The right band members are band members who are easy to get along with
I’ve blogged before about the importance of band relationships. It’s vital to pick people who will get on well together when setting up the group and when adding to it. I want to share a little mental test will help you choose the right band members: the Airport Lounge Test.
How I learned the test
I’ll explain by telling the story of how I learned the test, and how it directly benefited me.
Back in 2009 I got an email from a friend, Tim, who was setting up a band. Tim is the keyboard player in a long running band called Manuskript. He was looking to start up a new band to perform his own material. He’d been offered a gig at a festival in Austria on the strength of his demos, so he needed a band.
I’d known Tim for a while and I’d depped on bass for Manuskript once, so we’d worked together before. In his email he said he was looking for rhythm guitar and backing vocals.
At the time, I was rusty. I hadn’t played guitar live for about 4 years and I was inconsistent at practicing. On top of that I’d never sung live and didn’t honestly know if I could. I really wanted to accept the offer, but I didn’t want to let my friend down musically.
I decided to call Tim, confess my fears, and see what he thought. What he said next has stuck with me. He said “I’m not so worried about the playing and singing. What’s most important is that if we’re in an airport and our plane is delayed by 8 hours and we have to sit in the airport lounge for that whole time, by the end of it I won’t want to kill you with my bare hands. That’s more important.”
Needless to say, I joined the band – Pretentious, Moi?. That got me back in to practicing regularly and I wouldn’t be where I am today, making music for a living, if it weren’t for that conversation.
The Airport Lounge Test explained
So the Airport Lounge Test is simply to ask yourself whether you could sit with the person you’re considering in an airport terminal for 8 or more hours, waiting for a plane. Factor in that you’re tired and maybe hungover from a gig the night before. Remember that you’re probably in a country that speaks a different language so you can’t easily buy a magazine or a book. You’re stuck with each other’s company. So it’s vital that you can get on well enough to chat, pass the time and even just sit in companionable silence.
If you think that after a few hours the person would start to grate on your nerves, for whatever reason, then don’t ask them to join your band. You will only be inviting pain and aggravation.
Why is it useful?
Even without plane delays, bands spend a lot of time waiting around together – waiting for soundcheck, waiting for someone who’s late, sitting in the same car or van on a long distance journey. Even the best of friends can irritate each other in those circumstances. Don’t recruit someone you already think might aggravate you even before you’re in one of these testing situations.
Use the Airport Lounge Test to choose the right band members
That’s it. Use the Airport Lounge Test and you will make better decisions about who to ask to join your band. Also, ask yourself if you’d pass the test. If not, think about what you might change about yourself to mean that you would. Your musical career will benefit from it.