Hey there, spunky! We hear you just moved to "the Bean" (that's a fun nickname lots of people in Boston always use to describe Boston), and you're thinking about starting a real life rock-'n-roll band! That sure does sound like fun! But there's a bunch of bullshit you should know about before you go on to share your love of music with fellow denizens of "the Bean" and beyond. First and foremost: you are fucking your whole life up.
1. STARTING A BAND IS A HORRIBLE LIFE DECISION
Most likely, you'll spend two years playing the same eight songs over and over for a diminishing cluster of friends until you can't guilt them into coming to your crappy shows anymore. Luckily, by then, spending another second with your douchey bandmates will sound almost as much fun as prying your toes off with wire cutters.
As bad as that sounds, it's better than what will happen if your band achieves any measure of success. Because when your "successful" project fails, you'll be in your 30s, swimming in credit-card debt, and too perpetually hungover to fill out an application at Whole Foods.
2. NEVER RECRUIT BANDMATES OFF CRAIGSLIST
This rule also applies for roommates and sex partners. Anyone who admits they can't convince two or three people they already know to play instruments in the same room with them is either damaged goods or a scam artist. If you're short a keyboard player or whatever, consider pounding PBRs at Charlies Kitchen in Harvard Square, the Model Cafe in Allston, or the Brendan Behan Pub in Jamaica Plain — all haunts known for patronage from musician types. That way, you can get to know prospective additions to your cohort enough to tell if they're psycho before they steal all your gear and sell it for smack money.
3. ONCE YOU HIT 30, YOU'RE BANNED FROM BASEMENT SHOWS
Everyone who used to be a stupid college student hates college students for being just as stupid as they used to be, so most of Boston's nightlife caters to the 21-plus ilk. As a result, it's never difficult to find a DIY, all-ages venue. Unfortunately, after your lifespan has surpassed three decades, the kids who know the basement shows' addresses will assume you're a cop. Before that happens, familiarize yourself with the "legitimate" clubs in town — some of which may even consider booking your band. These include Great Scott and O'Brien's in Allston; the Middle East, T.T. the Bear's Place, and All Asia in Cambridge; Radio and PA's Lounge in Somerville; and the Midway Cafe in Jamaica Plain.
4. IT'S POSSIBLE TO REHEARSE WITHOUT GETTING EVICTED
It would be nice if all of our neighbors felt more strongly about supporting independent artists than they do about their aural privacy. Sadly, most of them won't appreciate being a captive audience for your bi-weekly jam sessions and will do whatever they can to make you homeless. Luckily, Boston contains a few massive practice-space emporiums where they'll encourage you to make a ton of noise. Consider renting space at the Studio 52 in Allston or farther out at Charlestown Rehearsal Studios. Check out the multi-location Sound Museum, too.
5. YOU DON'T HAVE TO STEAL ALL YOUR EQUIPMENT