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37 Struggles Everyone In An Unsigned Band Will Understand

It's a tough job, but some poor sucker's got to do it.

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1. Being in a band is hard work. You bust your balls week after week in a dingy rehearsal room.

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2. It’s usually in some trading estate in the middle of nowhere, freezing cold, and costs £15 an hour.

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3. Although sometimes it's in a noisy railway arch.

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4. And occasionally in the roadie's garage.

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5. Most weeks you’ll spend half the time ‘jamming’ or painstakingly working out an ‘epic outro’ for the set closer.

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6. You’ll go for the late slot, either because it’s cheaper or most of you have day jobs.

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7. So you won’t finish til at least 12.30am and will just miss the last train home.

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8. The drummer will still be late though.

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9. If you do finish earlier you’ll probably go to the pub to argue about logos for four hours.

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10. Eventually someone will quit, meaning you have to advertise for replacements.

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11. It will either be a bassist who insists on adding slap bass to your plaintive indie ditties.

12. Or a guitarist who’s never known a bridge that can’t be improved with noodles.

13. Who probably has some pedals like this.

14. Or a drummer who takes three hours to set up. / Creative Commons

15. He’ll offer his own King-Crimson-meets-Boy-George-in-Acapulco kind of thing to jam to, you know, if you fancy it.

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16. You’ll agree to stick the drummer’s song in the setlist, but frantically think of ways to avoid playing it live.

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17. There will be creative differences.

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18. After six months of this you’ll find a local producer, who's set up shop in his spare room.

Have a look at his face as you lay down your carefully crafted vision: that's what indifference looks like.
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Have a look at his face as you lay down your carefully crafted vision: that's what indifference looks like.

19. You’ll emerge three days and several grand later with a few tracks which you’ll probably release on limited edition cassette.

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20. Someone in the band will write a grandiose press release, declaring you a refreshingly new take on [band you sound exactly like]. If you’re in a punk or art rock band this will be a manifesto.

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21. You’ll pose for some group shots.

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22. Quite often this will be in front of graffiti.

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23. Or you'll be jumping.

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24. You’ll send the recording, photos and press release to innumerable magazines, blogs, tastemakers and DJs.

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25. You’ll never hear anything back from anyone. Except for maybe John Kennedy.

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26. By this point you’re no doubt playing monthly gigs to six people a time.

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27. The soundman often doesn’t even hang around past the first song.

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28. The guitarist will be oblivious to this fact.


29. You’ll get £1 for every flyer your friends bring, but only if there are more than 30 of them.

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30. Still, you’ll get to add your band sticker to the collection in the bogs / green room.

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31. The drummer’s song will go down like a lead zeppelin.

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32. Each member of the band will develop a thing.


33. Which may or may not fit in with the overall look.

34. You'll play one of these, which are inevitably always won by a prog quintet with an inexplicably large fanbase.

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35. A ‘nationwide tour’ – incorporating three cities visited in the roadie’s mum’s car which will break down in the middle of nowhere – will add an air of success to your CV.

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36. You’ll think of quitting many, many times.

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37. But just once in a while, you’ll play a blinding gig where you all click, everyone will be watching, and all of the above will be more than worth it.

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