how long does it take to form a band?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Burt35, Apr 3, 2014.

  1. Burt35


    Dec 9, 2013
    I am currently in the process of recruiting 6 musicians for a new funk cover band. In two weeks, I have filled 2 of the 6 positions using my current contacts. Not a bad start, I suppose.

    But the leads are slowing down from my online ads on various sites. (FWIW, I'm in the Boston area.)

    • In your experience(s), what would be considered a "typical" amount of time to put a band together, from start to finish, assuming you've used up your contacts and must resort to online ads?
    • What recruiting methods am I missing in my blind spot?
    • Do people ever go 6 months without any takers? Longer?

    I know there are many variables that will affect the answer to these questions, but I just want a sense of what I could be up against.
  2. SirMjac28

    SirMjac28 Patiently Waiting For The Next British Invasion

    Aug 25, 2010
    The Great Midwest
    I think it depends on where you are and what music you are playing trying to start a funk band in Nashville is harder than starting a country band where are you located? is there a big funk scene?
  3. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    If you want to recruit a band, you need to go where the musicians are and you need to have gigs in the bag. I can recruit a band tomorrow if I have a gig that will pay them. But if you don't, sometimes it can take a while. At any rate, you need to go where the musicians are and see if you run into like minded people. But most decent musicians won't do cover gigs just for the love and they want to know that there's a payoff at some point, especially keyboard players, so the going can be tough at first.
  4. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    JimmyM is right about going to where the musicians are. Hit those open mics. Go see local bands. Ask around. Craigslist will only get you so far. Brings out the worst of them. The better ones won't be found on CL.
  5. RustyAxe


    Jul 8, 2008
    Longer than most bands last.
  6. +100% Yep.

    OP, if you have funding ($) and or good paying gigs you could have a band really fast - otherwise, it could take a long time, or maybe never happen (unless you're talking about a hobby only just for fun type band, then who knows).
  7. jive1

    jive1 Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    I'll put a band together with a couple of phone calls and e-mails if you have a decent paying gig booked.
  8. +100% Yep, and if its enough $, within a few hours too.
  9. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member

    It also depends a lot on who you are and who you know. Guys like JimmyM and Jive1, if you follow their posts, are clearly well-established hands in their respective music scenes - not only can they get the gigs, but I'm sure they have rolodexes (or the digital equivalent) of numbers to call. If you're not so established and well-connected, and relying on craigslist or something, it's going to take longer, both to get people to respond and then to weed out flakes. If you're starting from scratch, I would plan on a couple of months to get six people, anyway.

    I was once trying to get a basic cover band together with a keys player/singer. We were at it for nine months before we gave up. I'm not sure exactly why we couldn't find the right people to recruit. A lot of it may be that he had studied at Berklee and had very precise standards for what he wanted - a guitarist couldn't be "good enough," he had to be GREAT. But we were a startup with no gigs to offer, so the great guitarists weren't looking at us. Maybe, I don't know.
  10. DerTeufel


    Nov 11, 2011
    Wildomar, CA
    There is a guy in my area that is looking for a bassist for his cover band project. He has been looking for over a year. I've contacted him and he tells me that he wants a bassist that can play EXACTLY as the recording with little rehearsal time. Something tells me that he's going to be looking for a bit longer.
  11. Eric66


    Sep 23, 2013
    The Netherlands
    If you are an amateur without a musician's network, just like me, it takes somewhat longer.
    We needed two years to get a reggae band. We are now with eight enthousiastic people with similar expectations and skills. One tip: be very very specific in your ads about goals and expectations. This prevents you from wasting time.
  12. Burt35


    Dec 9, 2013
    Thanks everyone. I will follow these tips!
  13. Zephrant


    Dec 10, 2013
    Spokane, WA
    In my very recent experience, don't post a "Forming a band" type ad. Post a separate ad for each position.

    I didn't get any singer replies to my forming a band ad, got three for my "* * Female lead singer wanted * *" add the next week.
  14. Nashrakh


    Aug 16, 2008
    Hamburg, Germany
    It can be hard for start-ups - what I'm wondering now is how some people manage to get gigs without a band. To be in that position you need to have contacts (which always helps with gigs), but I feel it's a bit like putting the cart before the horse if you don't have a little notebook full of numbers to call as experienced giggers do.

    I'm a bit baffled as to why some people would recommend booking gigs, then. If they had the ability to put together a band overnight, they wouldn't be asking. What venue owner will book a band sight unseen anyway if there are no contacts at work?

    Honest curiosity. This is kind of like needing job experience for your first job; no job, no experience, no experience, no job... A vicious circle? :ninja:
  15. StayLow


    Mar 14, 2008
    Depends where you are and who you know. In a city, if you're an established player and it's a paying gig? 15 minutes. Give them 40 songs, two weeks, one rehearsal, and give'r!
  16. squidtastic

    squidtastic Supporting Member

    Apr 23, 2013
    I was in the same position as you: founder of a funk cover band. It took months. And just when we were ready to book gigs, the drummer disappeared (I'm gonna resist the urge to make this an anti-drummer thread as there are plenty of those ;)). What people are saying here is true. If I had promised money up front, it would've happened much more quickly, but I had/have high standards for all the players, and the math is simple: there aren't as many good players as bad ones, and the good ones usually go for the money gigs.

    Anyway, try not to be disheartened in your search. It can happen, but you (all) have to be patient, and you might have to compromise on quality if you're not gonna promise money up front.
  17. RustyAxe


    Jul 8, 2008
    There's a difference between putting together a band for a one-off show and a band that's in it for a long haul. I can do a two hour show with very short notice, and I seem to be on some players' short lists of bassists/guitarists/singers to call for the genres I'm known for. It doesn't matter if I don't like the singer, hate the drummer's ego, think the guitarist is an idiot ... it's a one night stand, my pain is over when the drummer plays his last note, and there's money in my hand.

    Putting together a cohesive band that intends to carry on is a completely different kettle of fish.
  18. I was in a very similar situation. I was trying to put together a 7 piece wedding band in a much, much smaller market than you're in. Nearly impossible (we aren't pros ie day jobs). Just trying to audition players was a full time job. Trying to put seven new people in the same room at the same time with the same goal was like herding cats!

    What I wound up doing is working with some of the players to start a country band (to get out gigging now) with the long term goal of morphing into the wedding / variety band that we'd all like to see. To my thinking it will be much easier to add additional musicians to an existing project than start from scratch. Worst case scenario, we still have a gigging band.

    Don't forget your local college music departments. Contact the department heads and tell them what you're looking for. It didn't work out for my ill-fated project but I got a couple musicians referrals that way. One of the guys taught at the college so we were even getting access to rehearsal space at the school when it was available!
  19. 4Mal

    4Mal Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    IMO chemistry is the only thing that matters, I mean yes, folks have to have some level of competence but chemistry rules. So it takes as long as it takes. I'll always do pickups gigs if I have the time but the bands Jive and Jimmy are talking about aren't meant to last. Longevity counts IMO.
  20. Echo: it's all about already having a (preferably regular) gig booked and knowing musicians.

    I had a very fortunate situation when I started and had an off-night gig on lock-down. The vocalist, rhythm guitarist and I were young and inexperienced. I hired "ringers" on drums and lead guitar. Those two guys played in other bands and were just hired guns there to carry the three of us one night a week. I would say get to know venue owners/booking people and meet as many musicians as you can. Go to jam sessions/open mic's, whatever. I have often seen folks get booked after a stellar guest performance.

    Last week, I put together a four-piece classic country band for a one-off show in ten minutes. FWIW, I don't believe in rehearsal. Never done it.

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