Dealing with a "power trio"?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Dexterzol, Aug 14, 2019.

  1. Dexterzol


    Apr 11, 2019
    So I'm most likely about to form a new band with some old bandmates. It's not for certain, but it seems likely that it's gonna be the three of us. It's basically my old band without the singer, the guitarist knows how to sing, I can sing (too shy atm) and the drummer.

    Here's my concern. I'm not a very agreeable guy. I'm not actively crapping on people, but I have very specific ways of doing things, in the "old" band I got my way a fair bit, without fighting. It was the singers band and he was friends with all of us.

    The drummer is incredible, but also very modest. He's a super nice dude, but was kinda the passive one. The guitarist has some more opinions, and given that there's no "leader", there might be some friction.

    There was a bit of tension to begin with, since I play very busy, and he was the only one in the band who didn't appreciate this. Playing busy is non-negotiable for me, either that or I walk. What am i gonna do about this tension.

    I guess I have a way of assuming bandleader duties, and me and the drummer are tight, but I don't wanna step on the guy, or fire him or whatever. Is this just gonna combust, or is it gonna be that thing where the tension gives us that extra edge?
    1960jbass likes this.
  2. What is the goal of the band?.. Is it an original act or a cover project?.. If you don't have a BL per se, You'd perhaps best be served establishing the common goals of the band up front & sticking to them..
    If it's a cover act, Does your/the rest of the band's playing fit the song or would it benefit from allowing the music to breathe a bit more on its own?..

    That said, your vocals are what is going to make or break the marketability of your band, If that 's your Achilles heel then make that job #1.. my 2 cents!!
    design likes this.
  3. Dexterzol


    Apr 11, 2019
    It's gonna be an originals thing as far as I know. We don't have an identity yet, I just wanna make good music and have fun. I'm naturally quite showy, I play busy and I dress like a peacock on stage :D
    Charlzm and EddiePlaysBass like this.
  4. knumbskull


    Jul 28, 2007
    My view is that most bands involve making compromises.

    If your position is, "I won't change but I expect others to" then you might find that the band (or at least the guitarist) doesn't last long.

    If you can say, "This is important to me but I'm prepared to do X and Y to meet in the middle" then you might find things flow a little more smoothly.

    I don't mean this in a nasty way: it depends what your priorities are – having a functioning band, or playing everything exactly the way you want. You can do the latter, but it will be a much harder road, and not necessarily a better one.
  5. mrcbass


    Jan 14, 2016
    Sacramento, CA
    Sorry, but with that attitude, I wouldn't have hopes of this project going very far. If 2 of 3 people are diametrically opposed to something, it will become a thing and implode the band.

    If you want this to work, you'll need to adjust your approach a little and learn that sometimes, busy isn't right. Lucky for you, a power trio does lend itself to a busier bass player a lot of times (behind solos for example) to make up for the lack of rhythm player. But there are limits.

    You have a style that is not normally good for most band situations. That's your style and that's fine - it's just necessarily a style that will be popular in some circles. Not ragging on you, just stating facts. (I'm very opposite and while I think I'm still a hack, I get a lot of compliments and pass a lot of auditions just because I stay in my lane and support the band. In my mind, it's my job to make the rest of the band sound good.)

    I would discuss and resolve this issue (and any other conflicts) before putting much time into this project.

    Best of luck....
  6. Dexterzol


    Apr 11, 2019
    Fair enough. The drummer is fine with it. He's an even busier guy and I keep the time for him. The guitarist hasn't been hysterical about it, it's just some minor stuff. Maybe we should hire another bassist to do the grunt work :laugh: Just so everyone's happy.
  7. Dexterzol


    Apr 11, 2019
    Also, I forgot to mention one part I'd like some advice on - playing other instruments. I figure, since we're all (supposedly) talented guys, all of us know a few instruments. I'm the sort of guy who likes to experiment, and a fair amount of our instruments overlap. Like, I've written some songs for 12-string guitar, how do I play the 12 string without getting into it with my guitarist for example?
  8. tb4sbp


    May 9, 2017
    North East
    In a power trio there are no draws when it comes to "voting" on something
    Some of those decisions may not be what you like but in a band (unless you are paying them to play with you) their voices matter. If you cannot get past that then you will go through a lot of bands. <speaking from experience>
    Dr Gero, lethargytartare and TwentyHz like this.
  9. Dexterzol


    Apr 11, 2019
    Fair enough, willing to compromise on everything except dumbing parts down. That's the one rule I made for myself when I picked up the bass. I play simple if I want to, but I usually don't :)
  10. 1) Seems it would be in your best interest to get comfortable with singing (not every song, but backing vox and a portion of the leads)
    2) Playing busy - remember that 98% of people want to hear a band, not just a bassist. Although, Dirty Loops has found room for Henrik to do busy stuff without over - doing
    3) If you have dedicated / reliable band mates who are all willing to work things out, you have more than most - don't toss the opportunity just because everything isn't exactly as you want

    Dr Gero likes this.
  11. chaosMK


    May 26, 2005
    Albuquerque, NM
    Too much hip thrust
    I played in a power trio, loved it. There is more space to fill as a bassist and if you can fill it, it's great. You dont have to be super busy all the time. I call it "lettin it breathe a little." I used to be quite the flashy player but in the trio the drummer brought a lot and I gave him space when he needed and when it suited things.
  12. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011

    Seems more likely that you should hire a different guitarist who shares your concept of what the band will sound like. Going into a situation where you know there is going to be conflict with a take-it-or-leave-it attitude, seems doomed to failure. IMHO, either resolve yourself to be a bit more willing to work on compromise or hire someone who appreciates the way you want to play.
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2019
  13. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Williamsburg, VA
    Sorry, but your attitude stinks. You should just ditch this thing now and save everybody a lot of headaches.
  14. Dexterzol


    Apr 11, 2019
    Fair enough, I expressed myself abrasively. But it really isn't up for discussion. On certain songs, fine, if another guy writes a song that calls for it, but I'm not the supporting player type of guy, and given that I write a lot of the songs, there's gonna be a lot of busy playing
    Charlzm, Bassist4Eris and 1960jbass like this.
  15. brocket


    Sep 12, 2017
    Coastal NC
    So you're preemptively firing someone from something that hasn't started yet? I understand having some trepidation, and kudos for having enough self awareness to realize potential issues, but to me that sort of thinking dooms the whole thing before it even has a chance to start.

    What if you you all just agree to 5 or so rehearsals, with an option to walk away after the 5 with no hard feelings if it isn't working out? That'll give you a chance to see how things go without needing to worry about it blowing up.
  16. Dexterzol


    Apr 11, 2019
    Yeah maybe. The firing thing wasn't entirely serious, nor realistic. I like the guy, and it's more a difference of opinion than an arguement. The tension was more personality-based, we didn't know each other that well for the majority of the time in the band. I may just be overthinking it.

    He listens to the same things I do, a lot of The Police and post-punk, prog rock and whatnot, with prominent bass. The drummer is all over busy basslines, so maybe I'm just nervous
    EddiePlaysBass likes this.
  17. jellymax

    jellymax Don't fry any wooden fish Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2006
    SF CA
    I say fire the busy player and get someone who's more of a team player, who plays for the song and what has big ears as well
  18. Gravedigger Dav

    Gravedigger Dav Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 13, 2014
    Azle, Texas
    Here is what happens in a "democratic" trio. It has nothing to do with music, it is a human nature anomaly. The strongest personality will pull the weakest onto his side so he can gang up on the middle guy. Tension builds until it explodes. Either someone needs to be the undisputed band leader, or don't do it. It will fail.
  19. jthisdell


    Jun 12, 2014
    Roanoke, VA
    Big ears are a must for a trio, powerful or otherwise.;)
    Dr Gero, Wisebass and TwentyHz like this.
  20. bearhart74

    bearhart74 Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2009
    Ask him?