Uncomfortable Truths for the Rock Musician (in no particular order)

Guitarists – If you think your amp is “loud enough” it is TOO loud. If you think your amp is too loud, it’s WAY too loud.

Guys - Although tempting, do NOT have sex with your bandmates. Especially the female singer, because that NEVER works out…EVER.

Ladies – Same goes for you, remember for every Stevie Nicks, there is a Meg White.

Guitarists/Bassists – If your axe covers your nipples you need to join a Fusion band instead.

Guitarists – If you think your solo is “long enough” it is TOO long. If you think your solo is too long, then it is WAY too long.

If you have to ask the crowd if they have “had enough yet”, they have.

In the context of Rock music, the word “Bass” should almost NEVER be followed by the word “Chord” or the word “Solo”

Drummers – Your kit does NOT have a volume knob (if only…). Remember this simple formula: Marshall Stack>Drums>Acoustic Guitar.

The audience applauding loudly after you announce “This is our last song” is NOT a compliment.

It’s hard to take the band out of the basement, but it’s harder to take the basement out of the band.

Taking a leisurely 45 minutes to set your gear up, does NOT allow you to go over your time allotment and do a 3 hour set. You’re not Springsteen, trust me.

Cover bands that “sneak” an original song into their sets – Do NOT do this. How do you think your song (no matter how possibly brilliant it may be) stacks up against the BEST songs of the BEST artists (because that’s what cover bands tend to play) EVER? It will be the auditory equivalent to a turd in a punchbowl.

Guitarists – Being overly attached to “your tone” for an entire set is limiting. Especially in the case where the tone in question could be described as “Chainsaw-in-need-of-tune-up-in-empty-grain-silo”. Switch it up and make us think that your set isn’t one reeeeeeaaaaly long song.

If the opening band on the bill gets more positive audience reaction than yours, you may want to re-evaluate your audience, or your opening band, or yourself.

Regardless of the genre of music you play, having three guitarists onstage is TOO many. You are NOT Moby Grape (look it up, plebes).

Original bands that worry their songs sound like “other songs”. They do. All of them. There are (at a rough Google estimate) about 97 MILLION songs in existence. For the most part, all of these songs were created with the same 12 notes. If you think you have come up with some chord, progression or lyrical concept that HASN’T been done before, you’re Kreskin, alright?

Bands of all types that worry they are one day going to be screwed by the venue/organizer/booking person. You are. No question. Lube up and take it like a man, particularly if that man is a gay pornstar. Rule of thumb: Don’t play any gig you can’t afford to do for free.

Guitars and Basses go out of tune. It’s a fact of life. Keep on top of that stuff. If you can go a whole show without tuning, you’re either a) out of tune and you don’t know it, or b) in that magical 2 hour period between your strings being “too new to stay in tune” and “too old to stay in tune”.

Keyboard Players – Playing classical music between songs is NOT impressive. Your parent’s made you take piano lessons, we get it. Unless you play it on a piano that is currently aflame, keep that crap at home.

Singers – Do not use your band’s set as a platform for your socio-political views. We do not care about saving the planet, whales, or rainforest. If you can tell us how to save $2 on drinks at the bar, or 10 minutes getting out of the parking lot after the show, bring it on. Otherwise, just sing.

Tribute Bands – When you start dressing like the band you’re emulating, you’ve crossed the line from musician to actor. Please leave your musical integrity at the door on the way out. P.S.: You’re ridiculous.

Overt alcoholism on stage is NOT impressive. A tasty beverage may be allowed to quench the thirst inherent in rocking out, but a bottle of Jack on your amp is just affectation. You are NOT Keith Richards, (of course I’m not sure Keith Richards is Keith Richards anymore….)

Getting into music for the money is like going to a Strip Club for the food.


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