Essential and Abiding Rules For All Bands - NO EXCEPTIONS:

I know many, many, way too many musicians. Some are accomplished, very good players on the road playing nationally and internationally. Some are on the way to the next lame smoke filled hell hole and 'on the road' in their own minds. These are rules for the latter. Read them, memorize them, pass them out to your band. And remember: You're in a bar band. The best two things that can ever happen to you are that you'll (hopefully) be paid in cash and you'll never (hopefully) be shot in the parking lot.

Hey, do you guys do any Skynyrd, can you play some Stevie Ray Vaughan, can you play something we can dance to...?

  1. Never start a trio with a married couple.
  2. Your manager's not helping you. Fire him/her.
  3. Before you sign a record deal, look up the word "recoupable" in the dictionary.
  4. No one cares who you've opened for.
  5. A string section does not make your songs sound any more "important".
  6. If your band has gone through more than 4 bass players, it's time to break up.
  7. When you talk on stage you are never funny.
  8. If you sound like another band, don't act like you're unfamiliar with their music ("Oh, does Rage Against The Machine also do rap-rock with political lyrics?")
  9. Asking a crowd how they're doing is just amplified small talk. Don't do it.
  10. Don't say your video's being played if it's only on the Austin Music Network.
  11. When you sign to a major label, claim to have inked the best contract ever. Mention artistic freedom" and "a guaranteed 3 record deal".
  12. When you get dropped insist that it was the worst contract ever and you asked to be let go.
  13. Never name a song after your band.
  14. Never name your band after a song.
  15. When a drummer brings in his own songs and asks to perform one of them, begin looking for a new drummer IMMEDIATELY.
  16. Never enter a "battle of the bands" contest. If you do you're already a loser.
  17. Learn to recognize scary word pairings: "rock opera", "white rapper", "blues jam", "swing band", "open mike", etc.
  18. Drummers can take off their shirts or they can wear gloves, but not both.
  19. Listen, either break it to your parents or we will: it's rock 'n' roll, not a soccer game. They've gotta stop coming to your shows.
  20. It's not a "showcase". It's a gig that doesn't pay.
  21. No one cares that you have a web site.
  22. Getting a tattoo is like sewing platform shoes to your feet.
  23. Don't hire a publicist.
  24. Playing in Portsmouth and Nashua doesn't mean you're on tour.
  25. Don't join a cover band that plays Bush songs. In fact, don't join a cover band.
  26. Although they come in different styles and colors, electric guitars all sound the same. Why do you keep changing them between songs?
  27. Don't stop your set to ask that beers be brought up. That's what girlfriends/boyfriends are for.
  28. If you use a smoke machine, your music stinks.
  29. We can tell the difference between a professionally produced album cover and one you made with the iMac your mom got for Christmas.
  30. Remember: if blues solos are so difficult, why can so many 16 year olds play them?
  31. If you ever take a publicity photo, destroy it. You may never know where or when it will turn up.
  32. Cut your hair, but do not shave your head.
  33. Pierce your nose, but not your eyebrow.
  34. Do not wear shorts onstage. Or a suit. Or a hat.
  35. Rock oxymorons: "major label interest", "demo deal"," blues genius", "$500 guarantee", and "Fastball's second hit".
  36. 3 things that are never coming back:
    1. gongs
    2. headbands
    3. playing slide guitar with a beer bottle.
  37. Bar tabs are a bad idea.
  38. Singers and guitarists are the first players to pack up, and are therefore better situated to select from the willing companions of the evening.
  39. Drummers and keyboard players, not so much.
  40. No one's girlfriend may come to a band meeting.
  41. No one's girlfriend may sew clothing for the band.
  42. No one's girlfriend may become someone else's girlfriend within the band. This coupling should lead to an available position in the line-up.
  43. Never name the band after the town in which you live, nor allow the label to do so.
  44. A&R men should not be allowed to touch knobs.
  45. Bar gigs do not require backstage laminates. Take them off.
  46. A 1987 Ford Econoline is not a "tour bus."
  47. If you have to pass a tip jar at the gig, you may want to re-think your career path.
  48. Tribute bands, aren't.
  49. If your bass has more than four strings and/or you have an effects rack, please go home.
  50. None of the Beatles weighed 225 pounds. If you're in a Beatles tribute band, hit the gym and see item 49.
  51. No one can read your hand drawn gothic-ish font band logo.
  52. And it looks horrible on the bass drum head.
  53. You are 1/2 as good as your friends say you are and 1/4 as good as you think you are.
  54. Stop looking at your guitar neck when you're playing.
  55. Two spins on the local college radio station is not "regular rotation".
  56. Don't send the same e-mail soliciting an equipment endorsement deal to multiple manufacturers. It's a small industry and the AR people all know each other and compare notes.
  57. If your "girlfriend's dad's old college roommate knows a girl who used to live next door to the guy who ran lights for Poison's first tour", you do not have an industry connection.
  58. Keep the singer away from tambourines and maracas. If he/she doesn't have a part to sing, send them to the bar for beers.
  59. Most drum solos sound like someone's building a house, save it for your solo album.