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Advice needed/ originals band

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by driftingupward, Aug 17, 2012.

  1. Allright sorry for the long post ahead of time but here goes...

    I've been in this originals band for 8 months. We do Hard rock/Metal with the singer also doing some turntable scratches and Reggae/Rap style vocals. These guys have been together off and on for over 10 years. The singer was with them in the very beginning and then quit and went to sing with other bands for several years. Then about a year and a half or so ago (before I joined the band) he came to them and had a "vision" of putting together a band doing Metal Gtr/Drums with Reggae Bass/Vocals. They agreed but the bass player didn't really know anything about Reggae so it was basically Metal style music with Reggae influenced vocals over top.

    So fast forward 6-9 months. The bass player decides to move away to Fla. and I am moving from Fla.

    I see an ad on Cl for these guys and it sounds like what I'm looking for (I grew up a metal head and started playing roots reggae in college and played strictly that for ten years). I move here(not for the band) and it takes me a few months to really get solid on the tunes. I told them I don't want to just hang out and jam, I want to make CD's, do bigger and bigger shows, and generally just try to keep moving forward with it (they had not put out a CD in the whole 10 years they had been playing).

    So things are going pretty well, I've just laid down the bass tracks for the twelve songs that they already had before I joined, but it seems like the singer doesn't really have much in the way of ideas for new stuff. It seems to me that if someone has a "vision" of something they want to put together they would have a few dozen ideas or so and pretty much be all over it. So far it has been me and the guitarist coming up with riffs and the singer picking out which ones he likes at a later time.

    We like to text as our way of communicating. I asked if he had any ideas he wanted to work on. He brought up the 2 ideas he has come up with in the last 8 months and said he would like to work on those. One of them was a very simple 2bar turntable riff that I'm sure didn't take that long to come up with and the other was something we tried months ago but there wasn't that much to it. I confronted him and said I hoped he had a lot more than just those two things in his bag of tricks, like maybe some lyrics, riff ideas, samples we could play off of, etc..He says that no, he doesn't really have anything, he has a certain way of writing, namely seeing what we come up with and then arranging it or getting a vibe from it and then he writes stuff to it.

    I guess my question is this:
    I feel like he is being a Prima Donna and making the rest of us do the work and then he picks and chooses what he wants to use. I don't really want to be somebody's bass bitch that just churns out tons of stuff and then it gets pushed aside depending on the singers whim. Am I way off or what?
  2. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    Having a vision and implementing a vision can often be two very different things. It's time to step up and ask what the BL's expectations are or if he's going through anything in his personal life that's taking his attention away from the band. If he tries to play it off that you're a respected full member of the band or if it doesn't seem like he's contributing much in terms of any creative input (yet wants to claim creative input) then you may have to cut your losses.

    IME, it's possible to at least limp along as a cover band with unmotivated people. However, it's nearly impossible to have a successful original band unless people are willing to invest a sensible amount of time and effort into the project.
  3. CS


    Dec 11, 1999
    I had a vision/band a while back and the songwriting process was that I would come up with words, melody, chords and guide basslines and drums. I would play a recording or rough gutiar version to the band. I would also bring three songs knowing that two were not as good as the 'one'. Here's the point-the band would never pick the the 'one'. We would always work on something I felt that was lacking and it would turn out right.

    Often I would discard good lyrics or riffs and feel that it was a waste. However the band were my quality control.

    What this guy is doing is let other people do the work and cherry pick it. He's doing the quality control, not the actual work. If you have a vision you should be able to back it up.

  4. That's another thing. He has a girlfriend and they've recently announced their engagement which I think is great. The guitarist has said before that whenever he gets a girl he kind of drops off the face of the earth.

    That's what I'm thinking too, especially if it's your vision and you don't even have anything to make it happen.

    After all the texts back and forth he said that he doesn't have any idea where I'm coming from on this and he doesn't know what I want from him so let's bring it up at the next practice.
    I was just voicing what I and the other members were saying to each other at the last practice last week that he didn't show up to. During which we completed the arrangement to a few riffs that the guitarist had come up with. About four months ago, the guitarist and I got together and recorded about twenty or so ideas for the singer to listen to and see if he liked something out of it. So not only did I record it on my portable recorder, I took it home mixed it down, had to convert it to MP3, and then had to e-mail it in little 3-5 song pieces because e-mail will only let you send so much at a time (since then we've found Dropbox, Awesome!). This took me a few hours to do. So during the time since then I don't think he has even listened to them. He claims that it was too many files and they weren't labeled so he didn't know what to do with it all.

    The guitarist said he has quit trying to schedule more than one practice a week because the singer always ends up cancelling either the day of or the day before one of them.

    Another thing I confronted him about was just not having the drive to make it happen. It seems to me if you were trying to put something out there that was new or original you would have kind of an inner drive or fire that's giving you ideas. He said he doesn't understand how not having ideas means he doesn't have the drive. To me, that's even worse than just not having anything and coming up with an excuse why. It seems like somewhere along the line he has taken himself out of the equation when it comes to actually creating the music, he just wants do let someone else do the hard work and then step in and tell them what is working for him. It seems like if he was there at the very time of creation he could give immediate feedback and we wouldn't be spinning our wheels.
  5. Stewie26

    Stewie26 Supporting Member

    A very wise and successful man once told me that everything in life comes down to "R and R". You either have Results or Reasons. Most people have Reasons. Just the way it is. Not everyone is going to have the same "get it done" drive you have.
  6. TBrett


    Nov 3, 2007
    Toronto, Canada
    Definitely discuss this as a group when you're all together. Sounds like you and the other band members share a similar drive and work ethic. Perhaps the singer is about to lose his band? Not to drive a wedge between you, or anything, but really, if the guy isn't into doing the work or doesn't understand what is required after all this time, and the rest of you enjoy working together, then maybe it's time to look for a new singer? He has to contribute to the process, too. If he doesn't get that, then maybe this kind of project is not for him. How much time does he devote to writing and personal practice each week? That will tell you right there where his true priorities lie.
  7. mcgreivey


    Jul 20, 2008
    Seems like you and the other guys should get together and jam, whether or not the singer can show up. After a while, you and the guys will have a lot of music worked out, and hopefully you'll have fun doing it. If it turns out that what you came up with fits with the singer's "vision", it might work out. But likely as not, it won't, but it will be good, and he'll either work to keep on your train, or jump off.

    But I'm not really sure if his "vision" is really "music". as someone else said, if he has a musical vision, he would also have at least some substantial (if possible fragmentary, needing to be fleshed out) musical ideas. If he doesn't, he's not about music, really; he's just like a 12-year-old coming up with cool band names.
  8. The band had no motivation 10 years together to put out a CD so why do you expect anything from them 10 years later? I would take over if you have the ability to write lyrics and riffs and what have you. If you can't take over his spot then he is all you have you then need to determine if the project is worth your time or effort walk simple as that if it is not.
  9. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY

    Your singer is a dope. If he can't even comprehend why having a "vision" might obligate him to produce a substantial amount of actual creative output, then he's not even a real musician, IMHO. He's mostly just a poser. The fact that his attendance at rehearsals is spotty is even more revealing. :rolleyes:

    IME, music is a meritocracy: You accumulate creative control & influence in direct proportion to the skills/energy/vision you bring to the table. If there is a significant gap between the amount of clout you wield, and the degree of chops you bring (i.e. high power / low output OR low power / high output), that creates a power vacuum that must be resolved - sooner rather than later.

    If all singer boy can really do is to sing (even assuming he's talented at that), then he becomes a lot more expendable than if he was also a key component of the band's creative development process. Based on your characterizations, he hasn't earned the right to vote "thumbs up" or "thumbs down" on the new material that you and the other bandmates have been working so hard to develop.

    Does that clarify your perspective for you? :eyebrow:

  10. TRichardsbass

    TRichardsbass Banned Commercial User

    Jun 3, 2009
    Between Muscle Shoals and Nashville
    Bassgearu, Music Industry Consulting and Sales. Tech 21, NBE Corp, Sonosphere.
    Since when does the singer get to make all the decisions?

    My advice is simple. Stop contributing any material other then basslines to songs the rest of the guys come up with. Right now you are doing a lot of work and losing all of your contribution.

    I would move on. Clearly after 10 years a band is either going to make it or not. This one is a not. If you want to keep moving forward, then find a band that is or go on your own. Its a band, its a biz. They aren't your best friends.

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