Wednesday, February 29, 2012

common problems with bands (part 2)

2. No Real Goals-If you really just play in a band for fun or stress relief and have absolutely no aspirations to anything larger, this post is not for you.

OK guys. Here's the deal. Just because it's art doesn't mean it all just magically happens. Playing at parties is awesome and it may get you laid here and there but how do you get to the next level? In order to succeed, you have to be able to at least see it in your mind first. In order to play the kinds of shows you really want to play you have to actually believe you can do this.  Some people call it Law of Attraction. Others call it manifesting.

10 years ago, I started this band.

Before I had even written most of the songs for the first album, I filled several notebooks full of ideas about the band. Who was our audience? Where would we play? What would our artwork look like? At the time, I had no idea I was manifesting anything. I was just obsessed with a new idea. I was astonished, as time went on, to see almost all of my dreams come true. It really freaked me out.

This blog is just a more public way to manifest what frank lloyd rock will be like.

Monday, February 27, 2012

common problems with bands (part 1)

I've been playing in bands for over 20 years. I've been in bands in which all decisions were democratically executed. I've been in bands where I was a side man, following directions. I've also been the bandleader. When you're in a band you notice things that work and things that don't work. Here are some of the main difficulties I've encountered along the way:

1. No Structure- Most bands just kinda fall together through mutual friends or they start a project because they keep running into each other at shows. These are great ways to get together but often, because "we're all friends," making decisions (musical or otherwise) becomes incredibly difficult and eventually impossible. I've been in tons of bands like this. I'm not saying consensus-based leadership is bound to fail but it usually does. Orchestras have conductors. Films have Directors. For some reason, the world of non-classical music (I.E. most bands out there) bristles at the idea of leadership. Bandleaders are often seen as ego-fueled dicks.
Why is this so taboo? I think leadership often emerges over time. You've done some recordings with your band. You've played some gigs. Things are becoming clearer. If you, or someone else in your band makes suggestions on how things should be done it is often seen by the others as a kind of "fuck you." I think this happens because most of us don't like change and are suspicious of bandmates who appear to be taking over the band.

Consider the alternative. You form or join a band with a structure. You actually have something written down that everyone signs. Like it or not, this is a contract. Contracts built America. As long as everyone agrees to it, a contract can solve many problems and help a band to stay focused. Band contracts can sort out everything that goes on in a band and answer some of the following questions:

What happens if someone is always late to rehearsal and gigs?
Who is considered the songwriter in the band?
Who handles the PR?
Who books shows?
What happens if, heaven forbid, we actually start making money?

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Musical Apprenticeship

So I've been in lots of bands over the years and I have always been saddled with this nagging itch to create something new.

I took a break from the full-time music gig for a while and found myself employed as an Apprentice Electrician. I'm nearly halfway through the program and I really love it. I took this break because music became work to me. I burned out.

A couple of years ago I discovered this book.

With the help of Hugh MacLeod's tips on how to live a creative life, I decided I needed a day job, preferably one with no connection to music whatsoever. Electrician. Perfect.

True to MacLeod's observations, the Muse has come back to me and I want to be In A Band again! This band will be called frank lloyd rock.

As an electrical apprentice, I deal with architectural drawings now.  It became clear to me that there are many parallels between building a structure and writing a song. As I looked back on what I've learned about the music business it seemed natural to integrate my life as an apprentice with my new band. The idea of a Musical Apprenticeship was born.

I'm looking to start a band with a new leadership model. I want apprentices. I have a clear idea of what I'm doing musically and I want to share it with my apprentices. I used to be a music teacher. I used to be a bandleader. The apprenticeship model will be a hybrid of the two.  I'm looking for musicians who want to learn how to be in a band and all that it entails. I'll go into more detail about this later.