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Band members in other bands?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Corbeau, Aug 1, 2012.

  1. Corbeau


    Dec 14, 2011
    I was wondering what others think about band members also joining other bands.

    I'm in a power trio set-up, and both of my bandmates are in other bands [the drummer is in two other bands]. They are both dedicated to my band, but sometimes I get the drummer saying that he had been so busy that he hadn't rehearsed. I know work gets in the way, but it also makes me wonder whether he is stretching himself too thinly.

    I thought I would be okay with them in other bands, and sometimes it's not a bad thing - my drummer got us a gig through one of his other bands. Plus, I understand that sometimes people like to play in various different genres and it's good networking for us in general. However, for some reason, I'm not okay with it. I keep wondering how they can maintain the level of commitment to a band if they are in multiple bands.
  2. Lo-E


    Dec 19, 2009
    Brooklyn, NY
    It all depends upon the level of commitment that the band members share and each individual's ability to pull his or her weight.

    For the past several years, I've juggled three to four bands at a time but those bands were mostly part-time endeavors; two rehearsals and a gig every couple of months, that sort of thing. That degree of commitment (semi-commitment?) has been consistent with the other band members, so no one feels I'm slighting them by taking other projects.

    Most of the time, balancing the workload has been fine, but once in a while all three or four bands get busy at the same time and then it's my responsibility to stay on top of the material and pull my weight. It rarely happens, but when it does I usually get a lot less sleep than usual!
  3. tycobb73


    Jul 23, 2006
    Grand Rapids MI
    A lot of drummers I know don't rehearse. they just listen to the songs over and over again. My rule is that as long as its not interfering with how prepared you are and you don't ask for any more time off than the rest of the band members, what you do in your free time is your business.
  4. cnltb


    May 28, 2005
    No problem at all for me.
    Preparedness goes without saying.
  5. Jools4001

    Jools4001 Supporting Member

    I've played in more than one band before. What's sauce for the goose...
  6. I play in an originals band with three university-level music students, who all play in various projects and bands.

    To make this work, the band's rehearsal times are usually set at least a month beforehand. We also try to book our gigs a half-year in advance, so there will be no double bookings for anyone. And we respect everybody's right to their private lives: everybody knows certain things are more important than the band, so there's no questions asked if somebody needs for example to cancel a practice.

    This policy of trusting everybody's common sense and professionalism has really worked: we've only had a couple of "calendar problems" or cases of not being able to practice parts because of other bands. Also, we have'nt had any "chemistry" problems in the band, because everybody is on the same page about our goals and conventions.


  7. guy n. cognito

    guy n. cognito Secret Agent Member Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    I have no problem with what other members do in their free time. A member that is frequently unprepared, however, will get the boot sooner or later.
  8. A lot of good drummers I know were in 2 bands due to such a shortage. Didn't really have much of a choice other than take it or leave it. If you really want to have the drummer to yourself, ya gotta offer him something better than what he has in the other band or try to find someone else.
  9. JohnMCA72


    Feb 4, 2009
    I always encourage people to play in other bands. You learn something from everybody that you play with, & when band members play with others, whatever they learn they bring back to my band.

    That said, if somebody has conflicts, comes to rehearsals or gigs unprepared, or otherwise isn't pulling their weight, it becomes a problem for me regardless of the reason. Most people (myself included, I hope) are able to manage being in multiple bands as long as none of them are "too busy". It's not that hard if you use common sense, set priorities, & make sure everybody knows where they stand.
  10. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    It's pretty common... at least on the cover band scene.

    Two guys in my band (one of them being the BL) are in a side project of their own which frankly, nets them a lot more $$ than our band. They book pretty far out so as soon as I see dates go up on their calendar I know I have those dates free to pick up sub gigs or whatever. And the BL has no problem with that.

    Especially in smaller markets like mine, there is almost always more demand for good players than supply, so if you want to play with the big dogs you can't always expect to be their only gig. For example one of the top 2 or 3 drummers in my area plays about 3 or 4 nights a week but in about that many bands.

    As long as no one person is constantly messing up the rest of the band's gig opportunities by over-committing to side projects or subbing, it can work out pretty well. Communication and advance planning are really critical though.
  11. Gaius46


    Dec 15, 2010
    Our drummer and one of the guitarist/singers are in another band. Guitarist/singer does music for a living, she has no other source of income, and the drummer needs his gig money to make ends meet. The other guitarist and I can't gig as often as they need so there's no problem here at all.

    As an added benny the drummer can't really practice where he lives so all the playing he gets in with his other band has made him a much better drummer.

    I did the 2 band thing for a while. With everything else going on in my life I could not make it work.
  12. bluewine

    bluewine Banned

    Sep 4, 2008
    In the originals band culture, absolutely. They don't gig to often so conflicts are less likely to occur.

    For working cover bands, absolutely not. When you have a conflict it could mean several band missing out on $$ that they depend on.

    Some of you will say get a sub and we have on occasion, However, that get a sub option is not the real world for some bands.
  13. BBox Bass

    BBox Bass Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2011
    NW Pennsylvania
    I'm in 2, which is normal for me. The guitarist from Band 1 and I recently formed Band 2 with a drummer I used to play with. The drummer and I had been looking to put something new together since we quit our last band in February, so when the guitarist and a singer friend of his approached us in May, we said sure. Guitarist wanted to play out more because Band 1's drummer has a job that only makes him available a couple Saturdays out of the month. We're booking Band 2 on Fridays and so far, it's been fine.
  14. bluewine

    bluewine Banned

    Sep 4, 2008
    How many of you in heavily booked cover bands, where you're booked every Friday & Saturday night would hire a drummer with limited availability?

    You could do it, but managing a band is hard enough as it is. Why complicate things.
  15. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    For me, splitting time between 2 steadily gigging bands (4 gigs a month or more each) has never happened and frankly I don't think I could make it work. Managing the logistics (gear, rehearsals, gig schedules etc.) on top of my full-time day job and family commitments would just be too much.

    But being in 1 steadily gigging band and doing one-off "pickup" band gigs and sub work on the side... plus an "off" weekend or two a month at my church? I've managed that pretty successfully for a few years now.

    It also helps that I'm making as much money in my one steady band as a lot of guys around here make in 2 or 3.
  16. jive1

    jive1 Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    I share a similar philosophy. As long as guys can learn the material and do the gig, it's cool. I've dealt with folks who don't play in multiple bands with way more free time available that can't do those things, so to me it's irrelevant how many bands they are in as long as they can do the job. And if they can't make the gig, find a capable sub. If anything, if they play in multiple bands, it will take them less time to learn the material because they already learned it in another band.
    If they play in other bands, they have may have contacts for more gigs and other opportunities. They may also be able to help you find a sub or a replacement when you need one.

    Also, as a bandleader, I'm under less pressure to keep everyone working if they can fill their calendar elsewhere. That gives me time to take a break, strategize, work with other projects, etc. without feeling like I'm shortchanging anyone.
  17. Of course not, but obviously a band playing shows like that would entice with cold, hard cash!
  18. jive1

    jive1 Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    I'm in a similar situation. I have an A-list drummer working with a start-up project of mine. He has plenty of work, but he's really into the material. I have no right nor reason to expect any exclusivity from him. If anything, I'm glad to have him on-board as he's better than most drummers out there. Having a good experienced player usually means more efficient practice, better networking opportunities, and getting out of the garage sooner.
  19. jumbodbassman

    jumbodbassman Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2009
    Stuck in traffic -NY & CT
    Born Again Tubey
    pretty much the norm for good musicians.
  20. jive1

    jive1 Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound

    Almost the top musicians I know play in multiple bands or at least do sub gigs for other bands. It's not like they always seek it out. They get offers, because they are good at what they do and make it work.

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