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Band leader advice/experiences

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by thudfromafar, Mar 20, 2009.


  1. thudfromafar

    thudfromafar

    Dec 12, 2007
    Chicago
    So, inspired by the "flaky musicians" thread...let's hear from all the band leaders out there in one consolidated thread. What tips do you have for other musicians or band leaders? How do you recruit the right people for your band? How do you keep people in your band? What should you do to get gigs and fans? etc etc etc. Stories welcome too.
     
  2. thudfromafar

    thudfromafar

    Dec 12, 2007
    Chicago
    I'll go first. I've been putting together a band for a while and I've been realizing some things. You may or may not know that a band is kind of like a relationship. Finding new members is kind of like dating. I have found that just like in the dating world, I often know when someone is right for the (band) and when someone is not. I have met some very talented musicians who, in the back of my mind, I knew would not be reliable -- yet I wasted my time hoping that it would work out. I think if you are absolutely honest, you will know when somebody is going to work out for the band after meeting with them just 1 time.
     
  3. Stumbo

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

    Feb 11, 2008
    the Cali Intergalctic Mind Space
    Song Surgeon slow downer software- full 4 hour demo
    Check out the link in my sig. Pretty much everything you need to know is in there.
     
  4. thudfromafar

    thudfromafar

    Dec 12, 2007
    Chicago
    Well all those links are nice and I've probably read half of them, but was thinking more of one thread with topic-specific consolidated info...
     
  5. sleeplessknight

    sleeplessknight Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2002
    Seattle
    1. Don't be a dick
    2. Don't be a dick
    3. Have subs. LOTS of subs. This is a band, not marriage. You are allowed more than one, and if your players are worth their salt they WILL have more than one group.
    4. Dedicate one practice a month to JUST the subs, to make sure they know the book.
    5. Speaking of books, compile one with the changes for all your tunes. Even if this is a Top 40 bar band, having a book will make life for EVERYONE easier.
    6. If you want folks to memorize the tunes faster (going 'off-book'), write the changes in Nashville notation. It's a lot easier to memorize a string of numbers than it is letters, sharps, flats, etc
    7. Pay your band first, and do your . Sometimes this means you go home with a little. Sometimes it means you go home with nothing. Every once in a great blue moon, it means you pay your guys out of pocket. You're the leader, so your needs come SECOND to your guys (this fits into #'s 1 and 2). Try to make up the difference in mailing-list growth, good exposure, a larger cut of merch sales, etc.
    8. When dealing with booking, use a contract. Always.
    9. Be aggressive in acquiring emails for the mailing list. Sometimes that is your only bargaining chip when dealing with the better venues.
    10. Don't be a dick. :p
     
  6. I personally am a big fan of #8 listed above. In fact I believe in having EVERYTHING in writing, that way there is no confusion, and less excuses.
     
  7. Jefenator

    Jefenator Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2008
    Oregon
    A few things I have noted in bands and other businesses:

    • Pay the crew on time. (As a sideman I tolerate but frown on delayed payments. When I'm BL, I ALWAYS bring the check book so I can "tie it off", right then & there.)
    • If there's someone whose skills are key to the success of the group, TRY to not alienate him/her.
    • There are non-material perks like flexibility, creative input and camaraderie. They don't cost anything to provide but not providing them might set one back a fair chunk.
    • No one is irreplaceable (including you).
    • Be fair but don't pamper - people get spoiled waaaaaaay too easily.
    • If they're no good without you, they're no good.
    • Walking the walk > talking the talk.
    • Don't screw people.
    • Make sure the crew is competitively compensated before you give yourself your well-earned larger cut.

    I know some are slightly redundant & some contradict others. :p But they all hold up IME. :meh: Most apply equally to a side man.

    Hope to see more responses. IMHO this thread deserves to be a little hotter than it is. :)
     
  8. Stumbo

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

    Feb 11, 2008
    the Cali Intergalctic Mind Space
    Song Surgeon slow downer software- full 4 hour demo
    There's relevant info spread through out TB (that's why I created my link post).

    It's difficult to find one, consolidated thread that covers everything on one topic because every TBr usually has something relevant to post but doesn't post in every thread on one topic. Threads come and go. Some TBr's miss some threads and catch others at different times.

    I suggest that you study (not just read) all the posts (in this thread and others), copy/paste everything into a doc file. Then rewrite/edit/organize everything to create a band management manual that's easy to reference and help you become a better band leader. Or not.
     
  9. thudfromafar

    thudfromafar

    Dec 12, 2007
    Chicago
    I've already learned a lot by reading other threads, including using the search function and stickies. I just felt this would be a good general topic -- not just for me, but for a lot of other people too. Thanks for the suggestion but no thanks...if I wanted to make a silly manual I would have already done it.
     
  10. ChrisB2

    ChrisB2 Bass... in your fass

    Feb 27, 2008
    TalkBass > Off Topic
    Stumbo, I always appreciate seeing the specific links you post here and there in different threads. I've used them often, its very helpful.

    However, I just tried your sig link to "Knowledge" and it said it was an invalid link. Might want to check that out.
     
  11. Demon_Hunter

    Demon_Hunter

    Jun 8, 2008
    I get this when I click that link

     
  12. Stumbo

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

    Feb 11, 2008
    the Cali Intergalctic Mind Space
    Song Surgeon slow downer software- full 4 hour demo
    Fixed. Thanks Demon Hunter and ChrisB2.
     
  13. Moe Monsarrat

    Moe Monsarrat Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2006
    Austin, Tx.
    Endorsing artist:Regenerate Guitar Works Carvin, Micheal Kelly Guitars
    1. Make sure there is a valid reason why YOU are the bandleader. 2. Don't think because you are the bandleader you can now be an *******. 3. Pay everybody every time. 4. Resolve conflicts quickly & fairly (if possible). 5. Take control when things get shaky whether on the stage or elsewhere & make things better for your guys. 6. Be ready & able to show them where the money went. 7. Never chastise anyone in front of the others. Do it in private so they can retain respect.
     
  14. sleeplessknight

    sleeplessknight Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2002
    Seattle
    bump, cuz I'd really like to see more input on this subject!
     
  15. gdawg27

    gdawg27

    Jan 12, 2006
    I agree with this for the most part, although it sometimes depends on the personality of the person getting chastised. I've seen people react by stepping up their game in order to not be put in that position again and I've seen people lose confidence in their playing from it.
     
  16. Treat everyone fairly and with respect. Then if someone is out of line you can be a dick but rightfully so ;)
     
  17. Moe Monsarrat

    Moe Monsarrat Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2006
    Austin, Tx.
    Endorsing artist:Regenerate Guitar Works Carvin, Micheal Kelly Guitars
    Trust me. If I chastise someone in private they won't want that to happen again either.
     
  18. jaywa

    jaywa

    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    Nothing to add since I've never been a BL... but bump for a good thread.
     
  19. Adam Bomb

    Adam Bomb

    Mar 26, 2008
    Bezerkely, CA
    Let bandmates contribute whatever effort they want to that they are good at. Don't feel threatened.

    Please note the "that they are good at" part.

    --Bomb :bassist:
     

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