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Your Image and your bass


JDL

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Image is nothing. The instrument that you play should be the one that you feel most comfortable with or what have you. If you're interested in how you look while playing... yeah, odds are, you've got your priorities in the wrong place.

 

Thank you, drive through.

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mmmmmm, purists.

 

Clearly - play well, sound good, nail the song and the do the job. No brainer.

 

But remember - When you're on stage you are part of a show. Performance. ENTERTAINMENT. Projecting a little image or attitude doesn't hurt. Generally helps to pull the crowd in and get them listening.

 

If you can cover paragraph two without sacrificing paragraph one, well, there ya go.

 

D.

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Originally posted by Hepnurecords:

mmmmmm, purists.

 

Clearly - play well, sound good, nail the song and the do the job. No brainer.

 

But remember - When you're on stage you are part of a show. Performance. ENTERTAINMENT. Projecting a little image or attitude doesn't hurt. Generally helps to pull the crowd in and get them listening.

 

If you can cover paragraph two without sacrificing paragraph one, well, there ya go.

 

D.

Joo got it bruddah! :thu:
...simply stating.
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JDL -

 

I chopped off my long locks a few months back (had the long-flowy thing going for 9 years). But I kept the same bass :D

 

Whether or not you choose your instrument for the image it projects about you, I think what you play is part of how you're perceived. It's just like any other "appearance." I meet a beautiful person, I'm going to think "wow - beautiful!" ... and then after a few minutes of conversation I'll think something else (often "wow - airhead"). But the point is that it's inevitable that the superficial stuff is what people form judgments on first.

 

I think it's pretty safe to say that when I walk into a studio or a club and pull out my MusicMan, the crowd (or engineer) is going to make some immediate assumptions about me (that may change once I start playing).

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Originally posted by jeremyc:

I had a cool image then, but I play a heck of a lot better now!

Don't sell yourself short, Jeremy. You've still got a cool image -- just a different vibe goin' for ya'!

 

Playing comes first. You gotta be able to play. BUT, the way image figures into the overall "entertainment" quotient can't be overlooked. Let's face it, though, if you truly groove hard and can shred mightily, your mad bass skillz will outshine your "image," and perhaps, ideally, your playing becomes your image.

 

Peace.

spreadluv

 

Fanboy? Why, yes! Nordstrand Pickups and Guitars.

Messiaen knew how to parlay the funk.

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My favorite look I ever had on stage, with a heavy rock band, was a starched dress shirt with impeccably knotted tie, pants with a crease so sharp you could shave with it... and combat boots, and a mohawk. From my neck to my ankles I looked like I was on my way home from a wedding or something. The head and feet made you wonder, though.

 

Now, I look like the manager of a shoe store, because that's the gig. When I get out of debt and go back to school for my master's, I'm going to either grow it out to my shoulderblades again, or keep my head skinned - whichever's easier, or whichever seems like it would feeeeeel gooooooood.

"I had to have something, and it wasn't there. I couldn't go down the street and buy it, so I built it."

 

Les Paul

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hahahahhaha....

Um. Yeah.

 

The image matters.

 

I've written on this subject before. It depends on what you're doing.

 

For some bands, you can look however you want and play whatever type of instrument you want, and it's OK. If the whole band is OK with that (or doesn't care), great. Nothing wrong with that aesthetic as long as nobody has a problem. If you're a "hired gun" type with your own look and sound, fine -- whoever gets you should just be glad to have you for as long as you're willing to be there. If you're a studio guy and nobody sees you, even better. More power to ya.

 

That's not the way things are for me.

 

I expect the people in my bands to consider every aspect of their appearance -- their clothes, their instruments, everything. To me, looking right for the gig is part of being a professional and putting on a professional show. People in the audience might not realize it, but they DO notice things like the clothes you wear and the types of instruments you play. One of my bands ( Cottonmouth D.N. ) has an image in mind. We play hardcore/metal. We have an image. We look like mean-ass unionized workers or something like that. We wear a lot of black "Dickies" work clothes, combat boots and similar things. If our drummer decided to get a flowered, hot pink drum set, we might have a problem with that. It would look f****d up and wrong alongside our other gear. We've agreed to certain image standards with our gear -- silver, burst, black and natural wood colors are OK. Classic shapes (SGs, Les Pauls, Strats, P-bass, Jazz, etc) are OK. We all agreed to this.

 

Why? Well... We want to project a focused, unified overall appearance onstage. Taking the time to be sure we are all on the same page with the appearance of our gear shows we've taken the time to extend our image concerns to every detail. These kinds of things are really only noticeable when they're "off" -- like if I was playing some kinda hyper-pointy Parker Fly guitar while everyone else in the band was using vintage gear, I'd look like the odd man out, and people would notice. More importantly, I'D notice and feel like I wasn't fitting the band's image. That's why I'd never get one of those guitars to play onstage unless we all agreed it looked (and sounded) cool. This band isn't about us as individuals -- it's about us as a unified team.

 

We discuss this stuff all the time. When our new bassist, Marky (#5), auditioned for the band, we told him about this... We told him if he got the gig (i.e. if we liked his playing) he'd then have to step up and get a proper stage wardrobe and a classic-looking instrument.

 

Don't get me wrong... when it comes to recording, I could give a crap what the instruments look like as long as they sound right for the track in question. I'd play whatever to get the right sound. Live, however, I want the band to look right, so I make sure every instrument and piece of stage gear I get fits in to our image.

\m/

Erik

"To fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists of breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting."

--Sun Tzu

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"For some bands, you can look however you want and play whatever type of instrument you want, and it's OK. If the whole band is OK with that (or doesn't care), great. Nothing wrong with that aesthetic as long as nobody has a problem."

 

And then there are some playing situations - MANY playing situations - where it doesn't matter how cool you look, because no one is paying you a damn bit of attention anyway. There's no need to cultivate an 'image' if you're playing classic rock covers in a roadhouse. You might as well look like all the other schmoes in there - golf shirt and jeans or something. Maybe a Dale Earnhardt t-shirt or something. :thu:

"I had to have something, and it wasn't there. I couldn't go down the street and buy it, so I built it."

 

Les Paul

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I don't think anyone HERE is in danger of concluding that if you look right, that's all that matters. But of course ask David Byrne whether image matters. He's a nerd; but by making that into a cool, quirky image, he became the guy people couldn't stop watching. It's about balance, & playing to your strengths wherever you can.

 

Like I'm one to talk, though. Fortunately, my situation doesn't require a specific look, really, so I'm able to choose my instruments as they suit me. Then again my tastes are generally for things that look nice & will fit in just about anywhere (e.g. basic black, sunburst, no skulls, no neon, etc.).

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And then there are some playing situations - MANY playing situations - where it doesn't matter how cool you look, because no one is paying you a damn bit of attention anyway. There's no need to cultivate an 'image' if you're playing classic rock covers in a roadhouse. You might as well look like all the other schmoes in there - golf shirt and jeans or something. Maybe a Dale Earnhardt t-shirt or something.
Yeah, I hear ya. We stay away from those situations. Those suck. You don't get paid well, nobody cares about your music, the chicks are ugly and sometimes you get beat up. F*** that. I'd rather play in a shitty basement for 30 kids who want to rock.

\m/

Erik

"To fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists of breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting."

--Sun Tzu

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Hmmm, image often has a part in the music that is being played. For instance, and jeremyc can vouch, during the 60s and early 70s, everyone had this blue-collar worker image, that they were down on their luck financially, and that they were angry about it. The long hair, beards, everything, down to a 't'. In punk rock, you have these weird looking Neo-Nazi types (flame suit: status: engaged) with mohawks and a half-wit look to them. In jazz, you have a bunch of big people wearing black, sometimes with berets ;) , but nonetheless.

 

I saw Widespread Panic live, you know this. The drummer was wearing a t-shirt and jeans and a baseball cap (I'm wondering if he ever takes that stuff off...he's wearing it in every live photo I've seen of him...), the percussionist was wearing the basic same thing, et al, except for JB, the lead singer/rhythm guitarist. He was wearing a fairly nice shirt, albeit loose, and some nice pants and shoes. Ripped on guitar, but looking like he was headed to a casual business meeting instead.

 

My point...sometimes image is just a constant. Sometimes it is what the people are used to seeing for that particular style/genre, and they conform to that. Sometimes, the band could give less crap about their stage appearance, and use the music and their personalities to their advantage.

 

If I were to ever play live, I'd wear either green Dockers type pants (with the diagonal pocket slits), a white t-shirt, and some shoes, or the same white t-shirt, a pair of green shorts, and Birks. That's just my style...and so far, I've not seen anyone else wear that as much as I do :D . Also, I've got medium length blond hair, though it is slowly turning brown as I age.

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Image, to me anyway, doesn't matter a damn at practice. At a gig, however, things should go up a gear in the dress department. At our last gig we were playing with a modish-60's-garage band. Man they had it all! Image, music (even if it is retro)....our drummer turned up like he was going to dig spuds (that's potatoes to you Americans ;) ) I nearly died, the rest of us looked like a rock n roll band. He let the side down, no matter how well we played, the crowd (young fasionable types) would never have bought it.

 

A warning will be issued before the next gig. This creates a bad atmosphere at rehearsal. Our band (like any original band) is based on free expression, clothes shouldn't matter, BUT they do!

 

No matter where you go, expectation rests on people who are there and paid to entertain. Do you think Elvis lay about Graceland in his white jumpsuit?!

 

CupMcMali...this monkey's gone to heaven :freak:

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CupMcMali... I agree.

Rehearsals are one thing. Gigs are another. Dress however you want at rehearsal, but show up to the gigs looking like a f***ing star.

 

We had this problem with a bassist long ago (he was #2). He had no fashion sense at all, so we had to dress him. When we got done with him, he looked pretty darn spiffy. Too bad he couldn't stay away from beer and cocaine long enough to remember his bass. At least he looked good doing it.

 

BTW,

I'm sure Gene Simmons doesn't wear his "demon" make-up all day, and the fellers from Slipknot, Gwar or Mudvayne probably don't do that either. Ditto for Jimmy Page and his huge, embroidered bell-bottoms. When it's time to hit the stage, however, they look RIGHT -- they take the time to make sure they look good. Doing this shows that you respect your audience enough to give them something more than the "just a bunch of schmoes" look. I think it's worth it to do this.

\m/

Erik

"To fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists of breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting."

--Sun Tzu

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Gene Simmons... now there's an image I hadn't thought about for a long time... thanks for the renewed nightmares, CMDN

DX

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Image only matters to me, in that whoever I'm watching play doesn't look like something the cat dragged in......it's a matter of respecting the audience, not trying to offend them.

 

For guy players, image doesn't matter to me when I'm watching them play.

 

What I look for in women players.........well the very nature of most women is to focus on their external image anyway. It's pretty hard to tear an average woman from that.

 

But what a BIG bonus it is if you find a woman player who is natural looking, not vain, and a heck of a player, due to her dedication. Think Bonnie Raitt.

 

I like to see that a woman player respects herself enough to keep her skin inside, and that she seeks recognition not based on her outside appearance but on what she believes is a more true representation of what she has to offer, particularly her music.

 

I definitely don't like rock-whores. Yuck!

Beware the lollipop of mediocrity; one lick and you suck forever.
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"...show up to the gigs looking like a f***ing star."

 

Great point, erik. No one wants to go see four or five regular old guys playing their instruments (in any context you might take that remark in). The crowd wants too see a show. To make them think that you are the next big thing, you've got to look the part, even if that only means that you wear nice cloths and take a shower before the show. Think of it like this: what would Miles Davis have been if he wore jeans and wife-beaters instead of expensive Italian suits?

 

And then there's personal image. I'm working to cultivate my personal image as a performer, one that crosses between different bands and styles that I play. I want an image that is recognizabble me, one that I can use to play bass in a rock band, a blues band, or my church Cantata. A personal image helps you recognize you for you, not just as a member of your band.

...think funky thoughts... :freak:
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Does my bass match my image?

 

Well, it's a cheap right-hand P-bass copy restrung for left-hand play.

 

So it's upside down, back-to-front, scruffy, scratched and dented, overweight, unbalanced with an awkward action and barely up to the job. Yep, that's spot on...

 

:( Graham

www.talkingstrawberries.com - for rocking' blues, raw and fresh!
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It was amusing at the NAMM show seeing members of KISS and other costumed groups (it may have been Mudvayne, I'm not really that familiar with the latest costumed groups). These are musicians who of course have a very specific stage image and at the NAMM show they had to be very friendly and shake hands with the "suits" (industry people) and make small talk. Very amusing to see this from someone in full "scary looking" stage makeup.
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