Forming a band takes a lot of time and thought. What kind of band do you want? What kind of music do you like? How good do you look in leather? These are all things that need to be considered before making a band. So how do you form a band?
Step One: Learn how to play something…anything
Before you even think about recruiting some players, you have to decide what role you want to play in the band. Pick an instrument and start practicing early and often (or exercise those pipe if you are going to be lead vocals). If you already know how to play an instrument you can skip to Step Two, but we only bring this up as Step One to emphasize the importance of knowing how to play well yourself without needing to be carried by band mates. Don’t be that guy (or girl).
Step Two: Find band mates who can do what you can’t
Though one-man bands are fun to watch, they aren’t very commercially successful. If you can play the accordion, harmonica, knee-cymbals, and foot pedal bass all at the same time, more power to you! Chances are, on the other hand, you will need some friends.
Most bands are comprised of a singer, lead guitar, rhythm guitar (optional), bass, and drums. Of course you can have many other different instruments in there—look at the Dave Matthews Band, for example: keyboards, trumpets, saxophone, violin. But most bands have at least guitar, bass, drums, and vocals. And remember, if you plan on playing original songs, you’ll need someone who can write killer lyrics!
The goal is to find people who like the same kinds of music and that are relatively at the same skill level. Also, you always want to find people who can get along. Bands become a second family, and although you will probably argue some (just like a real family), you can only really enjoy the experience if you are friends with your members.
You also want to find musicians who have similar goals. If half of you just want to play covers, doing small gigs in local bars, and the other half wants to eventually sell out arenas, your band won’t stay together for long.
Your best bet, if you don’t have talented friends interested in a band as well, is to place a classified ad calling for band members. Did you know your very own recycler was responsible for bringing together bands like Metallica, Guns N Roses, and the Bangles? You never know who is out there looking to jam!
Step Three: Naming the band
And now, the most important and best part about forming your own band: naming the band.
You want something that screams cool—or if your image is anti-cool, then it should scream that uncool image. The band name should be catchy, easy to remember, and original. It can be as esoteric as an obscure quote from Shakespeare or as pop culture laden as a video game reference. The important thing is that you like it, your band mates like it, and your fans like it…beyond that there really are no rules!
If you can’t agree on anything, you can try doing what we at the recycler can only assume some of the more popular modern bands did—put random words in three separate hats and pull one from each. With those words, create your band name.
Step Four: Practicing, gigging, and marketing
Get the band together and set up a practice schedule. Work on your personal skills on your own time, while working on band synergy when practicing. A good practice space is a must for a burgeoning band, so important that we recommend letting that nerdy kid who eats mayonnaise on his crackers into the band just to use his garage. He can play the tambourine, just as long as you can use his garage!
Once you have a good set list of covers and originals, you can start gigging. With enough practice, you should have the skill and confidence to play in front of live audiences, but there’s no shame in starting small. Let your friends and family come out to fill the seats with supportive butts.
Finally, get the word out! Post fliers when you gig, get people following you on facebook, twitter, myspace, and all those silly sites. Tell your friends to tell their friends to tell their friends. You can also put together a demo and distribute, distribute, distribute—who knows who’s hands it will end up in. Before long, you and your new band will be discovered and well on your way forgetting all your current, non-famous friends!