Dear Band People who don’t know how to last;
Even though I enjoy your music, when you give up…it kinda makes me sick. I was raised by two musicians who always taught me that if you are blessed enough to get a shot, you fight to keep it, not voluntarily give it up. Back in the day (that day was a Wednesday) before the age of Myspace and Youtube, musicians had to kill themselves to get half the opportunity that you can get by simply turning on your computer. Now, I’m not saying that this progress is a bad thing, it’s not a bad thing. It’s wonderful that the opportunity to share music has been made a bit easier. All I’m saying, it that I think we’ve enabled you band people nowadays to think it’s no big deal to give it up. Here are some points I would like to make.
1. Excuses, excuses. Is there even a good excuse? Creative differences? Yeah, sure. To me that screams, they won’t do what I want so I’m gonna leave in a huff and wreck everything. Ruining our friendship? Eh, no. A band doesn’t ruin friendships, friendships ruin friendships. People change, people grow…or egos grow. Accept the changes, don’t be so quick to close your mind. And do your friend a favor, ad deflate all egos. Believe me, you’re not all that. Our label sucks? Well, that’s a little bit more believable however, it should not end a band because of it. If you weren’t aware that the music industry is full of shady people, well seriously? Don’t let the shady people ruin your creativity, don’t let them put you in their boxes. In this day and age, it’s okay to DIY. You can still have success and be independent. I’m tired and want to spend time with my family. Fair enough, although you don’t have to quit you are allowed to just take a break. Bands have dealt with tragedy before, members have died. And if there ever was a reason to throw in the towel, that is it. Clifford Burton, the bassist to Metallica, was killed in a bus accident. And though that almost destroyed them, the chose to somehow go on. Casey Calvert, the guitar player and screamer of Hawthorne Heights, died in his sleep. And somehow the band pulled together and stayed together. So if they can hold on, really, what’s your excuse?
2. Little boxes. Don’t be the hype, don’t be the cliche. It will kill you in the end. You are never going to be what everyone wants, you are never even going to appeal ENTIRELY to a SINGLE demographic. So don’t try. Just try to be who you are. And as long as you’re happy, others can tell. And that will bring them in more then being desperate to hold appeal. It’ll also hold better for your relationship with your fellow band members. As long as you’re all being heard, you’re all contributing, and you’re all happy with what you create, where’s the problem? Only the problems you create my friends, only the problems you create.
3. You’ve got it pretty easy, all things considered. My mother pointed out that back in the day (a Wednesday, you know?) if you only had one or two singles off your album, you were a one hit wonder. You didn’t get another chance, you were practically written off and disregarded. These days, you can have one or two singles and that’s doing good. Take a look at one of Pat Benatar or Hearts’s anthologies. Those are basically JUST their singles. In that age of Rock and Roll, if half your album couldn’t hack it as a single, it was over. Personally, I think you should still have to work for it. It would make you more careful of where you’re setting your bar. It’s more pressure, but it’s also more worthwhile. You would get to put out an album that no matter what, you could be proud of. You shouldn’t pump out albums like you’re a factory. Take the time, make sure it’s right, or you’re just gonna flop. (That’s what she said…)
4. Screaming is healthy, stabbing is not. The relationship between band members comes first. You have to live in cramped quarters with these people for months on end, and preform together every night in front of (hopefully) a bunch of people. You have to spend months joining forces to blend all of your personalities and creativity into a pieces of musical art. You have to be able to scream and bitch at each other to get the issues and kinks worked out. You have to be friends first, or else you’ll just becomes soulless automatons (Glee!). You’re gonna argue, you’re gonna have times where you wanna say an big “fuck this” and walk away with your fingers in the air (No, not the peaces signs…). The key, is not to. Take the time to work on your relationships, even if it means taking some time away from your music. Cause in the end SOME is better than ALL. If you wanted it to be all about you, you should have been a solo artist. I can’t stress the whole ego things enough. A real friend will destroy your ego so badly it’ll just be hiding in the corner with abandonment issues. Teamwork, baby. Oh, also. Sexual relations within the band is typically a bad idea, that’s what groupies are for, just saying.
5. One album on a label does not make you a success, especially when compared to bands like Journey and The Rolling Stones. It seems to be a heart-wrenching trend for bands to have finally signed, release a full length, then quit. Are you fucking kidding me? You just barely begun. Sure, it’s pretty awesome in itself, but it’s also the stepping stone to more. More opportunity, more options, more experiences. Do you honestly have nothing more to say? No songs left? No need to share what you’ve got? I just can’t wrap my mind around it. If I was ever lucky enough to get the opportunity to share my music, I would hold on tight. I wouldn’t let go once I started making progress, I can’t eve imagine. It’s like saying hey thanks for believing in us, but no thanks. In my book, there are very few actual excuses (see above). If you need time, take it. Don’t throw it away, cause you don’t always get chances twice. If you toss it aside so cavalierly, you probably won’t be able to find it again.
I could go on, I always can. You may be wondering who the hell I am to give my opinion on this subject. And I’m aware there are many different variables, but for the most part, it’s quite simple. If you love playing music, and get the chance to make it your career, don’t quit so easily. Just don’t. As for who I am? I’m a girl that had to watch a man regret giving up opportunity for the last 18 years. I can speak with some authority. It’s not always simple for some people. Simplicity is a gift we sometimes have to get complicated for. If it’s what you want, don’t left complications deter you. And band people, if you’re just gonna quit after convincing us to love you…well you suck. Don’t even bother. It’s not fair to fans, and it’s not fair to yourself, or anyone that held out a hand and believed in you. Don’t forget that it’s not ALL about you. It’s about who helped get you there, who wanted you there. You do owe people. So in closing, lead singers can’t treat other members like they’re revolving doors, sharpie does wash off eventually, and it is possible to wash your hair in rest stop sinks so don’t think not bathing is ever an excuse just cause you’re living in a van while on tour.