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frustration with musicians who need to "get it perfect" - a rant and a cry for help

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by IvanMike, Nov 28, 2004.

  1. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA

    just let me vent

    I'm great pals with my guitar player/bandleader. maybe you've heard me vent about him before, but he is one of my best friends and a heck of a guy.

    here's the vent of the day. He has to have things "perfect" or he won't play a song out. The solo has to be played perfectly, he has to have exactly the right tone, use the right amp and effect, use the right guitar, etc. I'm more from the "fly by the seat of your pants" school. I'm into having your tunes down cold, but if someone requests a tune and we al lknow it reasonably well, what the heck? even more frustrating is practicing a tune only for him to decide, we cant play it tonight because i dont have my phaser, i didnt liek the way it sounded last time, i dont liek that song, etc etc etc.


    rant over ;)
  2. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Welcome to the Wonderful World of Humans!

    This is just how some people are. If you decide to continue dealing with it, do it knowing it is what it is and there will be no further reason to be bothered by it. If you want him to change, have a talk about it and then proceed from there.

    Musicians in particular are funny. Maybe 7 or 8 years ago I auditioned for a band and hit it off with everyone but the keyboard player. He was adamant about doing some things that made no sense on his original songs and seemed to hold me accountable for his f'ed up basslines (he wanted me to play a whole step below the root of every chord he played... and it sounded like ass). I was told by the guitar player that the keyboard player didn't think I would work out. No big deal as far as I was concerned, it was a strange vibe anyway.

    Fast forward to a couple of months ago. The keyboard player comes into a club I'm playing in and is blown away with the trio I'm working with, a house band working a lot of stuff on the fly at a poetry jam. We were just having fun... and lots of it.

    For the next few days I get calls from friends of mine, the keyboard player is asking what happened to me, had I been practicing, where had I been hiding, etc. They told him to a man that I've been playing like I play for the most part for a long time... and that he probably hadn't listened the first time.

    Now he calls me once or twice a week for gigs, calls more often than that for advice or opinions on stuff he's trying to do or just to shoot the breeze and has generally made me a new best friend, which s cool.

    At that audition the guitarist, drummer and I hit it off immediately and from what I now know the keyboard player wasn't adept in playing the type of stuff we played. It was out of his comfort zone.

    Sounds like your guy's comfort zone has pretty strict limits. There's nothing wrong with being a perfectionist but what might be more important is looking at the big picture. Even a song not performed EXACTLY like you want it can be fun... and enjoyable for the audience.
  3. vbass


    May 7, 2004
    Bay Area, CA
    My drummer is like this when we write. It pretty much literally takes 2 months to write each song because he is so particular on his drumming. At first it was a little frustrating, as it seemed to take forever to come up with enough songs to play out, but now I see the advantage of it. Give and take I guess. If it takes a little longer, at least the end result is better for it.
  4. Isabigload


    Nov 28, 2004
    Very well said and very well written as always!
  5. TVD


    Jul 14, 2004
    he has to have exactly the right tone, use the right amp and effect, use the right guitar,

    Damn. And i thought i was kinda anal...... :bassist: Trent
  6. jive1

    jive1 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    Brad made a great point when he mentioned the player's comfort zone. We all have different comfort zones. Some of us want to play things note-for-note in order to feel comfortable. Others just need the chord changes and they're ready to rock.

    IvanMike, I think the thing to do here is to build the guys confidence and increase the size of his comfort zone. Since he's your good friend, you'll probably know how to do that best.
  7. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    well, i've been trying that for close to 4 years - haha
    overall, i'm willing to put up with a good deal of silly crap from him as he is such a great guy and we have a blast playing together and hanging out. he is a dammned hardhead though.
  8. i'd say dont do it if its not gunna b your best. if its not yer best, then wuts the point of doing it at all. i give propsto yer guitarist for wanting to get everything perfect. it shows hes serious about the music and wants it to b done right. maybe u should do thesame for yer bass work. if not, then maybe u should leave the band if its causing u too much stres.
  9. Dynna


    Oct 23, 2004
    While I respect the need for being ABLE to play the song perfectly,it seems to me that your guitar player isn't doing his homework. Sounds like he shows up, plays the song, or part of it, and then uses his lack of phaser to account for the fact that he hasn't PRACTICED, and just CAN'T play the song the way he wants to hear it. Never mind wasting the rest of the band's valuable practice time by interrupting songs and then not finishing them. And then he doesn't prepare for gigs by forgetting what HE considers VITAL equipment. Sure I may sound cynical and cold, but he sounds like he's making excuses for not being prepared OR capable.

    And I certainly understand developing a tune to where the band plays it as a unit. I've played lots of tunes where "everyone as playing the same song" but it wasn't happening. After a while we start to hear what others are playing and work with it to make it sound like the BAND.

    And then there's the issue of taking a chill-pill and just having fun.
  10. Ryan L.

    Ryan L. Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2000
    West Fargo, ND

    u can still know yer parts and have the song nailed down without having to be totally anal about it tho

    I don't blame IvanMike for being a bit frustrated. Hell, there are a lot of times at shows where we will pull off a request that we have never practiced before. If a couple of us happen to know it, and I know the words for the most part, we'll do it. And ya know what?? It usually works out in our favor. Keeps the crowd happy, and later in the night, when everyone has been drinking and partying, nobody notices if there is a minor messup or two.

    Other than that, we do know our parts in all the songs we do. We very rarely rehearse, as weekends are the only times we can all get together for that, and we play most every weekend, and sometimes during the week. So, we have become masters of learning our own parts at home and throwing em together on stage. If we had to rely on practicing and perfecting at rehearsals to add new material, we'd have had the same set lists for 2 or 3 years now.
  11. Matt Call

    Matt Call Supporting Member

    Aug 1, 2004
    Minneapolis, MN
    I know what you're talking about man. My band's guitar players are both like that. One of them (the lead guitarist), I'm not kidding when I say this, has OCD :rollno: . Because of this, everything has to be absolutely perfect or the song(s) are just stopped. While we've worked with him to the point where he'll finish a song if a screwup is made when playing live, during practice it's another story. Once I remember practicing for 3 hours and we only played maybe 2 songs. It does pay off though, since all of the guitars in the band are really tight, so we can play shows (sigh) without a drummer. ONly because we don't have one yet. Why? OCD boy has to find the PERFECT one :rolleyes: .
  12. yea i see your point. but still, i've been in bands where the guitarist or wutever isnt up to par and so the rest of us felt the need to get things down pact so everyone will play right and do a great show.

    i dunno if thats the case with Ivan, but its frustrating when a band member sux and maybeu cant kick him out or wutever, so u gotta feel like u need to practice to get things right.

    ...it sux to b anal at times but sumtimes situations call for it.

    but Ryan, it sounded like yer band grooved really well together if u could pull of requests without practicing a lot. and thats perfect because thats wut yer looking for. but that cant happen with everyones band all the time.
  13. Ryan L.

    Ryan L. Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2000
    West Fargo, ND
    I see your point also. One thing to consider is that I have been playing with the same group for several years now, so I have it pretty good. I do realize that not every band can get it together like that, heck, there are times when we have our troubles too, we are far from perfect. I was just stating my opinion from my experiences, I guess.

    And I have been in bands with members who really NEED to practice with the group to get things down. These were bands that I mainly just did fill in work for (and still do with a couple of them), but it really made me realize what a good thing I have got with the guys I am with. That, and we all get along damn good. Well, except maybe the lead guitarist. He's wierd. ;)
  14. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    tell you what, I'll work on my bass playing while you work on your spelling, grammar, and punctuation.
    FWIW, I can play my parts to the songs in my sleep. Most of our "practices" consist of the drummer and I acting as a live track while he works on his solos and tone.
  15. Venting Time! Let's make a vent thread.

    Ok my band's guitarist. He assumes control over the entire band. If i try to make aup a riff or play a progression he won't even listen to it and if he does won't try to make a pleasable part to it.
    But get this - He insists on taking a solo every song after 8 measures of playing. Not even a melody line but a SOLO. Whats worse...he has to play off the "solo" scale. He says all solos are based off minor pentatonic scales and won't do anything else.

    Either way, I have mixed feelings. I enjoy playing, bu tnot when he goes ass on us.
  16. Yeah, he is a tad anal. But with people like that, good luck convicing them otherwise. I have played with guys like that. very stubborn, once their mind is made up.
    Get with the program,
    It's all about the guitar man! ;) :D
  18. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
  19. haha no man, u misunderstood my message. i was saying that i have been in bands where members werent up to par and needed to practice a lot. i never said that about u and i wouldnt make any assumptions about anyones playing here at this forum.
    sry about that misunderstanding man. :D