You’ve been drumming for awhile, and now you’re looking to be in a band? You’re in luck! Drummers are some of the hardest band members to find. But how do you put yourself out there?
First of all, who do you know? Maybe you’re friends with the local promoter down the street. Or the clerk at the nearby music shop. A lot of the time bands simply happen through networking. Talk to possible connections about your goals and what it is you’re looking for; maybe they have friends who are thinking about starting a similar project. Also, it might be a good idea to scope out bulletin boards at instrument or record stores for “want” ads. These places almost always have them. …A music store without a bulletin board is like a Joss Whedon-less Buffy movie; it just shouldn’t happen.
Odds are you know a guitarist or two. If you don’t, fear not; you could throw a stone from wherever you are currently reading this, and you’ll probably hit one. But if you want them to join a band with you, that whole “networking, putting yourself out there, being personable” thing might work out better than throwing things. Let’s be real.
I’ve found that it’s tougher to find pieces of a rhythm section (i.e., bassist, drummer). This is where you have to get creative. If you want to stray from the ‘Standard 4-5 Piece Band’ path, you’re going to especially need that extra bit of creativity to grab some attention.
During the winter I decided that I was ready to either seek out or create a new, more serious project. Even though I lived on a college campus, I felt like I didn’t know any musicians whatsoever. But I knew they were out there somewhere (they’re ALWAYS out there). It was simply a matter of getting their attention. So, I chose to make posters.
If you want to put together a legit flyer, first decide on what kind of project you want to have. Without specifying, you’ll get all sorts of responses. That’s totally fine, but if you already know exactly what you want, specifying will save you time and effort in the long run.
I believe the most important aspect of making a musical “personal ad” is to insert some personality to it, however possible. That way you’ll attract musicians that you’re more likely to get along with. My posters were honestly… kind of ridiculous. Here’s an example of my personal favorite:
At the bottom I had clipped pull-tabs with my first name and email address on them. I’m not a big fan of giving out a lot of personal information, so I kept that to a minimum. That’s why I preferred to put an email address over a phone number. A lot of people do that. It’s not uncommon, but you might be playing it more safely with an email address.
On that note, make sure that your email address portrays something professional, or at least somewhat classy. If you have to, create a new email account especially made for your band-related mail. I highly suggest doing this. Gmail.com and Yahoo.com offer free accounts, and they’re fairly simple to use.
There are always websites like craigslist.org or even “want” ads in the local paper, but I prefer old-fashioned flyers to anything (and I find craigslist to be incredibly sketch).
Hang your flyers where you feel fit. I posted mine wherever I found public announcement boards. Just be sure that they’re for public use, because your ads will be taken down quickly if they don’t belong there. I suggest hanging as many as you can, as far and wide as you can; you never know who might see them.
Getting responses is the best part. Note the level of professionalism in their message or call. Do they seem as serious about the project as you? Do you seem to want to the same things out of it? Often these questions are answered through simple observation.
Here’s an example of a good-looking response:
Granted, they won’t always look so professional or well-written, but this is actually a condensed version of how my current band contacted me. I was immediately impressed by their mature response to my ridiculous flyer. In all honesty, proper grammar and spelling go a long way.
Grammar and spelling apply to you, too. In writing an ad, make sure it looks tidy and professional. Do something to grab attention, but also keep it real and double-check spelling and punctuation so that you look like you know what’s up. Because you do, girl.
Now go start a kickass band that will rock my socks off.
By Bianca Russelburg
Photos courtesy of Katon Marie Photography