LEGEND: DAVID BOWIE

David Bowie was born in London on January 8, 1947 as David Robert Jones. But as he readied to embark on his musical career as a teen, there was a problem: Davy Jones, the lead singer of The Monkees, was already a known quantity in the music industry, and the aspiring artist was afraid they might be confused. So David Jones changed his name to David Bowie.

In 1967, 14-year-old Sandra Dodd sent Bowie what would be his first fan letter from America, in which she asked him about his name. Bowie quipped: “In answer to your questions, my real name is David Jones and I don’t have to tell you why I changed it. ‘Nobody’s going to make a monkey out of you’ said my manager.”

2. NO, HIS EYES WERE NOT TWO DIFFERENT COLORS.

While people often claim that Bowie had heterochromia, a genetic condition that results in having two different colored eyes, that is incorrect. Both of his eyes are blue; the ocular oddity that you do notice is what is known as aniscoria, or a permanently dilated pupil—which happened when Bowie was 15 years old and got into a fight with his friend, George Underwood, over a girl. “I was so aggrieved I walked over to him, basically, turned him around and went ‘whack’ without even thinking,” Underwood explained. (His fingernail sliced into Bowie’s eye.)

Fortunately, there were no hard feelings; the two later collaborated on an album as The King Bees and Underwood went on to design the album covers for some of Bowie’s most famous records, including The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.

3. THAT WASN’T THE ONLY TIME BOWIE’S EYE TOOK A BEATING.

In 2004, while performing in Oslo, Norway, a “fan” threw a lollipop onto the stage, which somehow managed to strike Bowie in the eye—and get stuck. A member of his crew was able to remove it, and Bowie went on with the concert. Rebel rebel indeed.

4. HE WAS BOYHOOD FRIENDS WITH PETER FRAMPTON.

Despite Bowie being more than three years older than Peter Frampton, the two struck up a friendship as youngsters. Both attended Bromley Technical High School, where Frampton’s dad was Bowie’s art teacher. The two shared a unique bond over music, and remained close friends until Bowie’s death. “He really introduced me, along with George Underwood, to Buddy Holly and Eddie Cochran, people I wasn’t aware of at that age,” Frampton once said of his childhood friend. The two would collaborate a number of times over the years.

5. BOWIE AND ELTON JOHN WERE PALS AS TEENS, TOO.

Back in their teens—when Bowie was still known as David Jones and Elton John went by Reginald Kenneth Dwight—the two future rock icons became fast friends and would frequently get together to talk about music. But shortly after Bowie’s death, John admitted that they had a falling out and hadn’t talked much in about 40 years.

“David and I were not the best of friends towards the end,” John said. “We started out being really good friends. We used to hang out together with Marc Bolan, going to gay clubs, but I think we just drifted apart. He once called me ‘rock ’n’ roll’s token queen’ in an interview with Rolling Stone, which I thought was a bit snooty. He wasn’t my cup of tea. No; I wasn’t his cup of tea.”

6. AS A TEEN, BOWIE FOUNDED THE SOCIETY FOR THE PREVENTION OF CRUELTY TO LONG-HAIRED MEN.

In 1964, when he was just 17 years old, Bowie formed The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Long-Haired Men, an organization aimed at protesting the treatment that he and other men with long hair received on the streets of London. He took the matter seriously, as you can see from the BBC interview above.

That BBC spot led to an interview with the London Evening News, where Bowie explained that the organization was “really for the protection of pop musicians and those who wear their hair long. Anyone who has the courage to wear their hair down to his shoulders has to go through hell. It’s time we were united and stood up for our curls.”

7. HIS FIRST HIT, “SPACE ODDITY,” WAS PERFECTLY TIMED.

On July 11, 1969, Bowie released the single “Space Oddity.” The timing could not have been more perfect. Nine days after its release, the BBC ran the song over its coverage of Apollo 11’s lunar landing. It would end up being his first big hit in the UK.

8. HIS BROTHER WAS A MAJOR INSPIRATION FOR HIS MUSIC.

In 1985, Bowie’s half-brother Terry Burns, who battled mental health issues throughout his life, escaped from the hospital where he had been admitted and killed himself. In Nicholas Pegg’s The Complete David Bowie, the writer revealed that Burns had quite an impact on Bowie’s writing. He was reportedly the inspiration for a number of his songs, including “Aladdin Sane,” “All the Madmen,” and “Jump They Say.”

9. BEING ZIGGY STARDUST LED HIM TO QUESTION HIS SANITY.

3rd July 1973: David Bowie performs his final concert as Ziggy Stardust at the Hammersmith Odeon, London. The concert later became known as the Retirement Gig

EXPRESS/GETTY IMAGES

Though Bowie had many alter egos over the years, Ziggy Stardust was the most famous of them. From 1972 to 1973 he toured in character as the glam rock persona until he abruptly announced that he would be retiring Ziggy during a concert in 1973. “Not only is this the last show of the tour, but it’s the last show that we’ll ever do,” Bowie said of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.

He later admitted that Ziggy “wouldn’t leave me alone for years. That was when it all started to go sour … My whole personality was affected. It became very dangerous. I really did have doubts about my sanity.”

10. FOR A TIME, HE FEARED A WIZARD MIGHT STEAL HIS URINE.

Four years after his Ziggy Stardust period, Bowie became the Thin White Duke. It was during this period that he struggled with both drug and emotional problems. In David Buckley’s book, Strange Fascination: David Bowie—The Definitive Story, the author wrote that by 1975, Bowie was “living a cocooned existence [in Los Angeles], disconnected from the real world.” He was apparently subsisting on a diet of peppers and milk, and exhibited some truly strange behaviors—like keeping his urine in his refrigerator so that “no other wizard could use it to enchant him.”

WHY YOU SHOULD PLAY AN INSTRUMENT

Can you imagine living your life without music? It would be very hard to do so, as music has been hard-wired into our very existence as human beings. While everyone enjoys listening to good music, not many of us are what the world calls ‘musicians’- the ones with the ability to play a musical instrument. This could be due to not having the opportunity to learn as kids or simply due to lack of inclination or proper instruction. However, music is something that is never too late to learn. And here are 10 good reasons as to why everyone should learn to play a musical instrument.

1. Playing a musical instrument relieves stress 
Researchers studying the benefits of music have reported that playing a musical instrument on a regular basis can help bring down stress. Studies show that playing an instrument helps in lowering the heart rate and blood pressure, which in turn lowers the stress hormone cortisol, thus making us feel relaxed. While just listening to music also helps, learning to play an instrument brings with it a comforting routine of daily practice that helps in keeping the stress hormones away. Michael Jolkovski, a psychologist who specializes in musicians, feels that music also helps in bringing down stress by helping people connect with others. “It (music) can satisfy the need to unwind from the worries of life, but unlike the other things people often use for this purpose, such as excessive eating, drinking, or TV or aimless web browsing, it makes people more alive and connected with one another.”

2. Playing a musical instrument makes you smarter
People who have received a music education are generally smarter than their non-musical counterparts are. Extensive research done in this area has proved that children who learn to play a musical instrument do better in academics. Shaw, Rauscher, Levine, Wright, Dennis and Newcomb, in their research paper titled Music Training Causes Long-Term Enhancement Of Preschool Children’s Spatial-Temporal Reasoning, speak about, “a research team exploring the link between music and intelligence reported that music training is far superior to computer instruction in dramatically enhancing children’s abstract reasoning skills, the skills necessary for learning math and science.”

3. Playing a musical instrument improves your social life
Music helps you connect. Learning an instrument enlarges your social circle since you get to meet more people than you usually would. In children, music can help develop social skills. Maestro Eduardo Marturet, a conductor, composer and musical director for the Miami Symphony Orchestra, who also oversees the MISO Young Artist program in South Florida, has observed the effect that music has on a child’s social skills. “Socially, children who become involved in a musical group or ensemble learn important life skills, such as how to relate to others, how to work as a team and appreciate the rewards that come from working together, and the development of leadership skills and discipline.”

4. Playing a musical instrument helps build confidence
Choosing to take music lessons can help build confidence. Once you are aware that you are able to do something well, like play the flute for instance, you naturally become more confident of your skills. Learning to play an instrument can help both children and adults who face confidence issues. Elizabeth Dotson-Westphalen, a music teacher and performer, has found that music has helped many of students develop confidence. “They find that once they can develop a skill by themselves that they can get better and better.”

5. Playing a musical instrument teaches patience
Music teachers feel that music can help teach patience. In a world of instant gratification, learning to play an instrument is not something that can happen overnight. It is the daily effort of everyday practice that can help a musician learn how to play without mistakes. This is turn develops patience. Most musicians go through years of regular practice that includes daily musical exercises and the tackling of progressively difficult musical pieces, which in turn helps them conquer the virtue of patience. 

6. Playing a musical instrument fosters creativity
Stuck in everyday routine lives, many of us lose touch with our creative side. Learning to play a musical instrument, especially when you reach advanced levels, can foster that lost creativity. Since music education plays on your mental, emotional and cognitive abilities, the brain is stimulated to think out of the ordinary, which results in improved creativity. 

7. Playing a musical instrument improves memory
Music and memory go hand in hand. Learning to play a musical instrument makes you use both parts of your brain and this in turn boosts memory power. Maestro Eduardo Marturet, reiterates this point when he says, “Further research has shown that participation in music at an early age can help improve a child’s learning ability and memory by stimulating different patterns of brain development.” Music education is also linked to higher IQ levels and the physical development of certain parts of the brain.

8. Playing a musical instrument develops discipline
Music requires dedication and regular practice. Allotting a specific amount of time to practice music daily develops discipline in the learner. This can prove to be extremely advantageous in children. Mira Stulberg-Halpert, of 3D Learner Inc., who works with children who have ADHD, has seen music discipline children when everything else fails. She has this to say on the effect of music on kids.”Exposing kids to musical instruments is the key. They are naturally curious and excited about them-and the discipline that parents and kids learn by sticking with it is a lesson in itself.” 

9. Playing a musical instrument gives you a sense of achievement 
Learning to play a musical instrument gives you an immense sense of achievement. Pianist Emily Singers, in her article titled, 12 Reasons You Should Learn to Play the Piano, writes that piano playing can bring true satisfaction. “It’s truly one of the most satisfying things you can do,” she says. “There’s no feeling like playing a difficult song and playing it flawlessly. (It is) Quite an ego-boost.” This feeling of satisfaction leads to a tremendous sense of self-achievement that can help you accomplish more in other areas of your life.

10. Playing a musical instrument is fun
Lastly, learning to play a musical instrument is fun. “The art of music is so deep and profound that it has to be approached with a bit of intensity laced with great affectionate joy”, says noted singer, musician and Bollywood film music composer Shankar Mahadevan. Playing a musical instrument can bring back the fun factor into your life. Music has the special quality to bring joy, peace and fulfillment that helps lift the spirit and make life enjoyable for everyone involved

BEST HIP HOP ALBUMS OF 2019

1. Dave – Psychodrama

Dave - Psychodrama
MARCH 8, 2019
CRITIC SCORE
88
10 reviews

2. JPEGMAFIA – All My Heroes Are Cornballs

JPEGMAFIA - All My Heroes Are Cornballs
SEPTEMBER 13, 2019
CRITIC SCORE
86
14 reviews

3. Rapsody – Eve

Rapsody - Eve
AUGUST 23, 2019
CRITIC SCORE
86
7 reviews

4. Kano – Hoodies All Summer

Kano - Hoodies All Summer
AUGUST 30, 2019
CRITIC SCORE
86
12 reviews

5. Little Simz – GREY Area

Little Simz - GREY Area

MARCH 1, 2019
CRITIC SCORE
86
16 reviews

6. Tyler, the Creator – IGOR

Tyler, the Creator - IGOR

MAY 17, 2019
CRITIC SCORE
85
21 reviews

7. Freddie Gibbs & Madlib – Bandana

Freddie Gibbs & Madlib - Bandana

JUNE 28, 2019
CRITIC SCORE
84
24 reviews

8. Maxo Kream – Brandon Banks

Maxo Kream - Brandon Banks
JULY 19, 2019
CRITIC SCORE
84
5 reviews

9. slowthai – Nothing Great About Britain

slowthai - Nothing Great About Britain

MAY 17, 2019
CRITIC SCORE
83
16 reviews

10. Denzel Curry – ZUU

Denzel Curry - ZUU
MAY 31, 2019
CRITIC SCORE
82
10 reviews

11. Megan Thee Stallion – Fever

Megan Thee Stallion - Fever
MAY 17, 2019
CRITIC SCORE
82
7 reviews

12. Danny Brown – uknowhatimsayin¿

Danny Brown - uknowhatimsayin¿

OCTOBER 4, 2019
CRITIC SCORE
81
17 reviews

13. K.Flay – Solutions

K.Flay - Solutions
JULY 12, 2019
CRITIC SCORE
81
5 reviews

14. Lizzo – Cuz I Love You

Lizzo - Cuz I Love You

APRIL 19, 2019
CRITIC SCORE
81
25 reviews

15. Injury Reserve – Injury Reserve

Injury Reserve - Injury Reserve
MAY 17, 2019
CRITIC SCORE
81
8 reviews

16. Malibu Ken – Malibu Ken

Malibu Ken - Malibu Ken
JANUARY 18, 2019
CRITIC SCORE
79
9 reviews

17. YBN Cordae – The Lost Boy

YBN Cordae - The Lost Boy
JULY 26, 2019
CRITIC SCORE
79
7 reviews

18. 2 Chainz – Rap or Go to the League

2 Chainz - Rap or Go to the League
MARCH 1, 2019
CRITIC SCORE
78
10 reviews

19. Quelle Chris – Guns

Quelle Chris - Guns
MARCH 29, 2019
CRITIC SCORE
78
5 reviews

20. Giggs – BIG BAD…

Giggs - BIG BAD...
FEBRUARY 21, 2019
CRITIC SCORE
78
6 reviews

21. Swindle – No More Normal

Swindle - No More Normal
JANUARY 25, 2019
CRITIC SCORE
77
7 reviews

22. Young Thug – So Much Fun

Young Thug - So Much Fun
AUGUST 16, 2019
CRITIC SCORE
77
9 reviews

23. Boogie – Everythings For Sale

Boogie - Everythings For Sale
JANUARY 25, 2019
CRITIC SCORE
77
8 reviews

24. Skepta – Ignorance is Bliss

Skepta - Ignorance is Bliss
MAY 31, 2019
CRITIC SCORE
76
14 reviews

25. Kevin Abstract – ARIZONA BABY

Kevin Abstract - ARIZONA BABY
APRIL 25, 2019
CRITIC SCORE
76
5 reviews

STARTING A BAND

Unsure of how to start a band?

Every musician has been there.

Before you’ve been in a few bands, creating one is an intimidating thought. You have no idea how to get the right people on-board or get the gigs you need.

So today, we’re going to go through each step, one at a time. 

Here’s the 10 steps it’ll take to start your own band…. TODAY.

But before we start, make sure to grab my FREE guide on 6 ways to overcome writer’s block.

It’ll help get you unstuck in the writing process when you’re feeling uninspired. You’ll be one step closer to writing better, more creative songs.

Grab it here:

FREE BONUS: Make your songs sound professional by using this free songwriting cheat sheet.

 

CONTENTS [SHOW]

STEP 1: Find Your Bandmates

The first thing you need to start a band? The members of the band.

Traditionally, you’ll need a drummer, a guitarist, a bassist, and a singer. 

But these days, your band can be made up of just about anything.Pianists, synth-players, horn players, and multi-instrumentalists are becoming more and more common. Many bands

even don’t use guitars anymore.

The only two instruments you should definitely consider having are a drumset (acoustic or electronic) and something to hold down the low end. This could be a bass guitar, an upright bass, a piano, or a synthesizer.

There are exceptions of course (The White Stripes, for instance), but these two instruments are very, very common.

Once you decide on the kind of musicians you need, it’s time to hit the pavement. 

One way to find your bandmates is to make posters. Design a simple poster that talks about your sound and what instruments you’re looking for. Have several tearable strips at the bottom with your name and phone number on them. 

You can also use social media. It’s a powerful communication tool when you’re trying to reach out to new people. Try putting the poster you made up on Facebook,Twitter, or Instagram. You could also post it in various local music groups on Facebook.

The strongest tool in your toolbox is your network. Ask your friends! See if they’d be interested in joining, or if they know anyone who would be a good fit. 

Word of mouth is one of the most effective ways to get the message out.

Before you decide to put someone in the band, get together and jam with them. See what their talent level is and if their style blends with your own.

Most importantly though, make sure that you have chemistry together. 

Your bandmates don’t have to be the best players in the world. That can come with time.

But you do all have to get along! 

You’ll be spending a huge amount of time with these people. Make sure you have enough of a rapport to stand being in the same room with them.

 

Step 2: Find Your Sound

The next step is to figure out what your “sound” will be.

This happens naturally over time, of course. But you can get a pretty good idea from the beginning if you’re intentional about it.

At your first band meeting, talk about your influences. Who are your favorite artists? What’ve you all been listening to recently? Are there any genres that you have in-common?

Your sound is likely going to be somewhere in-between those answers.

Make sure to check out any songs that your members have already written. What genre do they tend to write in? 

Finally, jam a little bit. What sound organically comes up? You’ll want to write in a genre that feels most natural to all your bandmates.

One important thing: make sure to pick a genre that your singer can sing well.

All instrumentalists can change their style and their gear with time. But singers have only one piece of gear – their voices.

So make sure to pick something that sounds good with what is arguably the most important part of every song!

 

Step 3: Find a Place to Practice

You’ve got a lot of options. Where do you have access to?

Basement?

Garage?

Church?

Music venue before hours?

Professional rehearsal space?

Storage cube?

You can get creative to find somewhere you can meet and get loud.

Just make sure the place won’t get you in trouble. After a few noise complaints to the police, you’ll get some serious fines if you keep practicing there.

If you’re meeting in a place that’s prone to this, try soundproofing the room.

 

Step 4: Start to Write Your Songs

Next: time to write some songs!

This is the exciting part. There’s nothing better than the artistic expression of creating something entirely new.

Go wild. Be as creative as you want.

Before you start, though…

Learn a few covers.

It may sound boring, but it’s important. You want to make sure your group has learned to play well together before you start writing.

It will make the entire process ten times easier.

Once you’ve learned to play nicely together, really dive into the writing process.

To headline a show, you’ll need around twelve songs at least. That should be your goal at first.

But don’t sacrifice quality for quantity. It’s more important to have six amazing songs than twelve average ones.

Take your time. You can always play opening gigs (or covers) until you’ve written the amount you need.

Once each song is written, make sure to get it copyrighted.

Doing that will keep your song from being stolen by anyone else. If someone plagiarizes your music, you will have the power of the law on your side.

It’s a simple process to do so. Head to your nation’s copyright office websiteand start to fill out the forms. 

Make sure to grab our FREE guide to writer’s block. When you and the rest of the band have gotten stuck, these strategies will absolutely help.

Download it here:

FREE BONUS: Make your songs sound professional by using this free songwriting cheat sheet.

 

Step 5: Come Up With A Cool Band Name

Time to head to the coffeehouse.

You can’t play shows until you come up with a band name. So while you’re writing songs, be brainstorming with your band members.

My favorite technique is to get everyone in a room and stream-of-consciousness-style name any combination of words you can think of. 

After an hour or two of this, you’ll have pages and pages of potential band names. A lot of them will be crap, but you’ll have ten or fifteen really great ones. 

If that doesn’t work for you, have your band members go through their music libraries. 

A lot of great band names are references to music they like. Maybe use a name that’s inspired by one of your favorite songs. If it’s fairly obscure, it’ll be seen as original by the music community.

Make sure to pick names that are short and easy to spell. As an added tip, I like to pick names that will show up easily on Google.

A favorite example of mine is my favorite childhood local band, The Wedding. They were an absolutely incredible rock band, but they suffered from having a nearly-unsearchable name. 

You could type in anything you wanted into Google – The Wedding, The Wedding Band, The Wedding Rock, The Wedding Music, The Wedding Fayetteville (my hometown) – but every single thing would come back with results on actual weddings. 

Try not to make the same mistake. Type your potential names into Google and see what comes up. If very little does… perfect. That’s a hole in the internet you can fill.

Once you’ve picked a few potential names, make sure to check if there are other bands with that name on Facebook, Soundcloud, or your nation’s trademark office. 

If you find anyone with your potential name on social media, see how many followers they have. My rule of thumb is that it’s less than 250, the name is safe. 

But if the name shows up in a trademark search, it’s undoubtedly off-limits. 

Also, make sure the URL for any potential band name is open. You don’t want to go all-in on a name, just to be unable to have any kind of web presence.

 

Step 6: Make a “Band Agreement”

In-fighting is the number one reason that bands break up.

Make sure you minimize the possibility of that by creating an agreement for each band member to sign.

This idea can freak many people out at first. “Why do I need to make a contract just to play with my friends?”

It’s not really about having a “contract.” It’s about splitting up responsibilities and resolving tension before it even happens.

It’s about setting some healthy precedents!

Make sure you don’t do this rightwhen the band is starting off, though. You don’t want to spook any potential members with important business decisions.

Here’s what you need to make sure is on the band agreement:

Time Commitment

First things first – agree on how committed each member of the band is.

How often will you be practicing? What are the expectations?

Do they need to come to practice already knowing the songs? Do they need to work their schedule around gigs?

Agreeing on this now will keep your band from resenting someone who didn’t show up to practice because they didn’t know what the expectations were.

Plus, if someone’s not holding up their end of the bargain, it helps to resolve conflict. You can easily say, “Hey, I know you haven’t been doing [x]. I understand that it’s tough to find time, but you did commit to this when we all signed the band agreement. We’re all in this together”

That’s a much easier sell than, “Hey, you haven’t been doing [x]. Dude, are you committed or what? Start doing it now.”

Remember: each band member needs to be putting in the same amount of work, and each band member needs to be able to make it to rehearsal!

Band Responsibilities

Next thing to do is to divide the responsibilities.

 

There’s a few roles that someone in the band needs to take.

First off, there’s the bandleader.

This person acts as the representative of the group. They’ll be talking to venues, labels, and journalists about the band.

They also have a little more power than the rest of the band roles. They can to hire or fire members. They’ll make the final decision if the band is split on something.

Ultimately, the buck stops with them. They’ve got more power, but also a lot of responsibility!

This person should be outspoken, passionate, and patient. Traditionally, the role of “bandleader” is usually the singer.

Next, there’s the rehearsal director.

This person organizes a schedule for each rehearsal and keeps the group focused during practice time.

They’ll also lead each rehearsal. The means while the band is practicing, they’ll be listening for notes on song arrangements or their performance.

As the band rehearses, they’ll dictate what needs to be focused on.

Oftentimes, this role is also handled by the bandleader. There are lots of exceptions, though.

The rehearsal director should be the one with the best “ears.” They’ll need to be performing and listening to their bandmates at the same time.

After that is the public relations manager. 

They’ll be in charge of your image, your brand, and any media your band needs.

They will schedule photoshoots, write bios, and create flyers.

Any kind of promotion your band needs will be their responsibility.

Finally, there’s the bookkeeper.

They keep track of all of the band’s finances for tax purposes.

They keep receipts and spreadsheets to keep the band on-budget whenever you are touring or purchasing gear.

It’s a dirty job, but somebody’s gotta do it.

Those are the main 4 roles, but each band is different. Your band might have different needs. Do some brainstorming and make sure that each responsibility is being covered by someone!

Finances

This is a big one to iron out early so that fights don’t break out when you start to make a little money.

First off – who pays for what? 

Oftentimes a band will create a “pool” for expenses that each member contributes the same amount into.

Whenever something is bought, the money is reimbursed from that pool.

You can decide to do this however you want, but this is how I’d recommend it.

Next, what equipment do you need?

Decide on that early so that the band isn’t caught with unexpected expenses.

After that, how does each band member get paid?

Will you be paid by cash, check, or direct deposit? Does any money get taken out of each paycheck to go into the expense “pool?”

Your last question is this: Who owns the songs?

This is important to figure out early, because the person who owns the song gets the publishing royalties.

Some bands decide to split every song evenly between each band member.

Other bands decide that the person who writes the lyrics is the sole songwriter.

Another option is to make it a case-by-case basis. Maybe one of the songs is primarily written by two of the members. Maybe another song was written during a rehearsal that someone couldn’t make it to.

Be careful with choosing this last option. It’s so open ended that it could lead to disagreement. If you pick it, really try to define all of the possibilities so that you’ll know what to do when the time comes.

 

Step 7: Record a Demo

If you have the tech, then recording a demo or two is the next step.

You want to have something that you can send venues when looking for gigs. They need to be able to hear what you sound like if you ever want them to give you a shot.

Once you have a few songs recorded, it would be a good idea to edit them together into a 30-second mashup.

If the venue owner sees that the audio clip is short, he or she is more likely to listen to it.

If you’re wanting some help getting a good sound on those demos, check out our Demo to Pro course. 

It takes your songs from sounding like basement demos to radio-ready mixes. And if you’re wanting to send songs to promoters, you want them as close to radio-ready as possible!

Step 8: Pick Your Look

Your look is more important than you think.


A lot of beginner bands will wear whatever they feel like in their first few gigs.

If there’s not some level of consistency, it’s pretty jarring to the audience.

Remember: You are performers! You’re putting on a show. People need to be able to understand what your “deal” is throughout the show.

You don’t have to all be wearing the same thing. A uniform isn’t necessary (unless that’s what you’re going for).

There just needs to be a similar “vibe” across the band.

If most of the members are wear canvas shirts and jeans, but the singer is wearing a suit, it’s going to confuse the audience.

Or if most of the members are wearing black, but the drummer comes out in a bright blue polo and cargo shorts, no one’s going to understand what you’re going for.

Whatever you decide, embrace it. Commit to the characters you want to play.

If you do that, you’ll put on a killer show.

Step 9: Start Searching for Gigs

Once you’ve got your name, your look, and your songs, it’s time to start playing some shows.


To do that, you’ll need to convince venue owners to let you play there.

The first step is to build an Electronic Press Kit, or an EPK.

This is basically a music industry resume for bands.

Set up a simple website using WordPress, Squarespace, or Wix.

On the site, include these things:

  • Any music you have
  • Band photos, both from a photoshoot and from shows
  • Album art, if you’ve released anything
  • A bio about the band
  • Music videos if you have any, or videos of your band performing
  • Links to your social media, other websites, and places to buy your music
  • Flattering quotes from past press
  • The contact info for your band

The website needs to be presentable, but it doesn’t need to be fancy or expensive. The promoters you’ll be sending this to will care more about what’s in the EPK than how it looks.

Once you’ve built your EPK, then buy any equipment you’ll need to play a show. 

The equipment you should purchase will depend on your particular band’s needs. 

No matter what, make sure that everyone has some way to be amplified. Guitar amps for electric guitars and basses, pickups for acoustic guitars, and clip-on mics for strings or horns. 

If you’re using electronic elements, make sure that you have the necessary synths, programs, or drum pads to perform your stuff.

Also, it doesn’t hurt to have a spare PA. There will be lots of gig opportunities at the beginning that don’t have a PA for you to use. 

So not only can you get more gigs with a PA, you can charge more as well.

 

Step 10: Spread the Word

Once you’ve found some shows, it’s time to start promoting yourself.

This will be an all-hands-on-deck operation. You’ll need to be putting up posters, creating events on social media, and telling your friends. In fact, tell your friends to tell their friends.

You want as many people to show up at your first few shows as possible. That will show the venue owner that you can bring in some money, meaning they’ll invite you back again.

With a crowd, you’ll have the energy you need to have a killer performance!

 

BONUS: Look For Other Professionals

Once you start getting traction as a band, it’s time to get some new people on your team.

To grow as a band, you’ll need the expertise of others.

You’ll need a manager to handle the day-to-day tasks.

You’ll need a booking agent to help you get more gigs.

You’ll need an accountant to handle your now-more-complicated finances.

You might even need a marketing team to spread the word about your band.

Who you get is up to you. Some bands will even just get the advice of friends who have already done it.

Regardless of what you do, having a team is one of the best ways to grow your career. 

But don’t get them too early. Otherwise you’re just throwing away money.

Wait until you’re transitioning from garage band to featured performer. Then make it happen!

 

Conclusion: How to Start a Band

This seems like a lot of steps, but it’s actually a very simple process.

There’s no reason you shouldn’t start a band today. Go out there and make some music.

SHED SEVEN: A MAXIMUM HIGH

A Maximum High is the second studio album by the British rock band Shed Seven, released in April 1996 via Polydor Records. The album was written by all four band members at the time of release; Rick Witter, Paul Banks, Tom Gladwin and Alan Leach. The album title comes from lyrics in the song “Parallel Lines”.

Shed Seven held writing and rehearsal sessions at a local potato plant, RS Cockerill’s of York, prior to recording the album. One of the first tracks recorded, with their new producer Chris Sheldon, was the lead single, “Where Have You Been Tonight?”, written in late-1994 and debuting live at the band’s Christmas show on 23 December.[2] It was one of five tracks completed during a three-week recording session at RAK Studios in February 1995, before the band departed midway through the mixing process at Metropolis to embark on their first tour of Japan, satisfied with what they had achieved;

Along with the lead single, they completed a further four songs during their first stint in the recording studio; “This Day Was Ours”, “Bully Boy”, an untitled track, which was said to be the first Shed Seven song to feature drummer Alan Leach on lead vocals, and “Lies”. This version of “Lies” was previewed on an NME compilation cassette given away free with their 6 May 1995 issue, almost a year before the album was released. Following gigs in Spain and Japan, the band headed back to the studio in May 1995 to begin work on further material for inclusion on the album, which, at that point, was titled In Colour. Numerous tracks recorded in this period feature the highly renowned session musicians, The Kick Horns and The Phantom Horns, adding a brassier undertone to the featured songs and marking a notable change in sound to that of the band’s previous output.

BUYING A PIANO

People stumble on their search for a piano when:

1)  They haven’t decided if they really want to learn/play – If you ask most people if they would like to learn piano or like their progeny to learn piano, they will say, “yes, of course!” But most people leave it there. One of the most common things we see is people who sign their kids up for a month of lessons at the lowest price they can find, and then follow-up with the purchase of an inexpensive unweighted keyboard. And while some of these unweighted keyboards are incredibly impressive instruments with robust features, they sometime lack the real feel and response that help aid the learning process. After a month, the child/student hasn’t learned a thing and $200-300 could have been better spent. We discourage people from buying if they are don’t actually want to invest the time and money to learn. You have to decide whether you want to unlock the secret benefits of music, to which there are many!

2)  They don’t understand how much a piano costs to move and maintain – Professional piano movers and tuners are expensive. Locally, it costs, roughly, $200-400 to move an upright, and factors such as stairs and distance can increase the cost. If shipping from outside your city/state, greater distances across the US might set one back as much as $700-$2000+ and can take up to 3-4 weeks. A grand piano can cost between $300 – $1000+ to move locally depending on the logistics, and the cost of moving a grand nationally is $1000 – $2500+! Want to save money by using regular movers or doing it yourself? No worries, but please be aware of the costs if something goes wrong. Every finish nick will cost about $150 per, a broken pin block renders most pianos worthless, costing $8,000+ on high-end grands and being close to impossible on uprights. Tuning, a necessity after a move, costs between $100-$175 each visit and should be done at least once a year, ideally twice.

3)  They under-commit with lessons or quality of piano– This is similar to the first point but a little more nuanced. You can do one right and the other wrong and you are going to render your proper investment worthless. We sometimes see people buy very expensive grands, uprights or digital pianos, and when we ask them if they’re taking lessons, they say they’re using YouTube, going to teach themselves via a book or have a friend teach them. Usually, we offer a teacher referral at this point, with someone whom they can trial, unless the person is fine with the piano simply being a piece of furniture in the house (believe it or not, this is more common than not). We also see people sign up for lessons with a prestigious teacher in town, paying $100+/ per lesson but be concerned with spending too much on an instrument in case lessons don’t work out. The problem here is that the $100s of dollars spent on lessons ends up being a waste and costs the customer more than the savings that were made on the inexpensive instrument.

4)  They use “Grandma’s” piano – Now this is actually not always a bad thing as a family heirloom piano can sometimes be of excellent quality, especially when music runs in the family. Often, though, there are severe issues with the “family” piano. If the piano has tuning stability issues, the player will develop a bad ear. If it is missing strings, it is impossible to play many pieces. If the piano action is broken, the proper playing mechanics will not be developed and/or strange playing techniques will develop to compensate for the uneven action which will make playing on other instruments difficult.

5)  They don’t ask for their teachers advice – Teachers are a great source of information and guidance. They also usually have strong opinions on what is best for the student because of their method of teaching. The improper instrument then gets in the way of the relationship between the teacher and the learning/playing of music. Teachers are also great at sniffing on a good deal or a bad one for that matter.

6)  They buy a used piano with a critical flaw – Much like points 2 and 4, you don’t know what you don’t know. A $500 piano on Craigslist is a really good deal if it’s indeed a good deal. If it’s not, like when it’s got broken strings, pin-block, tuning stability issues or action issues, you are looking at a $700-1250 loss (how so? Well, you have to pay to get it to your house, get it tuned and then, finally and sadly, thrown away…we actually get paid to pick people’s junker pianos and dispose of them…it’s sadly somewhat expensive as you can’t put them in the regular trash.

7)  They don’t get buy-in from their significant other – Communication is key. We’ve seen many well intentioned future musicians not come to fruition because parents weren’t on the same page about the value of music for their children. One did it growing up and the other didn’t, so one wants to do the “trial” version and the other wants to take out a second mortgage on the house. Usually no one wins here. The other situation we see is that the child is asked to participate in the decision and they side-rail the whole expedition because it doesn’t look fun enough. Teachers and music stores can be great partners and helping parents convince their children that music is a journey they will never regret. Unless, of course, they don’t take it and then they’ll be another person telling us about how they wished their parents would have made them “stick with it” when they were growing up.

8)  They put it on-hold – The saddest story I remember hearing was a Dad who saw us at an outside piano sale event and he told us that he remembered when he’d almost bought this exact piano for his daughter when she was in high school. He said, “Wow! I can’t believe how much more expensive it is now and I regret not having done that for her. She really loved music so much and she doesn’t play anymore.” He talked about potentially buying it for her college graduation but said he “still needed to think about it”.

9)  They buy too quickly – And then they end up with issue 2, 3, 5, 6 and/or 7. The pain, money, and time spent increases and regret builds on an instrument that should bring joy and build memories in your home. You don’t think about the sound factor of an acoustic piano and realize that a weighted digital piano was probably a better choice for your situation. You don’t think to match the colors to your furniture and style. You buy a digital and you really wanted the feel and sound of an acoustic instrument. This list can go on for days, but doesn’t have to with an informed and well planned decision!

10)  They spend too much or too little – You can buy too much piano and you can buy too little piano. If you have a 4 year old beginner, a 9′ premium grand piano might be overkill. If you’ve been playing for 5+ years, a $1000 used spinet of $500 keyboard is going to hold you back as a musician and stunt your growth. The key is to make sure you understand where you are in your musical journey and where you want to go, so you get the right instrument, maximize your investment and save money and time. 

Use this list wisely! There are many factors that should be addressed when purchasing the right instrument, and if you just stop and breath for a moment, the right piano will let itself be known. We would also like to point you to our  Piano Buyer’s Guide as that will also give you further insight into how to approach the process. Good luck on your quest, and remember , “Play A Note, Change Your Life!”

POST MALONE

samurai sword fight.

THE SIMPSONS: MUSICIANS

Aside from delivering some of the funniest, smartest TV the world has ever seen, The Simpsons also boasts 25 years of cromulent guest stars who truly embiggened the show.

We’re taking FXX’s marathon as an excuse to look back on the eclectic musical guests who have rubbed elbows with the Simpson Family, from singer-actor Ron Taylor voicing “Bleeding Gums” Murphy in Season 1 to Judas Priest’s Rob Halfordshowing up to scream at file-swapping Swedes.

Below, we’ve rounded up every musical guest to ever hit The Simpsons in chronological order. From legends (Johnny Cash, Paul McCartney, James Brown) to pop divas (Britney Spears, Justin Bieber) to artists you kinda-sorta can’t believe actually nabbed a slot on The Simpsons (the Baha Menguested TWICE?), the series’ guest roster is a mix of the timeless and the zeitgeist-y — much like the show itself.

Speaking of the show’s cultural impact, one of the bands to guest on The Simpsons — Fall Out Boy— actually took their name from an episode that aired 14 years before they appeared on the show.

Note: We didn’t include guests who occasionally sing but are primarily known as actors (Mickey Rooney, Neil Patrick Harris) unless they sang on The Simpsons (Beverly D’Angelo, Anne Hathaway).

Season 1

Ron Taylor: “Moaning Lisa”

Season 2 

Tony Bennett: “Dancin’ Homer” 
Daryl Coley: “Dancin’ Homer” 
Ringo Starr: “Brush With Greatness”

Season 3

Michael Jackson: “Stark Raving Dad” 
Kipp Lennon: “Stark Raving Dad” 
Aerosmith: “Flaming Moe’s” 
Sting: “Radio Bart” 
Terry Cashman: “Homer at the Bat” 
Beverly D’Angelo: “Colonel Homer”
Spinal Tap: “The Otto Show”

Season 4

Tom Jones: “Marge Gets a Job”
Linda Ronstadt: “Mr. Plow”
Barry White: “Whacking Day” 
David Crosby: “Marge In Chains” 
Barry White: “Krusty Gets Kancelled” 
Bette Midler: “Krusty Gets Kancelled” 
Red Hot Chili Peppers: “Krusty Gets Cancelled”

Season 5

James Taylor: “Deep Space Homer” 
David Crosby: “Homer’s Barbershop Quartet” 
The Dapper Dans: “Homer’s Barbershop Quartet” 
George Harrison: “Homer’s Barbershop Quartet” 
The Ramones: “Rosebud” 
James Brown: “Bart’s Inner Child” 
Robert Goulet: “$pringfield”

Season 6

The Tiger Lillies: “”Round Springfield” 
Ron Taylor: “”Round Springfield” 
Tito Puente: “Who Shot Mr. Burns? (Part One)”

Season 7

Tito Puente: “Who Shot Mr. Burns? (Part Two)” 
Paul & Linda McCartney: “Lisa the Vegetarian” 
Paul Anka: “Treehouse of Horror VI” 
Cypress Hill: “Homerpalooza” 
Peter Frampton: “Homerpalooza” 
Smashing Pumpkins: “Homerpalooza” 
Sonic Youth: “Homerpalooza”

Season 8

Sally Stevens: “You Only Move Twice” 
Sally Stevens: “The Homer They Fall” 
Johnny Cash: “El Viaje Misterioso de Nuestro Jomer (The Mysterious Voyage of Homer)”

Season 9

Hank Williams, Jr.: “The Last Temptation of Krust” 
U2: “Trash of the Titans”

Season 10

Yo La Tengo: “D’oh-in In The Wind” 
The Moody Blues: “Viva Ned Flanders” 
Cyndi Lauper: “Wild Barts Can’t Be Broken” 
Dolly Parton: “Sunday, Cruddy Sunday” 
Elton John: “I’m With Cupid” 
Hank Williams, Jr.: “Marge Simpson in: Screaming Yellow Honkers” 
NRBQ: “The Old Man and the ‘C’ Student”

Season 11

The B-52’s: “E-I-E-I-(Annoyed Grunt)” 
NRBQ: “Take My Wife, Sleaze” 
Clarence Clemons: “Grift of the Magi” 
Britney Spears: “The Mansion Family” 
Bachman Turner Overdrive: “Saddlesore Galactica” 
Shawn Colvin: “Alone Again, Natura-Diddly” 
Joe. C: “Kill The Alligator and Run” 
Kid Rock: “Kill The Alligator and Run” 
Willie Nelson: “Behind the Laughter”

Season 12

The Who: “A Tale of Two Springfields” 
‘N Sync: “New Kids on the Bleech” 
Shawn Colvin: “I’m Goin’ To Praiseland”

Season 13

R.E.M.: “Homer the Moe” 
Judith Owen: “The Blunder Years 
Phish: “Weekend at Burnsie’s”

Season 14

Elvis Costello: “How I Spent My Strummer Vacation” 
Lenny Kravitz: “How I Spent My Strummer Vacation” 
Mick Jagger: “How I Spent My Strummer Vacation” 
Tom Petty: “How I Spent My Strummer Vacation” 
Keith Richards: “How I Spent My Strummer Vacation” 
Brian Setzer: “How I Spent My Strummer Vacation” 
Tony Bennett: “Bart vs. Lisa vs. 3rd Grade” 
Baha Men: “Large Marge” 
Sally Stevens: “The Great Louse Detective” 
Little Richard: “Special Edna” 
Blink-182: “Barting Over” 
“Weird Al” Yankovic: “Three Gays of the Condo” 
David Byrne: “Dude, Where’s My Ranch?” 
Jackson Browne: “Brake My Wife, Please”

Season 15 

Jim Gilstrap: “Tis the Fifteenth Season” 
Brave Combo: “Co-Dependent’s Day”

Season 16

50 Cent: “Pranksta Rap” 
Fantasia Barrino: “A Star Is Torn” 
Baha Men: “Thank God It’s Doomsday” 
Los Lobos: “Thank God It’s Doomsday”

Season 17 

Jim Gilstrap: “Girls Just Want to Have Sums” 
Mandy Moore: “Marge and Homer Turn a Couple Play”

Season 18 

Metallica: “The Mook, The Chef, The Wife and Her Homer” 
The White Stripes: “Jazzy & the Pussycats” 
Sir Mix-a-Lot: “Treehouse of Horror XVII” 
Stephen Sondheim: “Yokel Chords” 
Ludacris: “You Kent Always Say What You Want”

The Simpsons Movie (2007) 

Green Day

Season 19 

Lionel Richie: “He Loves to Fly and He D’ohs” 
Placido Domingo: “The Homer of Seville” 
Ted Nugent: “I Don’t Wanna Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” 
Jack Black: “Husbands and Knives” 
“Weird Al” Yankovic: “That’s ’90s Show” 
Beverly D’Angelo: “Papa Don’t Leech” 
Dixie Chicks: “Papa Don’t Leech” 
Zooey Deschanel: “Apocalypse Cow”

Season 20 

Fall Out Boy: “Lisa the Drama Queen” 
Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova: “In the Name of the Grandfather”

Season 21 

Smothers Brothers: “Oh Brother, Where Bart Thou? 
Anne Hathaway: “Once Upon a Time in Springfield” 
Eartha Kitt: “Once Upon a Time in Springfield” 
Chris Martin: “Million-Dollar Maybe” 
Yael Naim: “The Greatest Story Ever D’ohed”

Season 22 

Joey Kramer: “The Ned-Liest Catch” 
Flight of the Conchords: “Elementary School Musical” 
Glee Cast: “Elementary School Musical” 
Katy Perry: “Elementary School Musical”

Season 23 

Ted Nugent: “Politically Inept, With Homer Simpson” 
The Tiger Lillies: “The D’oh-cial Network” 
Alison Krauss: “At Long Last Leave” 
Nick McKaig: “Exit Through the Kwik-E-Mart” 
Lady Gaga: “Lisa Goes Gaga”

Season 24 

Zooey Deschanel: “Moonshine River” 
Marvin Hamlisch: “Gone Abie Gone” 
Anika Noni Rose: “Gone Abie Gone” 
The Decemberists: “The Day the Earth Stood Cool” 
Fred Armisen: “The Day the Earth Stood Cool” 
Carrie Brownstein: “The Day the Earth Stood Cool” 
Tom Waits: “Homer Goes to Prep School” 
Zooey Deschanel: “Love is a Many-Splintered Thing” 
Max Weinberg: “Love is a Many-Splintered Thing” 
Sonny Rollins: “Whiskey Business” 
Justin Bieber: “The Fabulous Faker Boy” 
Sigur Ros: “The Saga of Carl”

Season 25 

Rob Halford: “Steal This Episode”

Speaking of stealing, why not watch The Simpsonsusing FREE CABLE?

ROYAL BLOOD

Royal Blood by Royal Blood is the swiftest-selling debut rock release since Noel Gallagher’s eponymous High Flying Birds’ album, which topped the charts in October 2011. Some might say this doesn’t mean much, but 65,000 sales in a week does mean the duo are already due a silver disc award from the BPI. Here’s nine more facts to bring you up to speed with the south coast success story.

The album was released in two limited editions: a while vinyl edition of 800 limited to the Rough Trade stores, and a signed edition available via the band’s website. Both are sold out, although both are already in plentiful supply on eBay and Discogs at vastly inflated prices. If you’d like late access to this rather grubby reselling bonanza, there’s another limited edition (of 1000, with an art print) available now. We’re waiting for the royal blood-splattered coloured vinyl.

The band were formed after Mike Kerr spent nine months on Australia’s Gold Coast, attempting to write music and form a band. Frustrated, and missing friends and family, he returned to the UK. Ben Thatcher picked him up at the airport, and was asked if he wanted to give it a go. The band played their first show the following day.

There’s really no guitars at all on the album, honest. “We just filled a room with four or five amplifiers, all on full and all having a different sound, and at the other end was just one bass”, says Kerr. But he’s not saying how he gets that sound. Live, he plays his bass (a Gretsch Electromatic Jr.) through three different Fender amps (two Super-Sonic guitar amps and an 8×10 Bassman), but the rest? It’s “entirely secret!”

Jimmy Page is a fan. The Toronto Star asked the Led Zep legend which band he’d like to join, and he responded, “I can recommend a band that I’ve just heard that sounded really amazing, but they don’t need anybody else. They’re called Royal Blood.” Page first saw them play on Later with… Jools Holland, and then later at the Mercury Lounge in New York. And Royal Blood are fans of Led Zeppelin: “Robert Plant, vocally, is a big influence”, says Kerr, “because I hear so much of him in my other two favourite singers, [Jack] White and Jeff Buckley.”

Famously, the band got a push when Arctic Monkeys drummer Matt Helders wore a Royal Blood t-shirt onstage at Glastonbury. Then again, the duo are managed by Wildlife Entertainment, who also look after Arctic Monkeys… as well as Paolo Nutini, Travis and Drenge (a band mentioned by Labour MP Tom Watson in his letter of resignation from the shadow cabinet).

Album closer Better Strangers was named after a line from Shakespeare’s As You Like It, where Orlando responds to Jacques’s “Lets meet as little as we can” request with the equally insulting “I do desire we may be better strangers.”

When the band played at Brighton’s Bermuda Triangle last December, Harry Robbins (a local mixed media artist who’s done all of their artwork) was on hand during the day at tattoo emporium Inka Tattoos to assist fans getting Royal Blood ink. Robbins describes his work as “often symbolic, obtaining either a deceived message or a clear one, pursued by a warped decorative purpose.”

That “Royal Blood are from Brighton” thing? It’s only partly true: Thatcher and Kerr are actually from Rustington (whose previous musical claim to fame was being mentioned in the lyrics of Flanders & Swann’s comedy song The Gnu) and Worthing (where both Billy Idol and Keith Emerson attended school).

LINKIN PARK: HYBRID THEORY

On October 24, 2000, a little-known band from California called Linkin Park released their debut full-length, Hybrid Theory. And while the unsuspecting sextet didn’t realise it at the time, that album would go on to become not only the biggest-selling record in the world the following year, but also, more importantly, a generation-defining modern rock classic.

Its fusion of razor-edged metal riffing, slick electronic beats, twisting raps, eye-gouging screams and effortless pop sensibility saw it catapult the six nobodies from nowheresville to rock superstardom in a fashion that will probably never be equalled. An absolute dreadnought of a record, to call Hybrid Theory a phenomenon would be to almost undersell it.

Yet, as a wise man once said, even the greatest of journeys starts with the smallest of steps, and the story of Linkin Park’s world-beating debut begins in the same way that most bands’ tales do – in a kid’s bedroom.

“The very earliest incarnations of the songs from Hybrid Theory were written at my parents’ house when I had just finished high school,” recalls rapper, keyboardist and creative mastermind Mike Shinoda. “A Place For My Head was one of those first songs, but I wasn’t thinking of writing an album – I was barely considering starting a band!”

The young Shinoda’s ‘studio’ was, at best, rudimentary. “I had a four-track recorder, a guitar that we plugged directly into a tiny little amp, and a vocal mic,” he laughs. “The whole set-up was maybe worth $300. We actually sent out a bunch of tapes of those recordings, including to a guy who we knew had signed Incubus and Korn. Amazingly, he called us back! When I told him about my set-up, he was like, ‘That doesn’t make any sense – these songs sound really good!’ And even though he was never in the position to sign us, that was really the start of it.”

With his ambitious creativity and Spartan work practises already earning praise, Shinoda began to form the nucleus of what would become Linkin Park. A merry-go-round of endless demoing ensued, but something was missing from the fledgling line-up. The answer, it turned out, would be found in the form of a flame-haired vocalist from Arizona.

“I had basically decided to retire from music,” says Chester Bennington, reflecting on his frustrating early years trying to make it in a band. “I’d got a job in real estate and thought that while I would probably still make tunes for fun, I would need to find something else to do full-time.”

That’s a fairly remarkable statement for someone who had only just turned 21 at the time, but Bennington, it turned out, was not a man to do things by halves.

“A dude who had been working with my old band gave me a call, going, ‘I’ve got these guys and they’re writing this great music but they really need a singer.’ I immediately was asking all sorts of questions, like, ‘How old are they? How long have they been doing this?’ because I didn’t want to waste my fucking time. He said, ‘Well, I’ll just send you this demo,’ which turned out to have two tracks on one side and instrumentals on the other. I listened to the instrumental side first and immediately I was like, ‘This is it, these are the ones.’ The next thing I know, I’d flown to California and was sat outside Zomba Music Publishing, opposite Whisky A Go Go on Sunset Strip.”

Such quick movement, though, meant that at this stage, Chester hadn’t even set eyes upon the men who would become his new bandmates. “When I finally met the guys, I remember that they seemed very nice, very smart, very serious and, most importantly, they had a plan, which was pretty refreshing.”

If meeting your singer through A&R teams and label suits seems a little – or maybe even a lot – businesslike to you, then you’re not alone in your thinking. When Hybrid Theory did eventually blow up in spectacular fashion, the band had to fend off the accusations of being corporate puppets from all quarters.

“We did get a reputation for being a business rather than a band,” admits Shinoda. “But that was because we were so focused on getting our stuff done. It wasn’t in the name of business – it was in the name of building up this thing we had worked so hard to create. We were prepared to do everything in our power to be successful on all levels.”

The proof of Shinoda, Bennington and co.’s unwavering, singular dedication? Consider the unshakeable faith they had to display as they tried to score the record deal that would turn Hybrid Theory into a reality. “We showcased for every fucking label there was,” sighs Shinoda, “and they all turned us down.”

“No one wanted us, but we knew we had something fucking special,” offers a defiant Bennington. “We just kept pushing. Most bands probably try out in front of three labels, get rejected and give up. We played in front of 45 but our attitude was, ‘These guys are fucking stupid if they can’t see what we’ve got.’ We knew what we had and never doubted it.”

Fortunately, the band’s faith in themselves would be repaid, as the A&R manager who took them through that seemingly infinite run of soulless pony shows in a bid to score a label deal bagged himself a job at Warner Bros. As part of his contract with the multinational, it was agreed that he would get to sign up Linkin Park as his first band. “We got lucky,” reflects Bennington.

Or so they thought. In fact, the battle to get Hybrid Theory out in the way they intended was just beginning. For Shinoda in particular, it was a tough time. “We had to fight tooth and nail to maintain the vision of the record all the way through. The attitude of the label was: ‘Impress us, and you might get to make a full album.’”

The young band refused to be cowed even in the face of such ham-fisted boardroom fuckwittery, continuing to wage a quiet war to ensure that their music was heard in the way they knew it should be.

The final straw would come when the label, in a move that now seems unimaginably brazen, tried to oust Shinoda from the band. “These guys sat me down and were like, ‘Oh, you’ve got such an amazing voice, you could be such a shining star,’” says Bennington, audibly still angry at the encounter over a decade on. “They wanted to see if I would pull a coup to get Mike out. These dudes were so fucking stupid, man. They told me I’d be the face of the band and that Mike had no story ’cos he was just some kid from Agoura – all these dumb, superficial things.

“They wanted some fucking rapper from New York who no one knew to come and do vocals on the record. I just wanted to punch those idiots in the face because they couldn’t see that golden fucking teat of awesomeness that was right in front of them. Mike’s one of the most productive songwriters of our era, I think. God knows how many Number Ones we’ve had, but if he wasn’t in the band, we wouldn’t have had any of those!”

It’s the sort of display of loyalty that plenty of brothers-in-arms hardcore bands could learn a lot from, and one that pours cold water on the notion that Linkin Park are just a band of mercenaries assembled to achieve global success. Yet when Hybrid Theory did blast forth, infiltrating the airwaves with its infectious bounce, certain sections of the press were quick to brand them as nothing more than a nu metal boy band. Having worked so ceaselessly to get to where they were, it was a tag that stuck in the craw somewhat.

“Yeah, that was a real moment for a while, huh!” remarks Shinoda wryly. “We had to defend ourselves from that absurd shit forever but it was totally out of left-field. We never thought anyone would think something so ridiculous, but all of a sudden people were talking about it!”

Did it piss them off? You’d better believe it. “It gave us something to prove and drove us on, for sure,” notes Bennington. “There was a lot of false perception about us but what we did, instead of talking about it, was make it our mission that when we played, we wanted everyone who played after us to go, ‘Fuck!’ We wanted to be the band that no one wanted to tour with because we would turn up, crush the fucking crowd and then everyone would want to leave after us. We wanted to kick people in the face.”

The sextet would get the chance to prove their reputation as show-stoppers on an international scale throughout 2001, racking up hundreds of gigs across all corners of an increasingly Linkin Park-obsessed world in support of a record that was now storming the charts.

That determination to steal the limelight didn’t go down so well with everyone they hit the road with, though. An ill-fated UK run with the already established Deftones came as they were surfing a wave of success, but extended periods of touring were already taking their toll.

“That tour was one of the most stressful stints we’ve ever done,” confides Shinoda. “We basically followed winter around the world for six months and we were all always sick. And then to top it off, the guys in Deftones started to get a bit jealous and began treating us really poorly. Steph and Chino said some pretty nasty things in interviews. We tried not to say anything back because we didn’t want more tension on the tour but it was pretty miserable.”

The success the band had strived so hard to achieve wasn’t proving to be the bed of roses they had expected. “I even saw some fans doing heroin outside one of those shows. Totally fucking horrible shit, man. It was a dark period overall, even though things were, ostensibly, going so well.”

So what would drive both the press and Linkin Park’s peers to get so wound up by six guys who were, to all intents and purposes, just pursuing their dream? Maybe it was the consensus that they were nice, hard-working, middle-class boys who had nothing to be angry about. Or perhaps that by comparison to larger-than-life figures like Jonathan Davis and Fred Durst, they seemed, frankly, a little dull.

“People don’t fucking know us. Nobody knows me. You can’t look at a picture of our band and come to a conclusion about what our life is,” snarls Bennington. “We wanted to create art that spoke for itself: nothing more, nothing less. We know that a lot of people didn’t like it but that achieved another thing I love – when people hate you so much they can’t stop talking about you.”

Shinoda has his own view on the way his band were perceived. “I think that the difference between us and someone like Korn or Limp Bizkitis that, to me, a lot of that music was made for a frat party, a drunken brawl, slutty dudes taking their tops off and feeding off their own testosterone. What we didn’t connect with in that scene was that there wasn’t a lot of room for more introspective emotion. People would ask us, ‘Well, Jonathan Davis practically grew up in a morgue and was molested and all these horrible things. What gives you the right to be angry?’ But you don’t have to have gone through the worst things in the world to be sad. I think that’s something that ultimately really connected with our fans: that you don’t have to be an outcast and a fuck-up to take something from this music on an emotional level. If that makes us dull, then fine.”

It must be said, though, that while their debut album was breaking records for sales and at the same time converting a generation of kids to rock music, Linkin Park weren’t exactly indulging in the rock-star fantasies you might imagine. Even as they were handed the keys to the castle as the biggest band in the world, it was still a case of ‘work hard’ rather than ‘party hard’.

“I guess by most standards we were pretty reserved. We were doing so much that it didn’t leave too much time to get crazy,” jokes Shinoda. “I mean, there was this one time in Minnesota that by the end of the night we had thrown a beer keg through a hotel window and had a snowball fight in the lobby, so we weren’t totally fucking boring, but we were so focused on achieving the next goal.”

Do they wish they had been a bit crazier at the time of their peak? “We did it our way and I wouldn’t change a single thing,” reasons Bennington. “Not a thing.”

All the graft, indisputably, paid off. Hybrid Theoryremains the biggest-selling debut album of the 21st century and Linkin Park’s influence can palpably be felt across a whole new wave of emerging acts. A little over 10 years down the line, how do the band reflect on the record that changed their lives irrevocably?

“I’m still enormously proud of that album,” beams Bennington. “Every now and then I will listen back to everything that we’ve done and I still enjoy that record.”

For perfectionist Shinoda, there are still specific moments that get his pulse racing. “Papercut is one of those songs that pairs up some of my favourite kinds of rock music and some of my favourite kinds of dance music,” he enthuses. “Chester and I are both rapping, both singing, and it really sums up what our band was all about. That’s why we put it at the start of the record because it was such a great introduction to who we were and who we are. I still love it to this day.”

Hybrid Theory is that rarest of things: a once-in-a-generation record as definitive of a place and time as a mosquito trapped in amber. “What happened with Hybrid Theory felt like someone had stuck me in a wormhole and fired me into a new dimension,” says Chester. “And you know what? Nothing was ever the same again.”