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being in more than one band

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Ewo, Jan 7, 2013.

  1. Ewo

    Ewo a/k/a Steve Cooper Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2008
    Huntington WV
    It's a new experience to me, but it looks like I might wind up being a member of more than one working bar band at a time. Seems like there's a kind of spin-off project starting to evolve from the band I've been playing with for the last year, and I'd appreciate your insights on this kind of thing: problems, solutions, best practices for managing the relationships and scheduling.
  2. bassbully

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

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    I just started doing it just a few months in and its going ok so far. Allot depends on the band and their demands. Does one band gig or practice allot? In my case my main band is made up of older vets who can show up and play with no practice.

    I like to gig 1-2 times a month and sometimes 3 in warm weather. Anything more and allot of practice is a waste of time for me. Time is the biggest thing when you are in two bands or more and if you can manage your time it can work ..if not it's doomed.
  3. father of fires

    father of fires Commercial User

    Nov 29, 2006
    Chief of Medicine at Damnation Audio
    My drummer is in 2 full time bands as well as having 2 side bands and then he plays fill in gigs a bunch (it's hard to be a full time musician).

    We know where his priorities are and we understand that we won't gig as much as we'd like to.

    I'd say that you should figure out your priorities and make them known to everyone so there are no surprises. I may get bummed at times but I knew from the very beginning what to expect.
  4. Winfred


    Oct 21, 2011
    Play in as many as you can handle. Bands fall apart at the drop of a hat. That's why so many guys that are wanted, play in a few bands at a time.
  5. Band 1 I've been in for 4 years and plays mostly country and 60's rock on the Legion (VFW) circuit and books several months in advance. We'll typically play 3 weekends out of 4, mostly one nighters. Virtually no "short" notice gigs.

    I was jamming with band 2 when I got the gig with band 1 and left because of time commitments for band 1. I started up with band 2 again a year ago with the clear understanding Band 1 dates would always take priority. Band 2 plays the music I like listening to and is a lot of fun. There is no desire to do the bar circuit and is only looking to play out 5-6 times a year. Band 2 leader always has my calendar from Band 1 so he knows when I'm not available.

    Communication is the important key to making the 2 band situation work. How you establish your priorities for conflicts is up to you but needs to be clearly established and reinforced to both bands going in.
  6. friskinator

    friskinator Supporting Member

    Apr 5, 2007
    I play in 2 bands that are completely unrelated, and my services are regarded as "first come, first serve" by both. Since both the OP's bands contain shared members (from what I could tell), I could see one band saying something like "you guys are spending too much time on the other project, etc."

    Luckily with me, neither of my bands really practice, so that's never been an issue.
  7. Ewo

    Ewo a/k/a Steve Cooper Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2008
    Huntington WV
    Your insights and experiences are much appreciated! More, please, if you have 'em.

    The backstory is that in December band 1 (thnx for the numbering system idea!) lost its singer and its guitarist for a month-long booking in January. The drummer is the founder/biz guy, so he found a replacement guitarist but we still lacked a singer. Next the drummer found a guitar/front man, and the first guitar guy said he wasn't psyched about the repertoire (country, rock) for the January gig. So right now we're doing that gig with the second guitar/front man guy.

    Meanwhile, back at the ranch <rimshot> the first guitar guy came up with a pair of excellent singers, one of whom doubles on guitar. This looks likes it's evolving into the spinoff band 2; the repertoire is dance/funk/RnB/rock. The first guitar guy has included the drummer in this project, and I've suggested to him (the drummer, whom I've worked with for the past year) that we just think of it as a second band. He seems amenable to the idea, at the moment.

    So, if it goes this way, band 1 is a four-piece (drums, keys, guitar/lead vocalist, bass/backing vocal) and band 2 is five-piece (drums, lead guitar/backing vocal, lead vocal/rhythm guitar/harp, bass/backing vocal, and lead vocal/hand percussion). IOW, the keyboard player is in #1 but not in #2.

    That's the kind of relational complexity I'm fretting about. (Insights much appreciated, on that point.)

    As for my preferences, I like #2's repertoire better (I get to play funk and RnB, which I love) and the musicianship is at a higher level (the guitar player and I jammed with the vocalists yesterday and those guys are very good musicians).
  8. RustyAxe


    Jul 8, 2008
    Managing two working bar band schedules can be tough to impossible. Bar bands work the same nights ... thurs, fri, sat ... and schedule conflicts often arise. I currently have four projects, none are bar bands. One is a band that works a regular schedule. In your case, since the second project has some of the same personnel it might not be quite so difficult. But I foresee other problems for sure.
  9. JohnMCA72


    Feb 4, 2009
    Be 100% up-front & honest with both (all) bands. Let everybody know what your schedule & priorities are. When something (like a gig, etc.) hits your calendar, make sure everybody else who might claim a date on your calendar finds out about it immediately. Shared calendars like Outlook, Google, etc. can help a lot if everybody can be convinced to use them & keep them current. Maintain a collection of suitable substitutes for yourself that you can call on when needed.
  10. I am in four bands, and do pickup work. None of them work enough for me, and all of them play in different styles, that I like to play in. I have to be rigid on practice days - Tuesday for one Band, Wed for the next Thursday (occasionally) for the third and whenever for the fourth. The hard part is for that to sink in to the rest of the band members' heads. No, I can't up and move practice to another day, on short notice. Gig priority is a bit sticky for me, but practically, I have to give priority to the band that works the most. They all know, however, that whoever gets the booking first, gets me. And I do not cancel a date for a more favorable gig. As soon as I get a booking, I let all the bands know I am committed to that date. In the end, though, I have had maybe four "already booked" dates last year. One band grumbled about full commitment, but they saw I could handle it and it didn't impact the band much at all. As long as you are up front about it, there is no reason why you can't work in more than one band.
  11. Biggbass


    Dec 14, 2011
    Planet Earth
    I work with 3 bands. So far it hasn't been a conflict. One is a 7 pc, one is a 7 pc, and one is a duo. I'm settling into really liking the duo. It's 10 x easier than working with a larger band and no band drama to deal with.
  12. QweziRider

    QweziRider Supporting Member

    Sep 15, 2008
    Northern Nevada, U.S.
    I've been doing the multiple band thing for about 7 years now and love it. I usually rotate among 4-5 different bands at a time because none of them ever seem to last and/or have enough work to justify sticking with one band. I always treat it as "first come, first books me" and every band knows that up front so there is no surprise. I keep an on-line calendar of my bookings so anyone who wants me to play can go there and know instantly if I am booked.

    The other luxury I've had is knowing enough great players in my area that getting a sub for any of the bands has not been a problem.

    On the artistic side, it's been such a ball working in several different genres over the last few years. Much to learn with each one and its fun to see what can be brought to all the different situations.
  13. 4-stringB


    Jun 10, 2010
    I told both bands right up front, "Whoever books first, wins". Both bands have fixed practice nights, so I also told them, the only reason I'll miss practice is if the other band has a paying gig...
  14. RustyAxe


    Jul 8, 2008
    :D When my current partner and I left a five piece band to strike out as a duo we seriously considered calling the project "Fewer Moving Parts" (but didn't want to cause any hard feelings). We ended up as "Knott Brothers".
  15. Biggbass


    Dec 14, 2011
    Planet Earth
    I like "Fewer Moving Parts" ... that's a great band name.
    We call our duo, "WoodWorks"
  16. klokker


    Jan 7, 2009
    Steele City, NE
    Of the four members in our band, three are in another band. IME it's more the norm than not.
  17. bluewine

    bluewine Inactive

    Sep 4, 2008
    I play in one band that's working with good paying gigs (6 years old). It's my brand, I only want to be known as the bass player for xyz band.

    I see no value playing in 6 bands where one is visible and working and the other 5 are nothing more than basement noodler bands.

  18. The risk there being you leave xyz and are SOL because the gigs go to the guys who are multi-banding, thus better known on the scene.
  19. JumboJack


    Dec 31, 2007
    If someone wanted to honestly answer the question "What do you do for a living" with "I play bass guitar" and do it in 100.00 a night gig bands, I think in most instances multiple bands is the only way to go. And even then you ain't gonna get rich..... just sayin':bassist:
  20. jazzbill


    Jun 4, 2010
    Richardson, TX
    I play with my Americana Originals band as a first priority and play jazz with various others on the side. If my originals band books after I've taken a jazz call, it's fairly easy to find a sub for the jazz gig.
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