First 'Work' Band. Tips?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Treebeard, Feb 2, 2018.

  1. Treebeard


    Jun 5, 2016
    Cary, NC
    Bear Light Symphony, TimepeaceNC Band
    A great opportunity popped up that I just auditioned for and won the other day. Cover band, good pay, mostly in-town shows. I just wanted to reach out to you guys in the corporate/wedding/festival band scene for any words you wished you had heard before you started. Help a noob out?

    I've got a career and have an occasional 'originals only' band currently that I will try and keep alive. Been in various bands for the past 10 years, but no cover bands and no bands that made any real money.

    Thanks in advance <3
  2. Stumbo

    Stumbo Guest

    Feb 11, 2008
    What's the dress code?
    How many songs per gig does the band learn?
    How many songs on the list?
    Music stands (iPad stands)?
    Any rehearsals each week or just learn your part?
    PA support?
    JRA likes this.
  3. Treebeard


    Jun 5, 2016
    Cary, NC
    Bear Light Symphony, TimepeaceNC Band
    Ok in order:
    -Depends on the show, but professional.
    -Up to 30 songs.
    -Making my own bass charts.
    -Hundreds. Trying to master 15/week.
    -Yes stands.
    -One rehearsal per week.
    -Yes PA.
    HolmeBass likes this.
  4. Stumbo

    Stumbo Guest

    Feb 11, 2008
    So, the band has no charts?
  5. Treebeard


    Jun 5, 2016
    Cary, NC
    Bear Light Symphony, TimepeaceNC Band
    I should have said: There is sheet music, but I like/prefer making my own lead sheets. Is this questioning going somewhere? >.>
    Bunk McNulty likes this.
  6. Treebeard


    Jun 5, 2016
    Cary, NC
    Bear Light Symphony, TimepeaceNC Band
  7. sm49341


    May 12, 2013
    In this type of band, usually they are trying to cover the songs as close as possible. Its what the audience expects. You will have dancers all night long, and they move to the bass and drums. So lock with the drummer. Learn the parts the right way. Theres lots of room for fills, but dont over play. Sometimes i simplify a part during guitar solos, depending how the guy plays. Try to look happy on stage, sometimes thats the hardest part.
    Be on time to practice, loadins, etc. be a good communicator, answer your texts/emails. Basically be easy to work with.
  8. knumbskull


    Jul 28, 2007
    Get some black trousers and shoes that can pass for formal but are also really comfy.

    Pack a snack and a bottle of water.

    Be upbeat and enthusiastic onstage and off.
  9. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    As to making charts, rather than the entire song, I try to limit it to the parts I have problems remembering, so my eyes are not glued to the page. Also, I try to play through a few songs a day, even after I learn them, to keep my memory fresh.

    Remember, in a lot of these events, the band is not the star. Sometimes it is discouraging.

    Remember your language. Stuff that works great at a bar gig do not always fly.

    Keep records of finances. If you are busy, you will be getting a 1099, and you want to be able to get every deduction.
    JRA, eJake, Plectrum72 and 1 other person like this.
  10. Love_Bass


    Sep 5, 2012
    Don't use charts. Learn the song. Sit down alone and play the song with no cues. If you can't do that then you don't know the song.
  11. lfmn16

    lfmn16 Inactive

    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    Two pieces of advice will cover all situations. First, be a professional. Second, don't be a dick. All problems arise from breaking one of those two rules.
  12. Kmonk


    Oct 18, 2012
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan, Nordstrand Pickups, Korg , Conquest Sound
    I have been gigging and touring for 40 years and have never played in a band that used charts. You either know the songs or you don't.
  13. modbass

    modbass Supporting Member

    Dec 31, 2008
    Baltimore Maryland
    Learn the songs and get off the charts quick. Try to keep your head out of the bass and on the band leader/crowd as much as possible. I have found that the name of the game is adapting quickly to developing situations, and once a band leader thinks you know enough tunes, that setlist will get thrown out the window. Also, as much as everyone pretends they learn the songs perfectly, *cough* there is a lot of room for interpretation *cough* and I have found no one likes being told they played a part wrong by a new the new guy. Go with the flow and focus on making the band sound good and feel good in the moment, the music will take care of itself (and the crowd is honestly too drunk to notice anything other than the kick drum and screaming guitar solo).

    Also, if someone at a wedding says "slappa da bass mon", and they will at every wedding, you slap it. Slap it like you want to slap the bro who just said that, loud and proud, with every pedal on if you have to, but you slap that bass.
  14. Treebeard


    Jun 5, 2016
    Cary, NC
    Bear Light Symphony, TimepeaceNC Band
    Lot of great advice here so far! Thanks, guys.

    Not sure how slappa da bass is gonna go down with my motown setup of pbass and flats XD
    modbass likes this.
  15. modbass

    modbass Supporting Member

    Dec 31, 2008
    Baltimore Maryland
    Oh it'll be literally doesnt matter what it sounds like...its the only way to get rid of the guy who says it...I'm gearing up for a private event at a yacht club tonight...someone is going to say it...and in the same breath request Jimmy Buffett
  16. RustyAxe


    Jul 8, 2008
    Corporate/wedding band ... charts are not only OK, but almost required. Hundreds of songs, any one of which might be requested at any time. Screw the naysayers who played three chord rock for 50 years. It's one thing to play in a five piece guitar band, and another to play a large band with multiple singers and a horn section. You might want to learn to read standard notation and save yourself some work, though. As for memorization, that'll come in time ... many of those songs will be played at nearly every event.

    As far as the rest, show up to rehearsals and gigs early (ready to play at the assigned hour). Be professional, with the band and your audiences. You're the new guy, so keep your druthers to yourself for the time being, and play what you're expected to play.
  17. CapnSev


    Aug 19, 2006
    Coeur d'Alene
    I’m surprised charts are being brought up so much. I don’t know if I’ve ever had charts for this type of gig. I did when I played on a ship, but those were jazz charts out of a real book, not rock/top 40 type of stuff. I learn 99% of contemporary music from listening at the University of YouTube.

    Once upon a time, having charts on stage while playing a modern music gig was frowned upon. Nowadays, you’re the coolest guy around if you have all your stuff on an iPad up there: charts, sets, mixing controls, effects, etc.
    Dogbertday, Treebeard and modbass like this.
  18. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Gold Supporting Member

    bands made up of players who cannot sight read = don't need charts!


    you can either read music or you can't. if you can't = some discomfort when the subject comes up.
  19. lfmn16

    lfmn16 Inactive

    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv

    And the horse they rode in on!

    When I was young and all I had to do was music, I had time to memorize everything. Now, in addition to my failing memory, which was never that great, I have a full time job and a life. This holier than thou attitude is BS. The fact that I can't keep all of the chords, words and arrangements to 100+ constantly changing tunes in my head doesn't mean I can't play them.

    Some people on TB have more rules, regulations and restrictions than a corporate boardroom. It's rock and roll guys, not the SATs. :rollno:
    Wisebass, JRA and Treebeard like this.
  20. lfmn16

    lfmn16 Inactive

    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv

    I also think that most of these people who claim to know hundreds of songs actually mean they can follow hundreds of songs.