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Would you let the band die?


stepay

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So, the band's stated goal when we reformed a year ago (replaced a guitarist and then kept on as a foursome when a fifth member left the band) was to play 2-3 times a month and perhaps more if something came along that we HAD to take.

 

Due to scheduling problems with members of the band, we are scheduled to play just once a month from August to December, and we did not play at all in July.

 

For me, to keep all 40 songs practiced and ready to go, playing one time a month doesn't seem worth it.

 

We put some tracks down for demos at the beginning August, and they are all ready to go except that the guitarist needs to put down his solos (he's the one doing the recording), and we're still waiting. I book most of the gigs, and I can't do it with the old demos we have that feature two players no longer in the band and music that's not really indicative of what we play anymore.

 

So, one gig left in November and one in December. I'm thinking that's going to be it for this band.

 

Sound like a normal progression into then just not playing anymore?

Steve (Stevie Ray)

"Do the chickens have large talons?"

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Originally posted by stepay:

Sound like a normal progression into then just not playing anymore?

Wouldn't be for me -- I'd start looking for my next band, now.

 

Hope it works out so that you can keep on playing and having fun, stepay! :thu:

 

--Dave

Make my funk the P-funk.

I wants to get funked up.

 

My Funk/Jam originals project: http://www.thefunkery.com/

 

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Have a meeting! Seriously.

 

If the only problem is that you aren't playing enough, that is easy to fix. (Easier than fixing infighting, or no talent players, etc...)

 

Get the leader to lay down the expectations (if you don't have a leader - get one.) and talk through them. Could be that the guy recording the demo is aware that his slowness is on the verge of breaking the band up.

I'm just saying', everyone that confuses correlation with causation eventually ends up dead.
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How do the others feel about it, Steve?

 

Sometimes, my band doesn't get together for some periods due to various members having other obligations, but that can be refreshing when we do get back together.

 

Is the guitar player just not committed and should be replaced? It could be he's just swamped or has other priorities.

 

Another path might be for you to look at other options. Maybe there's another band you could hook up with that would fill the time, or you could start one if you know other players.

 

I hope whatever you do, you have fun. :thu:

"I'm so crazy, I don't know this is impossible! Hoo hoo!" - Daffy Duck

 

"The good news is that once you start piano you never have to worry about getting laid again. More time to practice!" - MOI

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Well, the bass player and I have been discussing this problem for a couple months now. We're both wanting to play 2-3 times a month. Our drummer has recently been made aware of the situation (he never complained about playing once a month), and he seems willing to commit to 2-3 times a month.

 

I brought this all out into the open last week, so everyone knows that I'm not pleased about the one time a month thing. Our guitar player is a good guy, but he's finishing up a Ph.D., and he's in another band also. He's very talented as a guitarist and is starting to get some decent pipes to go along with that which complements our drummer's singing well.

 

I do wish we could all stay together, but I'm not sure it's going to happen. This is the best band I've ever played with, and finding a local group with the same aspirations I have (staying local primarily...no delusions of making it big) that is anywhere near as good will be very difficult if not impossible.

 

Perhaps now that I've brought this to the attentionof everyone, people will think long and hard about what they want to do.

 

I was just wondering if this seemed like a normal progression for a band that just fades away. Other bands that I've been in that broke up did because someone moved across the country, and in one case, I joined another band (but still was willing to play with the others, but it just didn't happen -- I think they were hurt somehow).

Steve (Stevie Ray)

"Do the chickens have large talons?"

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It happens. I spent a year in the basement putting together a band with a perfectionist drummer who wanted to rehearse everything to death. The bass player and I wanted to just get out and gig. The guitar player was perfectly content to just fart around in the basement forever.

 

We finally played out twice, the drummer complaining bitterly about the lame gigs (they were bars, we're a bar band - duh), the bass player had enough and quit.

 

It's best to bring it out into the open and let the chips fall where they may. Is the guitar player going to have any more time AFTER he gets his PhD, or does that just signal the start of his really busy time?

Moe

---

"I keep wanting to like it's sound, but every demo seems to demonstrate that it has the earth-shaking punch and peerless sonics of the Roland Gaia. " - Tusker

http://www.hotrodmotm.com

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The guitar player is a part-time professor at a university and does NOT want to ever teach full-time. He enjoys music so much that he wants to work part-time so that he can play guitar several hours a day and play in at least one band if not two. His wife is also a professor and works full-time, so that's how they do that -- they don't have kids. I think once the Ph.D. is finished that he will actually have more time, but the ending of that Ph.D. is not written in stone.

 

I think it's just more about knowing where everyone's priorities are. Hopefully this will all come out and we can have either a good continuation or a good ending with the possibility of all fo us playing together down the road. Fortunately for me, there are bands in town that are looking for keyboard players, so if I wanted to continue I could do that with another band.

Steve (Stevie Ray)

"Do the chickens have large talons?"

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"No way to keep a band together. Bands come and go. You gotta keep on playin', no matter with who." - Del Paxton

 

Bands are like relationships, aren't they? Some stay together forever, some break up terribly, and some just fade away. It sounds like the guitar player wants to do this, so you may just have to wait it out and see what happens after he finishes his degree. As long as everyone knows where everyone else stands, you should be fine.

"I'm so crazy, I don't know this is impossible! Hoo hoo!" - Daffy Duck

 

"The good news is that once you start piano you never have to worry about getting laid again. More time to practice!" - MOI

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Stepay,

 

It sounds like you don't really have enough information yet to make a decision. In my experience, constant communication that includes the entire band is the only way to keep a band together if that's what you want to do.

 

The only thing that you can count on with bands is that there really is no "normal" progressions in the life of a band. As with all relationships, they are as different as the people in them.

 

One piece of advice that I can pass along is: don't fear change. In the past, I've been devastated by the break-up of a band that I really loved only to have something better come along to replace it. The important thing is that you know exactly what you want and don't settle for less than you want.

 

Best,

JC

Everybody's got to believe in something. I believe I'll have another beer. W. C. Fields
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stepay,

 

I was impressed when my drummer told me about his gigs this weekend. He plays in NYC.

 

He participates in various bands, yet when he gets the call to put together a band for a particular gig, he has some friends that he can count on to form a trio or quartet instantly.

 

If he finds that he's overbooked, he knows other drummers who can easily sub for him.

 

The point is that he's always playing.

 

Sure, it's not as easy for a keyboardist to sub as it is for a drummer. But we should all make as many contacts as possible and keep our names out there in case something arises.

 

Currently, I'm playing in three bands and I wish I was playing more often. I keep my options open and try to be as flexible as I can.

 

I have found that with every band that I've been a permanent member of, there is a beginning and there is an end. I'm much happier as a 'hired gun'. My goal is to be the #1 guy to get the call when my contacts need a keyboard player. Of course, I don't want to play every gig - especially those that involve travel and sub-decent pay. Being on-call let's me pick and choose the gigs I want and lets me spend more time with my family.

 

Could this be an option for you?

"Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent." - Victor Hugo
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Replacing band member who are not in the same *mental wave* might be a solution for your situation. A band seems like a democratic affair from the outside, but it's not democrartic at all IMO. The one that *runs* for the band (rehearsals, gigs, public relations, and so on) is the one that has to take the hard decisions. Quite often a band leader is not judged by his attitude towards band members, but form his commitment to the goal-wich is music, and that's good for all the band members.

Just my thoughts

yannis

Be grateful for what you've got - a Nord, a laptop and two hands
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Have you considered a 2 piece? Best thing I ever did, he sings and plays acoustic guitar, I play piano and sing back up vocals. We still play even though he now lives 5 hours a way, he has young kids in town yet and a few times a month is enough for me. In my mind the fewer members the better, certainly easier band dynamics, and guess what, yours truly is featured in every song.
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stepay, that is the life of a musician. Wait and see where the chips fall after a meeting.

 

In the meantime, maybe you, the drummer and bassist can work as a trio. Streamline your arrangements and go for it!

 

Especially since the drummer sings and you all have a body of songs to play.

 

That may be an opportunity to play more. In fact, the trio may have a slightly 'different' sound (no knock on the guitarist). This could be a good thing.

 

Ac-cen-tu-ate the positive. :cool:

PD

 

"The greatest thing you'll ever learn, is just to love and be loved in return."--E. Ahbez "Nature Boy"

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Man. Great advice here. Thanks. I appreciate it all.

 

Tom, yes, I could become an "on call" musician. There are a couple ways to do that locally that I could take advantage of. Also, lots of bands here in Columbus, OH that I could join. For now though, I want to see what happens with this band. Hopefully things will work out.

Steve (Stevie Ray)

"Do the chickens have large talons?"

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If you have the desire to, then you'll always play music. You'll always find a way to make something happen. Sometimes it may seem unfortunate to stop playing with certain people, but sometimes change can bring about different and better opportunaties. You might find yourself very happy playing the hired gun. You may find another great bunch of people to work with consistantly only because you were a hired gun on one gig. best of luck
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Good gigs that pay well don't grow on trees in my town and a friend of mine told me not to get the tatoo on the arm anymore. He was refering to my loyalty to one band. I now play in 4 line ups with the occasional fill in session and the first booking takes preference. If it was me I would'nt throw anything away just yet unless it is making you miserable. Good luck , bands can be hard work .
JDP
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Sure, it's not as easy for a keyboardist to sub as it is for a drummer.
Sorry, Tom, I disagree! Most bands are guitar-centered enough that a keyboard player can easily sit in and lay back when a change is coming up. But the drummer has to know every change and telegraph them to the rest of the band. If the drummer doesn't have all the arrangements down pat, it's very hard for the band to be any good.

 

Anyway, Stepay, I'm like you -- I can't stay current and learn new tunes playing less than once a week. I assume by "playing" you mean either practice or gig. Frankly, if I were in anything but a blues band I'd really need to practice or gig 3 times a week to get started. I'm not the quickest study and I find it hard to remember the arrangements at first.

 

The hardest part for me is starting songs I didn't know before learning them to play in the band. I see the title and it doesn't connect to any music until someone starts the tune -- which doesn't work too well for those with piano intros!

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In the meantime, maybe you, the drummer and bassist can work as a trio. Streamline your arrangements and go for it!
This is exactly what a good friend recently went through. His primary band after some years of building a creditable rep faced disolution due to one of the members going into semi-retirement and moving out of town for months at a time. Unfortunately he was a key componant of the band's trademark sound. The rest of the band felt doubly pissed that they weren't as well-heeled and were left behind idling, so they put together a trio. Here's the good part: they're getting more gigs than before because they can book smaller venues (the money works out the same) and when the other guy comes to town they have that angle covered too. Now, they're even happy to see him ;)
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I tend to take more of the hired-gun approach, and I try to keep my chops sharp enough to be able to sit-in in a variety of situations. It's not only about keeping my options open; I enjoy playing with other folks and building up my network.

 

Gigging musicians often meet other musicians, chat, and hook up later.

 

While it's also nice to get some regular work with some cats you know. Forming a band is one option. Keeping a well-stocked, up-to-date Rolodex is another option. I like to travel, and I know a lot of cats who don't like to travel. So, when I do travel, I call up some cats I know in that place, and if I don't know anyone there, then I can always fall back on the the union. :)

 

Actually, one of my mentors got the call to perform with Barry White once when he rolled into Cleveland. BW liked the way my mentor played so much that he asked my mentor to join his "Love Unlimited Orchestra". My mentor joined and toured with BW. :)

 

My mentor also told me that while he was on tour, during some of his down time, he'd hit a club or two and pick up some extra work on the side. He even mentioned something about getting called for some studio work from time to time (during his down time while on tour).

 

All you have to do is make yourself available, let some cats who dig your work know that you're available, be flexible, and show up on-time whenever called in a pinch. The word will get around that you're good, available, and--most important--dependable.

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The difference between one a month and twice a month for a band is minimal. It is hard to dial in a small number that exact with a fluxuating market. I know a few bands that are seasonal and they really enjoy it that way. My cousin's gospel band goes into high gear during the outdoor season and plays a lot of festivals. Some bands gear up for the Thanksgiving to New Year rush. You may consider something like that. There are a lot of company parties to book during that time.

 

Robert

This post edited for speling.
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Originally posted by dp2:

and show up on-time whenever called in a pinch.

That's one of the most important skills there is. For the most part I play in one band. We had to beg to have one weekend a month off so we could spend family time, so we play as much as we want.

I will take an outside gig once in a while. I find that playing with other players that I don't normally play with helps my chops and attitude. And I'm ALWAYS on time.

 

I've got such a big kit that it takes me a while to set up. I've found that it's easier if I get there first, so I don't have to work around the other band members. Plus I have time to troubleshoot if something isn't working quite right.

 

My regular band will normally schedule a rehearsal right after the break, within a day or two of the gig. Keeps the new stuff fresh, and remembered. I can remember the arraingements quite well, as I have a well developed musical memory, but I still have a hard time putting the names with the songs. There are some songs that I've been playing with my band for 4+ years, and I still need to hear the guitar player noodling around before the song to remind me what it is.

"In the beginning, Adam had the blues, 'cause he was lonesome.

So God helped him and created woman.

 

Now everybody's got the blues."

 

Willie Dixon

 

 

 

 

 

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