Band -The good\ the bad, sometimes ugly

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Jimmy4string, Oct 12, 2016.

  1. Have you ever had one of those practices where just everything does not work??
    That was last night. Mostly drummer problems that sparked into lead guitar frustration. When there is a frustration I (the singer) do not work well. Oddly our last practice was quite good. we got 3 practices until our first promo gig. :woot:
    Do you guys have those good \ bad days?
  2. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    It happens - everyone has off days. If it were me, I would try to look to see WHY things did not go well. Was it just a blip on the screen, or was there a reason that you can identify, and try to eliminate that variable for the future?
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  3. Cowboy in Latvia

    Cowboy in Latvia

    Mar 1, 2015
    Everyone has those. After about an hour of that type of practice, I usually call it. Then, I buy a round, we bs a bit and try again later. If it happens too often, there is usually a cause and if it isn't addressed will end a band.
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  4. Cowboy, you are right. We should have called it. However our lead guitar just wanted to keep pressing on. I half think that is good. If you can push on where you are at your worst it should have bearing on making you at your best. I hope.
  5. Gravedigger Dav

    Gravedigger Dav Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 13, 2014
    Springtown, Texas
    Sometimes, pushing on will make it worse instead of better. Don't get too worked up over it. There are good practices and bad. The same is true for gigs. Gigs you can't call, then you do have to push on.
    Every time you have one of those horrible sessions, try to remember you live for those great sessions.
    Jimmy4string likes this.
  6. Dave great words of inspiration.
  7. Gravedigger Dav

    Gravedigger Dav Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 13, 2014
    Springtown, Texas
    Thanks. Happens I was thinking about this because last Friday, we had one of those great gigs where everything went perfectly and we had a standing room only crowd that was loving what we were doing. I live for those gigs. And, to top it off, it was our first gig at that venue. The owner was out of town, so we don't have any repeats booked yet, but I'm sure when she counts her till for the night we will. I could see the bartenders running their butts off.
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  8. PauFerro


    Jun 8, 2008
    United States
    Most of my rehearsals go well. I am not sure why -- I think it's because the musicians all read music and we tend to stick with the same styles -- jazz, fusion, smooth, and pop. All related...

    I do think that sometimes rehearsals suck because the band leader has the team members working in their areas of weakness -- that reggae-feel the drummer doesn't get, or that shuffle he's never played before. Or maybe the guitarist is playing a song that he hates and can't seem to get his head around.

    Even Pat Metheny mentioned that the "organization" of a band is the hardest part for him (selecting members and managing the thing). He plays with pro players, and indicates that when he does a new CD, he will write 15 songs. 4 or 5 of them won't work with the band -- even though they are pros due to limitations with musicians or something being wrong with the song. 4 of them work, but they don't really stand out, and so he's left with 6 songs to put on the album that are really good..

    I have a couple groups I play with, and certain songs work really well, and others, well, you have to put them on the garbage pile and move on. Perhaps you were doing a lot of songs that just don't fit the strengths of your musicians. I also remember trying to do an vocal version of Lovely Day by Will Withers and it just didn't work. I felt like it needed something to drive the song forward. I realized upon listening we were missing an instrument that created the drive, and couldn't duplicate it with our other instruments, so we scrapped the song.
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2016
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  9. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    It happens. Just don't start blaming band member's for an off practice. We all have them.
  10. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    May 24, 2006
    It's been said that if at first you don't succeed, try again. Then quit. No point being a damn fool about it.

    Tired is stupid. Angry is stupid. If you're tired or getting angry, most times it's better to knock off early. Bad rehearsals happen every so often. Sometimes you just have to wrap it up and regroup when you're all feeling more up for it.
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  11. I’m heading to a rehearsal that I’m pretty sure won’t be ideal tonight.

    I’ve had a tough day at work and would rather go home a stare at the wall for a while
    Our guitarist has recently separated from his wife, and his daughters told him last week about “Uncle” Bill who they don’t like, so his head isn’t in the game
    Our drummer & keys player are students, who have just wrapped up for the year, so they will probably be drunk or stoned or both.
    Our regular rehearsal spot is booked out, so we’ll be rehearsing in a friends “studio”/bong-den.

    I have no fear that our gig on Saturday night will be a winner. The extra adrenaline always pushes everything but the performance form our minds and we come up with the goods, but it’s a chore to rehearse sometimes.
  12. fasto


    Mar 4, 2007
    Amsterdam, NL
    if the rehearsal goes wrong, the gig will be great!
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  13. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    Also try to remember as much as we all try to be at our best and play to our fullest potential we are not professional musician's. Unless you make the all or the majority of your income from playing music only you are among the weekend warriors. Most of us have have jobs, families and commitment's.
    I don't think the average person understands what it is like being in a good working band and working a full time job. Like I said I try my best but gets in the way.
    Jimmy4string likes this.
  14. All true. We are regrouping tonight. I am hoping for greatness since we are in our North locale and the drummer doesnt have to drive 45 minutes. -i got to drive this time :)
    The only think i dont like about the North location is we got a stripped down PA -so no effects on my voice. it is sometimes brutally honest.
  15. pcake

    pcake Supporting Member

    Sep 20, 2011
    Los Angeleez
    some of my best rehearsals happened when i was tired, frustrated and just not in a good mood. after some time playing, i'd end up feeling better and refreshed.

    of course, there are those other rehearsals, the ones where you start off tired, frustrated and in a bad mood and end up wanting to pull someone's head off or curl up in hole... :D
    Bunk McNulty likes this.
  16. Rehearsal-wise, it's usually all good. I'm fortunate with my current band because when we do rehearse, it's a very stripped-down, low-pressure, informal affair. If the drummer shows up at all, he brings a snare and nothing more. I bring a practice bass and a portable combo amp. The rhythm player usually rehearses on an acoustic, and our lead player will bring one guitar and a tiny practice amp. We can literally sit around our singer's kitchen table, or out in the living room, and polish up whatever we need to work on. We also work new songs out this way, and often go gig 'em the next night. Somebody always brings some beer, somebody usually springs for a couple pizzas, and we cut up with each other as we work. There's nobody there cracking a whip or trying to lord over the rest of the band - we're adults and friends, we know what our time frame is, and we know what our goals for the session are. The work always seems to get done and I have to say rehearsals are practically always productive.

    "Off" gigs...yeah, they happen. For whatever reason, it just won't seem to gel quite right, or it feels like it's not in the pocket. As long as the audience isn't picking up on it, we just soldier on. We recently had a two-night engagement at a sort of highbrow local venue. This was something we needed to come off very well because we wanted to be in the rotation. The first night, and to my horror, I personally felt off. Not sure why, but I was sort of dopey and having a hard time concentrating fully. I felt like I was mentally a step behind for most of the night, when my usual M.O. is to be a step ahead (or die trying). We play a lot of chordy stuff with key changes and whatnot, and everybody in the band has made it clear that they cue off of my bass to the extent that they can't always retain the arrangements if I'm not present for a gig. It was a great compliment on the one hand and a burden on the other, because that raises the stakes. I can't afford to be very "off" for very long. Thankfully, and probably because we were new to this audience, everybody seemed to really appreciate that evening's performance and we kept the place packed until tear-down. *Whew.* When I opined to my lead player about feeling a little left of center, he blamed it on the blue crab dip. Crustaceans chiseling away at my gray matter, he said. It was laughed off and the rest of the band felt pretty good about the gig, so no worries. Then the next night, we came out swinging, nailed it, and we've never sounded better. People walking by outside the place were stopping to congregate and listen. We pulled down two weddings and a private party gig from members of the audience that night. Then the venue manager delivered the check, calendar in hand, and began asking us about 2017 dates...touchdown!

    I guess that's the biggest difference between "off" nights and "on" nights. It's not so much that off nights are necessarily bad, they're just not quite as satisfying as "the norm." The on nights are like shots of raw energy that just push the bar that much higher. And I think as long as all the members of a given group understand that ebb and flow - and don't get their noses out of joint about the occasional subpar gig - nobody should be any the worse for the wear. It's when dirty looks and insults start flying that it's time to step back and critically evaluate the situation. That sort of nonsense can end a band in ugly, painful ways.
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2016
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  17. Brewster, I know what you mean about being dopey. I get that every once in awhile. There was one night at rehearsal we opened with "own worst enemy" by Lit i have heard that song a hundred times and know the lyrics like my name. However, as soon as that opening guitar salvo went out they (the lyrics) just flew out of my head!!
    I was standing there like a fool! Noone remembers that -but i cant forget! I too am one who always bring the A game and when i can't it is tough but i try and just soldier on. I like ya'lls practice style. :)
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2016
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  18. Robroy

    Robroy Guest

    Jun 21, 2006
    I've always had a rule of thumb: The worse the rehearsal, the better the gig. It's not guaranteed, but it really is surprising how often that happens.

    Fact is, some days I just don't feel very musical.
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  19. And that, my friend, is what makes me very happy I'm not a vocalist. I only sang lead on a few tunes over the years, harmonies on some others, but I know for a fact if any more were ever required of me vocally, I'd be spacing out lyrics right and left. I applaud your ability to think bass and vocal simultaneously. It's an underappreciated skill that some among us have very little propensity for!

    In terms of the rehearsal style, thanks. It works for us. In my musical life, I've usually found rehearsals to be one of two things: (1) pains in the butt that get in your schedule and mess everything else up, or (2) modes of self-indulgence for bands that get off on their own sounds. I don't even mean that disparagingly because we all enjoy our projects when they sound good - that's not even the point. I think I've just experienced a few bands over the years that seemed to prefer "rehearsal" to actual gigging, and that's not my thing. If there's no endgame, then rehearsal is not a rehearsal - it's a jam. Which is fine in its own right, but let's call a spade a spade. This band's rehearsal approach is our way of taking the edge off an otherwise mundane task, keeping it light, productive, and usually pretty brief. On Friday we got together at 5PM without our drummer to work out Wildflower (Skylark) and Feeling Good (Nina Simone). Both are chordy with tricky segments in the arrangements, but we goofed with them over some Dr Peppers and maybe an adult beverage or two. Neither of our guitarists even brought in their amps, they just played their electric guitars acoustically. Then we packed up, went to the gig at 7, set up, and played from 8 to 11. At about 10:45, as we were nearing the finish line, our singer gal decided to give Wildflower a roll. So we all got our "no guts, no glory" on and powered through it, modulated up a whole step from where it was recorded. Very few clams - solid sounding, and to my surprise, big audience response. I had all but forgotten about that song until they brought it up last week! An unlikely crowd pleaser.

    Anyway, rehearsal of any form is useful when it nets results. Otherwise...nah. ;)
    Jimmy4string likes this.
  20. Good stuff Brewster! We got together Friday and this time absoltlety fantastic rehearsal. I fubbed a few lyrics in "rock you like a hurricane" but noone but another singer would have noticed. ( I am good at blurring the vocals if i cannot recall them). ;) I was like wow we are awesome after all! :) Made the beers after go down good!
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