Ask a Fifth-Year: Rikki don’t start that band

Jacob Horn

Dear Jacob,

What’s the music scene like on campus? And what tips do you have for an aspiring band?

Sincerely,

Starving Artist

Well, Starving, there’s always a music scene on campus. You just have to know where to look and how to get there. More bands have been formed on this campus than I care to think about, so I won’t delve into this history of other people’s accomplishments. Instead, I’ll mainly talk about myself — which is what this whole column should be about, really.

You have three options when making a band. You can make a cover band, playing songs that everyone knows and loves at shows where people can enjoy themselves. Or you can make a band with originals, expressing yourself with a band that people can learn to love and appreciate the hard work that you put into honing your songwriting craft.

Or you can do what I do and craft awkward and terrible songs through a mash-up of terrible genres that no one likes or don’t even exist. At the moment, I have three bands going. One is a cover band, but it’s mostly of shitty punk bands that no one has heard of or they stopped listening to once they made it to college.

Another one of my bands I describe as “aggressive Motown.” I’ve been told that this is a stupid description and I have to agree with that statement. We’re not really a Motown group and there’s really no aggression to it. So I was lying. Sorry. Also, other friends of mine have described it as a ska band, but I disagree.

Which brings me to my ska band. Well, it’s not truly a ska band. It’s more of an acoustic ska/folk punk band. Completely different. Also, rather embarrassing. But that’s beside the point. It’s a band that plays shows, and where can a band play on campus you may ask?

Your options for shows are house parties and VR gigs. VR gigs pay you, but no one really cares about the music that you’re playing. People complain enough as it is about the song selection that the bartenders make when they just have their iPods. Also, the next opening for a VR gig is sometime next year. No idea when next year, just next year. Hopefully.

So you’re stuck with playing parties. You’ll more than likely get paid in booze, unless of course the house you’re playing at has run out. This happens more often than not. But don’t worry; the audience will still love you, since they’re most likely drunk off the beer that you were promised for playing the show.

This may surprise you, but there are places for a band to play off campus as well. This involves breaking out of the Lawrence bubble and competing with already-established bands that have such things as “followings” and “loyal fans.”

Booking shows at outside locations involves actually talking to someone, someone who isn’t a student living in the house you want to play in. On second thought, you should probably stick to playing on campus. On third thought, don’t start a band. You’ll only compete with my terrible bands.

Send any questions about anything on and off campus to me at jacob.e.horn@lawrence.edu.

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