Top Ten Reasons to Be in a Rock Band (according to Paul Diamond Blow)
Being in a musician in a rock band is super cool... here's why!
by Paul Diamond Blow
So you wanna be a rock’n’roller? You want to live the good life? You want to score with beautiful women (or men)? Well, here you go… if you’ve got any sort of musical or creative talent or ability, these are the top ten reasons to get your sorry butt off the Guitar Hero game and actually join or start a real rock’n’roll band. Read on, dudes…
1) You wanna be a rock star
Yes, you’ve gone to the concerts to see your favorite bands, and there they are on stage in front of hundreds—if not thousands—of screaming, adoring, loving fans, strutting their stuff on stage, making a lot of noise, posing and posturing, rocking their hearts out, and getting paid for it. You say to yourself, “That’s what I wanna do!” So you go to the local Guitar Center, spend some hard earned mula on a guitar and amp, and jam some songs in your bedroom in front of your mirror. Sorry, friend, that ain’t quite cutting it—you need to start or find yourself a real rock band and do it for real! Yes, then and only then do you have a chance of being a real rock star, because as you may or may not know, being in a real rock band anything can happen at any time. The possibilities are endless; your band could take off at any time, become huge, and you too, my friend, could be the next big thing—a real rock star. And if that does not happen (as in most cases), at least you can be a rock star in your own basement, your own practice studio, or at least in your own mirror. Yes, it is a great fantasy but fantasies do make life more interesting, and that’s the best reason for being in a rock band—the rock star fantasy rules!
2) For the chicks
Being in a rock band is a great way to meet the ladies, and let me tell you a not-so-secret secret: there are scores of women out there who are attracted to rock musicians, and it helps if said musician actually plays in a band. Being in a rock band is a great ice breaker with the ladies: you’ve just played a show at the local dive bar and a young hottie makes her way to you and says, “You rock!” You say, “Thanks, babe. What’s your name?” You’ve got it made now, and being in a rock band was the catalyst. The hottie would never have talked to you if she hadn’t seen you rocking your heart out on stage. It’s also always cool when a young hottie comes up to you and says, “Are you in a band?” And you say, “Yeah, babe, I am.” You then give her a sticker, hand bill, or a CD, and the hottie is impressed. If you play your cards right you may even go home with the hottie, or at least get an honest phone number. (Note to female rock musicians: please substitute “hot dudes” for “chicks.”)
3) It’s a good excuse to drink beer
I must admit, the biggest reason I had to join my first rock band—way back when—was so I’d have a good group of like-minded guys to drink beer with. You know—drink some beer, make some noise, drink some more beer, make some more noise… it goes hand in hand and it’s a lot more fun than just drinking beer and throwing darts, or drinking beer and playing poker, or what have you. I fondly remember my first band: how we’d meet at the practice studio once a week, each of us with at least two 40-ouncers in hand (yes, that was a long time ago, do they even make 40-ouncers any more?), and we’d drink beer, get a buzz on, and make loud rock’n’roll noise to our hearts content. Let the good times roll! That, my friends, is what it’s all about. (Note: these days my limit at band practices is two beers, after which I switch to Arizona green tea. I do, after all, have to drive home afterwards, and I do admit to being a bit more responsible now in my older and wiser age.)
4) Because you love to ROCK!
As I said before, playing air guitar or Guitar Hero ain’t rocking! What you want to do is get up on stage in front of an actual audience, take your shirt off to show off your tattoos, strut your stuff with a low-slung electric guitar or bass, watch the girls go ga-ga, and hear massive amounts of applause in between songs. You can’t do that with Guitar Hero. No, you need to be in a real rock band and play real gigs in front of a real audience and rock the mother-freaking stage! That’s what being in a rock band is all about. There really ain’t nothing like rocking on stage in front of an appreciative crowd; it really is better than sex, and I should know—I’ve done both.
5) Because you like to hit things and make a lot of noise
This goes mostly for rock drummers. Drummers get to thrash about—arms and legs flailing—hitting the snare, toms, and cymbals, all the while banging away at the kick drum with their feet. In an average thirty minute rock’n’roll set a drummer will beat on the snare drum alone a whopping 600-1000 times, depending on the speed of the songs. That’s a lot of hitting! It’s good exercise, too. And did you know that the average snare hit averages around 110 decibels in volume? That’s louder than loud; that’s a lot of noise! If you love to hit things and make noise and don’t want to go to jail for it, being a drummer in a rock band is for you; you just need a sense of rhythm and the ability to keep a beat.
6) Because you like to act crazy
This applies mainly for rock singers. As a rock singer/front man in a rock band you get to run around stage like a wild man. You sing, yell, scream at the top of your lungs, throw your body across the floor, stage dive, wear outrageous clothing, make a fool of yourself if you like, maybe even cut yourself with broken glass à la Iggy Pop. Let’s face it, you could do this by yourself out on the street, but you’d probably have the cops called on you and be carted away to the funny farm. In a rock band you can act as crazy or wild as you like on stage, and people will love you and applaud you for it. You may even get paid!
7) You want the fame
Yes, you know what I’m talking about. You want your name in the paper, you want to hear yourself on the radio, see your picture in the magazines or at least on band flyers that you post around town. You want some fame and being in a rock band can get you some, even if it’s short lived or just low-level fame in the underground circuits. Let’s face it… will you ever get your name in the paper or your face in magazines by being an average Joe Blow, working a Joe Blow job and leading a normal Joe Blow life? Of course not! Being in a rock band can and will get you some sort of fame if you are willing to work a little bit… I promise!
8) Because you love to play music
You’re saying to me now, “Mr. Paul Diamond Blow, why is actually playing music so low on your list of reasons to be in a rock band?” It’s because if you love to create and play music you don’t really need to be in a band; you can do it all by yourself in the privacy of your own bedroom. That’s actually where I get my most musical satisfaction—just playing my guitar though a small practice amp and singing along while lying on my bed, or maybe playing my acoustic guitar and singing my heart out while sitting on a stool in front of a full-length mirror in my bedroom, or even recording my rock songs in my own private recording studio, playing all the instruments myself. Even if I never release the recorded songs and I’m the only one who ever hears them, it’s great satisfaction. That’s the real reason any honest musician plays or creates music and writes songs—for your own satisfaction. You’re playing the music that you want to hear. However, if you don’t have the means or abilities to record your own songs all by yourself, you will need a band to make all those songs you hold so near and dear to your heart a rock’n’roll reality.
9) For the money
This is actually the worst reason to be in a rock band. I am only including it in my list because many aspiring rock musicians actually think they can make a lot of money being in a band, and I want to blow that right out of the water and “school” the young aspiring rockers. The truth is this: you will more than likely spend much more money being in a rock band than you will earn. First off, you’ve got to spend hundreds—if not thousands—of dollars on gear, depending on how good you want to sound. Plus, in most cases you will have to spend a good deal of money each month for a rehearsal space, being that rock bands are LOUD, and if you ain’t LOUD then you ain’t rock’n’roll. An average practice space costs around $300 or more a month. Basements won’t do because eventually your neighbors will call the police on you and will shut you right down. Your typical gig at a local bar or club will pay anywhere from nothing to a couple hundred dollars, depending on how many people actually show up and pay the cover charge. Be prepared to play a lot of shows for next to nothing, as clubs and bars often times take the first $100 or more to pay the sound man, if there is one. Of course, if your band is successful and has a great draw for each show you can get yourself a nice $500 or so guarantee for every gig (which ain’t that much split up between 3-5 members). If you really want to earn bank at gigs you can play in a cover band at clubs where people go to dance, or at casinos. Personally, I’ve never thought much of cover bands. I mean, how much fun can it be to play other people’s music? Plus, in a cover band you can never put out a CD of your own. All in all, if you’re looking to make money in rock’n’roll bands you’d best keep your day job (or be a sound man). But on the other hand, as I mentioned before, the cool thing about being in a rock band is that anything can happen at any time and there is the possibility that your band could take off, become huge, and you could become rich and famous! Is that possible working a Joe Blow day job? Nope… (sorry, Joe!)
10) To improve the world and make people happy
I truly believe that music—while being insignificant in the whole scheme of things—can make a difference in the world, improve the human condition, and make people happy. Here is a fact: no matter how awful or horrible your band may be, someone out there—even if it’s just a crazy man—will love your band and your music, and your band will be a source of happiness in their lives and maybe even inspire them. Yes, it’s much more than making yourself happy; you can spread the good vibrations to others. Not to mention that simply playing shows with your band gives your friends, family and loved ones a reason to get together, have a good time, and celebrate life. To me, that is improving the human condition, even if just in a small way. This reason to be in a rock band actually deserves to rank higher in my list, but I wanted to end this article on a positive note with some “positive vibrations.”
There you have it… ten rock solid reasons to be in a rock band. Now get your behind off your sofa, trade in your Guitar Hero game for a few bucks, buy yourself some real gear, join a real rock band, and rock! (For the flip side of this story: Why it SUCKS to be in a rock band, click here)
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