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Help teaching the singer how to be a frontman

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Justin V, Jan 13, 2006.

  1. Justin V

    Justin V

    Dec 27, 2000
    Alameda, CA
    I've been in my current band for about five months now and we're going to start playing party gigs in our college town more frequently this semester and hopefully tour in the summer. Record a demo somewhere in there... all that good stuff.

    The band is a three piece and our guitarist writes and sings most of the stuff. I've currently got the vocals for two verses on one of our better songs and pretty much any covers we do. He's pretty solid at everything he does technically, but the guy has NO stage-precense at all. When he's singing, he's staring into the microphone without moving at all. When he's not, he just turns around and looks at the drummer. All the while I'm up there trying to put on a show for whoever's watching (be it a party or bar) and at least looking like I'm having a good time (usually I am). Our drummer's also a pretty decent show-man (and the best looking guy in the band, oddly enough). But our singer just doesn't do anything when he's on-stage. I'm worried that it's (at least contributing) to us being really "forgettable" as a band.

    Is there anything I can do to teach this guy how to be a front-man? I've thought about trying to take some more lead vocal duties. We're about equally good singers, I might be a bit better but I've got some bass parts I can't sing during. How would I go about doing this without stepping too much on anyone's toes?

    We're in a really small college town so finding a dedicated singer is really out of the question. Especially since I trust myself and Mark more than 90% of the "singers" around here.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
  2. I have the same problem in my band. Our singer/guitarist/keys man is such a talented musician - everyone loves him.

    Except he sucks at patter and "frontman-ishness".

    So I do it. I have never had an issue talking to a crowd, I can talk off the top of my head (radio training) and I can also engage our singer at the same time. It works!

    Our audience have told me that they like the way that we all talk to them, regardless of if I'm the bass player, or the drummer might say stuff, and sometimes we talk with people in the crowd etc.

    I don't believe that you should always have just the one person doing the patter - our crowd love it when we are all involved, including them!

    Good luck
  3. Kronos


    Dec 28, 2005
    Philadelphia, PA
  4. zac2944


    Dec 28, 2004
    Rochester, NY
    If your guitarist isn't right for the job and you think that you are better, than you should do it. Let him sing, but get involved more, just a little bit on every tune. Then take to the mic between tunes. You should work with your guitarist/singer and help him learn to sing to the audience and play to the audience. This is very important. Let him know that his first and most important job is to entertain people. Most people are more concerned with having a good time than they are with how good your guitarist can play and sing. If the band doesn't look like they are running the party, you will have a hard time getting crowds of people into your music.

    Even though it is a different genre, listen to some James Brown. He is an example of a great frontman. He commanded both the band and the audience. Listen to the way the band follows his every command. If you can do this with your band, people will think you're a god. Then, when you tell them to get up and dance, they'll do it. When you say "are we having a good time?" they'll answer "hell yeah!".
  5. I like the suggestion that you do it! There's no reason the guy that has more lead vocals actually HAS to front the band as a personality. Sure, that's usually been the case - but it certainly doesn't have to be.

    Showmanship is essential for a front man, and really for most musical entertainers - and it's something that's hard to practice without being a natural at it! If he ain't cut out for it, don't force him to be a round peg in a square hole.

    But staring at the mic and the drummer... yeah... that wouldn't rock all that much. Good frontman's gotta ooze confidence and charisma.
  6. Have you actually talked to him about it? Most people stick to their routine unless prodded to do something else, especially when it comes to music.

    Sit down with him (preferably one on one...the whole band doesn't need to be involved, because that might be too intimidating). Explain that he's doing a great job with the vocals, but you've noticed he looks like he's not enjoying himself on stage. Explain that he should think about playing to the crowd a little more...look like he's having fun. Smile once in a while, etc.

    Maybe he'll never turn into a great frontman, but at least he can try. If he's unwilling to change his style, it might be up to you to become the frontman. In our band, I'm basically the one who has to talk to the crowd, bounce around, etc. I don't mind, because I enjoy it, but sometimes being the frontman doesn't equate with being the lead singer, oddly enough.
  7. jimbob


    Dec 26, 2001
    Charlotte NC
    Endorsing Artist: Acoustica Mixcraft; Endorsing Artist: DR Strings
    It's hard to learn fun though.

    Fun Things that work for me...and I stole every one of these ideas:

    Wear a Big Smile

    Tell him to make stupid faces at the band while playing a solo.

    Try and make the other guys in the band laugh.

    If you are very well rehearsed, have him pretend he is someone else that night...I come up with a character for myself when we perform. I tell myself that I am going to act like "Wilbur Lumpcheese" or "Prince" or "Bugs Bunny" while playing Mustang Sally for the Billionth Time, "What would Wilbur Do?" and act/dance/make a face like him.

    Tell him to lighten up...he'll have more fun and so will your crowd.
  8. ebladeboi123


    Jul 11, 2005
    Oberlin, Oh
    To find command- as some1 allready said. Listen to some James Brown. The man even encorporated this into his songs
    "Can I Taken them to the bridge bobby? Ya take 'em to the bridge"
    -Sex machine (I think anyway, if it's not that- then its probably licking stick)