1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Band leader looking to motivate other members

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by podiumboy, Jan 8, 2014.

  1. Before I begin, let me state that I am a rational human being who realizes that everybody in my band, including myself, have lives and things happen. I am in no way a control freak... at least I don't think so...?

    My old band got back together recently, and by default I am the band leader. I am the lead guitarist now, a role which I enjoy, but also ended up in by default. I'm having a hard time getting this project off the ground. Everybody seems like they really want to do it. Our singer is new (so new that he has only been to 2 rehearsals), and I'm trying to encourage him to take the reins a little bit (PLEASE!), but he's still not comfortable and thinks of himself as a guest or an outsider. Drummer is the least invested member of this band, and his schedule is such that it's hard to get him to practice even when he is free. Bassist and Rhythm Guitarist are not leaders, just "go with the flow" kind of guys, to a fault. I ask them to contribute song ideas, and they just kinda shrug their shoulders and say "I don't care, whatever".

    I think everybody's level of commitment is there, but I think that if I don't do something, we'll just continue playing in the basement until we eventually get bored with it. Should I just go out and book us a gig and surprise everybody with it, to light a fire under their asses?
  2. That will sort the musicians from the jammers.
  3. I'd say make an assessment of what you have in terms of everyone's enthusiasm, ability and time- then estimate what you genuinely believe can be achieved. Present that vision to the other members, get their opinions on the overall plan and adjust(which could mean get a gig, or find. New band). Were I in your shoes, I would NOT book a gig w/o everyone's full knowledge- I could see that being a very painful experience- drummer bails/flakes, other members aren't prepared, etc... End result you look amateurish.
    Look on the positive side- if you are default leader, you call the shots. If people aren't into it, replace them. Take over the WORLD! :hyper:
  4. Luckydog


    Dec 25, 1999
    I think the natural order of things is motivated people end up leading. Not sure you're in a bad situation tho, so enjoy the ride and take the band in the direction you want to go...that is until the lead singer wakes up and begins to complicate things ha!

    Once you set some patterns--rehearsal and gig frequency, process for new song selection, playlist development, how gigs are obtained, how pay is handled etc, things should become easier for you. One thing I feel is very important...common goals. It would be nice if all band members had similar ideas on the music, the vision for the band, etc. So you, as the one seemingly most involved and interested need to elicit these things from them. Once their interests and goals are laid out, the planning (including who, if anyone has to "take the reins", so to speak) becomes much easier. Make them discuss this stuff openly, dont let them get away with shoulder shrugs. You are, by your admission, the default leader for now.
  5. Yes, do it!!!
  6. whitespikebass

    whitespikebass Boy Orbision

    Feb 19, 2013
    Austin, TX
    Give them money.
  7. Just define goals and be consistent.

    How not to do it: no goals for a really long time and draw arbitrary lines that nobody else knows about. Got canned from my last BASEMENT band because I had a bad night in the BASEMENT studio that he owned.

    The kicker is that I manned up and got it done, but was delayed by my grandpa's funeral. Despite such intense pressure on me, they still haven't finished the song and I finished my parts about a month ago, perhaps longer. I don't exactly write stuff down.
  8. etoncrow

    etoncrow (aka Greg Harman, the curmudgeon with a conundrum)

  9. 10cc


    Oct 28, 2013
    Are you guys writing music?
  10. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    When you say "Everyone seems like they want to do it," what exactly do you mean? Because I would say the proof is in the pudding. It's one thing to SAY you want to do something, but another matter to actually go do it.

    It sounds like the others are content to let you lead, so - lead. If they won't give song ideas, then you say, "OK, here are four songs I think we can do. Learn them this week and we'll play them together next week." If they come in prepared and ready to play them, give them four more. You're the leader and they're following your lead. If they complain about your choices, then tell them they need to contribute ideas of their own. If they don't come back prepared, can them and find another band.
  11. I agree with the others in that you shouldn't book the gig without having the guys support. They should all know that's the goal and be on board. If some of them are not of the same mind and goals they will need to be replaced. The build up to the gig should be exciting and not a stressful situation if everyone is on board.
  12. fhm555

    fhm555 So FOS my eyes are brown Supporting Member

    Feb 16, 2011
  13. bolophonic


    Dec 10, 2009
    Durham, NC
    I would never book a gig with a half-baked set and a line-up like that. This sounds like a garage jam to me. You are writing original music for this band?
  14. MaGrass


    Apr 14, 2013
    London, UK
    As a band leader myself, I have a question for you:

    Where do you want to take this project?
    And what is it? Covers? Originals?

    Dude, I won't question too much my band members about plans, if you know what YOU are gonna do with your band as long as you are 100% Sure of your choices, you should not feel bad giving them taks. And if people act loose like your drummer, or like most singers at a certain point (singers....they re hardly musicians most of the time) if you are serious about it you will find other people. Its all down to what you offer them. But still, If you enjoy the basement, just keep that one. Some people are happy just like that.

    Bear in mind that I don't know what your view of music is and what your plans are (ex: play music professionally or just as hobby) I'm just saying how I would act towards something like this because for me it's daily bread.

    But sadly I have to say and with this I'll close my post: contrarily to what most people believe, democracy in the band is not always the way....
    I Always believed in that but I did find also out that the democratic bands often end within 5 years of activity whereas when you get a proper band leader that knows his music and the parts to show to Everybody else, well....their projects are eternal.

    Good band leaders take decisions for others without being arseholes and Always know how to deal with other working musicians.

    Book that gig man, you'll see who among your band is playing your exact game.

  15. Wesley R

    Wesley R Supporting Member

    I would seriously consider discussing booking a gig, and go find one. Maybe not a show case place, maybe not for the best coin in town, but I would find one.
    It may just give people the drive to get going, and it probably will show weaknesses real quick.

    I once gave “the band” as a wedding present to a female friend. I paid the two guitars and drummer out of my own pocket. It sure got everybody moving in the right direction, or at least the same direction. It also proved to the promising guitar that his best friends maybe were not the best band members. We went on to develop a reasonably financially successful, happy, gigging, good sounding band, that lasted a long time.

    My father once told me it is not how good someone can play, it is how good they do play.
  16. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Williamsburg, VA
    You say "I think everybody's level of commitment is there," but everything else you described seems to me to contradict that. It sounds like you've got three guys who aren't really committed -- or at least not invested -- and you're not going to be able to accomplish much of anything dragging them behind you. You guys all need to sit down together and discuss this, and see whether you can come to an agreement on what you want to do with this band, and how much time and energy everyone is willing to devote to it.

    If you have your pow-wow and everyone agrees that they want to book a gig, that might be just the thing that lights a fire under everyone. But don't book anything until everyone has made clear that they're into doing it.
  17. Thanks for the feedback!

    Everybody in the band says stuff like "we should play here, we should play there". Drummer and rhythm guitarist went out and bought a bunch of sound equipment, so I think they're up for it.

    Our band (minus new singer) have played together since 2001, so we're still pretty tight. We quit in 2009 because of some issues with our old singer. He was the band leader before, and I was sort of his PR guy with the other members. So the musical ability is not an issue, and I think they all want gigs, etc. it's just up to me to do it I guess.

    I don't mind being the band leader, but I hope we can get to a point where we pick up a little momentum and everybody gets in a groove.
  18. We're going for a rock n roll cover band. When we were teenagers- early 20s we were all originals, then we figured out playing covers was much more lucrative. This is one thing our old singer hated was covers, and he would only sing originals. There were many gigs where we did without him if we knew it was going to be primarily covers. This ultimately lead to our demise, and we didn't play for 3 years. We started up again about a year ago to record some songs the other guitarist wrote. We realized we missed it, and decided to push ahead without the old singer and focus on being a quality cover band.
  19. book a good money making gig - and replace anyone who doesn't want to do it
  20. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts