Chances are if you are in a band, you will struggle with how not to be pretentious. There is a fine line between being legitimately one’s self and pretending. There is pressure to one-up the bands who you view as being more authentic or more brilliant, or underground that you. There is also fan pressure to be the person that your groupie sees. Here are the three most annoying pretensions.

The born idol. The problem with being pretentious is that it turns off the kind of music fans who will stick around, the REAL fans. You might think it is impressive to say things like, “I guess when I was 2 I knew I would be a rockstar… it’s kind of my destiny” when asked how you knew you wanted to be a musician. Some people will love this, but even if it’s true that you think you are god’s gift to the music industry, be humble about it. If you picked up the guitar at 11, really that is impressive enough.

How not to be pretentious - band hacks
I was rocking out in the womb!

My super special and unique genre is a very common way to be pretentious. I will never forget an X freaking out because I was working on his branding. I didn’t think his music was “psychedelic” despite his desperation for it TO BE understood as such; during the clear and trendy resurrection of 60’s rock vibes in the last decade… Especially when the genres are sub-genres of your genre like Psychedelic trippy Acid, or Death Gore horror. Long gone are the days when people gravitate to the gigantic Alternative section of the record store. At this point, you can pretty much make your own genres.  Just bear in mind that people will probably not be looking for the #hashtag Drip-hop. Stick to 2 genres that are both necessary to define your sound — garage Rock FTW.

musician holding a guitar over his shoulders - how not to be pretentious
My genre is Psychedelic Wizard Garage, GET IT RIGHT!

Everyone says I look like___ (Enter a famous rockstar here). Guess what, if you look like David Bowie’s twin, people will notice, you won’t have to remind them.  Also, it subtracts from your hopefully unique band image.  The worst is when someone says they look like a particular rockstar, and frankly, they don’t, but it sure looks like they robbed their wardrobe. Worst even is if you look like a rockstar but sound like a bad karaoke night.  DO YOU?

how not to be pretentious - band hacks
The resemblance is sooo uncanny, man!!! I’m basically his twin!

A good example of how NOT to be pretentious is Thievery Corporation. If you missed their show in Montreal, we got you covered, read about it here.