This blog is about leadership as it applies to bands.
It’s not a list of tips to boost your band’s exposure, a guide to increasing your music income or advice from a seasoned, successful artist who did everything right. It isn’t about getting more likes or impressing people who might give you money.
It’s about why you’ve got to stop operating at the mercy of the least willing members of your band if you want to get anywhere.
It’s about the difficulties associated with keeping a band together for more than a couple or three years and why, for all your effort, the rest of the world probably didn’t notice or care.
It’s about spoiling the fairy tale of the overnight successes and unraveling the non-logic behind the idea that you should ignore your audience’s perspective but expect them to love you.
It’s about the private victories you must have before you can have the public ones.
Succinct is not a word I’d use to describe my entries.
It’s worth adding that I’m not writing this for the next Beyonce or Timberlake. There are plenty of blogs and helpful resources written by/for would-be and future hit makers.
That’s not me. I’m writing for the creative people who do something that can’t be factored down to an easily digestible lowest common denominator. I write for those who don’t define success as creating a bunch of music tailor-made to make big bucks for some company in LA or Nashville.
I’m writing for the excellent musicians in Austin and elsewhere who’ve fallen into the trap of feeling like utter failures because their stories don’t live up to the hyperbolic standard that the music “industry” and its chroniclers love to whip up in the name of show business.
I’m writing this for the wanna-bes. After all, every success story starts as with a group of wanna-bes.
Who The Hell Am I And What Makes Me Think I’m Qualified To Write This Stuff?
If there’s truth to the idea that we can learn more from our mistakes than our successes, then I am one of the most qualified people in Austin to write a blog about leading a band.
My story is the one of the reluctant band leader who turned it around. I had been fooling myself over and over into thinking my bands were democracies when, in reality, I was an ineffective, desperate and reluctant dictator of a string of hastily assembled teams of semi-willing people with similar musical tastes, different goals and very different work ethics.
One day, Sam Arnold and I were talking about our day jobs when he said, “All people really want is to be well led.”
My mind reeled. I did expect that of my employer, yet I had not been leading my band well for years. I slowly started slowly making changes.
When a band mate asked me what my vision was for The Invincible Czars, I started writing about those changes. As I worked through some of my own philosophy, goals and expectations I found some things I thought might be helpful for others. So I started sharing and this blog was born. (That’s why a lot of the early entries read like a journal or memoir.)
When I started my first band at age 15 in 1991, I wished that I had some honest advice from older musicians about the topics I address here. I hope to offer that to others through this blog.