4 Reasons Finding A Band is Like Finding A Relationship (Only Worse)

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Ever since I was a teenager I’ve wanted to be in a rock band. I still do but ten years later, while I haven’t given up, I’ve come to the sobering conclusion that it’s probably easier to find a relationship then someone to be in a band with. I suppose at its heart a band is a relationship between its members. Like any relationship…

4) You Can Get Rejected for Arbitrary Reasons: Do you have “that” friend? The one that has a checklist for their dream girl or guy? They go on date after date but no one ever lives up to their fantasy and sometimes they reject someone with plenty of potential for the smallest reason. Well finding a band can sometimes feel like that only more so. It shouldn’t be any secret that the music business is getting told no often. Sometimes though rejection can come for reasons that are at best political and at worst illogical. I once saw an ad for a band that was perfect on many levels (they liked the same type of music I did and seemed to have similar goals). I was turned down because they specifically wanted a male lead singer. Now granted people have a right to their qualifications and ultimately you don’t want work with someone who doesn’t want to work with you.  However, I think my example is one reason that finding a band can be more similar to finding a relationship then a job…a job would never be allowed to use that or similar reasons to turn you down (at least they couldn’t admit to it). Of course, while it’s not easy to be the rejected, it’s not easy doing the rejecting, especially when it may be for a good reason which leads me to number three…

3) You Have to Play with A Lot of Frogs to Find a Prince: The ideal band member is someone who has talent and chemistry (i.e. they are proficient at their instrument, they have similar taste in music, they can play with you and not against you, etc.) Unfortunately this combination can be exceedingly hard to find to say the least. I have too many stories to count but they can be divided into those who can’t play, those who can play but go overboard, those who can play but don’t have the same goals, and the list goes on. Oh and unless you’re trying to be Simon and Garfunkel or The White Stripes you’re probably going to have to find more than one other person so take all the frustration and angst of finding one awesome person and multiply that by the number of people you need. Of course if you’re lucky enough to find those people don’t get overconfident, you still need to decide what your goals are…

2) You Have to Talk About “The Future”: If you’ve been in a relationship at some point you find yourself having that awkward conversation about where the relationship is going. Are you looking to get married and have kids or do you just want a carefree fling? In a band it’s similar only marriage and kids is the Grammys and stardom. Or maybe it’s simply being a highly successful regional act or whatever end goal you have in mind. Ultimately though at some point (and preferably early) you have to figure out if you want the same things. Otherwise it can lead to bitterness and resentment. In the last group I was in our biggest problem was that we couldn’t agree on a direction. He wanted to do more cover band type stuff and I still wanted to try to work on original music. In another group I wanted to get more serious (more practices etc.) but the other members weren’t on the same page and it lead to us splitting up. Of course even if you have this conversation and you’re all in agreement on your goals there is still one more issue you have to face…

 1) You Can Find the Perfect People and It Still Falls Apart: I’ve been in two bands where everything seemed perfect. We all liked the same types of music, we seemed to have similar goals and in both cases I could see us rocking out at Bonnaroo or the Grammys together. In both cases they didn’t even make it past the first gig. Of course staying together isn’t an easy task. One only has to look at a biography of The Beatles or The Yardbirds to see how even great bands can fall apart or have trouble maintaining a line up.

Sometimes I wonder why I still want to try, especially with all the frustration I’ve dealt with. I don’t want to stop searching though because, in spite of the issues, I still hope to find that perfect band one day. There isn’t anything that beats the feeling of playing music with other people and being totally in sync. It’s a feeling that, as corny as it sounds, is truly magical (and really that’s the only way you can describe it). Being in a band gives you a chance to be a part of something greater then yourself. As a soloist you might only be able to play so much but when you have your fellow band members you can take the world by storm. It’s because of this dream I keep going so that hopefully one day I can find my true (musical) soul mates.

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