A successful band is a team. It’s not one guy or gal doing all the grunt work while the rest just play their chops. Neither is it an autocracy.
A band entails teamwork, so the first thing you want to be sure of is that all of you are on the same page when it comes to the general objective. In other words, be clear as to whether it is a hobby band or a serious career band. If it’s the latter, money should not be any member’s primary reason for getting involved. It ought to be the music–creating, playing and recording. If these matters aren’t out on the table and addressed right from the beginning, there’s high risk of a quick demise. It can take a long time to start making a good living at this band thing.
Equally important is to spread the work load around. Letting one person take on the bulk of the work is a recipe for disenchantment, even if they are willing to do it. Have one person administer your website, have another work on getting gigs, get everybody in on putting your promo material together but have one person do the copywriting and correspondences, set up a bank account and assign one member to take care of the banking and bookkeeping, and so on. It’s also not a wise idea to let one member shoulder the majority of the financing while the band is getting its act together.
Without a reasonable balance of work and financial commitment among members, some might not take their commitment as seriously and that can breed resentment or lead to one person wielding too much power over the others. That can result in the original common agenda getting lost in the shuffle as each member starts focusing more on their own, and the group eventually flying apart.
All that said, it is critical for any band to have a leader. If someone is not the obvious leader of the group, which might well be the case if no one particular individual had the original vision, choose a nominal leader who would have the final say on certain matters. Otherwise, things can get out of hand as ego-fed anarchy takes over around stupid things like individual volume levels and protocol during practices, let alone important issues such as how the band should spend the pooled cash. It should be someone who has the balls to take charge, the sensitivity to listen to legitimate concerns, and the ability to mediate. This doesn’t mean everyone else should just shut up and leave it all to him/her. Speak your mind, voice your concerns and provide your opinion, otherwise things will just fester and boil over sooner or later.
I’ll have more to say about what goes into the making of a successful band in a future blog. In the meantime, check the rest of my blogsite for more on bands and lots of other juicy stuff on the music biz.