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How to Start a Band

Welcome to For Your Consideration, I am Nicholas La Torre and I am here to present relevant issues in music that are on my mind. I will present multiple sides of the issue for you to consider and ultimately we will try to gauge your thoughts on the issue. In today's talk, we are going to discuss what it takes to create your very own band! While the goal is to be somewhat helpful, I am certain there will be an obvious level of snark and sarcasm involved.

So, you've been perfecting your craft and are ready to show the world what you can do! Cool! Or, you've somewhat noodled your way around something enough that people won't immediately notice you're the problem. That's ok too! Now, since I cannot possibly know which role each reader will want to hold in this future band, so I will cover them all. These are integral parts of every band and what to look for. We will discuss in a "fantasy sports" team fashion. Say you only had a certain amount of capital, we say where you should spend.

The Drummer

I know you see a lot of jokes about getting a drummer who won't take all the credit from everyone and just hold the sound down. Now, that may sound good (selfish) in theory, I don't think it works. In my experience, your drummer should be at least tied for most talented of in the group. When getting a group of people together to play for the first time, you're going to deal with a bunch of people who have their own sound, their own influences, and are used to holding their beats down in various ways. Having a drummer who is versatile makes this whole process fluid and ultimately comes up with a better product. Great drummers are able to create a foundation for the other elements to come together. They can do this by creating the beat or fusing their own personal styles in. The drummer should be where you spend high and draft early.

The Bassist

Trust me, an amazing bassist can carry any band to fame simply because of how few and far between they are. Bassists like Flea, Geddy Lee, and John Paul Jones do not come around very often. So, for the most part, if the stock is limited, pick someone who can carry a beat and doesn't mind not getting much of the attention. That's going to be important when it comes to team cohesion. Unless you slap a bass like Flea, you're probably not going to get much voting power. Buy low but friendly.

The Guitarists

Now, everyone knows that a guitarist is usually either first or tied for first with most arrogant of the band. This means that the higher you buy, usually the more issues you're going to have. Instead of seeking out destructive divas, try to find someone who has the skills, but maybe not as much experience. This person hasn't let the (even minute amounts of) fame get to them yet where they have to have their amps louder than everyone else or that they need a six-and-a-half-minute guitar solo during each song of the set. You can always see the ones with fast fingers. They can make even the most mundane tunes you've heard out of every song book sound just a little bit faster. You know they can achieve a great sound if they get the chance to work with other members on a consistent basis. I would say buy as low as you can or even achieve a full sound with multiple people involved.

The Singer

Now, this is obviously the most difficult part. This person is the face of the band. We've seen entire bands lose their fan bases after a front man/woman has moved on. You have to find a person who is talented, consistent, driven, but realistic. If the band has any legitimate chance at reasonable success, this person will have the most reasons to be arrogant. You can only find out when the person deals with it the first time. If you're a younger band starting out, make sure you have realistic expectations of what you're looking for before bringing in someone with that type of baggage. They may be stuck in the glory days of what-if opportunities with other acts. You need someone who is going to be able to handle extra attention while still being humble. Look for only children who are decent people (just kidding...but seriously) and are used to having all the presents under the tree. They must have a solid voice that translates well to the stage. Even if they are used to being told they are good, if they aren't hitting the notes in your rehearsals, they are not going to hit them on stage. This is usually all about a person understanding their register. Don't come in trying to be Freddie Mercury. First of all, he did it too well for anyone else to try. Second, if you don't have the voice, you just sound like someone howling through Journey songs at Karaoke Night. Just because the alcohol made you feel better about singing does not mean make it makes you sound better.

Obviously, all of these band members have to fit your vision for what you want the band to be unless you plan to implode later. Make sure you all have consistent expectations of the band, even if they are grandiose in nature. Nothing like having a member of your group get wasted during a gig because they see you as nothing more than a "bar band."Work together for a unique vision and just be aware of some of the qualities that can come out in people from above.

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