Wednesday, April 28, 2010


On Saturday May 1 the how to write songs as a group. Whole books have been written on songwriting, from Jimmy Webb's conversational 'how to' book Tunesmith to guides for, but not by, complete idiots. It might be too late for help with your first song now, but a little bit of advice can be a huge help for that unexpected second song you have to write when you get picked for the Regionals.

Just to serve as a warning, I want you to have a listen to a song Andrew W.K. wrote when he was 17. It earned him a juvenile restraining order, and is a pretty good example of what not to sing to an audience of your friends.

If you fluke it all the way to the National Finals and still need to learn how to play an instrument then fear not. It's never too late to practise, though, until it is, so while you still have time I'd check out something like Guitar exercises for dummies or this DVD about teaching yourself the drums. It's not just cramming, either: you want to be on your game for next year.

The best thing about the Rockquest is it doesn't exist in isolation. Yeah, you might have never played a note in your life before taking on a violin riff in your cousin's ska-fusion eight-piece, but this is all setting things up for the future. Some of New Zealand's big names came out of this competition. Cut Off Your Hands, Flight of the Conchords, Ladyhawke, Fat Freddy's Drop - too many bands and artists to name started their careers trying to work out a rhyme for orange in this competition over the last 22 years, and they won't be the last.

AUCKLAND CENTRAL Heats - Sat 8th May

AUCKLAND EAST Heats - Sun 23rd May

AUCKLAND WEST Heats - Sat 1st May

MANUKAU Heats - Fri 14th May

NORTH SHORE Heats - Sun 9th May

- Ashley


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