My younger brother texted me the other day. This isn’t exactly strange, but we don’t talk as much as we used to do when we lived in the same house. He took up playing the guitar a while ago, and even when he fractured his wrist, he was still practising away like a mad thing. The text I received asked if he could borrow one of my electric guitars to play in the battle of the bands at his school.
A flood of emotions and thoughts all at once. Of course I’m immensely proud. Excited. Delighted. Intrigued. What are they going to play? Who are the other lads in the band? Who’s singing? When is the battle of the bands? Can I play? Most importantly, what are they going to call the band? You might think this is a fairly trivial thing, but it’s of huge importance. A band’s name can say a lot about them. Before you’ve even begun playing, you introduce yourself and people begin to form opinions on the strength of your name alone. A name can be cocky, it can be self-conscious, it can be pretentious, it can be anything. But a name is a product of the band, and it can give a bit of insight into how the band thinks.
My brother’s band are considering “May Contain Awesome”. This is exactly the sort of thing you’d expect a bunch of 13 year olds to come up with. I love it.
I’ve been gigging for years, and I’ve made pretty much every mistake someone can make on stage and off. I know how to do this right and I know how to do it wrong. I want to help my brother, but I don’t want to lecture him. I have no problem pontificating about gigging here, but I don’t want to be an overbearing shit and ruin my brother’s fun. So I’m going to limit myself to one piece of advice.
Make sure you’re in tune.
Simple, but there is no such thing as “close enough”. Along with whichever guitar he chooses, he will be getting a loan of my Tuner Pedal.