How would you address these issues?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Orlando_Lasso, Oct 9, 2017.

  1. Orlando_Lasso


    Jan 25, 2017
    Okay, I basically just need to vent, but how would you address this? My band was supposed to play next Saturday, October 14th but one of the members got injured. I immediately had a substitute player that could easily pull it off but the band called the promoter and canceled the show without speaking to me first. I really hate cancelling a show if it's not necessary. We were only scheduled to play one set. I'm played in many bands before where people subbed in but the singer and drummer in this band don't have a lot of experience and aren't that confident yet.

    The other issue is that the singer makes really strange requests for the vocals. Someone can be singing in unison where it's not supposed to be in unison and they won't say anything. Other times, someone can be singing a harmony part perfectly and they'll ask them not to sing that part anymore because it doesn't sound good to them (even though they're doing exactly what's on the recording and it sounds good). I feel that their lack of experience is showing a bit but I'm not sure why they're doing this or how to address it. Any thoughts would be great. Thanks.
  2. Stumbo

    Stumbo Guest

    Feb 11, 2008
    I would address these issues by finding another band. :thumbsup:
  3. craigie


    Nov 11, 2015
    Record rehearsals and gigs so you have and objective reference.

    Keep the contacts to yourself and be the sole point of contact.
    M Sharp likes this.
  4. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    My usual advice - band meeting to clarify. Nothing wrong, and everything right, with using subs if someone is unable to make a gig for any reason.

    As to the second issue, who in the band has the final say on these things, or is it majority vote, or what? Establish rules, and live with them or leave.
  5. RustyAxe


    Jul 8, 2008
    "the band" ... hmmm ... so did three or four guys call the promoter? Who has that responsibility and authority to speak for "the band"? Better get that straight!

    Singers are most often the last person you want as your musical director. But it sounds like I answered my first question, right?

    Everyone starts somewhere. No one advances at the same pace. You might have outpaced your band mates, and are ready to up your game with a new band.
  6. filmtex

    filmtex Commercial User

    May 29, 2011
    Yep. Time to bail. Problems like that with singers are usually waaaaaay to difficult to change. YMMV
  7. Oddly


    Jan 17, 2014
    Dublin, Ireland.
    Slightly confused...
    You say 'My Band', 'I had a sub', 'The band called...'

    First thing to do is sort out who's in charge, both of the business stuff and the musical stuff.
    It doesn't need to be the same person, (and it's probably best if it's not), but it needs to be someone.
  8. Orlando_Lasso


    Jan 25, 2017
    Thanks. When I mean the band called the promoter, the singer talked to the drummeŕ and then told the promoter to cancel the show without speaking to me at all. I was calling my backup guys at the time to see if they were available to sub and I had permission from the injured band member to use a sub.
    I agree that you don't necessarily want the singer as the musical director of a band but their take on it is that the singer should get the final say regarding all vocals because that's their domain. I'm not sure how to counter that. I'm usually the one that ends up teaching the drummer what notes to sign, not the singer because I have more experience with harmony.
  9. RustyAxe


    Jul 8, 2008
    Regarding WHICH song and the key. Obviously the band can't play a song the singer can't sing. But the what, when, and where of harmony (and the rest of the arranging) is a music director's purview NOT the singer's. Your singer has LSD (lead singer disease) and your band is enabling the behavior.

    Are you sure that playing that gig with a sub was a good idea? New, inexperienced band and all. It's one thing, when a band is good and tight and confident in themselves, to replace someone with a well-seasoned, experienced sub. But quite another to put a sub into a situation where not only is he wondering what's coming next, the whole band is doing the same thing! There will be other gigs. I think it's best to put out your best effort (i.e.; your A-team) if you're still trying to gain traction.

    In sum:
    • Decide on a point of contact for every gig. One band member (only) is "on point" for each gig. Might be the same person all the time or the person who booked the gig, or the person with the most business savvy. This is the only person who interacts with the venue/promoter, and speaks for the band.
    • Decide on the use of subs. If ... when ... for which players (not all players are easy to replace)
    • Decide on who will make the final decision as to arrangements (i.e.; create the post of "music director" to arbitrate differences of opinion)
    • Start recording your rehearsals so you all can hear what was played and not argue, in retrospect, about how it sounded to each of you. A recording is unambiguous.
    jive1 and Oddly like this.
  10. Orlando_Lasso


    Jan 25, 2017
    I agree completely. The issue with the harmony is this: The singer doesn't have experience singing lead vocals when other others are singing 2 or 3 part harmony at the same time and it throws them off. Instead of practicing that way, they just tell us to stop singing. The other issue is that the drummer has no idea how to sing harmony so I have to learn his part and teach him the notes. We're playing top 40 pop music in the original key for every song so I strive to make it sound like the recording.
    I get what you're saying about the sub. The sub I called was someone I worked with before and he learned 3 sets of materials and mastered it in one practice so I felt comfortable asking him to sub in for one set. My problem is that I got the gig through a local promoter and the singer called the promoter and canceled the show without even speaking to me while I was calling around for a sub.
    I agree that we will need a musical director, but I'm not sure if they will agree to it. They want the singer to be in charge of vocals and if I ask them to do 3 part harmony that exists on a song, sometimes it's too difficult for them so they just do gang vocals (unison singing) or make up their own random harmony.
    Basically, I'm at a point where they're asking me to make this band my priority because they want to be "professional" and go to the next level but I'm not really seeing it in their ability or attitude. I've played in professional bands before and they've only dabbled in classic rock cover bands so they're just kind of making things up as they go along without any reference experience. For example, the singer started bringing their friends and their sister on stage to sing songs with the band without asking any of us.
  11. Nev375


    Nov 2, 2010
    I would address it:

    "Dear Band,"

    And then just a few rambling paragraphs about why you are quitting.
    Ekulati and BurningSkies like this.
  12. jive1

    jive1 Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    Looks like the singer has little to no experience in singing with backup vocals. It's not something they are going to pick up in a couple of practices, especially if they are used to keying off the recording or another singer to find their pitch. It's common for inexperienced singers to try to match the pitch of the other vocalists whether it's lead or backups. It's your decision as whether or not you want to live with that.

    IMO, IME, harmonies is what sets cover bands apart. It's ear candy for non-musicians, and IMO always worth the effort.
    RustyAxe and Runnerman like this.
  13. jive1

    jive1 Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    I agree. Just because you are the lead singer doesn't mean that you are the best musician, or even the best vocalist. Harmonies requires musicianship that some lead singers don't have. The director of a choir is often not the best singer in the band, but they understand harmony. The lead singer is often not the choir director because they often don't have the musicianship to organize and implement a vocal arrangement.
  14. Basshappi


    Feb 12, 2007
    I mean no disrespect but judging from your posts this band is not even in the same zipcode as "professional".
    The issues you describe are the hallmarks of amateur. If you get seriously involved this will be a time consuming project to get it into shape and you will most likely be met with a great deal of resistance the whole way.

    Good Luck.
    Orlando_Lasso likes this.
  15. RustyAxe


    Jul 8, 2008
    For musicians, too, and is what keeps me working with the bands I work with. The only sound more beautiful than the human voice is two (or more) human voices in harmony.
    Orlando_Lasso likes this.
  16. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    communication is the key, honesty is your friend.

    what is the alternative?
    Orlando_Lasso likes this.
  17. Orlando_Lasso


    Jan 25, 2017
    Absolutely. I seem to be the only one in the group that can hear three part harmony and give everyone their notes as they're recorded on the album. The singer wants to be the vocal director because they're not used to singing difficult parts with the harmonies. We had to scrap some songs by Sia because I was singing the right harmony notes but it kept throwing the singer off. I think I'm the only band member that reads music and has a formal musical training.

    I'm on the same page as you guys. I'm only interested in playing if we do all the harmonies and make it sound good. I don't enjoy playing dumbed down versions of songs. What bothers me is they want to start charging what professional bands charge but don't really want to do the work. They don't seem to understand the concept of a musical director and only seem to cater to the singer because they have a naturally good voice.
  18. See, for me, the minute better musicianship gets squelched by lessor musicians, is the minute I realize this band is not for me.
    Stumbo and Orlando_Lasso like this.
  19. jive1

    jive1 Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    Here's the realites.....
    4 unison voices won't sound as full as a 2 part harmony.
    Unison voices can't replace the sound of a harmony.
    The pro bands making bank have the harmonies, every single one. They know how important that is.
    A client can hear the difference between harmony and unison. They might not be able to tell you why one sounds better, but they know which one will.
    Because you can sing lead well doesn't mean that you're the better singer.

    Here's a question, how does the singer practice? If they are practicing with the original recording, have them stop. They are matching the pitch of the singer on the track, and that's where their auditory cues are coming from. Time to break that habit. Instead have them practice along with a karaoke track that has background vocals. It'll make them use the instruments as auditory cues, and practice singing along with backup vocals.

    However, in the end, the issue is how important are the vocal harmonies to you. Because at this point, it doesn't look like there is any desire to fix that in your band.
    pjbassist likes this.
  20. Orlando_Lasso


    Jan 25, 2017
    It bothers me when I take the time to learn harmonies and then the singer gets rid of them for no reason. Sometimes it's a brand new song but other times it's harmony parts I've done at gigs already. At the end of the day, I have to teach the other guys what notes to sign so I'm doing the work and the singer is making the decisions.
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