Wednesday, May 03, 2006

6 Reasons NOT to start a rock band

So, you’ve probably been thinking about the popular music scene, and secretly or subconsciously envying the boys and girls who happen to be God’s gift to the world this week. Yes, you’ve seen them on VH1 or MTV2 or Steve’s too-lazy-to-think-of-a-name rock show, and you’ve heard them talk about how “great” their fans are and how “awesome” it is to feed off the energy of the totally psyched crowd of sixteen-year-old girls, who maxed out daddy’s credit card just to get to the front row of a televised live performance. By all means, envy away. Turn green. Lip-sync karaoke style alone in your room wearing your mom’s vintage leather pants and pretend the screaming teens are yelling YOUR name. Whatever you do, please...pleasepleasepleasplease do not start a rock band.

#1 reason you should not start a rock band: You do not play any musical instruments. (If you DO play a musical instrument -a bandworthy one- piccolo or trombone do NOT count- please skip to reason #2). What exactly are you going to do for this band...sing? Are you a good singer? Oh you’re a GREAT singer? You were Oliver when you were only six years old in the local theatre group’s hodgepodge production? Buzzzzz. WRONG ANSWER. One thing the music world does not need is more theatre kids. Turn on a music video station and suffer through twenty minutes or so. See the kids who are singing directly into the camera with their big fat faces taking up the entire screen? THOSE are theatre kids. I don’t care if they never actually participated in theatre activities when they were younger. They were probably aware of how un-cool that can come off. But now that some misguided soul has thrown a bunch of money their way so that they can strut their creative genius in a new medium, they’ve decided that the it’s best spent documenting how well the makeup artist can disguise their gaping, greasy, rockstar pores. If you have a deep genuine desire to sing- join a choir. There is just not room for one more big fat singing face on Steve’s little emo show.

#2 reason: You are not very good at your instrument. (If you ARE undeniably good at your instrument, skip to reason #3). Yeah so you play the bass guitar “a little”? Who freakin’ doesn’t? It has four strings and you only have to play one note at a time. Technically speaking, my arthritic grandmother could claim honestly that she plays the bass guitar a little. If you cannot actually sound decent playing an instrument by yourself, what are you expecting to get out of playing with two or three other musicians who are equally as bad (because seriously, you seem to be magnetically drawn to people with the same amount of ability as yourself)? If you want to be in a band where you plan on being drowned out then your desires stem from A.)The need to have your big fat face fill up a screen of some sort (see reason #1) or B.)The need to get the girls (more on them in #4).

#3 reason: Your songs are about as predictable and trite as (__enter pop culture reference here___). If it’s all about the heartfelt lyrics that you’ve delved from the bottom of your tortured suburban soul, then your lyrics are too sappy. If it’s all about the upbeat hooky music then all your songs all sound alike. If it’s a subtle combination of the two then all your songs sound sappily alike. I cannot argue with you about this because the human mind has recently evolved itself an elaborate defense mechanism that does not allow similarities in songwriting to be heard by the songwriter him/or herself. Go out and test this theory on a fellow songwriter, and cry like a small boy at the circus when you realize I’m right.

#4 reason: You will not get girls the way Motorhead talks about getting girls. Oh, you will get girls, and then you will get- arrested. Have you scoped out the chicks who are screaming in the front rows of these shows? These hormonally raging minors are your bread and butter, but will have to be content raping only their wallets (it’s mommy and daddy’s money anyway so it’s not considered statutory). And good luck getting the legal ass to fight its way through that pack of hyenas. The cool girls are too sophisticated to get tangled up in that mess- PLUS they just recently acquired over 21 IDs so they like to stay in the back, close to the bar. And you thought alcohol was your friend. Hello amazing segue!

#5 : Drugs and alcohol are WAY too expensive to have on tour. You think you’re going to keep your creative stimuli really pumping on the road by boozing it up and forgetting most of where you’ve gone, but unless you have some rich uncle funding your tour- good luck. The price of gas will slim you down and sober you up in no time. Is it a coincidence that strait edge bands are so political? I think not. They are a bitter, bitter lot. Which leads me to my next reason...

#6 : Your music will not change the course of politics. Yes, you can probably get a bunch of kids to go out and march with some activists in Central Park some Saturday this summer (and I don’t blame you for trying because the fifteen-year-old girls look pretty good in those strappy tank tops),but unless you could manage to book a show at your local firehouse or post-office on November 5th, I’m pretty sure that most of your biggest fans are still too cool to vote. Is this because the media is constantly making political issues seem beyond the grasp of the normal young person’s comprehension? Is it because the band always starts playing off their favorite rock/pop/movie star idol just before their “we have to save the world” speech gets to the part that tells us what to actually do? Is it because political activism is put on such a high pedestal in their minds that if they don’t fully immerse themselves in local as well as national politics they feel too unworthy to cast their ballots? Is it because of an unfounded, perhaps subliminally distributed, notion that voting is something that takes place early in the morning ? Hmm. I smell a conspiracy theory. But getting back to the point- please just erase “Bush sucks ass” from your set list so that we can hear the real gems of your collection- “I want you back,” “I like your butt”, and “please call me” even sooner.

I think I’ve made a pretty decent case for why we should completely cease inventing new rock groups, no matter how quirky or British they might be. I didn’t even have to bring up the fact that MySpace has practically crashed the internet while heralding the coming of at least seventeen thousand one hit wonders who will never even be signed to a label because their seemingly-impressive fan base is a thinly dispersed group of friend-whores who are lying about even being sixteen. I didn’t have to... but I couldn’t resist. So TIVO your favorite band’s performance, turn up the volume, don the vintage leather, and go at it. This may be as good as it gets. At least you still have time to pursue sex and money for drugs.