So you want to start a band?
No money? Instruments held together with spit and duct tape? But you're gonna make it big someday, right? You'll need someplace to practice before you play the big stage. If you're from Suburbia do I have news for you! You have the ultimate practice space right in your own home!
Yes, that dinky space where your dad keeps the Christmas decorations on the off season and keeps swearing that one day he'll clean it out so he can actually park his car in there. Co-opt that space now! Kick some stuff out of the way and drop your instruments where you can find space and wail away. You'll be playing concerts in no time, just open the garage door and the neighbors can get in on the action.
This trope is often played in fiction as a ragtag group of teenagers, for bonus points it may be a group of Emo Teens, forming a band. More rarely, it will consist of middle-aged adults; usually this is Played for Laughs, or to show what immature losers they are for doing something usually associated with teenagers or twenty-somethings, as if to say We're Still Relevant, Dammit! Sometimes the band is a spur of the moment thing, started as a weekend project or to win a talent show and becomes the plot of the episode. Often the band will break up at the end of the episode.
Truth in Television, obviously, as it tends to be the largest single room in a typical suburban house that isn't in constant use by the rest of the family. (It also tends to be somewhat soundproof, which is a bonus if you're not very good.) A number of successful bands have started out as Garage Bands, with Nirvana being one of the most famous in recent years. Hell, there's even a genre of music called Garage Rock. Not directly related to the Apple software of the same name, although many garage band members swear by it... if they can afford a MacBook.
See also Three Chords and the Truth.
- In Tamako Market, Tamako's father was in one with Kunio, the current owner of the music cafe when he was a teenager. He even wrote a song for his future wife.
- In this fanfic of 101 Dalmatians: The Series, the main pups form their own rock band. This fanfic later inspired a few fan arts and other fan works.
- The My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfic Rock N Roll Equestrian Style is about the Mane Six forming a rock band to perform at Canterlot. There are several fan arts of the Mane Six as a rock band, but this one matches the positions they have in the fanfic mentioned above, which seems to appropriately match their personalities (according to most user comments).
- In My Little Pony: Equestria Girls Rainbow Rocks, the human counterparts of the Friendship Is Magic characters form a rock band, the "Rainbooms", following Rainbow Dash's idea. They 're even seen repeating in the barn of Applejack's family farm. Several of the Web shorts preceding the movie also show them picking up their respective instruments.
- Marty McFly's band The Pinheads in Back to the Future, which auditions for the school dance. (The judge? Huey Lewis in a cameo.)
Audition Judge: Hold it, fellas. I'm afraid you're just too darn loud.
- Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure has the main duo's band Wyld Stallyns.
- The Australian movie Garage Days is about a band like this.
- In Freaky Friday (2003), Anna's band practices down in the garage and don't get a real break until the Wango Tango auditions.
- Scott Pilgrim's band Sex Bob-omb.
- In Soul Music, there's Insanity/The Whom/The Surruptitious Fabric/The Blots/And Supporting Bands. Due to an absence of cars (and hence of garages), they reherse in Crash's dad's stables.
- In the Tim Dorsey novel Florida Roadkill, there's a Satanic Rock band that practices in a storage unit. They're so bad that they have to practice with the door closed because of noise complaints from the nearby airport.
- In Rita Rocks, Rita, a harried but Happily Married mother, finds a creative outlet in a garage band with her neighbor, her best friend, and her daughter's boyfriend.
- The Partridge Family started out this way in their show.
- Matt from Lizzie McGuire started a garage band once for a subplot.
- Degrassi has had at least one active garage band among the main characters in every version of the franchise since 1987.
- The George Lopez Show has an episode where George's son Max joins such a band as he is learning to play guitar.
- The freaks had one in Freaks and Geeks, before it fell apart.
- On My Name Is Earl, Earl recalls how he and his old friend Ralph, plus Randy and an elderly man from a fast-food drive-thru started a local band called "Phish Tako". They borrowed instruments, and even got a gig at the Crab Shack. But Earl and Ralph were hoping to get groupies...and their elderly bassist was scaring the women away, so they kicked him out. Earl ends up with two misdeeds to make up for: kicking out a band member on the basis of his age (just to get laid), and sleeping with Ralph's mother while drunk after the show.
- On Orange Is the New Black, it's revealed that Caputo used to be in one of these, until his then-girlfriend informed him that she was four months pregnant (and not by him; she had cheated on him with one of his bandmates), he gave her an Honorable Marriage Proposal, and eventually that band broke up. Later in life (many years after she divorced him for that former bandmate), he joins another garage band called "Sideboob."
- Ed Grundy's band Dross in The Archers.
- Mae, Gregg and Angus of Night in the Woods played in a band together before Mae left for college, and Bea joined during her absence. Gregg wastes no time recruiting Mae back in to play bass once she returns to Possum Springs.
- Homestar Runner:
- The Strong Bad Email "death metal" gave us Brainkrieg, a garage band in the Teen Girl Squad universe. They even play out of a garage in "Decomposing Pumpkins", with an Easter egg showing they had to leave before the lead singer's mom comes home.
- In one episode, the Teen Girl Squad tried to form their own band, Kissyboots, but it didn't go so well.
- Deathmøle in Questionable Content.
- The Hard Times (the punk rock answer to The Onion) ran a satirical news story about a woman whose husband started a midlife crisis band, leading her to wish that he'd just had an affair instead.
- Grojband naturally uses this trope. Because "groj" sounds like "garage."
- South Park: The Lords of the Underworld. They only become popular when they become Timmy and the Lords of the Underworld.
- There's also Moop. In the same episode, Faith+1 starts out this way before getting popular.
- Jimmy Neutron has an episode where Jimmy & Co. try to start a band for a talent show.
- Family Guy has Chris starting a metal garage band in one episode.
- In another episode, Peter and his buddies form a rock band, but things don't go so well at their first gig when they find out they don't know any songs.
- In Gumby Adventures, Gumby and his friends have a rock band of their own. They practice in their barn.
- American Dad! has Steve and his friends starting a band in one episode.
- The titular characters of Beavis And Butthead started a garage band in one episode, despite only knowing how to play air guitar. They named their band "Metallica" and caused a huge riot when they didn't show up to a gig, where hundreds of people awaited the band of the same name.
- Home Movies:
- Darkwing Duck: In the episode "A Revolution in Home Appliances," Gosalyn, Honker, and Tank start a garage band of sorts.
- The Bremen Avenue Experience takes the animal characters from the Fairy Tale "The Bremen Town Musicians" and re-imagines them as a modern day Funny Animal Garage Band.
- Doug had an episode about this, apropriately titled, "Doug's Garage Band".
- Kick Buttowski had the episode "Garage Banned" where Brad and his gang practised to win the Battle of the Bands, leaving Kick and Gunther to practice elsewhere.
- In the ChalkZone music video segment "All Day Jam", Rudy, Penny, and Snap perform as one.
- DuckTales (2017): The Three Caballeros are reimagined as having been one in this continuity, with Donald Duck, Panchito Pistoles and José Carioca having literally practiced in Scrooge's garage during their college years, much to the latter's annoyance.