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Do you "push" your band?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by pcollin, Sep 19, 2008.

  1. pcollin


    Dec 22, 2005
    Portland, Maine
    After practice the other night, I was told that I "push" my band. Not in the literal sense, but that my "input" has been some kind of driving force that's keeping us on track. I never really thought of myself as "that guy" but having more band experience than the others I think I do have the ability to "hear" potential in our songs and the potential in my bandmates when the apply themselves. I'm not a leader (don't want to be) or a ball buster. I just like us to keep our focus and see/hear forward progress. We had a great summer and played out a lot to good reviews. this comment has made me a little self conscious though.
  2. thesteve


    May 28, 2007
    San Diego, CA
    Absolutely I do.

    Before I joined, my band was just a drummer and a guitarist jamming and recording goofy songs. I don't think the idea of actually gigging became a reality until after I joined the band.

    I also feel like you, having the ability to "hear" potential. I'm not much of a song writer, but I feel very comfortable doing rearrangements of what my guitarist writes in order to make a more complete song.
  3. sevenyearsdown

    sevenyearsdown Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    Sanborn, NY
    I'm the voice at practice typically. I call out most of the songs, stop them in the middle if corrections are needed, etc. We all have input though. It's just usually me who directs the practice. It's always been that way in every band I've played in. All bands need one guy like that, 'cause musicians all tend to have ADD!
  4. A leader isn't defined by a title, he's defined by his actions. It sounds to me like you are a leader in the best sense of the word. I've acted in the very role (as what I call "director") with my projects for the last few years. These projects have had another person who was called the "leader" but he was not the person who drove the direction of how rehearsals went or how songs were developed - that was me. He was the primary songwriter and the "final voice" in what we were doing with his songs, but as for how we got there, I provided the initiative and worked very hard to maintain momentum by arranging and directing both in and out of rehearsals.

    I, like you, hear potential and very complete arrangements even in song fragments and I can communicate those ideas pretty well. Not to mention I have some skills with recoding, mixing and so forth, so I can take a raw room recoding, dress it up a bit and show everyone the idea when words fail. I got many of the same comments from my band mates - that I really helped make sure we were moving and in a good direction. They were all very grateful to have someone who was willing to put so much energy into that end of the project.

    Keep it up! You are a very important part of your band and it sounds like they appreciate it! Just because you lead and even if you are a leader, that does not equate to being "big headed" and ego-centric.
  5. i pushed a little too much one week, and its always not so great you know. to be pushing.... but this band is way tooo lazy. am looking for an exit probably
  6. IMHO, music is awesome and fun, thus you shouldn't need to push band members. It's been my experience that if you need to push a band or band members, it's gonna be an uphill struggle and it will probably fall apart. They either can't focus or they simply aren't into it any more.

    If it's a band worth salvaging, it's much better to dangle a carrot with positive reinforcement than to crack the whip. Motivating people to do well is good (if and when possible) but cracking the whip makes people agitated and defensive.
  7. Eilif

    Eilif Holding it down in K-Town. Supporting Member

    Oct 1, 2001
    Sounds like "push" is a positive thing in your case. Keep doing what you do, and don't let it get to your head.

    I've never really been the pusher. At various times in previous ensembles, I've felt that I was more motivated than certain other members, and at time I have felt that was doing more than my fair share. However, in my current band I am with a fairly motivated group, and I am actually enjoying just being the bass player, doing what I'm told, and contributing in a way that adds and helps, but in no way leads or pushes.
  8. Sometimes you end up in a very worthwhile band of eager and willing players who just don't really know how to get the most out of what they're doing. They're really good at they're role, but not so good at conceptualizing parts outside of their comfort zone.

    My friend, who I work closely with on his material, never played in a cover band, never learned a cover tune, didn't have the school band/orchestra experience - basically, he knew what he taught himself on guitar (good stuff, by the way) and little beyond. He listened to a broad range of music, but since he'd never gotten into dissecting it and performing it, he never thought if it as stuff to use as reference (at least consciously).

    He'd get really frustrated with me when he'd play me one of his new songs and I'd almost instantaneously say something like, "Wow! That's really cool sounding! It is really similar to XTC's song... or this one obscure Zeppelin tune..." He wasn't copying anything, but he was copping styles and other elements that were present in tons of other songs. My instantly citing my reference points was not really something he wanted to hear, but that's how I heard them...

    Since I have been playing music since age 6 and been in a huge variety of ensembles since age 10, I could always hear a point of reference in just about anything anyone plays and have some really solid ideas about what could be done to compliment them.

    It took me a long time to convince him that I was not cutting him down or diminishing his really cool songs when I was making my comparisons to other songs - I was, in my way, complimenting him AND it really was the only way I could hear things. I couldn't ignore what I felt were obvious similarities.

    What I learned was to stop sharing my points of reference. Stop saying, "that sounds similar to..." Just say, "Hey, I like that! Ya wanna add some parts to it? I have some ideas."

    We've been working together happily ever since. Keep pushing!
  9. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    I do not. No one does currently. We are playing the same songs we have for months. We try to push, but the singer is leary for some reason.
  10. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    I don't know if you'd call this "pushing", but it seems like in most of the musical situations I'm in, I'm the one most tuned-in to tempos being too fast or slow, "feel" not quite right, wrong chords or chord voicings (I can hear they are wrong but don't always know how to explain what's wrong). Veteran musicians I've worked with tell me I have "huge ears" which I take as a compliment. The flip side is, I can easily get negative in my comments and I'm trying hard to work on that but to me, "fun" does not equal hacking through songs and not playing to potential; "fun" is playing good music, well. I tend to expect a lot from the people I play with, somewhat in terms of technique but more as far as listening, a team attitude and general musical instincts (dynamics, groove, etc.).

    Since I don't like to waste time and tend to speak my mind, I'm trying more now to lead by example vs. words and also to do as much "quality control" as I can from my instrument as opposed to saying a lot. Also in my main band I have a really good relationship with my drummer and he tends to be more diplomatic... so if I have big concerns sometimes I'll talk to him about it first and let him be the one to bring it up.
  11. Not trying to argue with ya, but musicians are a lot like women in terms of sensitivity. Musically, my work ethic is exactly like my day job work ethic. I've known many a musician who works well on their day job, but the same type of feedback about music must be delivered with kid gloves and the process is much more complicated than brain surgery. Mature musicians can handle constructive feedback, then sometimes you learn the hard way that the guy you thought was a mature musician.....just burned your band to the ground.
  12. As you know, I appreciate your point of view, so no worries on feeling argumentative.

    And I agree that there is a fine line between providing positive and productive feedback and appearing to be critical for the sake of being critical. A key factor in taking a band's music from "OK for the basement" to "OK for the street" is being self critical as a unit and appreciating that the criticism is for the overall good of the band. Starting with yourself is a good way to demonstrate that you are not picking on people as individuals. So saying, "I could stand to play a little less busy" can open the door to others saying, "Yeah, me too. I do think we're crowding the space a bit" - and it can pave to way for you to offer a comment about how others can alter their approach without it being taken as an attack.

    So I suppose part of being a good "pusher" is showing that you want to be pushed yourself. Also letting your partners know that you don't mind if they make suggestions about what your doing can open the door for them to allow you to do the same.
  13. You have to watch out with pushing people, some people are perfectly content with being where they are. No amount of input (even if you're upbeat and positive about it) will change that. In fact it will make them think you're an a$$H^&E and you may find yourself without a band.

    After too many bad experiences, I really try to make sure any bands I join don't need me to push them. If somebody has no desire to grow and learn on their own I have no desire to know them.
  14. LOL, it's not the pusher, it's the pushee and usually out of our control. Too bad, really. Goes back to the whole ego problems immature musicians often have.
  15. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    Another thing too is that different people in the band may be more or less passionate about different aspects, and there needs to be tolerance and appreciation for those differences cause those can be the exact things that make a band "work". For example, my band provides its own P.A. and lights for almost every show but especially with the lights I really could care less. I'm really struggling right now as I see our guitarists putting a lot of their money into new lighting while one of them doesn't even have a proper case for his guitar and their POS guitar amps are literally falling apart. OTOH, they are spending their own money (not band money) for these upgrades, and if no one in my band cared about the lights we probably would have very little lighting and our "show" would be sub-par compared to competing bands in the area. So I do need to be respectful of that.

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