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Collaborating...

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Joe Nerve, Jun 29, 2020 at 10:46 AM.


  1. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    Been writing again since lockdown, and have to admit to feeling a bit melancholy. Also have to admit that I really want to post something I wrote a long time ago, and I'm about to.

    Would like to hear your experience working with others, also.

    My melancholy is coming from the fact that when I was in The Nerve the writing was between me and the guitarist/singer, and we worked together like nobody I ever worked with before - or since.

    Since The Nerve I've played in at least 25 original bands. I've noticed people are very "set" in their writing, and any time I try to put in any kind of unique idea its been brushed off in a kinda, "What's wrong with this dude," sort of way.

    That never happened with The Nerve. We completely respected each other, loved the things we came up with, and worked to make some really interesting music.

    I just listened to this song the other day, and while there are parts I don't love... where the song went to from the 1:30 on is stuff I could never see another collaborator agreeing to. I hear other people say, "Great Joe, but we're not doing that." In this song I wrote all the music, the other guy worked the lyrics in.

    If ya don't want to listen that's fine :), but I'd still love to discuss other people's experiences. You can post your collaborations too...



    Its a Warwick Corvette :) .
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2020 at 10:54 AM
  2. Phaenomenal

    Phaenomenal

    Jun 12, 2020
    New York
    First off, LOVE that song. That is exactly the kind of music I like: that post-punk sound with humorous lyrics, upbeat and fun overall with changes in tempo and mood.

    On collaboration: for me it's worked a little differently between various bands.
    One band, we all write, we all submit songs we think might be good for that band (since we are all in several projects) and pick generally an even amount from each. Sometimes, the songs change wildly from the demo or what was originally pitched but it's generally very collaborative and we are able to be honest with each other without hurt feelings.
    Another band, the frontman writes the songs, composes the music, we play what he wants. For shows, he might change the sound or want to include some gimmick in the song for the duration of a spate of gigs. A couple of times I've been asked to help out with composing a solo, but that's been the extent of my own input.
    Yet another band: when I joined the band, was warned about the frontman. Everything has to be exactly what he wants, he does all the writing, don't get creative at all on tour. And the staggering number of band members that have been fired along the way says it all. When I joined the band about 7 years ago, the guitarist was doing some minor contributions when asked. Then a few years ago, the frontman surprised me and sent us bare bones demos and asked us to work out what we want to do with them. Could've knocked me over with a feather. Since then, the lyrics are still his domain, but it's been more collaborative between him, the guitarist and myself on the music.
    I do session work now and then and usually people know exactly what they want tracked but there are a surprising number that seem to only have a general idea of what they want. One time I was stopped in the hall on my way to a recording session and asked to sit in with a group of guys that had been fooling around and came up with something they wanted recorded but had no bass player with them. They played once for me, I played once along with them, and then it was recorded. Strange but fun.
    As for my own personal preferences, if I were to round up a band for my own song ideas, I would prefer a more collaborative affair because I like to write music but I'm not a prolific lyricist.
     
    JRA, Eli_Kyiv and Joe Nerve like this.
  3. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    Thanks for listening. Thanks for the kind words. And thanks for responding :) .

    I've been in that situation, and the only way I'd agree to it today is if I were being paid well - or it was a REALLY worthwhile experience. I'm surprised you're BL let go of his stranglehold. Most don't.

    I'm in the same place as you with lyrics, too. Don't like writing them. Don't like singing them :). About to complete the first song I've written in its entirety in about a decade because of that. The lyrics evolved out of some old ones I stumbled across and reworked. Psyched to finish this up, been procrastinating... I REALLY hate singing, a lot. I must get over that.
     
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  4. I’ve been working with one song writing partner for many years. We both write with others, on other projects. We both write alone, as well. I love working with a lot of different writers and as a producer, I am able to work in a lot of different styles. However it is wonderful to have that one writer that I can always count on being there, who knows my favorite way of writing. Maybe you should start writing with more people than you do now. Broaden your circle of collaborators. Maybe you’ll find that writing chemistry you once had.
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2020 at 9:08 PM
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  5. Phaenomenal

    Phaenomenal

    Jun 12, 2020
    New York
    Originally, I signed on as a temp guitarist for three shows when their then guitarist got in a motorcycle accident. I was told he's brutal to work with, but I was urged by mutual friends to do it because it was very different from what I normally do and would it broaden my horizons (something I always seek to do). I did the three shows and when I was offered a permanent spot, I turned it down, not because of him but because I really hated his guitar music because of the simple recurring lines that droned on and on. As it turned out, the bass player wanted to play guitar, so I ended up on bass. He does pay well, and we actually get on pretty well. It's buried pretty deep sometimes, but he can occasionally have a sense of humor.
    If my vocals are buried under louder voices, I am willing to toss in harmony, but I don't believe I sing well. My cats LOVE when I sing, so that probably says something.
     
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  6. filmtex

    filmtex Commercial User

    May 29, 2011
    S. Texas Hill Country
    Annsman Pro Audio Dealer
    Killer song. Absolutely. It punched all my buttons as a fan of artists like 999, Zappa, The Vandals, TonioK, Talking Heads, The NY Dolls and of course, The Ramones along with a couple dozen others. Great lyrics and, Oi, the breaks.
    As far as collaboration goes, I’ve done a lot of it, sometimes things worked out, and sometimes they didn’t, but I can’t say it hasn’t been, generally, fun!
     
    Joe Nerve likes this.
  7. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    Maybe you're right :) . Thanks.
     
  8. buldog5151bass

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

    Oct 22, 2003
    Connecticut
    Generally, when I help on an original project, the songwriters have their own "vision". Nothing will sound as good to the songwriter as what they already hear in their head. I've only been in one truly collaborative project. The writer would bring in a skeleton of a song, and we would try ideas - something's it would change dramatically, sometimes not. Ironically, that was the only time we ended up with songs I enjoyed listening to.
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2020 at 9:38 PM
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  9. KeithPas

    KeithPas Supporting Member

    May 16, 2000
    Poulsbo,Wa
     
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  10. sonojono

    sonojono Supporting Member

    Dig the intro. Reminds me a bit of Klark Kent.
     
    Joe Nerve likes this.
  11. parttime

    parttime

    Apr 23, 2020
    Dusseldorf
    man, i'm kinda bumming with you on a recent collaboration of mine. it was very new, as we had only played together 2 times. but i thought our vibe was there. this girl is extremely creative and talented and also has a lot more experience working in music proper (like a bassload more experience). we started just saying lets jam together, and the spontaneous jams were a ton of fun and felt great playing.

    after yesterday i pretty much get the feeling that she isn't really too interested. she has offered to help me put my current songs together and get them recorded, but basically it doesn't sound like she is down with the whole, "let's just aimlessly jam for hours and have fun" kinda thing.

    i have to admit it now, cause it's true, that i am just not up to her level and she is too nice to tell me this is basically a waste of her time. she has other super creatives that she works with and i've heard some of their bass work and i am not in that league. really i am bumming, becuase it was sooooo nice to have her creative energy to play and experiment with. but i also have to get motivated and just get better. period. anyways, i'll attach one of our first improv jams together just for kicks. probly not everyones cup o tea, but i certainly had fun recording it! anyways, i miss my lifelong collaborator buddy who now lives a long way away. probly will never find another writing pal like him :(
     

    Attached Files:

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  12. LBS-bass

    LBS-bass Supporting Member

    Oh boy. I could probably write a book on this. Collaborating is one of those things that really requires a heartfelt commitment or it just doesn't work. I have had some great collaborators, but it's hard to keep really good players interested for more than a few tunes if you don't have something to offer them beyond the joy of creating.

    Most of the collaborating I've done has been on songs that I've written, and while I've been happy to give a lot of creative freedom to my collaborators, the songwriting credit is still mine because I wrote the songs. I always say that if anything ever takes off and becomes lucrative, I'll split profits evenly because I feel that's what's fair. But the reality is that the odds of that happening are pretty small. So people get bored. They lose interest after a few songs, and that's ok. It is what it is, and with music being the way it is, I don't think I have a way to change that. If I had deep pockets to pay a bunch of session players to just do what they do, it'd be different, but I don't.
     
  13. parttime

    parttime

    Apr 23, 2020
    Dusseldorf
    agreed. and i think the vision needs to be clearly established at the outset. of course i think sometimes you just find that other musical partner, like you do a girlfriend or boyfriend sometimes. it is super fun and grows organically to be a long-term collab. in my particular case, i think i wanted to just jam and record everything for kicks. i think she thought herself almost like a studio musician to help me do my songs. if she wanted help on one of her tunes she would call in the dude she has worked with for a couple years and who is a much better bass player. our second jam yesterday she made that pretty clear when she just flat out said, "no, i want to keep these songs on my side, let's put down that other one you were talking about. got anything with more lyrics like that other one?" and that's when i realized, she didn't really want to just play stuff, her, mine, improv jams, she just wanted to basically help me and that was the limit. i had other hopes. oh well, se la vis.

    really it was just so nice to play music with an actual person again!!

    so i've decided that i'm going to really focus on my tracks, get a really clean set of scratch tracks down, and then in a couple months call on her to see if she'd be up to come in for a session. then i can just line her out, put on the phones and be the engineer. let her do her thing. we'll see how it goes
     
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  14. Thumpin6string

    Thumpin6string Supporting Member

    Apr 25, 2013
    Redding CA
    I guess I'm an odd one. I haven't "locked down" at all. Ignored it from the beginning. As for the tune, the style is not my cup of tea, but some very nice bass work.
     
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  15. Koog

    Koog Supporting Member

    Dec 27, 2010
    Central Iowa USA
    Hey Joe....

    While your song is not my preferred genre, I think it's well done. The quality of writing is good. The lyrics are a combination of interesting and funny and I like your vocal. The tempo change ups make the song and the transitions that ease from heavy attack to to the more laid back sections are very effective. So much of the music of today lacks good dynamics....you nailed it with this one.

    Insofar as collaboration is concerned, the two bands in the modern era I've worked with that mixed in originals were dominated by large egos where song ideas from others were routinely kicked to the curb. My contributions were usually writing bass lines and fill or accent parts for rhythm guitar.....and playing those parts on the few recordings that were done. So, I don't have constructive suggestions to offer, since I've not had collaborations that amounted to any great degree of success. I do have quite a few forgotten Koog songs, however.

    I identify with the melancholy. I think many of us are in that position right now. I am not an extremely social person, but I have an intense need to perform. I miss this and the hang with the best of my musician buddies and the resulting melancholy is real.

    This is all to say, great job on this song, many of us are experiencing what you're feeling, and hang in there....it's going to get better.

    Hope this is helpful, and best wishes.

    Koog
     
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  16. Morse_77

    Morse_77

    Nov 5, 2014
    Creative collaboration can be extremely invigorating in the right setting.

    It’s also very challenging and some are more explosive than others. If you have never experienced that yourself just read any band/artist biography.

    It comes down to personalities and the dynamic between people within a band. If you’re lucky no ego will be bruised, everyone’s idea is considered solely on its merits and the end result will be massive hits. In that world, there’s pink fluffy bunnies and flowers everywhere.

    The reality will be more difficult and rewarding. The important thing is to push through difficult times. Slumps, writing blocks, and just plain lack of motivation comes and goes. You must learn to live through that. It may take a long time, but you will find a project that will motivate you. Keep moving forward.

    Ok, enough pop psychology for now.:D:laugh:;)


    BTW great work on that song.:bassist::thumbsup:
     
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  17. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    fun, well done, joe! :thumbsup: i've so enjoyed your video posts that i feel i can 'see' you performing this! ;)

    that has been my experience in the several 'eras' when i worked with a collaborator. we were 'co-equals' trying to meet an objective, together. (most of my writing has been non-collaborative.)



    i have some collaborations/stories: i'll have to check on some 'technicals' to see if i can post any of the music.
     
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  18. Phaenomenal

    Phaenomenal

    Jun 12, 2020
    New York
    It's the age of the internet, my friend. No one is too far away to collaborate. :)
     
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  19. sonojono

    sonojono Supporting Member

    Let me know when that book drops!

    I’m serious.
     
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  20. parttime

    parttime

    Apr 23, 2020
    Dusseldorf
    true, but nothing comes close to playing in the living room into the wee hours of the night with your best bud...
     
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