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.

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


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 /


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)

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)

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)

@psmith The Illiodds. Like Homer's The Iliad, but random and kooky. I wish I was lying.

— Dan Sadler (@_dansadler)

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)

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)

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)

@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)

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)

@psmith @BuzzFeedUK Pelvic Thrust

— Dom Joly (@domjoly)

@psmith @BuzzFeedUK The Crappies.

— Rob Steer (@robsteer)

@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)

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)

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)

@psmith One called Casper, one called Pilot Star. Also had a big beat side-project called Shrimpmangarlic

— Dave Jones (@jonesthescribe)

@psmith Savage Cabbage.

— Ben Stanley (@BDStanley)

13. And every self-respecting band needs a logo that you can doodle on your maths textbook.

BuzzFeed / Patrick Smith


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.

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)

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.

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

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_)

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.

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

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.

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

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

@psmith @BuzzFeedUK slug trails

— Chris James (@ignorantbliss)

@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)

@psmith @BuzzFeedUK Hacksaw Jim Duggan

— Natalie Eddins (@natalie_eddins)

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.

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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