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Just Realized How Mediocre My Band Is

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Bassmanbob, Aug 21, 2005.

  1. Bassmanbob

    Bassmanbob Supporting Member

    It's 2:00 AM (I'm never up this late), and just got back from watching another local band play their last set. You see, our bands' set up is about the same. Drums, Bass, Guitar, Keys, 2-3 horns and a lead singer. Their lead singer left us to be with them when their lead singer passed away unexpectedly.

    They just kicked through some real difficult rock music including Steely Dan, Stevie Wonder, Chicago and Sir Paul Mc Cartney's Live and Let Die all effortlessly and tight as a drum. (pun intended)

    My band has taken an extended break since April. Now we want to get started again since everyone is finished with their families' summer vacations. After watching the other band for 45 minutes, I don't think I can stand to get back together with my band. Some of the band is very good, but some are very weak musically. to make matters more complicated, 5 of the 7 guys are doctors and friends. No body wants to hurt anyone's feelings. We are having a dinner meeting Tuesday night to discuss the direction of the band, new songs, gigging goals and a possible name change.

    I just needed to vent a little. My wife and kids are out of town, my guitarist friend in my band is asleep I'm sure and my dogs don't speak English.

    Thanks. I told the lead singer, who I've stayed friendly with, that if their bass player ever leaves, not to wait to call me.
  2. Well, you already have a band meeting scheduled. Sounds like the perfect time to raise your concerns.
  3. Ryan L.

    Ryan L. Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2000
    West Fargo, ND
    +1. Talk about your concerns at the meeting, and see what happens from there. Maybe other members have some of the same concerns.

    I do know what you are talking about, to a point. There is a local band in my area that totally blows me away. The bass player (who is also a friend of mine--I have taken lessons from him and also bought my F Bass from him) is phenomenal, as is the drummer and lead guitarist. The bass player and drummer have been playing together for about 16 years, so tight doesn't even come close to describing them.

    I used to get frustrated once in awhile when I would go and see them play. Granted, I can hold my own just fine, as can the rest of my band, but these guys just take things a notch higher than anyone else in the area--because they can.

    But now, instead of getting frustrated and not wanting to go back to my band, I see it as a reason to work harder and push the band harder to attain higher goals. That is the reason I approached the bass player about lessons. I have seen him do things that I had never even tried. And I have learned a LOT from the few lessons that I have taken. So I guess I turned the frustration into a more positive thing and took my own playing a notch or two into the next level. Which, in turn, helped push the rest of the band to do the same.

    Just my .02.
  4. Bassmanbob

    Bassmanbob Supporting Member

    Thanks guys. I was thinking about it all day yesterday. I've come to the conclusion that I'm going to see how things go the first few rehearsals. And yes, I'm going to raise my concerns to the others, but I and a couple other bandmates have done that before. It hasn't really made thing much better.

    The only two reasons I'm going to try it one more time is that we have a fairly prestigious gig in January, which we need to audition for at a fun festival gig in November. I also brought in one of the local middle school music teachers to tighten up the horns (and he plays various saxs too). The guys have said that they are pumped for these two gigs and for the addition of the new member. It sounds like I'm the leader, but I'm not. I just took over for a while because we haven't been playing and because I was the contact for the prestigious gig in January. Hopefully this brings life into the band and improve it to the point that I'll be happy. If after three rehearsals nothing has changed, I'm leaving the band. There have been other issues too. Every one is friendly and enjoyable to be around, but two members are very weak musically, the name of the band pigeon holes us into a category of music we don't even play, the website is cheesy and the band has stagnated.

    If you want a good laugh at a cheesy website go to:
    www.jazzernauts.com If you're at work, turn your sound off before you go. If not, keep it on for the real cheesy midi file music. That's just the sweat beads on the cheese.

    Yup. That's the name of the band. the Jazzernauts. We don't play jazz and we aren't astronauts. I don't get it either. Actually, we've nissed out on a few gigs because people didn't want a jazz band eventhough we've told them we don't play jazz.
  5. kind of trapped. disappointed. I feel the same way every time I see ANY band other than ours. We have a combination of guys who have family interests lumped with plain ol' just not that good. Every time I try to harp on practice or to get tighter they make me feel like I'm being unreasonable and hyper critical. I had such high hopes for us but nobody shares my enthusiasm sometimes.

    We lost our drummer last month and the new guy is nice enough but suffers from a confidence problem. Our guitarist is a mediocre rhythm player at best. We weren't tight BEFORE the drummer left and we surely ain't getting any better.

    Luckily I joined an additional project to keep me happy since I have this feeling Band A is going to fade away.
  6. Bassmanbob

    Bassmanbob Supporting Member

    That's how I feel, but I have to deal with on-call schedules, tired from being on-call, emergencies, hospital committees and meetings specialty conventions. It's mainly the two GYNs in the group. You couldn't pay me enough to be on-call like they are.
  7. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    Oh, I feel'ya, Man.

    I keep planning to start a whole new thread about the Horn Band I joined, but it's too much of a bummer to actually see the whole story typed-out in front of me, I think.

  8. Bassmanbob

    Bassmanbob Supporting Member

    Horns add so much work to a band. Horns will slow the process of learning songs down greatly. According to the lead singer of the other band I mentioned, even their horn section (all three of them great players) slows the learning curve of the band way down. But if it's done right, it can be magical.
  9. Murf


    Mar 28, 2001
    This is a tricky/funny situation, I was in a band (full time) 2 years ago..we were a "pro" gigging band and were extremely busy (4 nights a week and got to gig around Europe as well)..the biggest problem was there was a huge gap in musicianship..ie the singer was an incredible frontman (swinging off lights/running along the top of the bar/arriving on stage in a coffin etc...but had a VERY limited vocal range, the lead guitarist was Fantastic if we were playing ManoWar or any other metal tunes but couldnt groove to save his life ..or play any other genre except metal..

    then there was the drummer, keyboard player and myself who were "trained" musicians..the drummer would put Neil Peart to shame and I had enough experience to handle most musical situations and the keyboard player was just incredible (on backing vocals as well)....the frustration set in because the drummer, keyboardist and myself wanted to tackle more challenging material (ie a bit of Stevie Wonder, Rush etc) but the other guys just couldnt hack it..sounds like a recipe for disaster..only..

    We all got on so well and had such great fun playing to-gether that at the end of the day it didnt really matter..(plus when our singer was in full frontman mode the audience loved it and went berserk)..so at the end of the day (musical differences aside) I had an incredibly rewarding and fun experience for the 4 years the band were on the road.

    (the only reason we broke up was because guys got married and ended up with diffierent goals in life...I personally enjoyed every moment of it :) ).

  10. Bassmanbob

    Bassmanbob Supporting Member

    Murf (and everyone else)

    I've had a lot of fun with this band too. It's not all bad. We are a group of gentlemen. We've never had a fight either, but there is a lot of whining (and I'm doing a fair share of it now).

    We've played some real fun gigs. Nice buffet affairs to include fund raisers, hospital events, festivals, town parties. Each time we play we are treated well including nice dinners and comfortable surroundings. You know, writing this now really makes me hope that the band comes together, improves and has a great season. (In South Florida the season is roughly October to May.)
  11. Like Bob, I enjoy the company in this band and like our choice in music. This is what makes it so disappointing. I want this to be much more but it can't. We also don't fight but there is some whining. For the most part some guys have rose colored glasses on and fail to see our shortcomings.
  12. Bassmanbob

    Bassmanbob Supporting Member

    Are you sure we're not in the same band?

    BTW:Where is Palm Harbor? I'm about 45 minutes north of West Palm Beach.
  13. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    Huh! I hear ya. Wanna see an excerpt from a recent letter I sent to the band leader?..

    "...Now when I put all this (and more) together with your talk of “we got this ‘down’ and that ‘down’” (when, in undeniable actuality, the best we can say about this-or-that sloppy rendition is that we didn’t completely TRAINWRECK the arrangement), and “I’ll bring in a laptop, and make our demo” (Dude: did you mean to say “a laptop loaded with multi-tracking software, a rack of preamps and A/D converters, a rack of compressors and processors, a couple studio condenser mics, a pair of reference monitors for mix-down, a portable drum booth and some gobo-partitions, etcetera, ETCETERA!…”? Audio is my business, Man; were you thinking of consulting with me? Were you thinking that an open mic in the basement would constitute DEMO?! How were you going to mic-up the drums? Were you going to TUNE the drums?! Dude: A pro booking agency would never distribute a ‘mic plugged into a laptop in a basement’ recording as a “DEMO” for a funk-/horn-/show- band.), and “in a couple more practices we’d be ready for a one-hour festival slot” (are you freakin’ NUTS?!) – I’m starting to feel like a real fool here, Bill. Do you really want to do something here??!

    …and I’m NOT a “perfectionist”, as Bob stated Wednesday! This is not perfectionism, Man – far from it! I’m just trying to keep SOME reasonable margin between our performance, and embarrassment!!

    Everyone in this band has expressed their disappointment and dismay over the fact that musicians won’t stay – that they ‘just stop showing up to practice’. Are you ready to admit that it has to do with some things that are WRONG with how the band’s being run?? I can now clearly see why the others walked, Bill, but I haven’t walked; please let me know if you’d rather I would, but in the meantime: do you really want what you say you want? We can do it, Man. Let’s just right the wrongs.

    We’d better talk…"

    I know it's pretty strong, but I'm getting pissed. There are some other things that I left out too...

  14. I'll go into a follow up on my band in just a sec (if anyone's interested :meh: )

    Palm Harbor is in Pinellas county, near Tampa. Sounds like you'd better get ready for Katrina!!!! :bag:
  15. -Yeah, I get that one all the time. I think they're definition of tight and mine are from different dictionaries.

    -Wait a minute, you mean a mic in the rehearsal room IS NOT the correct way to make a demo? (yup, we did that too)

    -Our guys think we'll be ready for a three hour show with a few practices. There's a big difference between being prepared and just pulling it off.

    -I wish I had some people on my side. Actually the singer feels my pain. He's begun to start pointing out the guitar player's duffs rather than letting him get by.

    -It's strong, but honest. I feel I'll be doing the same thing in a few months. See, I've joined a second band which has great musicians and direction. They're treating it as a business model and I'm sure we'll be working within the next 4 to 6 months.

    So, the funny part is since I told 'crappy band' I joined 'good band', they've been willing to rehearse, practice tracks on their own, work out song difficulties repeatedly until we get it, etc. Others on this board have told me once they found out I was in another band and happy, they would start behaving. We, ahem, "practiced" for three hours last night and covered about 6 songs. I think between them, the songs had maybe 10 chords combined. It's not difficult stuff, just people have other priorities.

    My goal? To play GOOOOOOD music and make money. I think they still want to play clubs just to "do shots" and "watch the chicks dance" and be a D-list rock star.
  16. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    The thing with me is that I was -- and technically still am, until we've played-out the last couple gigs that were on the books -- in another band - it's The Mole Patrol classic rock power trio band that put the last like seventeen-hundred gig-dollars in my pocket during the first half of this year.

    Well - we practiced two nights a week for A YEAR before we started taking gigs, but were doing OK until the other guys... I dunno -- figured that 'we had arrived', or that they had accomplished their musical goals or whatever, and announced that we'd only be playing-out once-a-month at-max, except for the four months that they considered some sort of 'inclement weather months' or something (Yah - that adds-up to EIGHT gigs a year MAX) ...can you believe it? Anyway: OF COURSE I told them that I'd have to begin actively seeking another band that wanted to PLAY.

    When I found this horn-band gig right away, they were like "well that's great.. congratulations.. best of luck to'ya.." (they were all-miffed, like I ran-off on'em or something - Egads). Well NOOOOOWWWW... they're starting to come to their senses, and panic (as well they maybe-should).

    The Drummer indicated to me recently that they're maybe about to beg for me to come back... Hm

  17. Bassmanbob

    Bassmanbob Supporting Member

    Katrina is nothing! We got a direct hit from both Frances and Jeanne exactly three weeks apart last year. Hurricane Frances destroyed my office. I'm still in my second temporary office. The rebuilding permits for my office are still not approved. I won't be back in my office until at least January. That will be about 16 months from when Frances hit. I did move all my equipment off the floor, in the middle of the rooms and tarped because I don't trust the roof of my temporary office. We are only supposed to get some light wind and plenty of rain. I didn't do anything for my house. It's well built and my roof is only 3 years old.
  18. Bassmanbob

    Bassmanbob Supporting Member

    We had our band meeting Tuesday night (for those still reading this thread). We changed the name of the band to The Rhythm Doctors, our guitarist is going to redesign the band website professionally and tastefully and everyone said they would make the commitment to practice at home, come to rehearsals on time and be prepared.

    We added a local middle school teacher who plays various saxs and is going to rewrite the horn charts. He is going to coral the horns so they come in strong and stay out when they aren't playing. Now we just have to work out a few more kinks. I told the music teacher that he can critique us at will.

    I have to say that I'm somewhat hopeful that this will work out. Only time will tell. Our first rehearsal is Thursday Sept 8.

    We'll see...
  19. In my short experience I think a band needs to have good, committed musicians to succeed. However there's a difference between "good" and "talented". What I mean is that everyone has to be willing to put effort and practice in their free time in order to be confident, and confidence is a large part of what makes a band sound good. When you're confident playing your instrument, along with the rest of the band, everything works. I know that in my band, not everyone practices as much as they should during the week, and you can tell. We sound pretty tight but not "tight", we have cohesion but we're not THAT cohesive. It's that extra bit that separates great bands from ordinary bands, and it's the small bit I hope we can achieve. I think the title of this thread has to describe my sentiments 100%. I love what my band is doing and I love the music we play, and I think with enough work we can really make some great stuff. But when I listen to some other local bands, I realize that we just aren't that tight and some of us don't put enough work into it.

    You summoned the courage to address your band's faults with the other members and will hopefully find this change to be for the best. If only I could get the message through to my band's members...
  20. Juniorkimbrough


    Mar 22, 2005
    Mississippi / Memphis, TN
    Endorsing Artist: Lakland Basses
    I feel all of your pains...I'm in the same boat somewhat. I'm in a band with great potential, but no drive whatsoever. I've been with the band for the past year and we've had probably a total of 10 gigs. Personally I don't want to gig 5 nights a week or anything but 2-3 gigs a month is at least what I'd like to do. Our drummer just recently invest several thousands dollars on a really nice PA, but I get the feeling he's about to flake out because he wants to make more money. Our rhythym guitar/lead singer who books most of our gigs drags as and takes him up to a month just to book one gig.....and well our lead guitar player I can't say much bad about him, he's at practice everytime, he can shred and he's motivated but everyone else in the band just seems to be dead weight we are dragging along. The singer wants to waste our practice time on playing old 80's hairband songs that he used to listen to....he plays the beginning of them, sings a verse then stops and laughs and talks about how much that song used to kick ass while everyone else just sits there and looks at each other. Anyways I'm just rambling now.

    I am currently seeking out another band, but I really don't want to quit the one I'm in because when we actually do get out and gig we all have a great time and get a good crowd response....but the rest of the time I just get irritated waiting for the next gig.......oh and also they've been saying we are going to record our demo since Jan. and it's what, August now......(rant off)

    Keep your head up bro, there are plenty of folks just like you in the same boat.