They’ve got to be kidding…right?
Upon hearing a week ago that Metallica were hosting their own Masterclass series titled Being A Band, I quickly saw just as many eyebrows raised throughout the internet. Nice to know I wasn’t the only one with a brain. Let’s be real: the idea of Metallica teaching ANYONE how to be a band is absolutely laughable. I could give two shits about their legacy, it’s absolutely moot to the purpose of this article.
I just wonder if anyone reading this has actually paid to watch that shit. I can only imagine they’d have no choice but to dwell on their dark past (OTHER than Cliff Burton’s gruesome death in 1986 and James Hetfield entering rehab in 2001) that NO ONE really brings up. So that begs the question: how much of their “advice” is based on the truth? How much more of it is based on a fabricated history? Fuck, Jason Newsted had recently alluded to the fact that there are a “lot of secrets” within Metallica.
That aside, I know better than to watch this shitshow. But I’m here today to bring you my own, homespun, brutally honest interpretation of Being A Band, all for free and all for your displeasure. Let’s go with number 1, shall we??
- Labor For Far Longer Than Necessary Over Song Arrangements
That’s right. Go find a band that’s a major influence on you the way Saxon influenced Lars, watch them beat a song arrangement to death when it probably sounded good after just a few tries, assume that it’s the only way to write songs and prepare for a career chock full of infighting within your band. Do you happen to have a musician in your band that’s a songwriting genius that can just shit out song after song on his own while keeping shit basic? Does your band have the ability to make a QUALITY album in a relatively short amount of time?
Fuck that! Make sure that you ALWAYS have to have a say in EVERYTHING the band does. Make sure you oversee every minute detail of the simplest, four minute single. Makes sure your band practices that song over and over again to the point that, once you finally hit that record button, your deadline for the album is just around the corner. How the fuck could first take magic possibly mean shit when you can take years to write all of ten songs and totally piss of your loyal fan base, as they wait possibly close to a decade before you release that next album? Duh!
2. Make Sure Your Producer Doubles As A Yoko
You’re inching closer and closer to success with each passing album. You’ve finally hit Platinum status in sales AND you’re even a home owner now. Imagine you and your band jamming away on a fast, probably badass new track as the big name producer your label brought in arrives and hears what you’re playing. His hello to the band is to tell you to stop and play it slower.
Absolutely listen to him and let him know right away that he has control over you and that your balls are safe…in his grip! It won’t seem like that at first, especially since your initial record under his supervision becomes your biggest selling album of ALL TIME, even if it unquestionably divides fans, and leaving some questioning your integrity. Keep that producer for the next several years, as he influences you to explore sonic territory that not only is unnecessary, but alienates whatever ever “back in the day” fans you have left.
Go ahead and let him be considered by the public to be your band’s fifth member (or sixth if your band’s a five piece already). Take him everywhere you go like the little lapdog he is, and he’ll know he doesn’t need to worry about the source of his next pay check. If you lose a band member, let him PLAY on your next album, thus giving him hope that he might even join your band that he helped to completely alter the course of. Let him dominate you like you’re his BDSM dungeon bitch so bad that the stench is strong for decades to…cum.
3. Overuse Your Wah Wah Pedal To The Point Of Sexual Abuse
Are you the lead guitarist in your band? Did you idolize guitarists that made decent use of their wah pedals the way Kirk Hammett says Michael Schenker is one of the reasons he himself started relying on the wah pedal? Well what the fuck are you waiting for? Stomp that pedal and rock it back and forth uncontrollably and far more often than your idols ever did!
You can’t stand out if your wah pedal use has control and intentional limitations. You need to use your wah pedal on practically EVERY SINGLE SOLO YOU EVER PLAY. Your tone with the wah MUST be insufferable, and you have to sound like you have absolutely no right hand at all.
Not even to jerk off.
4. Grant A Film Crew Unlimited Access To All Of Your Band’s Drama
Did you decide to have a little fun and let the whole world see your band in the middle of recording an album? Did shit not go as planned? Did a band member quit? Did someone go to rehab after years of unchecked abuse that’s still nothing compared to another ex member, whose trips to rehabs surpassed double digits long before your first go at sobriety? Is this person you?
Pay that film crew for the rights to that footage and continue to film away!
Expose your personal business to the entire world. Hire a “performance enhancement” coach known for working with NFL teams, because it doesn’t matter how many business deals you’ve gone through as a band – you can’t handle someone quitting. This coach CANNOT be a licensed psychologist or even a licensed psychotherapist. Treat him like your own, personal security blanket and keep him on your payroll for far longer than any other band in history. Much like your producer (see #2), make HIM so comfortable that he starts trying to write lyrics for your band in the middle of a recording session. The more leeches in your life the better, of course!
Speaking of band members leaving, I saved the most important bit of advice for last.
5. Drive Your Most Loyal Bandmate To Quit
This is the last thing I’ve ever wish on any band. But imagine you lost a band member in a horrific accident ala Cliff Burton. Instead of taking time off to grieve the loss of your comrade in arms, throw yourselves immediately into replacing him before you head overseas to tour. Find yourself your band’s biggest fan.
- He worships the very bandmember he’s replacing
- He knows your entire catalog inside and out
- He’s willing to do anything you want because he doesn’t want to take this chance for granted
- He’ll sign autographs backstage while your lazy ass is already back at the hotel getting shitfaced
Haze the shit out of him. You want to remind him that he didn’t just waltz into a happy situation; but because neither you or your band ever gave yourselves the time needed to grieve, you can just take out all of your anger on that loyal, new replacement. Prank him backstage, embarrass him onstage. Dictate what and how he plays when recording an album.
Completely shatter his spirit by being the one guy to still haze him even years after everybody else grows up and accepts reality. Condemn him during an interview with a national publication for daring to express his desires to record an album with a decidedly different sounding side band because you’re afraid to lose him, even if you’re still treating him the new kid years after his arrival into your life. And when he requests to hold a meeting with the band to further express his desires for a break because he physically ran himself to the ground for you and your band, show up drunk at 10 in the morning and tell him no, ultimately strengthening his resolve to tell you to he’s gone.
Follow these five easy steps and YOU just might be on your way to a highly successful career in music!