Ever decreasing band...

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by cossie, Jun 28, 2005.

  1. cossie


    Apr 29, 2005

    Things are probably going to get a bit rocky with my band - its a cover band so its not such a big deal - our lead singer is leaving in December (he was decent enough to give us plenty of notice to try to find a replacement) and one of our guitar players won't make much time to practice.

    we are all good mates so a lot of things are let slide with little or no fuss.

    its really frustrating for myself, our drummer and lead guitarist because we'd like to do more covers and practice more, so we decided to meet up and go over some covers between the 3 of us, it went very well and we are giving _strenuous_ thought to slimming down to a 3 piece from a 5 piece.

    the vibe of playing with the other two guys was great, it was so relaxed and things flowed way better than before.

    our main concern with a 3 piece is splitting up the vocals, our drummer can sing, i can sing and our guitar player can do backing vocals...however, i can't sing AND play (yet!)

    and i don't mean to dis any singing-drummers out there but i think it would be a little odd to have a drummer as our main vocalist - there would be no visible front man for the crowd to see.

    i had thought about just losing the troublesome guitar player and working something out with the singer so that the 3 of us could work on the music and whenever he had the time to meet up to go over a song, he could show up and sing over what we play...we tend to stick very closely to the original versions of songs.

    i'm sure there have been a million posts like this before!

    has anyone ever reduced their band size and still been able to keep the band going?
  2. millard


    Jul 27, 2004
    Smaller is easier to manage. I would think that 3-piece instead of 4-piece would force some changes in your repertoire, but if you can handle that, I'm all for a smaller, tighter group. But that is the crux of the matter -- do you like the stuff you can play as a 3-piece?

    We dropped a guitar player recently and we've never worked together better or sounded as good. Writing sessions are a lot smoother and friendlier -- it has all been good. The only downside has been that two guitars is a cool sound, especially for rock music, and gives you options that a three piece just doesn't have.

    So, despite being happy with our current team, we are looking, carefully, for the right player, because two guitars is the right sound for us. A reasonably good female rhythm player that can sing would be perfect -- add a little front line interest and give us a broader range. If anyone in SoCal knows of a good chick guitarist looking for a regular gig, send me an email. :)

  3. Time Divider

    Time Divider Guest

    Apr 7, 2005
    Ever heard of The Band and their lead singer/drummer Levon Helm?

    It can work just fine. You might have to ask him to rearrange his cymbals a little so people can see him.


    Aug 30, 2001
    Pittsburgh, PA
    has anyone ever reduced their band size and still been able to keep the band going?[/QUOTE]

    I actually left a 5 piece band very similar to yours. Now, I play as an part of a duo. We could be considered acoustic, but I use a Jazz bass and we play with a drum machine. It makes us sound like a power trio. We both sing lead and back-ups. I think in the long run you will be able to accomplish more with less. One guitar is plenty for most covers.
  5. McHaven


    Mar 1, 2005
    My band is working immensely better now that we've slimmed down. We were a 6 piece band (rhythm guitar, lead guitar,bass,vocals,keys) The guitarist and I are the founders of the band and we fired the rhythm, singer and keys. Now we're down to a power trio and rocking a whole lot more.
  6. My first band was a five piece, and one of the hardest things for me was the double-guitar "wall-of-wail" stuff. It just muddied up the sound every night.

    Along with that, when we got paid for a show, it came up to peanuts because we had to split it five ways and then pay for the rented PA and the soundguy/roadie.

    These days, I play in a solid little 3 piece, with our own PA and we do our own sound and bumps. We are a better band, get paid more and get along much better than any other band I have been in.

    3 piece leaves me more room to be creative with my lines, and sometimes I will have to emulate a keyboard line, or second guitar line on a song, which makes it more challenging too. :hyper:
  7. cossie


    Apr 29, 2005
    We do a lot of rock that needs two guitars - thin lizzy, ac/dc etc (standard pub rock really!) - and while our lead guitarist is fan_fecking_tastic it would require a bit of an overhaul to the set leading to us probably altering some songs.

    i don't want to stereotype but a lot of 3 pieces i've seen (on the cover circuit) tend to be punk rock bands, i see nothing wrong with that but personally i think it would be a bit of a waste for us to do that as we can do the big rock stuff very well, and i can't imagine getting that many gigs if we were to change it.

    we had a gig last night and it was just awful, and our singer pretty much said "i can't wait til i can leave in December" - but then he's the very guy who'll say (after a great gig) "man, i can't wait til we get playing here again!".

    it does my head in at times!


    Aug 30, 2001
    Pittsburgh, PA
    I think alot depends on how the songs are structured. I have watch local solo singer/acoustic guitarists do covers of songs which have multiple instruments/voices. They actually re-work the song to fit their style. Some of the songs are better versions than the originals. Ever heard Sting do a solo version of Message in a Bottle? No Bass, no harmonies, no lead guitar. But, it's every bit as good as the original (Maybe better)
  9. cossie


    Apr 29, 2005
    MODELL i think you could be right, we may have to put more of our own spin on covers rather than playing what the CD version sounds like.

    we let the guitar player go the other night, so we've got a lot of work cut out for ourselves before our gig this sunday night, it shouldn't be too hard, we had a few songs in the pipeline that aren't to difficult to learn with one guitar.

    "brewing up a storm", "crazy train", "beverly hills" (cos we need to replace the songs our guitar player used to sing) and we've also got bon jovi's "its my life" on the go too.

    i've been practicing like crazy and i am making good progress with singing backing vocals and playing at the same time, but i've had to dumb down the bass lines a bit.

    i don't mean any malice but i'm looking forward to having some room now that we are a 4 piece (we still have a singer!), all the previous bands i've been in have had two guitar players, so i've had to really sit back, but i'm looking forward to some space now.
  10. MODELL


    Aug 30, 2001
    Pittsburgh, PA
    i don't mean any malice but i'm looking forward to having some room now that we are a 4 piece (we still have a singer!), all the previous bands i've been in have had two guitar players, so i've had to really sit back, but i'm looking forward to some space now.[/QUOTE]

    I think once you guys get the songs structured for your current line up you will be happy and wonder why you didn't have this line up all along. When looking for new material, I would suggest bands like Cream, ZZ Top, and any newer bands which have a similar line-up as yours. You can make the most basic songs really rock and groove if you put your own spin on them.
  11. Diggler


    Mar 3, 2005
    Western PA
    I agree, we went from a 4 piece with a keyboard to a three piece and we haven't had any trouble. You have to get creative with the songs that had keys in them, but unless it's something like November Rain you'll be fine.

    I've played with a single guitar player ever since I started. It's all about having a guitar player that knows enough to determine which guitar part is the most important at any given part of the song.

    He's recently bought a GNX4 that allows him to record samples and loops that he can play for certain times where it sounds better. We're still working on incorporating that.
  12. ladros2


    Jun 2, 2005
    wasn't the eagles drummer their singer too?
  13. Yes, Don Henley...though I believe some of the others sung on various songs.
  14. Justin V

    Justin V

    Dec 27, 2000
    Alameda, CA
    I think at one point or another, EVERY member of the Eagles sang lead vox. Though Henley was pretty much the "main" singer.

    I had a band that went from a 4 to a 3 (my favorite stage) to a 5 (with me being put on only vocals). It lasted all of one gig. It was damn near impossible to have everyone show up for practice.

    I like 3 pieces, especially when everyone can do vocals. That's a BIG help.
  15. cossie


    Apr 29, 2005
    we had our first 4 piece practice last night and it went very well, and i'm glad there's no animosity with our old guitar player - he said himself his heart just wasn't in it anymore.

    actually practice wasn't the word for it, more a "plugging holes" meeting, figuring out what parts of songs need to get more attention now that we only have the one guitar, we thankfully didn't have to drop too many songs, the guitar player we still have is _phenomenal_ so he fills the space tastefully.

    i'm still plugging away at the singing and playing, its going pretty well now, i've managed to get a few choruses for songs down...its all going quite slowly...but if patience is sour, its result is sweat (an arabic saying i think).
  16. Juniorkimbrough


    Mar 22, 2005
    Mississippi / Memphis, TN
    Endorsing Artist: Lakland Basses

    Exactly what came to my mind!!