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Can a Band Leave the Garage Too Soon?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Boplicity, Jul 19, 2002.

  1. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    A band I heard the other night just begged the question, "Can a band leave the garage too soon?"

    Here's some background. A popular open air bar frequented by bikers and other folks mostly over forty, I'd say, has live music several nights a week. The bar is near a deli where my hubby and I dine often, so we get to hear the bands out on the street just by walking by slowly. Usually these bands are, oh, say Eagles, Skynard, Allman's, Black Crowes, etc in orientation and style...not level, but they get high marks for effort. And the bar patrons enjoy them.

    A few nights back we were surpised to hear a blast coming from the bar...not Eagles...but the lamest, most horrific Deftones imitation one can possibly imagine. The singer was wailing away out of tune and out of time on "Seven Words." His guitar mastery would put him at maybe a month, I'd say. I could hear no bass at all. The drummer was mediocre at best...all over the place in his timing a substituting ham-fisted hard pounding for real chops.

    Some one in the bar shouted, "Hey, play your best song" to which the singer retorted sincerely, "We have played our best song." It would have been comical, but it was so pathetic. Then I wondered: A: Why did a nu-metal band accept a gig in a Southern rock bar? B. Should they have waited another (year) to play a gig? I mean should they have perfected their craft first or was it the right thing to go right out and get a taste of live performance as a motivation to try harder and work longer or what?

    When I played in bands, I believed we should not embarrass ourselves with sloppy performances when we debuted, but maybe such a perfectionist attitude was too strict. Maybe it is better for a band to "get its feet wet" early and get its name out in public. Trouble is I was afraid playing badly would damage our band's image before we even got started.

    Where do you folks stand on this?
  2. Hmm... Interesting perspective.

    As for your question, Why did a nu-metal band accept a gig in a Southern rock bar? Because they will take any gig they can get, they may have even gotten paid for this one. I think the real question is How did they get the gig at all?

    Then you ask, Should they have waited another (year) to play a gig? Are you kidding, in a year, they will have stolen each others girlfriends, broken up and been in three bands since this one.

    I do agree with you though, poor musicianship is not something to be shared in a big group. At least you could leave. Could have been worse. You could have been stuck with a bad band on a ship. Then you've got nowhere to go. But seriously, I don't think they were worried about damaging their reputation. I think this was the first stop to their destiny, as rock stars and you were there to hear it.

    It's been a dream of mine to really suck and have thousands of fans cheering me on.

    Some nights I suck...Some nights they cheer

    Many gigs I've played were call-ins. I would do the gig, reading the charts for the first time. Many times having never heard the tune before. And let me tell you, my walks were nothing to write home about, and my solos nonexistent . I had felt like I sucked. But the crowd usually digs it.

    So that brings up the whole argument of "What Sucks"? Did I think I sucked or did the crowd think I sucked. And it's usually not a mystery. Some of the places I've played they'll yell out "Hey, Barkeep Where'd ya get these guys, they suck..." Luckily, I didn't hear while I was on stage.
  3. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    It's funny you should talk about sucking because the chorus of one of the songs they sang was "Suck, suck, suck, suck, suck, suck, suck." No kidding. It seemed appropriate.

    That said, I do like your perspective...that gig may very well have been the first stop on this band's road to much later success. But I do think their muscianship has to improve and very well may if they keep trying and working.

    It seems to me that very few bands have hit the really big time that didn't have a modicum of musicianship. This is especially true of cover bands.

    But I do see that at least they tried. And that effort probably was the product of their dreams to someday make their mark most likely playing originals. But playing covers can be a way to learn music composition and song structure, thus using the covers as a launching pad to success with their own special music.

    On the other hand, I do pity the customers in the bar who probably had come expecting a band more in line with their taste and were, instead subjected to what must have seemed like torture. But, as you say, there is probably always someone in a crowd of that size who will enjoy the music and maybe even praise the band, thus giving them heart to carry on.
  4. Brendan


    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    Yes. bands can leave the garage too early. In fact, I think I've played with most of these bands.
  5. i do think that a band can leave the garage too soon, my last band i played with had only one song, and they weren't very good doing it. guitars were out of tune, old 60-cycle hum, drummer more about wanking then keeping time. they said they didn't need me to get them gigs, and that the drummers aunt books bands like RHCP... yeah right...
  6. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    I think most bands do
  7. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA
    Leaving the Garage too soon has been a trend lately in popular music. It seems to be a new style, almost like grunge without any feeling or talent. The Strokes, The Hives, The White Stripes... all these bands sound the same to me.
  8. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    Sometimes a little public humiliation is just the thing to motivate one to get back to practice.
  9. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Retired Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Sure. Look at the Red Hot Chili Peppers. And Korn, for that matter.
  10. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Retired Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    You know, Munji, that is the most UNFAIR post I have ever read. You have only seen the RHCP twice, on TV, never live, and you wouldn't recognize a Korn song if you were at their concert, which you wouldn't be. How can you REPEATEDLY dis bands that you've never even heard? You're really starting to lose credibility with me. Grow UP!
  11. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Retired Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Munji, you've got a point. I'll work on it. Sometime.
  12. if the band has major problems remembering parts to songs or something, they should practice more. if they have their set down but just plain suck, i say they should go play out. it's the quickest way to get better as a group.
  13. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    I'm assuming bar management &/or the agents involved would NOT have booked a Nu-Metal band in a Southern Rock joint unless-

    1)There's going to be a change in the live music format in this establishment(maybe this was a "hush-hush" audition to see how well it was received?).

    2)No other bar band on the planet was available.

    3)Friends of somebody who matters.

    Tell you what's worse-
    I was in a Top-40/R&B band & not once, not twice, but THRICE(?)...we were booked FIRST in established C&W bars that wanted to go the lucrative Top-40 route.
    I'd a-bet anything one couldn't do the 'two-step' to Midnight Star.

    Then there was the time we were the FIRST to be booked in a certain club that wanted to go 'straight'.
    This particular club was near the strip in Va. Beach(traffic lines up as people "cruise the strip")...ya shoulda heard the comments being shouted at us as we spent a break outside.
    We learned... ;)
  14. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    :D Just gotta laugh. That sounds amazingly like a scene in the first "Blues Brothers", you know, the one where the band plays a C&W honky tonk behind fish net to protect them from thrown beer bottles. Oh and the band ducks out at the end without paying for the beer they consumed which added up to more than what the owner had promised to pay them.
  15. Brad Barker

    Brad Barker

    Apr 13, 2001
    berkeley, ca
    first of all, kudos for jimK for using the word "thrice."

    coulda sworn i'm the only one who says that. :D

    next, i've seen brendan's band once (...once...;) ), and i concur with his statement. the one that played just before his sounded like they all met a week earlier.

    so, ya got a gig monday? :D

    (i myself am a perfectionist, and am in a band of near-perfectionists,if-not-perfectionists, as well. we kicked out a singer after we played our first-and so far only-gig b/c he couldn't sing in tune for the life of 'em. in conclusion, we're spending too much time in the garage, so to speak).
  16. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    Alright, I just checked-
    "Thrice" is indeed a word(three times, threefold, etc). ;)

    I have also been in bands with "perfectionists".
    What's as bad(& maybe even worse) is the band that never leaves "the room".

    Hey JO-
    At least the Blues Brothers had protective netting; I couldn't believe some of the comments I heard coming from the peanut gallery...& mostly from the women, too!
  17. CS


    Dec 11, 1999
    We've got both kinds, Country and Western. They got bottled when they played Gimme some lovin' so they ended up playing Rawhide and Stand by you man, priceless stuff.

    Back on topic, although I agree with the original point, there is one element that you may have missed or forgotten. When I started out we (as in my lame bands) would practice once or twicevery week and practice individually for literally years. We would do a gig and cos it was live with real people 'suck' real bad due to nerves and lack of live playing experience.

    It's a catch 22 situation.

    CS advice get out there do gigs and when you get good change your name and appearance, sorted.
  18. DanGouge


    May 25, 2000
    Live gigs impose a certain discipline on a band I think. It's easy in practice to avoid figuring out endings for songs or completing original tunes. Live, you have to have stuff finalized much more than in rehearsal. Some bands need to learn that the hard way (I know, I've worked with them). I agree that this probably sucked for the patrons of this establishment but I guess if you go to the same place night after night you'll eventually see a real stinker of band though. Maybe they will figure it a little better next time they play live. I bet a lot of famous bands debuts were less than stellar.
  19. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    It occurs to me that maybe the difference between a band that sucks so badly in its first gig that it also is their last gig and the one that sucks so badly in their first gig that they return to the garage and improve their suckage to the level that they no longer suck are the words persistence and success.

    In other words, the band that recognizes its mistakes and learns from them plays many more gigs. The one that blames the audience and doesn't change may play very few gigs in the future.

    By the way, I was very tempted to take the band aside and offer to coach them to a higher level, but then I figured they'd sneer at the thought of a woman in her late fifties offering to help a band that plays Deftone covers. So I kept my council.

    If I see that band again, I think I will at least make an offer. If I am rebuffed...so what?
  20. SCH


    May 3, 2002
    San Antonio, Texas
    If memory serves, the Beatles were a pretty mediocre cover band until they committed to marthon gigs in Germany.

    There's a lot of bands out there. Regular gigs that pay pretty decent aren't that easy to book around here. If you can get one, more power to you. If you suck, and don't improve, you won't have to worry about being booked for more gigs.

    In the final analysis the club owners decide who plays for pay, and only a stupid one would continue to book a band that sucks.

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