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The rules of rock

So you wanna be a rock and roll star? Then listen up.
1) Your manager is not helping you. Fire him.
2) There are no such things as demo tapes. They're only cassettes you haven't started selling at shows yet.

3) Always open for a band that sounds just like you, only not as good.
4) Never let your sets run longer than 45 minutes. Even good bands get boring after nine songs.

5) Never release a record with more than 12 songs. Just because a CD is 74 minutes long doesn't mean you have to use the whole damned thing.

6) People to be leery of: club promoters, music journalists, managers, booking agents, publicists, radio programmers, label owners, disc jockeys, other bands. These people lie.

8) Don't share bills with your friends. The only thing more embarrassing than if they're worse than you is if they're better than you.

9) You shouldn't play live in town more than once a month. Who do you think you are, anyway?

10) You must go on before midnight.
11) Do not take more than one year between the release of your first and second albums.

12) Never wear shorts on stage.
13) Conversely, never wear a suit. Or hats.
14) Don't pretend you like other local bands. Everyone knows you're lying.
15) Don't play swing music. Frank Sinatra is dead.
16) Don't play rockabilly. Ronnie Dawson is alive.
17) Don't sign with an indie label.
18) Or a major.
19) If you've signed to a local label, you're not signed.

20) When you get signed to a major label, claim to have inked the best contract ever. Mention something about lots of "artistic freedom" and a "three-album guarantee."

21) When you later get dropped from a major label, insist that it was the worst contract ever.

23) If you've signed a deal with a major label, fire the drummer. If you don't, the label will do it for you when you begin recording your first album.

24) Before you sign a record deal, look up the word "recoupable" in the dictionary.

25) Always claim Can as an influence, no matter what your style.
26) If you ever become famous, never omit at least two of your best-known songs from your concerts, replacing them with marginally listenable "experiments."

27) In concert, do not strum the first few bars of your hit and then not play it.

28) Don't send out publicity photos that you don't want to see 10 years from now. Hint: Do not show nipples, especially if you are a guy.

29) Headgear is for braces, not drummers.
30) Don't take your shirt off onstage.
31) If your band has gone through more than four bass players, it's time to break up.

32) When you release your first album, don't thank God in the liner notes. He couldn't care less.

33) Talk to the audience before your third song. Nobody likes a snob.
34) If you sound just like another band, don't act as if you've never heard of them. ("The Kinks? Who are they?")

35) When you're a local band, there's no such thing as "encore" when no one's clapping.

36) Do not sign to a label run by a former musician, especially one who was in a band from 1973 to 1986. This also applies to managers.

37) When the drummer brings in his own songs and asks to perform one of them, place an ad looking for a new drummer immediately.

39) There is no such thing as a local supergroup.
40) Never perform ironic covers of 1970s rock songs.
41) Never name a song after your band.
42) Never name your band after a song.
43) Never write a song with "rock" or "roll" in the title.

44) Never play restaurants. This is a hard one to follow, especially if you're in a jazz band.

45) If you insist on selling merchandise bearing the name of your band, limit it to T-shirts. Hacky Sacks are unacceptable.

46) Never ask the crowd whether they're having a good time.
47) Do not jump into the audience.
48) If you insist on going country, do not speak in a twang on stage, especially since you used to be in a pop band.

49) If you insist on selling Internet-only releases, don't charge more than five dollars. We know they're outtakes. You're not fooling anyone.

50) Getting played on "The Adventure Club" doesn't mean you're in regular rotation on The Edge.

51) Do not say you're getting played on radio if you mean you're getting played on Internet radio.

52) Nobody cares that you have a Web site.
53) MP3=Betamax.
54) Do not spend your free time wondering why no one's writing about you. Write songs instead.

55) Never join a band fronted by a 17-year-old. He will get all the press, and his dad will eventually fire you.

57) The only person less important than the bass player is the percussionist.

58) Or the sax player.
59) If you become famous, don't park your extravagant tour bus in front of Trees. Your friends aren't jealous. They hate you.

60) Your publicity photo is not art.
61) Getting a tattoo is like sewing platform shoes to your feet.
62) Do not hire a publicist.

63) Have your CD covers professionally produced. Just because your mom got an iMac for Christmas doesn't mean she knows how to use it.

64) Never join a band with a married couple. If they're dating, it's even worse.

65) Never sleep with anyone in the band, unless he or she is really hot.
66) Don't put everyone you know on the guest list. You wanna get paid, right?

67) Learn how to fix your own van. Touring should mean never having to ask, "Dude, what's a water pump?"

68) Never open or close with a cover song. What, you don't trust your own material?

69) Never enter a battle-of-the-bands contest. If you do, you're already a loser.

70) Two words no one ever wants to see together again: "white" and "rapper."
71) Two more words no one ever wants to see together again: "blues" and "jam."

72) Two more words no one ever wants to see together again: "spoken" and "word."

73) Never spend more than eight seconds tuning up between songs.
74) Never change guitars more than three times a set. Actually, you really shouldn't have to do this at all. Who are you, Steve Howe?

75) When you talk on stage, you are never funny.
76) If you form a band with your best friend, go find a new best friend.
77) When you're putting together your press kit, don't start with a clip from Buddy.

78) Playing in Dallas, Denton, and Fort Worth doesn't mean you're on tour.
79) Stevie Ray Vaughan is dead.
80) No one cares if your brand-new CD is getting played on local bar jukeboxes two months before its official release.

81) No one cares whom you've opened for.
82) Yes, you are a space-rock band.
83) The only thing worse than a drum solo is a bass solo, unless you're a jazz band. Well, not really.

84) Leather pants don't look good on anyone. OK--any guys.
85) Don't read anything written about you.
86) Do not play with your back to the audience. Yes, you have a nice ass.
88) Never have dancers or painters on stage.
89) Never put your foot on the monitor. Triumph broke up.

90) Don't complain more than twice to the soundman that you can't hear yourself in the monitor. He's deaf, drunk, and most likely a jerk, and the audience doesn't care anyway.

91) You only need one drummer. You aren't Adam and the Ants.
92) When the lead singer gives you a tambourine, you've just been fired.
93) Never blame or bad-mouth the audience, at least from the stage. We didn't pay $15 to be called "motherfuckers." Save it for the van.

94) Take your own vocal microphones. You never know when the opening band will stick the mikes in their mouths or down their pants.

95) Never be in a cover band for more than six months. Unless it's a Grateful Dead "tribute" band, then the rule is six days--or one gig, whichever comes first.

96) Don't have your girlfriend or roommate offer to write a story about you for the Dallas Observer.

97) Don't have a light show more entertaining than your music. In fact, don't have a light show.

98) T-shirts should cost less than the ticket price. Look, we're doing you a favor.

99) Cut your hair, but do not shave your head.
100) If you insist on getting drunk before your set, make sure everyone in the audience is drunker.

101) Playing local morning TV shows is not cool or "ironic."
102) Similarly, cable-access shows are not real television.
103) Do not move to Los Angeles to record your first album.

104) Never release a retrospective compilation until you've made more than 10 albums and five of them are out of print. Adding "rarities" doesn't count. Hey, those songs were unreleased for a reason.

105) Do not, under any circumstances, make a disc that the Dallas Observer will like. It will sell four copies, and your best gig will be at Borders.

106) If you think any of the above were aimed at you specifically, get over yourself.

--Compiled by Dallas Observer music staff


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