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I need your guy's help...please.

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by chris818, Mar 1, 2006.

  1. Is it time for us to get a manager? Please read.

    Hey, my bandmates (of two years) and I just had a groundbreaking meeting tonight. A big time, big time heart to heart. We laid all the cards out on the table.
    But now we need your help.

    Here's the scenario: We're a pretty decent band but we have no singer. We want and more importantly, need a singer more than anything right now.
    We've been auditioning singers for 13 months now...no luck yet! Yes, you read correctly, 13 MONTHS!. More on that in a bit.

    Bottom line:
    All four of us want to be commercially viable (sell albums)while retaining our musical integrity.

    The problem is this: We've been without a singer for so long now, that our songs have morphed into these grandiose, epic instrumentals and have left no room for vocals.

    Only 1 of the 24 singers we've auditioned has been able to
    do anything musical and vocally melodic over our existing tracks. We decided to go with him, but he turned out to be a real jerk and impossible to work with, and he was 16 years older than us

    The reaction:
    The keyboardit, drummer and I are of the opinion that the songs are just too darn complicated and have too many changes and long-winded bridges for most singers to add anything musical over.

    We're of the opinion that we're going to have to strip down and rearrange the majority of our songs in order for a singer to come in, hear the song and immediately be able to drop a vocal melody over the song. We're just trying to be realistic.

    However, the guitarist didn't not want to rearrange his babies (songs). But in the end, we're all suffering and really feel like we're buring out and just wasting our time because of the guitarist's unwillingness to change the structure of the songs.
    He's always been of the opinion that the songs are fine the way they are and that any singer worth his salt can easily hear where the vocals ought to be. The three of us could not disagree more with his stance and niether could all the poor singers we've auditioned.

    So, due to the massive creative differences, and stubborness, and going in circles,
    During the meeting:
    1. I quit the band.
    2. The keyboardist quit the band.
    3. The drummer did everything in his power to change my and the keyboardist's mind.
    4. The guitarist realized just how serious we are and made a final plea to us to not leave the band...that he's willing to go though each and every song and rewrite it to where it shows some commercial viability.
    5. Keyboardist and I agreed to give it one more shot.

    At this point, this band that my bandmates and I have given all of ourselves to for two years, is on the brink of disolving before it has ever even had the chance to get off the ground. My heart rate is going up as I type this...because it's eating me alive. Two years is a long time and none of us want to see absolutely nothing to have come out of all our efforts.

    So, my question to you is:
    Now that we have laid all the cards out on the table and know EXACTLY where each bandmember stands (personally, psychologically, financially, emotionally, musically, etc..), and we're willing to give it a go one last time, do you recommend we get a manager?

    I think so.
    I'm simply hoping a good manager will be able to point out all the wrong doings that have been going on. And to also be able to point out to our guitarist that his reasoning nearly cost him his band and everything that comes with it.

    How do you go about getting a manager?
    Are there managers that wil help us find a singer?
    We need help and fast.

    Thanks for reading.
    Hope to hear back soon.
  2. BassChuck


    Nov 15, 2005
    Call Christopher Guest and suggest a prequel.
  3. You need to have your house, as it were, in order before you go looking for a manager. It's good you're all talking and getting things out. In any relationship, communication is the key.

    Sounds like you still need to figure out if you even have a band at this point.

    Do you need a manager? Nope. Not yet. It would just add another level of complexity you don't need right now.

    If you decide you're going to rearrange your songs with a vocalist in mind, do so and find a vocalist you can work with - I know you've been trying. Anyone in the band have vocal abilities?
  4. AlembicPlayer

    AlembicPlayer Im not wearing shorts

    Aug 15, 2004
    Pacific Northwet, USA

    sounds like you need a group therapist ;)
    a manager can only sell a product, which you are still trying to come up with. Get an act together, then sell it yourself...when there's enough of a fan base and you need to get into larger venues, a manager may be able to help get you there....but a manager is not going to help you with the music or personnel problems.

    good luck!
  5. jondog


    Mar 14, 2002
    NYC metro area
    Write new songs w/ singing auditioners. Hire the best one. Eventually rework old songs with his help. Earn fame and fortune. Repay Jondog's good advice by inviting him to stay free in your guesthouse.:hyper:
  6. superkicky

    superkicky Guest

    Sep 3, 2005
    Is the singer a must? There's this whole post-rock scene thing going on...
  7. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    Don't you still need a singer?

    Can you be "commercially viable" and retain your musical integrity these days?
  8. Thanks guys, for taking the time to read and respond to this Dr. Phil band drama of mine.

    Simply put, we all want to salavage this thing we've dedicated so much time, energy and money to.

    We feel stretched pretty thin because of the whole, lack of singer issue. Maybe a break is in order.

    We do gig, that keeps us sane and lights a fire under our ass to keep truckin. The best part is that we all get along so damn well, that's a gift in itself, because that's pretty rare that bandmates actually want to hang out with each other outside of the "music".

    So, I thought, a manager could handle the heavy lifting ie: set up all the auditions, proactivley find a talented singer who would fit well with our style of music, while we concentrate on our music, and other business-related stuff. Because it's really hard to continue holding auditons on our own.
    We've tapped every resource we can think of.

    Absolutely, I think. I see live music about 3-4 x a week, and so many indie-signed and unsigned artists, singing and playing their hearts out, staying true to what the do and how they do it are certainly playing commercially viable music.
    That is exactly how they drew attention to themselves and got signed in the first place.

    By retaining our musical integrity, I simply meant to not have to "dumb down" our songs so much so that the initial quality and soul that is within them is lost.

    Commercial viability is a huge factor for us; we can't afford to have all our efforts fall on deaf ears because the songs, as they are, make no sense to the average listener.

    We're taking steps to attain financial support. ie: investors, labels. They want/need to make money and so do we.
    This is what we want to do for a living.
    I should have have been more clear.
    But I do see why you said that.

    Anyway, thanks guys. Much appreciated.
    I'll post if anything good happens.

  9. zac2944


    Dec 28, 2004
    Rochester, NY
    You don't need a manager, you need a plan. Managers are for when you have so many gigs, dates, and appearances that you don't have time to handle all the scheduling and busy work involved.

    What type of music are you going to play and for who?

    I think you and your band need a business plan. Seriously.

    You need to create a plan that starts with the customer, and works backward from there.

    If you start off playing music with a bunch of guys, but have no real plan other than to "make it" you will most likely end up right where you are. Stuck.

    If you want to be commercially viable, then who will you sell your music to? What audience do you want to play for? Kids that dig modern rock? Heavy metal crowd? Drunk college bar crowd? Wedding and corporate events? Arena tours? There are many types of audiences (or "markets") out there, some have more potential than others. Seriously think about who you want to sell music to. Then, once you've identified your market, write the kind of music they love. Who are their favorite bands? What shows do they line up to go to? Create similar music, but do it "your" way. Give it a new twist, but give them what they want.

    Once you have a plan, and you know that everyone in the band is onboard, making it happen is much easier. This is how successful bands do it. Nothing happens by chance. You don't form a plan around your guitarist's "babies", you form a plan around what your customers want. Unless your guitarist had an audience in mind all the time, It just won't work.

    It sounds to me like your guitarist either has an attitude problem or just doesn't get it. You have to play what people want, not what he thinks sounds good. Most successful commercially viable music, at least in the pop/rock genera, is very easy to sing to. I can't imagine going through that many singers and not finding anyone that works. Bottom line, if your guitarist is holding you back; get a new one. Guitarists are a dime a dozen, and writing music doesn't need to be so complex anyway. Unless that is what your customer wants.

    No manager. Get yourself a plan.
  10. zac2944....OMG..you said almost verbatim what I've been saying all along. I can go on and on, but no need to.
    You fully understand what the rest of us see.

    Thank you!!!
  11. zac2944


    Dec 28, 2004
    Rochester, NY
    Brilliant minds think alike my friend. ;)

    But seriously, it is a must. I have created and lead three successful bands this way over the last five years. I learned how to run a successful band by first playing in one, but even if you haven't you can still do this.

    Have a meeting with you band members. The first thing you have to do is get them to all agree that a plan is necessary. Then you just start talking and writing stuff down. Start with the customer, and always come back to the customer. When making a decision, ask yourself if it will be good for the customer.

    You can do this without out "selling out" or creating soulless music. Think of Motown. The definition of soul. Great music, even better plan. They tapped into an untapped market in a big way, and gave the people what they wanted.

    Get yourself a plan, and get it in writing. In my band we do it all over email. At first we had to keep changing it often, but now it is pretty tight. We know exactly what we are trying to do, and we do it. Over time the band's priorities may change, and your plan will have to change with it. Just make sure to keep things in writing. It will help you stay focused.

    TB is a good resource for band management.
  12. Twenty four singers couldn't sing your music. You can't sing your music. That in itself should tell you what the problem is.
  13. Exactly! Thanks. Your words are just reinforcing my position on the matter. Every one of you guys has hit the nail right on the head.

    FYI to everybody, after last night's meeting, the guitarist is willing to rearrange the songs to make room for a singer to jump in the mix.

    Not much to do now but give it one more stab and create actual songs out of these riff-laiden monstrosities.

    I think before we do that though,
    I do like the idea of allowing the auditioning singer take the wheel and drive. To see what he does with it.
    We need to let him tell us, from his perspective, where the song and vocals ought to go.
    Instead of doing what we've been doing all along..which is obviously wrong.

  14. Let me see if I can help here. How are you finding these "singers"? Friends, family, word of mouth? I ask because I just listened to Burn It Down and Vision & they are both quite accessable to vocal accompanment in their present form. Rockin' music in LA and you can't find a singer? Craigslist, indie paper ad, getgigs, etc?

    Did the candidates have samples before the audition? Lyrics?

    Hell, an acomplished vocalist wouldn't really even need either of these upfront to crank out some lalala's and oh baby's and makeupcrapinkeyonthefly that would make you guys smile and say YEAH! :bassist: They would probably run over some of your stops but heck, keep rolling.

    In the same vein, are you guys just playing where you think a verse should be and asking "sing here" and then stopping? That would be very difficult. My advice would be to just crank up the song and tell 'em to jump in where they feel comfy. Do the same tune a few times before moving on. They will go to a lyrical phrasing pace/range that feels natural to them. It probably won't be the same as where you guys thought it should go but dang you may have just found your vocalist! :hyper: It's a sum of ALL your parts. I never want to hear what the previous bass player did. It instantly taints what I would have felt the song needed. Just play me the song. Do you see where I'm coming from? You can tweak stuff later.

    Your git player is a little "filly" (down Trigger) but he kinda has to be with no vox. He'll chill.

    Nice bassin' in those tunes. Hope I helped a bit. Rock on!
  15. theshadow2001


    Jun 17, 2004
    I would agree that your music doesn't seem like it would be very hard to put a vocal line into it. Personally I don't think theres need to do much re arranging. But that should be done along with a singer and not by the band alone since your arranging for a member who isn't yet there or is having any input

    Maybe you should give any more potential singers the myspace address and ask them to listen to the songs for a while and come up with something for it. Giving them time to mull overwhat they would like to do vocally. Then ask them to practice once they have thought about it. At the end of the day you don't need a singer who's the best improv vocalist you need a singer who is going to get you that hooky vocal line, or catchy chorus or whatever it is you guys have in mind. Don't be fussy and just let them lalalala or whatever over the songs. Don't say this has to be here and that has to be there. A new member is going to become a part of the creative force of the band whether you like the idea or not.
  16. All_¥our_Bass


    Dec 26, 2004
    Keep the songs taht are already done and polished as is. No need to throw out good material (I'd like to hear some of it actually, I like insrumentals). But start developing songs that have room for a vocalist.

    Just my 2 cents
  17. Intune, theshadow2001, All_¥our_Bass....thanks.

    These myspace.com tracks are our three most strait ahead songs. We purposely put them there to attract the attention of singers.

    It's 90% of the rest of our material that is not as immediatly vocal-friendly. Basically, just top-heavy with riffs and way too many changes and complex instrumental parts.
    Prog-Cock rock you might say.

    It spauned from us being without a singer for so long that, playing traditional-length verse, chrous, bridge became boring...so we overcompensated by switching gears alot sooner than we would if a singer were present.
    That's all fine and dandy.

    However, what sparked all the controversy is the fact that the guitarist said the songs are fine as they are and a singer will just have to deal with it and make due. That's so ridiculous and unfair to all involved.

    After last night's meeting however, we got him to realize the songs absolutely HAVE to change. So as of now, progress is to be made. Like I said, I think the best way is to re arrange them with a promising singer and see how it goes. Time will tell.

    To answer your question:
    We're finding these singers primarily through musicconnection.com and myspace.com.
    A couple times, the candidates were friends of friends.

    Basically, after they heard the music on myspace and contacted us, we have them come in only after they've had all the preparation time they need to nail the audition.

    We tell them to come in and sing whatever they want..whether it's Diana Ross or Guns n Roses...doesn't matter cause either way, we'll be able to tell if they have vocal chops or not. Remember, we leave it totally up to he singer to choose whatever he wants to sing. So, naturally, they choose songs they're most comfortable singing.

    If they have the chops, we give them a couple of our songs to take home and work with and see what they do with them.
    We give them all the time they need.

    Aside from their vocal prowess or lack thereof, we take into account thier character too. We're not the Osmonds but we're not a bunch of G.G. Allens either.

    In the end, everything needs to jive. So far, it has not for various reasons.

    I think I answered your questions.
    If you still have suggestions, I'm open to them.

    Thanks all.
  18. Mike Shevlin

    Mike Shevlin

    Feb 16, 2005
    Las Vegas
    Get rid of the guitar player, he is the real problem. I hear -ego, ego, ego, whenever you mention him. Find a more comercially minded guitarist & the rest of your problems will clear up - including the singer problem. Singers don't want to stand around listening to 20 minute guitar solos.
  19. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    I don't mean to be another one to quote Manitou, but what he says rings with truth. Here's the truth about the deal. When you are a new band (and even though you've been together for two years, you're still considered "new" to the music scene since it sounds to me that you haven't gigged), the managers and agents that want to work with you are either going to be A). Crooks B). Fly-By-Night/Wet Behind the Ears C). Both. Legitimate music agents want you to develop yourself before they will even consider touching you. If I were a new band and an agent/manager wanted to work with me, I would be very suspicious.

    Personally, there's no way I would stick with a project that hasn't gone anywhere in two years. I usually give a project 2 - 3 months, and if it isn't going anywhere, I jump ship. Either way, I hope that things work out for you and your bandmembers get their priorities straight.
  20. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    I guess I was wrong. I checked your Myspace, and you are playing shows. :D