Shit tips for shit bands

Believe it or not, I was once in a band. We played gigs, we argued, we drank beers and we had a whale of a time.

We never really got anywhere, but we recorded two ep’s, supported some good bands and almost managed to get paid once.

The band in question was,Cold Pistols. I still wholeheartedly regret the name, it didn’t roll off the tongue like a band’s name should do.

We were together for almost 4 years, separated by Universities and divided on what music to play; I hated the early “prog” days.

Over the years of gigging we managed to learn a few things, things you wouldn’t pick up in your everyday job. So here is my definitive list of things new bands should know or attempt when just starting out:

1. Don’t trust the promoter.
Promoters are fuckers and they never pay you. We played at least five gigs for the same, bleached haired asshole and never saw a penny. We packed the place at least…once and still nothing was given to us. Something I’ve learned is, make sure you’re having sex with the promoter or know someone who is willing to have sex with them. It’s not prostitution but it helps. A band we played with quite a few times did this and needless to say they got paid.

2. Get a Roadie and make them drive.
Everyone needs a roadie, especially me. I’m far too important to be carrying amps and setting them up! This makes people think: “Christ look how cool they are, they have a guy who sets everything up for them”. Musicians are the biggest bunch of frauds going.

3. Play underage clubs and milk it.
Keep that ego inflated. Tweenagers love thinking they’re cool. They love thinking that them being at an underage gig is like being at Woodstock. Because these kids are so naive and have no idea about music you can inflate that ego of yours. They will dance to anything, anything is a good time. Please note, on most occasions there won’t be any alcohol so bare in mind that you can’t numb the pain of talking to the audience or helping your dancing shoes.

4. Have a pre-gig ritual.
Ours was listening to NWA. There’s nothing better than four middle class white kids rapping to a 90s gangsta’ rap band. Those car journeys to and from gigs were some of the best moments of the whole bloody gigging thing. Straight out of Eaglescliffe, yo.

5. Break stuff.
Not guitars, that’s so cliche and no venue is rich enough to have TVs. We, instead decided to breaks strings, many strings, each others spirits. Why not be a proper dick to each other, it’s quite fun. I also once broke a monitor which I never owned up to.

6. Drink.
Talked about this earlier but in all seriousness do it. Playing a gig sober is one of the most heart wrenching things you’ll ever have to do. Once you become aware that you’re on a stage, playing a series or random notes to compile a song no one understands what it’s about is pretty terrifying. I once had 12 beers, the same night that I broke the monitor and it was the best fucking gig I’ve ever played. Ironically this one did have some kids there, probably thinking they’re amazing cos they are in a 16+ gig.

7. Rip off other bands.
We did it all the time and without any shame too. Most of the time no one will realise and only once did anyone actually notice we’d unintentionally ripped off “The Hollways “. When actually we’d ripped off, Grizzly bear, Strokes, Bombay Bicycle Club, Pavement, Tokyo Police Club to name just a few.

8. Write lyrics that only make sense to you.
No one has a clue what our lyrics were about, to be fair I just wrote them and then thought of an elaborate story about them. My favourite story to tell people was that I ate lots of cheese before I slept and then wrote out my dreams in song form. A local singer, under the name of “frank Marley” took this to be fact and gave it a try. This end up in him shitting the bed. Don’t do cheese kids.

9. Drive dangerously.
No better thrill than your lead singer trying to wipe you off the face of the planet with his mental driving. There is not better feeling than turning up to a gig shaking from relief that you’re not dead.

10. Bully at least one person in your band.
Shouting at our drummer was the only thing that kept me sane for all those years. Also, drummers of the world listen up! When someone is trying to talk or tune, don’t bloody drum!

And there we go, now go and make some horrible music and send it to me.

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