band headed in right or wrong direction?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by CShep, Dec 30, 2005.

  1. CShep


    Dec 30, 2005
    Montgomery, AL
    i play in a four piece jam band ( ) that consists of a guitarist, keyboardist/organist, drummer, and myself on bass. we have thirteen originals and usually only play one or two a gig. i have stressed time and time again that we need to play more originals but our guitarist, who is also the lead vocalist, suggests we should stick to covers when we play in montgomery b/c the city sucks and doesn't appreciate original music and he also doesn't want to lose the crowd. we also are thinking about adding another guitarist who has played with us twice. first time he sat in on a couple of songs went real well audience was real into it. second time he sat in the whole time, lost the audience early on, got its attention, then lost it mainly b/c we tried to play with him instead of him playing with us like he did the first time and he and the other guitarist took pretty much every solo opportunity that me and the keyboardist normally have away. i know lots of practice would help build chemistry but i began to think is it really possible to have a jam band with two guitarists who solo, a keyboardist who was soloing just as much as the original guitarist, and having me solo in a number of songs without someone switching to strictly rhythm? being a jam band we have a very loose format to most songs and formatting the songs would take a lot out of our performance. i feel if we added the guitarist and everyone continued to solo the songs would go like last gig- too long and we would climax then end up carrying out the jam when it didn't need to go on any more.
  2. I guess you need to be very clear about what the audience want in your town. A jam band would only work here in Australia if the muso's were all quite well known.

    IMHO - there would need to be at least one member of your group holding down the basics. Endless noodling really adds nothing to the song in general. That is where I would start - discuss with your bandmates whether the solo's add anything to the general feel of the song, or are they just pointless meandering to fill time?

    Good luck!
  3. CShep


    Dec 30, 2005
    Montgomery, AL
    yeah my town pretty much likes country, rap, and 80s cover bands. we hate it and have success with college students but i am the only one in my band that's in college and i'm in my first year the rest are seniors in high school. we've been playing at bars for about three years now. noodling is exactly how the guitarist described what we were mainly doing at the last gig early on and we had really gotten away from too much noodling lately and had good solid jams. but for the most part the drummer and i lay down the foundation for the jams with a nice little groove and everything develops from there.
  4. see that sounds very interesting - I'd like to see a band like yours.

    Maybe you could get your keys and guitarists to discuss trading solos, so that its not everyone playing all over each other.

    just a thought...
  5. CShep


    Dec 30, 2005
    Montgomery, AL
    yes the power struggle of solos has been there but they are good about trading solos now but with the other guitarist it was basically two guitars trading solos (at times doing some harmonizing which really sounded nice) and our original guitarist pointed that out and said the keyboardist needed solos but he shot my idea straight down that maybe we're not a two guitar band some bands aren't cut out for that am i not right?
  6. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I'm with you about all the solos. So many solos make me want to puke. Jam band aside, not every song needs to let everyone in the band solo. Also, if you're not writing and playing your own songs, I see no point in being a jam band. I see the guitarist's point about losing the crowd, but if endless solos aren't losing the crowd, I wouldn't think doing a lot more originals would, either.
  7. Agreed. We tried to put in another guitarist earlier in the year, and the mix just didn't feel right. Sure, it was nice to get the extra textures and free up some of the lead work, but he just kept trying to inject solos into our music, which didn't feel right.

    I think you have got a very clear idea about how your band should approach the music and the gig. We play about 70% original, but this took us three years to achieve - slowly adding more and more originals and weeding out covers. This is one way to do it.

    The other way is to go totally original from the outset - and work your behind off to get a following. It's your call.

    Best of luck!
  8. Tingly


    Jul 16, 2005
    Yonkers, NY
    I think it IS possible to have "to have a jam band with two guitarists who solo, a keyboardist who was soloing just as much as the original guitarist, and having [you] solo in a number of songs without someone switching to strictly rhythm."

    But you guys seem to be going about it in a very disorganized way and, in that situation, you need exactly the opposite approach. That band could be great, and hook the audience every time, but you all have to know what you want to accomplish, on each tune, and how you are going to accomplish it. Especially, each musician must be "generous" to the others, when not in the limelight, by providing strong back up support. That is part of the key to the equation.

    I listened to the myspace stuff, and you guys are obviously really good. But it's hard to make any further recommendation (like agreeing on who solos when, or how long solos will be, or who will solo on what songs) without actually seeing the band and how you interact.