1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Interesting dilemma I have. In a band, another called...

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Blah114, Apr 1, 2009.

  1. Blah114


    Feb 7, 2008
    Two bands.. I am in one.. great musicians in the band.. play out once monthly..

    Another, mediocre band that somehow gets 3-4 shows monthly.. called.. I am tempted to quit the band and join the mediocre band.. because they have more shows..

    I have a blast now.. except for fighting over song choices.. and there are some months with ZERO shows.. because everyone is busy (except me).

    Should I settle and risk it? Switch to a band that will maybe let me go.. or maybe has issues about which I am unaware (I would be their 2nd bassist in one year)..

    This is an open-ended question.. and I welcome opinions... not necessarily about what I should do.. but "what would you do?" "Have you had this happen before?"

    My loyalty tells me to stay put.
  2. DudeistMonk


    Apr 13, 2008
    Newark, NJ
    Do Both?
  3. Both.
  4. modulusman

    modulusman Banned

    Jan 18, 2004
    Maybe the band with the most shows are a business ignorant and play for free.
  5. nsmar4211


    Nov 11, 2007
    I'm voting for both. And for checking and making sure they are playing for scale pay and not for free...............
  6. von buck

    von buck

    Feb 22, 2008
    wolcott ct.
    The ratio of one to a few gigs a month isn't that much, unless you need to get paid. So if your playing for enjoyment, well pick the more fun one. And that's coming from someone who'll play with anyone, anything, anywhere, as long as a paycheck is involved.

    Try and do both and see what you enjoy more.

  7. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    You should be able to manage being in both bands. Keep the lines of communication open, let both bands know you are first come, first serve, etc.

    If the good (but unmotivated) band senses they may lose you, it may kick them into a higher gear and then you get the best of both worlds... more gigs with the better band. OTOH, if you are the one that's keeping the band going, and they sense you're losing interest, then the rest of them might just decide to pull the plug altogether and then that gig is gone for good.

    Also would agree with others to do some due diligence on the "average" band that is recruiting you, and find out what kind of $$ they are playing for. Any band that approaches me to join (or even do a sub gig), I tell them my minimum take-home is X dollars per gig and if that's too high then we have that on the table right away and we all part as friends. If this band really is "mediocre", then 3 to 4 times a month playing out with them may be all you can take and you'll want to make sure it's at least worth your time financially.

    It would also be good to find out why their 1st bassist is no longer with them... direct questioning may or may not be the way to go, otherwise try and work the grapevine to get the story on the sly.
  8. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    the Cali Intergalctic Mind Space
    Song Surgeon slow downer software- full 4 hour demo
    A band?....more like some guys who get together once in awhile and play out occasionally, maybe 7 or 8 times a year.

    Sounds like you want to do more than that.

    If you stay with the current band, it's a safe bet but not rewarding. If you go with the new band, sure it's a risk. But like anything else, don't stay with something if you're not happy.

    Since your current band gets together so little, why not do both? Help develop the mediocre band into something much better. It might be worthwhile for the experience because playing out 3-4 times a month is around around 40+ gigs a year vs. 7 or 8.

    Let us know how it goes.
  9. jtrow


    Mar 1, 2009
    Mid America
    Even though the band you're with now probably rocks on stage, you might not be rocking quite like the mediocre band. Great musicians does not always mean a great time. Maybe the mediocre band is an absolute blast to play with, and on stage. That might be the reason they are getting more gigs, just all-around more fun than the band you're with now.

    Play with both. Stay with the great musicians to get better and grow musically, and play with the other band to rock out almost every week.
  10. I've done what many are suggesting here - i.e. play with both - and I wound up quitting the less-talented/more gigs band after a couple of months.

    Why? I got tired of the drummer who played every song like his pants were on fire, the rhythm guitarist/keyboard player who really couldn't do either one, and a singer who was so flat no amount of auto-tune could fix it. I couldn't deal with coming off-stage and people telling me how good we were when I clearly knew we sucked. I couldn't - in good conscience - invite anyone I knew to come see this band. And if I can't do that, then I don't need to be there, either.

    -- Dan --
  11. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    That's a good rule of thumb. I've never thought of it that way but I guess that's pretty much the standard I hold to as well.
  12. Knifedge


    Jan 24, 2009
    Play with both. There is the good chance that your bass playing will help the "more booked" band to being a better band. Sometimes, just one musician can do wonders to a band that may be mediocre. If your other band starts to pressure you about it, just let them know that you want to play more than the band is getting currently, and I am sure if they want to keep you (which is usually the case since decent bass players are not easy to find, especially ones that can sing and play) they will step up and push harder to progress the band.
  13. Phalex

    Phalex Semper Gumby Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    G.R. MI
    Personally, I really wouldn't want to be the strongest player in any band I'm in.
  14. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    For me that depends. As long as the drummer and I can hang together, talent and groove wise, I'm OK. I always want to play with the best drummers available, but if there's a drummer who has good time and groove but is really young and/or just needs a little maturity on taste or dynamics, I'm fine working with a guy like that and I will probably take the gig even if the rest of the players and/or singer are not quite up to par. Especially if they're cool people and/or paying a good check.

    OTOH, playing with a sucky drummer is just no fun at all and there's really no amount of money to make it so. I don't care if the rest of the band is pro-grade players, if the drummer's not cutting it I'm really not interested. That's who I would really be advising the OP to do his homework on in the "mediocre" band. He says the mediocre band is getting gigs and drawing crowds so that tells me the drummer is probably at least half-decent.
  15. Dkerwood


    Aug 5, 2005
    Someone has to be. :)

    Seriously, though, there's something really pretty cool about being able to turn an "OK" group into a great group. Maybe they were only mediocre because they had a cruddy bassist? Beyond that, bringing one high calibre musician into the fold will often push the others up to the same level. I'm in the process of trying to speed-age our new drummer from young and inexperienced to super salty over the course of months rather than years. Sometimes it's infuriating, but more often than not, he pushes forward just as much as I expect him to.
  16. JKT


    Apr 30, 2007
    Buffalo NY
    Endorsing Artist: Barker Basses
    If nothing is driving you crazy musically, and you have the time and can avoid any conflict, I would do both.

    Nothing stays the same in this business. At least rarely.
    I would consider staying put, playing, getting paid, and keeping your options open.
  17. Phalex

    Phalex Semper Gumby Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    G.R. MI
    True. A band lives or dies by the drummer. I guess I've always been lucky in that regard (Except for this one time :rollno:). I just think that a good rhythm section backing fantastic soloists and or vocalists is a much better formula than the other way around.

    Personally, I would consider myself to be fairly mediocre. The drummer and the guitar player in my band are abso-friggin-lutely amazing. I hear tell we don't suck too bad.........
  18. BillyRay

    BillyRay Supporting Member

    Jan 20, 2008
    There's two things that can make a mediocre band mediocre:
    a) They play crappy songs
    b) They play crappily live

    Since they are getting booked, and if they are getting booked in good places that pay decently, they probably just suck live. But if they get the people dancing and they get paid, that's a good gig.

    You will just have to make-do with whatever makes them mediocre (poor drummer, guitarist that can't play a tasty to save his life, flat egostical singer, etc.). This can be tough and lead you to not like gigging with them.

    Another point, I wouldn't expect vast changes: I tried it with my current drummer and the results have not been there. Sure he tightened up somewhat (and has learned not to beat the damn skins), but our pocket is sometimes so big as to fit the entire band in it. This depends a lot on the drive to imporve the band members have. I've yet to see a sucky band turn into anything else than a decent band unless there was major personnel changes or years and years of work.
  19. Knifedge


    Jan 24, 2009
    True in a lot of cases.. there are a few exceptions though, and you are correct, it depends on the amount of learning the other band members want to do to improve to the level of the best musician. I do know that playing in a band that doesn't improve only makes me quit all that much faster. If I see improvement, then it is worth staying for many reasons.

  20. IF you truly have the time, I recommend not only joining the second band but also going after another gig, as well. That's what I've done. Down here, I have a circle of friends that all play music and I happen to be the only (decent) bass player now. After forming/leading my main band, I got the call to join another. Then, another band called me in to replace their former bassist. It does get complicated with booking gigs, but it is totally doable IF you are upfront with everyone from day one...

Share This Page