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Dressing well and dancing

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by easyj, May 11, 2018.

  1. I read somewhere that in order to be a good bass player, you need to dress well and dance while you are performing live. How many think that these two things are really necessary for being a bass player in a gigging band?
  2. Gorn


    Dec 15, 2011
    Queens, NY
    The truth lies somewhere between a sock and tapping your foot, and a three piece suit and the tango.
  3. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    If you play in a wedding/casino/dance band, yes. Maybe.
    If you play in a punk band, no. Maybe. Depending on what you consider dressing well, and dancing.
    If you play in a country band, I don't know. I don't see or hear much country.

    Come on!!!!!!! I never judge TB questions - but with all due respect - this is a ridiculous question :). No?
    Leonerd, OnederTone, TH63 and 23 others like this.
  4. I wouldn't say I dress well, but I definitely like to have a wee dance about the stage! :)
  5. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    I think generally the LOCAL music scenes I have seen need to try a little harder to look the part and act the part.

    Standing in one place wearing cargo shorts and a spandex knee brace and white sneakers and a tucked in Fender T-shirt and a ball cap just means you don't care and won't try. You have zero regard for the venue or your audience. This show is all about you. YOU want to play and YOU want to wear your grass cutting clothes to do it. Everyone else be damned.

    I went to a festival this past weekend and that's what the MAJORITY of "musicians" looked like on stages all over. I am a musician and a music fan. I walked off from every stage. If you don't care, neither do I. You look like you were cleaning out your garage and thought "Meh. Sure. We'll go play some music. Let me grab my bass." :thumbsdown:

    There is no one definition of what we SHOULD be doing.... other than more than we currently do, generally speaking.

    "Dress well and dancing" is a vague term.

    However, if you LOOK the part, keep your gear in good shape, move around a little and interact with the crowd a little, and sing at least some backups, I don't care what market you're in, YOU will work more than you want to. (Being able to play is a given if you are in a band.... or at least it should be.)
  6. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
    How you dress has nothing to do with how good or bad a player you are. It is for presentational purposes only, and would depend on the type of band. I can however imagine that dancing...as in moving to the groove...can enhance your performance.

    BTW...how would a person define "well" ? :thumbsdown:
    basshoss, Speedhitter, blue4 and 3 others like this.
  7. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
    Makes you wonder how road worn basses appear to the general punter. ;)
  8. socialleper

    socialleper Bringer of doom and top shelf beer Supporting Member

    May 31, 2009
    Canyon Country, CA
    If you are playing in the sort of band where that is appropriate, that would help. Being able to sing backup vocals would be good too.
    In my line of playing dressing up and "dancing" are the opposite of what you want to do.
    Context is everything.
    gebass6 and rtav like this.
  9. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA

    Again, "look the part" is a vague term. You don't necessarily have to be shiny and squeaky clean to look the part.

    Stevie Ray Vaughan is a prime example. His guitar was trashed (in a good way). But you would never accuse him of not looking the part.
  10. ...you need to be a good bass player.

    Everything else is just extra.
  11. ThinCrappyTone

    ThinCrappyTone Mostly harmless

    Oct 1, 2011
    Massachusetts, USA
    Depends on the band and the event. For example, if you're in a wedding band, and you go on stage with jorts and a white tank top with spaghetti stains on it, bridezilla is gonna be pissed.
  12. I read in a post on here once that "you should dress like you are in the band". People should be able to distinguish you from the other patrons at the venue or at the event. I think that what Two Fingers says is true "You should look like you are trying". It doesn't have to be over the top, but a little effort goes a long way.

    The simple fact of the matter is that, whether you choose to acknowledge it or not, the way you look and present the material matters. The energy with which you present the material matters, and engaging the crowd matters. I don't think dancing is necessarily required, but some movement and eye contact should be part of your presentation.
  13. gln1955

    gln1955 Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2014
    Ohio, USA
    I try to dress appropriately for wherever I play. Look like you belong in whatever kind of band you're in. Pretty simple, really.

    I'm not a statue, but I do not dance. Hopefully, I'm active enough that folks can see how much fun I'm having. Our band has a great singer/frontman that keeps everyone's attention, so it's not big deal if we don't all move that much.

    YMMV. What kind of band is the OP talking about?
  14. sigterm

    sigterm ;) ;) ;), love y'all Supporting Member

    Feb 5, 2003
    Atlanta G of A
    I always bring my bass and relic'd cargo pants to shows just in case the bass player didn't show and they ask someone from the crowd to fill in.

    Dance moves cost extra. Security wouldn't be able to keep the ladies from rushing the stage.
  15. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA

    I would argue that you can pedal on root 8th notes all night and you will still be regarded as a "great bass player" by most audience members if you look the part and put on a show. However, if you show up looking frumpy and acting bored, you can play like Jaco and nobody will remember you in the morning.
    Last edited: May 11, 2018
  16. Mojo-Man


    Feb 11, 2003
    Wedding Band, Theater Pit Band, Jazz Club. All have there own dress code. Rock, Blues, & Country gigs. Just look good. The no shorts rule is in effect. Unless your playing a beach gig.

    I charge extra for dancing.
  17. lfmn16

    lfmn16 Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    Never confuse being a bass player with being an entertainer. There is no reason you can't be both, but they are separate skills.
  18. modbass

    modbass Supporting Member

    Dec 31, 2008
    Baltimore Maryland

    If you are a working musician you should get dressed up and have enough movement on stage to match the atmosphere. Whether that's full on dancing or a mild 2 step, its better than standing there. When you are working enough that people know/assume you can play and hang, the next thing they look at is how you look and dress and I've been hired and fired many times by band leaders looking for a certain "look" on stage.

    For one band I work with we have 3 dress codes and none of them allow shorts:
    Bar Attire: jeans and a tshirt (black or dark), clean, favorite logos and ironic funny shirts allowed.
    Club Attire: fancy Jeans, Button Down, Vest
    Wedding Attire: Black suit, white shirt, black skinny tie.

    When in doubt, wear all black and have a spare button down in the car if you have to dress up in a pinch. During the summer, a lot of bands switch to all white or light colors for outdoor hits so double check with the band.

    A well dressed and coordinated band immediately sounds better to the audience, whether that's perceived or real.
  19. tpaul

    tpaul Supporting Member

    Mar 19, 2011
    Dress and dance while performing live? Sort of like a reverse striptease, no? I guess for most of us, the more clothes we put on, the more attractive we become.

    Seems like that guy from Red Hot Chili Peppers had the right idea, but didn't get very far. One sock... meh.

    On the up side, you can now say, "see, this is why I play bass. Guitars just aren't big enough to provide the necessary coverage during our first set."
    Speedhitter and HolmeBass like this.
  20. modbass

    modbass Supporting Member

    Dec 31, 2008
    Baltimore Maryland
    Did a wedding 2 weeks ago...bride had thrown out the grooms cargo shorts prior to the wedding and the best man bought him 3 pairs...he ditched his suit and wore those damn cargo shorts the entire reception...every photo...he'll never live it down

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