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How can you manage being in many bands?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Gunnar Þór, May 11, 2003.

  1. I've been looking at the profiles of alot of our regular/senior members and many of you seem to have one thing in common: You are not in one, not two, but numerous bands. How do you make that work?

    How in God's name do you have time for a job, multiple bands, family and whatever else you do? And how do you solve the gear problem, do you carry all your gear with you to each practise, and how often do you practise with each band? Where do you practise? Things like that.

    I am actually very interested in how you make it work. I'm in one band right now and that along with school, my job and hanging out with my friends takes up all of my time. But I'd like to be in a blues trio too. And have my own band someday. And maybe have a loose jamming project every other weekend.
  2. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    One strategy is to play with decent musicians, and to be one yourself.

    I never understood why so many bands need to practice 2+ times a week. Oh, wait, now I do. It's because they can't play their instruments or communicate clearly with one another.
  3. Sten


    Nov 18, 2001
    Even the people who are new to their instruments or slower learners want to sound good at the gigs.
  4. CS


    Dec 11, 1999
    I'm technically in three bands.

    1 Church Music Group
    2 Gospel Choir
    3 My band Slacker

    I also do the odd pick up gig for local church meetings and stuff. The biggest factor in making it work is that 95% of the people in 2 and 3 play in 1. Rehearsals never clash.

    The choir practice in the church where I leave my amp and I play guitar in my band. The choir doesn't play for very long, normally 20-30 mins. I've been to 3 rehearsals and 2 gigs. The choir and the pianist practice every week, I come in when they want me. We have a practice Friday and gig Sat. We also have a gig in July.

    My band practices when I feel like it. We are currently a trio. THe bass player runs a covers band. We have 3 drummers on a whose available basis. We have a gig in June and maybe one in July.

    I don't have to travel more than a mile or two. My job is a 9-5 and the kids are old enough to be independant. My wife is understanding and goes to keep fit twice a week and horse riding every Sat.

    IMHO it's about making it work without being detrimental to other stuff.
  5. FretNoMore

    FretNoMore * Cooking with GAS *

    Jan 25, 2002
    The frozen north
    I'm in two bands, and how can I do that and work full time etc.?

    Simple - neither band plays enough gigs unfortunately. I have rehearsals once a week per band, and that's not too hard to make time for, but as we don't play all that often live I don't think most of the band members do much practicing between rehearsals. Luckily there's quite a bit of experience to draw from for most of the band members so we get away with it most of the time. Before a gig things get a bit better, with extra rehearsals and more concentrated practicing. I know I should play my bass much more inbetween rehearsals, but work and other hobbies than music take up a lot of time. Sometimes rest and a beer feels more important than practicing...
  6. When I was in three bands, I just divided up my time very carefully, and made sure I kept a detailed diary so I knew where I was supposed to be, when.

    It also helped that each band had a time each week that best worked for them, and was like that every week.

    So one band would do Thursday evening, one Friday afternoon, and the other usually Saturday or Monday.

    By knowing that each week, and sorting it at least five days in advance, it worked.

    Gigs didn't really figure into it though - the two bands that were the type to gig just never got round to it, I don't know why. Those two have since split. But the jazzy-jam band - the one I much preferred plahying with - I still play with, and we have our first gig soon!

    So, answer to question; with me, it involvd keeping a detailed diary, and sorting rehersals out as far in advance as possible, never less than five days in advance.
  7. DirtDog


    Jun 7, 2002
    The Deep North
    Anders, I think you and I are living the same life....


  8. to christopher:

    maybe bands like to get a lot more done than those that practice one day a week, and maybe the people that practice more than once a week really like to play in a band, so they practice a lot. but yeah, you comment just made me mad because of the sheer narrow mindedness of it. IMHO.
  9. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    Sorry, I was venting. Obviously, whether you're playing in one group or ten, you should practice as often as necessary to get things sounding good.

    However, if you're going to do the multiple band thing, you'll only have so many hours in the week, and you're going to have to assume the pro/sideman role in some. In that situation, I think it's best to learn the songs on your own time so you're not going "Wait, where are we?" or "What was I supposed to do here?" If you're in rehearsal with one band and have another rehearsal scheduled thirty minutes after, you can really feel the clock ticking when someone starts asking those questions.

    That's all I meant.
  10. yeah, sorry if i came off a litle too harsh. my band practices 4 days a week, but we get A LOT done in 4 days time. also, i can see where you are coming from, and i do agree with what parts of what you are saying, i just like to play music as much as possible.
  11. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    I think the idea is not to be in in bands with similar goals and schedules. For example, if you are going to try to play in two Saturday night bar bands, I'm going to tell you right now, it's not going to work. I put up with that in a band (the guitarist was in our band, plus another weekend band) and it caused major head aches. (I could have been playing out 6 times a month, but wound up with only 2 cause the other weekends he was playing with the other band) Now, I wouldn't put up with that. (I wouldn't hire someone who plays in a second bar band, or if I was joining a band, I wouldn't join a band that has a player like that) Now if you are in a weekend band, plus a Church band, or a recording project, or a Jazz combo that plays down at the coffe shop on Saturday afternoons, you could definatley make that work.
  12. mark beem

    mark beem I'm alive and well. Where am I? Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2001
    Alabama, USA
    How can I manage being in many bands?

    Easy!! I'm divorced and I have no kids!
  13. NJL


    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio
    it's tough - i play in five bands (plus a lot more stuff that i may get called for - i am a true freelancer and gig biach) - I play both trumpet and bass.

    I am not married but my girlfriend and i live together.

    how do i do it? a lot of arse kissing to girlfriend and a lot of negotiations with the bands - works out great - whoever wants me the most will pay me the most (if i am double or triple booked).

    all of the bands are already trying to book me for new year's eve - make a lot of money out of town away from my girl or decent money in town.

    recently, i have decided that i will play less out of town - i am too young to feel this tired, so i need to relax a little more and see what's going on before i do any more hardcore weekend traveling.

    BTW, just don't let this happen to you:

  14. Homework is the key I believe. Don't waste your time or the others in the band if you haven't nailed the song at home on your own time.

    I play with several cover bands and each band has around 50 to 75 active tunes and it can be hard to stuff 200 songs in my little pea sized brain. My memory is good it's just short!
    I'm too lazy to chart the stuff out.

  15. Yes, it's true--I'm a bass whore. I work with about 6 bands right now. The way I handle it is to have each group call me to see if I'm available when they book a gig. Everybody knows up front that I play with several groups and that I'll commit to their project when they put my on retainer. When new groups approach me to play I'm not interested in any group that practices 2x/week or even once a week regularly unless they have enough paying gigs to pay my mortgage or have a legitimate reason for that type of time commitment--like a CD project or upcoming tour (that also pays). Playing music is very rewarding, but it is work also.
  16. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Multiple bands are easy to manage and pretty much a necessity if you are a pro.

    How I do it:

    1. Keep all bandleaders well informed of your schedule.

    2. Have sub players available that are acceptable to the bandleaders.

    3. Religiously maintain a calendar or date planner.

    4. Know ahead of time what may be a conflict; if one band only works Fridays and Saturdays then there will never be conflicts if a weeknight gig comes up for a different band.

    5. The more players in common across the multiple bands, the easier it the situation is.

    As far as gear, just buy stuff that is versatile so it can be used for any gig that might come up.

    Rehearsals are seldom an issue, as you become more experienced you'll find you rehearse less and less. New material may be learned by passing around tapes/CDs/charts for homework or even just working tunes up cold on the bandstand (especially if the entire band sightreads).

    Rehearsals are for fine tuning so don't need to be frequent or long unless you are churning a LOT of material. I have even been in bands that played the first gig with NO previous rehearsal (obviously the repertoire was straightforward!).

    The amount of time devoted to any one band (either rehearsal or gigs) should be balanced by factors like how much you like the other players, how much you like the music, how well the gigs pay.

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