Frustrated guitarist posts on CL about why bassists only want working bands

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by QORC, Jun 24, 2019.

  1. QORC


    Aug 22, 2003
    Elberon, New Jersey
    interesting question posed on CL in a city/State that I don't live in (someone posted it on FB so I went and read it). Why don't you bassists out there want to join start-ups? His position? That we were all just greedy and we only wanted money.

    I'm formulating a response.

    I know there are people here that will say they do join start-ups and that's fine, and I know I'll get stories about a start-up that ended up on MTV and touring Japan, but that's not typical. And when I was younger, I did too. I just won't now. burned too many times

    I'm in the camp that generally won't unless I really knew the musicians starting it up and they had their poopie together, contacts, great PA, etc.

    my reason? Most start-ups never get off the ground and I no longer have 6 months, or 12, to waste on hopes and dreams. I want to get out there and play. Not just jam in an endless round of rehearsals. For me, it's a risky investment of time. I'm in it to play out. Steadily. Good gigs. not just jam.

    So for those of you that avoid the start-ups, say why?
  2. Same as you. It's too often a lot of wasted time with little-to-no progress and eventual burnout, or you put it together and no one wants to go out there to get gigs. I don't have time to waste on "potential" anymore. I assume that an established band has some sense of unity and they know each others bad habits well enough that the real flakes will be eliminated by the time I join them. Maybe the real flake was their last bass player.

    I can be talked into it if it's a group of people I already know and I'm familiar with their abilities and track record to the point where I have a comfort level with that. But bands on CL, not happening.
  3. BassplayinBob


    Jan 8, 2016
    I'd tell him to learn bass and figure it out.
    el jeffe bass, Ikkir, Picton and 13 others like this.
  4. bass40hz

    bass40hz Cigar smoker, scotch drinker, American Patriot Supporting Member

    Aug 13, 2014
    Richlands, NC
    Why waste your time with a reply, who really gives a good crap what he thinks, or anybody for that matter. We all have reasons that are as personal to us as our fingerprints, and thats good enough.
    Rock on.
    ThePez, Picton, konfyouzd and 23 others like this.
  5. QORC


    Aug 22, 2003
    Elberon, New Jersey
    well I did reply. I dunno. I thought it was an interesting question and I had a perspective. I guess I'm tired of having to explain this to bands that contact me who aren't established and, in a few cases, got abusive in their replies.
  6. bwildt


    Mar 21, 2017
    Wichita, Kansas
    Frankly, in a startup (even in many working bands), the bassist and drummer have the least input about genre, song selection and arrangement of anyone else. It seems a lot of vocalists and guitarists are the ones calling the shots. I can understand vocals making decisions because they are the ones that have to sing the song. Many seem to think the bass is there to just fill out and back up the "front" people. So why be in a startup where many decisions need to be made, but chances are that no one will listen to your suggestions. It's easier to look for an established band that already fits your preferences and vision.

    I know this sounds kind of fatalistic, but it seems to be a general trend.
  7. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011
    I would say to a certain extent he's right. I don't have any interest in joining a group anymore, but when I was still working, my criteria was it had to either be fun or pay well. After being a full time pro for a couple of decades and becoming skilled and competent, I think most people will find that it's really not all that enjoyable to practice music, especially poorly. So fun is rarely the justification. Today, I would need to be offered some pretty good money to be tempted to play.

    I take it seriously and it would take lot of work to do it well since I have been in retirement for an extended time.

    What do you hope to gain by engaging the person? IMHO let it go.
  8. RustyAxe


    Jul 8, 2008
    I don’t because most go nowhere. And because I don’t have to.
  9. ArtechnikA

    ArtechnikA I endorsed a check once...

    Feb 24, 2013
    I will still entertain the startup concept, even though my standard rule is "no startups." BTDT.
    And yes, it's because too many are thinly-disguised social gatherings and not working-band-in-training.
    I am not part of an unpaid rhythm section to indulge guitarists' solo fantasies; they can spend $100 on a DigiTech Trio and wank all night long.

    One band I joined a while ago even though I was skeptical they'd find work (I found the setlist intriguing) has good-paying gigs booked through August.
    One band called themselves "gig-ready" but weren't - it's devolved into "Hobby Band" although we do have a private party booked, same as last year.
    Last year's event brought no new work and was huge effort for not much. If we don't get something booked by this year's party in Mid-August I'm outta there.

    What makes a startup band worth joining IMO is A PLAN to get working. 8 weeks to first gig for a blues band, 12 weeks for everyone else. Since venues book 8 weeks out, if there isn't something on the books in a couple of weeks, the project is going nowhere. Any gigworthy band ought to be able to record 3 demo songs and build a FaceBook page in 2 weeks. If there is nobody signed up to spearhead selling the project and no business plan, it's going nowhere. These projects may be fun and there is nothing wrong with fun, but this is my business and it has to make business sense somehow. Maybe you're learning songs you should know, maybe you're learning a new technique. I'm in a for-fun monthly jazz ensemble for the networking and improving chops, even though I know that bunch, per se, is not a band and won't play out.

    Everybody with a guitar thinks s/he's a band "just need rhythm section.' Most are clueless and delusional. Convince me you're neither and we can talk.
  10. TheDirtyLowDown


    Mar 8, 2014
    Exactly! An existing working band (usually, hopefully) demonstrates

    a) shared commitment to a mutual project. It won't flame out because someone decided to take up golf instead.
    b) a level of shared proficiency that is demonstrably employable. Even if money isn't the goal, it's usually an indicator of at least a marginal level of quality. (I know, there are exceptions, but I think it's generally true)
    c) a sales and marketing channel
    d) a PLAN to build/improve all the above

    That makes it more likely that joining the project will result in a positive outcome.
  11. i am 100% greedy and only want money
  12. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    May 24, 2006
    Well, that’s one honest answer at least. :laugh::thumbsup:
    Oddly likes this.
  13. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    May 24, 2006
    Assuming it’s an all originals startup, I’d need to sense and hear something really (as in really) special before I’d consider joining yet another startup. They require a level of commitment most players aren’t able nor willing to sign up for.

    And considering the sorry state of the live originals music scene these days, I can hardly blame them.
    mindwell and LBS-bass like this.
  14. mstillman


    Dec 6, 2011
    MetroWest MA
    I wouldn't call it greedy. Except for a few charity/fundraiser gigs, I don't leave the driveway unless I get at least a C-note for my efforts. Why be (one of) the only sucker(s) there?

    I also don't have time to waste on groups of "instrument players" who don't have adequate skills, show no ability or interest in improving, and aren't prepared for rehearsals.

    I'm a pretty laid back person (no, really), but I quickly become the rehearsal police if it appears we won't get out of the basement anytime soon. Then if necessary, I become an alumnus. It's happened twice in the past few years, plus once when I "threw" an audition.

    Life is too short.
    Kevan Campbell, petrus61 and mindwell like this.
  15. Hand slap

    Hand slap

    Feb 14, 2016
    Same reason, do not want a perpetual rehearsal.
    leftyjohn, petrus61 and arbiterusa like this.
  16. Fun Size Nick

    Fun Size Nick

    Feb 21, 2006
    London, UK
    Because we can.
    fretter, TalHaz and Magthegrate like this.
  17. Did you ever read an advert for bass player wanted, full creative input expected? Figure out your arrangements on your own time!
    fretter, City, 4dog and 1 other person like this.
  18. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    Certain criteria must be met for me to join a startup. So far, I've been involved in 3. 2 were up and running pretty quickly. The 3rd was slow moving but eventually got there. I also joined an already 'established' band that should have been classified as a startup. I was more prepared than they were.
  19. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Inactive

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    "We don't owe you an explanation, Bro."

    Aaaaaaaaaaaand scene.
  20. arbiterusa


    Sep 24, 2015
    Depends on the nature of the beast. Current band was four pros who wanted to start playing for money (goal) within a couple of months. We each bought about 50-60 covers to the table. A few rehearsals and we were good to go. I’ll take that kind of startup.

    The one I won’t take, and the last example of this is something my guitarist got us into a few years back, was a fairly talented but hopelessly incompetent guy and his original portfolio. What should have been a months worth of rehearsals followed by a recording session turned into almost a year of endless rearranging of the same nine songs. Truth was, dude had no friends, needed the hang, and was scared to play his stuff in public. There was no actual plan, goal, or ability to get to either. I forced the recording, and then walked. Last I heard, homeboy was still trying to put together a new band to re-record the “old material” as it wasn’t “good enough”. Some people will do a lot for a social life.

    There’s got to be a clearly defined end goal for a project, and yes, that goal is usually “make money”, or I simply will not do it.
    mrcbass, lokikallas and mindwell like this.