So, you're looking to make a quick buck, eh? Well, if you're smart, you know that the real money today isn't in high tech, medical research, or computer programming, but rather in the rich goldmine that is indie rock. Therefore, the obvious choice for any young entrepreneur is to form and manage their very own alternative music group to try and rake in those disposable dollars from disenfranchised white suburban youth too race-conscious to like rap. However, this get-rich-quick scheme is not quite as easy as it may seem. For you see, there are many decisions to be made prior even to the formation of the band, primarily choosing which type of indie band to form. There are many sub-categories to choose from, the most marketable being either the whiney, shoelace-gazing, post-rock pot-head band, which grows up to be Coldplay or Radiohead, or the inexplicably angry, furiously hostile, amphetamine-fueled band, which doesn't grow up at all. If you pick the latter, your target audience will own at least one leather item studded with metal and be right wing enough to consider poutine too 'ethnic' to be palatable, whereas the demographic group for the former will be people who voluntarily wear corduroy. Once you've made this key decision ( I recommend the angry amphetamine band, because although the art-rockers will make you more money, they'll be a lot more annoying to hang out with than guys who think conversation is a waste of valuable gas-huffing time), it's time to form the band, and then get about marketing them. To help you young Lou Perlmans get on the right track, I've worked out a few steps guaranteed to work like a 12 year-old Taiwanese kid in a Nike factory, each specifically tailored to either of the two choices outlined above. For each step, choice A will refer to the angry band, and choice B will be for the pansy band. You follow? Alright, let's make us some money.
Step 1: Find a lead singer.
A) Try looking in the alleyway outside a biker bar. The ideal candidate will either be downing a grape-flavoured vodka cooler he bought at the liquor store because he's too cheap for bar drinks, or vomiting up Cepacol anti-bacterial mouthwash because he's too cheap for vodka coolers.
B) Try checking coffee chops. Pick the one with as many stupid names for over-priced drinks that you can find, then stalk in wearing a black turtle-neck and start babbling about Kafka. Anyone who offers an alternate interpretation of Metamorphosis through a Kierkagardian viewpoint is a prime candidate.
Step 2: Find a guitarist.
A) While the lead singer should be flamboyant (read: heavily intoxicated), the guitarist should be sinister (read: so embarrassed he needs to wear a creepy mask to hide from the audience). Try handing out in the horror movie section of your local video store, and pick the guy most interested in the one tattered copy of Dr. Terror's House of Horrors
B) While the lead singer should be soulful (read: sing with his eyes closed), the guitarist should be flamboyant (read: gay). Look for the following signs: an interest in drama, Ally McBeal, 'emo-core', chocolate, Tori Amos, and a penchant for long, un-abbreviated names like Sebastian and William. Black nail-polish is a must, as is a firm understanding of the works of Tom Robbins.
Step 3: Find a bassist
A) Long hair and mental problems are recommended, but not essential. What does help is a passable knowledge of how to change guitar strings and a rudimentary comprehension of first aid for when the lead singer celebrates his birthday by washing down 18 hot dogs with a bottle of rum and carves a pentagram into his arm with a white-hot hunting knife.
B) Must be a chick. And an angry one at that. Your best bet is recruit the gay guitarist and get him to walk around downtown singing Ani Difranco lyrics at the top of his lungs until a short-haired girl in a tank-top and cargo pants stops him to talk about the Lilith Fair. Then, find out if she has any friends who aren't lesbian, and get one of them to play in the band. That way, she and the singer can have a tortured love affair that inspires at least two albums worth of pained songs called "Mouth" or "Solitaire".
Step 4: Find a drummer
A) Either epilepsy or a severe case of ADHD are a must. Ideally both.
B) Black-rimmed glasses and a slight weight problem should prevent your drummer from going too crazy and playing a song with more than 25 beats-per-minute, which would interfere with angst and torment levels.
Step 5: Naming the Band
A) Name your band Crankenstein
B) Name your band Sebadoh
Step 6: Picking political ideology.
A) Obviously, a band wouldn't be a band without an uniformed hard-line stance on political issues. Otherwise, we wouldn't be glutted by charity concerts for countries and causes who would doubtfully benefit from 10 000 white skateboarders going to see the Beastie Boys bitch about Tibet. To separate your band from the pack, adopt a ridiculously right-wing stance and inflate it to the point of absurdity. That way, they'll attract the alarmingly numerous skinhead crowd, plus all the hippies will think they're brilliant satirists. That's what we call 'cross-marketing'.
B) What truly angst-ridden band would be complete without idiot leftist politics lifted from the back of a Jello Biafra spoken word LP? Remember, meat is murder, the police are a fascist dictatorship, and original thought is only original if it's politically correct. Don't forget to read up on Eastern mysticism, female empowerment, and environmental issues, because God forbid you rebel against the system without conforming with your peer group.
Step 7: Writing songs
A) Remember, less is more. Therefore, by that logic, a 45 second song with one chord and four words, all of which are 'Satan', should be a paragon of complexity and musicianship. Don't bother explaining that to the band however, as they should be busy combing Werewolf By Night comics and 70s Italian zombie movies for 'inspiration'.
B) Misery is the key. Also drinking bong water. The rest will take care of itself. As for lyrics, its important that the main songwriter have attended exactly half a semester of a university philosophy class before dropping out to pursue artistic endeavors. That way, he can spout pretentious pseudo-intellectual poetry like a beatnik with a concussion without pronouncing any of the big words wrong.
Step 8: The first gig
A) Give up and form a boy band.
B) Give up and form a boy band.