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It's Tuesday night at The Sweatbox, and you're third on the bill to a jazz-funk jam band whose lead singer is more hat than man.
There are three people in the audience and they're all on their phones. You sound terrible and you can't put your finger on why (although you suspect it's got something to do with the drummer). You started a band to have fun, and this is very definitely not fun. What went wrong?
Frankly, it could be any number of reasons ranging from the complete absence of talent to forgetting to tell everyone (including the bass player) that the gig was even happening.
However, we're willing to wager that you're making some fundamental mistakes. But worry ye not! We're here to help you spot the problems, eliminate them, and get your band off the toilet circuit and into the stadiums. Maybe.
It's worth noting that the wisdom imparted herewith was all learned the hard way. Everyone at MusicRadar has made these mistakes, some more than once, so we're not here to preach. Rather, to give you the benefit of experience so that you don't make the same mistakes we did.
So read on for advice on everything from practicing to online promotion, unless of course you know it all. In which case, good luck next Monday night at the Suck Bunker. We reckon you're going to need it...