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The Struggles of a prog band


Queen August

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I've been playing in the progressive rock band Queen August now for 2 years. We've finally gotten a lineup that can stay together and in a week we'll have a demo out. I guess what pisses me off is that we play well compared to the fools around us playing hardcore and heavy metal, yet no recognition. This of course is just a rant I needed to do so I could get other keyboardists to feel sorry for me. Haha.

 

So yeah, hopefully down the road we'll be somewhere huge and you can all get backstage.

 

check us out if you care to. I've been playing only 4 years, so don't feel afraid to give me pointers. Take note all of the tracks are live.

 

www.myspace.com/queenaugust

www.garageband.com/queenaugustmusic

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As you are finding out already, talent alone does not promote a band/musician to the tip of Mount Everest. ;)

 

Other than style of music, what are the other bands in your area doing that yours is not?

 

Is your band and/or any of the members popular socially?

 

Nothing wrong with your rant. Between gigs and gear, that happens around here.

 

Some of the vets may chime in with some ideas of taking your act to the next level.

 

In the meantime, search through the threads. There are some good promotional ideas that you might want to consider for your band. :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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Truer words were never spoken. Success doesn't happen to you, you have to make it happen.

 

Here are some quick tips:

 

1. Networking is more important than musical skill.

 

2. Shameless promotion is more important than musical skill.

 

As we all know, a band doesn't have to be particularly skilled to be popular. It's unfortunate but true. If you can promote well AND your band is talented, you've got a good thing going. Finally...

 

3. Always push to the next level. If you've been playing in coffee houses and small bars, make it your mission to do a gig in that bigger club where some of the more popular bands play. Team up with some other bands. If you approach the club with a band line-up already set, you'll probably have an easier time. Then make sure to get as many people as humanly possible at that show.

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Oh, one more thing. The idea of networking doesn't have to be restricted to the musical world. For instance, a friend of a friend of our bass player was dating the president or whatever of a sorority at the local university. We got this guy and his girlfriend to bring all the sorority girls out to one of our early shows. If you get the girls to your show, then believe me, ALL the guys will follow.
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Originally posted by Bridog6996:

Oh, one more thing. The idea of networking doesn't have to be restricted to the musical world.

Musicians should be the last target audience. Sheer numbers alone makes it a very small audience.

 

Not to mention, musicians have no money. :P

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Originally posted by Queen August:

I guess what pisses me off is that we play well compared to the fools around us playing hardcore and heavy metal, yet no recognition.

Have love and respect for the "fools" around you and you'll find doors opening that weren't even there before. Recognition should be low on your criteria for success.

 

Originally posted by Queen August:

I've been playing only 4 years, so don't feel afraid to give me pointers. Take note all of the tracks are live.

Practice with a metronome. Prog, especially, requires you to lock in a tempo. Hard. I recommend the MA-30.

 

Keep at it. Forever.

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Originally posted by Queen August:

I've been playing in the progressive rock band Queen August now for 2 years. We've finally gotten a lineup that can stay together and in a week we'll have a demo out. I guess what pisses me off is that we play well compared to the fools around us playing hardcore and heavy metal, yet no recognition. This of course is just a rant I needed to do so I could get other keyboardists to feel sorry for me. Haha.

Indeed, recognition is something you have to go out and GRAB!

 

I'm in a prog metal band myself, I know the feeling. However, we have a couple of songs in our arsenal that are heavy enough to get the hardcore kids two-stepping (without stooping to the Cookie Monster vox et al). We fired them off at a freebie "battle of the bands" show in September, which triggered a massive buzz in the local scene about us.

 

One thing leads to another, and now January 20th we're going to be the only unsigned band on a card that includes the two biggest regional indie label bands and the national act Guttermouth. We hit this show hard, and a contract is expected to follow...

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Originally posted by Queen August:

I've been playing in the progressive rock band Queen August now for 2 years. We've finally gotten a lineup that can stay together and in a week we'll have a demo out. I guess what pisses me off is that we play well compared to the fools around us playing hardcore and heavy metal, yet no recognition. This of course is just a rant I needed to do so I could get other keyboardists to feel sorry for me. Haha.

I'm gonna give you some advice even though you most likely don't know me and didn't ask for any. You can tell me to fuck off, tell me I'm full of shit, whatever you want and I can accept that.

 

First of all:

 

Not everyone likes prog.

 

Also, just because you can play well doesn't mean you write great songs.

 

I listen to some prog, but just because it's prog doesn't mean I'm gonna dig the stuff. For example, I think Dream Theatre blows; you may think they're really great. Allow that people have different tastes.

 

Don't look down on them or the bands that they like, or you start becoming one of these bitter musicians who blames everything on the record industry or MTV ("Yeah, all these bands are popular because they are good looking and have a good agent...").

 

Enjoy your music and creativity for its own sake. Concentrate more on your own music and less on other people's music.

 

Hardcore is not about "chops". If you don't understand that, then I don't know what to tell you. I'd much rather watch a hardcore band that barely knows how to play their instruments, but play it with passion and conviction, as if every fucking note meant something to them, than watch a bunch of wankers play really complicated things and solo a lot but have shitty songs and/or no passion.

 

Start networking with those "fools" that play metal and hardcore instead of looking down your nose at them. How would you like it if someone came up to you who knew how to write great songs, played with great passion, and could play 12 instruments really well - someone you really admired - and they considered you a "fool" because of the way you play your instrument?

 

You can serve as an inspiration to others, or you can play the tired old "Why doesn't anyone like me? I play so much better than they do!!" Which do you want to do? Here's a story that may further illustrate my point:

 

I played a double bill with Nels Cline. I greatly admire Nels Cline. He can play guitar much better than I can (I'm more of a keyboard player). I'm inventive, but play fairly simple stuff on guitar. He's amazing. I played my set, and he came up to me afterwards and said, "I really like your guitar playing." I mention this only because I want you to really think about your attitude towards other musicians. This guy can mop the floor with me; I played very simple stuff. But he chose to pay me a compliment because he wasn't concerned that my band got a standing ovation. He wasn't threatened by that. He's just all about the music and about expression. Your reaction towards musicians you label "fools" makes me think it's more about your insecurity and need for approval than it is about their popularity.

 

As I said, by now, you're probably seriously cheesed off at me, although I hope that's not the case. I'm honestly not trying to piss you off, but instead hope that you can cultivate a more encompassing, accepting attitude towards musicians, even those who don't play as well as you. Thank you for your consideration.

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Ken/Eleven Shadows,

 

Outstanding reply +1 :thu:

 

Your sentiments ring true in all aspects of local bands, no matter the genre.

 

We see it out here where I live as well. The bands and musicians who all get along weather they play classical, pop, rock, jazz, hardcore, prog, are the ones getting all the gigs.

 

Those who sit around and complain about the music scene don't get very many gigs, and especially not the "A" rooms.

 

One thing you said did stick out with me about you'd rather watch a hardcore act that plays with passion over a technically brilliant act that is dispassionate.

 

Again, I wholeheartedly agree.

 

The most boring live shows, to me, our those where the musicians are superb, and can play circles around me, yet they project an attitude of they'd rather be somewhere else.

 

There's a reason why some of the "cheese" bands get so many gigs at the popular night spots....it's because they have fun, and make sure the audience has fun. Heck, I play in Journey tribute band of all things....LOL thats where my 10 years of lessons and 38 years of playing ended up. But ya know what? I'm having a blast, we play the music very well, and the crowds love us because we have fun...

 

 

ok sorry for the slight off topic.

 

 

Anyway, back to the original poster:

 

Some good suggestions have been thrown your way.

 

Can you try and get hooked up with another act and present yourselves to a club/venue that way?

 

That's how we got our start. We hooked up with one of the most popular local acts, and "opened" a show for them doing one set of our show. That's all it took, and now we play pretty much whenever we want.

David

Gig Rig:Casio Privia PX-5S | Yamaha MODX+ 6 | MacBook Pro 14" M1| Mainstage

 

 

 

 

 

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Originally posted by EscapeRocks:

Ken/Eleven Shadows,

 

Outstanding reply +1 :thu:

 

Your sentiments ring true in all aspects of local bands, no matter the genre.

 

We see it out here where I live as well. The bands and musicians who all get along weather they play classical, pop, rock, jazz, hardcore, prog, are the ones getting all the gigs.

 

Those who sit around and complain about the music scene don't get very many gigs, and especially not the "A" rooms.

So much of it comes down to attitude and respect and open-mindedness. We get great gigs because we try to write great songs and play them with great feeling, and always treat the other bands, sound engineer, booker, club owners, and everyone else with respect.

 

As a side note, we were auditioning bass players for our band before. Two bass players really liked our band's music (sort of like Radiohead with female vocals), and had cut their teeth on prog rock. They were, interestingly, the two bassists who had the most trouble groovin'. Does this mean that they sucked? No, not at all. They were both quite gifted bass players. It was just a poor fit stylistically. One guy was quite humbled: "I thought I could play just about anything." We were quite impressed with his chops, but he had trouble playing behind the beat and groovin' with us. He came away with the attitude of, "Hey, this was fun. I'm gonna work on another aspect of my bass playing."

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I haven't listened to your material yet.

 

However, as someone else involved in a progressive rock project, I do it as a labor of love. I don't expect fame or fortune to come from what I'm doing. I'm pragmatic about it. There isn't a huge audience for what we do. There, now it's out in the open.

 

So, unless you play progressive rock out of love for the genre GET OUT WHILE YOU CAN! Even the big guys like ELP, YES, Tull etc. aren't the Beatles.

 

Not even Led Zepplin. Not even Madonna or Brittany Spears.

 

They don't make the money or have the name recognition that those acts do and, sorry to say, they never will.

 

Stick to it though, the world needs more progressive rock, if for nothing else to bear stark contrast to the commercially contrived music designed with nothing but money as a motivation.

 

Carl

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BTW - I took a peak at the band myspace page - must say, it's a bit dorky to have each member list their influences, then have a band "influence list" directly beneath.

 

Listened to "For What Relief":

 

1) Too much repetition in the first two minutes. As interesting as that riff is, it's not interesting enough to sustain 16 repeats.

 

2) Singer has a nice voice, but he needs to learn how to use vibrato.

 

3) Again, repetition is an issue here. 3 solid minutes of one particular chord progression, granted there's lyrics and a solo, but change it up some!

 

4) Finally, the back-end jam begins. Couple of nice transitions, but then you settle on a one-chord groove for entirely too long.

 

5) Now we're back to the beginning riff. Thankfully, you only hit it 4 times before finishing.

 

Not bad, though I must say I'm more a fan of the fast-cut arrangements displayed by King Crimson/FZ/Mr. Bungle and the like.

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I also listened to "For what relief". I enjoyed the mid-section with the noodling guitar solo, and liked how the drums, bass and guitar were working together there.

 

Piano & organ parts, in general, sounded e a bit irregular in the turns and faster bits. I thought the keyboard and guitar could track together more closely.

 

I'm only a casual prog fan - but there's certainly potential in this track. I think it would benefit from some tighter editing, though.

Tom F.

"It is what it is."

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Originally posted by Queen August:

check us out if you care to. I've been playing only 4 years, so don't feel afraid to give me pointers. Take note all of the tracks are live.

Welcome to the Forum,

 

It's always nice to see musicians being courageous and pushing their limits.

 

Some pointers (I just dropped the needle to see what I liked)

 

- For what Relief seemed to be the most successful track for me. The pastoral bits worked, the guitar tone was most authoritative on that track. Not sure if it was miked differently from the others. I like the pastoral style of keys you bring to the band ... a bit reminiscent of T. Banks in 1972-74. period.

 

- I think you have more mastery over the simpler bits than you do over the others. So that means more practising. If you want to do more complex music, that's ok. You still need to master it and make it tight.

 

- Your lead singer has a nice natural tone, needs to develop some idiom tricks, like the above mentioned vibrato. He is straining at times. I'd suggest a coach to make sure he doesn't hurt himself. He'll get some breathing and vocal exercises to help him stay healthy.

 

- Develop at least one short catchy high energy song that you can open the set with. I don't notice a lot of riffing interplay between you and the guitarist and for rock audiences this could be an attractive feature. You obviously have the arranging skills to do these kinds of clever little tunes (Take a listen to Liquid Tension Experiment) that will play to a metal audience.

 

All the best,

 

Jerry

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Alright, I'm calling this guy out.

 

He's got 7 posts and all are "come to my website to hear my music" so he can get his myspace hits up.

 

It pisses me off when we all take so much time to provide constructive criticism of someone's work, but they were only hear for the advertising.

 

SPAM!

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This definitly isn't a spam thread friends. My best friend passed on just a few months ago so I wasn't able to start really replying until recently. If this is the sort of thing I have to say to "convince" people to think otherwise, that's too bad.

 

As for the critism, thanks a bunch! For what relief was recorded live two years ago with a lineup that was together a month. I had been playing boards for about two years then and as you say, much work needed to be done with that. Tracks like Sparrow and 7th and 9th were written and then recorded live as well. Since this lineup now has been together 6 months or so, it's getting tighter by the day. The shread bit in Sparrow is one of my more flamboyant keyboard moments. Tricky to pull off, and the audience digs it. Thanks for opinions and comments, minus the spam B.S. There's a lot more to be done before I can really be satisfied with my music.

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Glad to hear it ain't spam. Good luck with your music. We do get a lot of spam on this board, so people are suspicious when someone posts a link to a MySpace page with really low post counts, which I think is understandable. At any rate, best of luck with your band!
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Haha... Don't worry about passing judgement. We're still getting tighter and that'll take a while considering this lineup has been together 7 months. Your opinion helps me look at things in another light. If you're interested in my solo shit, I have a improv video here. www.myspace.com/progmusician

 

my solo site is www.myspace.com/ginocappuccetti

 

Thanks!

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