I didn't go to college. My "college" was singing for a band at 20. I'd like to call it the School of Hard Rocks.
I've learned a lot in my eleven years in this school. Sure I haven't quite graduated to actually getting paid to play music, but I'm a pro at being in an unsigned band.
I started writing about these lessons in 2007 when I had my magazine Fringe. I figured since I have a decent amount of readers who are musicians here I could revisit these valuable insights. And I was told I need to write about band stuff more.
So the first lesson about being in a band that comes to mind is
Not Everyone is Going to Like you, and You Can't Make Them!
Metal is not for everyone. Most of my friends don't like metal at all. None of my family likes metal.
Even people who like metal may not like us because of the type of "metal" we are.
When .bipolar. had been together for only a year, we won a Sammie award for Best Hard Rock/Metal Band.
Before we won and the nominations were announced a barrage of negativity was posted on a metal news website forum that I frequented. I got bashed big time. I had never been bashed, criticized and made fun of like that before. It was public for friends, fans, and fellow musicians to read. I took it very personal. It caused me a lot of stress and made me re-evaluate standing on stage pouring my heart out.
I dealt with this for a couple years. I lost friends due to the things said on the site and lies were spread on why our guitar and bass players quit shortly before we won and about me as a person. I had a hard time not taking these kind of things personally.
Brian had experience in this stuff and tried to convince me that bad press was better than no press. It took me a while to realize this.
I've since learned to let bad reviews, negative comments, or jealous assholes not stop me from doing what I love because there's always people who WILL like us.
We've played a lot of shows and after eleven years of shows I know we're not everyone's cup of tea. For every guy with crossed arms and rolling eyes in the back of the bar there's a headbanging guy with horns in the air in the front of the stage.
There are a lot of bands who get offended when they get bad reviews or when people say they don't like their band and retaliate or start fights over it. Being criticized is the risk you take when you get on stage. We've ALL seen bands we don't care for and we've all seen bands we absolutely LOVE. We've all made negative comments about bands and we've all heard negative comments about our own band. Retaliating and fighting over that just makes you an asshole. It's another risk of the game. We all just need to remember,
Not Everyone is Going to Like you and You Can't Make Them!