Losing focus after others' mistakes....
My current group has some issues at guitar. I could write a ten page rant about it. Honestly it's all the same stuff that anyone here has dealt with that's played in amateur bands. I'm trying to dump the guy.
The guy makes at least one catastrophic (usually two) mistakes a gig. I could be playing a flawless gig up to that point, but then I start really steaming. Then I typically start making mistakes of my own, albeit not huge ones. Still, they are mistakes that I don't typically make. It takes me a few songs to really calm down and get back to being focused.
I guess it's also worth noting that I do the booking, web stuff, business, sound, scheduling, etc. in addition to being the bass player. I feel like I have the right to get pissed off with as much as I have invested in the project, but I don't like it effecting my playing.
Do you guys have any pointers on recovering during a set from stuff like this quickly (other than getting a new guitar player or going on medication!).
if you get used to it, you would learn to adjust and not let it get into your head.
if you can't ... then, that sucks. it might mean you have a hard time dealing with some realities.
otherwise....there's either telling the guy how you feel and trying to fix the problem, or continuing to put up with it and enabling.
I can relate in an obtuse way, in that I can't think right which leads to not walking or talking right when something that has been adding straws for a long enough while that my back is straining from it adds another straw. Musicians duffing is a normal thing, that's really the only reason I'll agree to go see Billy Joel or whomever with my dad- to wait for a globetrotting pro to duff, makes me feel pretty good about how solid I usually play. But you've got someone who needs to take a role change in your life, one that does not involve performing with you. The last thing you need is to earn the reputation of a whiny hothead when he delivers the back-breaking straw and you blow up on stage. Best wishes!
And billy Joel is awesome.
The difficult part is letting go of mistakes, even your own :crying: "Getting steamed" is the real problem. You must be relaxed to maintain focus. Stress is your enemy!
Once properly relaxed, you must know where you are in the tune. If you are leaning on the guy who just clammed you're now his accomplice :(
How to respond depends on whether it's a trainwreck or not. BTW the soloist playing in the wrong key is not a trainwreck, it's an opportunity to explore creative tension and release through dissonance and pantonality as you keep grooving ;) If the soloist is going to the chorus early, then follow them and keep grooving :bassist:
My own responses range from acting like the mistake ever happened to yelling "drum solo!" at the top of my lungs so we can regroup :D
To recap: RELAX and stay focused on the groove :cool:
I'm hearing two things:
The other guy is making mistakes. This should result in coaching, and, at some point, he'll either improve, or you should part ways.
The other thing I'm hearing is your reaction to this. There isn't enough detail here on you, or the situation, to know whether your reaction to the faulty player is proportional to his errors. But allowing someone else to impact your performance indicates, to me, that some introspection is required, to understand why this upsets you so much.
Best of luck.
I went through this recently. I would do yourself a favor and axe/replace the guy ASAP, or else you'll end up drawing things out far longer than you have to be, and you'll place resentment in the wrong places.
On the other side, if you don't want to get rid of him, then maybe your problem is that you're focusing on too many aspects of the band at once. His mistakes could be the straw that broke the camel's back, while the real issue is you're being brought down by the stress of handling too much of the non-music side of the band.
Brianrost brings up some good points on relaxing while you're playing. I know that when our remaining members make a mistake when we jam on a familiar tune, we usually end up following where he was going. A few times so far this has led to additional instrumental sequences in songs that we never would have never explored otherwise. I guess it would help to know what you mean by "catastrophic mistake".
EDIT: just reread your original post; this is happening in gigs? I can understand your frustration.
First, the idea that I'm a hot head is laughable.
But since someone asked about context, here you go:
We were playing a two hour paid gig at a very nice place. The owners really take care of the bands. There was a good crowd all day. The first hour went great....then the guitar player starts a song in the wrong key. Now it's traditional, old timey, bluegrass stuff so it's not hard to adjust right? So I can tell right away he's in a different key (by contrast to the vocals), peek at his hands, and realize he's playing in Dm instead of Cm. I adjust on the fly within few enough notes that probably no one listening in the crowd would even know. But then when it comes time to move onto the next chord, he must have short circuited because he just quit right there and says "my bad" (over a PA). Then he starts over in the original key. Again - this is in front of a crowd of people who came to see us.
Getting upset and letting it affect your playing isn't helping anything is it? so why bother getting upset?
This is easy to understand but not really easy to implement, but it's true pretty much when you deal with people in any sort of relationship (your day job, your family, your neighbors, etc),
Just tell yourself it's OK and you will deal with it in a mature manner when the time is appropriate (ie. coach the guy, ditch the guy, etc), but that you aren't going to worry about it in the middle of a set. If you force yourself practice it enough it will become second nature like anything else.
- A former hothead
To error is human.
From the small sense of what's really happening, that anyone can glean through the internet...
I'd say the issue isn't so much about keeping your head screwed on, while thing's go wrong on stage. I think we can all shrug it off if that kind of thing happens *and everything else about the project is going well*. But it sounds like there are other tensions happening, that are just too much BS for where you want the project to go.
I'd worry more about taking an honest look at whether you want this guy involved or not. Too many people in this biz take gigs that they just don't give 2 $&@!'s about, and then let everyone else worry when things aren't up to snuff.
Only valid reason to get mad is if the guitar player is not doing his homework on his own time before the gigs. I made it a point to practice (light practice) on any gig day. If the issue is song order he needs to blast the music in his ears to get it embedded in his subconscious.
If he's lax and that is the cause you have reason to get pissed off about it.
A sure way to avoid the same mistake twice is record them doing it then have them listen to it over and over. I used to make a mistake and when it was taped I'd hear it a few times and it was a mistake I'd never make again.
my 2 cents...replace him
I hate that. Here's two things that anchor me in this regard:
1) I have to play the song. I'm not playing changes. I'm not just keeping time. I have to play the song (which of course includes changes and time). I have the melody or harmony going in my head, sometimes I'm even singing it a little bit. You didn't say what kind of mistakes, but he gets lost, his solo falls apart, he "***** the bed" as some would say. The more you lay it down for him, the better the chances that he will be there with you. When he falls apart, just don't fall with him, because you're playing the song.
2) That said, you playing it with those people in that moment. Did the rest of the rhythm section fall part with him or can you form that silent pact with them in the moment to reinforce what should be happening? Alternatively, the soloist clearly goes to the bridge when he should, can you mutually agree with the other guys in the moment that for the greater good, you will all also align to the bridge in that spot?
I used to play with some guys who I could count on to play great 85% of the time, but come unglued once a set and in the moment, this is the best I came up with. After the gig, before the next one...you've got other options. But on that stand, you just gotta cope sometimes. Those two things help me, maybe they can help you too.
As far as stopping and saying "My bad":
I once saw Lee Konitz playing in a trio with Paul Bley and Steve Swallow.
Lee started up the very first tune and after a lengthy intro statement he stopped, apparently expecting his bandmates to come in which they did not.
Lee looked at them for a few seconds, walked up to his mike and asked the audience "Can you guys hear the bass and piano OK?"
Then he started the tune up again and all was well.
Yep, even the greats do it from time to time.
Since you mentioned the gig was "bluegrassy":
I can't even count the number of times the dreaded "capo malfunction" has caused half a band to be in a different key than the other half.
Generally I think Its great when others make mistakes. I laugh at them, and with them, and be happy it's not me.
Not to crap on this thread, but in fairness, I have been drinking.
I you are expecting a perfect performance from your bandmates or yourself,the go ahead and quit now,it aint gonna happen. And your getting mad when he makes a mistake doesn't solve the problem,it only makes it worse as you pointed out. If he is making the same mistake over and over again,then there is an issue. If it a random brainfart,then just laugh at it and keep playing. It's not a big a deal as you make it out to be.
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