First thing to do is find some like minded people who play their instruments to a similar standard. The best website I've found for this is Gumtree (www.gumtree.com) which has several sites for different UK cities, but there are others.
Next, find a rehearsal room local to you. Google can help you here. Expect to pay £35-£70 for a three or four hour rehearsal room slot, depending on location, the quality of the equipment, soundproofing and how much backline (amps, leads, PA, mics) is included. You should be able to find a half-decent place for around £45 for three hours, including a Marshall stack for the guitar, Laney bass amp, three mics, a basic drum kit (less cymbals and pedal) and a PA system.
Then practice. Once or twice a week is ideal. Rehearsal rooms have a huge advantage over people's houses because you can make as much noise as you like at any time of the day, and no complaints about the sound level! Plus you can check how you sound amplified. Also rehearsal rooms often have mirrors so you can see how you look on stage - remember, people are going to be watching you. You need to interact with them, move on stage, talk to them... you're there to entertain them. Don't be one of these bands who shuffle on stage, look at their feet the whole time, then shuffle off. People don't remember them at the end of the night.
Finally, find gigs to play. Again Gumtree is good here, or just google it. Initially you'll be unlikely to get paid for gigging, until you've built a solid reputation as people that turn up on time, play well and get a good audience reaction. Get all your mates along to your gigs to help build a fanbase. Take down people's email addresses and thank them for coming, giving them the date and location of your next gig. Also use myspace and facebook as much as possible, advertising your music and building your fanbase.
Once you've played some unpaid gigs you'll hopefully move onto paid gigs. Again, don't expect much initially, especially if you're in a big city with a lot of competing bands like London or Manchester. You might get expenses and a couple of drinks. Then if you get bigger, it's a case of getting a manager to help promote and organise you (who will typically take up to 20?f your net income for their troubles) and hopefully getting signed by a label who will put the money up to record a single or album.
Having a good demo recorded is important when it comes to getting good gigs, and getting the attention of record companies. You can record a 3 track demo at most studios in a day for around £300 (they often do cheaper deals in the daytime, particularly in the summer...look out for these). You can burn the CDs yourself, or have a company do it for you, but it's cheaper to do it yourself. There are loads of companies out there who will print professional CD inlays for you - again just google it and search around for the cheapest.
When it comes to getting signed, showcase gigs and sending CD demos to A&R people are somewhat overrated. If you build a sufficient fanbase, good record companies will find you. Good managers have strong relationships with record companies that you are unlikely to have access to - that's why management is so important.
If you don't want to go the traditional route, you can go it alone - do all the promotion yourself, make your own CDs, do your own recording, etc. But this is much harder than using a record company. Even the Arctic Monkeys didn't really make it until they got signed - the Myspace hype was just a step on the ladder to getting that record deal.
Hope this all helps... In summary, I'd say if you want to make it in music, you can, but it takes a lot of dedication and commitment, a little talent, some brownnosing, and (unless you're incredibly lucky) being willing to play many gigs to three people and a dog in a backstreet boozer before you start playing decent venues.
My number one tip would be: Don't rely on music 100?o be your income. Musicians are not given any support by the government these days. Unemployment benefit isn't enough to live on. Make sure you have a plan B - an alternative way of making money. This might be in the music industry (you could study sound engineering at a college) or might be a part time job, but make sure you have a backup and some decent education behind you (I sound like my Dad here) in case it doesn't work out for you. Good luck!
Answered By: abacus3 - 9/22/2008