Dropping songs that rocked?!?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Depth_Charge, Jun 23, 2008.

  1. A week and a half ago our band played our first covers show, a 4 set 8pm-12pm gig. It was a blast and the crowd and venue owners really responded well, and we booked a couple more gigs from that one (private).

    The rehearsal after, we started discussing the set list for a 3 set corporate gig for the guitarists company coming up this Saturday so we just rattled off songs with a "yay, question mark, nay?" type process.

    I was shocked that the band wanted to drop 2 songs that I thought we played really well and drew a very strong response from the crowd, yet we kept a few suspect numbers on the list :eyebrow:

    Despite asking why, I left the rehearsal unclear as to what motivated the guys to drop the songs, and while it's "my" band and I started it and I could probably whinge them back onto the list, it's not really how I want to manage things.

    So...has anyone got any thoughts/experiences/advice regarding times when your band has dropped songs that members thought rocked out? Coz I'm stumped. These 2 songs were dance floor fillers/stayers!

  2. Phalex

    Phalex Semper Gumby Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    G.R. MI
    We know a lot of tunes that for some reason don't ever seem to make it to the set list anymore.

    You shouldn't even be having this discussion after one show. If you notice a trend where you play a certain song, and the dance floor empties (not always a bad sign) and there is no response after you finish playing it (Taken together with the dance floor emptying, this is a very bad sign.) then maybe you should drop that song. The problem is, one show does not a trend make. Some tunes go over well in some places and others go over well in some other places.

    You should be learning new tunes, trying them out on the audiance, and exchange the ones that go over for the ones that don't, but you should still have the option of pulling a song off of the "dead list" once in a while as well.

    Learn some new songs, play a lot more gigs, and adjust the setlist as necessary.
  3. derrico1

    derrico1 Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2005
    Charlottesville, VA

    For corporates, the question to ask when you're reviewing previous setlists isn't "what do you guys like and want to keep?"; instead, it's "what got/kept the crowd bumping?"
  4. BillMason


    Mar 6, 2007
    Agreed, as a band you should be asking the question in a different way. As a member of the band, you should be clear on why a song is being dropped, and you should not be afraid to state your case to keep it.

    This has been a major problem in my band, where we all come from very different musical directions - the singer/acoustic guitar player likes regional folk music (Celtic stuff), James Taylor, and the Dixie Chicks. The electric guitar player likes Kiss, Bon Jovi, and Tom Petty. The drummer likes "classic rock," the stuff you hear constantly on classic rock radio stations, but is willing to play anything so long as he gets to play. I listen to pretty much everything, so long as it isn't overly commercial, like Bon Jovi. :) I like country, blues, metal, classic rock, folk, celtic, etc. but my definition of metal is *very* different from the electric guitar player's, and would not fit with anything else that we do (Megadeth, Maiden, Metallica, Sabbath, etc) so I don't go there.

    I've suggested many songs that would absolutely fit and would also absolutely fill the dance floor at the places we play - some of Van Morrison's non-Brown Eyed Girl stuff (Wild Night, Domino, etc.), John Mellencamp's "Cougar" phase (Hurts So Good), Talking Head's (Take Me To The River) and some other bar classics, but continually get shot down because inevitably someone doesn't know it. Typically the singer gets veto, even if it is in his range.

    Not sure what I should do about my situation, but you should absolutely discuss this with your band before it becomes a motivation problem for you.
  5. CrashClint

    CrashClint I Play Bass therefore I Am

    Nov 15, 2005
    Wake Forest, NC
    DR Strings Dealer (local only)
    Doing a corporate gig is different from doing a bar gig. In my experience with corporate gigs, they are usually family events as well as a corporate party. You have to play music that will fit the taste of a wide variety of people and about 70% needs to be music where people can dance. Sometimes some of the hard rocking music you play in a bar just doesn't work at a corporate gig.

    I know in NC, you have to play some of what is referred to Beach Music around here so 35 to 50 year olds can shag (not to be confused with the UK version of the word shag, though I guess by the end of the night it could lead to it :D). Here is a top list of what is considered Beach Music. http://www.digitaldreamdoor.com/pages/best_songs-beach.html
  6. Agree with everyone here. We've done the 4-set cover thing, and there are songs that we all love, but the look on the audience's face while we're playing those songs tells a different opinion. Also keep in mind, some songs may be appropriate in a bar but maybe not a corporate gig.
  7. Price you pay for having a democracy. You might be better off being a kind dictator.
  8. Cheers. These are songs that we rehearsed in the studio for months after deciding they might work. And lo and behold they did!!!

    Yeah good point. Celebrity Skin by Hole I can understand you might not want to play that at a corporate gig as it's got some questionable lyrics and concepts...even though we play it very well.

    But Just A Girl by No Doubt??? That song packed the floor hey!!!

    Anyway, whinge over. I will talk to the guys tomorrow night at practice to try and get a better handle on things...it's not the worst situation a band can face for sure :)

    Cheers guys,
  9. IanStephenson

    IanStephenson UnRegistered User

    Apr 8, 2006
    In principle nothing (or very little) gets "dropped", it just goes into lower circulation. If you've learnt it, keep it around - one day someone will ask for it, and you can pull it out. The only trouble is that good songs that the singer doesn't like tend to get shuffled out of the way - either to "protect his voice" (which always copes well with the songs he likes!), and/or because he's "reading the audience" (which apparently no one else can do).

    People always have their own agenda's and it's a REAL problem. One thing I've noticed is that if someone doesn't (or does) like a song, they will convince themselves that the audience hates (loves) it despite objective evidence. I've played songs where there were 20 girls going crazy in front of the stage and afterwards the guitarist has said "that song doesn't really go down well", while another song that they like will be an "audience favourite" (despite an empty dance floor) because one guy at the bar mentioned it to him afterwards. Those that like a song will find positive responses to it, while those that don't like a song will ignore good feedback on it.

    You've just got to muddle through, and pick your battles - let some songs go if it means you can keep the ones you REALLY want to keep.

  10. derrico1

    derrico1 Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2005
    Charlottesville, VA
    I'd let the guitarist have his way on this the moment he can find even *one* club owner who wouldn't prefer the band to cater to the mobs of dancing girls.;) (That is, an owner of a club that hasn't gone out of business.)
  11. Stumbo

    Stumbo Guest

    Feb 11, 2008
    Since you started the band and you only have done one gig, if you want to "manage" the band and have it go more the way you want, you'll need to quickly learn to speak up about all band things at the time of the discussion and backup what you say with some logic, for example "the dance floor was filled on that song".

    I would take notes during the gig as to what songs went over well and which ones didn't. Maybe even keep a journal for all band info, (gigs, songs, pay, date, venue, client, crowd size,etc.) so you can speak from experience and not talk off the top of your head when other members speak up pro/con about different ideas.

    Also, take some pictures at each gig so you can review how you were setup and can keep them around for your personal history.

    I suggest you take an assertive training course. What you have is the normal give/take within the band.

    It's good that you came on TB to discuss your situation but this seems to be only interpreted as a "situation" for you because you didn't speak up during the band meeting. All the other guys have already decided on the songs. None of them think that the list
    needs to be revisited.

    Revisiting items already decided most likely won't go over well with the other members and they will start wondering what's going on if it happens too often.
  12. BillMason


    Mar 6, 2007
    I hate to say it, but this is all too true. It even applies to us bass players. :)
  13. All good stuff here!!

    Indeed, read the crowd, but remember the venue. However, if one of those "dropped" songs is "Brown Eyed Girl" or "Sweet Home Alabama," they've done a wonderful thing!

    If you enjoy playing with the gang, it doesn't matter whether it's YOUR band or not - the essence of BAND is that it's people working together. If one can't do that, then one must develop solo chops (but that limits performance venues).

  14. jive1

    jive1 Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    This is so true. The notion of whether a song works or not is pretty subjective and is often a part of someone's personal agenda.

    Here's some personal agenda items that go into selecting songs
    - A certain song could be someone's time to show off their chops.
    - Another band member may be jealous of the attention that another member gets during a song.
    - A band member can't or won't learn a song
    - A song is out of the comfort range of a band member
    - Personal reasons why you can't play a song (ie. This was my ex-wife's favorite song)
    - Personal preferences for styles of music
    - Psychological dysfunctions such as be overly oppositional, having the inability to focus, being a control freak, freaking out when things don't go your way, anger management issues, lack of self esteem, etc.

    The key is to have a clear set of criteria for how you deem a song a "keeper", and stick with it. That way you can flush out the personal agendas and handle them.
  15. Hehe, no...we don't play either of those.

    Thanks for this Jive, I never stopped to consider personal agenda's so much. I kind of naively assumed everyone was in it for the good of the band and made decisions with that in mind...but I am slowly wrapping my head around the people aspects of playing in bands, thanks in a huge part to the members of TB :)