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Substitution Gigs


Edendude

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"Substitute you for my mum, at least I'll get my washing done."

 

Pete T.

 

Was wondering...

 

Do you guys get many calls from clubs for your band to fill-in for other bands who have cancelled out? And do you enjoy those as much as I do?

 

Something about getting the call to go play a gig, with only a day or so in advance, that always makes those gigs seem more exciting than the ones which have been on the books for weeks.

 

Just got the call to play a sub-gig at the G-Spot on Saturday night.

 

Lovin' it!

 

:thu:

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Now THOSE gigs scare the crap out of me, to be honest. But that's because I'm more of a serial monogamist type of musician, I guess. I usually play exclusively with one band for several years and move on to another. A sub for another bass player, or a one time ensemble gig, only happens to me once or twice per year, tops.

 

But I really do admire guys like you who do a lot of session gig work with different bands and artists.

 

Must really force you to keep your chops up bigtime.

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We/I get both types mentioned.

 

The band gets calls from clubs and from other bands to fill in from time to time. It's not much different - they're always at clubs we play anyways.

 

I've got a fill-in gig in two weeks. 6 nights at Jimmy Buffet's Margauritaville in Key West, with a band based out of NYC. I'm a little intimidated this time. The singer (and the bassist I'm filling in for) played in the Steve Morse version of the band "Kansas".

 

We won't be doing any of that, just some classic rock type stuff. Should be fun, like a "paid vacation". No practice, no rehearsal beforehand - I won't even meet them until set-up.

 

As long as the 1st night goes fairly smooth, things should be great. If not - we will all be living in the band house that week - it'll be more "paid" and less "vacation".

 

Jim

Jim

Confirmed RoscoeHead

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"Hi, you don't know me. I was sent to you by so and so. Our bassist bailed on us for a Japanese tour last moment. Do you think you can learn 11 Black Sabbath songs by tomorrow night?"

 

Not like the guy called me the afternoon before. He called me around 11:30p.m. the night before. I spent a few hours after that and got up an hour before I normally do, and worked on the tunes. That was a fun gig. I love Sabbath, a big influence. But I have not bothered to learn more than a few songs from start to finish. Actually the guitarist and I hit it off. I ended up doing a paid gig in his personal band for about a year after that. Sometimes last moment turns into long term.

I have not done a gig like that in long while. I do miss them though. Really tests your confidence. There was also a band I auditioned for. I wasn't really into thier music on a style level. I read charts for 5 songs. They asked me to play a few nights later anyhow for cash. Did about 12 songs. I was given charts for the rest. I ended up playing for them for a year and a half and recording a full length. All for cash, just because their style was not what I would prefer. Funny how some of that stuff works. They still call me here and there to fill in. I don't do rehearsals with them any more.

 

Was cool reading people's stories.

Mike Bear

 

Artisan-Vocals/Bass

Instructor

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Jeff Berlin got a last minute fill-in gig with Yes. Learned all the parts by listening to a discman on the flight from Florida to the UK. No rehearsal.

 

Now that's a musician.

 

Not to take anything away from Jeff who obviously IS a great musician, but I do remember him saying in one of his BP columns that his reading skills were key to getting him the Yes job. I'm don't doubt he's capable of learning the parts on the 'plane being a great sight reader would also have been a factor in this instance.
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i've done gigs where they called at the last minute to fill a slot. the shortest time was about 16 hours or so. i really am not out there as a fill in guy. my life is pretty busy and the time i have for music is dedicated for the band i am with. i have had people come up to me at gigs and try to recruit me for their bands. too many bands not enough bass players.
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Originally posted by jeremyc:

I thought you meant the kind of gigs where someone in a band is sick and they call you in to take the guy's place. No rehearsal, no advance warning.

 

I like those kind of gigs.

That's what I thought too, and I totally dig those gigs as well. It's been way too long since I've had to do something like that.
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I have for the past several years been subbing in a number of situations. One is "the last minute call" where a band or artist's bassist is sick or cannot make it (this happened recently with a VERY famous country singer who while on tour "lost" her bassist in transit (he made the wrong connecting flight). I was called 12 hours prior to the gig at a 15,000 seat sold-out arena. Quick rehearsal and a lotta crib notes. BUt I did pretty good..was asked to play the next night on the tour as well (and was paid handsomely).

 

I have also been a hired gun for bands doing showcases (a typical scenario in LA where a band falls into the "pay-to-play" trap and books a showcase for some A&R people at the Roxy, Whiskey, or Billboard Live on Sunset Strip. With a lot of these bands, their weak link is the bass player, and so I am called in. I do rehearsals and give my best (and yes, again I am paid handsomely...sometimes I feel bad 'cos I know the band ain't making nothing from the gig!).

Since I let my hair go grey, I get fewer and fewer of these calls (ah, fickle LA...)

 

I got into that particular facet of subbing through doing a lot of "ghosting" sessions; where I am called in by an engineer or producer to "replace" tracks made horrid by band X's inept bass player. No credit is ever given,nor claimed and services are paid in cash (tho I have met some fairly renown drummers doing the same thing...sometimes I wonder if these bands really believe they played that well?)

One time I ghosted and entire compilation/sampler of west coast punk bands for a major label.....was a bit challenging, worked the night and did 13 tracks in one session.

 

Max

...it's not the arrow, it's the Indian.
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Jeremy I was surprised at the idea that Yes had their stuff written out as well, but if they did't have a permanent bass player I guess it makes a lot of sense.

 

I suspect Jeff just emphasised the reading or ear element according to the point he wanted to make in that particular column. In the one I'm thinking of Jeff was riding one of his hobbyhorses, making the point that the skills set required by would-be professional players was well-defined and included un-rock'n'roll elements like good sight-reading. He was extolling a lesser known player who, despite not being a "name" was a consummate pro and great teacher in Jeff's book. (Unfortunately I can't remember the guy's name - I have a vague recollection that he was Polish). He had been working a gig that was no doubt well-paid but not obviously "cool" (Disney or something?). Jeff's point was that the skills the guy needed to get that job, including sight-reading, were exactly the same skills that got Jeff the much more glamorous Yes job.

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I'm so ashamed...

 

I just turned down the kind of 'player' substitution gig you all enjoy so much for the challenge, because I'm so f_cking lazy.

 

Frankly...

 

It was folk/bluegrass bassed stuff like I used to play as a fingerstyle acoustic guitarist a lot, but the same genre is really uninteresting to me from an electric bass point of view. That and being too lazy to learn the material at a week's notice was enough to turn it down for me.

 

:rolleyes:

 

I know...shame on me.

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I've gotten calls about perspective substitutions, but for one reason or another it didn't work out. I did sub at a rehearsal for a band I know - had to run to GC and "buy" a bass (used Carvin) for the night (and return it the next day).

 

One company I worked at ran a coffee house about every 8 weeks. While much of the stuff I played was rehearsed, there were times when I just jumped on ("pushed myself into" might better describe it). The audience was friendly, so there was limited pressure.

 

Tom

www.stoneflyrocks.com

Acoustic Color

 

Be practical as well as generous in your ideals. Keep your eyes on the stars and keep your feet on the ground. - Theodore Roosevelt

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I do a fair amount of sub gigs for the bands I have parted with. This allows me to NOT supply any PA equipment or expertise to people who just abuse it anyway. I just bring the rig, have fun playing, and pick up the cash. But I also sub when someone has double booked. These are often with one or more people I've never met before, and sometimes NONE of us have met before driving up to the load-in.

 

Oddly enough, the best players and what I'd call the most professional are often guys soured on being in bands, but also love to go out and play live. Might as well be slightly sloppy for lack of playing together - rather than because you are stuck with puds who don't learn the names of the chords and notes, learn to dial in some decent sound, practice the setlist at home, or develop themselves, or learn the songs or -

 

Anyway. It beats hanging out in bars for OTHER reasons. By a long shot. Sometimes the playing/performances can be truly inspired and almost make one think there is intelligent life that has not yet been discovered.

.
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I usually get called to be a sub for someone as opposed to a band filling in. I can always count on a few of them a year.

 

Speaking of Yes, they were on Soundstage on PBS the other night. They sounded great, no extra musicians, Steve Howe and Rick Wakeman were the instrumental stars while Anderson and Squire still had those pure vocals happening. They did a blues shuffle version of Roundabout during an acoustic set. Different.

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The story with Jeff Berlin and Yes is that he transcribed his own charts from the recordings.

 

This anecdote came from a BParticle that Mr. Berlin wrote praising the transcribing skills he learned from Charlie Banacos (?) his teacher.

 

Berlin said that he simply did what he'd been doing for the past 15 yrs. Transcribing. He said he already knew one tune which I think was "Roundabout".

 

This article largely dealt with the value of transcribing skills.

"When people hear good music, it makes them homesick for something they never had, and never will have."

Edgar Watson Howe

"Don't play what's there. Play what's not there" Miles Davis

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Thanks Jim, that clarifies matters. :thu: That was a different article from the one I read where he made only a passing reference to getting the Yes job, because of his "reading skills". Presumably the article you mention is the one Jeremy read.
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Gosh, i have been freelancing so much the last couple of years al great deal of what i do is sub for someone-

i just subbed a week for the Clint Holmes show at Harra's and i had to write most of my own charts because the stuff they had was dated and inaccurate. I was just asked to be the sub for the Vegas production of " We Will Rock You"- honestly, i wish i had the chair.. it pays a bundle, but you never know, now i have to go pick up the book and cd and go thru the shoe so i can play it down pat.. probably sit in the pit for a couple of shows- i was also alsked to be the sub for " Mamma Mia" but i passed on that for some reason... a lot of stress in having to be ready in an emergency and nail the stuff note for note. It's written out, but it goes right by you....

Praise ye the LORD.

....praise him with stringed instruments and organs...

Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD.

excerpt from- Psalm 150

visit me at:

www.adriangarcia.net

for His glory

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Adrian, you should have jumped on the "Momma Mia" gig. I sat in the pit when the road show rolled through Providence. It's all written out, but it's a super easy book.

 

I am subbing on "Ain't Misbehavin'" now. I got one 3 hour rehearsal before I started the gig. Good band. The drummer subbed out last Friday, his sub is currently Ahmad Jamal's drummer. Let's just say he raised the bar for the regular drummer :eek:

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Originally posted by bassaddik:

Gosh, i have been freelancing so much the last couple of years al great deal of what i do is sub for someone-

i just subbed a week for the Clint Holmes show at Harra's and i had to write most of my own charts because the stuff they had was dated and inaccurate. I was just asked to be the sub for the Vegas production of " We Will Rock You"- honestly, i wish i had the chair.. it pays a bundle, but you never know, now i have to go pick up the book and cd and go thru the shoe so i can play it down pat.. probably sit in the pit for a couple of shows- i was also alsked to be the sub for " Mamma Mia" but i passed on that for some reason... a lot of stress in having to be ready in an emergency and nail the stuff note for note. It's written out, but it goes right by you....

Yep, much of my sub work has been in theater. And I've sightread shows several times.

 

I went to college with an incredible pianist, Eugene Gwodtz. When "Phantom" came through Ft. Worth, he was hired as a "local" through the Union. He played third keys. He played them so well that he joined the tour as rehearsal pianist and then wound up on Broadway as a regular, contract player.

 

So you never know where these touring shows will take you.

 

Could you give up Vegas for NYC? At least you'd make the LDLD get-togethers!

"Let's raise the level of this conversation" -- Jeremy Cohen, in the Picasso Thread.

 

Still spendin' that political capital far faster than I can earn it...stretched way out on a limb here and looking for a better interest rate.

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Originally posted by BenLoy:

I've been doing more and more of those gigs lately. I like how pure, unadulterated terror really forces me to get my s**t together fast on those gigs...especially if there are monster players on it as well.

Don't i know it. Nothing inspires me more than the fear of coming across as a bad musician. When this happens i woodshed for hours, and it always turns out all right!
Check out my work in progress.
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TNB, did you realize that the drummer was Bobby Economou ? he played on Jaco's first record ( use to be a cha cha, i believe, or kuru/ speak like a child )

Bobby is a monster.. reason i did not do it was because its a union gig and i am not in the union and to sube here and there, i decided against it... they could go after me for dues on non union gigs...maybe later.

Praise ye the LORD.

....praise him with stringed instruments and organs...

Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD.

excerpt from- Psalm 150

visit me at:

www.adriangarcia.net

for His glory

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with ALL respect to Wally.. i don't think the Union in Vegas is as strong as it is in some other places- in fact, of all the big shows on the Strip, i think Mamma Mia is actually the only Union one...i am pretty sure WWRY is not

Praise ye the LORD.

....praise him with stringed instruments and organs...

Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD.

excerpt from- Psalm 150

visit me at:

www.adriangarcia.net

for His glory

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