My friend is in a band, and he thinks they’re really going to “make it” but I think they’re awful. Of course, he’s always inviting me to go see them play live and I keep having to think of excuses not to go see them. Do I just tell him that his band is great, or do I tell him that I think they blow?
- Not Into It

2004_09_ask_band.jpgAsk Gothamist has many friends in bands and when we love them we don’t hesitate to let them know and support them in any way we can. But of course, we’ve had friends in bands that we thought were clunkers: the album that’s not great, the live show that never really comes together, the singer with the off-key voice, the drummer who can’t keep a beat.

If you think your friend really wants to know your opinion or begins to notice you’re never at any of the band’s shows, we think it’s perfectly OK for you to offer constructive criticism. This can actually help your friend and his band to develop as musicians. Rather than just saying “Sorry, I don’t like your band” it’s better to describe what you don’t like about them. If you’re not into the genre of music your friend plays, say so - without insulting the type of music that influences your friend. If you think the band’s technical abilities or songwriting skills need honing, let your friend know. If the band recorded an album and you hate it, try to say something positive about the record (“I liked the lyrics on track 2 and your guitar sounded great”) followed by your critique (“the overall production values were not as good as they could have been”).

Maybe your friend’s band will get better over time, or he’ll be in a better band someday. In the meantime, you might have to suck it up and go see the band every now and then on the off chance that they’ve gotten better - and maybe you’ll get some free drink tickets to ease the pain if they’re still playing bad cover songs.