To be or not to be in a band – that is the question.
There comes a time in every aspiring musician’s life where he needs to make a decision on whether he will go at it solo or try to find a band. Many musicians switch between solo and jamming with bands many times in their career. However, if you are still in the early phases of learning to play and getting your chops up then you may not have even given it much thought.
The fact of the matter is the path you choose shapes your destiny. You might be thinking you will just go with the flow and decide as any opportunities come up, but that is not a very productive way of being a musician. Songs are like diamonds that you make out of nothing but your own imagination. It may start out as just a raw lump of carbon but with enough shaping almost all songs can become sparkling jewels in their own right.
If you are a song writer, you need to think carefully about what projects you are putting your creative energy towards, and by projects I mean people. The unfortunate truth is that many people in this world are more than willing to take advantage of another person’s hard work and energy for their own gain. Many giving, enthusiastic and skilled people that put in 100% are also around, but they seem to be a lot harder to find.
This means that when deciding on whether to be in a band or not you need to ask yourself what your reasons for wanting to join one are.
A few really good reasons are:
- Learning to be a better musician
- Creating connections with a bunch of local musicians
- Forming a brotherly bond with a group of really cool people
- Hitting the road and getting f*cked up as a posse and going crazy, getting chicks and generally acting like a rockstar even if no-one likes your music
If any of these reasons strike a chord with you then hell yeah go be in a band! If not, then you have some serious thinking to do… If you decide to join a band you will be giving up a lot of your free time, energy, creativity and money into a group project that may never pan out. All the music you make together could just die and never be heard again. You will never use those riffs again because they will never be fully yours. You will be giving away your diamond to a name and a dream.
This sacrifice can have its rewards and being willing to do it should depend on the people you are considering getting involved with. You need to ask yourself:
- What is the character of all the people that are in this band? Do you know them well enough to fully trust them and do any of them have serious personality issues or personal problems that could interfere with the band?
- Do the band members have skills and a musical history comparable to yours? Running a band is like running a business. If all the members aren’t equally useful to the band as a whole, then some members are going to end up doing more work then others.
If you feel that you will be giving more to a band then you will be getting back from it, then it may be a good thing to think about focusing on your solo career. Remember – a song is like a diamond and if you write the song all by yourself then you get to keep it.