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Gig vent - Why do we humble ourselves?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by sonicnuance, Mar 7, 2008.

  1. sonicnuance

    sonicnuance Commercial User

    Aug 30, 2003
    California, USA
    Engineer & Owner, Sonic Nuance Electronics
    I had a weird gig. One of those "uh oh, I'm not enjoying this" kinda nights.

    I play with some talented musicians in a revolving worship team. I asked for the music two weeks ago to practice, the leader agreed. He sent the song titles with the keys, no lead sheets. So I did the best with what I had but I did not have one of the songs so I told him I need music for it... nada ... Tonight was the gig. I ask for the music, the guitarist says in a condescending tone "now the bassist wants the music" and "you better know that one". I'm sorry, but it just turned me off. Why the @#%^ do I put up with the propping guitarists on pedastals by making them sound great via the bass and sitting back from the limelight and then getting no respect from them? The "let's wing it" attitude and the ... I gotta stop

    Don't know what else to say. It sounded ok, but I'm no musical genius and I like to practice and don't see any reason why a leader can't provide the music in advance to a volunteer crew. I can fumble around and play by ear pretty well, but I like to not have to think about the chords, I'd like to get to the point where I can play them effortlessly through practice allowing me to improvise little rythmic/melodic "ear candy" bits if inspired to do so.

    If I'm off bass (no pun intended) set me straight. I feel like I'm whining
  2. kesslari

    kesslari Groovin' with the Big Dogs Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2007
    Santa Cruz Mtns, California
    Lark in the Morning Instructional Videos; Audix Microphones
    I'm sorry you had that experience.
    Life is too short to play with jerks.
    OTOH, if playing for your worship community is important to you, then it's a situation you need to find a way to resolve.

    If you're whining, you're whining pretty reasonably.
  3. Frustrating as it can be, perhaps "making do with what you got" wasn't the best solution to the problem at hand? If nothing else it leaves you looking unprepared in the eyes of the musicians who do know the music.

    I'd have been bugging the band leader for more than just the song titles and keys for you to practice with, and failing a proper response from him I would have asked him for contact information for the guitarists so that I could have tried getting the information from them.

    I would also find a way of recording the performance so that I have some material to take back with me and woodshed for next time it if need be.

    Good luck.
  4. I think you are well within your rights to complain about a situation like that - especially to other bassists who understand your plight!

    A few weeks ago, I did a 3-nighter sub for a local rock cover band. They emailed me a setlist 1 day before the shows, so I charted out the tunes I didn't know and went over the ones I did know to make sure I was familiar with them.
    When I showed up to the gig they handed me a setlist COMPLETELY different than the one they had sent me. It had about 15 extra songs on it that weren't on my list and that I hadn't learned...
    When I mentioned this, they kind of brushed it off - assuming I should know all of these songs anyway. I managed to get them to cut some of the new tunes, but I still had to fake it through a few.
    The next day, I learned the extra 15 tunes and when I showed up for the 2nd gig, they gave me another different setlist!
    All in all, I learned about 50 songs for a show that only used about 30, and didn't even pay that well....
    I won't even mention the stage volume problems with 2 guitarists and no monitors for me or the drummer...

    So yeah....I feel your pain!
  5. sonicnuance

    sonicnuance Commercial User

    Aug 30, 2003
    California, USA
    Engineer & Owner, Sonic Nuance Electronics
    Yes it is important to me, I'll pray about it. I may talk to the guitarist.
  6. sonicnuance

    sonicnuance Commercial User

    Aug 30, 2003
    California, USA
    Engineer & Owner, Sonic Nuance Electronics
    You have valid points. I may tell the leader up front I need lead sheets in advance or ask someone else as I want the band to sound good and I'm not as talented as he that I have everything memorized.
  7. sonicnuance

    sonicnuance Commercial User

    Aug 30, 2003
    California, USA
    Engineer & Owner, Sonic Nuance Electronics
    Thanks for the note

    I wonder if a part of this is laziness of the leaders or an honest expectation that we just know the songs. I know very few musicians who can play any song you call out. Unfortunately, one of them is in this band I was playing in :eek:
  8. I suppose if you were doing a classic rock gig, there are some tunes you would be expected to know (Brown Eyed Girl, the Joker, etc..). It's probably the same with worship music.

    Still, the band leader should do his best to make the band sound great - including getting the necessary materials to the musicians (whether it's charts or tracks or whatever) for preparation, as well as being a good leader on the gig itself. Did he try to help you through the new tune as you were playing it, or just hope you followed along?

    There's one band I sub with and their song list a couple hundred tunes. There's no way I can possibly know all of them, but the band leader tends to ask me before which tunes I can cover. Also, if he throws something new at me (which he does a lot), he gives lots of good cues and basically 'guides' me through the new tune.
    Unfortunately, a lot of band leaders seem to be terrible at giving cues or guiding the backing band at critical points in a tune. That's when we bassists get to grumble....

  9. BryanM


    Dec 15, 2007
    Seattle, WA
    I had a similar situation recently. It was actually for an audition for a band. They told me a style of music and said "Learn some songs in this style." I went and learned what I felt encompassed that style, and when I got there, they called out a few songs that were nowhere near that style and which I hadn't learned, so I asked the key to fake it and nobody bothered answering. It took me a bar or two to get the key but then I feel I played pretty well. Also on some of the songs that I had learned, the band leader actually stopped the playing and commented that I was playing it wrong, only to play a recording through the board and prove himself wrong, but he continued to insist I was in the wrong. Needless to say I'm not expecting a callback about that one, but I wanna know where the band leader gets off expecting me to know songs and keys off the bat without being told what they are or what key they're in, and expecting me to play a song wrong just the way he thinks it should be with hardly any information up front.
  10. Ouch, that's rough. I probably would've told the band leader to stuff it and walked. Do you mind my asking what the style of music was? If it was 'Top 40 Radio Pop', then it might be understandable (although he still sounds like an ass...). But if it was some obscure style (guaganco?), then come on, he needs to lower his expectations.

  11. sonicnuance

    sonicnuance Commercial User

    Aug 30, 2003
    California, USA
    Engineer & Owner, Sonic Nuance Electronics
    He did help, he begrudgingly (after the "now the bassist wants the music") went through his stuff, found music and had copies made for the rest of the band. More I think about it, it was procrastination coupled with embarrassment on his part (veiled in sarcastic remarks) coupled with "let's wing it" attitude. We could have sounded much better with practice. I mean, I left work early to make his practice and saw I was the only sucker to make it on time.

    Yes there are some worship tunes that are considered classics, but honestly I think that is a pretty short list
  12. ::::BASSIST::::

    ::::BASSIST:::: Progress Not Perfection.

    Sep 2, 2004
    Vancouver, BC Canada
    I honestly would tell them to find a new bassist. Maybe then they'd appreciate what they had.

    If I dont enjoy playing with certain people or in certain situations... I just don't.

    Life is too short to go unappreciated like that.
  13. Given you didn't know the music handed to you at the last minute, maybe the excessive guitar volume was a blessing in disguise ;)
  14. Actually, the problem was no monitors for me and poor amp placement which led to me not being able to hear the guitars at all! They kept asking me to turn up my bass rig too, until it was blasting across the stage and covering up the guitars even more. I could barely hear was I was trying to play along with!
  15. In my cover band, the rythm guitarist always sends lead sheets out. We don't rehearse tunes without them if we can avoid it. If nothing else, everyone is on the same page.

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with saying you need lead sheets in order to prepare, at least until you get familiar with the material and/or improvising - somehow I don't think worship music calls for pedalling the root all night long, tempting as it may be sometimes :D
  16. BryanM


    Dec 15, 2007
    Seattle, WA
    It was billed as Jump Blues, which is the style I worked out, only to find out the band leader (who had told me explicitly: "We don't do your standard 1-4-5 blues.") was playing more of a Chicago blues style, of which half the songs played were 1-4-5. I was able to wing it except that I was told that I didn't know what a shuffle was, of all things. Then they were trying to tell me to play minor turnarounds on straightforward blues, and telling me I was wrong for playing off the root and fifth. At quite a few occasions, the drummer, who plays with these guys regularly, rolled his eyes at me while the guitarist and singer were going off while I was playing properly. Some good came of it, though, I met another guy who was there to audition for them as rhythm guitarist and he walked off before they put him up to ask if I'd wanna get something together.
  17. nsmar4211


    Nov 11, 2007
    It was BLUES?! and they were giving you guff? Sheesh.
    The fact that the leader told you "we don't play your standard 1/4/5/4 blues" should've been a cue.......LOL
    Hopefully the rhythm guitarist didn't end up in that pit of mess....
  18. gismo


    Oct 11, 2005
    La Mirada, CA
    I hate dealing with morons. I'm sorry you had that experience. The best way to deal with any jerk (guitarists. I'm kidding, kidding) is to be upfront and direct about it. It's a worship band for crying out loud, if there's a setting where musicians should treat each other with love and respect, it's worship. Geez.
  19. eedre


    Feb 26, 2007
    St. Louis,MO
    Sounds like you got stuck with a jerk - not a musician... :meh:
  20. Musicians! :rolleyes::D

    I checked the gig list on your web site but I've never heard of these guys. They don't sound terribly professional. They didn't give you a fighting chance.

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