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Athenian Band Democracy

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by FreshTrooperXBL, Dec 7, 2012.

  1. FreshTrooperXBL


    Jul 24, 2011
    Sparta beware! :bag::bag: haha
    But seriously this "democracy" thing is new to me and it works awesomely. All the other bands I've been in have been more-or-less just a BL calling the shots ...and it works until problems arise and then problems get solved all in the eyes of the BL with some guidance from us advisers. Usually I'm just along for the ride in these types of bands and I don't normally have enough say to always convince the others or the BL. As always, issues arise in any band regardless of how friendly or professional the members are, but it seems they can really be handled by the better of leaders most effectively. I can say that with my jam/progressive/psychedelic band back home we are all leaders in the band. We are the ones doing the conquering, if you will. I've got some positives to mention with this format of a band:

    -I've come up with some really cool riffs and or chord structures and think they are totally perfect and then my bandmates put their input in and things just become 200X better! What a feeling!

    -We've gotten further in 5 months of self promotion then 2 years with paid promotion in my other band (I think it has to do with our attitude to the business and, more importantly, our relation to it).

    -I seriously am so excited to hear our EP when we have it produced. I get scared listening to how we are like all on the same line of the same page, all reading at the same pace.

    -We get so proud (and thankful) when we realize how great we jive compared to other local bands who don't seem to have that general "chemistry" going for them (nothing against the others, but something more is there for us).

    -Everyone is a multi-instrumentalist ...and wow, conveying ideas between everyone is a breeze, which cannot be said for the bands with the non-self-aware. I always get that feeling that everyone else is just making some nice noise while we are making an idea, a picture ...maybe even head bobbing music :p

    Any other democratic Greek city-states out there?
  2. good to hear this. there are far too many bad band leaders out there. i assume you do originals
    my band works the same way, for an originals band especially when starting out it is a very good approach.
    i can add more positives to this

    1. more and different creative input to contribute to the bands general sound to which made our band far more unique in sound.

    2. more general commitment from each member as every one has equal input and there is no one who will do all the work for you.

    3. better communication

    4. more connections thus more opportunities and possibilities. you already mentioned promotion. i also add more fans (friends) to start with more potential gigs and other things

    usually this doesnt last long though! eventually someone will become the BL.
    especially when going (semi)professional. at a certain point there will be so many things to manage that discussing them individually is not managable anymore. and the band will realize that one of the members (not nessecarily the front man) is naturally good at those things and does it best. at this point it is unwise to stick with the democracy thing.

    there are bands though that never have to give up this democratic system. but this is rather rare because it requiers an equal grade of professionalism and a very strong commitment frmo each member
  3. Kmonk


    Oct 18, 2012
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan Strings, Nordstrand Pickups, Korg Keyboards
    Every band I have been in except one, has been a democracy. The only one that had a BL was a nightmare because it was his way or no way.
  4. Factor88


    Jun 21, 2011
    I think in some ways we all struggle with subjective definitions of what a BL actually is. For example, the band I have been in for the last 12 years is probably a democracy in that everyone gets their say and no single person could “fire” one of the other members. But I do 60% of the bookings, I am our main (house) gig’s point of contact for the owners, I take the lead on scheduling rehearsals and figuring out what we need to work on, I write the set lists, I work out the set start times with the venue and then round up the other members when it is time to go back on. I am the first one at the gig to load in and generally the last one to leave.

    So, am I the BL? Maybe not, but if I did not do this stuff, no one else in the band would, and we’d go belly up. So while my bandmates may think they are in a democracy that is working great, perhaps more in reality they are in say a “benevolent dictatorship” that they don’t even realize, and would be lost without.

    Back to the OP, congratulations that it is working for you, but if I read your post right you guys have been together for 5 months. I don’t think that is long enough to make a judgment call about if democracy will work for your band long term. But FWIW, I think democracies have the best hope of success in a originals band rather than a cover band.
  5. FreshTrooperXBL


    Jul 24, 2011
    Actually to clarify only in the last 5 months have we begun to self-promote. Technically we've been going for 2 years now. Originals band. Yeah I will probably begin to take some duties like booking and possibly singing. Yeah bummer about everyone's crummy BL's ...fact of life I suppose