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The "making it band syndrome"

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by VigourousJHands, Jan 21, 2013.

  1. VigourousJHands


    Jan 16, 2013
    Hi, this is mostly a rant, so tune out if you'd like. I've been looking for a band to play with for about a year. Music is not my career, just my passion and i'd love to play for a group that plays once a month or so and enjoys what they do.

    I finally land something: cool grunge originals, nice people, good drummer, great practice space. Problem: they have We're trying to make it syndrome. It seems like every band in my small town is sure that if they practice 6 hours a week and play 4 time a month, they'll "make it". If they bug their friends to come out every week to their show and buy a van together to tour for the summer, they'll "make it". I'm not saying the bands where I live aren't talented and great, but every. single. band. (of late twenties to late 30 year olds!) is sure they're about to become superstars. No one comes out to this band's shows because they happen once a week, no money is made and no one else in the band works or has a vehicle.

    To be clear i'm not badmouthing any working bands, bar bands, wedding bands or dedicated touring bands. I think you can make a career out of music if you're dedicated and smart about it.

    What i'm talking about are small bands in small towns with distinctive (small) crowd appeal. Garage bands. Grunge bands. Screamo. Basically every audition I go to is like going on a first date and having someone propose. Is this happening in anyone else's towns?
  2. Technotitclan

    Technotitclan Lurking TB from work

    Mar 1, 2012
    Rochester, NY
    Been like that in all the bands I've been in. I just tell them if there more focused on making it than you are on making music then it will never work out.
  3. pklima


    May 2, 2003
    Kraków, Polska
    You could point out to them that no band has really made it in a while, and any band (not singer or DJ or rapper) who's made it has been around since at least the 90s, so odds are no band is going to make it ever again. Anywhere. EVER.

    I don't know if that's really really true, but it would be a fun argument to make.
  4. lokikallas

    lokikallas Supporting Member

    Aug 15, 2010
    los angeles
    I live in LA. Finding an original band content to play local shows is next to impossible in a city of 5 million people. Every one thinks that every show is a "showcase". You almost have to be in a cover band to just have fun. Even the cover band musicians are in 5 different bands on the side trying to make it. I always say that if your band is really that good success is inevitable.
  5. geddeeee


    Jun 30, 2006
    Unfortunately it's a problem of the modern age. The need for 'stardom'.

    You need to be very lucky. Right place, right time.
    In my experience nearly 70% of the bands out there are pretty crappy. Stay true to your 'art' and who knows.....
  6. SirMjac28

    SirMjac28 Patiently Waiting For The Next British Invasion

    Aug 25, 2010
    The Great Midwest
    Ah the Band dream the dream of dreams
  7. Bassist4Eris

    Bassist4Eris Frat-Pack Sympathizer

    Aug 11, 2012
    Upstate NY, USA
    It's difficult even in humble Albany NY. Everyone wants to "go on tour" or try getting gigs in NYC and Boston. Which, IME, suck. Why drive 3 hours for a crappy bar gig when there are plenty close to home?

    I just want to play the local club, then go home and sleep in my own bed.
  8. Marko 1

    Marko 1 Supporting Member

    Mar 9, 2009
    N.E. Ohio
    “…every. single. band. (of late twenties to late 30 year olds!) is sure they're about to become superstars”

    One would think at that age they’d know better.
  9. MatticusMania

    MatticusMania LANA! HE REMEMBERS ME!

    Sep 10, 2008
    Pomona, SoCal
    My band turned from a fun project with unique accessible songs to "Im about to leave ya'll behind" because at almost 30 years old our singer is stuck on the idea of "making it", rather than "making ourselves".
  10. Marko 1

    Marko 1 Supporting Member

    Mar 9, 2009
    N.E. Ohio

    Years ago I got mixed up with the guys from the ‘80s version of the Human Beingz (all but the only original member “Ting”, who musta been the only smart one in this bunch), who hadn’t done anything since back then. They got signed, but didn’t sell enough records, I guess, then Ting blew them off and moved to Florida.

    We were jamming and I was able to put out lyrics for them, and we put together a few originals, and I guess they thought they could take another shot at “making it”. Picture old miss-shaped guys in their fifties here- quite pathetic.

    We did a bar gig and headlined a VetAid benefit concert locally, but then they wanted to go, on our own dime, over 400 miles to “open for” (wasn’t opening for, just playing at some bigass family festival in NJ in a clam-shell trailer) Rick Darringer (whoopty-do).

    My buddy (present friend/neighbor/band member who was their lead singer back then, which is how we ended up getting together) and I wouldn’t do it, so they flaked off and got a couple other guys. Well, the guy they replaced me with ended up being a coke head, and the singer wised up and quit a week before they left.

    After that they spent some good money on recording, but never got anywhere. Big surprise. Delusional musicians.

  11. Too much focus on the dream of "making it" probably distracts from making it, for one.

    And it's not all about how well or how much one plays. Networking and making sure your music, if it's good enough, gets to the right people counts more. Most bands who just count on being "discovered" one day are probably still waiting.

    And I heard someone say once, not completely jokingly, that the music business is about who you know or who you blow. So if you don't know anyone, get used to the taste of **ck.

    A crude half joke, perhaps, but there is probably a big grain of truth in the "who you know" part.
    Which is why networking and making contacts is so important. You never know when you're going to meet that
    person who not only believes in/likes you, but may actually be able to do something about it.
  12. pushbuttonfour


    Dec 20, 2012
    I think the hope of making it big (in small doses) can be a healthy, optimistic goal to strive for. Obviously it's probably not going to happen, but it can keep members motivated and on focus. Of course, if it starts to take over people, then it becomes just pathetic.
  13. Marko 1

    Marko 1 Supporting Member

    Mar 9, 2009
    N.E. Ohio
    Good Lord… they don’t want any of us/you or any of our music, no matter how spectacular.

    They want young sexy kids, they dress them up, have their guys write the songs, lay the tracks, and they have technology to make whatever the kids do sound good.

    They have a formula, everything is a formula, and no talent scouts are out there looking for a good band.

    If you can get a huuuuuge following on your own, they might see if they can get a piece of your action, but that’s about it.

    Edit: I guess if you’re half decent and starry-eyed, they’ll sign you and let you tour with someone big, suck all the profits up and leave you in debt. Best of luck.
  14. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Oy. I promise you they don't. I have finally gotten it through the thick skulls of some of my good friends that I have absolutely no interest in these types of projects. I'm surrounded by MARRIED 30-45 year old men with KIDS who (up until recently when I had to get ugly with a couple of them) were STILL trying to get me into a band that practices several nights a week and travels who knows how many miles to play shows with 10 other bands for no money on the off chance that some big record exec is going to show up in a town of 20K people in rural Eastern NC. Reality never even entered into the conversation. Several of them can't hold down a job because they will show up to work half asleep because they HAD to go jam somewhere on a Tuesday night 4 hours away to make a name for themselves or get their foot in the door at some club that nobody cares about but them. It's really sad to me. I just want to grab them by the shoulders and shake them. "Take a look at your kids idiot! They need a DAD and some SCHOOL CLOTHES! They DON'T need a wanna be rock star with no money, a broken down car, no retirement, no college fund for them, and no BRAINS!"

    Sorry. But the OP pulled my string and I had to vent as well.

    I hate you are having to deal with that crap. I feel your pain.
  15. Marko 1

    Marko 1 Supporting Member

    Mar 9, 2009
    N.E. Ohio
    Yeah, I believe I read a post of yours where you spoke of that.

    Just makes ya shake your head.

  16. I truly don't think anything is impossible, if gone about the right way. Hard, sure, unlikely, often, but not impossible. Except when the fantasy and the dream take the place of practical realities.
  17. JohnMCA72


    Feb 4, 2009
    Funny how so many people seem to think that all they need to do is be "good", get lucky & be in the right place at the right time, to be "discovered".

    Hardly anyone fantasizes about working their butts off.
  18. And yet, that is key, isn't it. Regardless of how one might define "making it", it isn't going to happen if you don't work at it. And on more than just the music.
  19. ERIC31


    Jul 1, 2002
    Maricopa, AZ
    This is hilarious! I'm 47 years old. No illusions of trying to "make it". That ship sailed about 25 years ago! Music is fun for me and if I make a few bucks here and there, that's a bonus.
  20. bluewine

    bluewine Banned

    Sep 4, 2008
    And most bands don't have those non-music resources needed to make it.