RockBand.com

Week #51: The Pre-Graduation Rock & Roll Checklist

Congratulations, rockers: Your first year in a band is nearly over! Next week TheHellion will provide the series’ grand finale…Meanwhile we provide this handy checklist to see if you’ve lived your first year as a rocker to the fullest.

And in all seriousness: If you’ve made it through the first year and your band is still together, then you’ve already beat the odds. We hope you’ll invite us when that headline show at the Garden comes around.

And now, take out those Number Two pencils: You’ve had a productive first year if….


  • You’ve gone onstage and yelled “Does anybody remember LAUGHTER!?” because you’ve wanted to do that since you were twelve. Now you’ll never have to again.
  • You’ve become an expert on late-night food outlets in other parts of the country. You came away with a newfound appreciation for the greasy pizza at Hi-Fi on Central Square.
  • You know that your bandmates are the most special people you’ve ever met and you’re bonded as brothers/sisters for life.
  • You know that your bandmates are the world’s biggest a****les and your first solo gig happens next week.
  • You’ve written some of the most impassioned love songs in pop history, but nobody will ever hear them because they’re all about your bass player.
  • You opened a show for a band that had one hit video in 1988 and nobody’s thought about for two decades. Get a dirty look from the lead singer when you tell him, “Hey, I really liked that one hit video you guys had in 1988, but I haven’t thought about it for a good two decades.”
  • You tattooed your band’s name on your arm and forbade them to ever consider changing it. So now you’re forever known as “the Lords of Beefsteak.”
  • You’re guarding the outtakes from your first studio session with your life; so that they can be on your two-hundred-dollar boxed set 40 years from now.
  • You’ve learned how to tune a guitar, how to repair a van, and how to cook dinner on a car exhaust.
  • You discovered the time-honored trick of passing off your best cover tunes as originals. Now you’re praying that all your fans who worship your songwriting never buy the first Ramones album.
  • You played your first benefit show and now that you’ve raised $131.68 for a local animal shelter, you’re ready to sit down and discuss world affairs with Bono.
  • You’ve thrown out all the songs from your first six months of club gigs, rewrote them all with different titles, and introduced your new set with proper fanfare.
  • You’ve gotten past the need to perform under the influence; this happened about an hour after you saw your parents surprising you in the front row.
  • You played the genius show of your life to a half-dozen people who went home and told all their friends. Your next show in town is packed, you play the lamest show ever and hope nobody notices.
  • You’ve learned how to substitute for a bath or shower with a roll of paper towels and a bottle of Sprite.
  • A third-string freelancer from your local newspaper appears at one of your gigs and you spend the night’s pay buying him/her so many drinks that he/she smiles a lot but doesn’t hear a note of your set. You spend the next morning making up quotes from this person and pasting them all over town on your flyers.
  • You give your guitar player a chromatic tuner for his birthday; he thinks you’re commenting on his playing and proceeds to take a whiz in your clothes closet (Note: Only applicable if you are in a band with The Hellion).
  • You wonder if anyone ever found that rancid baloney sandwich you stuck in a hole in the wall at that dressing room in Lawrence, Kansas.
  • You’ve been so busy playing real instruments that your arch-rivals from Milwaukee took over your spot on the Rock Band leader board. It’s ok, you’ll win it back when your album leaves the Pitchfork chart.
  • You earned twenty bucks at a show, ceremoniously quit your day job the next morning and realized it was the best day of your life.

Best of all, you’ve gotten….well, we can’t say that; but we all know why most people get into rock bands. If it hasn’t happened after a year, that internship at the law firm is still available.