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How hard is it to put a BAND together ?? Really ?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Gman, Jul 21, 2001.

  1. Gman


    Jan 4, 2000
    Indianapolis, IN
    I'm a little frustrated, and looking for advise. I'm sure I'm not the only one who has been through this.

    I've been getting together with a few guys on Friday nights for about a year now. Just playing in the basement, havin' fun. We would like to get to the point that we could play out maybe twice a month. At the most.

    Problem is, we never seem to get anything together. It doesn't help that nobody sings very well. It also doesn't help that the guitar player is a very good lead player, but a lousy rhythm player, and we can't seem to find a rhythm player. We have a couple of guys that will play when they aren't busy, but playing is low on their priority list. I understand that, and hold no hard feelings toward them, we just can't find anybody else. Oh, and remember that every drummer we find either thinks he's in a high school marching band, or thinks that he has to be hitting EVERY drum at EVERY second.

    None of us have ever been in a working band before. So we really just don't know how to structure the rehearsal to get anything done. We have no direction and really are just getting nowhere. We play through songs songs cold, talk about what we think we could do, then we never play or work on 'em again. It's just like a weekly "jam session", and not a rehearsal. In fact, that's the only time we sound good, is when we're just "jammin". If we make it up as we go, it sounds fairly tight. When we try to cover something it's just a train wreck.

    I have given some thoughts to jumping into a working band, but I really do like these guys, and would like to stay with them, I'm just really frustrated, and I'm sure that the guitar player feels the same way.

    We need somebody that can guide us through this thing, we just can't find that person. We all agree that we do want to be a "working" band, we just don't know how to get it done.

    ANY advise would be appreciated, and thanks for giving me a place to vent.

  2. purple_haze


    Jun 29, 2001
    London Town
    I can't really give you much advice, except to say that I know exactly what you mean. i've been through that almost to the letter.

    Don't try to cover stuff, it's impossible to get 4 or 5 people to memorize a song.

    Write some cool stuff yourself, play it for the rest of the band, and tell them to come up with stuff that works with it. Take some initiative, and take charge.
  3. Gman


    Jan 4, 2000
    Indianapolis, IN
    Purple haze,

    Thanks for the reply.

    I appreciate your opinion, but I do have to disagree on a point here;
    Haven't you ever seen a GOOD cover band ? It CAN be done. I don't want to take the easy way out. Playing original material around here is a good way to make $0000. And it's not about the money. But if I wanted to play in an empty bar, I might as well stay in the basement.

    At this point if I decided to just do original stuff, I'd be taking the easy way.

  4. purple_haze


    Jun 29, 2001
    London Town
    Well, to be perfectly honest, I haven't seen a good cover band. And whenever I've tried I've always had problems with people not knowing when to come in, or getting fills wrong, or the timing wrong, and a hundred and one other problems that you get unless everyone knows the song inside out.

    BUT this may have been because we had very different tastes in music, so the "overlap" songs we could agree on were all at the, how you say, "fringes" of our musical tastes, so we all had a kind of half-hearted knowledge of how to play said songs.

    But, hey, if you can find enough people that know their respective parts for a song you like inside out, that's cool.

    Good luck anyways. :)
  5. pkr2


    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.

    First and foremost. If everybody in your present group is not willing to make the commitment that playing in a gigging band calls for, it ain't gonna work.

    Since you have a good lead guitarist (even though he doesn't play good rythm guitar), why don't the two of you set up another practice time, get a drum machine and start working on a two piece act.

    There is a lot to be said for only splitting the bread two ways. Disagreements are easier to work out when there are only two of you.

    I promise you that if the two of you spend the time to get your stuff tight that other GOOD musicians will be more than willing to join your two man band.

    Good musicians will not go onstage with anyone that doesn't play well enough to make them sound good.

    As far as playing covers goes, It's not written in stone that a cover song has to be a note for note copy of the original! If that's what an audience is looking for, I believe I'd just put a few bucks in the jukebox, join them at the bar and let them hear the real thing.

    The two man band thing has been more than sucsessful with my band. In the last four years we have turned down at least as many gigs as we have chosen to play. A bonus is that we have had a lot of good musicians ask for a place in our band.

    We could just as easily have a five or six piece band but the way we are doing it now is working so well that neither of us are willing to make the change.

    YMMV but it may be worth trying. In any case, I wish you the best of luck. Just don't get discouraged.

  6. pecker187

    pecker187 Guest

    Jul 22, 2001
    I was in a nu-metal band for half a year then it broke up and we started a punk band about a month ago. The previous band broke up because we were trying to be something we weren't, and we all had different tastes in music. Then we got the punk band together, and it was my task to manage it and sort out rehearsals and stuff. I learnt this which could help you:

    1. Talk to your guitarist about writing songs with rhythm, if he can't, write them yourself. Borrow a guitar or get a cheap one, and assuming you know enough about chords and structure, it will come easily. Don't try and make your songs complicated, just simple 3 or 4 power chord songs that sound good with breaks and solos (guitar, bass or drum solos all sound good) then teach them to your guitarist. This is what I did anyway and it worked!

    2. If no one can sing, make non-melodic songs that don't require great melody; if you make punk music, make it a little more hardcore with a bit of shouting and energy, if you make metal, it can also sound good with less melody and more screaming. If you don't want to change your style, start asking around for someone who is into your type of music and can sing well.

    3. Talk to your drummer, tell him how you want him to sound, give him a few solos in your songs to vent his energy and it should sound good.

    4. For cover songs, get tabs for guitar and bass from this site and another good tab site I found - http://www.punkhardcore.com and learn your part then teach the guitarist his part. The drummer should be able to figure out his part from hearing the song, unless it is really complicated, then you will have to get tabs for his part too.

    Well, I hope that helps. Try and stick with your band, and remember, if one practice is **** don't quit. If you can't get it to work at all, jump up to a working band. If you can get it to work, don't try and get gigs or record deals until you have at been working well together for at least 3 months. Play for the music, not for the money.

    Good luck, Pecker187
  7. i got my new band together within a week... so i'd say it's just as hard as you want it to be :)
  8. MikeyD


    Sep 9, 2000
    I think it should start with a goal. You need to write down a clear and achievable personal goal - what kind of band YOU want, and what you'd ideally (but realistically) want to achieve with it.

    A lot of dudes get pie-in-the-sky goals about fame and fortune, but that's not how to go about it. Commit yourself to a *musical* goal. If you achieve that goal, the other stuff can sometimes follow from it.

    Your goal statement should answer such things as:
    * what type of music?
    * covers, originals, or a mix (and what %)?
    * what "voices" (instruments) will you need to achieve the sound you're after? How many players, total?
    * what audience(s) do you like to play for?
    * in what geographical area do you want to play, primarily? do you want to tour?
    * how many tunes do you need to prepare?
    * what quality of execution (performance) are you after?
    * how often do you want to play out?
    * how often will you need to rehearse?
    * what kinds of personalities are you looking for in other players? their commitment?

    There are probably others to consider, depending on your situation. Once you have your own goals clear, then see if the others truly share them - or iron out how you differ. If you can't reach a compromise that everyone's happy with, you might think about looking for others. If the people you're working with commit themselves to a goal for the band, then it will provide orientation. For example, if your goal is to do music that needs a strong rhythm guitar part, yet you want it covered by the lead guitarist - then your guitarist should be able to realize he/she needs to work on rhythm technique. In this case, you're taking the goal statement and identifying areas in which your band has deficiencies in its ability to achieve them.

    I think goals are where it has to start. Everything else should follow, if the goal orientation, commitment, and perseverence is strong enough.

    - Mike
  9. steinbergerxp2

    steinbergerxp2 Guest

    Jul 11, 2001
    I think productive practices are absolutley vital. Try and divide practive into 3 parts:

    1. Practicing some things you already do "ok" to keep them tight and warm up.
    -Make sure the gap between songs stays tight to keep tha dance floor full. Practice them in the order you plan to play them onstage.

    2. Polishing what we did last week that we decided to keep in the sets.
    -Last week you tried some new stuff, and decided a few of the tunes might be worth a second chance; here is the real chance to see how they work out, after you've cut out the obvious duds. Songs stay in this mode until they get "good enough" and move into the first group, or get dropped.

    3. Trying out what we agreed to work on this week.
    -Every week try 2-5 new tunes; maybe they work and maybe they don't; drop the ones that obviously suck or that folks hate for some reason, and move on. Some will be worth working on; learn from what you discover together and practice them on your own during the week and see if they turn out to be keepers.

    If you can get a 3 hour practice every week and spend an hour or so on each of these areas, you will make progress.
  10. Gman


    Jan 4, 2000
    Indianapolis, IN
    Thanks for all the replies guys. Most of you OBVIOUSLY know what your talking about, and have given advise that will help.

    Now if I could just print this out and show it to Jeff without him knowing I said he sucked at rhythm. :eek:

    Thanks again,

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