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Do/Do Not Announce Lineup Change?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by BayStateBass, Feb 26, 2014.

  1. Just thought I'd get some feedback on what you people think.

    Our band just made a "minor" lineup change. We had always consisted of a stand alone male lead vocalist, one guitarist, bass, and drums. Our original vocalist was asked to leave due to performance and substance issues that showed up over time and eventually started ruining our shows. The second male front brought in was a former bandmate who didn't want anything other than fill-in or temporary, and has been working with us for a couple months, mostly as a personal favor to me (we're very close). But it's coming to an end with him because he's focusing on his other band, which is working more. So we've been searching for a permanent replacement, with very little luck. Until a few days ago. We found someone who has joined the group, but it changes a few things. Here's why;

    The new singer is a female. And she plays guitar, bass, and drums. Primarily guitar and bass. 20 years experience, is currently playing with a band that she has been looking to leave due to typical drama. The band she is in is similar to ours with music, and competes for the same venues. Lots of the same songs, and she likes what we are doing (which was not the case with lots of others who seemed interested).

    In the sense of what it does for our band, it's a lot musically. Now we have two guitars, and I have the option to go back to playing rhythm if I want to, or bass, or going up front and singing more songs (she can play bass well, and I sing best if I'm not playing), or just hanging on bass and singing more songs (which I have to anyway due to our setlist). It also gives our drummer a chance to play guitar, he's been dying to do it (he's a pretty decent guitar player, but better drummer). Plus it gives us the option to cover a wider variety of music, you get the idea.

    Here's the thing; all of our upcoming shows are at repeat venues, where they saw us and heard us with our old format. The temp guy is going to do a show for us March 8th, but it's his last one, and it's the only one we have that isn't a repeat venue.

    We are staying with 90% of what we did before, but adding some new stuff, and splitting vocals more between myself and the drummer.

    So here's the question; Do you make the venues aware that they might not be getting exactly what they did before? When we have played these places before we've often been paid over our contract, and we've been booked back to every place we played over the last 6 months. But this won't be exactly what they're used to seeing/hearing with us.

    Any suggestions? Will this even be an issue, you think?
  2. Tampabass

    Tampabass Supporting Member

    Feb 16, 2006
    I know you are, but what am I?
    the old adage applies here, I think: Better to beg forgiveness than ask permission.
    Change is a constant in bands.
    If the quality/repertoire is as strong as the old lineup, then clubs shouldn't have an issue with it.
    Do a great job, and more than likely they'll keep bringing your back.
  3. That's the plan! I'm thinking that it's best just to show up, play what we play, and not make a deal out of it ahead of time. Just thought I'd see what everyone else thought.

    One of the challenges will be mine. Steve was great with a crowd, actually we all are to a point, but he did most of the mic work and fronting, I helped out. He and I tended to work off each other a lot in that respect. Now I will be on my own. The new singer is used to playing in bands that had good music but no real crowd interaction. So even though she will be singing a lot, I'll have to handle the MC stuff.
  4. sparkyfender2


    Nov 25, 2013
    A good female singer will probably be a boost to your band, and make you even more bookable.

    The singer is what the patrons will remember, and who they will identify the band with.
    Especially a female. Say nothing and roll with it.
  5. tangentmusic

    tangentmusic A figment of our exaggeration

    Aug 17, 2007
    +1... No need to mention it to the venues.

    I was thinking more along the lines of your audience.
    If your previous singer had a following with people coming to see your band because of him, you may get an unexpected reaction appearing unannounced with a different frontman/woman. Maybe you could announce the change on your social media outlet(s) or flyers/posters ect. so you won't surprise your fans...
  6. JohnMCA72


    Feb 4, 2009
    I'll go against the grain here, & say that I think it's a great "excuse" to do some promoting! Any fresh news can be good news, & announcements of any kind can stir up interest. Spin it as a great positive for the band. Wish the departed singer well, if you want. Portray it as a GREAT thing, that the band won't look or sound like before - that you're "New & Improved!" What works for detergent can work for you, too! Who wouldn't want to check out the new lineup?
  7. Yeah, it will be shock #2 for them. When we let Richie go, some people were miffed because he did have a following. Some of the people who came from the farthest away (sometimes over an hour) came to see Richie. They were surprised when they showed up and saw.....Steve.

    But, you know what? We didn't seem to lose a lot of people, most seemed to adjust to Steve pretty quickly.

    This is yet another change.

    Good suggestion on the social media thing. Most of our audience keeps tabs on us through Facebook and Twitter. Maybe a heads up for them, timed right, might be good.
  8. GlennW


    Sep 6, 2006
    Do the venues make announcements when they have new bartenders?
  9. Actually, we have this one place we play that does, usually on their Facebook page. At the very least, they announce who will be bartending and waiting tables, as well any drink specials or appetizers, who the band is for the night, etc.

    They do a lot of promoting for their establishment and they are one of those places that also is good at promoting the bands that come in. It's actually the one I worry about the most because they pay us the most and it's our favorite place to play.
  10. Runnerman

    Runnerman Registered Bass Player Supporting Member

    Mar 14, 2011
    I say no. It will be clear to all soon enough.
    Hopefully you are better with the new lineup.
  11. Freddels

    Freddels Musical Anarchist

    Apr 7, 2005
    Sutton, MA
    I would say "no". We add "guests" to our band and subs and each time, the music does change a bit but it's all good.

    The venues like it when you can keep the room full of people that are eating/drinking/whatever. They just a packed room. Good music keeps people there.
  12. sm49341


    May 12, 2013
    I agree with freddels, pack the room and its all good. I would announce it on social media to your fans, generate some interest, and be sure to thank your temp singer publicly for s job well done.
  13. QweziRider

    QweziRider Supporting Member

    Sep 15, 2008
    Las Vegas
    We never do in my primary band. We've been through three female lead singers in the year I've been with the band and, from what I understand, at least 30 members over the course of the last 16 years. The only constant being the male lead singer. We never alert venues (or anyone else, for that matter) and just keep delivering the same solid show. No venues have ever balked at the changes.
  14. zontar


    Feb 19, 2014
    I have to agree--bands change members all the time.
    If someone asks--sure--answer them.
  15. Unless the player being replaced is the main draw for the band then I don't see much reason for a non-big act to announce such lineups to the venue.
  16. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    This was my thought too.
  17. Yeah, I don't think any one of us is specifically a "main draw", we're just known as a band for the most part. If I had to guess I'd say the guitarist is the most recognized/popular person in the band.

    Thanks for the input! You people are great.
  18. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY
    Front man or woman change up, yes...definitely let people know. Pump it up, give some recorded samples, etc.

    About two years ago, we went through a major band reorganization. Our once lead singer/riddim guitarist left (male), our backup vocalist took over on lead (female), we changed out a drummer with substance/personality/responsibility issues for one that didn't have issues (and could sing).

    We decided that while the 'core' of the band remained intact, with the all new front-person and an overhaul of nearly all the original material, it was basically a new band and renamed and rebuilt our following from scratch. Since then, we've had drummer and guitar changes but have only 'announced' those people, not anything else drastic.
  19. JohnMCA72


    Feb 4, 2009
    By all means, follow the lead of the venues & learn from the best! We all know they're on top as far as promotion is concerned & spare no effort or expense to promote shows & draw people in!

    Honestly, a smart club manager would do just that! Announce through every available channel that they have this great new bartender, starting X-day! New bartender has worked at <list of dynamic, popular clubs>, has worked in <list of cities, countries, etc.> makes the greatest <specialty drink> which just so happens to be on special while (s)he's working, has some other interesting skill or talent, etc.! Come down & meet <new bartender> & see what all the excitement is all about!
  20. ChrisB2

    ChrisB2 Bass... in your fass

    Feb 27, 2008
    TalkBass > Off Topic
    Purely based on the details of your situation - I wouldn't worry about the venues, but I would make a HUGE deal about this to your fans, and HER fans. You may gain some of the following from her previous band.

    IMO this is a big deal, totally unlike a guitar or drum change, and should be announced with much fanfare as a New Day, the beginning of Big Things. If I were you I would be really excited by this and would want to infect everyone with that excitement.

    If the venues catch wind of that, I hardly think they would be upset.

    Good luck!