Around the time I was finishing school I stopped regular music tuition, but almost immediately found a greater interest, motivation and reward in playing music. I joined a band.
More than 15 years later I can't clearly recall how my first band experience started. I know it was with some guys from school, playing relatively heavy stuff influenced by the music of the day. We played a lot of Faith No More at first which I loved since they had a dedicated keyboard player really helping to shape their sound, I wasn't just a "try hard" piano man in a rock band (read Keyboard Players Can't Play Metal for more on that).
At last I was playing music I enjoyed. Learning the shapes of chords and scales which worked well together. Listening to my favourite music over and over to learn how to play it at the next jam. Experimenting with novel mixes of instruments, effects, atmospheres. It was not about popularity or success, just about creativity and enjoyment.
The band formed from a group of friends who had common interests. By virtue of us going to the same school, we all lived near to each other and already knew each other. Our personalities clicked already on school-time. Playing in a band was an extension of this.
Now, I realise the miracle that is forming a band that has any degree of longevity. Consider just some of the variables - if any one of these is compromised the band can easily disintegrate:
1. Personalities should "click", or at least be tolerable (!)
2. There needs to be a similar work ethic and commitment, including showing up to rehearsals and gigs
3. Geographic location should not be an issue i.e. no difficulty due to all members living far apart and struggling to find a mutually-agreeable place to meet
4. The band needs to have a place to play
5. Musical tastes should be in tune. This doesn't mean you listen to the same music necessarily, but can at least appreciate the value in what other musical "flavours" might be brought to the table by others
6. There must be a commonly-available time for all members of the band to play together.
7. Band members must have their own, as the cliché goes, "reliable means of transport"
8. Closely related to point 1, there should be no dominant ego
9. Closely related to point 2, there should be no drug problems pulling the group down
10. The band should be free from pressures to spend less time doing what they love (read "there should not be girlfriend / boyfriend issues")
And on that last point above, KISS really summed it up in the lyrics to "Beth":
Beth, I hear you callin'
But I can't come home right now
Me and the boys are playin'
And we just can't find the sound
Just a few more hours
And I'll be right home to you
I think I hear them callin'
Oh, Beth what can I do
Beth what can I do
It is a miracle that so many bands exist beyond a few weeks.