HOW TO!: UnScene’s Weekly Column About How to Do a Thing

HOW TO! #1: How to Start a Band 

by Rich Karski


Hi everybody! Welcome to the first edition of Rich Karski’s HOW TO! UnScene Comedy’s latest column by its fourth most popular writer!

While trying to come up with ideas for ways to follow up Dick Picks, I tried to consider my demographic. After conducting a quick poll of people who have randomly approached me and said “Hey I read your column” I realized that it was mostly comprised of privileged 20-somethings who have no skills and barely learned how to masturbate without proper instruction. I decided that I would be doing the world a disservice if I didn’t impart some of my considerable knowledge on you folks in an effort to teach you the basics of life and prevent you from dying alone in a pile of trash and your own waste. So here we are. Each week I will give you a step by step guide on how to do something more productive with yourself than watching cartoons and then arguing about cartoons with other grown up cartoon enthusiasts. Today’s topic?




STEP ONE: Naming Your Band

This is the most important part of starting a band. Your band’s name will follow you everywhere, and will be almost directly responsible for its level of success. Don’t believe me? Just ask Limp Bizkit. Now you might think that “deciding on a musical style” is more important, but that’s why I’m writing the column and you’re at home eating a thick paste you’ve concocted out of Doritos dust, sour cream, and peanut butter. You let the name of the band CHOOSE THE STYLE FOR YOU. If you’re having difficulty getting started, I’ve gone through the trouble of compiling a list of examples, along with the genres these names will lead you to. Feel free to use them and give me a ton of money once this column makes you a successful musician.

  • The Dust-Gatherers (generic 90’s alternative)
  • Trunk Sexxx (80’s hair metal)
  • Jizz on the Flag (anarchist punk/VERY pro-America country)
  • Reelin’ in the Beers (Steely Dan cover DADS ONLY)
  • Hell Ron Hubbard (scientologist space metal)
  • The Danny Bastardsons (scientologist space punk)
  • Cruise Cruz Crews (scientologist space 90’s female R&B)
  • Christ Rape Eternal (bluegrass)


STEP TWO: Choosing Your Influences

Right off the bat: if you said “The Beatles” then go kick rocks buddy, nobody wants you here. Your influences are important because this is the first thing every journalist is going to ask you because chances are they haven’t even heard your band play and they’re just grasping at any straw they can to get an idea of what you sound like. When you answer this question, you’re also going to be giving people a tiny capsulized version of what your style is (as dictated by your band’s name, of course) and you want to knock them on their ass with your varied influences so they go running to download your songs off of kazaa or napster or record them via cassette tape from the radio. For influences to start out with, my first two suggestions would be Cheap Trick and Linkin Park, because they are, statistically speaking, the two bands in history who have done the most fucking.


STEP THREE: Choosing Your Instrument 

This is less important than you think. Can you already play an instrument? No? Then fuck it, learning one is hard and you don’t have time for that shit. You’re the singer. You can’t sing? Growl. You can’t growl? Hire a mean dog to dub the parts for you Jesus Christ, do I have to hold your hand through everything?! You can already play bass? Keep your goddamn mouth shut about that. You’re the singer, find some other asshole to play bass. It’s a common misconception that every band needs a bass player, when really the bassist only exists to serve as a whipping boy for the erratic lead singer’s fits of rage. The guitarist is there to silently brood, the drummer is there to console the bassist. This is literally the only dynamic that works, so figure out which role you want and choose your instrument that way. Now, if you already play a weird instrument like a banjo or a ukelele, then you always have the option of NOT starting a band, since everyone already hates you and you will never find other people willing to spend any time with you. Unless… do you also play bass?


STEP FOUR: Finding Bandmates

Now, if your friends are as pathetic as I can only assume you are, then this shouldn’t be hard. You just tell them, “I’m starting a band” and then they will beg you to join, and you get to make them do stuff for you. Don’t have any friends? Don’t worry. Starting a band can be as easy as finding two or three other people who are dressed similarly to you, and standing near them for long enough. Soon, the power of osmosis will take over and you will simply become a band. The process is sped up if you are standing against a wall or in front of a lake and someone takes a picture.


Now, the most important part of choosing your bandmates is that you always fire one member of the band before you even record any songs. This is ideal for two reasons: firstly, because when you inevitably rocket to success the fired bandmate will become a raging drunk and curse your name each time somebody plays your songs on the jukebox at the local dive bar, thus adding to your band’s legacy! Secondly, you get to audition your newest band-mate! Having them go to the audition process gives you a weird power over them for the duration of your band’s existence, and allows them to perpetually feel like an outsider and less of a person than the “original” band members. Everybody wins!


STEP FIVE: Choosing a Side: Shirts vs. Skins

Another important decision to make is whether you are starting the type of band that will or will not wear shirts on stage. You might think this isn’t important, but ask Glenn Danzig or Chilly Peppers, lead singer of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, how far they would have gotten if they hadn’t made the decision to exclusively perform shirtless in their bands’ formative years. Now, if you’re a lady band, performing shirtless limits you to the genre of punk rock because you can’t be up on stage flashing tit if it’s not some sort of indictment of the patriarchy. That would just be perverse.


STEP SIX: Writing Songs 

At some point, if you plan on being in a band, you’re going to have to play actual music. This isn’t as difficult or important as it sounds. Mostly you just use the instruments to make noise, and anybody who says your music sucks can be dismissed as somebody who “just doesn’t get it.” Now, if your band is somehow actually talented, that’s fine, and good for you you get a cookie and probably some sex from people with serious self-esteem issues. If your band isn’t good at music, you’re going to want to not get any better. As a matter of fact, you’re going to want to be so bad that people start to think you are brilliant and heap praise on you, then even though everyone secretly thinks you suck, they will idolize you because they don’t want to feel left out. This is what happened with U2.



So there you have it. In six easy steps, you can go from a completely useless sack of diseased flesh, to a completely useless sack of diseased flesh WHO IS IN A BAND! One of the most important aspects of being in a band is that it completely absolves you of all other adult responsibilities. Don’t have a job? MY BAND IS MY JOB! Can’t pay rent? WE ARE SUFFERING FOR OUR ART LET’S LIVE IN THIS VAN! Unwanted pregnancy? SORRY SWEETHEART WE’RE GOING ON TOUR! So embrace your new rock and roll lifestyle, and don’t forget to name drop this article on your first appearance on Celebrity Rehab!

Rich is a contributor for

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