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Cheap Advice On Live Sound
48 Tips To Make Your Band Sound Better
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Write A “Theme Song” For Your Band!

6:00 am Songwriting

In the Ancient Days, it was fairly common for pop bands to record a biographical song telling the real or partly imagined story of the band. Like “being on the road,” this just seems to be a topic idea that often occurs to a songwriter who is in a band. I’m not aware of many recent examples (anyone?), but who could forget Creeque Alley by The Mamas and the Papas:

When Cass was a sophomore, planned to go to Swathmore
But she changed her mind one day
Standin’ on the turnpike, thumb out to hitchhike
“Take me to New York right away”
When Denny met Cass he gave her love bumps
Called John and Zal and that was the Mugwumps
McGuinn and McGuire couldn’t get no higher
But that’s what they were aimin’ at
And no one’s gettin’ fat except Mama Cass

(Note the many “in” references to fellow starving musicians who would later become rich and famous.) Even teenybopper titans Paul Revere and the Raiders contributed The Legend Of Paul Revere (is everything on YouTube?), which begins:

In a little town in Idaho
way back in sixty one
A man was frying burgers
gee - it seemed like lots of fun
But to his friend the bun boy
he confessed its misery
I think I’d like to start a group
so come along with me

The rest, of course was history, although the exact identity of Revere’s “bun boy” is left unrecorded.

We’re All Just A Little Bit Rusty

I guess you know where I am going with this. Do you write songs? Are you in a band? Do you write songs for the band? Well then, why not come up with a “theme song” of your own? It’s a great opportunity to identify the band members during a gig and to tell the band’s story in an engaging way. Of course, the song has to be good!

If you want to attempt this project, you have two choices. You can basically tell the band’s story, like the two examples I cited above. Or, you can just sort of introduce the members of the band and say a little something about each one. That’s what I did when I wrote a song about Rusty Strings, the band I run sound for. Lead guitarist Bob had just retired (it’s an oldies band), so I made the first verse be about him:

We got Rusty Bob
He done left his job
Now he’s a retiree
That cool guitar
Better cover the bar
If we’re gonna make it B-I-G

Then I added a sing-along type chorus:

We’re all just a little bit rusty
Rusty Strings are us
We play moldy golden oldies
But this song’s all about
Rusty Strings

The remainder of The Ballad Of Rusty Strings (audio, lyrics) continues in a similar vein, alternating choruses with verses about the band members as it spoofs Pam’s use of notes onstage, Kevin’s occasional lyrical lapses, and Jack’s Magic Effects Box.

Hey, you could write a song like this (or more likely better than this) about your band! I hope you’ll give it a try. A final tip, though: if you do use humorous “in-joke” putdowns of the band members, make sure in advance that they find them as funny and innocuous as you do. You don’t want the band to break up over a stupid “theme song.”

The Ballad Of Rusty Strings (M. Bendig) (audio, lyrics)
Mark Bendig: all parts

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