Anyone In A Wedding Band?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by stephanie, Feb 25, 2003.

  1. stephanie


    Nov 14, 2000
    Scranton, PA
    My bass teacher told me about this wedding band that is forming in my area and they are in need of a bassist.

    I would like to know what the pros and cons of being in a wedding band are. Also, requirements (besides the obvious: having to know a variety of musical styles and songs)...things like that. I guess one of the biggest pros for me would be that this would be my very first band. Just to 'get out there' would be good. But is this a good 'first band' to be in?

    Thanks :)

    PS: Would I have to wear a tux like the guys? :D
  2. ashtray9


    Aug 1, 2002
    Tempe Arizona
    Learn Billie Jean and you'll do alright.
  3. Phat Ham

    Phat Ham

    Feb 13, 2000
    You might be too far north for it to work, but sweet home alabama is the standard crowd pleaser around here.

    I'm in a cover band that plays frat parties. We have to play songs that the frat guys and people that go to frat parties want to hear. Sometimes there will be songs you'd like to play but won't really work, and there will also be songs that you don't like but are kind of forced to play because they are "standard". You also have to remember that it is not your party, it's someone else's and you were hired by them. On the plus side, wedding gigs usually pay a lot of money and a happy, drunk crowd is always fun to play to.
  4. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    There was a post/thread around here a while ago, about what it's like to be in Wdding band, which I
    found pretty accurate :

    "Dear Bandleader:

    We look forward to your performance at our daughter's wedding.

    If you don't mind, we would like to request a few of our favorite songs. Please play these during the reception:

    A Keith Jarrett composition from his solo series. Please arrange it for full ensemble in the key of B but nothing in 4/4 please.

    Mahavishnu Orchestra, "Dance of the Maya" and please have the guitarist play John Mclaughlin's solo from the live performance Nov. 16,1972 at Chrysler Arena. My wife and I were at that show and we liked his use of polyrhythms.

    One of John Coltrane's duets with Pharaoh Sanders. Our guests love high register tenor saxes.

    We thought a little Stravinsky right after the toast would be nice. So please play "The Rite of Spring." We like a tempo of about 1/4 note = 93 and transpose it down 3 half-steps - it will be so much more appropriate for this occasion in the slightly lower register.

    Then for the candle lighting ceremony, please play Frank Zappa's"The Grand Wazoo." The original key of B flat, would be fine but my cousin Jeannie would like to sing the baritone sax solo in the key of D--she has kind of a high voice.

    When my new son-in-law takes off the garter, please just a little of Varese's "Ionization." It's such a funny piece, we think it would go over real well. Much better than "The Stripper." And for the bride & groom's first dance, please slow things down a bit by doing Barber's "Adagio For Strings." It's so much better than "We've Only Just Begun" or the "Anniversary Waltz."

    When my wife and I join in the first dance, could you segue to Thelonius Monk's "Ruby, My Dear" - it's in honor of my wife's grandmother whose name was Ruby. It would mean so much to the family.

    Thanks for all your help.

    Depending on the outcome we'll certainly be happy to recommend your band to our friends. We'll have your check for the fee of $250 (minus our expenses in contacting you of $12.50 ) by the end of next month: we're a little short as the young lady doing the balloon arch wanted her $1,850 in advance and the DJ had to be paid up front his $2,500 as normal. Our daughter assured us that your love of music was greater than your need for money, and that you would welcome the exposure you would get from playing this wedding.

    Before you leave, please feel free to ask the caterer for a snack sandwich and a soda (the bottles are returnable or you can pay the deposit to the butler). Please use the back entrance to avoid disturbing the guests.

    Sincerely yours,
    Alice Rockefeller Gates"

  5. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    The band that recently played at my wedding was absolutely friggin' fantastic.

    The performance of the band at a wedding completely makes or breaks the whole reception experience for the guests. People won't remember good food, a good cake, beautiful surroundings, ANYTHING, more than the band if they're good. Everybody was completely blown away by how awesome our band was.

    They were Omni1 - take a look at their web site's song list, it is a fraction of what they know and are capable of. This is the kind of range you're going to need. You'll need to invest in some music books for sure, and practice like crazy. But believe me you'll leave a lasting impression if you're good.

    They even had me come up and play with them for a song! They said it was the first time they'd ever had the groom come up and play bass. (a nice Fender P bass fretless with a J pickup and maple fingerboard - looked like it was possibly a '70s mod).

    Also, if your band is good, once you get established, you can make really good money.
  6. moley


    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    Hahahahahahahaha! That one's made my day :D
  7. P. Aaron

    P. Aaron Supporting Member


    Also a Waltz, and Tango, some Beatles and Billy Joel. Except in Ann Arbor, MI. Where Bruce's description is probably the norm.
  8. 5stringDNA


    Oct 10, 2002
    Englewood, CO
    Bruce, that is possibly the biggest nightmere I ahve ever heard, lol. Is anyone actually insane enough to do a gig liek that for $250, wait $237.50 :rolleyes: Some people...
  9. chris4001asat


    Dec 16, 2002
    Toledo, Ohio
    Warehouse Manager : Reverend Guitars
    I wish! I've played in a polka band for the past 20 years. Haven't played a wedding in at least 5 years
  10. stephanie


    Nov 14, 2000
    Scranton, PA
    Thanks for the replies everyone. Guess I have some thinking to do. I think I have more cons than pros right now:

    - getting 'out there' with my first gig (gotta start somewhere)
    - possibility of making good money (actually I'll take whatever I can get)
    - providing entertainment on what could be 2 ppl's best day of their lives

    - I hate wedding receptions
    - I dislike most popular music (though "The Electric Slide" and "Macarena" can be fun :D) (but there is a pro to that - learning new styles, and I am willing to play anything)
    - I don't have decent equipment, don't really have any (gig-worthy) equipment at all
    - I don't handle stress very well (which really sucks in any situation LOL)

    Well, that's all I can think of for now, I'm sure there's more.

    Thanks again,

    PS: No one's told me yet if I have to wear a tux like the guys? :confused: :D
  11. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    I play in a pretty high demand wedding band in the DC area.

    It does require a broad repertoire in our case. We get called on to play just about anything and have a reputation for pulling it off. We get on the spot requests all of the time and it blows people away when we nail a song. We also welcome people to perform with us, which brings up the ability to transpose.

    Fortunately we have one of the easiest instruments to transpose on IMO. When you're learning a song, don't just concentrate on the notes, concentrate on the intervals.

    Know whatever your style of music your band will be playing. You can't learn too many songs. Learn how to learn songs by listening, without the bass in your hands. This can come in handy when you're given a tape or cd tolearn and don't have the opportunity to actually play it on your bass. I've played a ton of songs for the first time on stage at a wedding and it usually turns out great. It's about listening.

    Solid, reliable equipment is key. Weddings tend to go by a schedule and you don't wan t to be the reason that schedule is altered.

    I pay for all of my toys with the money I make from these kinds of gigs. It really is the easiest money I can imagine, pays way better than clubs, shorter hours, no pyro (I know, bad joke), horny bridesmaids (;)), usually great food and if you're lucky like I am, you get to play with some top notch musicians who make it fun. The idea of a wedding band may seem corny to some but trust me, everyone can't cut it. You have to be on top of your game

    It's serious business but don't let a misplaced note or things like that ruin the whole gig.

    Good luck and don't be fooled... those balloon arches are expensive.
  12. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
  13. Hey Steph,
    I seriously doubt you will have to wear a tux. I mean, come on, do women wear tuxes at weddings? No! SO why would the bassist of the band hve to just because she is a girl. If you did have to wear a tux then you could sue for sexual discrimination (or omething like that anyway). Anyway, good luck if you do join the band and good luck in anything else if you don't.

    Ok Bye Steph :p
  14. stephanie


    Nov 14, 2000
    Scranton, PA
    I was joking about the tux :D, though I was a little curious about what I'd have to wear LOL. (Actually I have worn tuxedos before....played a boy in "The Nutcracker" for a few years hehe.)

    Brad, thank you very much for all that info. :) It does sound like it can be fun and that I can learn a lot from the experience as well.
  15. Arrrrrgh


    May 8, 2002
    I can't believe what you guys are all saying


    YOu get to play in front of people who really want to have a good time. And another nice feature (if you are male) is that all the women are DECKED OUT !!

    My band plays all kinds of gigs, but the wedding gigs are always fun. Especially if they are "food gigs". Luckily, three of us (including me) sing and we all know several schmaltzy songs that get all the grandparents thinking about the good 'ol days. And then when all the older people leave, we get to rock out with our regular stuff.

    We have a regular contract that we send out for wedding gigs before we play, and it states that we will learn up to three tunes for the event, and if they are too difficult, only two (mainly because of the instruments needed).

    I think a wedding band would be a great place to start, because you would have to learn a variety of music, and you would get FED WELL !!

    Good luck
  16. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Which guys? I read the thread and nobody seems to be saying anything really bad about them? :confused:

    I think Stephanie is nervous about it - but that's because she hasn't done any yet. ;)

    My band has done lots of weddings and they are our biggest money spinner - plus they have got us lots of other gigs - so the guests often enjoy it and see us in a good light and want us to play at another function they have coming up.

    Having said that there can be downsides - so my biggest bug bear is a lot of waiting around - so, the organiser is alway stressed and wants you to turn up early "just in case" - but the speeches always go on for ever and everything takes longer than expected. So you can turn up at 5 and not play till 10 - things like that.

    The other thing I find sort of "demoralising" is when nobody pays attention to your whole gig - so they are drinking eating chatting - often in a different room - then when you pack up to go and a DJ starst up - the whole dance floor fills up and it gets liveley.

    So the point is that the family or organiser thinks you are suitable - but that's no guarantee any of the guests will - at least if you are playing a gig under your own name, then you know all those people came to see you play - even if it is considerably less people than the wedding gig! ;)

    But having said that, I have played some great wedding gigs and some really bad ones - they are very variable - sometimes you get a great crowd all dancing, great food and a lot of attention. At others you are treated like the caterers, told not to walk through the house, not to do this, not to do that etc. Nobody shows any interest and you are no more than an irritation to everybody.

    Probably like any other gig! ;) Apart from the fact that - as I said - most people didn't pay to see you play or even choose to be there!!
  17. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings

    I can't believe you said this after reading "this" thread.

  18. moley


    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    This is my favourite bit :)
  19. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
  20. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I just thought it was worth pointing out to stephanie - so as not to be demoralised if it's like this - as you say, it is the nature of the thing...

    I feel an ambiguity towards this as I don't need to earn money from playing music and would rather play gigs where people are genuinely interested in the music.

    But of course I know it's not the same for everybody and that you need to earn a certain amount just to cover costs anyway! So my view is that I "put up with" these gigs to enable us to play other more "rewarding" ones.

    I know I'm probably not temperamentally suited to being a "working" musician and a lot of it just bores me - but it is all made worthwhile when you do get a really good gig where the band is playing well and the audience are really into it and responding :)