Amy Mantis


On Being In A Band - Part Six Of Many

My friend Julian Weisser posted this article on Facebook today.  It's titled "Franz Ferdinand's Alex Kapranos: 'Don't Be an Asshole'".

Kapranos went on to list seven crucial things about being in a band.  Here they are - with some of my own thoughts:

Don't be an asshole!

YES.  I don't know why it's cool to not be nice.  It isn't cool.  I love seeing bands hanging out with fans and talking to people after the show.  I don't think there's anything to gain by being a jerk.  That stuff comes back to haunt you.

If the ideas are to flourish within a band, it's all about communication.

The worst times in my experience with bands is when there's a lack of communication going on.  When someone isn't talking, things don't work as well as they should.  EVen when the situation is hard - especially when the situation is hard to talk about (like someone leaving).  Talk it out.

Being in a band is not just about making music. There are so many other outlets that form the band's identity.

Quality band time outside of playing together is necessary.  Alex talked about it from a creative standpoint, and I agree with that.  I also think bands should hang out as bands minus instruments / talking about stuff related to the band.  Bonding as humans is how you're going to survive out there on the road when you're only playing 45 minutes a night.  There are a lot of hours to fill and if you can't get along, it shows.  It reflects in your music and in your performance.  Sure there are bands who fake it well, but they're usually getting paid far too much money so it's easy to fake it.

You can read a William Blake poem and not have to know who he was fucking when he wrote it. Just enjoy the bloody poem.

I don't know who William Blake is (well, I do - I just Googled him), but I get what Alex is saying.  Sometimes I want to know more about a song or an artist, but I don't need to know who Jackson Browne was singing about in "You Love The Thunder" to love that song.  Often times, it's made up anyway.  (I can say that.  I'm a songwriter.)  To quote William Miller, is a song better if it really happened?  Sometimes.  And I'm getting away from the point a bit, but nearly every song has some element of truth from personal experience in it anyway.

A band should aspire to be that pivotal point where everything changes.

I like this one.  It's definitely something awesome to aspire to be.  I'd love to be someone who opened the floodgates.  I definitely felt that way about Canary when we first started.  I was surrounded by all these bands trying to do complex things and I was like, 'Let's just make really good rock n roll.'  And we did.  And I like to think we still do.  There are a bunch of other fantastic rock bands in Boston that I discovered upon exiting the Berklee Bubble.

When the four of us got together to do this band, it was to play at parties and have a laugh and enjoy each other's company. That's what should be at the heart of a band.

I talked about this already.  Yes.

You need to completely empty your lungs of city air that you might have inhaled over the past year.

There's nothing like getting away for a while.  It does a band and an individual a world of good.  I love cities.  I will live in cities for the rest of my life, but I also love getting away from cities (preferably to Maine or Martha's Vineyard).  There's a lot of inspiration beyond the skylines, believe it or not.