Music - Paying your way to the top!
What comes to mind when you think of being apart of your very own band; Excitement, anticipation, different hotel rooms around beautiful parts of the world, adoring fans calling your name or everything all at once?
From the very beginning, being a member of a band is supposed to be thrilling and carefree experience that is about having fun and making melodic music to build a strong fan-base. The reality of the band-member experience is anything but the pretty picture painted by Hollywood movies and public opinion.
Hard-work, Finances, Public Exposure, Practice, Late nights, Stress and trying to break through the millions of others fighting for the exact same dream is the actuality of the music lovers dream.
Michael Davidson, known as “Mad” to his fellow band mates, is a bass player in “Lawless and the Leash” a band originated from the Scottish Highlands.
Davidson said, “When I first started playing bass, I did it because it was a passion of mine and when my friends began playing their own instruments it only seemed natural to create our own band. I guess it was a part of the 90s kids dream, playing with my band in the garage, dreaming about my big break.
Admittedly, it was just a bit of fun and a way to rebel in the form of a rock band. We started Lawless and the Leash to take our passion and fun onstage and try making something of ourselves. I never realized how hard it was going to be.”
Creating a band with multi members comes with its own complications. There are disagreements, creative differences, tension, and stress as well as everyone fighting for the lime-light.
These complications are no easy feat and they are something “Lawless and the Leash” have become accustomed to. “Lawless and the Leash” have faced break-ups, break-downs, friendships lost, band-members leaving and bonds they believed they would have for life evaporating.
Davidson said, “I loved being a part of Lawless and the Leash and I loved playing tunes with all my mates in the shed outside until all hours. It was fun! I never knew that it could put such a strain on friendships though. We don’t always agree and when we don’t it makes playing together almost impossible.
We have lost band mates because we just can’t see eye to eye but the reality is, they are more than just members of the band, they are good friends.”
If straining friendships due to a musical dream isn’t bad enough for those craving a piece of the rock band life-style, funding a band is no walk in the park in comparison. Every band needs to start somewhere. However, unless you are fortunate enough to have a trust-fund or someone willing to help fund you along the way, it is much more financially straining than many people realise. Most people that decide to join a band are young individuals with minimum wage jobs and their own bills and expenses to handle on top of possible band expenses.
Davidson said, “The money aspect to starting a band is harder than I ever thought it could be. We need to pay to expose ourselves to potential fans, whether paying Facebook to advertise our band, creating our own official pages, hiring equipment to record our demos or hiring a room for us to be able to practice!
Most of the time when we book a gig we have to pay pubs that are using us to gain more business to allow us to play! If we don’t have to pay them, we barely get paid actual cash but instead we are offered free alcohol during our performance.”
Davidson added: “Don’t get me started on ‘do it yourself’ touring. We have to cough out money for advertising, selling tickets, booking venues, transportation, hotel rooms, food and water. We would have to save for years in order to have the finances to tour around Scotland without even considering the rest of Britain.”
After reading the realities of starting a successful band, some would find that without a large sum of money to finance their dream it would be extremely difficult, but is it impossible? There is always a way when you put your mind to it.
Creative Scotland is an organisation that offers funding to Scottish Youth which offers grants of moneys to help them realise their dreams. This grant can be anything from 1,000 to 150,000 pound if you are lucky enough to meet the requirements.
If applying for a grant isn’t in your style or you do not meet the requirements, it isn’t the end of your musical dream. There are hundreds of articles available to help you with budgeting, DIY tips and advice from other band members all searching for their big break.
Davidson said, “It is hard. You lose friends, sleep and money but when you are on stage, playing your music and having the time of your lives with your friends? Well that is the dream we all want, right? If you want it, you can live that dream. Don’t give up!”