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Keeping it relevant.......


Outkaster
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I have had a successful project for the last 6 and half years and it is interesting how very hard it is to keep it sustainable. Last year our singer went through some issues and we stopped booking and it derailed things. I am paying a high price for that now as there are fewer gigs and we didnt get asked back from some large festivals we usually play. The bands morale is kind of down.

 

I dont think bands are impossible but keeping yourself and your music relevant is. When you run a band there is something for sure. In order to be successful you have to be ahead of the curve. You also are never quite relaxed about it as there is so many moving parts. There is always gigs to be booked, music to learn, merchandise to look out for and dealing with multiple personalities. Its really fun to watch something grow and build. When I started I just wanted to see if I could do it so I met a guitarist through a Craigslist ad and got more musicians together. Its very interesting to me how easy it is to get things up and running. I knew who to talk to, who to go to for merchandise and gigs kind of came my way. When the excitement died down its been hard to figure out how to go forward. We have a large following and we have done a lot of things right. I saw certain road signs in other band of things not to do in the past and told myself I would never do this or never do that So at least I know somethings are working.

 

I worry about burn out and stagnant members also. There is a trick to keeping bookings happening but not so much to wear down members to where a lack of interest starts showing. Everything is fine basically now I just worry about how to keep making things sustainable.

 

"Danny, ci manchi a tutti. La E-Street Band non e' la stessa senza di te. Riposa in pace, fratello"

 

 

noblevibes.com

 

 

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You've nicely summarized some of the challenges of keeping a band going over a period of time. In my experience, if you're lucky enough to get off to a good start it's usually not a safe bet to sit on that success and assume people will keeping coming back for the same thing. Need to evolve and the tough question is how.

 

The exceptions would be if you're doing something tried and true like a Dead or Journey tribute. Nothing wrong with that . . . it's entertainment . . . but also something to be said for challenging yourself to evolve.

Gigging: Crumar Mojo 61, Hammond SKPro

Home: Vintage Vibe 64

 

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Changing up the set little by little helps. Not always playing the same tunes in the same order, regularly introducing new music. Bring in guest players or a new member on a new instrument so you can do stuff you haven't before.

Yamaha CP88, Roland VR-700, Crumar Mojo, rebuilt 1910 Chickering 5'2", Fender Rhodes MKI 88k, Casio PX-560

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Well we do change the set list but it happens slowly as people have lives and other commitments. As far as sitting in it's been a nightmare a few times.

 

"Danny, ci manchi a tutti. La E-Street Band non e' la stessa senza di te. Riposa in pace, fratello"

 

 

noblevibes.com

 

 

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Well we do change the set list but it happens slowly as people have lives and other commitments.

 

This is something that drives me absolutely nuts! The band I'm in has not learned a song in 5,6 months. In the 7 months preceding that we learned 3 songs that a new guitarist wanted to sing, and 3 other easy tunes that got requested once in a while.

More than a year and 6 songs added to the list-that's sad.

Formerly âChiefDanGâ - nobody calls me chief anymore.
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You notice the following changes (moreso) specifically in a long-standing successful band...

 

1) everyone gets older and there can be conflicting changes in health, relationships, day jobs, moving away, etc.

 

2) because you are good, your best members probably have other projects.

 

3) If something happens that interrupts the gigs, those key members seek out and book other things, which creates a potential tipping point where you cannot accept new or repeating gigs that you did in the past. This is a slippery slope.

 

4) If #3 happens, members start to object passively or actively to learning new material, arriving early, or going out of their way to give a client extra goodies, apparently thinking that "well, we are not working enough to justify that."

 

This vicious cycle can be reversed, but it requires everyone to rededicate and not view this as the sole responsibility of the BL. Not easy.

Barry

 

Home: Steinway L, Montage 8

 

Gigs: Yamaha CP88, Crumar Mojo 61, A&H SQ5 mixer, ME1 IEM, MiPro 909 IEMs

 

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Not it's not but the side projects really haven't been that relevant but what is a problem is number three, you are right, people can do things to fill the time. Some of the things are health related that have happened in the last year and a death in someone's family. Certain things can't be helped.

"Danny, ci manchi a tutti. La E-Street Band non e' la stessa senza di te. Riposa in pace, fratello"

 

 

noblevibes.com

 

 

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You notice the following changes (moreso) specifically in a long-standing successful band...

 

1) everyone gets older and there can be conflicting changes in health, relationships, day jobs, moving away, etc.

 

2) because you are good, your best members probably have other projects.

 

3) If something happens that interrupts the gigs, those key members seek out and book other things, which creates a potential tipping point where you cannot accept new or repeating gigs that you did in the past. This is a slippery slope.

 

4) If #3 happens, members start to object passively or actively to learning new material, arriving early, or going out of their way to give a client extra goodies, apparently thinking that "well, we are not working enough to justify that."

 

This vicious cycle can be reversed, but it requires everyone to rededicate and not view this as the sole responsibility of the BL. Not easy.

 

Your points are certainly valid, and I see myself and bands (at different times in my gigging life)'in every one of those scenarios.

I always thought it would be cool to have a band that plays commercial or dance music and gigs as often as they like. Plus have a band that does music that's more toward your personal taste - and they aren't geared towards gigging much at all.

I've been lucky enough to have a gigging band when I want, even if the setlist is mostly songs I don't really care for. It's that "for the love of the music" band that never seems to come together. And because of that, I end up resenting the commercial/gigging band

(Even more than usual LOL).

Formerly âChiefDanGâ - nobody calls me chief anymore.
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Related to a recent thread about mailing in performances... some folks don't mind playing the same show over and over and over, others eventually burn out and seek something refreshing.

 

I tend to have cycles. I get psyched about playing out, stay in it for a few years, then I need a break. By then I'm not enjoying it anymore and it's not fair to the audience when I'm like that. Then I miss playing out and get psyched again. It's an addiction.

 

The longest I have been in a band was five years. That was the only exception to my "cycle" - it would had been longer if I didn't have to relocate due to new job.

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You notice the following changes (moreso) specifically in a long-standing successful band...

 

1) everyone gets older and there can be conflicting changes in health, relationships, day jobs, moving away, etc.

 

2) because you are good, your best members probably have other projects.

 

3) If something happens that interrupts the gigs, those key members seek out and book other things, which creates a potential tipping point where you cannot accept new or repeating gigs that you did in the past. This is a slippery slope.

 

4) If #3 happens, members start to object passively or actively to learning new material, arriving early, or going out of their way to give a client extra goodies, apparently thinking that "well, we are not working enough to justify that."

 

This vicious cycle can be reversed, but it requires everyone to rededicate and not view this as the sole responsibility of the BL. Not easy.

Some really insightful stuff there, Barryjam. One of my bands is solidly in #4 right now. We would like to get more gigs but those aspirations are confounded by #2, which includes a very talented, prominent member who makes his living playing music and is always working.

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

- George Bernard Shaw

 

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In my experience, a band is a house of cards built on chops, commitment, and gigs (or sessions if it's a hobby project). When these three factors are plentiful, they feed each other and fuel the band, but when one declines, so do the others and so does the band.

 

Varying playlists and venues (and line-up if there is a weak link), and occasionally making a fresh demo CD or video, helps to kindle interest and maintain momentum.

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If you can, pitch the idea to the band of putting sort of one slug of effort into reinventing the band and sort of releasing it to the fans. Sometimes when there's a goal and it feels like "ok I just need to put in all of this time and effort for 2 months then I can ride the wave" it's easier to get things moving. This can be changing up the set list with new songs, increased production, maybe shoot a new video and go after new venues. All of that can be exciting and breath new life. Just a thought.

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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Dad I try to do that stuff. A video takes a lot of effort and I want more new songs but have only 6 new ones in a year. That's not hard for I could learn 20 but when you are dealing with a band what you do is dependent on what others do.

"Danny, ci manchi a tutti. La E-Street Band non e' la stessa senza di te. Riposa in pace, fratello"

 

 

noblevibes.com

 

 

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