Do you have such a deep appreciation of sound and music that you feel swayed to start a band? Well, join the club. There are so many artists whose art has stood the test of time to inspire and change the world: The Beatles, John Lennon, and Paul McCartney, to cover a few genres. But unfortunately, for every good band the world gives us, God puts down his turkey bacon croissant, wipes the crumbs from his beard and hands, and creates a band Nickelback or Creed, echoing the sounds of a mother going into labor.

Starting a band takes a lot of time, practice, and self-loathing. You truly need to hate yourself to get into the state of mind necessary for writing profound, echoing lyrics. Pain and suffering are the two most valuable mentors a writer could not ask for. Just look at Kurt Cobain and Sting. Okay maybe Sting doesn’t suffer, but his audience sure does.

When looking for bandmates, be sure to pick people you will no doubt grow to despise.

Music is a way to share your soul, to help others know that you experience life in a similar plane. As Taylor Swift has made sure we know, everyone endures heartbreak and crazy women. It is part of the human experience to hurt, bleed, and suffer from occasional irritable bowel syndrome. It’s like the French phrase, “C’est la vie,” meaning, “please kill me.” Good writing stems from bad experiences. It’s Newton’s 4th law.

But writing is just half of it. You also need to be able to tickle a piano or bang a guitar. There are many different patterns of musical structure, including the ever popular 4/4, 3/4, and 8/8. Most songs are setup as follows: Verse 1, Verse 2, Chorus 1, Verse 3, Chorus 2, Bridge, Jump from Bridge, End Life, Final Chorus. But don’t feel like you MUST stick to these guidelines. These are merely a suggestion for wild success, not mandatory. Feel free to go the way the muses move you and make offbeat rhythms that have no stability. It worked for Beck.

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When looking for bandmates, be sure to pick people you will no doubt grow to despise after they insist on trying to write their own songs or maintain robust cocaine addictions. You want a drummer who is constantly tweaking off his rocker on a glorious acid trip – you know, thinking he’s feeding melons to homeless monkeys in Uganda or something – and a guitarist who is pretty damn sure the world revolves around him. These are key to forming a band.

Now you just need an instrument! Maybe it’s your voice, a triangle, or clapping your hands from the side of the stage. If you plan on being lead vocalist, just know the repercussions that singing can have on your voice and throat. Celine Dion may belt beautifully now, but in another 20 years, she’s going to sound like she eats cigarettes, because she’ll most likely be dead. This is even worse for metal or hard rock bands. The singer of Avenged Sevenfold once popped a vocal chord mid-show, and had to walk off stage and lay down for a bit while sipping room temperature Evian bottled water. It was traumatic for him, I’m sure.

Ok, you are officially ready to begin making music! Grab the rest of the group, plop down in a prayer circle, and start writing your love ballads. And remember rule number one of songwriting: There are no rules to songwriting.

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