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gui**** advice. Aka how should i handle this?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by GOX42, Aug 21, 2012.

  1. GOX42


    Sep 28, 2000
    rising sun indiana
    First some background.
    I joined a cover bandseveral years back and have since come the booker/band leader. Someone quits i replace them,i book shows negotiate pay,pay everyone at the gig,provide practice space and try to keep everyone on the same page. This band has never followed a real set list the singer likes to just have a list of songs to choose.
    Im fine with that i figure if we know all the songs who cares of the order plus the singer is good at reading a crowd.
    Anyway we are really popular for the area (draw about 50 people per show or more) good for a cover band.
    About a year ago the guitar player quit but gave us plenty of notice, and the drummer we had to fire so i bring in a old friend from school to play guitar and our sound guy was a good drummer who had filled in so he got the job just by knowing the songs
    Well the guitarist has always complained about not following a set list we make em but really only follow the first set. I have always maintained that i can see following the first set or two but i like choosing after that from the whole list. We plYed thisfriday all was well and he often starts tunes that are not on the set list and we jam them anyway.
    Saturday we play a show with members from another band we used to do. We had a set list but really did not have practice.
    Me the guitRist and drummer agree before the show it is goig to be a messed up gig and mostly would be songs we all already know from both band.well second set we are playing ice ice baby(which is not on the list but we play it every gig) and about 2/3 of the way throguh the guitarist starts playing super speed high on the neck just strumming no real notes just noise,the song stops he says he has to take a break and walks out. He did come back about 30 mins later but it was a real awkward gig after that.
    We are having a band meeting this week what would you guys say to this dude
  2. GOX42


    Sep 28, 2000
    rising sun indiana
    I do have to say he was very fussy saturday about not following the set list and did say something about it after the first set
  3. b-bottom


    Dec 18, 2006
    Knoxville TN
    First of all I would always agree upon a set list for every show, before hand and then follow it. The way that you guys are doing it would drive me nuts too.

    that being said, it sounds to me like their is more going on here than just the set list thing. I would have an honest and open conversation with everyone at your meeting and then go from there.
  4. GOX42


    Sep 28, 2000
    rising sun indiana
    I will admit it is maddening at times but it works for us. The singer and i like freedom to move. There were other issues like time between songs and he and the other guitarist stepping on each others toes some but nothing that big ears wouldnt have solved. Our sax play was working the crowd during inbetween songs. Not my ideal night but we knew it was gonna be a cluster beforehand
  5. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    the Cali Intergalctic Mind Space
    Song Surgeon slow downer software- full 4 hour demo
    CIUFY. :)

    So the guitar player says that he likes to have a set list but then starts playing songs not on the set list? ::atoz::confused::atoz:

    Then walks off stage during a song that's not on your set list but you play every gig? Starting songs at random, screwing up a song and walking off stage, IME, are firable offenses. :bawl:

    Do you as, BL, want to play songs that are not on the set list? Why does the guitar player start jamming on songs? Why do you guys then follow him? Is that what you want to happen?

    Seems like he's trying to sabotage the you (as BL) and the band in his own passive-aggressive way. By starting songs that aren't on the set list, he gets to control what songs are being played thus overriding your normal course of business on stage.

    Also, since you haven't addressed his complaint (in his eyes) about not having a fixed set list (he keeps complaining) it seems he's intent on creating drama to get his way.

    If you have more songs than the gig needs, I suggest you alter your method for choosing a set lists. How about using the "song book" approach?

    Seems to me that having a song book of all your songs to choose from instead of having any gig set lists may clarify how thingss are to be run on stage, especially since the lead singer is good at reading the audience.

    Unless your guitarist can control himself based on whatever you agree on at your next bandmeeting, he may have to be replaced. I suggest you start looking sooner rather than later. :help:

    IMO, it's time for you to step as BL. :bassist:

    Good luck.
  6. lowfreq33


    Jan 27, 2010
    Endorsing Artist: Genz Benz Amplification
    Anyone throws a fit on my stage and they're fired. End of story.
  7. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    "Good-bye." Sorry, Jimmy.
  8. GOX42


    Sep 28, 2000
    rising sun indiana
    I agree it was pretty bad but dont want to Do something cause im ticked i wanna cool down (which i still havent) I like the song book idea and will bring that up.
    We follow him when he starts a tune just to keep the flow plus if its a fun tune i have no issues with neither does the singer. We have actually forgone much of our previous song before he joined and let him have a say in picking song to help acclamate him to the band. This is te only time he has done this but he should have maybe just stopped play instead of screwing up the whole song. Ive been friends woth this guy for 20 years or better
  9. GOX42


    Sep 28, 2000
    rising sun indiana
    I plan on stepping up. It has never really been stated that i am the BL i just do the work i try and let everyone have a say. And i will generally defer to the singer who is the only original member. I have only ever been tough on songs to learn dueto the singer and I having te same outlook for what kinda of music we play (311,rhcp,weezer,faith no more,sublime kinda stuff) so i have had to say no to bob seegar and such from the guitarist
  10. lowfreq33


    Jan 27, 2010
    Endorsing Artist: Genz Benz Amplification
    If you're going to call songs as you go there needs to be one person who does it. In my band there are two singers, myself and a chick singer. Even though we're equal partners, own the band name, etc, if she calls it I don't argue. She's been fronting bands longer than me, and probably has better instincts than I do as far as reading crowds. You can't have 4-5 people discussing what to play next between every song. Someone has to be the quarterback. We normally work from a set list, but sometimes you have to call a few audibles to suit the crowd. any musician that can't deal with that isn't someone I'd want to work with.
  11. GOX42


    Sep 28, 2000
    rising sun indiana
    We always have a set list but its more for reference i have often told the guitar player if no one say a different song just go straight into the next one on the list if i start a song their is no hesitation i just start it. Often the drummer and guitar play seem like they have to wait and make sure its ok. When they dont need to just go into the next song. He and i have disscused this at length before and thats been my take. If he starts it. Just start it no waiting i agree with not having 4 guys deciding. We used to do round robin where each guy picks a song in order singer,me,guitar guy,drummer and follow that order when its your turn u pick the song. But we dropped that cause he hated it.
  12. Guitar hero took that too far. Stick with the songs in the playlist in future. "If it isn't on the playlist it doesn't get played" is a pretty standard rule for cover bands wanting to impress. I would be getting the singer to call the tunes in future. If guitaro isn't happy with that he can start his own band.
  13. Dantreige


    Oct 22, 2009
    I had an issue like this in my last band. We would be playing and a bachlorette party would come in the bar (or something simmular) and I would start calling out dancable material. The girls would dance and and have a good time. Then my drummer would piss and moan that we had not followed the set, knowing (or should have known) that the next songs on the list would have sent them packing. You have to work the crowd and give them what they need. There is nothing wrong with that. Being flexable is a underrated skill.

    In my current band our sets are written while on our breaks so we can cater them to the crowd we have and the requests we get during our breaks. They usually follow a simular pattern, but it's flexable. We also have an list of material that we can do on a moments notice and the BL will often call out or start strumming one of those alternates if he feels the crowd needs a boost or a change of pace. It works great for us. We would never try to do an unrehersed song though. That would/could be a disaster.

    I'd talk to your guitarist and tell him that this is how your going to do it with this band. He'll need to be flexable and ready to do what the crowd needs. Also, I agree with the poster above that said that ONE member needs to be the song caller. Pick whomever is the best at it and go with him/her as the defacto leader.

    Good luck!
  14. mellowinman

    mellowinman Free Man

    Oct 19, 2011
    Well, I can only say that when you play guitar, you might possibly be dialing in some different sounds for different songs, so not having a set list would suck.

    I would also say, you throw a tantrum on MY stage, during a set, we are going to have a very, very serious issue.
  15. klokker


    Jan 7, 2009
    Steele City, NE
    I think your band's lack of clarity about what songs are going to be played is a problem. You're guitar player is just handling in an immature way a real issue that you should address.

    Our band leader does this once in a while. About two set lists by the book, and then randomly out of the remaining 3+ sets that we have.....or stuff we've never done if its a request. Maybe one out of three times we do it well. Sometimes he sits there and looks through the sheets a paper for a song, wasting time.

    The problem is that he tends to pick the same songs over and over. And obviously there are songs on the set list that he doesn't work on and so we don't play it. Yet I'm supposed to have everything available at his leisure. Sure, it's not THAT big of a deal, but it is annoying.

    You can't be that random and expect not to have irritablility. The guitar player handled it poorly, but "it" is still a problem, IMO.
  16. ChrisB2

    ChrisB2 Bass... in your fass

    Feb 27, 2008
    TalkBass > Off Topic
    IMO, the guitar player was being a twit and needs at least a talking... if he doesn't want to play in your band, here's the door.

    It's not your fault for going off the setlist. If that's your band's style, he can either fall in or step off. Which he did in a very fire-able way. He really made your band look bush league to any observer.

    In my band, we start with a list and follow it 60-70%, doing whatever is necessary for the situation. If the band says that's the way it is, that's the way it is. Anyone acting all commando just needs to go.........
  17. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    I agree.

    And like someone else said, I too find it very unnerving to call songs out as the set is going on. For a guitarist, it has to be a lot more difficult as they do have to call up different settings on their guitars, effects, etc.

    Something else I've noticed though about "reading" an audience. Reading an audience means for the most part doing what one band member is feeling at the moment. Which has very little, often nothing at all, to do with what's actually going on. If the singer is feeling pumped and the hot girl to the left of the stage is watching him, then gets all giddy cuz you just played her favorite song... then as far as he's concerned he's reading things perfectly. If she walks off because the guitarist started a song she didn't like, then guess what.

    I've played with lots of bands who say they like to "feel" the crowd, and I've played with lots of bands who stick to the set lists. Guess which bands come off as being a lot more professional, and tend to ultimately do a lot better.

    It doesn't take much to come up with set lists that work. You can quickly size up a crowd when you get to a bar just by looking and hearing what's on the jukebox. Good rules of thumb for me have always been:

    1st set - Has to be stuff we play best as everyone is stone cold sober and will be judging you, if they don't already know you. Usually good to ease into things also as the volume could come as an assault.

    2nd set - Best dancing/bopping/grooving stuff.

    3rd set: The drunken stuff that we're all sick of, but everyone sings along to.

    Sorry to those who think they're great at "feeling" a crowd. In my experience, which is at this point has been thousands of gigs with over a hundred bands, it's a load of BS. The benefits of set lists far outweigh any perceived advantages to calling out songs on stage.

    I wouldn't fire the guitarist, but you all definitely need to talk and come up with some compromises. And I'd make it clear that if he had a hissy fit on stage again it would be a done deal.
  18. jgroh

    jgroh Supporting Member

    Sep 14, 2007
    i agree that if you are going to call out songs like that, one person needs to be the quarterback. There are lots of times when we are at gigs and you just know that a song that is next on the list is going to kill the mood that is going on at the time, but just calling out every song has to take up time between each song, no? And, as joe said above, us bass players can just start but gui****s need to change effects etc and unless you have it honed down to a science it leaves you open to too much chaos.
  19. Exactly what I was going to type.
  20. timbros


    Jan 2, 2011
    Louisville, KY
    I like a scripted set list, but it never happens, our BL starts reading the crowd and makes changes accordingly, and I'm okay with it. Sometimes I think about gigs in a way that it's similar to a football game. You script the first several plays and then based on what's happening in the game you start to call audibles. In fact, that's what I call them when the BL starts changing up the list.

    With regards to the guitar player (or anyone else), if you walk of the bandstand before break time barring some sort of emergency, don't come back.

    Take Care,

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