Tips on Rejuvinating Your Band
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Tips on Rejuvinating Your Band Sonically and Spiritually By Mark Valentino
It’s no surprise that in order for a band to be successful on any level, all members need to contribute time and effort. I formed Cosmo’s Moon in 2000 and in the 6 years of the band’s existence, I can honestly say that I have done the lion’s share of work.
It’s a common thread that exists in many bands; there is the one person who does everything while the bandmates just show up for rehearsal and the gigs and don’t do anything to help the band along. I was that guy for years until I decided I’d had enough.
There are many components involved in making a band successful. Aside from the obvious (practicing your instrument, songwriting, gigs and rehearsing), you also have promoting, websites, e-mail lists, flyers and booking gigs. It’s all this behind-the-scenes work that can make or break a band.
Whether it is because of my own tenacity or my bandmate’s lack of participation, I have been performing all of the above-mentioned tasks myself. There is no doubt that I do it because there is a small part of control freak in me.
In order to delegate tasks to other band members, you may have to resort to what I did last year. I was updating our website when I had noticed that we had only played 6 gigs the entire year. I also noticed we had only written 1 new song for the year as well. I decided that 2006 was gonna be the year that ALL members of Cosmo’s Moon would have to contribute in order for us to achieve any sort of success.
Towards the end of December, I called a band meeting after a rehearsal. I pretty much laid all my cards on the table and told the band how unhappy I was with 2005 and that some changes would be in order.
I told my bandmates that if changes weren’t made, that I would be replacing band members with some new blood. I made it very clear that I take the band very seriously and that if anyone wasn’t going to roll with the changes they should leave. I then discussed all the work I was doing and that showing up for rehearsals and gigs is simply not enough.
I tried motivating them by describing all that we could accomplish if we would only work as a team. I also reminded that none of them were here on a scholarship and that we all need to pull our weight and not slack off.
I then tapped into my bandmate’s strengths. I delegated responsibilities to each band member, taking into consideration their abilities. As a result, all members began to communicate better with each other. Rather than wait to see each other at practice, we send group e-mails to each other, which mostly resemble a message board or forum-type of communication. Everyone knows whats on each others minds and we are all on the same page with each other.
Also, we’re getting a lot more done now that certain members are responsible for making flyers, certain members book gigs, certain members get us newspaper articles and radio interviews. We also split the responsibilites of running the website and e-mail lists.
As a result, 2006 has been a banner year for us. We have 6 new songs in our set, we are booking shows in not only NY, but in PA and CT as well. We have done a few radio interviews and a few newspaper articles. Plus we have performed 17 gigs this year and its only August! We are currently recording our new CD and hope to have it out by Fall.
The band seems rejuvinated not only sonically, but spiritually as well. Everyone pitches in and we all work together to reach a common goal. It took a lot of work, but its a lot better than me pushing a big rock uphill by doing it all by myself.
About the Author
MARK - LEAD GUITARS & BACKGROUND VOCALS
LOCATION: Mineola, NY
INFLUENCES: Neal Schon (Journey), Joe Satriani, Al DiMeola, John Petrucci, George Lynch (Dokken), Gary Moore
GEAR: Paul Reed Smith, BC Rich and OLP electric guitars, Guild acoustic guitars, Carlo Robelli 12 string and 6 string acoustic guitars, QSC amps, Line 6 effects and cabinets, Samson wireless systems, SKB road cases, D'Addario strings
QUOTE: "If you mess with the bull, you're gonna get the horns"