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Does your band's performance have a "break in" period?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Chad Michael, Oct 11, 2004.

  1. :confused:

    Ok, what kind of hair-brained, dim-witted thread is this, Bimp? :D :)

    Well, those who play live (with band members changing from time to time) can relate. Seems in the last 3 or 4 years of performing, my band has the capability of becoming tight, confident, dynamic, and off the hook at times. But, whenever we have a change in drummer or vocalist or have an extended break, it takes the band a couple of weekends to regain the authoritative, collective sound that I strive for.

    As we progress as bassists / musicians / bandmembers, I would think that we all wish to achieve as certain level of professionalism and confidence. In other words, we could lay down a killing night's performance after one or two rehearsals with some new bandmates and or material. I often wonder when I hear incredible shows headlined by the likes of Michael McDonald, James Taylor, or (please add your own examples) etc... do these cats in their band have a "break in" period? How many rehearsals, or sessions, or performances did it take to make the live magic that they do?

    What about your band?

  2. bmc


    Nov 15, 2003
    It all has to do with the musicianship in your band. If you have really good players that have experience, it should fall togther right away. My current experience is with throw togther bands that center around three local singer/guitarists that have big repertoire of standards. There are three freelancing english bassists, three drummers and couple of guitarists. Most of the musicians are full time players that work constantly. For example, one of the drummers had 17 gigs in September. The players are all good and versatile in jazz, rock, folk, whatever the gig calls for. Someone will get a gig and throw a band around it for the night. I played one such gig last Saturday. It was for a small private party at an exclusive golf club near Geneva. It was a formal affair. Got the call on Thursday. The music was covers from the 50's-70's. No rehearsing. Just show up in a suit with small gear to play a small room. The band was tight. Lots of eye contact for taking solos, extending songs, etc.

    With the right players of good calbre, you can pull it off. It's just a challenge, sometimes, finding the right players.
  3. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    the break in period varies considerably. I did a sub gig this last week. I had one practice with the band a week before, listened to their 2 cd's and made cheat sheets. I know the drummer who is one of the best musicians i've ever worked with on many levels, and he assures me that it was buisiness as usual. Break in period - 10 seconds. :p Not that i'm a great musician pr virtuoso, but if the new member is competent and studies the material (and make cheat sheets to get by for a while if needed) the transition can go very smooth. In other cases it may take a few weeks. I think it also has to do with how professional and talented the rest of the band is. It's easy to go in and do well if the rest of the group has their stuff together. One band i played with started gigging about once every two month without paratcice as we were all in different areas of new england at college or whatever. Took us about two songs in to get "broken in" each gig. :D

    As far as the pros go.........i think there are two different scenarios that go on. One would be like your band. Most groups need a period of time to get tight after a hiatus and needed a lot of consistent practice to really tighten up their material. This is in no way a dig at you, my current main band is the same way. Going over the history of a lot of rock groups will reveal insane amounts of rehearsal to get to their current sound. The second scenario would be the bands put together by a lot of solo artists or other big names. These guys are professional to the core and can make anyone sound good. The amount of rehearsal may vary but i think a lot of these cats could listen to the tunes at home and take notes, walk on stage, introduce themselves, and start playing.
  4. Jeb


    Jul 22, 2001
    One of my committments involves rotating drummers. I've played with seven different drummers here, several of them coming in for a quick rehearsal one hour before "showtime." None play the same as the other. What a challenge as a bass player to play familiar songs with a different approach to the beat, you really have to pay attention because each drummer does different fills and each plays to their own style and you have to adapt. A couple of these drummers have played/toured with familiar artists in the Christian music industry and its such a thrill, especially when I've been complimented on my playing by them.

    To me, being a good player means more to fit in with others of differing style than to have them be what you think they should be. Of course, I'm talking about accomplished players with different styles here. I just like to be a part of stuff like that, what a great experience.
  5. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    I doubt that any of the professionals you mentioned or any professional at all would have a break in period. They are expected to know their part comming into the job. They are expected to have it all down at rehearsal/gig/session 1.

    As far as the bands I've been in on a regular basis, everyone was expected to know their parts at the audition and or rehearsal. Most every time that Ive done fill in gigs I've been expected to know my parts with usually no rehearsal time, on ocassion Ive been given 1 rehearsal.
  6. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle

    Sep 21, 2001
    Columbus OH
    I've joined bands where I only had one day to learn the material before the gig, and was expected to know it all. The band I'm in now (cover band), I showed up to watch the band at a Friday night gig, took notes and recorded onto CD-R's from the board mix. Saturday morning and afternoon I crammed and learned the parts and arrangements. Saturday night, I did the gig. The next week, we had a rehearsal to assign harmonies that I was to sing.

    When we rehearse to learn new songs, we have two or three songs scheduled for the evening, which we are each expected to know very well before we get to rehearsal. When we put them together, we are dealing with harmony assignments, tempos, endings, and arrangements to cover the studio instrumentation that we might not have. Nobody "practices" the songs at rehearsals - that is done at home before we get there. Its all business. If it takes more than 45 minutes to have a song locked down and ready to perform the next weekend, we dump the song and move on. Nobody wastes time if one guy doesn't know his part before he gets there. If that happens, its Miller Time and we bail to a local bar.

    I've done plenty of auditions where I am expected to know four or five tunes before I get there, and I NEVER show up without knowing them like the back of my hand - showing up unprepared would defeat the purpose of an audition . . .
  7. secretdonkey


    Oct 9, 2002
    Austin, TX
    No doubt that no matter how good you are, in a rock/pop group at least it's going to take a bit before you get into that "zone" where you are 100% comfortable because you know exactly what your bandmates are going to do (or may do), and you can focus beyond the mechanics of getting through the song.

    I've recently gotten to open up for some touring artists and have noticed a distinct difference when a given artist rolls into town with a new band. In at least one such case the new band was much better, but not yet "in the zone," so that the performance and delivery was more stiff and sterile. I think that's what Bimp is getting at...


    To take off on a tangent - has anyone noticed the opposite kind of thing, where you have been playing the same songs so frequently with the same guys, that taking a break of a week or two breathes a bit of life back into them?
  8. Wow - lots of good insight here folks, thanks for sharing some of your experiences :cool: .

    Thanks CovertBurro - that's a good way to restate what I was getting at.

    No gig this weekend, but next weekend I'll get to work with a drummer that I haven't played with in about a year and a half. I know that the gig will go well, having worked with him for about two years. Maybe having prior experience with someone, even if intermittent, goes a long way in live performance?