Band played again for 1st time since Nov 09
Yesterday, my band practiced for the 1st time since our last gig in November 09. The main reason was that our drummer and singer didn't get along, and that eventually just morphed into an overall negative vibe, amplifying all other smaller problems. We've talked about wanting to get back to it for about a year now, and only just now finally got around to it! I was excited, because we've been removed from the situation for a few years, and we're in our early 30s now, and have matured somewhat.
We were an originals band when we began in 2001, and slowly incorporated covers until eventually we became a cover band who threw in 2-3 originals per gig, if allowed. So we mostly played through our old originals, and it sounded pretty good. We were a little rusty, but for the most part it was like riding a bicycle again. Except for one person....
Our singer! It's as if he didn't take one second to prepare for this. He didn't hardly remember any lyrics, mumbled through most of the time or even worse, just didn't sing at all. He sang very poorly too. Even though we have a LG and RG, the singer would usually strum along on an acoustic, just for something to do with his hands. But he didn't remember ANY of the chords to ANY of the songs, and even forgot how to play certain chords altogether! It's like he forgot every single thing about being in a band and playing music. The strange thing is, he seemed to be the most excited about this reunion.
I've recently been in contact with an old friend who I know is a good singer, and said if we need a singer he'd like to try with us. We're tempted to see what he can do. I know that was the first time in 3.5 years, and everyone is going to be a little rusty, but this was different. It was like having one of those awful singers during the first episode of American Idol sing with us. It was so bad, that it was hard to even muster the enthusiasm to play through the song.
Usually your first reaction is the right one. Can't hurt to give this other guy a whirl, despite the effecrs that the layoff had on your original singer. The singers voice is his instrument and its his responsibility to be as prepared as you guys were.
If there's another guy who could do your band some good, you gotta go for it.
You're in your early 30's and clearly mature enough to realize that its enough screwing around, especially with a guy who dropped music for a couple years and (although its not his fault) is having a hard time getting back into it. Unless your current singer is a best friend I'd play it by ear to avoid loss of friendship but otherwise you gotta tell the guy he's out and you want to move forward.
Sorry to say but that seems to be typical lead singer's mentality... invest as little time and effort as possible in prep and hope that "talent" and charisma can carry the day.
The problem is that compared to, say, a somewhat rusty rhythm section, the margin of error with a lead singer is so much smaller. If you start playing out again and it takes a few gigs for you and the drummer to get as tight as you were back in the day, no big deal. You may notice it... 95% of the audience will not. But if your singer goes out there in front of a paying audience fumbling lyrics, off key and hacking away on guitar, you'd have been better off not regrouping at all.
Thanks for the observations. I agree that he probably thought he never "lost it" and that he'd just stroll in there and remember all the lyrics and sing like a bird. I prepared by running through most of our originals (some are best left in the past!) and making sure I could still play through all the old covers. If muscle memory didn't kick in for a certain song and I was fumbling, I made sure I wrote down some notes so that I would have a guide while playing with the guys. I was the second backing vocalist (RG was the main backup singer), but I figured for this first time I'd just stick to playing my parts right.
The singer is in fact one of my best friends. He, myself and RG have been friends since KINDERGARTEN and all started learning guitar at the same time. We formed our first band in high school and shared our first live performance experience in the form of a high school talent show. Had dreams to take on the world together as younger men, and thought we could be the next U2 or something. Ever since the band ended, we've still been good friends. But apparently he "lost it" during that time.
So while it won't be as easy as saying "you suck, finding someone else", I think that it'd be easier now than it would've been 10 years ago. We're all in our early 30s and are pretty much set on our paths in life. There will be no peddling demos to radio stations, playing ****** gigs as an opening band in a college bar, and no dreams of record deals, or anything like that. We're just guys who want a hobby to enjoy, practice maybe once a week and maybe play out once a month TOPS. I don't see why it has to end our friendship.
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