So you've decided you want to be in a rock band? Maybe you've always felt you were different and you didn't belong in greek-letter fraternities or alibata-activist organizations? You've always wanted to stand out so you think playing on stage in front of screaming fans is the way to go? Okay, if you think you've got what it takes to be the next rock icon take your best shot at it.
If you're good and end up the next big breakthrough band, the whole scene benefits. If you suck and end up as the most painfully annoying band in your barangay, you still make the rest of us look better. Either way, welcome aboard.
Before you start practicing your autograph signature though, here's a quick checklist of what I feel should be the minimum prerequisites to make it in the scene:
1. TALENT. First is you must have some. Obviously. Most contend that with talent, its either you have it or you don't but with rock bands, who needs a lot when you can do with just enough. And since you're not joining the Manila Symphony Orchestra, you don't have to be formally schooled in music although that certainly helps, but you should at least know your instrument well enough to play convincingly. If you don't know enough yet, practice until you do but don't wait too long to start a band. You'll learn more playing gigs than you ever could playing in your garage.
2. ATTITUDE. You must have a certain pride in what you do. With pride comes the discipline and the determination to keep going no matter what. Like they always say, any band is 15 minutes away from selling a ton of records but you wouldn't know that if you can't even keep your band in circulation long enough to finish playing one potential hit song. Market yourself like crazy. There's the local circuit and there's the Internet. Play in both arenas as much as you can. If no one liked your band the last time you gigged in the local bar, odds are someone eventually will. Maybe not this town, this year, or your current e-group but chances are it will eventually happen if you stay the course.
3. LOOKS. Sadly, show business is show business and if you don't have the looks, natural or enhanced, you've got something of a problem. You need the x-factor to stand out. Don't despair though if you feel you're no Adonis. Even Keanu Reeves couldn't get his band to take off. You don't have to have a perfect mane or well-chiseled features to look the part. In fact, only in the realm of rock can you find the ugliest celebrities. Fashion wise, anything goes so you can't really make a mistake in that department. In fact, who needs a good top if halfway through the first song it gets thrown at the mosh pit packed with screaming fans anyway. Just remember that there's usually a genre fit for whatever look you're stuck with. If you've got a pretty face, you can join a boy band. Unkempt? Go reggae. Scary? Go heavy rock. Geeky? Go indie. Watch enough MTV and MYX and you'll get the drift.
4. LUCK. Alas, this last item is difficult to quantify much less acquire. In fact, its just one of those things you can't control directly. Some bands are just blessed with luck to be in the right place at the right time to end up the icon of a generation. Others have just enough of it to end up as a perpetual opening act for all the other meteoric bands. But like all things, luck follows a cycle and favors the prepared. So pool all your connections and send out as many band profiles and demos as you can afford. Do it twice over, and then again. You'll never know if the next kit will strike the jackpot and land you a multi-album record deal and a savvy band manager.
I could have listed six more items to make it a top ten list but then there's a limit to my article length so I'll keep it at four. Just remember you don't have to have all four under your belt. You can compensate for lack in one by having more of the others. In fact, you can surely make it big with just one item if you've got tons of it. Tons of talent never hurt anyone. Unyielding drive gets you there too eventually. If not, who needs attitude and talent if you've got looks that could kill. (Okay, you might need a stylist plus a sharp dance choreographer and probably a dedicated publicist). If all else fails, lady luck just might favor you even without the other three items because like justice, luck wears a blindfold and doesn't care who she strikes on her next swing.
So to be famous, you don't have to die when you reach 27 like Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, or Kurt Cobain, bless their souls. If you plan to kill yourself anyway, why not by throwing all your energies into your band. Just remember my TALL order: Talent, Attitude, Looks and Luck plus the rule of compensation if you're lacking in one or more departments. If you still fail, take heart. There still are ways you can get rich without getting anything actually done. Like working for the government. But unlike the music business, you'd do well to avoid, by all means, getting a recording out.