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Dressing well and dancing

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

  1. blue4


    Feb 3, 2013
    St. Louis area
    Yep. Grunge didn't destroy the music scene, it simply rendered the Bad Company, AC/DC cover band less popular.
  2. Patchman777


    Oct 29, 2017
    Depends on the audience.
    Speedhitter and gebass6 like this.
  3. two fingers

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

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Other than a jazz gig within five miles of a jazz school.... no, it doesn't.
    jon mccumber likes this.
  4. Korladis

    Korladis Banned Supporting Member

    A dress code seems... somewhat at odds with the punk attitude.
  5. I've always been a believer in the fact that you should look the part. People should know when they see you that you are a member of the band. My fans come out to see a show. A rock show. Not a garage band. My stage clothes are appropriate. My gear is in order. And I put on a show. It's my reputation thst I've built for the last 40 years. The show is as important as the musicianship. You can do one or the other. But if you can pull off doing both you're getting somewhere...
    mike o and FJBass82 like this.
  6. mellowinman

    mellowinman Free Man

    Oct 19, 2011
  7. Christcr

    Christcr Supporting Member

    Feb 8, 2015
    Hmmm. Not always the case. I was once in a band with a guitarist that honestly looked as if he were taking a nap for much of the sets. Hardly moved and if there was a back wall on the stage you can bet he'd be leaning against it for half the night. Always dressed like he was lounging on his couch (I'm talking not even jeans and tees--more like sweats and flannel). BUT, I've never played with such an incredibly good guitarist as he was in my life--both his electric and classical playing was incredible. The singer was jumping around all set and was good. The drummer was slamming and into it. I was... well, I just play. Guess who got all the comments at every gig? Yep, the guitarist. AND, to top that off, when getting the comments between sets about how unearthly a player he was, he would most often be reading a pocket novel of some sort, sitting on the side of the stage. He would look up at the raving fan (even if it was a drop dead foxy woman) with a blank face and sort of just make a grunting sound. And then back to his novel. That's not to say that I ever understood the guy's behavior. It came off as pretty rude, in my opinion. BUT, he always had people flocking to him--I guess those who actually listen to the music rather than worrying about a fashion show caught the vibe of how good this guy really was... even though he was off on his own little planet.

    As far as being an audience member at a show. If I see a band that I get the vibe from that they are "faking" a show by hopping around and wearing outlandishly foolish looking clothing, I assume they are trying to compensate for something else that is lacking. IMO a truly good band doesn't need that crap. The music speaks for itself. I would much rather hear a killer band of talented musicians wearing pajamas than a mediocre band wearing stuffy (or just weird) clothing and hopping around awkwardly. And if they are both a killer band and wearing stuffy/weird clothing, I tend not to notice what they are wearing anyway because to me music is a strictly auditory art. I don't care for the distraction of flashy clothes or some sort of "show." I want good music. Beyond that, I do not care. I used to go watch Spyro Gyra every year when they came. I can sure tell you how good of musicians they were and how good the bassist sounded... but I couldn't tell you the first thing about what any of them were wearing, and there was never any "show" that I remember. Just good music.

    To tell you the truth, as far as stage attire, I kind of like the way a lot of the bluegrass bands in my area dress. They look just like everyone else who is listening to them. Down to earth. Approachable. Not trying to "put on the dog." Just a bunch of talented musicians sharing their music. And they are almost always top notch players.
    blue4, gebass6 and mrcbass like this.
  8. sigterm

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

    Feb 5, 2003
    Atlanta G of A
    Approachable, and always get booked at festivals.

  9. Christcr

    Christcr Supporting Member

    Feb 8, 2015
    Ha, well that works for me. But actually, I haven't seen the local bluegrassers wearing bib overalls. At least not for many, many years.

    Actually, more like this:

    No suits, no tuxes, no outlandish stuff. They look like anyone else on the street. Yet, I think most all of us know how talented Union Station/Alison Krauss is. That's what I was talking about. They have no weakness to compensate for. Of course, Alison always looks spiffy. But most women performers like to look spiffy. She certainly doesn't need to worry about it, though, with her voice.
    Last edited: May 17, 2018
    gebass6 and sigterm like this.
  10. zjanderson


    May 3, 2011
    The key is to not be fake. Yes, dress the part, but don't wear something you wouldn't wear otherwise. Yes move around and put on a show, but it shouldn't be awkward and contrived.

    If a band comes off as awkward and foolish looking, then they likely are compensating for lack of musicianship.
    Plectrum72 and ak56 like this.
  11. mambo4


    Jun 9, 2006
    The musicians I have played with who clung most fiercely to "authenticity"
    and railed against "faking it" at any opportunity
    were often uncooperative and fractious in their interactions with band mates.

    how about "Sure, why not? I might feel a little silly, but it sounds like fun."
    That's who I want to play with.
    blue4 likes this.
  12. It is all subjective. With that in mind you cannot say everyone is going to react the same way to a band or situation. While there may be some of you that could care less what a band wears (or doesnt) and if they move around or not , there are going to be others who care a great deal. While i tend to agree with MR. @two fingers -there are going to be people out there that would not care either way. Also i think different regions could be different too. I surely prefer to see a pro local band dressing the part and engaging the crowd with dancing and theatrics. However I recognize there are others out there who dont care or notice. Some may even get upset and angry and think they are trying to hide something. Subjective like that book The zen of Motorcycle maintenance -you cannot define "quality" . It is defined by each of us individually.
    NOW! For some awesome dad band pics
    BluesOnBass and two fingers like this.
  13. TH63


    Jan 30, 2016
    Phnom Pen, Cambodia
    Yes, ridiculous.
  14. TH63


    Jan 30, 2016
    Phnom Pen, Cambodia
    Being a good bass player means Playing the bass. Dressing well and dancing are up to you, the band, and the image you want. Independent of your playing ability. Your question makes me think a new paint job will make my car run better...
    gebass6 likes this.
  15. TH63


    Jan 30, 2016
    Phnom Pen, Cambodia
    Great reply two fingers. I couldn't agree more. When you're playing on stage people are WATCHING and listening. Show them that you give a damn.
    two fingers likes this.
  16. derrico1

    derrico1 Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2005
    Charlottesville, VA
    Punk has always had a pretty serious dress code. How many suburban-looking normcore punks do you remember from back in the day?

    Show up for a gig looking like Naked Raygun and no problems. Show up looking like Pere Ubu and there was static.
    Jhengsman likes this.
  17. Christcr

    Christcr Supporting Member

    Feb 8, 2015
    And you know, that is perfectly fine for some players--just depends on personalities. With me, I've never been belligerent in much of anything musically and I'm the type of person that can get along with most anyone--pretty laid back. But the "attire thing" is one aspect of band life that crosses my line. I do music because I enjoy it. If I'm not enjoying it, there is no point for me (at one time, it was more of a "professional thing" with tours and big gigs, etc. But that was many years ago). So, in the case of, "Hey guys, let's all wear XXX," I simply say, "No, that doesn't work for me. It's up to you where to go with it from here. If it is that important to you, I'm perfectly fine with being replaced and don't want to be a hassle for any of you guys. I don't want anyone to feel I'm holding them back. If not... well, this is what I wear. I'm cool either way."

    I tried that once. Didn't help, other than the broken down car on the side of the road was shiny rather than oxidized. :D
    Passinwind and TH63 like this.
  18. I'm "guilty" of being in a "dad band". I'm 54 years old, and three out of the four other band members are in their 50's as well (the "baby" of the band is 42!). We play classic rock, alternative rock, southern rock, blues rock, and a few country tunes just to keep everyone happy. We've only had a few gigs so far, as we're a fairly new band, and I have my own personal dress code: No shorts at all! In no way am I trying to p--s anyone off, I just think it looks unprofessional. We could have an outdoor gig in the middle of August on a sunny, hot, humid, sweltering day (and it does get that way in the St. Louis metro area!) and I'll still wear a pair of jeans. That's just me. I feel as some others have said on this thread, that I don't want to look like I'm part of the crowd; I'm in a band and I want to look the part.

    I've seen cover bands in the past, whether it was an indoor gig or outdoor gig, and some members were wearing shorts, and it just didn't look right to me. Yes, they were fine musicians, and it "shouldn't" matter that they were wearing shorts, but, again, and it's just me talking here, it didn't look right.

    When I've been to outdoor gigs at the amphitheater over the past 20-plus years during the summers in St. Louis, to see Journey, Styx, Rush, Bad Company, Peter Frampton, Boston, Train, Goo Goo Dolls, Chicago, etc., etc., etc., and it was sweltering outside, none of them were wearing shorts (except for maybe Neil Peart once or twice ???). If they can look the part on a very hot day/evening, then I can, too.

    Our band hasn't had "the dress code" discussion yet, but I'll tell them how I feel about my own attire and that what they wear is their business. We're all grownups and can do whatever. We did have one outdoor gig in early October 2016, when it was still fairly warm outside, and the drummer wore a pair of denim shorts that day; the rest of us wore jeans. None of us thought we looked bad as a band just because the drummer wore shorts.

    As far as "dancing" on stage, no, I don't dance or jump around. I'm too old to do that (at least I feel I'm too old to do those things). But I don't just stand in one spot, either, like John Entwistle. I do rock out a little bit on stage and get into the music. But, and we've all been there, sometimes you're all crowded together on a small stage or space in the corner, etc., and you barely have enough room to even hold your bass or guitar without bumping into your fellow band member standing next to you!

    These are just my opinions and, again, not trying to raise any blood pressures here. We're all adults, we all have our own opinions on what we think is "right" or "wrong".
    Last edited: May 20, 2018
    TH63, Jimmy4string and BassMorpheus like this.
  19. Christcr

    Christcr Supporting Member

    Feb 8, 2015
    I've been in bands with the members wearing shorts. Personally, I never have--I just think it looks tacky in general. But that's just my personal opinion, and I don't EVER wear shorts except when running (and those are REAL old-school short shorts, not the half floods/long Johns people call shorts today). But as I said before, whatever floats the player's boats, I don't really care. They could wear a tutu... and I'd probably feel embarrassed for them, but whatever.
    FJBass82 likes this.
  20. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    I agree. I try to look a step above the "average" guy at the venue. I am also the oldest guy in the band so I think I need to step it up a little more. I often have a sport coat of some kind to try and set me apart. Maybe a button up shirt. Nicer shoes. Things like that.
    I would even argue that the show is more important to many if not most people. I didn't say all so don't flame me. You know who you are. I think people judge the look more than if you nailed the lick before the bridge.

    I would say you - and the rest of us (us being musicians) that feel this way are in the minority. I wish the music would/could speak for itself. I've seen Jimmy Haslip (when he was with the Yellowjackets) play many times. He always wore black pants/jeans and a black t-shirt usually. Many videos show a similar look. I do't give a rats behind about what he's wearing as he plays the crap out of the bass. I just don't think that's a common thought.

    The bands I have and am currently in have always had killer musicians. Experienced, trained, degrees, etc. Bands don't seem to succeed because I think we are so worried about sounding perfect that we forget to perform or entertain. We think he, we're great players, it sounds just like the recording, people will love us. Not true.
    FJBass82 likes this.

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