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Can a band of 7-8 people function without a band leader?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Taustin Powers, Mar 4, 2019.

  1. dbsfgyd1


    Jun 11, 2012
    Richmond , Va
    Odd numbers are easy. Appoint an official tie breaker.
  2. BurtMacklinFBI

    BurtMacklinFBI Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2018
    Dude gets it.
  3. dan1952

    dan1952 Commercial User

    Jun 27, 2012
    Anderson IN
    Artist Endorsement with Supro Huntington Basses / Owner, Dan's Music, Inc..
    I have worked with the same group of musicians from years-a couple of different drummers, a couple guitarists, one bassist or I play bass, sometimes I play piano, used to play guitar, a couple of singlerls, but overall the sample bunch. One constant - I am the bandleader. I handle most of the bookings, I almost always call the tunes and keys. I collect the money and pay people, which also means bringing enough cash to pay everyone .In case the person who booked us doesn't understand "cash at end of engagement" and writes a check (which I will always insist upon.)
  4. elgranluis


    Feb 14, 2003
    El paso, TX
    A band of 2 needs a band leader
  5. -Asdfgh-


    Apr 13, 2010
    I wouldn't want to be a band leader in the traditional sense, more the SCRUM master of a band, perhaps, promoting self-actualisation and action towards a shared goal, and also taking on some specific delegated function.
  6. -Asdfgh-


    Apr 13, 2010
    I should probably make a project management joke, like PRINCE2 sounding like a tribute band or SCRUM standing for Stills, Crosby, Ryder, Ulrich and Miller. That's Shaun Ryder, on vocals, of course. Marcus Miller naturally for that jazz country metal rave vibe.
  7. Taustin Powers

    Taustin Powers Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2002
    Berlin, Germany
    I imagine things will just be a little more efficient, if certain things don't go through a democratic process with seven people, when most really only met recently.

    Example: Drummer, guitarist and I founded the band and came up with a "working title", that is now used as a band name. Now the new members ask, is this the final band name? How about "..."? So one of us founders will first have to decide whether the name should be made official, or if we want to open this particular can of worms. Eyes are on me. Actually, my instinct would be to postpone this thought process and focus all our energy on the music for now. Once we have some finished songs with some actual lyrics, we can evaluate whethere the band name fits, or we want something else.
  8. larryatravis


    Dec 30, 2014
    hmm... I get your point, and in most cases, it is likely true, but IME the band leader can be different people depending on what the issue at hand is. In one band I'm in (core group of 5 with 2 others in a horn section), lead guitar, lead vocals and drummer are all the longest serving, rhythm guitar is next and I am the junior member. Lead vocalist is the defacto BL for most music related issues (musical director?), but if the rhythm guitarist sings lead, he calls the shots for that song. Drummer and I book most of the gigs, lead guitarist owns the mixer, I own the rehearsal space. Practice schedule and song choices are done democratically. So, if someone put a gun to my head, I would have to say the lead vocalist is the BL, but in reality, he isn't, and I don't think he would call himself that.

    Now, the other question is, is this setup a good thing? I'm a bit ambivalent about our situation. Would things operate more smoothly with a clear BL? Probably, but then the band vibe would be different... perhaps better, perhaps not. Lead guitar likes to try and call the shots, but is too heavy handed about it, so if he was anointed BL, I would not be happy. If the lead vocalist was given the role, that would reduce the noise coming from the lead guitarist, but also probably increase the amount of passaggro behavior from him. Hard to say which setup would be better.
  9. mrcbass


    Jan 14, 2016
    Sacramento, CA
    This is a great response to a band that doesn't have a true dictatorial BL. Even if you don't have an actual BL - that all decicisons are truly democratic - someone still has to referee and record and make sure everything that has been decided and agreed upon actually becomes fact. I think that most garage bands opeerate more in this style of "government" than a true BL+ hired guns environment. It's typically one or two people's concept and those that join up get some degree of say on the direction and activities.
    lfmn16 likes this.
  10. -Asdfgh-


    Apr 13, 2010
    It depends on your views on Maslow's Hierarchy of needs, teams (forming, storming, norming, performing and for Fleetwood Mac, snorting) whether you think leaderless can work. I think age, or maturity, can help
  11. AlexBassMP


    Feb 5, 2014

    I play in two bands with two diferent scenarios.

    Band A is an original band with two albums. 4 people. Metal with female voice. Our goal with this band is to make it grow ... It's curious how 4 different people work as an entity when all are compromised in a very similar level...Three of us have been playing togheter for almost 9 years...we know what are we thinking without saying anything..there's no band leader.

    Band B is a 6 people tribute band. We all with different background,interests..and musical tastes. This sometimes is a pain in the *** . We don't have an official BL and we try to take democratic decissions...but sometimes this bothers me. It's frustrating seeing how making a decission takes forever because nobody wants to say "yes" or "no"... it seems like nobody wants to seem the dictator or the selfish guy..so. yes.. in this scenarios sometimes one of us has to act as a BL and make decissions... The worst part of this is that when the decission is made some of the people who told "meh! whatever you want!" complains about something...Sometimes I argue with the drummer for that... If you disagree or have a different opinion.. tell it out loud, don't keep it to yourself and complain about the subject two weeks later.

    Maybe band A is an exception
  12. Seanto


    Dec 29, 2005
    I think at the very least it helps to have a limited number of people handling band business/logistics. Usually only 1 or 2 people would emerge to even have that skillset in a group or the desire to even do it. I do think you might want to try to keep the musical direction as something closer to a group decision though as it sounds like you all have kind of settled into that already.

    A type of arrangement i would love to have someday is a larger band with multiple writers/arrangers in the group that can bring in a charted arrangement of their own doing and sort of lead for that tune. One or two people handle the business but everyone can have creative input as long as they take the time to organize their ideas in an easy way to present to the rest of the band.
  13. Seanto


    Dec 29, 2005
    Love this as this is how a big band i was a part of functioned. Each section had a leader...rhythm, sax, trombone, and trumpet section. It was their job to keep everyone in line in the section and they would offer direction on how to approach things to the other players. Usually it was the most experienced player of the section. In my case it was *gasp* the drummer. In fact he might had been the most solid player in the whole band and i was happy to do whatever he asked of me because i respected his experience and knowledge.
  14. Seanto


    Dec 29, 2005
    I love this...recognize people's strengths and put them in charge of THAT. I think that can create a harmonious relationship where most of the band gets to a be a leader for some aspect of the operation.
    larryatravis likes this.
  15. Gravedigger Dav

    Gravedigger Dav Supporting Member

    Mar 13, 2014
    Fort Worth, Texas
    It isn't a different position, it is a different style. Labels are not important.
  16. mambo4


    Jun 9, 2006
    I think he who books the gigs is the de-facto band leader, regardless of who else does what.
    I've been in bands where he who books has conflicts with with he who thinks he's the BL
    The band eventually dissolves, because no gigs.
  17. -Asdfgh-


    Apr 13, 2010
    I did that in my last band. Definitely wasn't the band leader, just one member of the joint enterprise working with and for the whole.
  18. QORC


    Aug 22, 2003
    Elberon, New Jersey
    "Can"? yes, anything can happen. "Likely to function without a leader although there are 7-8 members"? Really unlikely.

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