The 24 Wonderful Stages Of Being In A Teenage Band

Mainly involves thinking of a name.

1. First you get some like-minded hard-rocking players together from your school.

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2. You talk about your influences and the kind of band you want to be. / Paramount

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3. You and your friends only play the clarinet or the cello but you want to be in a rock band. But it’s fine – anything goes.

courtyardpix /

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4. And then comes the most important part: choosing a name. How about a play on words?

@psmith Tequila Mockingbyrd 'surely one of the top covers band on the Preston scene right now' So said the Blackpool Gazette

— Aaron Lavery (@AaronLavery)
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5. It helps if someone in the band has a punnable name.

@psmith Kendall and the Mintcakes (our lead singer was called Kendall, obvs)

— Miranda Thompson (@Mirande)
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6. Why not go for something from your English GCSE syllabus?

@psmith Doomed Youth. Yes, named after the Wilfred Owen poem (we were doing Y11 English)

— Matt Andrews (@mattpointblank)
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@psmith The Illiodds. Like Homer's The Iliad, but random and kooky. I wish I was lying.

— Dan Sadler (@_dansadler)
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7. You could take a mathematical approach.

@psmith sixteenpointeight. Due to the average age of the four members - only that original calculation was incorrect. Stuck with it anyway.

— Tim Miller (@brasseye)
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8. You could be like East 17 and call yourselves after where you grew up (doesn’t work so well if you’re from Kent).

@psmith CT10 because it was our postcode and we were copying East 17. We let a girl from CT9 in though, because we were nice like that.

— Kimberley Dadds (@KimberleyDadds)
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9. Some are too clever for their own good.

@psmith 'The Intercession' Meaning: 'An interruption, a radical interruption of the norm.' Oh god.

— Joseph Stashko (@JosephStash)
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@psmith I was “in” a conceptual band called Glamorgan whose success was limited by use never all being in the same room at the same time.

— Tom Phillips (@flashboy)
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10. And some are so punk rock that they stick it to THE MAN and they just don’t care.

@psmith @BuzzFeedUK Yes! Ad we were the "Fucking Tram Haters"

— Serienpilot (@Serien_Pilot)
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@psmith @BuzzFeedUK Pelvic Thrust

— Dom Joly (@domjoly)
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@psmith @BuzzFeedUK The Crappies.

— Rob Steer (@robsteer)
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@psmith @BuzzFeedUK I was in Evil Skull Bat. Our logo was a skull with batwings vomiting up the name. I still think it was cool.

— Philly Byrne (@PhilipNByrne)
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11. If all else fails just get one out of the dictionary.

@psmith *deep breath* Breed of Hardy Pony. Taken from a dictionary definition. I 'played' bass. Oh God.

— Helen Stuart (@HellyStuart)
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12. But someone in the band doesn’t like the name. So you go back to discussing it endlessly.

@psmith @BuzzFeedUK Hardcore Prawn, Libido, Denial Of The Bear. All great great names.

— Mark Brennan (@markvangogh)
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@psmith One called Casper, one called Pilot Star. Also had a big beat side-project called Shrimpmangarlic

— Dave Jones (@jonesthescribe)
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@psmith Savage Cabbage.

— Ben Stanley (@BDStanley)
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13. And every self-respecting band needs a logo that you can doodle on your maths textbook.

BuzzFeed / Patrick Smith
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15. If you couldn’t practice at school, it was in a shed, garage, front room or bedroom. Someone’s mum would shout “TURN IT DOWN” every five minutes.

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16. No one could drive to practices, so you had to get all your gear on the bus. Drummers would re-think their choice of instrument.

The studio with the band was good, fecked my shoulder carrying the cymbals!

— James (@OmG_TrampolinE)
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17. Someone would always forget something crucial, such as: plectrums, capos, guitar leads, spare strings, drum sticks, tuner, songbook, batteries for effects pedals, etc etc.

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18. And there was always one person who didn’t turn up. This was particularly a problem before mobile phones.

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19. Songwriting! Your lyrics are THE most important words that anyone has ever written.

Even more terrible lyrics- gawd why do I even try XD

— Alice (@Brooksies_)
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20. You play your first gig! It’s incredible – you’re a real rock star. Even if it’s in front of your school assembly.


You win a million points if you ever did a gig that wasn’t mostly made up of your mates and / or parents.

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21. By law, all bands formed in the western world after 1991 have to do a version of Smells Like Teen Spirit.

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It’s a song that’s been subject to some fairly inventive interpretations over the years.

This is closer to free jazz than the original.

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22. You may have a healthy rivalry with other bands in your school / town. You may even poach members from them.

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23. After one gig, it’s time to change your name again. How about …

@psmith @BuzzFeedUK slug trails

— Chris James (@ignorantbliss)
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@psmith @buzzfeeduk Choice Blend, after the description of the tobacco contents of an especially rank brand of tabs smoked by the drummer

— Neil Murphy (@neilmurphy1978)
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@psmith @BuzzFeedUK Hacksaw Jim Duggan

— Natalie Eddins (@natalie_eddins)
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24. And, as all good things must come to an end, your band breaks up after something like eight weeks. And the whole process starts again.

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Teen bands everywhere – you rock.

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Patrick Smith is a senior reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
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