Band moral dilemma!!

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by odie, Jan 24, 2003.

  1. odie

    odie Supporting Member

    Well I'm getting a little frustrated in the band Im in.

    But first let me explain why I'm even in this band.

    7 years ago I quit playing completely. Then I met the guitarist thats in the band I'm in now. He was down to earth and he explained that the rest of the band was the same. So it got me thinking about jamming again etc. So I dropped some large cash($4500) for my rig and a couple basses. We commenced to jam and it was great no attitude, professional and we're great friends......but we cant keep a singer. Actually they never work out, we went through 7, tried out 15, one was great but he moved due to a job.

    Well we finally found a guy, seemed good, but didnt know a thing about him. Something always seemed sketchy, he was really secretive etc, never been to his house etc. Well yesterday he didnt show up for practice, we call and his Mom says he was called out for the reserves ASAP. We never even knew he was a reservist, plus it seems sketchy that they(U.S. Reserves) wouldnt give any notice.

    Anyway. I'm just getting burnt on trying people out and finding out they are flakes, or unable to pull the gig off. Wasting time etc.

    I love my bro's in the band, we're best friends, but I can tell we're all getting burnt out and we're tired of being dissapointed.

    So I thought that maybe I should look for a side gig. To expand my playing, and feel like Im being constructive.
    But I worry that they will feel threatened by this and give up completely.

    I thought about "wood shedding", but that just isnt me. I like the comradery and the oulet of getting out of the house that being in the band it gives me.

    I've thought about lessons, since I've never had any formal ones.

    Or I thought about looking for a band with a different direction. Maybe originals etc.

    What do you think?? Im pretty lost on this one.
  2. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    I do believe his mom. Reservists are being called up on twenty-four hour notice literally by the thousands each day now. Pretty scary stuff, if you ask me.

    Anyway, back to your situation. After you spent so much money getting equiped for gigs, it seems like a doggone shame not to do something with your new gear..

    I know the singer problem can be frustrating. First, so many have monster egos. Second, so many can't really sing and don't even know it. But I say keep on trying to find someone. Don't give up. What about one of you guys singing in the meantime? That would be a real strecth to sing and play at the same time. You might come to like it.

    It isn't just singers who can be irresponsible and lack committment. Virtually any musician you might take on could behave that way. Gosh, I've been so mad sometimes at trying to put a band together and keep a band together! In fact, I have walked out on a band because I seemed to be the one with the most desire to make it work.

    But I want to say keep trying to find a singer. Put up ads at music gear stores and laundromats. Put a "Singer Wanted" ad in the classifieds. Go to local gigs. Sweet talk a singer you like into trying your band. Go to a local music school and ask the vocal coach who he/she thinks would be qualified and interested. Hold auditions. Whatever it takes.

    Then if that fails, look for another band. It is said that bassists are in demand and even harder to find than singers.
  3. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Odie - not to pretend I'm "Mr. Know-It-All" by any means. Just some comments because your experience is familiar to many of us.

    Although it may sound all-too-obvious, it's easy to forget that singers/vocalists typically have the least financial investment in their craft. That often translates into the level of their commitment. IME, many of them are driven by the whimsy of ego rather a profound love of the music.

    I'm a "nice guy" too. But you have to do what's right for you. Last year, I played in three bands - 6 nights per week of rehearsals/gigs. But no one felt threatened because I remained a contributing member of each, in terms of doing my best and trying to propel each band with suggestions of new/ better material, promotion, and arrangements.
    If you become disinterested, they'll pick up on it if you don't remove yourself first.

    Fine idea! At the very least, it gets your name in circulation among the scene that you are looking for something new. I got together with the band I'll be playing with in about 2 hours because they got word I was looking for an opportunity where I felt the people were committed and where I could expand myself.

    Often, being turned down is much better than knowing you didn't take a chance.
  4. odie

    odie Supporting Member

    Donkey I love the avatar!!

    Good advice here!! But a lot of options. I would to hear other real life situations. Its all very helpful.

    rickbass- I hold your opinion higher than most other bassists here at TB. Good advice as usual!!
  5. TxBass


    Jul 3, 2002
    Frisco, Texas
    I agree with Rickbass but I also tend to get attached to the folks I'm playing with. I think we get in that comfort zone and then when the gig is going south at least I get nervous about finding a connection with another set of 30 year olds with kids that still like to rock and aren't "nut-cases".

    Good luck with whatever happens. Maybe one of your "bros" in the current gig would venture out with you to another deal? I know my current drummer and I have sort of a pact that if our thing breaks off in the future that we'll stick together as a rhythm section.
  6. odie

    odie Supporting Member

    You nailed that 30 yrs old with kids thing perfectly!! Its the truth theay are either nut cases or old fogeys that cant rock. Thats what so cool with the guys Im jammin with, we know what family commitments are but we still hit it hard as a band.

    So you can get a call from Uncle Sam and the next morning you off and on the plane:eek: !

    Well I dont think the guitarist would want to venture too far. He doesnt like classic rock. Doesnt like heavey metal(ala Iron maiden, In flames etc.)

    He more of rock modern metal guy(Papa Roach, Tool, RHCP) even though he grew up listening to metal and the classics.

    The drummer might venture into stuff on the side.
  7. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    Hey, Odie.

    No offense, but I don't think your big financial splash back into music helped (Welcome back, byt the way).

    Anyone who spends $4500 on anything is probably prettty committed and up for some kind of disappointment if their high expectations are not somehow met.

    The reservist story is probably true. I don't see a guy leaving town just to get out of a band. Besides, there's some scary stuff going on right now.

    I'm sorry you can't find a singer, but that doesn't mean you guys can't do instrumentals. Sure, there are less gigs to be had, but it's more gigs than a band that does songs but lacks a singer will ever get. Try to play around town and announce you're looking for a singer. There's always someone who knows someone. Also consider trying to sing some songs yourselves.

    In light of your investment, it's obviously cheaper in the long run to hold on to at least one bass if you quit. (biiig mistake):p
  8. secretdonkey


    Oct 9, 2002
    Austin, TX
    Well, since you asked for more 'real life situations'... mine is actually a lot like yours, Odie.

    In '97 the singer/songwriter for my band at the time moved away. He was a remarkable, totally non-replaceable guy. The fact that he was an English professor at the local university gave us a great faculty/student following that we thrived on. The band tried to find a new direction but floundered and died shortly afterwards. I just couldn't find a project worth my time in this blue collar area of about 250,000.

    I pretty much gave up playing at that point. I played some pickup blues gigs and did a brief regular stint with Ervin Charles, a somewhat notable blues guy who was dying of cancer. That, for obvious reasons, was to be a shortlived project. I took a great job 80 miles away - with the commute it's essentially like working 12 days, 5 days a week. That pushed possibilities for playing even further aside. I took up amateur auto racing (autocrossing) which has grown to be an awfully expensive hobby.

    My wife made frequent joking references to her 'secret plan' to turn my attention back to music and away from cars. She hooked me up with a guy she knew from high school, a guitarist who had just returned from Berklee with degree in hand. Working with him was great, and I learned a good bit, but I really wasn't on the same hyper-technical prog rock/nu metal wavelength, and certainly didn't share his lofty ambitions, and bowed out to play with a great jam-rock band who had courted me back before I was ready to commit to a band that would require me to actually push myself as a player.

    Well, the guy I knew from the jam band was overjoyed that I was ready to play with them. One small thing - they had swapped a member and were now doing classic rock covers. 'Just a temporary thing' that got them better paying gigs, but there's really no turning back now. The level of musicianship is good, which makes the songs fun to play even though I would never go see a band playing this kind of music. Still some of the 'jam' qualities - 20 minute Allman Brothers and Govt. Mule songs and whatnot.

    Still, I can't stay with the classic rock thing - it's really just not me, and the money's not good enough to stick it out, either. Like TxBass, finding a project that 'works' for you can be really tough (but if you think it's tough to find like-minded players in Austin, TxBass, try just about anywhere else in Texas!;) ) I have watched for opportunities for months, now - just nothing - reminding me of why I kinda quit playing the first time.

    Latest to develop, the guitarist recently subbed in a popular local modern rock cover band, and got a taste for the excellent money they were making. Now we're trying to get hooked up with this well-known regional booking agent to get us some of 'that action.' Well, he doesn't book classic rock bands, so we're set to reinvent ourselves as a more 'modern' cover act. Part of me is overjoyed. Part of me is convinced that this can only lead to failure and frustration. I know that it could work, but the member added when they took the classic rock turn would have to go, and the guitarist will have to face the fact that he's really not lead vocalist material. As the last member to join the band, I can't play homewrecker by making those suggestions. But without those changes, I think the band could easily look like a bad joke.

    Anyway, I'm feeling trapped and with very limited options right now. In another thread I whined about my limited options and got (rightfully) chastised for being too picky about my projects. I'm playing music I don't totally care for with this band because the guys all have the same goals - to not give up the day jobs, but also to be more than just a bunch of hacks (okay, more than just an *average* bunch of hacks).

    I don't know what help this little epic biography could be for you, Odie, but writing it out has certainly been very therapeutic for me. :D :D I guess the message I think you might could take away is that it's pretty normal to encounter all kind of hurdles in trying to find a fufilling way to pursue your love for playing music. Some of those hurdles can be 'real' and some can seem pretty frivolous and self-imposed, but they are still important to the only person who has to live with the consequences of ignoring them or finding shortcuts around them, which is yourself, of course.

    Anyway, if anyone's still reading at this point, thank you for allowing me to spill this stuff in an effort to make sense of it for myself. :)
  9. odie

    odie Supporting Member

    Blackbird- Actually the $$$ was well spent. The rig I was playing thru before I quit playing was a lot bigger and much more expensive. So I bassically spent enough to get what I knew I would need if I was really going to jump into it. Thats how I found out about TB almost 3 yrs ago, and I grabbed what I thought I needed. I dont like crap and having something that is reliable and sounds good really boosts my confidence and I didnt want something I would out grow in a couple years.

    I wasnt looking for anything big to happen just to have fun and play a couple gigs a month. We get to that point and then we loose a singer etc.

    The instrumental thing is a good idea. We were looking into doing more originals and picked up a Tascam 788 to put ideas together.

    SECRETDONKEY- Thanx for sharing your situation. It meant a lot to me to read that. I can completely see where your coming from. You think your scene sucks??! :) Try Rochester, MN the single most conservative town in the Midwest. Home of the Mayo Clinic, and everything boring. There is only 4 bars that will have bands in any regularity. Only one with lights and a stage.

    I have options but I feel guilty and mostly afraid of loosing 2 fellow musicians Im best buds with and are the easist guys to deal with. I just want to expand my wings, or atleast enjoy things a little more
  10. TxBass


    Jul 3, 2002
    Frisco, Texas
    I definately feel this way. You don't want to compromise what you have in order to take it further yet parts of the group may or may not be as motivated as you are. I'm in this situation right now and with even 20+ originals some folks still have fear of "taking it further".
    For me, it's more about being in a stable group that has similar goals for the music as I do and are still more committed to their families as a priority---cause nothing can break up a group faster than a spouse that starts doing the "you practice too much" thing
  11. odie

    odie Supporting Member

    Not the you practice to much thing!!

    Actually wives dont scare me as much as girlfriends!! The other weird thing about this singer we have/had is that every practice he always brought his young little girlfriend, and I mean young!!! Like 10 years younger and lets just say the singer is under 30!:eek:

    He's from Texas, so maybe the laws are a little different there:) ;)
  12. TxBass


    Jul 3, 2002
    Frisco, Texas
    gotcha...well, you know the heat gets to our brains down here...ahh what's 10 years??

    (oohhh gotta go, think my wife is yelling at me from the kitchen:D )
  13. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Well, I'll have to see what I can do about getting you better guidance! ;)

    I've just probably made more mistakes than others over the decades, and the serendipitous opportunities that have smiled on me with bands over the decades give me perspective.

    The instruments and the amps change, but the human nature of the people playing them seems to remain pretty constant.

    Thank you! That is very kind..........and "kind" is rare.
  14. P. Aaron

    P. Aaron Supporting Member

    What Rick Bass said. There will always be transition periods. Highs and lows between group success and developing the band/chemistry for success. Especially, but not neccesarily exclusive to "Original" music bands.

    Keep listening, and keep playing, but only if you truly like it, and stay curious.
  15. Hi Odie, I saw in the Star and Tribune last week that a whole bunch of Reservists in the Minnesota Guard were called up on very short (24 hour) notice.

    It just might be the case with your singer.
  16. odie

    odie Supporting Member

    Thanx Roark for the heads up on that!!

    What are doing for giggin looks like you do drums and bass. Good combo!!
  17. Yes, I'm the artist fromerly known as Drummer Dude. Unfortunately I don't have a nice studio down in Chaska.
  18. I think you should try to play with other bands, just talk to your band about and tell them why.

    Not only would it be beneficial to your playing but you might end up in a band and find out that the singer is not very happy with the band and he/she may be exactly the kind of singer you were looking for.
  19. Bob Clayton

    Bob Clayton Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Aug 14, 2001
    Deptford, NJ
    my band has gone through alot of singers....then we realized that me and the guitarist can we just stick with that now...