Why start a band? There is nothing better than being in a rock and roll band. Making music, playing gigs, recording, rehearsing. For me it puts a purpose into life. Have you ever fancied playing a bit of music? Do any of your friends play an instrument? Setting up a band is as simple as getting a few friends together, hiring a rehearsal room and turning up. A bit of homework is always worth doing. Do you want to play covers or originals?
I started my band, the False Dots many years ago in the summer holidays with a mate. We decided that we would write originals. The first challenge was to get instruments. He played bass, I played lead. We got summer jobs (both at school then). Having procured some cheap instruments, we set about “writing the set”. We decided that we would write the set and then recruit the other musicians. This proved to be a bit more challenging than we imagined. By October, we’d written 13 songs. We then started looking for a drummer and a singer. By January, we’d almost given up, when by chance we bumped into a couple we vaguely knew at a Damned gig, He’d always fancied becoming a drummer and after a bit of persuading, the girlfriend was enrolled as the new singer. Fortunately for us, he was also a bit older, had a job and so was able to purchase a kit. Although we were itching to start, he said “give me 2 weeks to practise”. So on the 14th February, we held our first full rehearsal. Within a few weeks, the singer had departed and my friend doubled up on bass and vocals.
Two things became clear very quickly. 1- we were rubbish and 2 – it didn’t matter, we were loving it !
Soon we were rehearsing three times a week. Rehearsals became a focus for friends, who would turn up just to hang around and chill out. Somehow, we even managed to get booked for a gig. Not just any gig, but a proper gig, supporting punk legends The UK Subs in Derby. We may have been rubbish, but we made a noise that people seemed to like. We were as hyped up as it was possible to be. Nearly every night was a rehearsal. The set was coming together. Then disaster struck. Our drummer was attacked on the way home from a rehearsal. He was standing at the bus stop with his girlfriend (the former lead singer), when a gang attacked them. Our drummer was thrown through the plate glass window of WH Smiths in Mill Hill Broadway. When he got up, the gang through him through the window of Boots. He had a severe laceration of his arm. A passing Police patrol car saw the whole incident and arrested the gang. Sadly, he left the band. I’ve not seen him since. The gig was cancelled and the band fell apart. After six months, I bumped into the bassplayer again. We’d had a massive argument over musical direction and hadn’t spoken. After a few beers in the pub, we decided to give the band another go. We recruited Paul Marvin, son of guitar legend Hank as drummer. We then recruited Paul Hircombe as lead guitarist. We also admitted that all of the songs we’d written were rubbish. We wrote a new set. Wheras the first set was just tuneless thrash, with shouted slogans, the new songs had melody and structure. After much disagreement, we decided that rather than go for a “big” show, we’d try the set out locally. Then we had another row. The bassplayer quit. Paul Marvin also departed. We recruited a new guitarist, the multi talented Craig Withecombe and a session drummer, known only as “Dav”. A series of local gigs and a demo were recorded.
Following the experience with the early band, where every rehearsal was a party, we’d rehearse without visitors. When we played them the demo, jaws dropped to the floor. The band had improved beyond recognition. All in all, it had taken 18 months to get a working band together, but we had decent songs and a great set. Considering I couldn’t play a note when we started, I guess it was not bad progress.
Since then, the band has toured Europe, playing in Sweden, Finland and Belgium. We’ve played all over the UK and most of the best small venues in London. We’ve recorded all manner of songs, recently even having had one of our songs featured as the theme music on the Manchester City FC website for the goal of the month show !
The band now play only sporadically, but we all still get a massive buzz when we do. It has been the most positive thing I’ve done in many ways and it’s been a blast. The highs have been high and the lows, few and far between. If you’ve ever fancied getting a band together, my advice is this – get out there and do it – what are you waiting for?