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Spitting Feathers.


The Geoff

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It's taken me over two weeks to cool down enough to write this out.

 

I was asked to join a 'blues project' last December. As the two guys were pretty damn good leads/rhythm in their own right, I decided to take up bass. The lead singer asked me to input my experience, as I played for about 20 years in the 60s & 70s.

 

I bought a decent bass and some functional amplification and worked at it at least 1 hour per day - often much more. Outcome is, I can play a pretty tight if uncomplicated blues bass.

 

We've been rehearsing at least once a week, often twice, since December. We did a charity gig and an open-mike night - both of which went down a storm, back in May.

 

Now I reckoned we were good enough to take on small gigs and maybe do the odd fill-in between the sets for a headlining band, just to get some exposure - so does the lead guitarist.

 

The main singer, who is actually the hub/singer wouldn't commit.

 

At the last two rehearsals, he & I had differences of opinion over a couple of arrangements - just that, differences of opinion based on what I had done before & how it worked - exactly what he had asked me to do when I was asked to join.

 

After the last rehearsal, in which I think I played some of my best stuff so far, we sat and supped beer for over an hour chatting pleasantly.

 

Two days later, he phoned me and sacked me from the band telling me he was extremely unhappy about the previous practice.

 

No discussion - nothing.

 

He said I was 'sniping' at him, but wouldn't give me an instance. He also threatened me with violence, saying if he continued playing with me, he'd end up hitting me, but again, wouldn't amplify any reason for it.

 

He then patronised me and advised me to go and play pop music (which I do with my other project band).

 

I was spitting feathers, could get no common sense from him and endedup the conversation by hanging up.

 

Maybe it's for the best, as the guy has a serious timing issue. He often misses out the 8th bar completely, and I meet him coming down as I'm going up. When this happens he always glares at me as though I'm the one making a mistake. He can get away with this without a bass as the lead player's ear makes him adjust quickly, and he doesn't go out of synch with the drums, but, of course, a bass line shows it up.

 

I'm just concerned about the lead player - he's a personal friend and as soon as another bass comes into the line-up, the same problems will appear again, and this guys got too much talent to be dead-ended like that.

 

I was just so pissed that this happened this way. If a guy has an issue with me, then I'd like that he discuss it with me face to face and find a resloution. That may still be leaving the band, but that, at least would be done with an understanding.

 

I put a lot of loyalty, practice and money I can ill-afford into it and really felt betrayed.

 

 

There. I've got that off my chest. I'm supposed to feel better now.

 

Geoff

"When the power of love overcomes the love of power the World will know Peace": Jimi Hendrix

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/default.cfm?bandID=738517&content=music

The Geoff - blame Caevan!!!

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You are WAY better off.

Start a new band and get the guitar player and drummer away from this so-called singer.

 

If he doesn't know when to come in, he shouldn't be playing gigs. And if he blames others on his mistakes or makes them cover for him, then he would either have to pay lots and lots of money or be a legendary performer.

 

I did have an experience playing with a legendary blues artist where I played the changes in the usual places and he stopped the whole band and said to me, "Son, you change when I change."

 

This guy is one of the blues originals and sometimes songs might end up being 13 1/2 bars. And that's the way they are supposed to be.

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Despite your current feelings on the matter, you came out on top.

 

The vocalist seems to have an agenda of some sort and you never had a chance.

 

Congratulations!! One more horse's a** avoided. :thu:

My whole trick is to keep the tune well out in front. If I play Tchaikovsky, I play his melodies and skip his spiritual struggle. ~Liberace
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That's a sad, but not uncommom experience. Be glad that you are outof the situation and move forward in a positive direction.

 

Welcome (back) to the music biz!

Nothing is as it seems but everything is exactly what it is - B. Banzai

 

Life is what happens while you are busy playing in bands.

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Yeah, stories like this (and I've got some too) almost jack up my ambition to start and lead my own band(s) again instead of just sliding into various situs where the majority of control may be elsewhere. That, and I'd like to play more music with cooler bass parts ; }
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Originally posted by jeremy c:

You are WAY better off.

Start a new band and get the guitar player and drummer away from this so-called singer.

I could not agree more.

 

And that's the beauty of what you've done with the last year--you've become a better bass player. Sure, you're not going to be playing with the band you prepared for. But because you prepared, it's a real option for you to join or start something better.

 

I'd be pissed too. But this is a good thing.

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That's a rough way for it to end no doubt, and I'd be pissed too - but by the sounds of it you're much better off without the horse's arse. Especially some immature wank who feels he has to threaten people with violence :freak:

 

You've grown as a bass player from all the hard work you've put in, and when you're into your next project it won't go wasted I'm sure :D

 

:thu:

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Thanks for the support, guys, it's nice to get it.

 

I'm still feeling stung over this, but everything that's been said above is right on. That's what I felt anyway.

 

You know, sometimes, that a guy/band has a major problem, but while things are going well and people are friendly, you show a certain amount of loyalty and hope that things work out, and if they don't you hope things will be terminated in an adult fashion.

 

Ah well, time to get some surplus stuff on eBay - which may lead to some Retail Therapy :thu: .

 

At least I've got it off my chest - this Forum is excellent therapy as far as that's concerned - and now I *do* feel a bit better.

 

Thanks, Geoff

"When the power of love overcomes the love of power the World will know Peace": Jimi Hendrix

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/default.cfm?bandID=738517&content=music

The Geoff - blame Caevan!!!

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Sorry to read about this, Geoff. You're not the first guy to be given a raw deal by someone who was queueing up for extra ego when the talent was being handed out, and you won't be the last. Good advice by posters above. A solid bassplayer won't struggle for gigs. A bad singer will.
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This seems to happen to band-oriented bass players disproportionately (from my perspective) because they often have the Get A Gig mentality, where a lot of guitarists, vocalists, etc have a Create A Gig mentality. That often entails more singing, being the a de facto bandleader as well as the guy behind the scenes who shows practical logistics skills (bass players do often seem to think of the responsible things that keep spare cables, fuses, etc around when they are needed), being the point man/person who does the contacts, booking, followups, etc.

 

I earlier remarked that the topic almost jacked my ambition up to do something about it. For me, here, that would be learning (and remembering) the lyrics of a lot more songs and when the time is right for someone to take control not to let it slide into someone else's hands so easily.

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... A guitarist friend who comes over for lunch about once a week remarks sometimes that bass players seem more passive, as a lot. We've discussed that this kind of perpetuates the cycle for bass players coming into or forming a cover band too.

 

The guitarists, sometimes the keys players and drummers, are so used to knowing lots of lyrics and song's basics, and singing them. So when the band gets its first set lists together for a gig a few weeks after its formation, you find in those set lists a lot of songs they've already done or been wishing to do, and they are already prepared to sing them. So the bass player often ends up just getting a few, or maybe not even that. And that is often a powerful force in perceptions of who has the say, who has the clout when disagreements begin to surface, or egos felt threatened.

 

And it is easy for that to happen if a "top dog" feels that a "low dog" is making too many comments or suggestions ; } ...just human nature I guess, that only the better rise above.

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I'd start another band in a minute if I could sing & play bass at the same time - I can't, and believe me, I've tried. It's either one or the other, but not both at the same time.

 

I sing & play guitar with my other band (duo) and I've been doing that since the early 60s.

 

Problem with what you say, Greenboy, is that I have recently moved here from Scotland, and getting into a band was part of my 'get a life' strategy, and those guys were the only contacts I have.

 

I have to have my lyrics printed in front of me - at nearly 59, I'm having trouble remembering the words - BUT!!!! - I can remember the words perfectly of the songs I learned & played in the 60s.

 

Senility creeps silently!!

 

G.

"When the power of love overcomes the love of power the World will know Peace": Jimi Hendrix

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/default.cfm?bandID=738517&content=music

The Geoff - blame Caevan!!!

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Originally posted by Geoff Byrne:

I'd start another band in a minute if I could sing & play bass at the same time - I can't, and believe me, I've tried.

Bet you can! Try playing your guitar parts on bass, strumming chords etc, whilst singing. Then start adding in bass line fragments and before you know it you're a singing bassist. It's not *that* different to playing guitar... is it? ;)

 

Worked for me, anyway!

 

Alex

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I can dig it, Geoff.

 

I'm often the guy who gets the PA together, makes it run nicely, shows the other guys parts they can't figure out, and for some reason my teeny little dinosaur brain can only remember the lyrics to SOME songs as if they were my own, and other ones just seem to find me [semi]blanking until I have a steady rotation of performance of them.

 

This guitarist I mentioned? - He seems to swallow lyrics of ANY type of song for breakfast and regurgitate them on command forever after - even after not having done one for years. He even does as I do, brings a lyrics notebook in his car and "tests" himself as he drives to and from work, etc.

 

On the other hand, he can't remember more complex song structures and chords very well. He's pretty much a triad kind of a guy, and as much as I've been trying to help him with theory and leads, feh. This too is ironic because his hands can execute in a flurry what mine struggle to do - I definitely have to work/practice a lot harder on the physcial stuff, where it's the conceptual stuff that he can't get (or remember).

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Alex, I'll give that a go. But listen to the bass line for 'All My Lovin' and tell me I can sing & play that!

 

Greenboy - it was MY PA and I took it with me. Someone else will have to dig in for one.

 

The last two rehearsals sounded good, cos I shouldered everyone else off and set up the balance myself.

 

G.

"When the power of love overcomes the love of power the World will know Peace": Jimi Hendrix

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/default.cfm?bandID=738517&content=music

The Geoff - blame Caevan!!!

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Geoff,

 

When I've sung more it my song selection often hinged on which ones I could deal with without feeling I was giving the bass part short shrift ... a drummer or guitarist took the ones that had tougher bassin' or where I felt I didn't want to split my attention.

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Geoff,

 

Sorry to hear that this went bad. I agree that you can grab your bandmates and break away. If you do instrumentals for a while until you find a singer or learn to sing, that's fine.

 

Go to the establishments that you'd like to play. Talk to the bands that are playing. Same thing at music stores. I'm guessing that there are people around that can be "found".

 

Best of luck!

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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