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Friend asked me to play on his CD.

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Axtman, Jun 11, 2019.

  1. Ffreddy


    Feb 14, 2011
    id give this one a hard NOPE unless I was bored as shag
  2. rasicci

    rasicci Supporting Member

    Nov 21, 2012
    Akron, OHIO
    I think you can learn something from even the most unseasoned musicians. So what if the music isn't what you consider great; I look at every recording opportunity as a way to improve my own skills and to discover things I can take with me to the next project.
  3. Frank Tuesday

    Frank Tuesday

    Jul 11, 2008
    Austin, TX
    You think he needs a producer. Do either he or his brother think he needs a producer? Or is he the producer in addition to singer and writer. The tricky thing will be to find out how open he is to constructive criticism.

    My level of involvement would depend upon his goals for the recording. If it is just so he can have recordings of his songs, I'd play bass and otherwise keep my mouth shut. It's nothing more than a songwriter demo: get the bare bones of the song down for future reference. The bass is just there to fill out the sound.
  4. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    i really do not get the bit about "reputation" so many of you are bringing up: what reputation?

    you're so good that you don't want to be associated with helping out a friend in need of your awesome skills? :laugh:

  5. Yup. I've attempted to produce friends who weren't very good. Most importantly they were playing covers on acoustic and vocals but couldn't keep time and couldn't play with a drummer, so i had to try to fit with their recordings when overdubbing instruments myself.

    The result sucked because the source sucked and the producer, me, didn't want to hurt but friend's feelings by being honest and saying that i can't put drums on that stuff, or any of the traditional original parts.

    I shouldn't have done it.

    In my case.

    So the friend thing only works for me if they know me well enough that i can teach them how to sound a certain way.... because i know they don't have "a vision" but instead live in a world where they think they sound different than they do.

    fretter likes this.
  6. Esteban Garcia

    Esteban Garcia living la vida loca Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2018
    Portland, OR
    Hard pass.
  7. theretheyare

    theretheyare Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2010
    Brooklyn, NY
    Endorsing: Arkham Vacuum Tube Amplification
    If it's his songs, his worked-out vision that he is happy with, and his name on the album, I'd do exactly as told - especially as a friend. That is, unless the things I am asked to play are beyond my capacities, or they are so against my gut feel/instincts that I feel I can't play them convincingly ( I'd not be doing him any favours if I'd do a half-assed job). In that case I'd just tell him that he's better of with a different player, and find that replacement for him.

    I am saying this as one of those people who always has ideas about how everybody else's thing can be improved. And I learned, that people do not necessarily appreciate unrequited advice, no matter how well-intended, and they are right. Their goals are their goals, their vision is their vision, and I had to learn to respect that.
  8. joe vegas

    joe vegas Supporting Member

    I didn't read through the thread so maybe this was already suggested, but... maybe you could bring some sonic variety into the tunes with subtle differences in the bass parts- a Jamerson type line, a foam-under-bridge line, a Jaco-esque bridge tone, a Casady type attack (Jack kills equally on soft ballads & power stuff) .. one tune could have long tones only, another could be staccato throughout.. maybe try experimenting with a tune with 2 bass tracks, a simulated upright in the background, & the electric (Lou Reed's 'walk on the wild side" uses upright & electric to achieve that cool slippy line).. some innovation & variety in the bass parts might take the whole project to an interesting new level.
  9. Wait... isn't this a friend? When I record for friends in their home studio, we make a thing out of it. Good food, good coffee, friendship, and usually the recording process just happens. The main thing is the hang.

    In fact, even when I go into a studio to record professionally, a good part of the recording process is just trying to be a good hang, easy going, and malleable. Nobody wants to work with someone who will catastrophise or be miserable.

    Lots of really important recordings are done at artists' houses these days - often a lot of pre-production tracks end up as part of the finished product. Studio time is very expensive. So many artists will start at home with a pro-tools (or otherwise) setup and bring their tracks into the studio at some point to expand on whatever they started.

    I have a friend in LA who records everything at home, amongst friends and his stuff actually sticks to charts on Drooble and Spotify - people have even licensed his tracks for commercial use. He's a really nice guy, too. The key is that he and his musicians (there is no "band," it's just him and whoever else he asks to play on a track) are having fun doing it and they're all friends. He's a retired financial guy who moved from Toronto to LA after he retired.

    If this is already giving you anxiety, it's probably best to pass on it and recommend someone else if you can, because that anxiety will rub off on the vibe during the sessions. But don't go in as a producer. The artist may not want to give up that kind of control yet. Just play bass, be open to their suggestions, and enjoy the hang.
  10. ElectroVibe


    Mar 2, 2013
    If you can only enjoy playing complex music, then you might not be the right musician for this kind of project. But some of the best musicians have worked within a three chord structure.
  11. Standalone


    Jan 17, 2005
    New Haven
    I said it with a big "if..."

    I don't have that kind of ego about my playing at all. But there are various areas of the music industry where it is important -- not because of any attitude or ego of the performer, but rather the shallowness of the industry -- where folks can damage their own prospects by participating in projects that are below a certain standard.

    Doing bass on a buddy's demo is surely no big deal, but imagine everyone of Geddy Lee's friends expecting his bass on their vanity demo for the past four decades...

    My wife is an opera singer who now is a professional artist manager in that field. Classical and session musicians rely on reputation and momentum for getting auditions and securing contracts. In that world, you are what you are associated with to a significant extent.
  12. Are you really based out of New Haven CT? Is it really like that for musicians? Are you the Geddy Lee of New Haven?

    I have never heard of that applied to a session rhythm section member so strictly. Why would a rhythm section player who is doing session work ever agree to be constrained like that?

    There's a massive difference between someone like Geddy, who is actually the face of the band, and a session muso. I remember Herbie Flowers talking about all the hits he played on and how he also had played on what he called "A thousand smash flops." Mo Foster, too, admits he played on way more crap than good stuff. Same with Dave Richmond.

    Chuck Rainey also opined that in his session career he had to learn to keep pre-conceived notions about the material off the plate because he'd do what he thought was lousy work and it'd be a hit, then he'd do something he thought was fantastic and then never hear anything about it again. Look at the massive New York studio scene and how many bass players exist there, and how much music comes out of that city that never sees the light of day.

    Just because you help a friend out with a writing demo, doesn't mean you've suddenly lowered your tenure (if you truly have any) in the session scene. Lots of writers hire session musicians to play on their demos so they have to worry the least about the parts those musicians are asked to play. A lot of unbaked music out there has some very well known session guys on those tracks.

    Top session guys like Dave Weckl and Sean Hurley will play on pretty much anything if you pay them. Wekl just tells you to send the stems to him and he'll send back drum stems - you don't even have to meet him for him to play on your recording, even if it's a writing demo.

    JRA likes this.
  13. Standalone


    Jan 17, 2005
    New Haven
    You'll note that I didn't say it was necessarily like that for musicians in this area. And I'm no session player, just a guy in a band getting paid the going rate for our circuit.

    Paid session work is of course a different discussion. I just saw Weckl the other day with Jimmy Haslip in the city a few months ago.

    Top session guys' quotes about the quality of material may probably be assumed to be on a whole different level than what we're talking about here.

    I'm making no general pronouncements about reputation, only that it can matter, is very much context dependent, and worth considering with whatever weight it is due. My example of the opera world is one where this means more than in my own regional jam band world, where -- as it should be -- you're known for your best stuff.

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