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March 18, 2009

Demos, Demos, Demos...

I realised today that I don't really have any decent demos to point people towards as and when I post/respond to band-member ads.


Around a year ago I promised myself that I would record some stuff but then never got around to it. I was going to have another crack at some before I started my search again, but, well, I have the self-control of... someone without much self-control.

What to do... what to do...

I still have my book of 101 unfinished song ideas that I need to get back to... along with my head full of 101 unstarted song ideas. Need focus. Joining the band and attending Rockschool really took up all my spare time and creativity. Now that I'm band-free I guess I should force myself to get back on track.

Actually, what I need is a month off work, somewhere sunny, with a (metaphorical) tape recorder and my guitars... oh, and a beach (if I'm dreaming I might as well dream, eh?)

And a drum machine... and a bass.

I suppose I could download some backing tracks and just jam over them. That'd be a start, at least. I'd prefer to work up full songs of my own devising, but that takes time, which would be a luxury at the moment.

What's a boy to do, eh?

Don't answer that.


Col said...

Don't start pissing about with demos just yet mate. Form the band first. Start by gelling musically before attempting to run before you can walk. You don't need me to point out that Rome wasn't built in a day, especially at your work rate and so forth. So my advice is to form the band first. Play a load of crappy covers for a while until some people leave and you get new members- let it all settle down. Enjoy yourself during the first six months. Then, when you think you are happy with everything, gently suggest original material - and watch anothe rmember leave. Once you have replaced them you can begin to start thinking about writing. By all means start writing now, but keep the songs well to yourself until you have written out your early crap songs - we all have them - and they are getting better. Maybe find a song writing partner outside of your band to giv eyou confidence. There. Job done. That's be £600 please for my consultancy fee.

Kenski said...

Whilst the simplicity of your suggestion... (£600 value!)... appeals to me, I guess I'm just baulking a bit when people ask for MySpace pages etc with samples, which I don't have.

Mebbe I should just say 'no, I don't have anything like that'!

Dunno. As usual, you're probably right... Hrmph.

Col said...

You know it makes sense. If anybody is asking for demos at this early stage then you're not going to be having much fun. I've read your ad and you are asking for experienced players. That's why they want to know what songs you alredy have. By asking for experience you will also be laying yourself open to the 'want to get back to regular gigging in a paying covers band' personality types. I know these well. They're all Stratocaster and floor mounted effects and everybody elses licks but their own. Why if I had a pound for every one of them I have dealt with in just a few short years...
My advice? Set your sights a little lower. Start out by just getting a handful of people together in the same palce to see if there is any chemistry. That last band you joined was a no hope from the begining. Avoid politics and power plays like the plague. Those sorts of people are 'band cancer' and they will always, without fail, fuck up your good thing - principally because they thrive on the chaos. As soon as you spot them you have to elbow them. Eithe rthat or they will try and elbow you from your own band.

As somebody starting out and trying to put a band together you either have to be very tough and say "I'm running this show - we do things my way" or you find a nice bunch of lads and let it evolve into a frindly democratic vibe. I prefer the former but I ended up with the latter - which is no bad thing if the lads are all nice and you gel well together. From my perspective if MS went tits up tomorrow I'd be in the same boat as you with exactly the same problems. And I'd do exactly what I have just suggested that you do. So heed my advice and pay me a further £600 - thank you very much.

To summarise:
1. revise advert - Intermediate player looking to find other like minded people to get together once a week and have a bit of a play. Maybe play a handful of covere, write som eoriginals, play a few shitty gigs for little or no money before splitting up etc.

2. Avoid band cancer.

3. No strat playing 'want to get back to gigging' types. You're not ready to handle them yet.

4. Keep it local - do not travel miles. You'll get fed up first an dend up leaving your own band.

5. Find people that you like. Not becasue they're a good guitarist etc. You will be spending a lot of time in each others company moving forward. No haters/racists etc.

6. Avoid female singers until you are good enough to handle one of 'em. They're trouble.

7. Commitement is good. I once played with a beginer drummer that repeatedly yawned while playing. WTF? In fact, this whole band was so awful that I left it!

Furtheron said...

Hmmm I'm in the "getting my demos together" stage... I've been there at least 9 months. I've bought a recorder - half arse recorded one thing and not done bugger all since... I have at least half a set of half/quarter written junk...

Col - gives great advice... I wish I could take some of it on board. :-)

@ col - I have a strat... what's wrong with a strat... it's a bloody nice strat... don't have a go about my strat! :-)

Furtheron said...

avoid females full stop by the way... and not necessarily just in a band... :-)

Istvanski said...

Lots of good advice from Col (apart from his hateful disdain of Fender guitars...bloody Stratists ;-p ). There's no reason why you can't get into recording some of your stuff and bunging it onto MySpace, you may inadvertently meet up with the right people through're wasting your time with Facebook.

Col said...

Yes Facebook is crap. That'll be a further £600 for agreeing with Ister.

Kenski said...

£1800... would you like cash or cheque (or should I hold off until it's an even £30k? ;-)