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How do you talk to your singer with out making him cry?

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by TribalisticBass, May 13, 2005.

  1. The singer in our band wears his feelings on his sleeves. It seems like I can't ever give any advice, or even ask a question with out hurting his feelings. I only ask or say things that could only help out the band. Like "What's the point of making, and practicing a set list if you're going to change on stage?" or "why are you taking guitar/bass lessons, when you could be training with a vocal coach, not that your singing is bad but you could be more polished?" or "Why did you buy the new beat machine if you only want to use the presets?" He tends to settle for what is there instead of striving for the best in music. My only other problem with him is that if we happen to write a new song on the day of a show, there is no way that I can convince him that we shouldn't play the song at a show. He says "We should try the new material out on a live audience. I say try it out when it's more together and, you're not reading the words off the page." How can I convince him that this isn't a good practice?
  2. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    Ouch. Sounds like a "high maintenance relationship". And that's okay, in other words, if you like the guy enough, or value his singing talents or whatever, you'll do what it takes to deal with his personality. I used to be in a band with a guitar player like that. They guy was reasonably talented, but he wouldn't adjust his playing to reflect the desires of the band (it might have been an ego thing, or it might just have been based in some musical principle on his part, I don't know - in this particular case, the band broke up because the drummer couldn't handle that concept "at all", and basically it came down to a case of "him or me", and the rest of the band opted to keep the drummer and jettison the guitar player, mainly because the perception was that the cost of maintaining the relationship was much higher than the potential benefit).

    The other (crass) thought is, singers are a dime a dozen. Good bass players are a lot harder to find. :)
  3. Brad Barker

    Brad Barker

    Apr 13, 2001
    berkeley, ca
    join a band that is not emo or, to a lesser extent, new wave.

    ...couldn't resist! :D
  4. Brendan

    Brendan Supporting Member

    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    Kill him, pour turpentine on the body, bury the body.
  5. KeithPas

    KeithPas Supporting Member

    May 16, 2000
    Don't try to solve band issues by yourself. Get the support of your band mates and have a united front when dealing with your singer or any other band member. Figure out what battles are and are not worth fighting for and why then stick to your principles.
    I am currently playing in a band that has a fantastic yet inexperienced drummer. The guy is like a human CD player, he knows more tunes than anyone I have ever played with and he has chops to burn. His problem is that he plays louder than anyone I have ever played with. There simply is no nuance to his playing and it can get old. I will be having a little discusion with him about the volume issue soon if it does not change and I know the other band members feel the same way. His solution is for us to turn the volume up, we have all been playing long enough to be tired of the "volume wars" that can go on ina band, it makes everyone sound bad.
  6. Last two guys are funny. Were not emo, though. We acctually make fun of emo groups. He just has the idea that I'm coming at him all the time. His vocals could use some work, but his lyrics make the band what it is. We were all lost until we got together. We've acctually hooked up with Afroman once or twice. He's not the biggest name in the world but it doesn't hurt to have contacts. back to the singer thing. Most of the band has had some form of musical training the guitarist and myself were music majors in school. He has acctually said and I quote "I think everything I do musically is good." Anyone with true musical training knows this could never be a true statement. I bet Dr. Dre has even made mistakes. I also know that our singer didn't truely believe that statement either. But he said it.
  7. DanGouge


    May 25, 2000
    Have you ever taped any of your shows? You should be able to convince a sound guy to pop in a tape or plug in an MD player or make a .wav or .mp3 of it. What you do then, is use the tape to show your vocalist where his singing could benefit from a coach or where you think his beatbox is cheesy. If that doesn't convince him, then you may have to take more drastic measures, like canning him... or Brendan's solution...
  8. We could never can this guy. We are more like a family, we honestly all like each other more than our real families. We acctually perform better live than when we tried to record. That said, The studio we recorded in was a sham nothing more than bedroom, a closet, some DI's, and a dufus running the boards. We couldn't even sell the thing it sounded so bad. Anyone who hears the well practiced music live, loves it. He has no concept of what it takes for the band to get new material together. I do agree that if he ever really listened to the way he sounds when he sings vs when he reads he would understand the lack of feeling it has. It truely makes a difference.
  9. I guess I should mention that we aren't just a band, but a self anointed Tribe. We are not friends, but a family. We share most everything but women. When one of us is homeless, we will open our doors, rent free, until that person can get back on their feet. and yes that has happened more than once. I guess it more of a family problem, than it is a band problem. So I guess I should have said "how can I talk to my brother......?" On another note we are playing the Peace Consipiracy Festival in Missouri this June. I'll try to get the exact date and post it later. We have also brought in a "Hype Man" that has taken over some of the verses, originally the singer's idea, He's not going any where guys. so do't say Kick him out though it is funny when you say bury....etc. So if you want make jokes feel free I'll laugh with you. But I am looking for real advice too.
  10. I'll try a little advice...from the questions you gave as examples, they have a slight accusatory tone. Like you're making a value judgement on him and his decisions. Granted, only an overly sensitive person would bothered by such mild statements. Since there is obviously a relationship that you value, it is probably worthwhile to make an effort to understand his viewpoint:
    It implies he wasted his money or that he is incapable of doing more than just pushing a few buttons. He probably values what you say and that hurts him. Try an approach is more constructive: "Have you tried creating some beats of your own...you could probably come with something better than the presets." Or with the setlist issue, just explain your opinion; "If we're going to vary our setlist during a show, we should practice it that way." or "I want to play the setlist as we practiced it."

    Most importantly, tell him you value his friendship and in no way want to hurt his feelings. That you are trying to be constructive but may somtimes come off (to him) in an offensive way. He needs to look through the tone and find the message. (good grief, I sound like dr. phil).

    anyway, try to understand him and his viewpoint, then find the most effective way to communicate with him. maybe you can help him not be so sensitive.

    hope that helps.
  11. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2001
    Olympia, WA
    A Tribe? Hmmmmm......OK.

    It sounds like your singer buddy can use a nice big glass of "grow up and quit being such a sissy".

  12. KeithPas

    KeithPas Supporting Member

    May 16, 2000

    Now your talkin Mike!! I'd tell him to open a great big can of STFU!!
  13. Hey drive acctual advice, refreshing, thanks I guess I might be a little more apprecietive to his point of view. The hole beat machine thing is weird we already had a Zoom beat machine that we all could use. Then he goes out and spent $500 on the BOSS 880. It is alot harder to program beats with. The problem is he tryed maybe twice to learn to use it, and gave up now we only use the presets. I don't write beats myself, I write bass lines. I don't cop the ones off the beat machine, and they're there to cop. I just know I can write a line 20 times better than those. I feel like stealing beats is unprofessional and if we are really going to take this music thing some where, we should come 100% original, instead of original guitar, original bass, original lyrics, and copped beats. He also says half of hip-hop is copped beats, wich is true but you end up paying a butt load of royalties. I'd rather keep the money in the band.
  14. Bury the body next to my house so...

    ... is it just me, or am I having a moment of deja-vu?
  15. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2001
    Olympia, WA
    Ugh....I just got done watching "House of a Thousand Corpses". I'm pretty freaked out right now, and even more so when I think about this comment.

  16. Brendan

    Brendan Supporting Member

    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    Huh. I read it in a marvelous book called "Penny Dreadful" by William Scott Baer. Second in the Poe trilogy, sequel to "Kiss Me, Judas." Great books, and I need to get around to the third one.
  17. Steve


    Aug 10, 2001
    he's a suggestion for you: NO.

    as in; "No. We're not going to play that song we just wrote 20 minutes ago. Pick something else"

    as in; No. We're not going to use that canned rhythm track.

    as in; No. I'm not picking on you but it ain't all about you either.
  18. eric234

    eric234 Guest

    Mar 11, 2005
    listen to biker trash just tell him no like when your parents had the talk about drugs just say no
  19. I didn't listen to my parents. :D :smug: :cool: :smug: :D
  20. abngourmet

    abngourmet Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 11, 2004
    I would say that trying out new material in front of a live audience is not the most professional way to go about things. I mean, I'm not a professional musician, but if I'm going to play in front of someone, it's going to be as polished as I can make it. Trying something out in front of folks for the first time without such polishing only invites disaster. Try out new material, yes, but only after you have it where you want it. No way that's going to happen if you write the tune on the day of the show in most cases.

    As far as wearing his feelings on his sleeve, I have three words: get over it. If he can't handle criticism, he needs to go. I've been told lots of things about my playing - too many notes, not the right tone, could you play this differently, etc. I don't take it personally even if I don't agree with what I'm told. I just try to make the adjustments necessary to achieve the overall effect of the song. As I've gotten older I'm less prone to tell someone to *&ck off concerning bass parts. I'm more of a "team player" so to speak. Maybe this is a case of someone who hasn't quite arrived at that plateau, I don't know.

    How to convince him? Just say no. If he persists, then you have no choice but to find someone else who "gets it."

    If it continues, I say find someone else. Not worth the effort in the end.

    My two cents,


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