yeah yeah I know - stay or quit thread, originals band

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by hrodbert696, Oct 14, 2013.


  1. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2010
    Location:
    Like old Hampshire, but New
    Hey everyone,

    Six months ago (March 2013) I joined an originals group just getting launched in the seacoast area of the state. Then in July we moved to be closer to my wife's work, so the commute to band practice went from 20 minutes to nearer an hour. That's about $20 on gas each practice night. The group is drums, me on bass, two guitarists, and a keys player/singer.

    In the last seven months we've worked up quite a bit of material - there's an album's worth of music which mostly seems to be just around the corner from turning into real songs that we could play out or put on a CD. However, there are only one or two songs that are actually written, done, and everyone knows their parts.

    I've become the principal lyricist by default, just because I'll go home from a jam and think up lyrics for what we came up with. I'm not the principal singer, though. He's very capable, but in all this time has not actually sat down with the lyrics I bring in and learned them. Maybe it's because of his job, where he's working long hours, maybe it's just procrastination, I don't know.

    I've gone home and written whole songs soup to nuts and recorded them myself with drum machine, my own mediocre guitar and singing, and bass, in hopes that this would be a way that we would get material up and running faster rather than waiting to jam it out collectively. I'll email the recording around and everyone will say "good work," but then nobody sits down to learn it or work up their own ideas for parts to go with it.

    Scheduling has become the other issue. Me and the guitarist who hosts rehearsal have very flexible schedules; the others, less so. Week after week it's almost impossible to get all five in one room together, so we often practice with four or cancel.

    This is my first originals group, I like the people and I like our sound and I like the idea of playing songs I wrote or helped write. I didn't quit when I moved for those reasons, and also because I didn't have a group in the new town to play with. Now, though, I'm getting auditions and offers for cover groups nearby and I'm starting to wonder if I should stick with this group. Incidentally, I just reviewed and updated the family budget and we just barely break even, so $60-80 a month on gas to drive over there is not inconsequential.

    So - thoughts? How long do you give an originals project to get it together? Should I give it time to simmer, will the outcome be worth it? What's everyone's take here?
     
  2. obimark

    obimark

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2011
    How long for an originals band to show some success? Short answer: Forever, never and a mighty long time.
    for 99.9% of them.
    The way I see it, you had better reallly , really love whatever original music, ep, album, cd etc. your are pouring your heart and soul into making, because guess what?
    You just may be the only ones who do. Sorry that's the way of this world when there is too much "original" music and not enough need for it.
    Does the world need another cover band? Probably not- but I keep trying for the hell of it. Again, there is currently an oversupply vs. the market.
    Now if you were that dude who found the last guitar in 2112 you'd be all set, because you are it, there isn't anyone else playing anything! ;-)
     
  3. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2006
    Location:
    Blimp City USA
    IMO if this band is costing more money then then return I would leave it.

    I was a founding member of an originals band that had a good 4 year run. The time and costs to write, record, play and promote your music is a big job and it takes money.

    If you have expenses like you said now it will only get worse if the band travels,records ...starts to make it even locally.

    I left playing original music after the band grinded to a hault this spring. I rejoined a cover/originals band (mostly covers) and make about $100 a show with normal travel. Even thou I am making money it does not satisfy me at all. The feeling of promoting,recording and playing our material to fans and others floated my boat. I had quite a bit of out of pocket expenses to help the band go..we all did and it adds up.

    As for the return? Just being known locally /regionally was our goal and for the most part..we did it. What did we get? not much. We got some press, a web interview, sold Cds and downloads but that's it. Since the band broke up there has been zero buzz about it..anywhere. The return with an original band is unknown...never know. It is the only way to make it big but the odds are stacked way against anything coming from it.

    Today my fire is out and I'm leaving music. If you have these expenses now just expect more that is what I'm saying. I would look local coverband if I were in your shoes.
     
  4. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2003
    Location:
    Newport News, VA via NYC
    Disclosures:
    Kohlman Bassworks
    Unmotivated and lazy band members is a clue for one to leave! Band isn't going anywhere.
     
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  6. Joe Louvar

    Joe Louvar

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2011
    Location:
    Santa Rosa, CA USA
    Hmm. If you hope to ever perform and get paid playing original material that you wrote or help write, you need to be prepared to invest a lot of time/work/money and never give up. With that said, I’d talk with your band mates and tell them what you wrote here - that you need them to pick it up and get on the court, or you’ll be taking your ball and playing on another court. In the meantime I recommend also picking up another project closer to home too.
     
  7. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2006
    Location:
    Blimp City USA
    Orignal music is and investment and needs to be run like a buisness to have a chance of getting anywhere.

    Coverbands also are buisness like but it more set and all you need to do is book it....way less investment and stress.
     
  8. randyripoff

    randyripoff

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2008
    Location:
    Chicago
    Reading between the lines, if your band members are not learning the songs you write, it could well be because they just don't like them. I hate to say that, but it may be the case. I'd talk it out with them.

    If you've got 15 songs but only arrangements for 2 and the rest of the band won't work on the songs, then I don't see any conflict in you joining a cover band to cover expenses. If they're not putting forth the commitment, you should probably take your efforts elsewhere.

    Just my .02 from one Cerebus fan to another.
     
  9. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2006
    Location:
    Blimp City USA
    Agree ^

    To even have a chance of having a half way decent originals band all the members have to be on the same map and be committed.
     
  10. glocke1

    glocke1

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2002
     
  11. jmattbassplaya

    jmattbassplaya

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2008
    Location:
    Just south of Atlanta!
    This honestly doesn't sound like an original group that will be making it anywhere anytime soon. Perhaps I've been fortunate, but every original group I've joined since getting into college would play their first show within a month of getting together (this usually includes playing some covers, but never more than half of our entire set). Obviously situations will differ, but if at the end of 6 months you only have 2 songs to show from all the work your band has accomplished then you're probably not moving along fast enough to make this band worth the time investment, let alone a monetary one (YMMV).
     
  12. spz8

    spz8

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2009
    Location:
    Glen Cove, NY
    Yep, another easy one: quit. This band isn't going anywhere.
     
  13. zon6c-f

    zon6c-f

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2007
    Location:
    Metro Atlanta, Ga.
    I believe.. better yet...I KNOW.. your experience is different from mine.

    My experience with originals ends as usually becoming a ploy for the B L to avoid family and friends, requiring your or my bass as a part of the ploy with no intention of EVER getting out of practice room...frfsmily welcomed only..NO FRIENDS AT PRACTICE..THIS IS A SERIOUS BAND..FRIENDS ARE NOT PART OF SERIOUSNESS. 'There's your sign'...


    Someone ... usually B L will say.."I just don't feel we're quite ready..NOT just yet.." and it's another 6 months followed by..

    ...6 MORE months later and somebody quits.. 6 months after that?? and you are in your second year of same 12 songs that by now you hate??..All the family and personal time you lost?? EVENTUALLY 8 DAYS PER WEEK JUST WON'T BE ENOUGH..YOUR LOYALTY AND COMMITTMENT COMES INTO QUESTION followed by threats to replace you..

    OK..You are writing lyrics ?? ..THEN THESE TUNES BECOME YOUR SONGS ..YOUR PROPERTY...LEGALLY. Rest of the band just gets recording fees...when..IF...you get a recording deal; from a REAL label.

    NO MORE ORIGINALS FOR ME.

    Again.. your experience is different from mine..I never wrote the songs.. They just needed me and my bass AND ENDLESS MONTHS OF DRILL AND DISICPLINE TO GET THE SONGS 'RIGHT' AND READY. ...Which NEVER happens...

    BUT..if I AM JUST BREAKING EVEN? $60/week sounds like a raise to me.

    If they are your friends??..they will either understand or pay your fuel costs.

    Keep us posted...
     
  14. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2010
    Location:
    Like old Hampshire, but New
    Thanks for all comments so far, y'all. Regarding the money thing, I've got no illusions that this is going to "make it big" or become financially remunerative to any great degree. We're guys in our 40s with jobs and families, we're not headed off on long concert tours or anything. When I ask if this sounds like it's worth sticking with, I don't mean pay off financially. But I would like to see a CD I contributed to and play local shows with music I helped write, more as a bucket list thing than anything. I'm willing to spend within reasonable limits on a project that's actually going to DO those things. I'm just starting to wonder if I'm spending the gas money on a project that's just going to spin its wheels.

    This is a possibility. I've stressed to them repeatedly that I would welcome criticism, feedback, rewrites, whatever. Maybe they do like the songs but just aren't motivated to work on them, maybe they don't like them but are too "nice" to make criticisms, I don't know. I started writing lyrics because when we were about a month in, we had all these good jams recorded and the conversation was, "well, these will turn into songs when we have words for them." Nobody else stepped up to write any lyrics, so I just went ahead and did it. But since then we've neither had anyone paying attention to them nor bringing in lyrics of their own or anything. I'd be happy to play one of the other guys' stuff if they brought anything in, but no one else is.

    Thanks, jmatt, that's the kind of thing I'd especially like to hear - how long has it taken others' originals projects to, say, get to the point that you could play a show or go into a studio? I know how fast I can learn a set of covers but maybe originals take longer to stew...
     
  15. Slade N

    Slade N sunn #91 AZ Bands #? Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 28, 2005
    Location:
    az
    6 months = only 2 songs = leave
     
  16. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2006
    Location:
    Blimp City USA
    My originals band took 6 months to get to our first gig. Part of the time was getting the players the rest of it was getting 20-30 original songs down tight with multi instruments ,vocals etc.

    We cut a 5 song EP a month after we played out (7th month) after that we hit the clubs.

    We did well for an originals band with flat rate paid gigs in nice clubs. Year two we cut a full length CD with all the money coming from gigs..several thousand dollars FWIW.

    We then got better shows, reviews, website etc. This continued until the drummer left (year 3) and we just burnd out this past spring.

    The whole journey made it worth while but you are talking about 5 guys who were very motivated, got along great and learned the songs quickly. We were excited to get the songs out.
     
  17. jmattbassplaya

    jmattbassplaya

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2008
    Location:
    Just south of Atlanta!
    No problem! As I said, it really varies from band to band, but from your posts I'd wager that your bandmates just aren't that interested in the band right now (for whatever reason). My experiences tell me that original bands can (and probably should) be ready to play out within 3 months of forming. Things might not be perfect, and the set might not be more than 45-60 minutes long, but an original group should be able to make something happen.

    To put it another way, if you guys have only gotten 2 songs down within a 6 month period then how much can you expect to have done in another 6 months? Within the next year? Within the next 2 years? Perhaps that can give you something to think over.
     
  18. maxiegrant

    maxiegrant Bassist in Transition

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2007
    Location:
    Sellersburg, IN
    I have only done originals for as long as I can remember. It is a labor of love and that only, and if you're dragging someone's ass and perhaps newer to this than me (been doing it 30 years now) can I advise you to find a better bunch of guys? You are just wasting all of your passion on guys who view the whole exercise as an excuse to drink beer, no doubt. My rule is: practice outside of practice, or we can't do anything.

    We tape ourselves every week. That's a powerful motivator.

    But if you've got guys who are not interested in doing something simple like learning lyrics to a handful of songs, you won't motivate them much . . .
     
  19. ledyard

    ledyard

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2010
    Location:
    Upstate NY
    I'm another who has only done originals.

    There is no chemistry in your current situation. People are dragging their ass, don't care, complacent, ect ect... "hey, the bass player is doing all the work....lets see how long I can take advantage of that"....ect...
    Again, obviously the chemistry isn't there. I would ditch these guys.
     
  20. jmattbassplaya

    jmattbassplaya

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2008
    Location:
    Just south of Atlanta!
    +1

    You really nailed it when you said that some people just view a band as an excuse to drink beer, or, if I may add, an excuse just to get out of the house and do something for a few hours. Unfortunately, original groups aren't things that only take a few hours to do if you're really wanting to do something with them. Writing songs, working out songs, cold calling venues, sending emails to bands, writing contracts, scheduling rehearsals, doing rehearsals, creating fliers, printing fliers, hanging and passing out fliers, managing social media sites, doing recording sessions, etc... all take a significant amount of time to do, and it requires serious go-getter attitudes to accomplish it all.
     
  21. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are.

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2008
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    IME/IMO, your family needs the money more than you need the band.

    My suggestion is to join a local money making cover band (as a second job) and put everything you earn into a retirement fund.

    Good luck.
     

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