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What is wrong with me?


Tonysounds

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So I've been trying and failing to get the jam band going.

 

Meanwhile, I find myself in all kinds of other musical situations that are about as far removed from that as you can get while still playing music. I'm about to walk away from a startup with a bunch of very talented players, all of whom are in other bands, led by a very good vocalist with an excellent track record of getting a project off the ground and lucrative.

 

I was drafted by him into this band, and while it started off with music I like (sort of 70s hits no one does, like Born to Run, I Came For You, stuff like that), and it rather quickly turned into modern covers by All American Rejects, Neon Trees, James Blunt, etc.

 

And I hate it. That music gives me an anxiety attack just listening to it. Guitar and synths play the same parts. Can't tell a chorus from a verse. The kind of stuff I would have laughed at when I was 20.

 

And I know that when I walk away from this thing, it'll be a serious bread torque-er. The players are very good. The vocals are very good. But the music is NOT very good, and it'll probably do extremely well with the 25year olds. Do 25 years really want to watch 45 years do this? It's not going to change my mind, but what would YOU do?

 

WTF.

Hitting "Play" does NOT constitute live performance. -Me.
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25 year olds want to dance to music they know.

 

It's a risk, going out and carving a niche for yourself that separates you from all the other bar bands who play bar-band standards and whatever the latest thing is on MTV.

 

Either you're willing to take the risk, with the idea that it might pay off in spades, similar to what brother Dan is experiencing out in St. Louis, or the pull of the "safe money" is too irresistible.

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I'm confused by your post: what this band would be playing IS the latest stuff on MTV...or at least the radio equivalent.

 

And the pull of "safe money" is what, playing this modern rock? Or doing the jam thing??? I'm not sure what your advice is, or what your stance is.

Hitting "Play" does NOT constitute live performance. -Me.
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...... Do 25 years really want to watch 45 years do this? It's not going to change my mind, but what would YOU do?

 

...

 

I'm probably a little older than you. I've reached a point that I have decided that I won't be gigging many more years. If I dislike the music I won't play it. I figure I don't have that many years left. I'm going to do stuff I like these last 5-7 years or so.

"It doesn't have to be difficult to be cool" - Mitch Towne

 

"A great musician can bring tears to your eyes!!!

So can a auto Mechanic." - Stokes Hunt

 

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Maybe if you're playing dive bars in the suburbs but most 25 year olds want to see the actual artist, not a bunch of geezers covering the hits of the day.

 

Also, show me a 25 year old who likes James Blunt and I'll prove the Easter Bunny is real.

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I've been in a lot of situations where I could either take or leave the music on it's own (in other words been indifferent to it), but I honestly couldn't be in a band where I completely detested the music.

 

It's also not fair to the others in the band if you can't stand the material. I have been in that situation a couple of times and it's murder when you're on the other side - no matter how talented and professional the guy is.

 

Looking at if from another angle, it's extremely difficult to get a new band off the ground in today's environment. Every club I know is only interested in established bands with strong followings. Does this lead singer have enough name recognition in Chicago to pull it off? Do you have a sound system and transportation for it all set up and in place?

 

Personally I find enough positives in contemporary pop and rock to enjoy a gig like this, but obviously I'm not you. Ultimately you have to make this decision based on your own musical preferences.

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Try to see the value in this music.

 

In all likelihood it works for a reason. Sometimes it can just be a case of adjusting. I was in a cover band for a few years and they started doing a song by Keane I thought was pure pap. I hated it for four or five nights...then it grew on me....now I love it. I don't know if this is applicable to the tunes you have been playing, but that's just my 2 cents.

 

 

Also, if its a bread earner, ask yourself whether you'd prefer to be driving a cab or on stage in front of crazy fans, rockin out!

 

Maybe though, if its THAT bad, you just have to say, fuck this, go home, drink a bottle of whiskey and listen to old Coltrane records until you pass out in your lazyboy.

 

The scene is very weird these days I find, its hard to know what we should be doing sometimes I feel.

We are all slave's to our brain chemistry!

 

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One of the reasons I retired from performing. I learned a long time ago that when you play music you don't connect to, then it's a waste of your soul... You become a sell-out for the almighty buck. When disco came along instead of playing Rock The Boat, we played Higher Ground.. When people started to demand vapid music, I stopped playing in discos.

 

Now the popular music scene is littered with songs that I do not connect to. And you are right, 25 year olds don't want to see a bunch of old guys and gals playing their music. That's like when we used to go to weddings and some 50 year olds were playing Rolling Stones songs. Pretty lame....

 

So play the music you love to play. As Joseph Campbell says, "Follow Your Bliss"

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I'd be up front with them, let them know you're not comfortable playing some of the stuff, and could they claw it back to what it started out with?

If they value your opinion, they'll adjust, if not, move on.

In our band, if someone really hates a song, we won't play it.

Plenty of great material out there without forcing yourself to play pure shite.

A lot of young-uns enjoy hearing the older tunes.

James Blunt??? That's like soccer mom music. ;)

What we record in life, echoes in eternity.

 

MOXF8, Electro 6D, XK1c, Motif XSr, PEKPER, Voyager, Univox MiniKorg.

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The up- and downside - of playing new songs is that they age fast. If it's just a few songs, just give it a few months and they'll most likely disappear, and now and again good new songs actually surface. But if the general concept of the band sucks to you and you don't need the money that badly, it may be better to pass. Since they called you in the first place, they know you can play, and even if you turn this down they may call you again, but if you deliver poorly or with the wrong attitude you may not get a callback. Another thing to consider is that if you play all new stuff, you'll have to keep learning new songs all the time, and if it means loads of synth programming it can be a PITA. :-)
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What is wrong with me?

I've been trying to figure that one out since I met you! ;)

 

Perhaps not with subversive or malicious intent, but it sounds like they changed the game plan. However, from our last off-line chat, there are a LOT of attractive elements associated with these guys. Can you strike a deal? Maybe a 50/50 cool 70's tunes/MTV cheese arrangement? Tell them you are not interested in becoming LP II. Personally, in absence of extenuating circumstances, I wouldn't take any gig (music or otherwise) if I were not content at least 50% of the time.

 

"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing."

- George Bernard Shaw

 

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Reading between the lines of your post, it seems like this band is primarily about making money. If so, then there ought to be a time and place to propose and compare business plans. As I'm sure you know, a business plan for a band would include things like where you'll play, what you expect to draw, how much you'll charge, startup and overhead costs, and how all these variables will change over time. All of this is of course speculation and it's legitimate and fair to call bullshit on someone else's specs, just as they may yours. But this is about as close as you can come to a rational decision about these things.

 

Or you might find that you don't even agree on the shape of the table. If some members say they want to maximize income from the band and others lean towards playing music they enjoy, that can be an irreconciliable difference.

 

I'm not sure I've heard James Blunt, not knowlingly. But if I could walk away from a gig with $200-$300, I'd play it.

Gigging: Crumar Mojo 61, Hammond SKPro

Home: Vintage Vibe 64

 

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Maybe if you're playing dive bars in the suburbs but most 25 year olds want to see the actual artist, not a bunch of geezers covering the hits of the day.

 

To that I say, even though it's just starting booking, it is NOT in dive bars but actual premier clubs in the suburbs (250-800 capacity).

 

Also, show me a 25 year old who likes James Blunt and I'll prove the Easter Bunny is real.

 

Hell, if I could show you anyone that I thought liked James Blunt, I'd be surprised.

 

Regardless of what 25 year olds want to hear (who cares?) if the music isn't fun than what's the point? Do you need the bread that badly? If not, then bail. Pursue the music you want to play.

 

Its not fun, Ive said it every time these new songs get thrown on the agenda, and even though Im trying to put my best foot forward and force myself to do the homework, last nite, I was actually experiencing anxiety just getting through the chord changes, forget dialing up a shitty synth patch to play it. I could use the bread, but I have a fkn day job now, so I feel the same way: Play what I want. I guess the other issue in this is Im at that point where if a tree falls in the forest, and no one was there, Im not sure it makes a sound: In other words, I like playing in front of 200 people a lot more than 25, so the Attention Deficit whore in me wants the attention, but not at this expense.

 

I've been in a lot of situations where I could either take or leave the music on it's own (in other words been indifferent to it), but I honestly couldn't be in a band where I completely detested the music.

 

I've played music I'm indifferent to (and do now in another working band), but this stuff...I hate it. HATE it. If surfing the dial, I would immediately hit the scan button.

 

It's also not fair to the others in the band if you can't stand the material.

 

I agree, and it's been weighing on my mind as well. Although, I'm not all that sure some of the other players are in love with this shit either.

 

Looking at if from another angle, it's extremely difficult to get a new band off the ground in today's environment. Every club I know is only interested in established bands with strong followings. Does this lead singer have enough name recognition in Chicago to pull it off?

 

Yes, which is the only reason I have lasted this long. Hes a very talented singer, a very good front man, his present band, which only does 2-3 gigs a month, still packs the largest rooms in the suburbs, could work more if the band wanted to, and his initial conversations with these same rooms have been positive and they are ready to book us in January.

 

Do you have a sound system and transportation for it all set up and in place?

 

Not necessary. The rooms wed play have soundsystems, the only thing weve talked about is getting an in-ear system like his other band uses (24 channel 6 aux board, custom splitter built right into the case), and hes willing to deal with that himself.

 

Personally I find enough positives in contemporary pop and rock to enjoy a gig like this, but obviously I'm not you. Ultimately you have to make this decision based on your own musical preferences.

 

Im afraid that once it started gigging, and people showed the expected enthusiastic response, Id find something to like about it other than the paycheck, but unfortunately, Im not finding any hope of that at this end of the arc.

 

Try to see the value in this music. In all likelihood it works for a reason.

 

Dont know that it works yet. All club owners contacted are excited because (Ive been told) because nobody else is playing this music yet this is the stuff their DJs are playing; the singer has been going to karaoke bars (market research), and is picking songs solely based on the reaction of the crowd. (Hes never listened to this stuff before, but admittedly, he has the easiest job in terms of adjusting his style: this music is more melodic and fun to sing than the stuff he does in his regular band.) So whether it works or not remains to be seen.

 

Sometimes it can just be a case of adjusting. I was doing a song by Keane I thought was pure pap. I hated it for four or five nights...then it grew on me....now I love it. I don't know if this is applicable to the tunes you have been playing, but that's just my 2 cents.

 

It might, but only from a standpoint of they like it, hey Mikey!, not from a standpoint of wow, I was wrong, I Reallly Like This Now!

 

Also, if its a bread earner, ask yourself whether you'd prefer to be driving a cab or on stage in front of crazy fans, rockin out!

 

I have a job; this wont enable me to quit that job.

 

Maybe though, if its THAT bad, you just have to say, fuck this, go home, drink a bottle of whiskey and listen to old Coltrane records until you pass out in your lazyboy.

 

This will never happen, especially the lazyboy portion.

 

I'd be up front with them, let them know you're not comfortable playing some of the stuff, and could they claw it back to what it started out with?

James Blunt??? That's like soccer mom music.

 

This. I am going to rehearsal tonite, and going to let them know where I stand. I value playing with them much more than playing this material, but Im doing them and myself a disservice playing music I hate. And dammit.I know that if was to hire a prostitute, Id want that prostitute to be enthusiastic, not just lay there. (In my band of course.)

 

The up- and downside - of playing new songs is that they age fast. If it's just a few songs, just give it a few months and they'll most likely disappear, and now and again good new songs actually surface. But if the general concept of the band sucks to you and you don't need the money that badly, it may be better to pass. Since they called you in the first place, they know you can play, and even if you turn this down they may call you again, but if you deliver poorly or with the wrong attitude you may not get a callback. Another thing to consider is that if you play all new stuff, you'll have to keep learning new songs all the time, and if it means loads of synth programming it can be a PITA. :-)

 

You are right on, on all points. And the thing about the call back is important to me. I have gone to auditions or taken sub gigs knowing I would not take the gig when it was offered (Im so arrogant, it never occurs to me itll be an if situation), but prepared thoroughly and went so that I could make contacts for the future, and walked away from an opportunity making them want me. It has never served me wrong that I know of. I want to keep it that way.

 

Perhaps not with subversive or malicious intent, but it sounds like they changed the game plan.

 

Yeah pretty much this, an evolution probably. We all see the wisdom in the theory of it, and most of the guys are just tell me what to play.

 

From our last off-line chat, there are a LOT of attractive elements associated with these guys. Can you strike a deal? Maybe a 50/50 cool 70's tunes/MTV cheese arrangement?

 

There are attractive elements: everyone seems to be cool and calm, Im the biggest head trip in the bandat least the most outspoken, but thats never changing. I have no poker face, and why make people play unwilling therapists/diagnosticians to figure out whats on your mind? They are all very good players. The leader is talented musically and politically. Hes charismatic, and has a proven track record. His current band makes a good buck, and has a very good draw.

 

Tell them you are not interested in becoming LP II.

 

And regarding that band, Id rather play in THAT band playing THAT music (seeing as I have already learned that repertoire) than what this has evolved into. And the singer is trying to get me to record some backing tracks for that band. (And that is rubbing me wrong for reasons I dont need to reiterate to fellow forum members: my views on backing tracks are well known, and I dont like the idea of taking a gig from a brother, even if I cant have it myself.)

 

What is wrong with me?

I've been trying to figure that one out since I met you! ;)

 

If you ever get a read on this, please clue me in.

 

Thanks to all you guys: your wisdom is appreciated, and I knew I would find it in abundance here.

 

Hitting "Play" does NOT constitute live performance. -Me.
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That 50% contentment factor minimum rings true, especially from the way the live scene has changed over at least the past decade; then there's the stark economic climate of the past 4+ years... One could 'luck out' and find (or build) a working band that meets a higher contentment factor; but these days those higher numbers - especially with regard to material - will likely find you in the garage, basement, etc... At the very best, a hobby band that plays once a month, if that.

 

At best I'm living with a 50% contentment factor, material-wise. And that's with a recent change in acts; for the last band, it was slightly lower. Had a lot to do with 'country' tunes that are similar to those that I checked out on YouTube for James Blunt, Neon Trees, and All American Rejects: some rather 'average' writing - :bor: (with an occasional gem), but mostly too much slick production; that plasticine, 'much of it sounds the same' stuff (the main reason my wife rarely came out to my 'country' gigs, but we've seen Lyle Lovett together six times in the past four years...)

 

I know you want the jam band thing to happen, big-time, Tony. Knowing your experience, chops, and passion for the music, that's a great fit for you. The reality is that you have a group of solid players/vocals that will likely kick the scene hard around Chicago. I'd have a meeting, see if there's a compromise there to bring the contentment factor into a range that you can all live with, then learn to grow with. Recovering the 70's songs you mentioned would be a good thing, then combining it with some of the new material could work. I wonder if these guys would be open to at least a few jam tunes - especially ones that most audiences like. Once I get 'into' a group, at least some of the previously 'odd' material begins to grow on me; a lot of that is the sound/spin that a band can put on a song - making it their own, so to speak.

'Someday, we'll look back on these days and laugh; likely a maniacal laugh from our padded cells, but a laugh nonetheless' - Mr. Boffo.

 

We need a barfing cat emoticon!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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To put things in perspective, no matter what band I've been in, in almost every case, when we've played songs I like, I've eventually ended up hating them. I don't care how good a song is, after you've played it 1000 times, you can't listen to it anymore. OTOH, I've also come to appreciate songs I wouldnt have liked otherwise by playing them (that is, until I've played them to death). There are very few, if any, songs I look forward o playing. And after playing 90-100 shows a year for 6 years, I doubt it would be any different no matter what I was playing.

 

If you're playing in a band to make money and enjoy entertaining big crowds - do it. Treat it like a business and do the songs you gotta do. Take enjoyment from having fun performing to the crowd, and taking home a big check at the end of the night.

 

You can get musical enjoyment from side projects, and will not ruin them for yourself in the process.

Dan

 

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.

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the singer has been going to karaoke bars (market research), and is picking songs solely based on the reaction of the crowd. [/b]

 

Kudos to him for doing this. For over a year, I've been trying to start my own covers band, though it's been a back-burner project. But on nights when I'm free, I'll go to clubs to see what's getting people off their butts and onto the floor. To the casual observer, it may look like I just enjoy being around drunk 25 year old girls. How deceiving appearances can be!

 

What's been very encouraging to me is seeing people really getting down to the Stones Miss You. I was playing that song in bands 20 years ago. Now kids who were 5 years old at that time are way into it. Granted, this isn't a suburb, it's the gritty Mission District of SF.

Gigging: Crumar Mojo 61, Hammond SKPro

Home: Vintage Vibe 64

 

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To put things in perspective, no matter what band I've been in, in almost every case, when we've played songs I like, I've eventually ended up hating them. I don't care how good a song is, after you've played it 1000 times, you can't listen to it anymore. OTOH, I've also come to appreciate songs I wouldnt have liked otherwise by playing them (that is, until I've played them to death). There are very few, if any, songs I look forward o playing. And after playing 90-100 shows a year for 6 years, I doubt it would be any different no matter what I was playing.

 

If you're playing in a band to make money and enjoy entertaining big crowds - do it. Treat it like a business and do the songs you gotta do. Take enjoyment from having fun performing to the crowd, and taking home a big check at the end of the night.

 

You can get musical enjoyment from side projects, and will not ruin them for yourself in the process.

 

Agree 100%.

Gigging: Crumar Mojo 61, Hammond SKPro

Home: Vintage Vibe 64

 

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Every situation is different. My current band plays mostly 70's and 80's stuff, yet at least half of our audience is in their 20's. Of course, I'm in a tiny college town where the term 'club' doesn't really apply.

 

If I was in Chicago with all the options a city like that offers, I would find something I like. Of course I'm speaking from a serious hobbyist perspective. If this is your main income and the gig is going to pay really well, that may alter things a bit.

Steinway L, Yamaha Motif XS-8, NE3 73, Casio PX-5S, iPad, EV ZLX 12-P ZZ(x2), bunch of PA stuff.
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Tony thanks for the detailed responses to all of us :)

 

If you end up taking the gig, do draw the line at James Blunt. You can put some restrictions on material just like in any band situation.

 

Any self respecting millennial I know would give the gag sign if they ever heard a band do "You're Beautiful" anyway.

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You have mentioned that you "hate" this music. That is interesting in that, for me at least, when I heve come to a point where I can barely face the song....I REBEL. I make decisions based on a rebelious feeling only and have often made very bad decisions while in that zone. Go slow, be organized in your thoughts and emotions, and if you exit...do so as diplomatically as possible (give them time to regroup). These sound like cool players "professionals" who will respect you for it and keep you in mind for future stuff. Other doors always open......just my 2 cents.
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If I was in Chicago with all the options a city like that offers, I would find something I like. Of course I'm speaking from a serious hobbyist perspective. If this is your main income and the gig is going to pay really well, that may alter things a bit.
As a full-timer, I'd do the same thing. Even as hard as times are right now, there are things I just won't do for different reasons. It's bad enough having to play some of the gigs I already have. Adding more suck to the ratio wouldn't be good for my mental health.....

 

 

One the other hand....

 

How much does the gig pay?

A ROMpler is just a polyphonic turntable.
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If none of the band members are really into this material, that may be a recipe for self-destruction or at least a hassle as guys get bored and move on. That's just a thought based on your comment

 

Although, I'm not all that sure some of the other players are in love with this shit either.

 

Also, if you're really feeling the way you describe ("this stuff...I hate it. HATE it. If surfing the dial, I would immediately hit the scan button." "was actually experiencing anxiety just getting through the chord changes, forget dialing up a shitty synth patch to play it") then you HAVE to move on. I don't think your attitude is going to change enough or quickly enough to make you feel better about it. You're probably going to dig into the hate deeper and deeper instead.

"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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That 50% contentment factor minimum rings true....At best I'm living with a 50% contentment factor....

....and there's a fair amount of research in industrial/organizational psychology, specifically in the area of job satisfaction, to support that 50% metric (can't quote a source; I heard it at a seminar).

 

There are other ways of looking at job satisfaction, all of which have been mentioned in this thread: Job satisfaction can be assessed by measuring one's attitude toward the core tasks involved with the job (to include working conditions), social factors (e.g., relationships with coworkers and supervisors), and growth factors (e.g., pay and benefits). Lastly, there are individual difference variables associated with measuring job satisfaction. Some people can find job satisfaction just about anywhere, while others would find dissatisfaction working for the Kingdom of Heaven. Of course, situational variables (e.g., whether someone is employed or not) can moderate the relative influence of all these factors.

 

Sorry for telling you more about job satisfaction than you ever wanted to know.....but it seems Tonys dilemma largely resides within the core tasks dimension, where song selection is of high salience.

 

"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing."

- George Bernard Shaw

 

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I make decisions based on a rebellious feeling only and have often made very bad decisions while in that zone. Go slow, be organized in your thoughts and emotions, and if you exit...do so as diplomatically as possible (give them time to regroup). These sound like cool players "professionals" who will respect you for it and keep you in mind for future stuff. Other doors always open......just my 2 cents.

 

Yepbeing professional is always a necessity. Making a decision NOW is important as it is still in the rehearsal stage, no gigs are booked yet. Anyone that knows me personally knows I operate on instinct, and I dont labor over decisions: I speak my mind, enact the plan, and move on. Being cautious is why I havent just pulled the plug already.

 

Tonite will be interesting.

 

Hitting "Play" does NOT constitute live performance. -Me.
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It's bad enough having to play some of the gigs I already have. Adding more suck to the ratio wouldn't be good for my mental health.....

 

One the other hand....

 

How much does the gig pay?

 

From one ho to another: Therein lies the dilemma: I think it will pay very well.

Hitting "Play" does NOT constitute live performance. -Me.
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