If you've been a musician for long enough you'll know that, while most musicians are amazing people, some can be completely insufferable! For every professional, hard-working bass guitarist, there's a drummer who thinks he's the second coming of Keith Moon and doesn't understand why he's not allowed to play louder. And if you haven't been a musician for very long, then we're here to warn you about the types of musicians to avoid - and how to avoid becoming one yourself!
Have you ever watched a quiz show where a particular contestant gives a string of correct answers only to look around at the other contestants while chuckling in amazement? "How lucky was that?! I'm actually quite thick - sorry for that lucky guess, guys!". We all know it wasn't a guess, and that they're a genunely smart person who knows their facts. It's the same with musicianship. Don't come off stage having given an amazing vocal performance and refuse to take peoples' compliments, insisting that you were "a bit rubbish" and "just winged it". Obviously, nobody wants to seem big-headed, but there's nothing wrong with being proud of your talents and having worked hard. Besides, if you're really good, nobody believes that you're totally unaware of it.
This is one for the older generation of musicians...
We all know that one person who namedrops incessantly and talks about the '70s like they were the greatest decade ever. "I was once the backup guitarist for a band that supported Jethro Tull", they say as they bemoan the state of modern music and how it's "not what it used to be". The music industry is pretty brutal, and often artists who were at the forefront only a few years before suddenly find themselves to be old hat. Tough as it may be, nobody really cares about the famous faces you used to hang out with - they just care if you're a good drummer/singer/guitarist/etc. So, stop the namedropping and get to work!
Too Cool For School
One of the stereotypes of musicians is that they're all a bit too cool. They all smoke, drink, and have loads of sex. And they're blessed with enough natural talent that they never even need to practice. Most professional musicians know these generalisations to be entirely false, but for amateur musicians it can be tempting to milk the image of the uber-cool musician who doesn't give a toss about anything. Be warned: you may feel like the business with your leather jacket, ripped jeans, messy hair and carefree attitude - but there's nothing more annoying to a serious group of hard-working musicians than a band member who just doesn't care.
The Control Freak
If you're in a band, there will naturally be one or two members who are the driving force behind the group's organisation and songwriting. But it shouldn't be a dictatorship. Groups only work if everyone feels valued and feels like they have a say in any major decisionmaking process. Besides, part of the benefit of having multiple members is bringing ideas and influences together to create something unique. Even if you're a solo artist and therefore shoulder more responsibility, remember that nobody can forge a successful music career on their own. So, don't be too stubborn and insistent on doing things your way - your bandmates, friends, agent, manager, and everyone else around you are there to help.
Sorry, lead singers, this one is mainly aimed at you...
We often think of divas as musicians who are spoilt, pampered, and exploit their power by demanding the best of the best wherever they go. But lifestyle isn't where being a diva begins and ends. It also comes down to attitude - and this can have terrible consequences on your music and the way you are perceived. If you're a singer - or any other instrumentalist, for that matter - who likes the whole audience to be looking at you, you'll most likely get your wish. But you stealing the show will likely have a detrimental effect on the way your music is received. Going for one more guitar solo, or insisting on dragging out a song with over the top, self-indulgent 'oohs' and 'ahs', may just be enough to turn your audience off a song that they were previously enjoying. It's important to express yourself, but it's a fine line between expressing yourself and alienating your audience (and possibly your bandmates too).