From the age of about 14 until… um… I guess 25 or so, I was always in a band. Whether it was just a bunch of racket while we were still learning our instruments or—well, more racket after we finally knew what we were doing (sort of), it was a great release.
Going to school for visual design and being in a band were a perfect match. I was able to marry the two together on so many projects. I mean hell… by the time I was 21 years old, one of my bands had a comprehensive retrospective CD-ROM complete with a metaphoric user interface created with 3D modeling and animation. Man, those were the days…
(I’m overgeneralizing here, but) Every two and a half years, I have a kid. And before that kid is old enough to roll away, walk away, or swear at me, I dig out my old geetawr and serenade him or her with covers I half remember and some shotty songs I wrote a decade or so ago. This time around, now that I’m basically living on the web, I’ve had some thoughts about how the web would play a much greater role if I was in a band today.
So, here are some things I’d do if I had a band today (no particular order):
- Not pursue a record deal. If it were to happen, fine. But the web makes it so easy for an indie band to get their stuff out there, regardless of support from a label.
- Upload and sell material through iTunes. You can upload your own music and sell it through iTunes. Wow, no middle man to steal 97% of your money… and no worrying about exorbitant CD printing costs to have a CD made.
- Do what Weezer did with Maladroit. Oh man. I remember it so well. Every morning, I’d head over to weezer.com. Why? The boys were recording an album and at the end of EVERY day, they would upload the rough mixes. They then let fans debate on their message boards about which of the 50 or so songs should make up the album. Never have I been so connected to a band. It was brilliant. Until Interscope killed it. I have hundreds of Weezer MP3s from that studio stint. All perfectly dated in the ID3 tags.
- Blog. Duh. Doesn’t this just seem like a gimme now? Build a great archive—set lists from every show, comments from those who were there, goofy videos…. etc. Endless possibilities, of course.
- Twitter. Like crazy. I’m thinking about Weezer again here. They didn’t do it because Twitter was years away, but during the Maladroit sessions, I can just picture them tweeting “Pat is riding down the stairs on a skateboard again” and “Rivers’ beard has now reached four inches”. Or “Starting 21st take of ‘We Go Together’”. Or “Where the hell is Mikey?” Imagine a band walking offstage, grabbing their iPhone and tweeting “First one to write back with a request, that’s what we start the encore with.” Again, so many possibilities.
- Put music videos on YouTube. Seriously, do people really buy music videos? Why not put them out there for free? They are called promotional videos for a reason.
- Constantly rotate new MySpace Music content. I guess people still use MySpace for music stuff. So, yeah, I’d post stuff there. I’d also be watching the new Facebook developments like a hawk.
- Post lots and lots of photos on Flickr, encourage users to add photos to a pool. What rock star doesn’t want to see photos of himself?
I’m sure there are more things, but those are the ones that have popped into my head. Social media and bands seem like a great match. Know of any bands out there really using social media well?
A Special Treat: Some Music
I somehow have managed to never post any of my old bands’ music at this blog. Time to change that. Today, I share a couple tidbits from my past. Enjoy. And comment.
But only if it’s nice.
- Over Me
- By Ego Booster, from the CD New Life (Self-Released May 1998)
- At this point, the band was as close to a one-man band as they come. Our bass player left a few months before the recording and we just never got another. On this CD (which was actually 18 tracks recorded in a weekend), I played guitar, sang, and played bass while Adam Cooper played drums. I wrote the songs.
- Girls That Wear Glasses
- By Adam Darowski (hey, that’s me!), from The Vacation Demos (Unreleased, Recorded Winter 2001-2002)
- Long after I was bandless, I recorded a few demos. These songs were intended to be simple, catchy, and not much else. This is my favorite from the group. It was an incredibly lo-fi recording process. I built a simple drumline with ReBirth and brought it into SoundEdit 16. I then plugged the acoustic guitar into the Mac (pre-GarageBand!). Vocals and electric guitar were literally recorded with the vintage Mac mic. I’m serious. So, ’twas all me and written by me as well.