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Too Critical ?


EZ

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Well we did the gig Saturday night, we opened for another band. They sound really tight, where as we sound like Sugar Honey Ice Tea Our drummer had no sense of time, he was off to the races on every song, and I could not slow him down. I asked him after the intro could he hear me, because I was doing a funky slap groove, and he was playing all over the place, heck he had an ear monitor. Our guitar player started two songs in the wrong key, and could not feel where the changes came in at, I was just too through, and to top it off the singer who didnt sing a single song like we rehearsed it said to me , Man they really like us we really sound good What the Funk!!!! The guitar player from the other band said to me yall sound good for a band that has not been together long. Thats a nice way of saying yall stunk. I can live with the weak material we do, but I cant take messing up easy songs, especially on a gig. This was too much for me. Now the drummer calls me last night, and tells me the manager from the club wants to book us for Thursday nights, starting in January. My question is Am I being too critical, or what

P.S We really did sound bad.

:confused:

If you smell something stinking, it's juz me, I'm funky like that
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The good news is, if it was that bad it can only get better.

 

Relax. The club owner obviously liked what he saw/heard or he wouldn't ask you back yes?

 

I am sometimes frustrated to the point of having to calm myself and just "go with it". Some nights it takes awhile to get into the groove, some nights it never happens and some nights it starts off tight and stays that way.

 

Relax! Be ulcer free EZ!

"He is to music what Stevie Wonder is to photography." getz76

 

I have nothing nice to say so . . .

 

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You're not being too critical. If it felt bad, it probably was bad. Most of the time the audience does not hear the mistakes unless it is something spectacularly out of place. The manager of the place most likely fell for the auidence support.

 

Anyway, it will only get better, so i say, be happy about it and don't let it frustrate You. You are not playing weak material after all.

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Buy a small stobe light, set it to the proper BPM per song during practice, make the drummer watch it. Why does this feel like deja vue? :confused:

You can stop now -jeremyc

STOP QUOTING EVERY THING I SAY!!! -Bass_god_offspring

lug, you should add that statement to you signature.-Tenstrum

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Originally posted by Gab:

You're not being too critical. If it felt bad, it probably was bad. Most of the time the audience does not hear the mistakes unless it is something spectacularly out of place. The manager of the place most likely fell for the auidence support.

 

Anyway, it will only get better, so i say, be happy about it and don't let it frustrate You. You are not playing weak material after all.

Agreed. Have a band meeting and dicuss it with them - minus the insults.
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Hi EZ,

 

Congratulations on getting a regular gig!!! That is so awesome!

 

But, on to your concerns...

 

I have found that there is a fine line between:

 

Making mistakes that the audience is not aware of, which do not really bother me as a musician, and

 

Making mistakes that the audience is not aware of, which do bother me.

 

The main theme here being... the audience is not aware of 99% of the mistakes. I know that is really hard to believe, as it has taken me 5 years to finally believe. I heard that concept a lot on this forum. The folks on this forum are VERY smart!

 

So, as you continue to play this gig, you will all get better and better, and then you won't feel humiliated. I know about feeling humiliated. I was a super perfectionist, and used to feel humiliated a LOT.

 

Now I can take things into perspective much better. Plus, after a while, I started my own band, so that I can call the shots and determine what is acceptible as far as a quality performance goes.

 

And I've surrounded myself with good musicians/singers who all have great personalities.

 

I definately agree that you should discuss the problems, so that you can feel better, and so that the band can improve. But don't feel shocked when your bandmates say, "I thought we were great!" They'll be disappointed when you are being the naysayer. So be positive and non-judgemental when you offer critism. And always remember, when your band has a "train wreck" and you really screw up a song (which will happen), everyone should just laugh and joke it off, and continue what you were doing. (Or start over if it was in the beginning of a song.) The audience loves that kind of stuff.

 

And congratulations again!

 

.. connie z

"Change comes from within." - Jeremy Cohen

 

The definition of LUCK: When Preparation meets Opportunity!

 

http://www.cybergumbo.com

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and another tip!

 

When you are sharing your concerns, instead of saying "you were all over the place on the drums", you can say "I felt as though our timing could have been tighter."

 

Diplomacy RuLEs!

 

... connie z

"Change comes from within." - Jeremy Cohen

 

The definition of LUCK: When Preparation meets Opportunity!

 

http://www.cybergumbo.com

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Originally posted by Connie Z:

and another tip!

 

When you are sharing your concerns, instead of saying "you were all over the place on the drums", you can say "I felt as though our timing could have been tighter."

 

Diplomacy RuLEs!

 

... connie z

Great advice, Connie! :thu: Nice to see you around these parts a little more often now, too.

 

I think EZ showed diplomacy on stage when he asked thumper-the-drummer simply if he could hear the bass instead of backhanding him/her and screaming, "Slow down, fool!" (Oh, but the latter would have felt so much better in the moment, I'm sure. ;) ) [Note: I do not condone hitting anyone for any reason, other than self defense. My illustration of violence was meant as old-time humor; sorry if it offends anyone.] Sometimes we open up a bit on this forum and share our feelings in ways we wouldn't dare in other settings. Still, nice to be reminded of effective, diplomatic ways of communicating.

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You may not feel so great about the way your band played, but.. that doesn't mean you sucked. It just means you weren't up to your own standards. But (and this is the key) the people who saw you don't know what your standards are--they're judging you based on their standards.

 

I've had those nights, but I never let on. Know why? Because I know that even when we have an "off" night by MY standards, we're still pretty damn impressive to people who aren't IN the band. That's not to say I haven't "discussed" sub-par performances with my bandmates... in private... after the fact. If you think everyone could do better, why not mention it... in a non-insulting way? If you do it right, it'll only make the band better.

 

And, obviously, you guys did something to impress the people in charge at the club, because they offered you a steady gig.

 

My advice:

Talk to the rest of the band and see if you can get things tightened up. Hell, if you landed a steady gig on what you consider a lousy night, imagine what you could do when you feel like all the pistons are firing correctly?

\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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Originally posted by CMDN:

And, obviously, you guys did something to impress the people in charge at the club, because they offered you a steady gig.

Well, this is certainly good news, but remember that a lot of clubs book groups that put money in the register, whether or not the music is good, bad or otherwise.
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Well, this is certainly good news, but remember that a lot of clubs book groups that put money in the register, whether or not the music is good, bad or otherwise.
This is true... but... if you're AWESOME... and have no drawing power... you aren't destined to play out much, anyway. 'Cause no matter how good you are, clubs need to make money in order to stay in business.

 

In my experience, clubs don't tend to book crap bands for repeated dates... because the acts that suck but have a big following don't tend to keep their crowds for long... so they put those bands on "lunar rotation," hoping they'll be good periodic money makers... However, the bands who draw well and have a fairly cohesive sound are the real candidates for regular bookings...

\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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We played on Friday night at our "usual" venue. They like us there so we can get away with things once in a while. Our singer likes to "suggest" songs on the fly. It's kinda cool, we're all good musicians and as ong as someone knows the words and the basic form, we have a good chnce of pulling it off.

 

The thing that gets me is that the crowd likes those songs as much as the ones we work hard on when we practice. I mean, I haven't even heard them sometimes. We just pull them out of our a&&es and people love it.

 

I think we are all critical of ourselves. That's how we get better. A bad night will happen - sometimes for one person, sometimes the entire band - but life goes on. The crowd and management are usually far more forgiving of us than we are of ourselves.

 

Truth is, many of the "mistakes" we hear go completely un-noticed by your average Joe.

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Originally posted by Connie Z:

The folks on this forum are VERY smart!

 

thanks connie!! :D

 

 

I'm working on being able to take a compliment after a show that was "not up to my standard". The video that i posted of me playing a while ago was full of mistakes...FULL OF THEM...but friends as well as those on the forum with commendable patience watched it and gave me positive feedback.

 

go figure...the people above this post speak the truth like stephen colbert.

 

jason

2cor5:21

Soli Deo Gloria

 

"it's the beauty of a community. it takes a village to raise a[n] [LLroomtempJ]." -robb

 

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It's the responsibility of every good musician to be critical of themselves. Only you know how you sound or more importantly how you SHOULD sound. If you can't recognize when you have a bad night, then you're doomed to languish in mediocrity.

 

Do I think you were being too tough on yourself and your band? No. You had specific criticisms that you seem to have thought out. It sounds like you might've just had a bad night.

 

The trick might be in expressing your concerns and criticisms to the members of your band so that they don't hate you. It'll require you being diplomatic and taking some steps to illustrate your concerns. My main suggestion? Start recording your rehearsals. By recording those and critiquing those practice tapes, you can identify specific problems and hopefully correct them.

 

As for taking compliments after shows? You have to stay positive for the audience, friends, other bands, promoters, etc. Save the criticisms for band practice which is where they belong, and express your specific concerns to the band. The audience doesn't need to know. It's tough enough to get people out to some gigs. Don't start badmouthing your own band to the audience in an effort to drive more people away from your shows.

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Well you all have very good points, and I did talk with the band members on how I thought we sound that night, and I was very diplo with what I had to say. I also ask the drummer last night if he wanted to get together to work on our timing, just he and I, but he wasn't up for it, but it's cool, that was my way of fixing the problem with him. The sound man tape the set so I'm going to check it out and hear just what we really sound like.
If you smell something stinking, it's juz me, I'm funky like that
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Several times, I have played gigs in which the band performance did not seem to be quite up to par. One that has always stood out in my mind was a festival that we played in '04.

 

The entire set felt and sounded like total poo. The monitor mix was horrible, the changes were sloppy, and we were generally very unhappy the whole time. But we had a great crowd response from about 1500 heads.

 

A review of the tape showed a set totally different from the one we experienced onstage. Yes, the changes were still sloppy, but that was our opinion. You could not hear the monitor mix out front and the mains sounded just fine. And the crowd was into it. And the festival organizers booked us again for the following year. No matter how it felt onstage, we had to call the gig a success.

 

I agree with CMDN's statement that just because you think it sucks does not make it so. In general, the audience is much less critical of your work than you are. When you go to the tape, look at it twice; once as a musician, and once as a regular joe. A little objectivity will work wonders.

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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  • 2 weeks later...

There's "critical" as in "critical thinking and listening" and then there's being snide and nasty.. two very different things.

 

You can tell someone, well, "we need to polish this up" and "you might want to work on something" without implying "you suck"! God knows people have told me things like that plenty of times, and it didn't hurt me.. it made me a better musician!

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Congrats EZ, on a successful gig. Even though it wasn't up to your standards you guys did well enough to get invited back. And that spells success in itself.

 

As bassists we are sometimes more aware than the others in the band that things don't feel right. I guess that comes from the role we fill.

I think it's easier for us to tell if the tempo is off or if we're just not playing together.

 

I need to be on my toes all the time and not rely too much on playing just what I want because I know that whoever starts any given song may have a different feel that time around, or if the drummer is playing it differently I have to go with him. Sometimes it makes for a cool twist on the tune, sometimes you just hang in there.

 

In our band we are all receptive to each others' ideas, even the leader is that way. It's the only band I've ever been in where egos are not a problem, because we are all striving for the same thing, excellence. And we respect each other.

 

Hope you guys rock the house with the weekly gig!

Visit my band's new web site.

 

www.themojoroots.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I am very hard on how our band plays sometimes as well. I don't think you are being too critical. If you think you did that bad then you have every Thursday to redeem yourself, but I don't think that will be a problem. If the club wants you back then you did something right. Just look at the good side of things. Congradulations!!! Try and fix things up at your next band practice, make sure any mistakes that were made get talked about so you won't have another bad show. I'm sure all will go great. Once again, Congrats!!!

"All things are possible through Christ." (Matt 19:26)

 

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As Connie said, "normal" people don't hear mistakes. And unless you play sick prog metal, your crowd will be normal people, not fellow musicians :D

 

I'd give it another go or two. If after the third show you are still not satisfied, then the problem lies deeper, and you're probably just not happy in that band, period.

"I'm a work in progress." Micky Barnes

 

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I have a tendency to be too critical as well. Even after a terrible night, I still get good reports from audience members and so I use that to hold back the ulcers.

 

However, the 1 comment I dread is "Yeah, you guys are tight!!" haha I hate that comment. I'd rather hear "Yeah, you guys really sucked tonight."

 

CMDN is right. Most of the crowd doesn't know your music at the level you do so never let on that your messing up and/or messed up.

 

Dealing with your comment "I can live with the weak material we do,..." I feel that it's really important to believe in the music you are playing. With this comment it sounds like you're settling for less than what you want. Being in a band is basically like being in a relationship and it's not fair to either party if you settle. Why invest your time/energy/money into something you describe as weak? My intention is not to tell you to quit or even bust your chops for making the comment. I just hate seeing people settle for less than what they want and/or deserve; in all aspects of life.

 

One more thing, always remember to have fun. No matter what.

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