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Help me out here guys!

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Hategear, Jun 5, 2001.

  1. Hategear

    Hategear Workin' hard at hardly workin'.

    Apr 6, 2001
    Appleton, Swissconsin
    As many of you know, I am in a band that has been gigging pretty regularly for the past five or six months. We did rather well with the bookings, but as the warmer weather approaches and the music festivals start up, the bars in my area do less and less booking. In order to get the gigs we need and want, we need to get out of the area we have been playing in and into a larger one. In order to do this, we need a demo tape or CD. Here is the problem: My guitarist all but refuses to record a professional demo, due to the fact that he is not working and has no fundage. I recently started my own business and have financial difficulties of my own, but I am willing and able to scrape together some of the money it would take to record three or four songs onto a CD. I have offered to pay the guitarist's share of the cost, but he has not agreed or disagreed as of yet. If he can't manage to get the cash together to pay his own share, does that mean that he is not as "into" the band as the rest of us? Does anyone have any words of wisdom that I could impart upon him, letting him know the importance of recording a decent demo? His latest idea is to set up one microphone in the center of our practice area (basement) and record a few songs on his 4-track recorder. So that everyone knows the whole story here, he does manage to afford cigarettes, beer and the occassional baggie of coughWEEDcough. Any help/opinions on this subject would be appreciated.
  2. LimpChunk9


    May 8, 2001
    Bronx, NY
    I'm not sensing any dedication.
  3. Do you guys have a four track?
    I used to get plenty of gigs with just a four track demo.

    Just play the songs but not as loud as usual so it doesn't distort. Worked fine for me.
    Didn't need a CD.
  4. Ryan L.

    Ryan L. Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2000
    West Fargo, ND
    We have made our own demos with a Tascam 8 track recorder. Worked very well for us. After recording all the tracks and mixing them, we dumped em into a computer and cleaned everything up a bit, and burned the songs onto cds. We have gotten plenty of gigs with our own "basement" demo cds.

    Try to get ahold of a track recorder, and even if you can't get it the songs on a cd, the tape should be plenty good if you take the time to record and mix it halfway decent. And, it's cheaper than the studio.

  5. rayengle


    Mar 10, 2001
    Santa Rosa, CA
    Gruff's right. You'd be surprised what kind of results you can get with the resources you probably already have.

    Does your PA have a direct line out that you can patch into the 4-track? Can you borrow some more mikes? Do you have a friend with a mini-disk recorder to grab some live shows? Or a CDR drive in their PC? Give it a try & see what you get, before you start shelling out the bucks.

    There are lots of options, but it sounds as if the problem might be deeper. If your band is coming to a fork in the road, throwing money at it may not be the answer. It seems like stuff always gets screwed up when we stop working as a team.

    <Insert observation here> Being in a band is like being in business with someone AND being married to them at the same time... Only without sex!

    Just tell your guitarist that drugs are certainly NOT the answer! (Dude! What was the question?)

    - Old Ray
  6. rayengle


    Mar 10, 2001
    Santa Rosa, CA
    Ryan's right, too!
  7. scarecrow74


    Jun 1, 2001
    drop him ! when people put things like weed and beer in front of things that they say are important to them there is a problem. if your band is as important to him as it is to the rest of you he'd save the 40$ he'd spend on weed and put it toward the group he claims is important to him.
  8. rayengle


    Mar 10, 2001
    Santa Rosa, CA
    My guitarist just got a mini-disc recorder & a decent stereo mic. (Boys & their toys...) He's parked it out in front of the band for a couple of gigs & gotten pretty good results. Of course, some dork will occasionally walk up & start singing along in the recording mic, but Mrs. Guitarist is a pit bull when necessary!

    If your basement is not be the best place to record, try to arrange playing before opening time in a local club & record as if you were at a gig, facing a make-believe audience. With 2 mics 10 or 12 feet in front of the band (and at a reasonable volume), you can get a good natural stereo effect. (You can always sweeten it up later by lifting the audience from a good live album & mixing it in with your tracks. ;) )

    Better yet, make a medley: Do fade-ins & outs on the best couple of minutes of each of 5 or 6 songs. Club managers MIGHT give you 10 minutes to prove yourselves. If you start your tape with a 5 minute song they don't like, you're sunk. It's like the coming attractions of a movie: Sometimes the best 3 minutes of the entire film is in there! It's what make you want to see it.

    Good luck!
  9. Hategear

    Hategear Workin' hard at hardly workin'.

    Apr 6, 2001
    Appleton, Swissconsin
    UPDATE: We recorded a demo CD yesterday afternoon, including three cover songs and two originals. I think it went well, as this was the first time in a studio for three of the four guys (including me). The only problems were a few minor mistakes here and there and the fact that my guitarist couldn't get his tone right. He owns three guitars, and only brought one of them -- his sh*tt*est one! We all had a good laugh at his expense when he stated that his guitar sounded "tinny." We replied with, "It always sounds tinny and you are just noticing it now?" We have yet to pick up the finished product. I'll post another update here when I have more to say about the subject. Happy Father's Day!
  10. MikeyD


    Sep 9, 2000
    Some of this is similar to the crap I put up with in my band. I wanted to put together a high-quality demo during the winter so we'd have something to get bookings for the summer. The lack of dedication from others caused it to be delayed. I wasn't too happy about it because I knew we'd miss the boat. When we finally got a decent demo CD, most of the summer venues and festivals were all booked up, as I had expected.

    Regarding money - same idea, except one of the dudes was into taking gigs with other bands so he could keep a constant money stream going. Because he was rehearsing and gigging with others, our band wound up taking back seat (which is the major reason for the demo being late). So - why did he need that money? Booze, primarily. This isn't what I call serious dedication.

    I finally left the band last week.

    - Mike
  11. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    Money is one of the major band breakers. Everything is hunkey-dorey until money has to be laid out in order to take the band to the next level.

    Then even that is just the start. Wait until some band members feel they have been cheated out of their money. Or wait until you feel it is necessary to eliminate a player who has put in a lot of money and he feels he put in more than you are willing to re-imburse or feel you should NOT have to reimburse.

    Money is the great "revelator." It reveals who is dedicated to the band and who has other priorities. Speaking of which, there is just no understanding what some folks have as a priority for their money...booze, cigs, dope. Just no figuring at all.

    I bet every great band can look back and remember a moment when money issues nearly broke up their band.
  12. ZuluFunk

    ZuluFunk Supporting Member

    Apr 14, 2001
    Play somewhere for free. Get in the door on a slow night. It's low risk for the owner. Do about a 30 minute set. The owner may like you and book you directly. It's how I do it and it works. Mind you, I'd play for free anytime anywhere. Our singer is poor as dirt and has to bum rides everywhere. It's a good thing she's a babe or she'd never get a drink. We also did the "put a recorder in the middle of the room" deal. Just keep the mic sensitivity down and away from the horns, drums, and (boohoo) bass. They want to hear the vocals.

    Good luck, it's worth a try.

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