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How to Keep Ties in Your Band

9BandTies_0No matter how successful your rock group has become or how immune to band problems you feel, maintaining a good relationship with your bandmates is vital. Watch any episode of VH-1's Behind the Music, and you'll understand why; famous bands have this peculiar habit of imploding just when things are going well, usually due to some sort of turmoil or disagreement between two band members. So how do you avoid becoming another sad story on "Behind the Music"? Just as you care and nurture for your equipment and songs, you must care and nurture for the relationships with your bandmates. The following article will show you how.

Air Your Concerns

In order to keep band problems from festering and turning into seething resentments, you've got to get any concerns out in the open the very minute they pop up. It may be easier said than done, especially if your concern has the potential to hurt a bandmate's feelings, but better deal with it quickly now than have it end up another reason for why your group eventually broke up. Talk to the band members about whatever the problem is, and do it in a respectful and congenial manner; hurt feelings tend to be mitigated when the concerned band member is nice about it. And remember to always bring a solution or two to the table. Talking to your bandmates about a specific concern without mentioning any method of solving it is a good way to prolong an argument unnecessarily.

To combat band problems before they even come up, try to find the time each week for a short band meeting. Not only will this give you a chance to talk about any business issues, but it also affords each band member the opportunity to air their concerns in a non-judgmental space. Make sure your bandmates know that these meetings are in place specifically to deal with problems and that it's better for everyone to mention them now instead of later. And if a problem does come up, always try to come to an agreement with your bandmates before the meeting is adjourned. It's sort of like mom always said: Never go to bed angry.

Remember the Friendship

The best bands are often built on incredibly strong friendships. Yours is probably no different. After all, you wouldn't be working with these people if you didn't have some affection for them. And even if you didn't know your bandmates prior to forming the group, chances are good that you've become close since; hours and hours of practice tends to bring the band members together. And, conversely, band member togetherness tends to make those hours and hours of practice a lot easier.

That's why it's important to focus on the friendship even outside the normal course of rock band business. It sounds sappy -- rock bands are tough, right? -- but making time for your bandmates will do nothing but strengthen the life of your rock band. Schedule the occasional band outing, something like paintball or snowboarding. If no one can get away for those sorts of activities, try at the very least to catch a live show together or grab a few drinks. Maybe even consider organizing some sort of dinner party for the band members and their families to give everyone a chance to meet a chance. Get creative; what kind of activity you do with your bandmates isn't important, really, so long as you make the time to do one.

Take Some Breaks

Perhaps most important to the life of a band and its band members is the ability to goof off. Yes, of course, band practice is supposed to be serious and focused if your rock band has any chance of getting ahead, but all work and no play makes band members sometimes take themselves too seriously. And ego of any sort, even if it's warranted, causes tons of acrimony.

If you find yourself in the middle of an especially taxing band practice, the kind that has your bandmates' nerves completely on edge, whip out a riff to a famous song and encourage everyone to play along (this is where it comes in handy to know how to play something like, say, Warrant's Cherry Pie). Or stop practice altogether and force your bandmates to sit down, have a beer and watch something hilarious on television. Stepping away from tension is usually the best way to resolve it, even if it's at the expense of a particularly important band practice. If you don't give your bandmates the chance to be silly or laughingly play some cover songs, all those band practices will be moot anyway; all that seriousness will put you straight on the path to "Behind the Music" and its special sort of rock stardom.

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