Sunday, September 23, 2007


1) The band should comprise fellow freaks and good friends. Fuck 'musicians'. Don't waste time 'auditioning', you'll just get some smarmy nob coming round your house and strumming U2 riffs on his 'pub rock legend' uncle's precious £500 guitar. When he finds out your band sounds like a bag of cats being tossed from the top of a cliff, he'll go around telling everyone you can't play.

2) Why you should remotely care about the last 8 words of no.1 is that joining/forming a band as a teenager makes you 40% more viable as a sexual partner. However, even if you're the most violently confrontational punk group ever, when people discover you can't play, that boost decreases to a paltry...3%! I don't know why the band thing works, but it does. If you're 15 and on your Jack Jones, just pretend you're in a band and you'll cop off in no time. Don't be ultra-choosy, though - if someone's going to go to the effort of being your 'groupie' you should be fucking well grateful, you conniving little cunt.

3) Before you decide who's going to play what, concentrate on the important bits - gig flyers, band logos, lurid LP covers, manifestos, etc. We wanted to be an anti-religious band and get loads of sexually repressed fellow Catholic and Muslim kids to go mental and storm the Vatican, tearing up Korans, while chanting the lyrics to our 2-chord classics. Actually, only I did - the allocated "guitarist" (who became "singer" the week after) wanted us to sound like the Sex Pistols and write amusing lyrics about dropping A-bombs on old peoples' homes. See what I mean? You have to thrash this stuff out before you even dream of playing a note, as well as practising vicious kung fu strikes - in preparation for your first NME interviewer.

4) Getting hold of equipment is the bane of every teenage dinmaker's life. It's OK if your parents are some kind of loaded, liberal vegetarians, who think it's groovy for their kids to express their creativity through the medium of sound, and who happily shell out for drumkits, amplifiers, guitars, guitar cables, etc. Otherwise, you're fucked. Yeah, it was hilarious when Paedo Townsend smashed his guitar to fragments on stage every night, wasn't it? He could have given each axe he demolished to a skint, actually scrap that, best he stayed well clear...anyway, guitars aren't cheap, so borrow, steal and scrounge whatever you can. There's thousands of blokes who buy electric guitars and synths when they land their first job in an accountancy firm at the age of 22. Their first pay packet makes them determined to finally enact their dream of starting a band! By 28, they're in long term relationships, unable to talk about anything but accounting, new spread sheet software, internal promotions and telly, and their only 'dream' is that they'll get a decent night's kip when the baby arrives. Target these sell-outs, they're not fit to own guitars.

Or buy a load of cheap shit, it doesn't matter.

5) This is really important -your parents mustn't be involved at any stage whatsoever. Anyone remember the PERIOD PAINS? That outrageous group of (public) school-aged Riot Grrrls who once recorded a rude song about the Spice Girls? Well, the SGs might have been "boring and lame" but at least their DADDIES didn't drive them to their gigs in 'people carriers'! No shit. If you can't lug your own equipment to whatever crappy nissan hut you're performing in, you should draft in a couple of fat mates as 'roadies'. As with your 'groupies', don't fuck these people around, they're doing you a favour.

A cautionary tale - around 2001, me and my flatmate went down the Railway, a pub in Edgware, as apparently it was starting a 'punk / alternative' night every second Saturday. Well, actually, I also fancied the fucking PVC skirt off this completely sarcastic ice queen barmaid called Rosie, but that's another story. Anyway, there was zero punk on offer, but plenty of embarrassment - a band called Ker-Baffled (I'm not making this up), three 18-year olds with spikey hair, ties know, the whole Green Day / Offspring get up - only from Edgware. About 10 of their friends had shown up, but we couldn't figure out why there was a white-haired couple looking really pleased with themselves in the corner.

Ker-Baffled sucked, an absolute pile of emo cack. Towards the end, some heavy metal fans who always used to hang out in the Railway playing pool drifted over and started shouting abuse at the band. The drummer went all red and flashed a half-hearted V-sign - prompting even more cruel laughter and goading. And then, right at the end - I mean, get this, a 'punk / alternative' night - the white haired couple get up and admonish the guitarist / singer, saying: "It's starting to rain outside, Matthew...come on lads, you'd better get the equipment packed up can't expect me and your mother to carry it all... here's my umbrella and the car keys...we should get going"

Christ, I thought the object was to line these bumbling old duffers up against a bus stop and torch them.

6) Booking a gig is quite hard. Sadly, promoters tend to be conservative cowards who want to hear a tape of your unpolished, completely rubbish 'demo' before they let you sully their sad club nights. Don't bother approaching local bands for support, 99% will be egotistical cunts who see all other bands as competition.

The best way to play is...DO A BENEFIT GIG. OK, there aren't so many around these days, but most organisations will be happy to put you on. You don't get paid, diddums, but you do get exposure. IMPORTANT WARNING - if you play a benefit for the Anti Nazi League / SWP, be aware that someone WILL be sent round to investigate your band's political and moral fibre beforehand. If you've got any Oi! LPs, forget it, you'll be declined. Prepare to be grilled on topics such as deformed workers' states, the theoretical illiteracy of the Fifth International, and inter-racial blow jobs (you don't wanna know). You'll also be expected to sign up as fully-fledged members of the 'movement', so write off £24 for each person in the group - that's your annual membership (or £60 if you're a student). REMEMBER, IT TAKES FIVE MINUTES TO JOIN THE SWP BUT A LIFETIME TO ESCAPE. You'll wish you'd become an accountant instead.

Rape Crisis, Hunt Saboteurs and Anti-Fascist Action were never fussy about who they put on the bill, if that's any help.

7) Somehow it's all gone wrong! The 'run down Casio synth' player tried to stick his tongue into the bassist's girlfriend's gob when she'd imbibed too much cider - and her bloke WASN'T asleep! Your tape has sold a pathetic 2 copies. Nobody will book you because your 'gig flyer' featured a picture of the Virgin Mary with an Armalite rifle and 'IRA' tattoed across her knuckles, and you haven't even got a guitar, just a plywood ECT dispenser. Congratulations! A right royal fuck-up.

Or you could try it this way -
Hi, this is not so related to your page, but it is the site you asked me 1 month ago about the abs diet. I tried it, worked well. Well here is the site
Hey someone still remembers the Ker-Baffles!!
Adam - cheers mate. Funnily enough I was thinking about you the other day and wondering why you never came back to tell me how to find the site.

Anon - presumably you were also there in the pub then, as I've just googled them and arrived straight back here.
I had some mates at a posh school who formed a punk band. I must tell you about them sometime. They played their school talent show. I offered to stand on stage wearing a dress*, puking and throwing fireworks into the audience but they weren't really up for it, cos I wasn't at the school and thus wasn't eligible for entry or something.

Needless to say we're not mates anymore.

*I was going to be 'Baroness Samedi' with a torn wedding dress and corpsepaint and a top hat and everything. I still think it was an amazing idea.
I was there of course, I'm Matthew's younger brother. Dad really was terrible that night, wasn't he?
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