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Taking the Gig


Joe Muscara

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"How much does the gig pay?" we all ask, some joking more than others. In this case, there is no gig, "yet." Do you start rehearsing with the band in anticipation of the band being ready in a couple of months and they actually start booking gigs then?

 

The band is a tribute to a band I really like, but it's a tribute band (music only, not looks) so I have a moderate but not huge interest in playing this stuff (nailing some specific parts, no originals). A few of the guys in the band have been around, so there's some good contacts there.

 

However, they picked a keyboard player a couple of months ago over me, and asked me to be a backup at the time. He just quit, because he felt that he didn't have time for them and that they were "too unorganized" albeit good guys. I suspect I might run into the same issue with them.

 

What would you do?

"I'm so crazy, I don't know this is impossible! Hoo hoo!" - Daffy Duck

 

"The good news is that once you start piano you never have to worry about getting laid again. More time to practice!" - MOI

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Depends on several things:

 

How good are they or are they going to be?

How much do you like the music being played?

How are your other musical options?

Is this how you earn a living?

 

I had a somewhat similar experience a few months ago. The band was more or less a Beatles tribute band, with no gigs on the horizon. This is just a serious hobby for me, so that didn't throw me. They were fine players, and we got along fine, so that was good. In the end, it boiled down to two things; I love the Beatles, but couldn't stomach a Beatles only band....and they clearly wanted me to be "the George"...not happening, lol. So I suprised them after a good second rehearsal by letting them know it wasn't going to work out for me and that I need to pay more attention to my primary band.

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What else do you have going on, band-wise? If the answer is "not much", then I'd say do it. It's hard to establish a rep and climb the local ladder if you're not playing with anybody.

Gigging: Crumar Mojo 61, Hammond SKPro

Home: Vintage Vibe 64

 

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- The band is a tribute to a band I really like.

- A few of the guys in the band have been around, so there's some good contacts there.

- (They) asked me to be a backup at the time.

- He just quit, because he felt that he didn't have time for them and that they were "too unorganized" albeit good guys. I suspect I might run into the same issue with them.

 

I'd say, do it.

 

- Most of your comments seem to say you're interested.

 

- If you accepted the role as "backup," then you were second call... and you just got the call.

 

- If you run into the same problems as the other keyboard player, deal with it then.

 

____________________________________
Rod

victoria bc

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You could also take a leadership role on the "too unorganized" part and help them get organized

 

Also, one guy's tolerance threshold isn't necessarily the same as yours.

 

Ah, if only keyboard players ran the world.

 

No, I take that back.

 

 

____________________________________
Rod

victoria bc

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A tribute band does take a bit more of a commitment time-wise to get started with the (hopeful) payoff of being better able to land (better) gigs than your average cover band.

 

That being said, it's a tribute band. How hard is it to come up with a list of that band's 40 best known songs? From there the only organizational challenge is deciding which songs to tackle each week.

 

Unless the challenge is more along the lines of getting people to do their homework. If that's the case then you're looking at more than "a couple months" before gigs are booked.

 

Find out what the real issue is.

 

Unfortunately the only way to do that may be to join the group.

 

Since they already have "a couple of months" lead on you, they will probably have you learn the songs they've already learned first, which means you may not see them slacking until after you've already put in a couple/few weeks of your time and effort.

 

Also, consider if it is worth potentially burning any bridges with these guys if you do join and later leave them high and dry.

 

Would I take the gig? I have enough time in my schedule to handle a startup, and better offers are slim pickings right now, so I would at least check it out knowing that I can pull the old "you know, this really isn't a good fit" after the first rehearsal without any serious repurcussions. I'd insist on doing at least half new material for them at the first rehearsal.

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Do you start rehearsing with the band in anticipation of the band being ready in a couple of months and they actually start booking gigs then?

 

If you're just starting out, maybe. Or if you really like the other musicians. It sounds like you're ambivilent tho. For myself, I found this sort of thing almost never worked out, & just took paying gigs, however mediocre, even early on. The kind of bands that would rehearse for 2 months w/o gigs (like top 40 cover bands) didn't interest me anyway. I also wanted to make a living even when starting out, & found that rehearsal bands pretty much usually stayed rehearsal bands. Not that there's anything wrong with that, if that's what you want.

 

But that's just me; YMMV. Learning all those tunes, & nailing the KB parts, can be good practice/discipline/learning at the least.....even if the band folds, you'll know those tunes, could come in handy at some point.....

 

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Always keep in mind what kind of reputation you want to have in your musical community. The guys who just take paying gigs get to be known as the guys who just take paying gigs (go figure!). They sometimes get passed over for that reason when a good spot opens up in a band. It's a tradeoff.

Gigging: Crumar Mojo 61, Hammond SKPro

Home: Vintage Vibe 64

 

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- Most of your comments seem to say you're interested.

 

- If you accepted the role as "backup," then you were second call... and you just got the call.

 

- If you run into the same problems as the other keyboard player, deal with it then.

 

+1. If nothing else it helps you work on your craft. It doesn't sound like you're putting anything else aside and therefore sacrificing musical direction to put work in on this.

 

If you are making such a sacrifice, then you have to weigh the pros and cons of abandoning what you are trying to get going on your own vs. investing in something established by someone else. But if you aren't ...

 

If nothing else, after a few weeks you have a few more songs in your repertoire. :) You can probably "audition" them/their organization within a couple rehearsals and you can press to find out the specific songs they'll be rehearsing in that time. You will not likely be running through the entire setlist during that time (and hence can learn a portion of their songlist to try them out).

Original Latin Jazz

CD Baby

 

"I am not certain how original my contribution to music is as I am obviously an amateur." Patti Smith

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Thanks y'all. Here's the scoop.

 

They are a Black Crowes tribute band. The Crowes are currently one of my top bands. That said, one of the things I like about the Crowes is that they're a jam band live, and I don't think these guys are going in that direction. I guess I'll see if that's frustrating or good as I get into it.

 

Ideally, I'd like to play with a band that does a mix of covers and originals. But right now, I don't have anything else going on. Today I talked with the bandleader of the soul/r&b band that I play with, and he said he's looking to start rehearsals in January and gig March or April. There's no conflict there.

 

I'm lucky in that I don't need to do gigs to eat nor pay the rent, so I can base my choices on more artistic reasons.

 

I've been spending the past year focusing primarily on the jazz piano lessons I've been taking. I've been feeling like I need to start playing with someone again to put that all into practice. However, this is a bit deeper than that, in the sense that as some have mentioned, covering tunes can be a bit trickier, trying to get specific parts right. As I mentioned in another thread, I *just* started seriously working on listening and learning/transcribing tunes. I'd like to be further along with that for something like this, but there you go. This might work into that, but not quite as I had planned.

 

These guys have 19 songs for the current list (he keeps saying 20, but the list has 19, perhaps this is an example of disorganized ;) ). They just got through all of them at the last rehearsal, though not all of them in one rehearsal, if you get what I mean.

 

I don't want to take on a leadership role right now. Been there, done that. Besides, this band has a clear leader and at this point in my life I prefer not having to deal with that stuff. At most, maybe I'll see if I can nudge them if need be.

 

Y'all made some great points above, such as "deal with it then," and "see how it goes for a rehearsal or two." When I asked the previous keyboard player what he meant by "too unorganized," he said, "there's a bit of the 'Hey! We're in a band!' factor. All good guys, just not a well oiled machine," which makes me think the rehearsals might not be terribly productive. While I ain't all that, I do find when bands use rehearsal as practice time pretty frustrating. We will see if I feel like I'm the only one doing his homework.

 

In case anyone cares, here are a couple of videos from their only gig so far.

 

[video:youtube]OEaZ4ISsdgQ

 

[video:youtube]c-MDicp6jVM

 

 

"I'm so crazy, I don't know this is impossible! Hoo hoo!" - Daffy Duck

 

"The good news is that once you start piano you never have to worry about getting laid again. More time to practice!" - MOI

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I don't see much point in being a Crowes tribute band. I like the Crowes, but they don't have a unique sound, it's just blues-rock, so why not mix it up with other blues rock.

 

They sound alright, and by the looks of that first video, they've got at least on die hard fan. It's a start. Blues-rock bands are always messy and disorganized. If I found one that wasn't (disorganized), I'd wonder whether they had the hudzpah to pull it off.

Gigging: Crumar Mojo 61, Hammond SKPro

Home: Vintage Vibe 64

 

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There is some real potential there, Joe.

 

If they really did learn 20 (uh, 19, but who's counting?) songs in two months that ain't bad (for a tribute band). As with the stock market past performance does not guarantee future returns, but you're right, this group could possibly have a full show down in another two months.

 

That puts you at mid January.

 

I don't know about your little part of the world, but around here that's when festivals start looking for bands. And a 6-piece tribute band really deserves to be on the festival circuit, IMO. (Hopefully at least one of the six of you has experience putting together a PK and pitching a band.)

 

While biding your time for the snow to melt, the potholes to be filled, the grass to green up and the weather to become favorable again -- er, I mean while waiting for summer festival season to start :D -- you guys can do a few more bar gigs like the one in the video. With six guys hopefully you have enough friends to draw and get you in. With any luck you can start building a following and get into the bigger venues.

 

At the other end of summer, when bar season starts up again, you should be in real good shape.

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I don't see much point in being a Crowes tribute band.
Well, if they fly that flag behind them at every concert the locals won't care which band they are a tribute to. :D
LMAO - yep, them Texans are that way. :D

 

I got a kick out of that "one fan" too.

 

The story is that the guitar player who started this project has been in a lot of bands and got tired of trying to sell originals to bars to get gigs. He has a friend who does a Tom Petty tribute, and saw the relative ease that tribute bands had booking gigs. He thought if he were to do a tribute, it would have to be something he really liked, and so picked the Crowes.

 

I'm not gonna lie, I don't get the whole tribute band thing either, except maybe for Blood Pollution ;) . I don't have a problem with it, but it's not something I'd seek as a fan unless I was friends with the guys or something (EscapeRocks I'm looking in your direction...). The same goes for playing the stuff. At least I like the Crowes and I think I'll get something out of learning tunes like these.

"I'm so crazy, I don't know this is impossible! Hoo hoo!" - Daffy Duck

 

"The good news is that once you start piano you never have to worry about getting laid again. More time to practice!" - MOI

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Hi Joe :)

 

I totally understand what you're saying. It took a pretty significant tribute band to lead me this direction. I certainly agree it's not for everyone. For me, I really had/have to like the music I'm covering to cover one band. In this case, obviously, I do, as do the rest of the guys in the band.

 

When we came on scene several years ago, there was one main tribute band in town, and it was an AC/DC band called Back in Black. They pretty much sold out every place they played locally, and have ended up traveling the country playing all over for good $$$$.

 

We started out playing the tiny dives for little money, and once people heard of a Journey tribute...well, here we are almost 7 years later playing "A" rooms for good $$$. It took time, and a lot of leg work.

 

Again, not for everyone, but when we hook up with the BonJovi trib act for a dual show, it's lights out fun!

 

It's funny, on those occasions when I seek out local entertainment, I prefer going to the rooms that have original acts playing. Unfortunately, apparently not everyone feels the same.

>>this may also explain all the places that have replaced bands with djs....it seems the people at large want to hear what they already know, and don't give local originals a chance<<

 

All I can say is, at least as the DFW area is concerned, if you are a tribute band that doesn't suck, the venues call and ask you to play. For someone like me who is pretty much a weekend warrior, that's a nice position to be in. Heck, Joe, we've played the Concert Pub a few times over the years and they still call us to come down :)

 

 

Crazy stuff: tomorrow (Sat) night we are playing a huge wedding reception.

 

Anyway, Joe, if you like the music and it fits you both time and money-wise, I say go for it. For me, at least it's always a blast playing music I love to play.

 

 

David

Gig Rig:Roland Fantom-08| Yamaha MODX+ 6 | MacBook Pro 14" M1| Mainstage

 

 

 

 

 

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I think if once we get things going, I can get them to stretch out some tunes similar to what the Crowes do, I might have big fun. I realized tonight that one of my all-time favorite Crowes tunes, Wiser Time, is on the set list. I don't think I really heard that one before I saw them play it live, and it usually runs around 15 minutes. That's a groove I can get into. :thu:

"I'm so crazy, I don't know this is impossible! Hoo hoo!" - Daffy Duck

 

"The good news is that once you start piano you never have to worry about getting laid again. More time to practice!" - MOI

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+1. If nothing else it helps you work on your craft. It doesn't sound like you're putting anything else aside and therefore sacrificing musical direction to put work in on this.

 

If you are making such a sacrifice, then you have to weigh the pros and cons of abandoning what you are trying to get going on your own vs. investing in something established by someone else. But if you aren't ...

 

If nothing else, after a few weeks you have a few more songs in your repertoire. :)

 

I like this response. It doesn't sound like there are enough reasons for you to turn this down. I'd dive in with everything you have. You'll have to learn a bunch of tunes and mix company with some good local players. You're not marrying anybody here either. If it doesn't work out down the road, I don't think they'll hold it against you. People get busy, their lives change, they have to drop out of bands. As long as you're not an A-hole, I don't think having to quit later on will burn any bridges with these folks.

 

Think of this as a great learning opportunity.

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Do you know how to make a musician bitch?

 

 

 

Get him a gig. :rimshot:

 

 

 

I have a hard time sorting out how I actually feel about a change or challenge that is thrust upon me vs. not wanting to change or whatever. In this case, I started the thread because some of the clouds were clearing up, I saw some of the facts and had some concerns, so I wanted to get some thoughts.

 

As Dave/EscapeRocks said, I have to really like the music, and in this case I do. I'm know some players do covers or tributes because they can get the gigs and crowds, and that's their primary motivation. I can't get into that. I've been approached by some cover/bar bands who choose tunes based on what the people want. That's fine if that's what you want to do. It's just not for me and it's not my first choice of what I want to play (especially because a lot of times I see videos of these bands and they're kinda flat. The crowd responds well because they know the tune, but the band seems to be going through the motions to me).

 

At this point I'm willing to work on this stuff, get together with them, and see what happens. If it all works out, I'll be able to close my eyes and pretend I'm really playing with the Crowes. ;)

 

If it doesn't work out, of course I'll do my best to be cool, and I'll have learned some more tunes.

"I'm so crazy, I don't know this is impossible! Hoo hoo!" - Daffy Duck

 

"The good news is that once you start piano you never have to worry about getting laid again. More time to practice!" - MOI

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Unless the band is trying to be very exact, you may be able to add other songs that the original could have done. For example, I was in a Grateful Dead cover band, and we also did tunes the Dead could have covered but didn't.

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Blues-rock bands are always messy and disorganized. If I found one that wasn't (disorganized), I'd wonder whether they had the hudzpah to pull it off.

 

LOL, this totally brings me back to the first, "real" (gigging not at school or friends' parties) band, a blues-rock band. My God, not just disorganized but drama like you wouldn't believe. I could write a book, but all the rnr books already out there have it covered. I was by far the youngest person in the band and some of the others, well, they were pretty grizzled by the time this effort came around, LOL. Ah, memories ... Good times (and bad).

 

Not that this has any bearing on you, Joe. Git practicin'! :wink:

Original Latin Jazz

CD Baby

 

"I am not certain how original my contribution to music is as I am obviously an amateur." Patti Smith

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I'm thinking that this must be a Southern thing, because I'm not sure that there would be enough interest in Black Crowes here in the Pacific Northwest to make it work.

 

I even get my Crowes Crows bands mixed up. Which one did "Talks to Angels" and which one did "Mr. Jones"? Which one did "Murder of One"?

 

Maybe you should think about doing a "Crowes/Crows" tribute band.

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BTW, the name of the band is 99 lbs (bonus points if you know the reference. I didn't). Here is the logo, I hope it works here. I think it's pretty cool!

 

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc4/hs197.snc4/38208_450336555814_390978325814_6097202_578471_n.jpg

"I'm so crazy, I don't know this is impossible! Hoo hoo!" - Daffy Duck

 

"The good news is that once you start piano you never have to worry about getting laid again. More time to practice!" - MOI

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I'm cukoo for bonus points...

 

Twenty-five pounds of pure cane sugar

She's got in each and every kiss

You wouldn't know what I'm talking 'bout

If you never had a love like this

Well, I don't mean to be frank with you all

It's a natural fact

Good things come wrapped up in

small, small packages now

Well you can't argue with that

Oh, oh, yeah

Ninety-nine pounds of natural born goodness

Ninety-nine pounds of soul, oh, oh

Ninety-nine pounds of natural born goodness

Ninety-nine pounds of soul

Twenty-five pounds of tenderness

She got in each and every touch

Twenty-five pounds of understanding my woman

'Cause I was the one running

'round town worrying too much

Twenty-four pounds of Sunday

That I can't see, yeah

And it all adds up to ninety-nine big pounds

Oh, I'm talking about a feline friend

Ninety-nine pounds of natural born goodness

Ninety-nine pounds of soul

Ninety-nine pounds of natural born goodness

Ninety-nine pounds of soul

Ninety-nine pounds of natural born goodness

Ninety-nine pounds of soul

Ninety-nine pounds of natural born goodness

Ninety-nine pounds of soul

Ninety-nine pounds of natural born goodness

Ninety-nine pounds of soul

Ninety-nine pounds of natural born goodness

Ninety-nine pounds of soul

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