Thursday, July 17, 2014

How To Become A Rock Star

As I mentioned in my last post, I used to teach a music business class at Mt. Hood Community College. The subjects that I covered basically consisted of everything I learned during my years of playing in bands and running my indie label (Crash The Luau Records) - sort of a "learn from what I've done and don't make the same mistakes that I did" kind of thing.
One day, one of my students asked me the following question: "So, how do I become a rock star?" Now, not being one on the level of what she was talking about (e.g. The Beatles, Elvis, etc.), I didn't feel qualified enough to answer that question in the way she was hoping, but what I could offer her was my take on that subject based on my experiences and observations. Here's a six-point summary of what I said:

1. Do everything you can, and then some. Even if you have two day jobs and lots of other responsibilities, make the time to do at least one thing every day - think of a vocal melody while you're in the shower, post a flyer on your way to the store, e-mail a radio station on your lunch break.

2. Try anything and everything, because you just never know. My rock band in Hawaii, Tone Deaf Teens, sent a press kit to the producer of a local TV show that featured mellow "Hawaiian music" artists - it turns out that he was actually an AC/DC fan and was happy to book an appearance for us.

3. Get rid of self-limiting thoughts, like "I'm too old" or "No one plays this kind of music on the radio" or whatever. Other people will be more than happy to try and put limits on you, so don't help them out. Be your own biggest fan.

4. Don't compare yourself to others. Just because the members of that other local band all live with their parents and can spend eighteen hours a day working on their music and promotion doesn't mean that they'll go somewhere and you won't.

5. It's okay to get discouraged from time to time, but don't give up. Keep going. Remember that while a big part of becoming the Next Big Thing is luck, you can't win if you don't play.

6. Have fun. Relax. Work hard, but don't try hard, if you know what I mean. After all, the main reason why you make music in the first place is because you love it - right?

Or, of course, as readers of Book One know, you could try to find your way over to Spectraland to learn the secret of how sound waves affect human emotions, enabling you to write one undeniable hit song after another...

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