This was mainly due to necessity. With no lessons my skills were limited to say the least, but it was fun smashing out hard and fast covers of our favourite tracks in an empty music room after college. Fun and pressure free - There was no expectation or emphasis on skill, just three mates making a loud noise somewhere they weren’t suppose to be. So naturally we formed a band almost immediately and made the whole thing way more stressful than it should have been.
Pretty quickly things changed. Those noise sessions become 'practices' and despite my best efforts, our band’s name started to appear on bills in Blackpool venues. This was a little disconcerting considering I only knew about five chords but it didn’t stop us from stumbling through a few live shows. In hindsight, it was a weird couple of years. My time in a band was short lived but looking back a few things stand out.
For starters you learn pretty quickly that contrary to what you think, you absolutely can’t play a gig drunk. When we started out playing cricket clubs and old man pubs around town, our pre-show warm up was a bottle of Spar’s finest Pearly Bay wine and a few beers. It made our shows pretty special, just not for the reasons we were intending. You also discover that guitar strings can, and definitely will, snap halfway through the first song of your set and if you don’t have a spare guitar, you’re pretty screwed. Honestly. One time I tried humming the chords instead and I think people noticed.
Also, if you have to re-adjust the height of a mic stand when following another band, make sure you do it carefully. You’d be surprised how ear-piercing the reverb can be after you’ve forcibly bonked yourself in the face with a live mic whilst trying to make the stand a little taller. That shit echoes.
All in all, I probably have more cringey gig stories like this than actually successful ones but it’s proof that if you put your mind to it, you can do pretty much anything. Even if it’s a terrible idea, you’re often drunk and you’re devoid of any of the skills necessary to do that particular thing.
Were you ever in an embarrassing band? Let me know in the comments below!