Since embarking on the most unsuccesful musical career in history I have spent an inordinate amount of time researching the business. I bought countless records, worked out how to play an instrument, how to record, produce and eventually master the whole process. I learned the ropes as a performer then I set about learning the business. – production, distribution, marketing, web design- I learnt about it all. but at the end of the day what it really all boils down to is luck.
Lets face it the chance of a group of people being in the right place at the right time with personalities that gel enough, and long enough to produce notable work; and outside commitments don’t clash and the ability to produce the kind of music that the others want to play is, lets face it, slim.
Even when you factor in the mass manufacture method favoured by svengalis such as Cowell et al , its hard to imagine the alignment of circumstances for success let alone true greatness.
It has been pointed out that you make your own luck, You have to walk in the right circles, play in the right places for the right people. Get heard by the movers, shakers and hipsters who are the purveyors of taste for an alternative nation. This is all well and good if you are public schoolboys/girls who have rich parents that can bankroll you playing to journalist dicks who will not travel further than central London for fear of having their skinny lattes spilt by the Hoi Polloi, Believe me it is all luck – oh and and staying power.
If the loveable moptops had not gone to the same school, met Epstein or Martin or Dylan maybe we wouldn’t have had to put up with Oasis.
And rember they were only together for less than 10 years.
Our band has been going for nearly 10 years now. I often think how the various members happened to join together and why they are still together in the most ‘un-successful band in music history’ (TM). Perhaps this staying power is success in itself, sure there are no financial rewards, but it would not be churlish to claim that the personal and artistic rewards ensure that we keep coming back for more.
Here are my tips for reaching the top.
Oviously your cause is going to be improved by playing music that people want to hear. Try having songs with a chorus and recognisable themes – maybe songs about being happy or ‘getting lucky’ or something aspirational. Make sure you follow a formula – copy something that has gone before.
Songs harranguing old aquaintances or attacking people and other bands in the local music scene might not endear you to promoters and venues. Telling the audience that you hate them is also a dubious method of courting new fans we’ve found.
Get yourself a singer that sings and preferable has an easy style that people can relate to. If your singer has an idiosyncratic style local radio will not be your friend – and as we all know the local radio is a sort of easy listening mafia determined to promote the mediocre and derivitive over anything outre or original.
Choose a style of music that people can take their wife or girlfriend to- perhaps try watering down once subversive styles in a family friendly way, reggae or pop-punk are ripe for this.