Have a look:
Musicians are idiots (admit it). We learn the chords to “Wonderwall” and expect to be rewarded with genitals aplenty. Since that doesn’t happen, here’s some things that should:
1) Stop Sucking – I knew this guy who was “too much of a genius” to bother learning how to tune his guitar. He used to brag about it while chatting up girls at club shows. I’d say his name but you’ve never heard of him. Nor will you hear of him.
Take the time to be good at what you do. As long as they’re good at it, I’d rather see someone fart a song out of their arse than watch another mediocre singer/songwriter. There’s enough of those.
Be awesome and I’ll respect you. Be crap and join the pile of spammers, begging for likes. Speaking of which…
2) Stop Spamming – You should see the spam I get on Twitter. And Facebook. And email. If musicians weren’t so lazy, they’d be sending smoke signals all over the country “Vote for my band in some shitty internet contest!”
I’ll vote for your band if I think you’re amazing and I’m a die hard fan. Otherwise, that’s time I could be looking at naked people on the internet or something.
3) Stop Sounding Like Shit – You know those 4 full-sized Marshall stacks your guitarists have onstage at this little club? They look fecking awesome. Too bad they sound like shit. Small club = small amp. When you’re playing stadiums, then dig out the big boys.
I have seen hundreds and hundreds of bands, from the smallest club bands to stadium headliners…and almost every one of them sounded awful. Nine Inch Nails sounded good live. Jeff Beck sounded good live. Why? They actually spend time working on the way they sound. (I know, I know…you’re too much of a genius to bother with such trivialities. Show me again how to play Wonderwall.)
They also hire the best sound people in the business. If you can’t afford Bowie’s sound guys, then you can still take a bit of time to think about your guitar tone, your snare sound, your bass clarity. Take it seriously. If your band is all muffle-y then we can’t hear what you’re doing and we’re not gonna care.
4) Stop Getting Wasted Before You Play – Buy ticket to show. Band is wasted. Singer forgets words. Drummer out of time. Bass player staring down shirt of girl in front. Keyboard players falls off stage. Guitarist sits down to avoid the spins. (Seen it all, countless times.)
I want my money back. Wanna get wasted? Do it after the show, when you’re telling everyone how you’re too great to bother to learn how to tune.
5) Stop With The Unaccompanied Guitar Solos – Unless you’re someone like Steve Vai or Zakk Wylde, someone who we specifically see to hear the solos…then just don’t! Nobody wants to hear you noodle for 8 minutes. We’re there for your songs, not your solos. Half the 13 year old kids in the audience can outplay you, so don’t waste our time. If we wanted to see half-assed crap, we’d be at home on the toilet with a handheld mirror.
6) Stop Being Lazy Onstage – If I’m paying 50 (or 5) bucks to watch you play, I want to see you want to be there. If you’re too cool (or too hungover) to look like you’re having a good time, I won’t be seeing you next time you’re in town. You stare at your shoes and mumble into the mic. Green Day run around like escaped mental patients. Guess which one I’d see again?
7) Stop Whining About Other Musicians On The Internet – No.
I hate being sold things.
Every time I walk into a music store and hear “Kevin, you need to try this guitar. It’s exactly what you need, you’ll love it”, I die a little inside. I can’t stand being told what I will or won’t like. Can it fly? Tell jokes? Does it have a vagina on it? No? Then don’t tell me I’ll love it.
I recently “liked” a band on Facebook. I won’t be mean and say who it is, let’s just say they’re more famous than I am. Less than a day later I start seeing pictures of them in my newsfeed “rocking out with So-and-So headphones” and “chilling with the lads from Such-and-Such energy drink company”. I like a few of their songs, but not enough to let them block up my facebook with in-stream product placements.
I understand why bands do that. Everyone wants to drive Ferrari’s and own private jets, but music just doesn’t pay like that anymore. In the 70’s perhaps, but not the 2010’s. Taylor Swift made $45 million in 2011 but to get that kind of money she has to “partner” with a perfume company, let Walmart slap her name on jeans, that kind of thing (for the record, she also had a few big-ish acting roles).
But if I like your band, then I like your band. I kinda don’t want feel like you’re using me to squeeze a few ad dollars out of whoever will give you money. That just might annoy me to the point where I think of you in a negative way. Case in point: The Who.
The Who were (are?) a great band, with great songs. But every time I hear any of their tunes now all I can think about is that stupid cop show where the guy wears the glasses and says cheesy one-liners. I hate that show. And now by default I associate The Who with something that I hate.
Led Zeppelin famously won’t allow their music to be used in ads and stuff, which means they won’t annoy me for no reason anytime soon. I’m sure they’d make a fortune by letting some company use their music in commercials for dick pills or something, but then again they don’t need the money. Unlike our friends in the band I liked on Facebook the other day.
Stop selling me things!