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Ambitious singer

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by EddiePlaysBass, Nov 28, 2017.

  1. EddiePlaysBass


    Feb 26, 2009
    I will put it in Band Mgmt for now, think it may end up belonging in the Humor section :)

    A good few months ago I started a band. Wanted to play punk/metal, but the guitarist I found (who, by the way, was awesome) pushed it in a blues direction and then quit. I like blues so we found two new guitarists and proceeded. Or so I thought. Rehearsals have been few and far between, and we've managed to regress instead of progress.

    Last week one of the guitarists said he can get us booked for a pretty decent blues festival in June. I discussed it with the singer and we agreed that (1) we need to perform live, (2) we want to do the June show and (3) we need a few shows under our belt before June.

    Stroke of luck, I attended a gig from some old band mates, ran into a few other old friends from the local blues scene and got a lead on one or two bars who are always on the outlook for new bands. That's a plus.

    Now the singer has decided he has had enough with the haphazard regressive approach, has declared himself the band leader and sent the rest of us an 18 song song list yesterday, which he expects us to learn by next Monday :D Now, we literally know half these songs BUT for some reason no one seems to be able to remember how we played them. Despite me recording and distributing said recordings ...

    I quite like the idea of doing all 18 songs, although I know at least one of the guitarists won't be ready, nor will the drummer. I will do my best, since most of them are rockabilly changes anyway. But last time we agreed to add 2 new songs, we managed to trainwreck through one. Barely...
    hrodbert696 likes this.
  2. charlie monroe

    charlie monroe Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2011
    Buffalo, NY
    Sounds like the band needs a kick in the backside and the singer nominated himself.

    I hope you trainwreck at least three or four of them this time.
    One trainwreck just sounds ... lonely.
  3. Oddly

    Oddly Unofficial TalkBass Cartographer! Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2014
    Dublin, Ireland.
    I'm not sure if you're happy or not with the development.
    As Mister Monroe says, it does sound like someone needed to take charge.
    Demanding 18 songs by next monday does seem a bit ambitious, but it may be just the jump-start you all needed to get it together.
    If you are happy, let him take the lead, and support him.
    Hope it works out ok.
  4. EddiePlaysBass


    Feb 26, 2009
    I have tried steering these sorts of ships in the past. More than happy to take a side-step and let someone else try (and likely fail). It can only go three ways: (1) it actually works, (2) band dissolves and I move on or (3) we fire someone. Preferably not the drummer, since we rehearse at his parents' place (we're all 30+, it's just where the drum kit + PA stuff is parked).

    Yeah it IS ambitious but a lot of the new songs are I-IV-V. Shouldn't be rocket science but one of the guitarists (ironically the better soloist) has trouble with remembering those changes :eek: Anyway, it's all good. I am studying walking jazz lines so I get to apply all that jazz (...) to these songs.
  5. buldog5151bass

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

    Oct 22, 2003
    Time fore a band sit down to discuss leadership and band progress. 18 songs is a lot to learn for one rehearsal (going out on a limb here, but I bet these are songs that the vocalist already knows). But you all have to fish or cut bait. Nothing wrong with a band starting 5 songs a week, and then the next week polishing the parts that need to be polished (while moving 5 more songs into the list), especially in a blues format.
    Spidey2112 likes this.
  6. If anyone doesn't have the songs down, give them (well, suggest to the singer that they give them) the homework of charting those songs for the group for the next rehearsal.

    Will the singer have all of them down? IME they can often be members of the "I didn't get a chance to..." club themselves.

    Frankly, I think 18 is unnecessarily ambitious and is going to lead to everyone learning a different six songs from everyone else and having little or nothing that everyone reviewed. See how it goes, and if, as I suspect, not everyone is prepared maybe split them into three sets of six songs (split up the known ones as well so it's even less "new" ones each week) over three separate weeks. Sounds like you have lots of time before the gig, so halfassing all the songs is less beneficial than nailing a few each week.
  7. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    Song Surgeon slow downer. https://tinyurl.com/y5dcuqjg
    I suggest making the guy "lead solo guitarist".

    Don't let him train wreck rehearsals.

    Maybe tell the guy to use chord sheets and a music stand but absolutely no chord playing unless he can do it correctly.

    Sounds like you have the making of a pretty good band.

    Try your best to learn all 18 songs, even if you have to bring your own chord sheets. Better yet, make chord sheets for everyone. Be a problem solver.

    If the singer is good, stick with him.

    Good luck.
  8. jive1

    jive1 Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    Ambitious? Maybe.
    Possible? Absolutely

    I've done Blues gigs where we just showed up, and the band leader shouted out songs with a short description of the groove and then counted it off. "Here we go fellas, Sweet Home Chicago in E. Downtown shuffle, watch me for the stops. 1,2, 1-2-3-4". If the players are good and know the style, you can pull it off without anyone knowing any wiser.
    JvJazz83 and 3Liter like this.
  9. buldog5151bass

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

    Oct 22, 2003
    Yes, but it does not sound like these are that kind of musician, either with ability, or willingness to go with it (or else they would not be where they are).
    pwhalen likes this.
  10. EddiePlaysBass


    Feb 26, 2009
    Well, that escalated quickly. The guitarist I mentioned above has thrown in the towel, saying he misses the "room for improv". I on the other hand won't miss him playing E/A/B over a C#/F#/G# progression without even the slightest clue that something sounds odd ...

    Singer asked if he should place an ad for a new guitarist. Told him, for the love of god please no. Let's work with what we have for a while and actually get some songs worked out. Who needs 2 guitarists anyway?

    I was gonna mail this suggestion to the band, but realized that perhaps the drummer and other guitarist will also want to bail - neither has actually replied to the new set list yet. Knowing the drummer, this is too close to what our old band used to do and might not be to his liking.

    So I decided to sit back and watch events unfold.
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2017
  11. mikewalker

    mikewalker Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2017
    Canada, Eh!
  12. EddiePlaysBass


    Feb 26, 2009
    This, by the way, turned out to be true. Against my better judgement I sent him a message saying 20 songs would be overreaching, and to just tell everyone to learn the first 10 on the list (5 of which were known). He replied saying: "yeah good idea, cos I won't be able to manage 20 songs this week" ...
    Stumbo and Oddly like this.
  13. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    Song Surgeon slow downer. https://tinyurl.com/y5dcuqjg
    Actually good judgement. :)
    EddiePlaysBass likes this.
  14. tpaul

    tpaul Supporting Member

    Mar 19, 2011
    Sounds like things are improving already.

    As a longtime guitar player, I don't understand how anyone can't play I-IV-V. That's like saying I'm a pianist but I have trouble finding middle C.
    Lbsterner and EddiePlaysBass like this.
  15. EddiePlaysBass


    Feb 26, 2009
    LOL yeah I know. What I should have written is: "Against my own decision to not interfere and see where this all leads..."
    Stumbo likes this.
  16. 4dog


    Aug 18, 2012
    Wait...who started the band....captain?
  17. EddiePlaysBass


    Feb 26, 2009
    I did. It was initially meant to be a one-off project in honour of a deceased friend. Due to circumstances that never took place but the idea was planted so the singer and I went ahead and found other musicians. From there on it morphed into it's current (non)-state.
  18. jaymelewis


    Jan 6, 2010
    Fillmore, CA
    I suggest someone get into the business of charting your arrangements - that way you all know exactly how it goes without needing to reference a particular recording. Also makes it super easy for when you need to hire in subs :)
  19. sevenyearsdown

    sevenyearsdown Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    Sanborn, NY
    Learn these 18 songs.......sounds to me like someone stopped learning songs a million years ago, and can only mail it in for "these 18 songs".
  20. If you're not practicing enough to remember what you've already learned, starting over with 18 songs in a few days isn't gonna work either. Sounds like a motivation problem, and you might be the only one dedicated enough to pull it off. But you can't by yourself. Wish I had some better advice, I went through something like this awhile back. I decided not to care too much and they eventually came around, much better now. No thanks to me. Good luck.

    (I guess I would suggest working as a band on 2 or 3 songs at a time til you all can get them down together. Less to bite off at a time and nailing a song together might get the motivation kickstarted. But it only works if everyone is in at the beginning.)

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