During their genesis, members must first figure out whether their personalities and musical identities and goals mesh, then they must find local gigs at whatever club will have them, in order to build a fan base. They need the fan base to make money so they can afford to do a record/demo and book shows outside their hometown. They need the fan base and the record and outside shows to help them impress a booking agent and/or a manager/publicist, who will make it easier to book those crucial out-of-town shows and help them find a record label to release their magnum opus to the world.
It is that kind of pressure, stress, and trials and tribulations that can sink a promising young band before it can hang around long enough to disband because of the traditional ''creative differences.''
Enter Drummer, a rookie band of local indie rock veterans who have gathered together as friends and musicians to make a joyful noise. It takes its name from the fact that all of its members — bassist Pat Carney, guitarist Jamie Stillman, singer/guitarist Jon Finley, drummer Greg Boyd and keyboardist/vocalist Steve Clements — have played drums in other bands.
But the group, which held its first practice in February, already has leapfrogged many of the standard hurdles faced by young bands, and is set to release its debut album Feel Good Together on Sept. 29, with a fall headlining tour to follow.
While the band, which has played only four shows, is excited about its debut and tour, the musicians also are surprisingly stress-free. They have collectively reached a relaxed state of being they refer to (with tongues in cheek) as being ''chilled-out entertainers,'' a phrase appropriated from David Brent, the boneheaded manager of the original UK version of The Office.
''We're adult professional musicians,'' Carney said during a band meeting at Tangerine Studios, where Feel Good Together was recorded and mixed by Ben Vehorn.
For Carney, Drummer is a side gig from his regular seat as the drummer for the Black Keys. Inspired by his band mate Dan Auerbach's recent solo album/tour cycle, Carney — like any good Ohio boy — decided he didn't want to sit around and wait for the Black Keys to reconvene. He invited Boyd and Clements over to jam at the start of the year, and a few weeks later, Drummer was not only a full band, but also a band with half a record written and a plan based on friendship, collective years playing music and the connections formed by Carney and Stillman (who is the Keys' tour manager and custom guitar pedal maker).
Despite some rumors to the contrary, the Black Keys are still a duo. ''Those rumors are stupid. We've been playing shows all summer; we're going into the studio next month,'' Carney said.
But Carney knew he wanted to finish the Drummer album before reconvening with Auerbach, and the rest of Drummer realized that setting deadlines was the best way to ensure they kept the momentum going — something that wasn't always possible in their previous bands.
''We came up with a game plan, we wanted a record and a tour, and we knew what we had to do to be able to go on tour in the fall: We needed to have a record done like, right now,'' Carney said.
''The plus for everyone previously being in so many other bands is that we've either made mistakes, or made enough good things happen to build off of, and we know what mistakes not to repeat,'' said Clements, who plays drums in Houseguest and was in Six Parts Seven.
The band also practiced three times a week for several hours, causing Finley, who is sometime drummer in Beaten Awake, to cut his hours at his day job.
''I'd much rather make music than make pizza,'' said Finley, who works at Guido's Original Pizza in Kent.
Stillman, who was in Harriet the Spy and Party of Helicopters and played drums in metal band Teeth of the Hydra, said Drummer has been his smoothest band experience, in part because everyone is on the same page.
''We [Party of Helicopters] knew what we were doing, but it was hard to get everyone to stick to the same goal. I feel stupid saying this, but maybe it has something to do with age,'' Stillman said.
All of the Drummer members are hovering around or a bit past 30 (Finley, 33, is the old man, while Boyd, 26, who was the drummer in Ghostman and Sandman, insists he's ''not even close to 30'') and all admit, in mostly unprintable language, that maturity and life and band experience are factors in the relative ease of the process.
Stillman said Drummer is the first band in which he doesn't obsess over every detail.
''I think a lot of us were like that, and I'm 29, I'll be 30 in a year and I just feel much more chilled out. I'm a chilled-out entertainer. The Sinbad of rock,'' Carney said.
Of course, contributing to the band's Zen-like state is the fact that through Carney's connections, they already have a booker in the Agency Group, which also books the Black Keys and the White Stripes, as well as a big-time publicist in Sacks and Co., which is also on the Black Keys' team. Add to that the fact that Drummer's record label is Carney's own indie imprint Audio Eagle, eliminating another stumbling block for the band.
The band also has adroitly used the Internet to get the buzz started by posting a few songs on its MySpace page (http://www.myspace.com/drummertheband). They were initially hyped by the Irockcleveland blog and quickly added to the blogs of national online magazines, including Pitchfork and Rolling Stone. That already has garnered the band some interesting international feedback, with some sites saying the few songs the band has previewed sounded like Journey, and other odd comparisons.
''One of the best things I read was in an Italian or Japanese Web site that said we sounded like early Offspring and Green Day,'' Stillman said.
''Which almost made us break up,'' Carney said.
Of course, the healthy head start in the music business wouldn't matter much if the actual music didn't measure up, but Feel Good Together is a strong opening statement from a new band. Anyone looking for the Black Keys' fuzzy blues-rock stomp might want to wait for the duo's next album (due late in the fall), as Drummer falls squarely into the indie rock camp.
Songs such as the title track ride along on Boyd's skipping beat, Carney's steady bass lines, Stillman's melodic guitar lines, some deceptively complex keyboard parts from Clements, and Finley's rough-hewn tenor, which could sing the phone book and make it sound like a desperate cry for help.
Good Golly is an uptempo, driving, pogo-inducing tune ripe for college radio, while Buddy-scapes is a punk-inspired tune with heavy prog-rock keyboard lines intertwining with Stillman's snaky guitar lines.
Drummer isn't reinventing the indie rock wheel, but it has tricked it out enough to catch and keep the attention of what should be a growing fan base.
The band is hitting the Midwest and East Coast throughout October and November, but local music fans can get ahead of the buzz bandwagon when the band plays Musica Aug. 7.
Malcolm X Abram can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 330-996-3758.