Five (5) Ways to Kill a Rock Band

Five (5) Ways to Kill a Rock Band
by Sue Basko, esq.

Rock bands, other musical groups, and solo acts are sometimes (often) on a path to limited success or outright self-destruction. My observations of many music acts leads to this list:

1. The singer cannot really sing. The singer does not realize he or she cannot really sing. No one will tell the singer he or she cannot really sing. The singer gets to be the singer, because the singer is: a) a solo act; or b) the one that started the band; or c) the one that declared himself or herself as the singer, due to being popular, cute, or feeling singer-ish; d) the one with the car, money, practice space, or other necessary ingredient.

2. A boyfriend or girlfriend gets involved in running the act. This is almost always disastrous. It is hard enough to run a relationship, but having one entangled in with a musical career will likely lead to disaster. Do you notice your popularity waning? It's because no one wants to deal with the toxic boy/girlfriend. If people must approve of your boy/girlfriend to like your act, you are doomed. If bookers, managers, or fans have to jump through hoops created by a jealous/ protective/ control freak/ clingy boy/girlfriend -- they won't. On the flip side -- parents often make very good managers for a musical career, especially if they have some background in music or entertainment.

3. Someone is causing trouble by abusing drugs, alcohol, or having personal problems. Someone is arguing, not showing up, not practicing, being late, etc. The person needs to take care of the problem, and the sooner, the better.

4. Someone is a control freak. Someone is stopping up creativity, hampering friendly public relations, stressing people out, irritating venue owners and audio people, and in general, limiting the flow by trying to control everyone and everything.

5. Too much other responsibility. Jobs that do not allow the freedom needed to be in a musical act, marriage, kids, mortgages - all these usually limit one's ability to engage fully in a musical career. If a person can only give a few hours a week to the music career, it is not going to go too far.

-- Sue Basko