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A Magazine for Sheffield

Cool Beans : A Guide To Starting A Rock Band

So you want to have heaps of cash, fans screaming your name and drive around in the latest sports cars? Well, unfortunately for you this isn’t a guide to becoming a Premier League footballer, but if you like staying up late, have a healthy disregard for personal hygiene and don’t mind if you go deaf by the time you’re 27 then keep reading. 1. To start a rock band, you need a guitarist, a drummer and a keytar/harmonica/cowbell/bongo player. Bassists are optional these days. Hell, if you can’t find a bassist, just bring a radiator or a microwave that emits a low hum on tour. It’s practically the same thing. 2. Sing about what you know and keep it real. If you’re from Sheffield, you have to sing about trams and Henderson’s relish or you’re not keeping it real. 3. When writing your songs, effects pedals can go a long way. You may be playing ‘Baa, Baa, Black Sheep’, but with the right effects you will sound like a trailblazing visionary. Take a leaf out of The Edge’s book. 4. Once you start gigging, beware of shady promoters and ‘pay to play’ schemes. If you have to sell 100 tickets for your gig in an 80 capacity venue and not get paid for it then maybe, just maybe, you’re being swindled. 5. Synthesisers, once the last refuge of the morally and creatively bereft, have come full circle and are now totally on-trend in rock music. Be sure to go on about how hardware is so much more ‘organic and human’ than software, and how you only feel spiritually connected to Japanese machines made before 1985. 6. You may find that most of these tips appear to be aimed at men starting up rock bands, so here’s a tip for the female driven bands: apply to play Reading and Leeds Festival this year. They’ll be trying to shake off the “sexist-pig-dog festival” tagline they garnered a few months back. 7. As long as you have two gigs booked in somewhere in the future (not even necessarily within the same month), you can call it a tour. You’ve got a gig in Cardiff AND Bristol? Well, that’s a world tour, my friend. 8. Before you start writing songs and crafting your ‘sound’, bear in mind that you will need to completely reinvent yourself after two albums. A change of wardrobe will keep those pesky critics off your back. 9. If you’re starting up a punk band and want to shake a few cages, upset a few stiffs, and rile a few squares, then choosing an offensive band name is the best way to start. Here are a few that are currently on the market and available at a reasonable price: The Ratf**ks, Mooses**t, C**********t, Rolf Glitter and the Jimmy Savilles (email 9. [email protected] to purchase. Free web domain included). 10. Everyone knows that getting your music on an advert could mean cold, hard cash in the bank. Bear this in mind when writing songs. Choruses like “Ain’t cat food delicious and nutritious?” and “Limescale - let’s get rid of it!” will give you the upper hand in the industry. 11. A final tip: never give up on your dreams. That is, unless your dreams have bankrupted you and you can only afford to eat a tin of beans a day because the rest of your income goes on paying for the practice room. Maybe at that point you should give up. Ah, what am I talking about? Never give up on those dreams! Suckle on those beans and keep going. )

Next article in issue 86

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