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Success And The Musician

Article from Making Music, December 1986

Will you be successful? A questionnaire probes the likelihood, a Status Quo interview presents the reality, and we conclude yes (you might be).


1) You pick up an instrument for the first time. Do you
a) play Three Blind Mice'?
b) pose in front of the bathroom mirror?
c) try to write a song?
d) strain your back? (pianists only)

2) You're forming your first band – what do you want to achieve?
a) all finishing a song at the same time?
b) to put your own single out, and maybe get a Peel session?
c) a nice crisp record contract?
d) world domination?

3) What sort of gigs do you look for?
a) anything that comes along – we just love playing
b) local pub gigs, the occasional support slot when a big band comes to town
c) medium-size venues, and only at weekends, as they pay better
d) brilliant ones

4) Your local paper slags off a recent live appearance something rotten. Should you
a) laugh it off?
b) take note of the criticisms, and earnestly endeavour to do better next time?
c) burn down their offices, making sure the journalist in question perishes in the mighty conflagration?
d) not play local gigs?

5) You've finished your demo at last. Do you
a) send copies with a nice letter to all the A&R addresses on the Making Music list?
b) visit Megabuck Records, and hang around outside waiting for the men in satin jackets?
c) ring up everyone you know in the music biz and blag them for some publicity?
d) throw it away – demoes aren't good enough, you're here to make records?

6) An A&R person finally agrees to come and see you play live. Do you
a) get really nervous and cock it all up before you realise they haven't bothered to turn up?
b) behave like the A&R person's long-lost friend, providing drink, drugs, and sexual partners?
c) treat them extremely rudely, while arranging to have their car stolen?
d) sleep with their boss?

7) If the record company said that your brother's image didn't fit the band and they wanted him out, would you
a) tell them to piss off?
b) discuss the matter with him and them in an effort to smooth things over?
c) confess that you never liked him much anyway?
d) change your name?

8) You are offered a contract, with a cash advance. Do you
a) take the money, and get severely out of order celebrating?
b) demand they triple their paltry figure?
c) demand they septuple (x7) their pathetic suggestion?
d) get your lawyer to sue them for undervaluing your mighty talent?

9) You're asked to name a producer for your first album. Do you
a) look at the charts to see who's currently hip?
b) suggest you do it yourself?
c) do it yourself under another name and pocket the fee?
d) wonder if Phil Spector's still alive?

10) Your record isn't selling too well, and the record company suggests you try some sort of publicity stunt. Do you
a) not appear on 'Wogan'?
b) call the national press and deny any involvement with Boy George and drugs in general?
c) kill yourself?
d) kill someone else?


1. (a) 1; (b) 5; (c) 5; (d) -3; you gotta try for image and content.

2. (a) 1; (b) 2; (c) 3; (d) 5; don't forget to annexe the Sudetenland first.

3. (a) 1; (b) 2; (c) 3; (d) 5; are you getting the idea?

4. (a) 5; (b) 2; (c) 4; (d) 5; you should only try (c) if you have an alibi, and a rival paper to give your court case publicity. Otherwise, don't be parochial.

5. (a) 1; (b) 2; (c) 3; (d) 5; only the best is good enough.

6. (a) 1; (b) 2; (c) 3; (d) 5; most A&R men enjoy being insulted. And bribery and corruption won't work if they don't like your music, so why not go straight to the top?

7. (a) 2; (b) 3; (c) 5; (d) 1; you heartless bastard. Remember what happened to Ian Stewart and the Stones - that worked all right, didn't it? But where's David Knopfler now?

8. (a) 1; (b) 3; (c) 5; (d) 4; trying (d) will score you mucho credibility particularly when you tell the music press.

9. (a) 3; (b) 2; (c) 5; (d) 1; Prince did that for some time. And if you're into world domination, what's wrong with two parallel careers?

10. (a) 3; (b) 3; (c) 5; (d) 1; instant rock 'n' roll legend. Killing someone else might make you feel better, but it's unlikely to help your career.


6 to 16. You do want to be successful, don't you? You must try harder, or you'll never make it out of the bedroom.

17 to 30. It's all very well playing the odd gig, knocking off the occasional demo, but you've got to be a bit more dedicated to make it to that Holy Grail of the music business, the Daily Mirror/Radio One Rock & Pop Awards.

31 to 45. You've obviously got a fair idea of where your career is going, but you still have a soft streak that makes you draw back from uncomfortable decisions. Put some iron in your soul, and learn not to flinch, or success will elude you.

45 to 50. You hard unscrupulous bastard bastard. Your total dedication to your pop career will undoubtedly pay dividends on the Stock Exchange of Stardom, but at what price? But then, you didn't really want any friends, did you?

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Status Quo

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Roland MC500

Publisher: Making Music - Track Record Publishing Ltd, Nexus Media Ltd.

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Making Music - Dec 1986




Previous article in this issue:

> Status Quo

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> Roland MC500

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