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If you're not looking for a band, sometimes you can have a lot of fun reading the ads. | Photo: Pinterest
If you're not looking for a band, sometimes you can have a lot of fun reading the ads. | Photo: Pinterest
Tereza Karásková -

TOP 5 Biggest Mistakes in Band Ads

Have you ever searched for a band through an advert? Bands come and go for various reasons, and ads are one of the possible ways to complete a thinning line-up, get musicians together for a new project or find a musical career. However, anyone who has tried to find the right band through an advert will agree that perhaps only dating sites tend to be more frustrating. Let's take a look at some popular phenomena in band advertising.

1. Too few words

"I'm looking for a guitarist, singer. We are looking for a singer/guitar player for an established pop-folk band."

"Hi, I'm looking for a drummer or singer. 13-19."

"We are looking for a female singer for our band. We play covers. We rehearse in XY."

"Hi, a band with their own music (hard rock to punk rock) from XY is looking for a singer."

"Our band is looking for a singer. Hi. We're a band that plays harder genres. Call for more information. Thanks."

What do all these ads have in common? They resemble paid ads with a very strict limit on the number of characters. On the positive side, most of them, despite their brevity, include a geographical indication. There's nothing more annoying than finding out that a band you like is playing on the opposite side of the country.

Admittedly, these advertisements do not contain many things that a person might find likeable or interesting in any way. We play covers – of what songs? An established or starting band – probably has a name, maybe even recordings, but it seems to be classified information. Harder style – is all we learn about this band. Call for more information – well, either they'll be swamped with calls from tough guys from all parts of the country... or no one's gonna call. Would you call them?

In fact, the different variants of "information on request" or "we will send recordings if you are interested" would deserve a separate chapter. In today's information-overloaded age, forcing someone to "request information" without first properly enticing or motivating them is rather optimistic.

2. Too many words

"XXX tribute band looking for a DRUMMER.

After 3 years, we are putting the band together again. We have guitar/vocals/bass. We are looking for an ACTIVE person who is a die-hard fan – loves this music, grew up listening to it and will give it their all. Our goal is to reproduce XXX music as well as possible and gradually get into small/medium festivals. You must have your own equipment at a decent level, or a willingness to work on yourself and buy the equipment over time, also time for regular rehearsals, initiative, mobility and a certain level of responsibility. We're not little kids, we'll all have our tasks to do and no one will be leading anyone by the hand. We're starting over, we need to work hard. The purpose of a cover band is not to make cash, but that will come too. If this is your primary motivation, keep looking. We have a rehearsal room."

"Guitarist looking for a band in XY (rock/pop/alt)

I am NOT looking for single musicians, bands on the other side of the country, cover bands or country bands. I am 25 years old, live in XY and have been playing guitar for about 7-8 years. I've done a lot of rehearsals and a few small-town gigs with a band we started in high school. I have equipment suitable for rehearsals and small gigs, and I play musical instruments professionally. I would like to join a functioning band playing rock (or some alternative version – grunge, post-punk, indie, ...) or pop. I'll add a few of my favourite bands at the end of the advert as an example of what I listen to. If you find any part of the ad interesting, I'll be glad if you send me a sample of your work in a message (most ideal) or by mail/WhatsApp. Hopefully, we will find each other. Bye!" (followed by a list of bands –AN)

Some advertisement writers seem to put all their efforts and quite a lot of words into scaring potential candidates. Either they throw out a list of tasks and requirements worthy of a very strict employer, or, just to be on the safe side, they start with someone they are not looking for. It's good to remember that advertising websites usually only show the beginning of the text, so potential candidates may not even get past this appealing introduction.

An advert is not an essay. It's always better to sort out the information, start with the most important facts (who is looking where and for whom) and then add something about you at the end – something to distinguish yourself or attract attention, plus links to your work.

3. Strictly professional

"I'm looking for a guitarist and a bass player. For a band playing melodic rock, currently casually, later commercially. At least intermediate level. Serious approach."

"I'm a pro-level guitarist with a few contacts. I'm not looking for beginners! I'm looking for the rest of the crew, DRUMMER, BASS PLAYER, SINGER – harder metal styles, growl for spicing it up is a plus. Age 25 +- 10 years old. Text me, then we'll get in touch."

"Female singer for an 80s Pop Rock, cover band. Looking for an experienced female singer at the appropriate level for a band with facilities and contracted performances for a fee."

"We may be demanding, but we can afford it. We are looking for a singer who would be comfortable singing vocals as well as solos and likes 80s pop-rock sung in the original. She's got quite a busy concert season ahead of her, and believe me, it's not for free."

A special category of advertisements consists of respectable and professional offers for those who are serious about music and would expect some kind of fee. The writers have contacts and production contracts and they are looking for someone at the right level because they can afford it. But this brings me to a fundamental question: why don't the ads come across as professional or respectable?

In the age of YouTube, when videos from a mobile phone are uploaded in a few minutes in relatively decent quality, in the age of social networks, when everyone can easily find information about anyone... Why don't the "established" bands provide their name, a link to the video, to Facebook, or the recording? Even a wedding band has a name. They probably perform somewhere. Maybe someone recorded it. A band playing regularly for a fee might even have a website! But advertisements are mostly stuck somewhere in the era of printed newspapers and tapes rewound with a pencil.

4. Age aka "forever young"

"Hey, you! Yeah, you! Are you between 20-28 and serious about music? Power-rock band XXX is looking for a bassist ready to dive into a new professional project."

"We're looking for a bass player for an alt-rock band. Hi, we have a rehearsal room, 15-21 years old, looking forward!!"

"Young Brutal Death Metal band is looking for Guitar and Bass, ages 13-19 so far we have Vocals and Drums, rehearsal room provided."

"Hi. We are looking for a solo and backing guitarist under 40."

I would like to add a short reflection on the topic of age. It is a sensitive issue, especially for those of us who fall into the age category that excludes us from the target group of all these advertisements and we are shamefully waiting to qualify for a senior band. I'm often struck by the precise age range in the ads. "Looking for a bass player 20-28." So the great bass player who turned 30 two days ago is out.

Why? Twenty-eight's still good, twenty-nine isn't. You can just look at how many amazing musicians over 70 have released or are releasing fantastic records this year alone: Peter Gabriel, Paul Simon, Dave Gilmour, just to name a few. If they called you, saying, "Guys, can I join your band?" would you say, "Hey, sorry, you're not 28 anymore..."?

The examples of bands where different generations of musicians meet and inspire each other show that having too strict age limits can be a shame. Take for instance the ex-member of Red Hot Chilli Peppers Josh Klinghoffer who is 17 years younger than the rest of the band.

5. Strange and bizarre 

"Hello, I would like to ask if anyone here would be willing to accompany a singer at concerts. Send me an email for more information. We are looking forward to possible cooperation."

"Duets. Hi musicians, is there a duet composer for a soprano and higher baritone? We are not beginners, so we are looking for someone experienced, do you have balls????"

"Are you not a dickhead who says he wants to join a band and then fucks off? Then I'm looking for you! I'm looking for serious experienced musicians (drummer, bassist, guitarist) committed to working on the band. Model bands in the genre: Megadeth, Death, Sepultura, Annihilator. I'm 30 years old. I play guitar and sing. Text me for more info..."

"We are looking for a guitarist for a rock project with home recording options. First, we would focus on writing and recording songs. If you are interested in getting more information, please email a sample of your work. A positive relationship with a cabinet is a plus."

If you're not looking for a band, sometimes you can have a lot of fun reading the ads. But the moment you are actually looking for someone, you might soon start to despair. Most of the ads are written in a copy-paste manner as if there was some kind of a universal template, but few of them have any kind of personality. Only rarely do you go: "Wow, I want to play with this band!" or "This guy looks interesting, he'd be great to have in the band."

So here's a request to anyone who will ever write a music advert: imagine yourself on the other side. Would you be interested? Imagine the type of person you're looking for. Would that appeal to them?

Always remember to write where you're from, who you're looking for, if you're a band, write your name, a link to your music and what's important to you. The more pro you want to be, the more work you need to put into your ad. It will pay off!

And the good news at the end: as unbelievable as it seems, I can confirm from my own experience that it can be done. I found my first band through an ad, and even though I chose them because the ad said they played something like Pink Floyd and they turned out to be Roxette fans, I remember those few years with them quite fondly.

I found my current band two years ago in the same way. After a few weeks of growing frustration, I finally found an ad that appealed to me and I answered, even though they were looking for a singer and I wanted to fill the position of guitarist. It turned into a great band that continues to teach me to keep going and not be afraid of new challenges. So, if you're looking for musical soulmates, don't give up... It may turn out a little differently than you imagined, but it can also be an interesting and rewarding experience in your musical journey.

Note: All listed ads are real, only names of specific individuals, bands and locations have been omitted.

Tagy ads just for fun how to

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Tereza Karásková
The singer of the band Taste The Lemon, solo guitarist, songwriter and architect. For me, music is a space of absolute freedom and joy that I don't like leaving. It started with peaceful piano lessons a…