The Girls’ Guide to Rocking: How to Start a Band, Book Gigs, and Get Rolling to Rock Stardom| Print |

Move the rock band out of your living room and into real life with Jessica Hopper's all-purpose guide to making/spreading some real rock fever.

Good rock ‘n’ roll doesn’t follow the rules, so a how-to manual on the mechanics of rock seems like something Tracy Flick in the film Election would turn to after hearing a Yeah Yeah Yeahs record. That said, Jessica Hopper’s guide includes a treasure trove of tips: finding the right instrument at the right price, booking your first gig, and recording demos (the appendix on the basics of Apple’s GarageBand software is especially useful for aspiring laptop music divas). Aimed squarely at teens (there are numerous references to asking for parents’ permission before booking shows, etc.), Hopper even gives pointers for preventing interband squabbles, such as splitting profits equally and having one organized member in charge of administrative affairs to eliminate communication breakdowns.

One major issue with this ambitious effort is that a lot of the information has a limited shelf life. Much of the chapter on promoting your group references MySpace and Facebook, and Hopper acknowledges the ephemeral nature of these sites. Some of the band examples she uses are more suited to women her own age—it’s hard to believe that the average 16-year-old girl is going to know or care about Hüsker Dü or Dinosaur Jr. without further elaboration. And while The Girls’ Guide provides a solid road map for setting out on a musical journey, it can’t do the work for you. The best way to start a band still remains: just get out and play.