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About Your Band's Singer

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by jeff246, Jul 25, 2007.


  1. jeff246

    jeff246

    Jul 25, 2007
    I'm in a metal/hard-rock band right now, and we have a singer who doesn't play an instrument on stage. Having always been used to singers in my previous bands also being instrumentalists, it's a new experience for me.

    He's quite good, and has a very intense performance style, but sometimes I think the fact that he's not playing another instrument frees him too much to be a little (or a lot) Over-the-Top with his physical performance. I guess I'm hoping to hear some of your experiences with singers in your bands.

    Do you have similar problems with your singer or is it all good (I guess this is a chance to brag or bash among bass-slinging brethren)? How would you address the situation?

    What do you look for/not look for in your vocalist's stage performance?
     
  2. Christopher

    Christopher

    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    IMO, a frontman can never be too over the top, especially for metal. As the singer, he's going to be the focus of the audience's attention, so he should be moving a lot. So should you.

    What exactly is he doing that's got you uncomfortable?
     
  3. JeffC

    JeffC

    Mar 8, 2007
    Our singer can't sing...nor does he move or know the words to songs. :/

    He is a friend tho and wanted to try it out, if he doesn't figure something out tonight....it's the axe for him.
     
  4. chakah

    chakah Rockin' the 80's

    Feb 2, 2006
    Houston,
    gotta have that in a frontman. i'd hate to watch a band or be in a band with a singer who just stands there.
     
  5. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    I think the more important question is whether or not he's pulling it off. If someone's a madman on stage and it goes over well, awesome - if they're overacting and look stupid... well then. I think your audience will ultimately be the judge. :)
     
  6. Phalex

    Phalex Semper Gumby Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    G.R. MI
    Everything on stage should be exaggerated. Our singer sounds a lot like yours and he goes over huge! His voice is his instrument, and he's got a lot of talent.

    Overall I think bright colors and lots of movement on stage is a good thing. That's not the time or the place to be subdued.
     
  7. tlwaps

    tlwaps

    Feb 13, 2006
    Ohio
    I agree that a singer can not be "over the top." However, I will say that some things simply should not be done. For example, when I was in my band old we played this show with another local band (I'll keep their name private) where the lead singer decides he's going to get butt naked on stage; he took everything off socks, shoes, pants, shirt, underwear and i'm thinking to myself, "Ok, now what?" Just then he grabs a cup, pukes in it, drinks his own puke and pukes again. Why someone would want to do that is beyond me, but I think that should not be done.

    As far as my current singer, he hasn't played out in almost 5 years so I can understand why at our first show a week ago he didn't move. He also messed up his knee really bad during the first and had to go to the hospital to get fluid drained out of his knee. But, my current singer is a bassist and I enjoy bouncing idea's back and forth with him. All in all I think there's a lot to a singers live performance. Not only do they need to know when to talk and what to say, they also need to know when to shut up. I hated being on stage with a singer (from my old band) that just would not shut up, even while we were starting the song and he was supposed to be screaming he was still rambling on about the crowd not moving enough. I think your singer will be fine tho, perhaps video taping a few performances and watching them to figure out what to do and what not to do at your next show will help. Sorry for the long post and disgusting story at the begining.
     
  8. jeff246

    jeff246

    Jul 25, 2007
    I don't know, it's hard to describe without having seen it. His influences are very much in the NWOBHM/european/neo-classical style (he idolizes Bruce Dickinson), and that comes through a lot in his performance. A lot of reaching out towards the audience, huge hand gestures and a look on his face like he's ready to kill the next person that shakes his hand. Think "British Steel"/"Screaming for Vengeance"-era Priest time-warped to 2007. Almost cinematic/operatic overload too!

    Maybe I'm reading to much into it, but it seems a little cheese; like it's unnatural or something. I sort of appreciate his conviction and it's basically the right style, but he's always on 11; Like he's doing shtick, only dead serious.
     
  9. Phalex

    Phalex Semper Gumby Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    G.R. MI
    When you're standing right next to him, it may seem a bit much, but to the audience it's got to be entertaining! Have you had any feed back from them one way or the other??
     
  10. Texas Ed

    Texas Ed

    May 9, 2006
    Yup. It a nutshell.

    My problem with some lead singers is this. They do not comprehend the concept of "band." It's all about them. I have worked with too many who feel they have no other band obligation but to show up and sing. As soon as I get them in front of 4 or 5 thousand people and they have a good show, they all too often go "Diva" on me and start wanting more "control." After all the hard work of getting to that stage, they decide to fly the coupe and go it alone when the band refuses to put them on the pedestal they so desire. They become legends in their own mind. Then they walk and the band has to start all over again from scratch with a new singer.

    But I have to admit, when the "Diva" singer quits, they usually end up not doing anything afterwards that equaled where they were at to begin with. I get a twisted pleasure, when I see them sitting at home while the band is still on the stage with a new singer. It's the ultimate "neener, neener." :D
     
  11. maryhyphenbeth

    maryhyphenbeth

    Jun 19, 2007
    Toronto
    I was in the audience last Friday...the whole band helped set up, except the singer, and through the whole show all those playing instruments did a fantastic job. The singer, however...didn't impress me. It wasn't just that he didn't help set up, he kept saying the same "thank you guys for coming out tonight to see us, be sure to check out our merchandise at the back, if you're interested....just go see those guys at the back..." And I knew for a fact that "those guys at the back" were long time friends of the band and probably put more work into the band thing than he does as the lead singer. Maybe he was trying to be too commercial. He was so impersonal, maybe that made him even more detached from the band.
    I really couldn't put my finger on it...was it the way he was dressed? His singing was fine...sounds the same as it does on their recordings, but the image...the image was all wrong. I know all the band members have been friends for a long time, but...if the lead singer is supposed to be the one to watch, he certainly left the audience snoring.
    Really, in this band, with two guitarists and a bass player with such presence as they play, the singer is no competition, even when his singing is the best it can be.

    In the end, tell your guy he needs a reality check and he better get down to some regular folks who always come out to see your band and ask THEM what they think of his "performance".
     
  12. tycobb73

    tycobb73

    Jul 23, 2006
    Grand Rapids MI
    After axing our singer and looking for a new one, here's an exact exert of an email I sent someone trying out:
    __________________________________________________

    The singer is the most important part of the band. They have to sing good and know how to work a crowd. They have to have a good personality and get people to want to come out to see them. Whether the rest of us like it or not, they are the identity of the band.
    __________________________

    Your crowd will let you know if your singer is successful or not. Their opinion is the only one that should matter, unless you're playing originals.
     
  13. jeff246

    jeff246

    Jul 25, 2007
    It's tough to say. We play mostly small rooms, and he has a tendency to be a bit overwhelming. If we were playing in front of thousands or even hundreds, it would likely go great. But in front of 2 or 3 dozen the whole thing is a little like whistling in the wind.

    Sometimes the audience seems either frightened or amused by his "big venue intensity".
     
  14. bassguitarman21

    bassguitarman21

    Apr 11, 2006
    the singer in my band plays guitar, but he still manages to have good stage pressence. He's the most active person on stage our of the 4 of us. Sadly though he is leavin on August 18th to go to college, so we will be searching for a new singer(again).
     
  15. An over active singer is ok for me. Last night I got some old, really old Black Sabbath videos and, I must say, I just pity the old Ozzy. What I mean is, near the end of Iron Man cames time, when lyrics are alraydy off, but Iommi`s guitar solo still goes on and Geezer just rips the strings an all. And Ozzy just stood here, mic in his hand, and made faces not knowing what to do now. I think the "less is more" rule doesn`t work for stage show, so let the singers have their fun:)
     
  16. Sounds like he's doing the "Bruce Dickenson" thing. You don't approve? :eyebrow:
     
  17. IanStephenson

    IanStephenson UnRegistered User

    Apr 8, 2006
    OK - you'e convicned me - a singer can be over the top!

    However generally agree - it may look silly to you, but its all about the show. You can't be too "big". You're thinking about the music - the audience is drinking beer, and wants to be entertained. Act big, and they'll treat you as big.

    I think the perfect band member has a switch marked "rock-god", and you turn it on just as the show is starting. Most importantly you turn it off after the last song, and they turn back into a down to earth, decent guy. Provided he can keep the "rockstar" stuff for the stage, then it's all good.

    The problem is when they can't turn it off (or can't turn it on).

    Ian
     
  18. heymelbs

    heymelbs

    Aug 23, 2007
    Northern Iowa
    We have a lead guitarist who is really big on himself and thinks he's a great singer. Audience members have not responded, but he continues to feel he should be the lead man. What's the best way to get him to see the light?
     
  19. waffle puzzle

    waffle puzzle space and time coordinator

    Aug 22, 2007
    Sacramento, CA
    A great tip for all you guys in rock bands with theatrical singers (which is mostly a good thing).

    Get a side project going----all instrumental----no singer !!

    Fashion it around what you want---post wanted ads for the type of people you want to jam with. Establish the rules you want....ie....just jams, or songs with structure, etc....

    You will be surprised at how much fun you're having without a singer and what musical avenues you discover you never thought would happen.

    Just be sure to be honest with the other band mates, and let them know it's just for fun, just every once in awhile, and it won't interfere with the main band.
     
  20. Kronos

    Kronos

    Dec 28, 2005
    Philadelphia, PA

    I feel the exact opposite...You should play every show as if you're playing to the whole world. That's the only thing that's going to get you noticed. If the right people see that you play every night as if it was a stadium show, it catches their attention, and could possibly open doors. No one wants to watch a band that stands there like a bunch of bumps on a log.
     

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