The dream of many young people has been to join a band. It’s been this way since musical groups have been a thing. There are a variety of reasons why this thought crosses one’s mind. “I wanna be rich and famous!” Yup, that’s usually up there near the top of the list. “The groupies will adore me; I’ll have to hire security.” This is a common take on fame. “Everyone will be listening to the radio and singing MY songs!” If you can get just one song on the radio, you’re doing pretty good.
There are a few questions that will have to be addressed. Let’s start off with, do you have ANY musical talent at all? Hopefully, you are already an exceptional vocalist or well on your way to mastering a musical instrument. If you can play an instrument and sing at the same time, even better.
Let’s just say you can sing and play. Do you intend to be a solo act, or do you want to be part of a group — a band? Do you want to start a new band or join one that is already established? To form a band or to join a band, you must find other people who share your vision of music. Okay, you decide being in a band is the way you wish to go, and you find people who enjoy the same type of music as you. Can anyone else in the band, besides you, sing well? Does everyone play their instrument well? Does each band member have their own equipment? Who is going to be the “Leader” of the band?
My own experiences as a singing drummer, who also owns the P.A., has been an interesting musical journey. After begging my parents for a drum set (late-1969), I formed a Top-40, R&B, and Soul band made up of fellow varsity football jocks. I think we played just one gig at a cheerleader’s house. My next band (early-1970) ended up being an all-Black Sabbath/Grand Funk Railroad tribute band. After “hundreds” of hours of practice, we played a birthday party for the sister of our guitar player … I think.
Next up was a rock band (1970-1972). We actually played for the high school talent show and played for the Senior Prom Dinner. Next came a string of bands that mostly played C&W/Bluegrass/Top-40s (1979-1982). We even opened for “Whispering” Bill Anderson one year, then opened for Loretta Lynn the next. One band I was in cut a couple of 45s (Google that one, youngsters). This was my studio experience. It wasn’t until 2022 that I joined a band that played Jazz, R&B, Fusion Jazz, and Classic Rock. Learning how to play odd-time Jazz grooves was a challenge.
Last year, I determined that since 1969, I have enjoyed making music with 81 different musicians. The bottom line here is that I hope you have the opportunity to experience a wide variety of music and musicians (personalities). Your musical background will be enriched, and you just might be prepared for your next “gig”.
George Keck is an Army retiree, a drummer, and Lawton resident, off and on, since 1964.