How to form a band The Verinos way

We formed a band, including three women who’d never done anything like that before, and made an impact very quickly. Many of our ideas are way off what most people do, so let’s try and find out why it worked. If you’re someone who would like to have a band, here’s an alternative way of doing things and thinking about it, particularly if you’re a woman or someone who wouldn’t be expected to get up on stage.

I can’t find anyone else

Tell everyone about the idea. “I’m looking for someone who wants to learn bass” can be more interesting than just looking for a bass player.

“We never seem to get started”

Only have one talking meeting with your new band mates at the start. Don’t waste six months in the pub discussing the band name or chatting fantasies, just get on with it.

Vim, Vi and Vixen met for a coffee and then booked a rehearsal room to start the band

“They’re not as committed as me”

Agree how much time you want to devote to the band – a two hour rehearsal on a set day every week is ideal. If it’s less than once a fortnight, or it depends on people’s changing shifts or commitments, it’s much harder. But those who have more time can think about song ideas and work on their own.

“I don’t have a guitar”

There are always musicians who have a lot of equipment. If you meet any of these, don’t ask them to be in your band. Ask them whether they’d lend their 5th best guitar to a beginner who will take good care of it.

Vim Verino with a borrowed guitar

“I can’t afford £600 for a bass guitar”

If you can’t borrow anything, see if you can buy anything second-hand. Often there’s guitars and basses for £30-50. They’re not the best, but that doesn’t matter at the start. Make sure that you see someone playing it through an amplifier though, to know that the electrics work. Buy a good guitar lead if you can afford one.

“We don’t have a drummer or a drum kit”

If someone will agree to have a go, you can hire a rehearsal room with a complete drum kit including cymbals and pedals. All you need are drumsticks (about £4). Alternatively, hit carboard boxes to start with.

Volcano Verino at Pirate Studio – all she brought were her drumsticks

“We don’t have anywhere to play”

You can play quietly in people’s houses, or find a community centre or someone’s warehouse etc if you have all the gear. But focus and progress tends to be better when you’re paying by the hour in a proper rehearsal room. There should be a few within reach of most people if you search online. Many are run by enthusiasts, who should be delighted to help a bunch of beginners so try them out. If not, there’s a chain of unstaffed rehearsal rooms called Pirate Studios, where you book online and get a keycode to get in. The disadvantage is that help is on the phone, not in person. Pirate charges £12 per hour for a room on Saturday morning with the full drum kit; we found that other local studios, like Stayfree in Leicester have a similar size room for £9.50, plus they have someone to help you, snack and drinks machines and a mini shop for musical essentials.

Trying to work out the door code at Pirate Studios Vim, Volcano, Vee Dee and Vixen Verino

“We don’t know what to do to get started”

Don’t bother trying to learn songs by famous bands. You’ll only get frustrated because it takes so long to get every player in the band sounding like the original. Start really simple with what the least experienced player in the band can do. Always count what you’re doing and agree how long each bit goes on for – 8 beats in a riff maybe and then repeat that 4 times and then a drum roll. That could be just playing a single chord or bass note like this EEEEEEEE, EEEEEEEE, EEEEEEEE, EEEEEEEE <drumroll>. By starting really simply, you can focus on the band interaction to play together, as a group, with communication, rather than the typical 3-4 musicians all playing marvellous independent things at the same time.

“We don’t know how to progress”

Decide whether you are just playing for fun in the rehearsal room. This is a totally fine kind of thing to do. But if you want to play any gigs, then you need to think of your audience and why they might like watching your band. Secretly many people dread having to go out to see their friend’s band, because it’s not a lot of fun, and it’s not really fair to expect people you know to subsidise your hobby out of loyalty. Inexperienced, earnest musicians are often so focussed on ‘getting their bit right’ that it’s a real chore to watch the ‘musicians all playing marvellous independent things at the same time’ kind of thing, when you’re not a regular gig-goer.

“We’re not ready to play a gig yet”

You should play a short gig or support slot as soon as you can. The fact that you’re brand new endears you to audiences and honestly, they would rather see a half-arsed band having a go, making mistakes, being humorous and engaging with everyone than a note-perfect replication of Bring Me The Horizon or some other men’s study band. And that is the theory that has worked well for The Verinos.

Volcano, Vee Dee and Vi Veriono at the first gig

Thanks for reading. We’re thinking of starting some YouTube content about getting started in a band – at a very basic level – learning your instrument by playing in a band from scratch! Comment below if you’d be interested to see this!

The Verinos – No Time to Form a Band?

The first song of our set is the song ‘No Time to Form a Band‘ which is a 1-chord song written by Vim and Vixen before all the members of the band had been found. The idea was that by having just one chord, it would make the song playable by anyone new to playing guitar or bass.

“What’s the bassline? shouts VeeDee? “It’s E E E E E E E E E E E …”

Em Chord - E Minor Chord - How to Play a Em Guitar Chord | ChordBank
This is a picture representation or chord window showing where you should put your 2nd and 3rd finger on a guitar to form E minor

Here’s a picture of Vim and Vixen on 24th May 2021 – the day we wrote ‘No Time to Form a Band”. In order to be properly creative, we booked a serious artists’ work room in the LCB Depot in Leicester. And, as you can see, we had a lot of fun. It was a room where passers-by could see that a couple of middle-aged women were pratting about planning to form a band.

Here’s the words; it’s a list of excuses why women might not have time to form a band. But of course, at the end of the song, the words change to ‘there’s always time to form a band.’

Got to wash the dishes; Got to feed the cat
Got to learn to Zumba; Got to find a hat

So many things to do … we’ll never have time to form a band
So many things to do … we’ll never have time to form a band

Got to pick a number; Got to go to Greece
Got to get on Tik Tok; Got to buy the cheese

So many things to do … we’ll never have time to form a band
So many things to do … we’ll never have time to form a band

Got to put the bin out; Got to write some code
Got to book the tickets; Got to hit the road

So many things to do, but there’s always time to form a band
So many things to do, but there’s always time to form a band

If you want to hear what the song sounds like, you’ll have to wait until we record it, or, alternatively, come to Duffys Bar in Leicester on Thursday December 9th. Why? Because we’ve just had another gig confirmed – this time supporting act for The DeRellas. We’re really looking forward to it!

The Verinos second gig

The Verinos played our second gig at The Soundhouse Leicester last month as an audition for the next Glastonbudget Festival in June 2022. The audience really loved it and we’ve now been confirmed for our first festival.

The Soundhouse Leicester - Visit Leicester

The Soundhouse is a cool music pub painted blue that hosts open mic nights, local bands and touring acts from the UK and overseas. Promoter Muz had been so positive about the idea of The Verinos, that we felt we’d be welcomed. We know we’re not as technically skilled as some of the usual bands that play there; our instruments are cheap or borrowed and we haven’t had much live experience.

But what we do have is confidence and energy!

Here we are hanging about before the gig. The other bands that were playing were really friendly and let us use their drum kit. They were interested to hear about what we’re trying to do, and very encouraging – old-fashioned sexist attitudes really do seem to be changing in the world of music!

We had a little soundcheck, which sounded good and there were fabulous stage lights and then it was time to play. The small stage meant that the fun and energy of the band came across even better – several of our songs involve band members shouting out their thoughts or joining in with the singers!

After we finished, there were dozens of great comments from people we don’t even know. Most frequent comment was “Brilliant songs!” followed by “Amazing energy”. So we think it was a great success, and want to go on to do more … especially festivals next summer! And today, apparently we’re featured on the BBC News page. Amazing! Please follow/subscribe to the blog to get news about The Verinos.

The Verinos go for it!

Yesterday The Verinos heard that we have been picked to play at Glastonbudget Festival in June 2022. Also BBC East Midlands broadcast a film about the band in their news reports throughout the day, so we were buzzing with people congratulating us and wanting to find out more.

You can see the evening BBC news slot here – the piece about The Verinos is after 22 minutes.

Although most of the bands at the festival are tribute acts, there’s a small stage for local bands and that’s where we’ll be, but hopefully we’ll be well known enough by then to get a good crowd!

The Verinos are now looking for more gigs in the local area; the unglamorous music project is also working with more women to create more all-female bands to play for fun and to record and play live. Get in touch if you’re interested via the comments or by emailing unglamorous