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Band Leader lets Bass Player jam but tells me what to play!

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by 51PRI, Oct 9, 2019.

  1. 51PRI


    Aug 7, 2014
    I play bass in one band but in this band I play guitar. Our bass player is a guitar player playing bass. When he joined the band he said he had always wanted to be the bass player in bands but always got stuck playing guitar because he was better than the other guitarists. Anyway...

    We were working on some older covers for an upcoming Country Club type gig. On "Get Down on it" after about the third or fourth time playing it he went off and basically played a bass solo through the entire song. In my mind WAY overplaying. He knew it and did it on purpose. Afterwards he asked the BL if he liked it. The BL said "loved it." So did the drummer, who is the BL's second in command. I kept my mouth shut even though his overplaying, to me, ruined the feel of the song.

    So the next song "Keep on Rockin' in the Free World" which I had played before in other bands, the BL actually stopped us and played the Neil Young version to show me how I should be playing the chords in the verses.

    So, he lets the bass player jam through a song basically making a solo out of it but wants me to play "cowboy chords" through the verses of a shi++y song that nobody will care about anyway.

    I'm pretty pi$$ed about it but what can I do? Just needed to vent!
  2. Stumbo

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

    Feb 11, 2008
    Song Surgeon slow downer. https://tinyurl.com/y5dcuqjg
    Don't raise your blood pressure over stuff you can't control.

    Smile and get paid.:thumbsup:

    Maybe make a gig recording and hear if it sounds as bad as you think it does.
  3. 51PRI


    Aug 7, 2014
    Thanks. Good advice. I record all rehearsals!
    31HZ, Stumbo, Daddy-R and 1 other person like this.
  4. ArtechnikA

    ArtechnikA I endorsed a check once... Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 24, 2013
    This may not be the best project for you.
    It happens...
  5. LBS-bass

    LBS-bass Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2017
    Well, were you playing the correct chords for the song? If the bassist was playing busy notes within the chord structure, it's a matter of taste, I guess. But if the chords you're playing aren't correct, that's a completely different thing.
  6. 51PRI


    Aug 7, 2014
    There are two different songs. The bass player was jammin' out on "Get Down on It" to the detriment, in my opinion, of the groove of the song. I was playing barre chords, the correct chords, on the verses of "Keep on Rockin' in the Free World" instead of laid back first position chords. The BL was technically correct but in my opinion what I was playing didn't change the basic feel of the song but what the bass player played on "Get Down on It" did.
  7. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    maybe you're not 'taking it personally' enough. :D
  8. oldrocker


    Feb 13, 2005
    Long Island, NY
    IMO the 2 songs used as an example here are totally different.

    Keep Rockin' is a straight song - almost an electric folk song that should be played straight. People do like this song, we used to get a good reaction when we would play this out. I always played the bass part very straight.

    The other song is a Disco song. By definition the bass part should be a little more out front.


    Either that or rage quit and fire the drummer :cool:
    Mike Whitfield likes this.
  9. 3Liter


    Feb 26, 2015
    The specific songs are irrelevant. If I assume you're operating with good intent here, you're upset how you're both treated differently. That's natural.

    Does the BL also play guitar? Maybe he doesn't comment on the bass playing because he can't or doesn't have specific language to do so?

    Just a guess. I like playing RITF...I play barre chords for the first half the verse and pick through open chords for the second, last time I played it. I also started the palm muted Em so I could set the tempo for the crummy band I was in. ;)
  10. lesclaypoolsob

    lesclaypoolsob Supporting Member

    Jul 5, 2006
    Guitarists tend to play bass like they play guitar. I have never met one that didn't. YMMV.
    Beej, marmadaddy, ElMon and 7 others like this.
  11. LBS-bass

    LBS-bass Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2017
    Right, I never thought they were the same song.

    So you were playing different versions of the 1st position chords that are normally played. I do understand that's going to change the way the song sounds to some degree, but I don't know if it's worth someone getting bent out of shape over. The thing about Neil Young's music, though, is that its primitive nature is part of its appeal, so some people might be really picky about that. I'd have to hear it both ways to really know if I'd care or not. Probably not.
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2019
    Mike Whitfield likes this.
  12. jeff62

    jeff62 Supporting Member

    Oct 24, 2005
    Orlando, FL
    Maybe I like and am familiar with Neil Young too much :). In my head, the position of where the guitar is played is crucial to the feel of that song. Barre chords don’t do it.

    Doesn’t mean that you can’t discuss the topic cordially with your band mates. :thumbsup:
  13. 51PRI


    Aug 7, 2014
    I watched Neil Young playing the song live and he plays barre chords on the intro parts and cowboy chords on the verses and choruses, and I don't mind playing it that way. That's not even really the issue. It was the BL making a big deal out of those, what I would call, minor discrepancies in the way I was playing it, versus the overplaying and not like the record way that the bass player was playing on the previous song, and they loved it. Maybe I need to overplay?
  14. LBS-bass

    LBS-bass Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2017
    I would be willing to bet it's more like the BL really wants certain songs to sound a certain way but isn't as picky about others, for whatever reason.

    Some songs seem iconic to some of us in the sense that we can't really hear them being played any way but the way they were recorded, while others aren't like that. And we don't all agree which songs shouldn't be tampered with, either.

    But if he keeps doing it, you might have a problem.
    Wisebass and Mike Whitfield like this.
  15. mikewalker

    mikewalker Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2017
    Canada, Eh!
    Band leaders do tend to call the shots... that's why we pay them the big bucks, right? :) But if you virulently don't agree with their taste, you can always start your own band...
    Wisebass, Ampslut and B-Lo like this.
  16. 51PRI


    Aug 7, 2014
    Well, I'm in two other bands already.

    The thing is since we got this bass player they've let him slide on things they never let the previous bass player get away with. In addition to often overplaying he is really bad about not remembering the songs. He's good about getting the pattern after about once through but he can't be counted on the come in on the downbeat with the correct note. I record every rehearsal and I hear every mistake. The BL and BL Jr. both like things just like the record, and they're really good at it, and I was actually taken aback that they let this overplaying go while getting on my case about cowboy chords.

    I just needed to rant!
    Mike Whitfield, djaxup and mikewalker like this.
  17. Stumbo

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

    Feb 11, 2008
    Song Surgeon slow downer. https://tinyurl.com/y5dcuqjg
    If he can't remember the songs he shouldn't be playing any instrument.

    Now I know why you rant.

    Do the BL and him have any personal relationships in common?
  18. Smooth_bass88

    Smooth_bass88 Groove it Supporting Member

    What a sordid tale
    foolforthecity likes this.
  19. gln1955

    gln1955 Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2014
    Ohio, USA
    Moral of the story: Nobody cares what the bass player does so don't worry about being true to the record. ;)

    Your band leader has taken on the music director role and has his own ideas of what he wants. You can work with him on what you do, but what the bass player does is not your concern in this situation.
    Picton, EddiePlaysBass and 2112 like this.
  20. OxForever

    OxForever Banned SUSPENDED Commercial User

    Sep 4, 2019
    Near San Francisco, but not in.
    Ron Ellis Guitar Pickups
    I have nothing but scorn for cover bands trying to ape the original, be it tone, playing, whatever.

    I went on the Delbert McClinton cruise a few years (five, I think) and I asked Delbert about covering songs and he told me if the band wanted you to play or sing like the record, the band wasn't worth being in because the typical tribute band is so hung up on details of the recordings, they don't even really know what they're doing.

    I completely agree with that. If you want someone with the gift of mimicry, that ain't me. And I'm not sorry.

    Think about it, do you really think Keef used the sounds of recordings onstage? Please. He probably never remembered what he did on the record, and that's fine by me. I don't try to get my recorded tone at a gig, because I don't care to repeat the work. Turn it on, tune it up and GO. With the exception of my guitar, all my pedal/amp settings are set and forget. Between the pickups on my Tele, and my own right hand, I can get any sound I want. My pedals are clean boost and delay. So set and forget, I taped the knobs in place. I use the guitar to change the sound. If you know how to play, you know what to do.
    ak56 likes this.

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