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Amateur vs Professional Band Attitude

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Orlando_Lasso, Oct 7, 2017.

  1. Orlando_Lasso


    Jan 25, 2017
    I just wanted to get some opinions of this. I'm in a top 40 cover band that's currently doing gigs and wants to be as professional as possible. I've played and toured with professional bands before so it's not new to me, but it's new to some of the members. The thing that threw me off is that they've been inviting their friends and family to sing songs with the band at our gigs. (Not take over the lead vocals, but as duets and back up singers). To me, it came across a bit karaoke-ish or just a bunch of dudes having fun and jamming more than something a professional band would do. I could be way off so I just wanted some opinions on it, thanks.
    Pbassmanca and Smooth_bass88 like this.
  2. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    When most local musicians say they want to be "more professional" that simply means they want better paying gigs without actually changing anything.
  3. BassFishingInAmerica


    Jul 24, 2014
    If these friends and family members are professional singers or have voices that would qualify as professional, then I might say it's okay. I would also introduce them by name. If they aren't pros themselves, then it seems a bit cheesy, IMO.
    Pbassmanca, Wfrance3, gebass6 and 4 others like this.
  4. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    I've seen weekend warriors with a professional attitude, and full time pros who didn't give a #$-_#. I agree that doing this is bad form 98% of the time.

    Time for a band meeting to discuss priorities.
  5. Dabndug

    Dabndug Supporting Member

    Sep 27, 2017
    Somewhere in Oz
    Totally unprofessional. Aversion therapy time?
  6. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member


  7. FunkHead

    FunkHead Supporting Member

    Mar 10, 2007
    There's always room on stage for another talented person. If they contribute to the song in a positive way then it's a win. It should be discussed ahead of time and approved by all band members when someone sits in unless the persons reputation precedes them. I think.;)
    Plutonium244, HolmeBass and Pacman like this.
  8. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Retired Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    If they come prepared to a rehearsal before the gig, then maybe. Like that's going to happen.
  9. Whousedtoplay


    May 18, 2013
    I'm a little bit confused about your statement, "a band that wants to be as professional as possible".
    Is it about the quality of Music, Sound, where each line is as close as possible to the original?

    About inviting friends and family members to sing at your gigs.
    Maybe it's some kind of marketing technique, advertisement, like "anything goes" while playing in some almost empty bar?
    TheBear, smogg and gebass6 like this.
  10. Nev375


    Nov 2, 2010
    I don't see it as being professional or unprofessional. It's just a matter of it not fitting within your preconceived notion of what a band does.

    A professional top 40 cover band sells beer. That's what you are paid to actually do. It has nothing at all to do with the quality or selection of music. If incorporating a bit of karaoke into your band loosens people and their wallets up then you are very professional.
  11. Seanto


    Dec 29, 2005
    Professional groups cater to the client, amateur groups cater to themselves. Now off you go.
  12. TheSeagoats


    May 21, 2015
    I have a friend who plays in a cover band and people grab the mic every so often, it adds to the party atmosphere. This is coming from seeing them as a bar band though so it's not like they're playing on a big stage or anything, if this is the case for you too then loosen your tie a little and have fun with it.
    Hahaha, SmokinJoe992 and chip134 like this.
  13. fhm555

    fhm555 So FOS my eyes are brown Supporting Member

    Feb 16, 2011
    IMO If you are trying to run a cover band playing in bars like a democracy you are not approaching it in a professional manner. Doesn't mean each band member can't have a professional attitude, but IME a professionally run cover band is a BL leading a group and group members doing what the BL wants them to do. If that includes bringing up guest singers and players, pros roll with the punches and do their best to make every performance a winner. If the conditions laid out by the BL are unacceptable, a pro will tender their resignation and (within reason) will continue to hold down their spot until a replacement is hired.

    If it is an original music project and every member is involved in the creative process, then you should all have input and direction/vision/performance expectations should be a consensus among members, but playing covers in a bar, a pro bar band needs a boss to make the decisions and a group of players willing to work under those conditions. Does not mean individuals are not allowed an opinion, but it does mean accepting the decision(s) of the BL or giving notice they need to be looking for your replacement.

    Nothing wrong with a cover band toiling under the "one member one vote" method, but again IME part time players in a cover band run like an originals project is begging for trouble and drama unrelated to the actual goal of making a little pocket money with minimal hassle, and if the goal of a cover band is anything other than making money, it should be approached as a fun thing that just happens to generate a few bucks while we all have fun and enjoy the hang.

    Please understand, i am nowhere near a professional musician, i'm just a retired machinist who enjoys playing bass, but i am also a mature adult who understands there is little creative process required to parrot a familiar song for people to enjoy while they use your musical backdrop as an excuse to ask potential temporary sex partner(s) to dance while attempting to increase the odds of success by plying those prospects with strong drink. Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of professional cover bands out there, but they operate more like a business. The creative aspect is generally focused on marketing the brand rather than making a unique mark on the music world.

    There is no bright line dividing pro cover bands from ham and eggers, it's really more a matter of how the thing is managed than how things play out in performance. A good BL insures the entire package puts it's best collective foot forward, everyone else is there to support that effort.
  14. Marley's Ghost

    Marley's Ghost Supporting Member

    Feb 9, 2002
    Tampa, FL
    It really depends on the venue, the material, and the caliber of those sitting in. We play a place where there are one or 2 regulars who are talented and sit in on a song or two. They are popular locals and it engages the audience.

    One of my old bands played Paradise by the Dashboard Light and we would get four or five ladies come up on the stage who couldn't sing for poopiee but everyone went nuts. YMMV. Give the people what they want.
    Pbassmanca, waynobass, Hahaha and 3 others like this.
  15. Aberdumbie


    Jan 22, 2016
    South Carolina
    Toured professionally almost ten years with a very professional act but were well known as a "party band". We knew our role well. Make the house money. And we did that well. When the occasional drunk tried to get to a mike... He was unceremoniously removed. We did allow the occasional "guest" on stage however it would have to be prepared and choreographed to fit the show. Even though we made it appear otherwise...... What you are describing is a garage band atmosphere in a professional situation. I haven't played pro for years. I don't know, that may be what appeals to an audience these days.... Just remember you are there to help the house make money via your entertainment.
  16. Bunk McNulty

    Bunk McNulty It is not easy to do simple things correctly. Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 2012
    Northampton, MA
    Couple years ago a friend of our BL, very nice, very shy guy, the kind of Beatles freak who names his cat "Sgt. Pepper," got up and sang "I Saw Her Standing There" with us. It transformed him: He became animated, enthusiastic, and seriously off-key. People loved it. He comes to most of our gigs now, and if he's there, he gets invited up, and has refined his schtick to include "...on behalf of the band and myself, I hope we passed the audition." Which after the 25th time you've heard it, you wish he'd drop it, but the crowd isn't tired of it yet. When they are, we'll know (our crowd is not shy about telling us what they like and don't like).

    We do invite friends from other bands up from time to time, (I get a charge out of players from other bands coming to check us out.) but we are careful to remind them that it isn't open-mic night.
    Hahaha, HolmeBass and Whousedtoplay like this.
  17. Wooly John

    Wooly John

    May 16, 2014
    - I knew a cover band who made audience participation part of their act - they dragged audience members up on stage to sing, play air guitar, gave them funny hats to wear, and the singer taught them line dancing on stage - everyone had a blast - and they were very professional
    TheBear, Hahaha, SmokinJoe992 and 5 others like this.
  18. Smooth_bass88

    Smooth_bass88 Groove it

    that's definitely not professional. Especially if you're getting paid at a public performance. Club owners sometimes frown upon this.
  19. I think it depends on the gig. Last nights gig opening for Fozzy and Gemini Syndrome everything had to be super professional.
    IMG_3608.JPG But we try to play as much as our jobs and family lives allow and sometimes we play shows where the turnout sucks and we try to make the best of it and have a good time and make sure those who did come out feel appreciated. We don't let people come up onstage often but occasionally we just say screw it and I'll let die hard fans come up sing on my mic. IMG_3429.jpg
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2017
    HolmeBass and Marley's Ghost like this.
  20. RustyAxe


    Jul 8, 2008
    If the guest performer actually adds to the show, why not? But ... that's not usually the case in my experience. I'm playing a dinner/dance later today. It's a regular thing (2/month) and a regular crowd. I'm sure the BL will invite someone up ... and I cringe at who I know might be there. Thankfully, I have the ability to kill my monitor for the five minutes of pain I'll have to endure.

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