Band on the verge of getting back together, but...
My old band is on the verge of getting back together. Myself, the singer, and the rhythm guitarist are all very much into it, and realize our lives just aren't the same without it. The lead guitarist is in, but he's one of those guys who is just as happy playing by himself on garage band as he is playing with us. The difference between now and then is that all of us realize that we're now in our early 30s, and that we're never going to be mega rock stars. But that doesn't mean we can't still enjoy writing songs and performing live together. It's really nice to all be on that same page, and I think it'll lead to less ego problems and it can be more about the music.
The problem is our drummer (imagine that!) He was always the least committed of all of us. He would miss or cancel practices, bring his girlfriend to practices, and sometimes disappear for weeks on end. And nothing has changed. He, like the rest of us, has a full time job, a wife, and other adult responsibilities. If he literally doesn't have the time or wish to do it anymore, I can respect that and have no ill will towards him. He was pretty much the reason we broke up. But it's been since Thanksgiving Eve 2009, and times heals. I think he and our singer are ready to be in the same room again! But the idea of finding a replacement drummer has come up before. Both guitarists won't hear of it. They're better friends with the drummer than the singer and I are. They don't want to play with anyone else. They make excuses for him, and seem to accept that this is just the way it is.
There was actually one show (Thanksgiving Eve 2007, actually... same bar) where our drummer was just not returning calls, and it became obvious he wasn't doing that gig. I had a drummer friend who I called up the day before the gig, and just asked him to bring his drumset and to learn a list of covers and we'll just play without any prior rehearsal and see what happens. We played the show, did about 20 covers, and even threw out a few originals that he had NEVER heard before. It was a tad rusty, but I think if you were just an average pedestrian, you'd never have known.
I know this guy is currently available, and would like to bring him in. He's reliable, and has a wife and kid like the rest of us, and just wants a hobby. I don't know how to go about doing this, cause I feel like if the other guys would just give someone else a chance, they'd be amazed at what it's like to have a drummer who actually wants to play.
Anybody else ever dealt with something like this?
Guitarists are dime a dozen. Singers and reliable drummers are hens teeth. Join the dots.
A lot can happen in a couple of years. Maybe the old drummer changed a bit? Either way, you aren't going to get anywhere with the guys who are friends with the old drummer unless he starts acting like he used to. And if he does, just tell them that YOU aren't going to put up with it. At that point it will be him or you. One of you has got to go.
All that being said, commitment is a relative term. How much are you wanting to practice/gig? If it's once or twice a week practice PLUS gigs that's too much for some married guys with jobs and families.
I wouldn't practice that much anyway. If you can't be SHOW READY in less than a half dozen practices, you guys should quit altogether. And after those half dozen practices, just gig for the most part and get together every now and then to knock out 5 new songs or something. But all this practicing and practicing and commitment and work and practicing and more practicing I read about on this forum is just ridiculous. Either you can play the dang songs or you can't. Learn them AT HOME and run them a couple times each before you get out live. If you can't do that, then your band is no good (or at least some of the members are no good). But I digress.....
Either way, give the guy a shot. The other two guys aren't going to let you replace him until he does something ridiculous. Until that time he seems like he's your only option with that band. Other than that, grab the new drummer up and start a new band.
Doesnít sound good, but Iíd go with the flow without getting my hopes up too high and see how it shakes out. If something's wrong (drummer) then sometimes itís better to let the problem work out naturally than trying to force it.
Iím gonna guess that you guys didnít gig much, or make much money doing it. That sometimes keeps one from being real dedicated to steady rehearsals.
Whatís your proportion of covers vs originals? Do you spend your rehearsals writing, or rehearsing covers?
I more or less agree with Marko, especially his first three words. I would treat this no less rigorously in its early stages than I would treat any potential band with people I'd never met. And, problems this early on typically wind up being showstoppers months later, so it's important you recognize them in their infancy so you don't hop a train today that's headed nowhere except off the rails.
Appreciate all the advice!
We started in 2001, when we were 18-19. For those few years we were ORIGINALS ONLY! To play a cover was to sell out! That changed when we started getting gigs that required us to play longer than than our 15 or so originals would last. Then we realized after college that covers get better reactions from crowds, and got you better gigs that actually paid!
From 2005-2007, we got a weekly gig at a local bar that had a college night on Wednesdays. It started as an open mic, but it eventually became an open stage with a full band. Basically our band would host the event, play for awhile, and then we were basically the house band. Local musicians would come up and play with us as their backing band. This approach really lead to some decent sized crowds (as did the college night drink specials). Then we would close out the night. Sometimes we would only play a few songs as a band because there were so many other musicians, and sometimes we'd play all night because no other players would show up. It was great fun, the pay was decent, and we really grew as musicians during that time.
But one unfortunate night in late 2007, some college douchebags vandalized the restroom, hence college night came to an end, as did our regular gig. So we got back out there and started getting other gigs in 08 and 09, but by this point the drummer was really flaking on us, and our singer kind of went through a depression, became an alcoholic and presumably was into drugs, though he never said and I never asked. It all came crashing to a halt during our last gig on Thanksgiving Eve 2009. We didn't play badly or anything, but I think everyone had just had enough of the ********. We didn't really say anything, we just sort of never played again. Our friendships remained intact, and we socialized in other ways.
So we actually did a fair amount of gigging, but never made a large amount of money doing so, to answer Marko's question.
I could literally write a book about that 05-07 open stage gig. So many colorful characters. Things were so tight and so loose at the same time. Usually it was just some kid who fancied himself the next Dave Matthews who would come up and play, and we'd do the best of our ability to play along with him. Sometimes it'd be a singer & a guitarist, and they'd just want to play with the bassist/drummer. People were free to use our equipment/instruments (except the drum set). Sometimes people would bring in a piano and just play along with us. We had 2 older guys who played blues guitar and harmonica, and they'd just want to do a blues jam, so we'd just provide them with 10 minutes of 12 bar blues or something like that. One girl brought in a cello a few times and wanted to do Oasis' wonderwall, with her boyfriend singing and one of our guitarists strumming the chords. We had a guy who fancied himself the next Bob Dylan who was really good, sometimes we'd just take a break and let him go at it by himself.
That was the most fun I ever had musically. Every night was different. We kept learning new covers, since we were there weekly, and we wanted to keep it fresh. I learned more in that bar every week than I ever learned in school, musically or otherwise. Just thought I'd share, in case this gives anybody else the same idea.
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