How To Get Your Rock Band To Hit It Big, Without Getting Better

After six years, approximately 500 jam sessions, and 12 (±12) groupies, the foursome that began in your basement and once held a residency in Evan’s yard is at a crossroads. Unfortunately, it’s not the Crossroads Guitar Festival alongside Eric Clapton.

Diligent practicing has only gotten you so far. So enough of that. Here’s what you need to do instead:

Crowd Surf

This may not strike you as the best idea when you’re playing at the community teen center in front of a sparse audience of 8th graders with the upper body physiques of Beavis and Butt-Head. Don’t worry. Go ahead and jump, and immediately join the ranks of Bruce Springsteen and Iggy Pop.

If someone films you getting dropped during your Led Zeppelin cover, it’s well worth the embarrassment of being seen millions of times in a TikTok clip called “Misty Mountain Stopppp Oh My Goddd.” Why? Because you’ll have the last laugh when your adoring fans hold you up firmly above the Yankee Stadium outfield, which is as crowded as your Grammy cabinet.

You’re also killing two birds with one stone, by the way. Since you don’t have health insurance to see a massage therapist, crowd surfing is a convenient way to get that knot in your back worked out.

Smash Your Instruments

No, raising a $2,000 Stratocaster overhead and slamming it down onto the stage like you’re chopping wood hasn’t jumped the shark any more than, say, Rudy Giuliani.

But why stop there? If you’re as dedicated to rock n’ roll as your bumper stickers say you are, do the equivalent as lead singer: knock the wind out of yourself. If you can’t, ask someone in the audience to do it—preferably someone who looks pissed. You’ll be known as the ultimate crowd pleaser.

Never mind the cost of repairs, replacements, or a broken rib. You just gave the late lunch crowd at Pappy’s the time of their lives. Remember to leave the damaged instruments behind for management to put up on the wall as memorabilia, which is fine, because the van you all took to the gig won’t start, and there’s only so much space in Garrett’s brother’s hatchback.

Toss TVs Out Hotel Windows

On-stage antics won’t be worth much if you don’t also commit off-stage acts of destruction and defenestration—the other double D’s that rock stars like.

Newsflash: the La Quinta on Dayton Ave has 99 percent of its TVs plugged in and unshattered. In other words, it’s ripe. It doesn’t matter that it’s ten minutes from your beds. Make those reservations and make them now—4th floor and up only, for maximum “fuck yeah”s.

Ample publicity will follow. You need it, too, since the last bit wasn’t exactly a ringing endorsement, with a guy telling the local paper that your show was better than what happened to him on his way home: a carjacking. If an arrest seems imminent, even better. Just don’t forget about any drugs in your pockets. Don’t forget to leave them in, that is.

Spend Lavishly on Your Image

$20 t-shirts are out, and designer everything is in: Prada sunglasses, Christian Louboutin boots, bedazzled diamond Gucci belts. Make it your own. Has any band ever buttoned just the top two buttons of their shirts? Exactly. Plus, you can show off the abs you got from skipping meals because of your shopping spree. Groupie problem: solved.

Besides the obvious need for extensive tattoo work and pierced appendages, you should also make a routine out of seeing a barber. Get something bold buzzed into your scalp: an animal, emoji, cactus, whatever. Or do the opposite: get your entire head shaved except for a patch above your lobe-enlarged ear. Then dye it. Likewise with your beard mohawk.

You don’t need to go to the mall or the barber every day. No reason to go overboard here. But definitely every other day. And as for tipping, how about those crisp fifties your grandma gave you for your birthday? It’s what she would have wanted.

As you can see, these are not closely guarded secrets. They’re time-tested and practically record label-approved. But there’s more.

The real key to hitting it big is to look at your instrument in new ways and not be afraid to try different things. Just look at the string gauges on your guitar: 10, 13, 17, 26, 36, 46. You’ll have to use a few different orders for each drawing, but tell me those don’t look great for Powerball.

If it takes awhile for anything good to come of it, don’t be discouraged. Just keep on playing.