Best Businessman/ Worst Musician

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Bassmanbob, Dec 11, 2004.

  1. Bassmanbob

    Bassmanbob Supporting Member

    The leader of my band is one of those guys who is always happy, motivated and just thinks that things are always great. That's why we get some of the most fun gigs in the area playing nice parties, festival gigs, openning for national acts, etc... He's the guys that gets all the gigs, and part of why is that he knows everyone in town.

    On the other hand, he's by far the worst musician in the band. He's the tenor saxophonist and we're a classic rock and R and B band. He always overplays, plays wrong notes, squaks with the sax, and plays with band intonation. We've told him to take lessons, which he did for about a month, and went right back to not improving again. He thought three or four lessons was enough. IT WASN'T. We've told him to stop over playing, but it continues. I even walked over to him and pulled the horn out of his mouth in the middle of a song on stage twice in the last three months. But he thinks he's doing just great.

    I can't take him anymore, and I'm getting ready to quit. But the rest of the band is fun and good. We've all had enough to varying degrees. But once again, the gigs are fun gigs, and he's the one who knows everyone to book us.

    I don't know if I'm asking for advice or if I just want to vent.
  2. jondog


    Mar 14, 2002
    NYC metro area
    Tell whoever is running the board to turn him off except for solos.
  3. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Would it be better if he was the greatest tenor player you ever heard but couldn't get off his butt and land a gig?

    I'd say if it really annoys you that much you should quit. Personally if I was having fun playing all the time with a great band I'd be willing to overlook quite a lot.

  4. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    very common issue. i think there is some unwritten law that states that the promotor/bandleader/guy with the practice space/guy with the contacts/guy with the pa/etc has to be the worst member of the band. :p
    if you can i'd put up with it as it seems you have the benifit of getting a lot of good gigs at a time when good gigs aren't as easy to come by as they were before dance music really took over the clubs (i mentioned this to Thor this weekend and he reminded me that the same thing happened in 1974 when disco took over). As he playes a loud instrument, turning his mic down won't help much, but it will help some. I'd suggest taping some shows to critique and very diplomatically point out to him that while it's great to play with him, he still needs some work.
    I put up with a lot from my bandleader/guitar player/singer as he does all the promoting, has the pa and practice space, and he has become one of my best friends. He definitely has some issues playing and singing, tweaks his tone too much, plays a little too loud, takes too much time between songs, brings too much gear, still has to read the song lyrics off of cheat sheets, and makes a few notable mistakes a show. I come on here and vent about it, but for me, the benifits outweigh the drawbacks. I've found that if the bass and drums are tight and the singer has a good voice, a band sounds good to most people even if there are some flubs by the other players.
  5. KPJ

    KPJ Supporting Member

    Oct 2, 2001
    Methuen, MA USA
    I agree. I lock in well with the drummer in my band and our singer is FANTASTIC! The lead guitarist can't play in time and plays some notes that causes the SKIN on the back of neck rise! We don't have a steady second guitarist and when we do what he plays clashes with what the other guitarist plays. But the crowds always rave! We keep the beat so they can dance and the singer can belt it out with the best of 'em.

    Go figure!
  6. NJL


    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio
    try recording the gigs and playing them back for the band....this may help...

  7. Bassmanbob

    Bassmanbob Supporting Member

    I have to admit that I've found this out to be true also. The drummer and I lock in, groove it and the croud really enjoys it while I listen to 'nails on the black board' from time to time.

    He bought a CD recorder, tapes the gig, listens to it and then says that it sounds great! He just doesn't get it even after we tell him what is wrong. He agrees with us, says he'll stop doing it and then goes back to squacking and over playing. I think he just gets so excited about playing live that he just can't help himself. My latest suggestion is that he practice holding his horn while listening to music (without playing).
  8. jive1

    jive1 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    What it boils down to, is the band industry or artistry. Obviously, most bands have elements of both, but most lean towards one direction or the other.
    If it's a business, it's about customers and generating revenue. You'd be depressed if you knew how many people can't tell when someone is playing in the wrong key as long as the singer is in tune and the drums play steady time. But, as long as people are dancing, buying up drinks and having a good time, then you're successful as a business. McDonald's doesn't have the best hamburger out there, but they make em good enough, reliably and conveniently to lead the market. On the flip side, McDonalds can't charge $7 for a Big Mac. Having a great product can only help, but having the greatest product isn't necessary.
    If it's more an art, then you want the greatest product. I don't know of any wedding band that was ever considered influential. You want to innovate and test uncharted waters. You want to express who you are and what you feel, and hope to touch others who are there with you. You want to improve your musical skills and progress as a musician and a band. Who cares if the audience likes th music, I need to like the music. If this is the case, then you want to get the best player in there possible or join up with guys who have the same artistic goals as you.

    In the band I'm leaving, we had a killer guitar player with a crappy attitude, who complained a bunch and never got off his ass to do anything for the band. We also had a harmonica player who was a cool guy with a good attitude, but all he did was wail random notes all night long and walked over people's parts all the time.

    Neither helps out the band in either the business aspect, or the art aspect. To me, if neither one of those things are working or have the potential to succeed, then it's not worth it.

    On a brighter note, if you succeed on one side, it will eventually bleed into the other. For example, if you are an artist and create a unique sound that people dig, then it could lead to some business success through gigs or CD sales. On the flip side, if you're doing well and playing a lot of gigs and getting paid, you'll benefit artistically. A gig is a paid rehearsal that lets you maintain and upgrade your chops, and let's the band get tighter. If the band does it right, you can't help but improve over time. Other benefits are you'll get the money for the gear you need for your sound. You'll have exposure to help you network and make the most of your creative products.