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Guitarist doesn't want me on lead.

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Swicked, Jan 20, 2012.


  1. I'm in a four-piece alternative rock (hate that term but no other way of describing it) band, previously a 3-piece. I have always been lead vocals in my previous bands but in this one they had arleady written some songs prior to my arrival and being "the new guy" I did not want to overstep any boundaries. After a year together and a lineup change (The drummer/lead vocals became Rhythm guitar/lead vocals)

    I have started writing some songs and wish to sing them and become a co-vocalist. I have brought this up with the band and the drummer and lead vocalist are excited and cool with this, but the lead guitarist thinks the lead vocalist should sing my songs and that we should have only one vocalist because having two would be "strange".

    I promptly pointed out The Beatles and he said that "Lennon" was the lead vocalist, I pointed out that he did not know faecal matter about faecal matter, and he got pissy and pretty much said, "Dude we each have our roles, we're not lead vocalists you need to understand", but I refuse to have someone else sing songs I have pured my heart into. It;s not like I will dumb down my bass playing because of this, and besides I'm not going to be singing every song and this way the lead singer has a break and more time to focus on better guitar work and harmonising as opposed to just chords.

    What are your thoughts on this talkbass?
     
  2. Two singers even better.
     
  3. jmattbassplaya

    jmattbassplaya Looking for a gig around East Islip, NY!

    Jan 13, 2008
    Long Island, NY.
    Well considering it's 3 vs. 1 I'd tell him to keep quiet and stick to his role (as he so eloquently put it). Assuming you can sing I see nothing wrong with you singing.

    And just to lay it out there, everyone in the Beatles sang at one point or another.
     
  4. Yeah, but cmon Ringo doesn't count. Harrison on the other hand is amazing and his songs have always been my favourite.
     
  5. jmattbassplaya

    jmattbassplaya Looking for a gig around East Islip, NY!

    Jan 13, 2008
    Long Island, NY.
    Hey, I'm trying to help ya here! :D
     
  6. Ringo's voice has its charm -- he was like the comedy relief on the albums.
     
  7. Swampman Cory

    Swampman Cory

    Nov 9, 2009
    Los Angeles / ex-Michigan
    Endorsing Artist: Reunion Blues, 64 Audio, Mesa Engineering
    Seems to me like no one is really right or wrong (well, the 3 vs. 1 does mean you should win...). Your band doesn't need to let you sing, and you don't need to let your band play the songs you've written. I have no opinion one way or the other, because it depends a lot on the situation. Work out with your band what fits best for your dynamic, and don't make it personal.
     
  8. Poor Ringo.
     
  9. BassyBill

    BassyBill The smooth moderator... Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2005
    West Midlands UK
    If the singer was just a singer, I could maybe see the point being made here. In those circumstances, you singing could leave one person on stage with very little to do and it might be a little weird, depending on the image of the band. But as your current lead singer is also one of your guitarists, I see no problem at all, providing you can sing as well as the next guy. It sounds like the other guitarist may just be a bit envious of him being the only one of the three "out front" members who doesn't get to sing lead?

    By the way - on a separate issue - don't get too precious about someone else singing your songs. For each song the band plays, choose the person who can really carry it well. That's not always the person who happened to write it.
     
  10. lowfreq33

    lowfreq33

    Jan 27, 2010
    Nashville
    Endorsing Artist: Genz Benz Amplification
    There are a few possibilities, in no particular order:

    1. You're not as good a singer as you think you are, possibly he's the only one with a good enough ear to realize it.

    2. He's afraid you'll take some spotlight off of him.

    3. His favorite bands all have one lead vocalist (or he thinks they do), and he can't wrap his head around the concept.

    4. He's sleeping with your girlfriend, and is trying to undermine your position in the band so that when he's eventually found out he'll be the one who gets to stay.
     
  11. That's the thing. the lead guitarist has written and is adamant that the lead vocalist should sing his songs. The only reason he does not want me on lead is because to him a band with two vocalists is "weird". That's pretty much it.

    I get that sometimes a song you write sounds better sung by someone else, but we both have very distinct singing styles, he's got a very grungy angry type voice, whereas I have a voice closer to Jesse Laceys. We're both very different lyrically, his always tell stories mine are always drenched in metaphor and are more open to interpretation. I think if we each sung the songs we wrote then they would match our voices.
     
  12. Oh it's most probably 3 or 4, maybe MAYBE 2
     
  13. BassyBill

    BassyBill The smooth moderator... Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2005
    West Midlands UK
    Makes sense. I'm sure you understand that that sounds rather different to "I refuse to have someone else sing songs I have poured my heart into" which does seem a bit over-sensitive, if nothing else.
     
  14. With all due respect, even if that was my sole reason for wanting to sing my own songs which I have penned. I think it's still just as valid.
     
  15. There are two often competing schools of thought operating here. Neither is right, neither is wrong.

    Some people prefer a band whose identity and image revolve around one central voice. The Dixie Chicks have three great singers, any of them could have been lead singers, but Natalie Mains almost always sang the leads and the sisters almost always were her background/harmony singers. Richie Sambora could sing as well or better than Jon Bon Jovi, but Bon Jovi almost always sang the leads. All three Supremes could sing well, but Diana Ross always got the lead. One identifiable voice solidifies the image for some bands.

    The other school of thought is that if a band has more than one strong lead singer, they should all get a shot at singing lead and spread the voices out more liberally. The Beatles are an obvious example. In Journey, Steve Perry shared lead vocal duties with Greg Rollie for awhile. Fleetwood Mac had many hits with three different singers handling the lead vocal. Those type of bands also had such strong material and musicianship that their audiences adapted to the changing lead vocals, and the band was able to maintain a unified image.

    Again, there is no right or wrong, it's different for each band, and the band has to decide what kind of image and direction it wants to take.
     
  16. Hmmm I never thought about that way. Thanks for the insight. Also sweet bass in the DP.
     
  17. funkingroovin

    funkingroovin Conquering A-D-D,and all the other notes as well!

    Apr 19, 2009
    Hawaii
    Ask the other guys if they'd care to start a side project trio..
     
  18. KISS
    Beatles
    Night Ranger
    Eagles
    Tears for Fears

    As you guys all seem to hold instruments, it isn't too big a deal from my perspective. If he doesn't want you to sing your compositions, and the rest of the band don't want to make a proper decision, then record your compositions as solos.
     
  19. Funny You should mention that as I have split my songwriting into songs for this band and songs for a dance-punk band I plan on starting which has two basses and a drummer
     
  20. lfmn16

    lfmn16 Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    So it was weird when Keith Richards sang Happy in the Rolling Stones? Well, maybe that is a bad example. :D
     

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