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Band Meeting - Lowered the Boom

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by mellowinman, Dec 25, 2012.

  1. mellowinman

    mellowinman Free Man

    Oct 19, 2011
    Howzabout this for a rule?

    If you want to sing a song, I will learn it. (that's already been my rule, for four years)

    If I want to sing a song, you will learn it.

    There will be no discussion, or opinions given. We will work up whatever songs anyone wants to sing, and only after mastering them will we decide whether they make the set list, SHOW BY SHOW.

    And if you're the drummer, and you DON'T SING, you will make LISTS of songs you want to perform, and you will have to recruit one of the three singers for the songs, and if NO ONE can sing the song well, then the song will be forgotten about.

    I don't care if we get five hundred songs worked up. It gives us more versatility, and it helps us to jam. Nobody should ever sing anything they can't do justice to, and everyone should get a chance to at least have a shot at doing a vocal that means something to them.

    I have always had the rule that I will play anything I am asked to play, but I have never felt good about singing something just to please someone else.

    What do you think about that?

    And yes, this does mean I will never sing "Slither" again, and that we will have way too many Aerosmith songs.
  2. AltGrendel

    AltGrendel Squire Jag SS fan. Supporting Member

    May 21, 2009
    Mid-Atlantic USA.
    My only issue would be the "no discussion" clause. I can see that bringing out a passive/aggressive response in some people, depending on maturity level.
  3. derrico1

    derrico1 Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2005
    Charlottesville, VA
    I don't have a rule, but my guiding principle on learning songs in a band comes from a similar place. In a group of reasonably competent musicians, for any song your band is going to fight over, it's almost always quicker to just learn the song and *hear* whether it works.
  4. Well, if that works for you, then go ahead. I don't think I would volunteer to learn any song anyone wants to sing, because I know from experience that someone will want to do a song with a lot of syncopation and a complex structure, and after I spend a bunch of time working on it we will rehearse it twice and then drop it. If it's a two chord vamp, then sure, no problem, but if I have to invest a lot of time I want to be pretty sure it will be on the set list.
  5. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Excellent advice. There's a ton of material I'd love to learn / perform but, within the context of our band, is either undesirable, unachievable, or unsustainable. I've had better results asking the primary vocalists to submit 6-7 tunes each they'd like to perform...I do the rest: charts, cheat sheets, arrangements, research available recordings, etc. I'm not much of an arranger but I do know where our strengths lie.

  6. shastaband

    shastaband Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 2006
    I played with the same guys for fourteen years straight back in the golden age of live music in the 1970s-1980s (6 nights-a-week, 5 set-a-night gigs in hotels and clubs). We did it like the UN Security Council-any one person could veto a song if he really didn't like it. No point trying to perform a song unless everyone could get behind it with enthusiasm. It meant we missed out on a few killer songs, but nobody had to play a song they absolutely hated.
  7. James Judson

    James Judson

    Jul 16, 2009
    I come with a couple rules as well. At rehearsal we play each others songs, no questions asked. On stage we play what "they" want, no questions asked. Any one that comes with a "no play list" simply doesn't get invited back to rehearsal. If anyone can not get behind a song that they hate their simply not professional musicians.

    Another rule is "no one has the right to waste anothers time". This includes;
    a.) We do not play a song over and over cuz some one doesn't "know" it.
    b.) We do not sit around listening to music cuz some one doesn't "know" it.
    c.) We do not give/get music lessons cuz some one doesn't "know" it.
    d.) We show up on time.
    e.) The only acceptable excuse is "I was getting laid" (no explaination, no details please). Anything else is just plain lame.

    Now if you hate my song list or I hate your song list, we are not compatable so we must part and go our separate ways. For that one exception we can show some respect and play it once. Thats not much "wasted" time on a song you hate. Opinions change quickly on a song you hate when a gorgeous blond bounces her gorgeous body on your side of the stage.

    Stormy Monday, Suzie Q, Brickhouse, Mustang Sally, Brown Eyed Girl, are just a few that I used to hate til a gorgeous blond convinced me otherwise. Don't want them on the "set list" but its a good idea to have them in our back pocket just in case that blond shows up.
  8. kjpollo


    Mar 17, 2008
    This...I dont have tons of free time to invest in learning new material. I'm willing to try stuff thats outside my comfort zone BUT I'm not about to tackle material that is very technical just because somebody thinks the song "might" be a good idea.
    Kinda bit my last band in the ass a bit- we tried Carry On Wayward Son (which has some weird stuff going on in parts) only to learn that the singer sounded like a wounded coyote.

    So you can also say that i'm not a big fan of the "no discussion" rule either. I'd rather lose a little rehearsal time deciding on material beforehand.
    But then again YMMV
  9. smogg


    Mar 27, 2007
    NPR, Florida
    I'm not crazy, I'm just a little unwell
    In my band we discuss everything. The non singers opinions are just as valid as those who sing. We use a pretty simple approach.
    1) Does it (the song) fit the bands image profile/target market.
    2) Can someone actually sing the tune well.
    3) Can all members at least tolerate the tune.
    4) Does the end product sound good when we perform it as a unit.
    If those criteria are met then it stays on the list. If not, then it goes to the back burner to be looked at again later on.

    Since we are all mature seasoned players it's all pretty no nonsense for us as egos are always checked at the door regardless of if it's a meeting, a rehearsal or a show. Life is too short to deal with wanna-be rock stars who think they can dictate ultimatums to other grow men. We are a democracy, no one of us has absolute power over any band related decision. This formula works for us because we respect each other and there are no power trips or personal agendas that take precedence over the band as a whole.
  10. mellowinman

    mellowinman Free Man

    Oct 19, 2011
    Well, the reason I'm cool with it, is that the worst thing that could happen is, I learned a song I will not end up playing! You can never learn too many songs.
  11. tmdazed


    Sep 29, 2012
    we learn the song, rehearse it a few times , if it don't work we toss it, too many people try to run a band like an elementary school, screw that , we are adults and discuss (albeit loudly at times) things , no need for hard and fast rules, the guys know when they havent done their homework and usually pick it up by next session. we had a control freak try to act like a principal , he quickly got told to eat a bowl of wangs and to sod off. it works for us , but maybe not everyone
  12. kjpollo


    Mar 17, 2008
    I agree that learning new material can be rewarding but its a time factor for me. If I only have 4-6 hours a week to really dig in to new material, I'd hate to waste a couple of hours of that quality practice time on a song that gets played one time in rehearsal and then gets kicked to the curb because nobody can sing it right.
    Nowadays its easy enough to bring a laptop or tablet to rehearsal so you can give a song a quick listen and get a good 1st impression of whether or not you can realistically do it justice.
    I'd rather use that quality practice time on material that everybody is confident about upfront.
  13. We only have one rule, keep the songs in our country/country rock style. Anybody can pick and if it works for us we play it. Playing music for us is fun, not a job. If a song doesn't work for us it never leaves practice, but we'll give any tune a chance.
  14. FunkHead

    FunkHead Supporting Member

    Mar 10, 2007
    Phillipsburg, NJ
    I love to learn new songs so I just do it. If everyone else learned it then I'm ready to go. Lots of times it never makes the set list but I know another song.
  15. Kmonk


    Oct 18, 2012
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan Strings, Nordstrand Pickups, Korg Keyboards
    In every band I have been in we all make song suggestions and then figure who does the best job of singing them. We've never based a decision on the fact that one person wanted to sing a particular song. If someone wants to sing a song but can't handle it we have another member of the band try it. If we are not happy with the way they sound after one or two rehearsals we drop the song. You have to do what's right for the band not for the individual.
  16. steelin4u

    steelin4u Supporting Member

    +1. If your band has day jobs (all in my band are somewhere in the music industry...I'm an educator, and the others are either are private teachers, church directors, etc.), time is precious. Heck, time is precious for everyone. If you spend all your time learning songs to become a better musician, you may be inclined to practice up all band suggestions. I got my music degree almost 10 years ago, and although playing tons of songs for fun might make me improve slightly, I doubt too many band-style songs are worth the time for me unless 90% of the songs will be giged and make money.

    We are all playing for a slightly different concoction of reasons, right? Money, enjoyment, livelihood, girls, friends, drugs, self improvement, etc. I'm convinced that one's take on working up songs is directly correlated to your reasons to play, with a dash of personality mixed in. IMO, etc. :)

    Merry Christmas!
  17. FrenchBassQC

    FrenchBassQC Supporting Member

    Jul 13, 2011
    Gatineau QC CA
    I hope that all the other musicians in the band are gorgeous blondes...:meh:
  18. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    I convert 4 string Rickenbackers to 5 string basses.
    My rules would be if someone truely hates a song he can veto it, if a song doesn't work dump it, and if a song does not go over well live then don't do it. Also sometimes songs get "worn out" and you need to stop playing them for awhile. Some songs take too much effort and work to preform so why do them when you can do 3 other songs with the same effort.

    A band should play songs that are fun to play, have good hooks, and people like to hear. That rule would kill the complete set list of most original bands.
  19. If I were allowed to discuss ;) I'd want the *rules* to be considered guidelines, then I'd suggest trying WHATEVER may be suggested, and then deciding if it has merit or not.
  20. I have no interest in learning complicated tunes only to dump them when I already figured they wouldn't fly. I'm never going to remember it in a year's time without getting it to gigging level. A little discussion goes along way to avoiding wasting everyone's time on your flight of fancy.