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how are decisions made in your 3-piece bands?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by pcake, Dec 1, 2018.


  1. pcake

    pcake Supporting Member

    Sep 20, 2011
    Los Angeleez
    out of nowhere, i was thinking about several 3-piece bands i've played with over the years. in each one, we were bass, guitar and drums, and either the bass or guitar was also the lead singer. in each one, these were democratic bands, give or take - i sometimes ended up the unofficial BL but not always, and i very rarely flexed my unofficial BL muscle.

    so in these bands, we almost always ended up 2-against-1 when it came to decisions. in one band, such decisions included what to name the band (the drummer and i felt that we didn't want to use a trademarked name - in this case, ziplock), whether to have someone sing harmony or have a single person sing, whether to bring in a second guitarist and if the auditioning guitarist should be hired, among other things.

    in some cases, it was a firm decision. in the case of possibly bringing in a second guitarist, the two of us against it were willing to give in and try some guitar players out, but in those cases none of the guitarists were very good so or at least not a good fit for the music so the two voting no decided firmly no.

    oddly, or at least i feel it was odd, at no time did the band break up over one of the three members being out-voted nor were there hard feelings - and keep in mind this was several different bands. on the other hand, never was a no vote just a no - we always discussed it so the band member who was outvoted understood where the other two was coming from and if they didn't agree, at least they didn't simply feel they were being ganged up on.

    when you're in a 3 piece, do you have a BL, vote so 2 votes for or against wins or do you all have to agree? or does the band break up when large decisions are made? ;)
     
    Mr_Moo likes this.
  2. charlie monroe

    charlie monroe Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2011
    Buffalo, NY
    How many times did the vote line up with you and hubby on one side and drummer on the other?

    Not that I know the two of you played in a trio, but there is a well worn TB maxim regarding playing in a band with couples.

    Can you confirm or deny its validity?
     
  3. pcake

    pcake Supporting Member

    Sep 20, 2011
    Los Angeleez
    the man who i would later marry and i formed a 3-piece with his buddy of many years as the drummer; at the time, i didn't know either of them. he had played with his friend as two guitar players for years before they got sick of trying to find drummers and his buddy took up drums. by the time i met them, they had been playing together for over 15 years, so this might not have been a typical situation.

    most of the times when we disagreed with the drummer, it was because we liked our songs to be practiced until they were very tight, and although he was good with that to a degree, he would have preferred to play songs out while there were still rough patches; we always outvoted him on this. we also outvoted him on band pictures (he hates how he looks, so tried to tell us we didn't need them). btw, sometimes the drummer and i agreed and my future husband was the odd man out. it's all about the music and everything that makes it happen.

    but i am a firm believer that during band time, there are no couples ever. i will never take anyone's side unless i believe in it. my husband and i have been in several bands, and we don't always vote on the same side. i've been the same when i hired friends - during work, we're not friends, we're co-workers.

    honestly my experience being in bands with other couples hasn't been great, and i mostly avoided them myself. they do tend to gang up for the sake of agreeing with each other rather than voting on what they'd believe if their partner wasn't there or they'd get into squabbles with each other.
     
  4. charlie monroe

    charlie monroe Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2011
    Buffalo, NY
    Thank you for a very honest and open reply.
     
    instrumentalist likes this.
  5. Seanto

    Seanto

    Dec 29, 2005
    USA
    Where did a "hubby" come into this? I don't see any mention of that in the post.
     
  6. LBS-bass

    LBS-bass Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2017
    California
    Not to derail the thread, but my husband and I have been in a few bands together (he is a drummer) and I don't think that, for us, it's a great idea. For one thing, I have been playing out a lot longer than he has and there are times when we very much disagree or times when I have felt like I need to give him some pointers, and it's awkward. We really don't gang up on other members but we have been in situations where we both concluded we didn't like playing with certain people so made a decision to leave together. We have a practice space and PA so that factors into those discussions because we have felt, at times, a bit used or abused in that regard (other band members don't help load in, load out, etc.). But in general it's rare that we side together on much of anything musical.

    To keep things more on topic, I'm in a band with four members and we decide things democratically, which is hard with four. But it also keeps things clear. If three of us want to go along with an idea, it happens. There's only ever one dissenting opinion when a decision is made. And when we can't agree, we just drop the issue. We have a dissent with regard to posting videos online. Most of us feel it's great promo, but our drummer, who used to do high-level shows, is used to more polished, record label produced presentations and does not agree with us. We do it anyway, because we have majority opinion and, honestly, it helps us a great deal. So he's wrong on that, but he still doesn't really think so.
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2018
    Mr_Moo likes this.
  7. StyleOverShow

    StyleOverShow Still Playing After All These Years Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2008
    Portland
    Good question, have lobbied the third party to vote with me.

    Think democracy doesn’t work as well in bands, all sizes. Someone should direct the band...
     
    Goatrope and Son of Wobble like this.
  8. pcake

    pcake Supporting Member

    Sep 20, 2011
    Los Angeleez
    LBS-bass, i have a question. would you give pointers to a band member who wasn't your husband?

    democracy has worked well in every band i've been in.
     
  9. LBS-bass

    LBS-bass Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2017
    California
    Yes. We have an inexperienced singer in my current originals band. I have had to teach him about things like not pointing the mic directly at a speaker and other feedback-related issues that he has done with his mic.

    With my husband it usually only happened when someone else in the band was trying to convey an idea to him and I could see it wasn't being communicated well to him. So I might say, "he wants you to hit your snare here" or even just "play this rhythm along with me for a while to get a feel for this."
     
    Mr_Moo likes this.
  10. StyleOverShow

    StyleOverShow Still Playing After All These Years Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2008
    Portland
    Hey @pcake - yeah all for human rights and all but ‘art’ isn’t exactly democratic. The artiste, whether singer or soloists take the lead. We follow.

    In terms of do this gig/song or not, yeah voting is good.
     
  11. LBS-bass

    LBS-bass Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2017
    California
    I was in a band with a guy who used to stage little coups against the bandleader and tried to get me to take sides by chatting me up behind their backs. I was not amused. Things should be discussed as a group, in the presence of everyone.
     
  12. RustyAxe

    RustyAxe

    Jul 8, 2008
    Connecticut
    Honestly, I don't know ... it just happens. I'm not heavily invested in the trio (I have other bands/projects going) but take the gigs that pop up. Last night we played a winery, nice place, great crowd ... lousy pay. I wouldn't have taken the gig if I were the decision maker, but it is what it is. The defacto BL was calling songs out of the blue, took a few requests ... a few we'd never even played together before. I and our dobro player agree that it's a problem. We're gonna have a talk ... either we create, learn, master, and USE a setlist for the next gig, or I'm out. There's no vote to be taken, it either happens and we get our act together, or it doesn't and I go my way. Might be a very short conversation. ;)
     
    Mr_Moo, juancaminos and pcake like this.
  13. charlie monroe

    charlie monroe Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2011
    Buffalo, NY
    pcake has been a member for as long as I have. I recognized early that there is worth in her posts.

    The wedlock thing has been mentioned in other threads.

    If I took the thread OT too quickly, I apologize. I felt the question was at least somewhat related and trusted pcake to address it in a mature manner. It was not a dig or accusation.
     
    Mr_Moo, filmtex, juancaminos and 4 others like this.
  14. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Torquemada's Law: Tim and I have the self-righteous obligation to instill our will upon others. Then again, we have the larger stake in our 13 year band project (hardware, contacts, etc) and embrace a sense of excellence which, quite frankly, is not always shared by our counterparts. All too frequently, I see ideas or material placed on the table which are unrealistic, undesirable, or unsustainable. The pursuit usually exhausts valuable resources (time!) which can be better spent along other paths.

    Sorry for the cocksure bravado.

    Riis
     
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  15. pcake

    pcake Supporting Member

    Sep 20, 2011
    Los Angeleez
    and yet i've been in several bands that lasted for several years and voting was fine. everyone is different - i'm not saying this works for everyone.

    i have played with my husband in several bands. i expect the person who brought him up and us playing as a couple has read my other posts from over the years.

    i wouldn't be amused, either - i'd be playing in a different band!

    wow, that sucks! i can't imagine why someone would do that - call out songs you hadn't played together? buh-bye!

    communication and respect for all the band members is, i think, key.

    we didn't precisely vote, to be fair. but i'm calling it that as each person's view was considered with the same weight.
     
    Mr_Moo and Seanto like this.
  16. In my experience democracy works alright with a trio (My experience is with non-touring occasional-bar bands). I tend to defer to the singer/lead player over musical decisions unless I have a strong disagreement.
     
    J-Bassomatic and pcake like this.
  17. RustyAxe

    RustyAxe

    Jul 8, 2008
    Connecticut
    Probably not as bad as it sounds ... the songs were familiar to us, and I and the dobro player have great ears, and have been playing for decades. What was even worse were the few times the leader just went off the rails, with us trying to pull him back to the straight and narrow. Frustrating, because I KNOW he's better than he performed last night. Like I said, words will be exchanged soon.

    All that said, I bet there were very few in the audience who noticed anything amiss. At least no one complained ... :D
     
    Mr_Moo and pcake like this.
  18. Seanto

    Seanto

    Dec 29, 2005
    USA
    No worries i was just confused lol. I was typing my post while some others happened with more context.
     
    charlie monroe and pcake like this.
  19. LBS-bass

    LBS-bass Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2017
    California
    Exactly what happened. I was really uncomfortable with this and brought it to the attention of the others in the band at our next gathering (a band meeting intended to discuss the issue that this guy was prattling on about to me) which led to the band's demise. It there's one thing I won't deal with, it's backchannel backstabbing. You know if they're doing it to others, they're also doing it to you.
     
    Mr_Moo, IronSpatula and Bunk McNulty like this.
  20. CRich0205

    CRich0205

    Feb 17, 2013
    Kansas
    My originals trio is pretty democratic. Our drummer is the de facto BL as he had the contacts for booking shows. It’s originals so a cut of the door is all we ever get. Musically the guitarist and I write the majority of music and lyrics the drummer has a space and contacts. So far it has worked out really well for us. By that I mean we all get along and seem to really enjoy playing together. I’m my mind that’s really the important part.
     

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