Being a good band member goes beyond just having chemistry and sounding great with your fellow bandmates. It’s the non-musical aspects of being together that will determine whether the band makes it or breaks up before having a real shot at success. Use the following list to determine if you’re an awesome bandmate or the one who has some work to do. At Bohemian Guitars, we’ve been lucky enough to work with some amazing bands and have come up with 7 traits of an awesome band member.
No one likes having their time wasted. Don’t be the band member who is always showing up late to practice, soundcheck or shows. People can understand occasional tardiness; things do happen. However, chronic lateness is a sign of disrespect and a casual disregard for the other band members time. Especially if you’re in an indie band, everyone has other significant commitments from full-time jobs to family obligations that take up their time. Being punctual allows everyone to accomplish the band’s goals and still manage the rest of their lives.
Having outside commitments is not an excuse to flake on the band. It is up to you to manage your time so you can handle all of your responsibilities and still be a fully present, involved bandmate. The band doesn’t exist to revolve around your schedule. Make your band a priority in your life and the time scheduled with them, from practices to shows, sacrosanct.
Be the person everyone can count on. Being reliable means you will do the things you said you were going to do, when and how you said you were going to do them. The old saying, my word is my bond, applies here. Don’t be the bandmate no one can count on, because you haven’t followed through with your promises in the past.
Negative Nelly’s are no fun to be around. Being in a band can be hard, particularly if you all are just starting out. There are likely long hours for little play and questionable tour venues. It is easy to get distracted, feel down and forget why you joined a band in the first place. The key to success will be in your ability to stay focused and keep your eyes on the prize. Being positive is contagious. If you can keep your spirits up, then you can encourage your fellow band members to do the same.
Bands are about the group and not the individual. Don’t just focus on your needs or role in the band. Take your turn setting up and manning the merchandise table when on tour. Don’t just set up your equipment, help to set up your bandmates as well. Be present and involved in all band meetings and conversations. You will succeed or fail as a unit, so do everything you can to make the band operate more smoothly.
Whether you’re in a band made up of close friends or one composed of strangers who just met, your level of professionalism will ultimately make or break you. Professionalism includes practicing on your own and knowing your part before the band meets to practice. It means maintaining your gear and your health so you will always be at your best and ready to play. Being professional also means being respectful to your bandmates and everyone else you work with, from managers to booking agents. Remember that the band is a business first and foremost, and if you treat it as such, you dramatically increase your chances of success.
Controlled substances and bands go together like peanut butter and jelly. No one is suggesting that you have to walk those twelve steps to be a good bandmate. However, hardcore addiction is bad for everyone involved. Keeping a handle on any recreational drug use or drinking means you will be able to fulfill the other six requirements of being an awesome bandmate and not have the band fall apart because of your irresponsible behavior.
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