If you asked Bolton’s lankiest sex-text maniac, Vernon Kay, to survey 1000 people on Family Fortunes, asking them: “What is the best job in the world?”, the survey would say: “Being in a band.” But it’s not true. Being a spaceman, javelin thrower or supermodel-fluffer are cool jobs; being in a band is actually quite shit.
For years now, normal people with normal day-jobs and normal Oyster Cards have presumed that belonging to a tribe of song-makers goes hand-in-hand with shagging groupies, throwing tigers out of windows and eating chang-on-toast for breakfast, day in, day out, until your pancreas explodes. But no. Being in a band is mostly about rotting rehearsal rooms, pointless Facebook posts and occasional gigs in venues that have things like: “Give us a bum or I’ll slash your face in” scrawled on the walls in blood, snot and tears.
Even if you’re just a new semi-acoustic-Dubstep trio from Stoke Newington, people will still assume that on your way to meet them for a pint, you got noshed-off by a Geldof in a recording studio or shagged a buff fashion photographer in Soho House; all lubricated by the constant flow of frothy Bollinger and weapons-grade happy pills. Bollocks? Yes my friend, bollocks.
Behold the actual ingredients in the life of an average band member:
Rehearsing. And more bloody rehearsing:
Bands need to rehearse. Lots and lots of rehearsing. The ones who tell you they don’t rehearse much (“we kinda just freestyle it out at gigs really,”) are lying: those dicks rehearse even more. Learning and re-learning to play your own songs in a cold, lifeless rehearsal room is just like doing exam revision or practicing a presentation for work: dull, monotonous and at times makes you want to beat yourself to death with a Twix. Particularly when the room stinks of piss and failure.
MySpace (yes, really):
Every band needs a MySpace. The rest of the planet might have moved onto less geriatric social-networks but bands haven’t. So each and every band must invest hours laboriously updating lack-of-gig listings, photos of drunk band members’ arses and blog posts about absolutely fucking nothing (“Why I love bagels [posted at 03.12am]”)
Facebooking and Tweeting ALL THE TIME:
Not content with posting rubbish on MySpace, bands must also constantly keep their 84 followers up to speed about their lack of progress on Facebook and Twitter too. Again, this takes time. And again, it can feel self-bogwash-inflictingly worthless (until someone from Denmark posts a winking-smiley on your wall – yay!).
Soundchecks are boring as balls and last for weeks. Having to endure the drummer hitting the snare for 45 minutes just so the soundguy can apply just the right amount of reverb (that nobody will notice) feels like actual torture. There’s also a strange territorial stand-off that happens between bands at soundchecks – with band members feeling compelled to play their most impressive licks, just so their opposite member from the other bands, who stand and pretend not to watch, know what they’re up against. This is not unlike how I imagine shower-time on a first day in prison.
All this being said, I’d like to add that I play in a band myself and am actually really cool. This blog-post is about other people’s bands. Not mine. Losers.
Right, time for band practice…