I constantly hear 2 things in my search to put a new band together and I've been unsure how to respond until today.
1.) "Who does the band sound like?"
2.) "It's not 100% what I want to do."
I've thought about this, in depth, over the last few weeks. First, why does music have to be defined by comparing it to something else? Rock 'n' Roll is and should be undefinable. That's what makes it timeless and beautiful. Second, unless you write everything and pay musicians to back you up... it never will be 100% what you want.
When I think of exceptionally original or influential bands, they are undefinable. Led Zeppelin, Pantera, Rush, Mastodon, U2, Van Halen, Pearl Jam, etc. They are an amalgam of each member's personalities and styles. You cannot define them. Who do they sound like? They sound like Led Zeppelin, Pantera, Rush, Mastodon, U2, Van Halen, and Pearl Jam.
The most successful/original band I was in had 5 members with truly varied tastes. If you would have looked over our shoulders to see what was playing on our iPods as we drove down the highway you would have seen Talking Heads, Slayer, Willie Nelson, Smashing Pumpkins, and The Black Crowes. But we had a mutual admiration for AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, Black Sabbath, and all things 70's arena rock. Each guy added their ingredient to the musical stew and respected and welcomed the others' contributions. We didn't end up sounding like any of the bands we individually liked or even the bands we mutually liked. We ended up sounding like us.
So, after much thought, these will be my responses to the comments/questions.
Them - "Who does the band sound like?"
Me - "It sounds like me. If you join, it will sound like you and I."
Them - "It's not 100% what I want to do."
Me - "Goodbye"
Being in a band should not be an attempt to sound like someone else. It should be about being brave enough to sound like you.