Thursday, November 19, 2015

There's Always An Asshole in Every Band!

But usually that is meant in a good way!

Made this a week or two ago, and was fun to make. As to the title of this caption, yes, every band needs an asshole in order to function properly. That band asshole is usually either the creative force behind the songs and ideas, or is the one with the business sense and structure needed to make the band move onward and upward.

The two main issues with bands are how do you create the songs and stage presence, and how do you get gigs, studio time, publicity and promotion. Many musicians just want to jam around with like minded individuals and drink. That's fun at open mic night, but it doesn't get you gigs. Usually one person or two get together and flesh out most of the ideas before bringing them to the total band to work out arrangements (Richards and Jagger, Lennon and McCartney, etc.) Many times, they end up being the creative impetus behind band logos, names, design of flyers, and things you need to promote yourself as a creative entity.

In a perfect world, another band member would be good at the business aspect, of contacting club bookers, magazines, potential management, et al. This would hopefully be the outgoing and possibly best looking, party animal that can still be rational now and again.

All those duties, and corralling drunk members, scheduling practices, paying for rehearsal space or procuring a spot to practice, personal and band drama .. require a band asshole. That person deals with the most shit and usually has the most to lose if the music project goes south.

I had been on both sides, and though I have the skills to do all of that, I have had some of the most fun just being the "hired gun" that shows up and plugs in. "Here's the set list with which key each song is in, make sure you are here for check in at 7 PM." The most fulfilling though is when your band, with the music and lyrics you wrote, has a crowd that is having a great time listening to your personal creative vision actualized.

This caption however, takes the different tact. I've been in a band with my best friend, and I've been in bands with people I personally hate. Most people fall somewhere in the middle, and is usually balanced by how well they play verse how drunk they get and how shitty their personality is.

So, I wrote this mostly as a way to cleanse my soul a bit for some of the jerks that have been in bands with me. The kind of drummer who own a van, and decide to score some drugs with every bit of our musical equipment while on the way to a gig. The bassist who turns up his volume a step up each song thinking he's Flea and Bootsy Collins mixed into one man. The headlining act who wanders over to the soundboard and fucks with the controls to make us sound bad, and hence, make themselves sound better.

Doesn't being in a band sound like so much fun? It's actually STILL awesome! One of the best moments of my life was hearing a song I wrote ON THE RADIO. College radio, but still .. HOLY SHIT! My guitarist was like, "can you pop out our fucking tape from the deck. Like we don't hear this enough!" And at the same time, we said, "FUCK! It's ON THE RADIO right now!"

Last note about the caption: I have been in a country band as a keyboardist / background vocalist. Honestly I am not the slightest bit into that sort of music, but it was a chance to make some real money that I funneled into MY real band, which paid for demo tapes, PA system, microphones, etc .. Anyway, part of being the keyboardist was playing the lesser instruments like a tambourine and maracas. I certainly did FEEL like I was in Josie and the Pussycats!

One of the drummers I worked with had an old Gretsch drum kit like this one that Mickey is using. Was a big WOW! awesome moment for me. We never did any Monkees songs though!


  1. Fun little caption! I have no musical talent. if I was a tambourine player I would probably still get off rhythm...

  2. love the caption and tales of rock and roll, so its not all sex and drugs then?
    The Monkees really were a gem of a band :)

  3. wonderful cap.
    reading your post almost makes me regret not having any musical talent, ecept listening to it.
    I've had the pleasure in the past of hanging out with a few bands after their gig. Some were even quit popular over here. Most of the time there was one of the band members whodidn't got involved with us music fans. Reading your post I guess those must have been the bands assholes. They were usually the ones who made it clear when me and my friends were overstaying our welcome.

  4. I think I liked your stories more than the caption, and the caption was a good one. It's another one of those almost perfect images.

    the Monkees were a good example of a created band that took their own route. I'm afraid, as a bit of rubbish fan, that I know next to nothing about band dynamics. That said, I have enjoyed the collective stylings of Archive and the almost anarchistic nature of the folk-music post-chart music of Chumbawumba (they're still going!).

    Thank you.