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Bandleader doesn't understand music

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by BassAndReeds, Dec 23, 2016.

  1. BassAndReeds


    Oct 7, 2016
    This had happened to me in multiple bands now. Top 40/bar bands where the bandleader in charge of booking the gigs and hiring the musicians does not know a lick of music. In both situations, they were guitar players. One, the sound designer turned his guitar off completely in the house. He didn't know. The second, she played out of a 40watt Roland Cube, at a bar, where I play a 400watt 4ohm eden 212 and the other guitarist had a similar capacity rig. I even had to find a sub drummer for her, cause she doesn't know how to weed out good from unqualified. Just venting really. But how do these people keep bands together? I've been a woodwind player for 20 years, but have been converting to the bass for 2 years, which I love. I take what I can get as far as work. It's unfortunately been bands like this.
  2. s0c9

    s0c9 Supporting Member

    Jan 9, 2014
    1964 Audio artist, Fractal Audio Beta Tester
    Personality ??
  3. It used to bother me when someone didn't "know music". I finally decided it didn't matter all that much in a cover band. As long as they show up capable and ready to make the same sounds as the original, I don't care if they have any idea as to how or why.

    In fact, I'd rather have someone with a good ear than someone who "knows music".
    Resonance129, Rocker949, rtav and 5 others like this.
  4. MrLenny1


    Jan 17, 2009
    Keep on looking for the real players.
    Wannabes are everywhere.
  5. AltGrendel

    AltGrendel Squire Jag SS fan.

    May 21, 2009
    Mid-Atlantic USA.
    How do they keep them together?

    monsterthompson likes this.
  6. PauFerro


    Jun 8, 2008
    United States
    In my experience, by doing all the hard work most musicians are not willing to do. The booking, the sales, etcetera.

    In the weekend warrior scene, having gigs matters....so it sort of compensates for developing musicianship.

    I was the weakest player in my bands for the longest time but they stuck with me, presumably and partly because I kept them working. Plus I could play,but I was not a great improviser, and I play jazz. But I did progress through all the gigs and personal practice to the point they complement me on progress - but I think if I had've gotten worse or stayed at my initial level they would have eventually gotten frustrated and started a new band without me. One that sits in the basement and rehsearses all the time, as none of them had the ability to go out and get gigs.

    So, if she is not progressing as a musician, she runs the risk of losing band members.

    One thing, I appreciate one guy in my group who is always challenging the technical and musical side of what we do. I let him handle all the technical, PA and sound issues, and at one time, I just ouright bought whatever equipment he said I needed. Maybe your could help her understand the music side of the business....as sales and marketing people are worth their weight in gold -- try to develop her.
  7. gebass6

    gebass6 We're not all trying to play the same music.

    May 3, 2009
    N.E Illinois
    Have you ever seen "American Idol"?
    It's all attitude and little ability.
    Dunning-Kruger at it's finest.
  8. pglaser01


    Mar 19, 2013
    St. Louis, MO
    If only I were that good....
    Fake it till you make it?
  9. BassAndReeds


    Oct 7, 2016
    The thing that's funny to me is both vans sounded decent despite the leader And even the first band where the sound guy turned the bandleaders guitar off, that band booked 40 weddings a year and I was getting over $300 a service. But I had to leave that band because it was caustic. It seems I pissed off the guitar player by asking him what notes he was playing, which I guess is a no-no in some bands.
  10. BassAndReeds


    Oct 7, 2016
    I should say the second guitar player not the bandleader
  11. There is a big difference between a Band Leader and a Music Director. They are not always one in the same.

    Smart Band Leaders who realize and accept their own musical limitations seek out a more skilled musical band member to be Music Director.

    Stubborn Band Leaders with musical limitations yet clinging to authority with music/arrangement details wreck bands.
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2016
  12. pedroims


    Dec 19, 2007
    Nikki Sixx was like that, he did not play a thing, not a single note. But he was determined to become a rock star. He was smart enough to recruite talented people and form Motley Crue. Why the others members kept him if he did not how to play? Personality perhaps?

    Another example: Lars Ulrich, crappy drummer and a douchebag but a brilliant business man, most of Metallica sucess is because Lars' business mentality. He was the guy getting the gigs when Metallica started and the one that was calling producers. He got a record deal even before he had a band!

    Music business it is not only about music chops but involves many other areas. Maybe she is good a those areas.
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2016
  13. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    They pay their musicians.
    Rocker949, pcake, StayLow and 2 others like this.
  14. navijaz

    navijaz Guest

    Sep 20, 2016
    Obviously, both Sixx and Ulrich are competent enough to do their main job. Calling Ulrich a crappy drummer is definitely a stretch. He may not be the best there ever was but has more than adequate skills without a grain of doubt.
    Ant Illington, StayLow and Nev375 like this.
  15. PauFerro


    Jun 8, 2008
    United States
    That's it right there -- get the money on the table before you invest. Bill Gates did it -- he sold an operating system to IBM before he had a working one. With money on the table, he was able to go out and buy one that worked, and then deliver that to IBM for a killing.

    When money is on the table, all kinds of talent comes forward that would otherwise, not take a chance on you. I have done that several times in the last five years where I have money on the table for a gig, and no band. You attract good players, your cred as a leader goes up, etcetera. And you only have to rehearse once or not at all. Paid hour long gigs are the absolute best because everyone gets paid without having to sqeeze out three hours of material.

    At one time, when I was younger, I thought it would be easier on this planet if all people had the same skills. Now I disagree totally. It's the diversity of skills that makes people unique, allows people to command high prices, and allows developing musicians to join bands with fabulous musicians in spite of their weaknesses.

    The other thing -- entrepreneurial musicians are in short supply. Lots of musicians who want to show up and play. Not so many people able to do the hard work of sales and marketing.
  16. hondo4life


    Feb 29, 2016
    My former BL refused to write music, and refused to even try to read tabs that I wrote on Guitar Pro along with MIDI sound samples so he could hear what they sounded like. He would usually say, OH I CAN READ TAB, BUT JUST MAKE A VIDEO OF YOURSELF PLAYING IT AND I'LL LEARN IT. He knows I don't own a damn electric guitar. Then he recruits a second guitar player with the same attitude of non-music-writing.
    The two of them began combining egos, forming an ever-growing metal-elitist attitude that pushed aside any ideas I had (not metal enough ... too happy), even for my own bass lines, that I always had to write because when either of them "wrote" a new song, they would just tell me to figure out the root note and pound on that. Are you freaking kidding me? Our spineless singer would just agree with the guitarists, so it was them vs. me. When I asked for them to write a tab or something on paper ... anything for their new song so I could take it home and use it to write a bass line ... I got one tab, once, but never anything else aside from sarcastic comments about how fat I was. Then BL got us signed up for a gig all of a sudden. We only had half a set list, and I needed a way bigger amp for this venue, but I thought we could pull it together. So I went out and bought $500 amp so my rig would be 100% ready. When I show up to practice with my new amp and needed to do a quick initial setup, I could get a minute of quiet to save my life. BL was pounding on the drums, guitar player noodling, etc. Bit what did I expect, they did the same crap at the beginning of every practice when I was trying to tune. I would get dirty looks at practices when I started playing in the middle of one of their many political discussion. Seriously ... politics. Almost every practice there would be at least 15 minutes wasted on thst BS, and I never partook.
    Anyway, the gig .... BL backs us out of the gig, without asking or even telling me for days.
    From there, everything just went downhill until they all freaked out on me, causing me to leave.

    Well, that post got long.
    Herrick and bdplaid like this.
  17. buldog5151bass

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

    Oct 22, 2003
    If you can book gigs and keep people organized, you can lead a band. Musical talent is not an essential job function.

    Hey, YOU are still there - why...? You have gigs.
    StayLow, navijaz and Groove Doctor like this.
  19. andawun


    Jul 13, 2009
    Minor BL with Major BS = Dominant scale
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2016
    Honch and Zane DeBord like this.
  20. Nev375


    Nov 2, 2010
    Can I have their contact info please? I've been trying to explain to guitar players for years that they don't need a hundred watt stack to be heard.
    YosemiteSam and pudgychef like this.

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