blog. But I've decided that I want to help artists, not entertainers. And real artists, they don't play for the money or the fame; they do what they do because if they didn't, they'd go insane.


  1. *humps your brain*

    Yes to everything in this blog!

  2. I wish I had the balls to post a link to this blog on a few of my facebook friends walls that promote the shit out of their shitty cover bands all the time.