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Managing Expectations\Venting

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by zephyr_words, Apr 4, 2011.

  1. zephyr_words


    Aug 12, 2009
    Hey Guys,

    :help: Background information:
    Band 1:
    I posted in November about a working band that I nailed the audition for. It's still going really well with them and I know about 100 songs note for note perfect now (and now practice them in different keys a lot =)
    We've been gigging at least once a month but up to 4 times. They are all really good guys and normal...the band is taking off a bit better and we're starting to get booked later in the year for some much better gigs. They are my main priority for all of the above reasons.

    Band 2:
    I'm also playing with another set of guys every Thursday. This was something I started with a friend in October. We got a singer\rhythm guitar and drummer by late Nov.
    We only have about 20-25 songs down together in that time. I would say only about 10 are gig ready enough to meet my expectations. The friend\lead guitar and I always show up very prepared and know our parts inside out. The singer\guitar player and drummer say they learn the songs on their own time but it seems like they treat these sessions more as practice time than getting a band songlist put together. They both have kids and wives where as we don't.
    Once they know the songs really well, stuff sounds good but getting to that point has really started to grate on me. I've said some things like, "if you aren't ready to play a song just send an email out and we'll move it to next week." Instead they say, "oh I thought I had it down really well."

    Last week I auditioned for an originals band that is local to me (the other two bands take me 45mins to drive to rehearsals).
    I learned the only 5 songs they made available online by ear in a day and showed up to the audition.
    I really like their sound, the singer has a great voice and it seems like we have good chemistry. They gave me their CD and asked me to come back to play again saying they were really impressed. The guitarist wrote me yesterday and told me to go ahead and write my own parts to the songs (a lot of the parts mimic the guitar a bit too much, IMO so I was happy to hear that)

    I guess I should mention that I'm a busy guy by nature. I goaltend at least once a week, rockclimb, lift 4 days a week and do a lot of hiking to train for big mountaineering Alpine adventures that I do a few times a year as well as a few other hobbies thrown in less frequently.

    -- If you were me would you stay in all three bands?
    -- How prepared should you expect guys with babies or young children to be?
    -- What's a good time frame for when you get band members together for a cover band and then play your first show?

    My thoughts:
    I don't think I'm biting off more than I can chew with the third band considering I won't be needing to learn new songs every week, they'll gig less than a cover band and it'll give me a more creative outlet.
    I don't think it's decided that I'm in band 3 yet but I'm pretty sure it's my spot to lose.

    With how well the 1st band is going the 2nd band is sort of redundant, esp. since we've never even done a gig. We play almost all different songs which is good (although more work =)
    My guitarist friend is in another band so I don't think he would be heartbroken -- but I was really excited to start playing live with him. The other two guys have been in a lot of bands in the past but aren't in any other right now.
    Since I started this band with the guitarist I think maybe I should ask them to get their **** together if this continues after the next rehearsal. Also say that we should book a date for a gig, even a free opening thing just to finally play out.
    If they don't then I should say I'll try to help you find a new bassist but I don't think this is working for me anymore.
  2. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member

    The missing piece for me is what else you have in your schedule -- it doesn't sound like music is paying the bills, so I assume all of this is apart from a full time job? Or school? Assuming that's the case, I would say that three bands plus all your other activities is probably too much and you're going to burn out. Pick at least one to drop, from the sound of things band #2.

    As far as guys with families, here's how I see it (speaking as a guy with a family). Yes, having family responsibilities is a major demand on your time and family always takes priority over a band. No doubt about that. But I would say that this just means that a family guy needs to take a realistic look at his schedule and ask if he really has the time to commit to a gigging band or not. If he doesn't, he can just jam for fun as a kind of guys' night out, like bowling night, but he shouldn't fool himself or his bandmates that it's going to be a working, gigging band, until the nest empties out and he can get more serious. If they say they can commit the time to prepare, then they are obliged to be as prepared as anyone else.

    I spent the last year in a band with a singer/rhythm player that was just never prepared. In retrospect, that was nine months too long.
  3. tycobb73


    Jul 23, 2006
    Grand Rapids MI
    Don't let familes be excuses for not being prepared. It will mean you can't practice at certain times but it is still up to them to do the work.
  4. Only ten cover songs since October? :rollno:

    IMO, dump band #2 and devote that energy to band # 3.
  5. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    Agreed with above. Band 2 looks a time suck. At the rate they're learning material it will be another year at least before you're out with them playing for pay.

    Between Band 1 bringing in some nice coin and Band 3 fulfilling you on the creative side you've pretty much got the best of both worlds. Take those Thursday nights you've been wasting with Band 2 and either invest them into one of your other bands or use it as a night off cause it sounds like you'll be needing it especially with Band 1's schedule. I would also note that in my market, anyway, clubs are starting to hire bands for Thursday nights as well as Friday and Sat so it will really help your marketability especially with Band 1 if you have that night clear.

    IME, there is a significant increase in degree of difficulty when you go from juggling 2 bands to juggling 3. Three gigging bands plus a day job is really really hard to maintain and only worth if if all 3 bands are top-notch in every way. Band 2 in your scenario isn't worth the effort.
  6. zephyr_words


    Aug 12, 2009
    Yeah, the music is a hobby for me. I work full-time in addition to all the fun I try to have :)

    You're right though, I think it could be too much once\if band 2 ever gets gigging if I for sure stick in band 3.

    I just wanted some outside musicians perspective to make sure I wasn't being silly about this, unfair or ditching it too early. It definitely seems that that band 1 + 3 are better for me than keeping 1 + 2
  7. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    No, no, a thousand times NO to this! The LAST thing you want is a rep as a band that plays for free... anywhere.

    If you're a good enough player that you've learned a 100-song setlist for a steadily gigging cover band -- and you're good enough to latch on to an originals project where they have given you free reign to re-write the bass parts -- then you are well past the point of playing for free... even if your bandmates are hacks. You started Band 2, and you have the right to end it. I strongly recommend you exercise that right.
  8. PopaWoody

    PopaWoody The major rager

    May 28, 2009
    Tampa, FL
  9. zephyr_words


    Aug 12, 2009
    You're right. It was late and I was just thinking random stupid thoughts.

    Thanks everyone for taking the time to read and respond.
  10. tangentmusic

    tangentmusic A figment of our exaggeration

    Aug 17, 2007
    Band #1 & Band #3 (if you get the gig)
    Band #2: I can tell by your use of the term "grate on me", that you've already got one foot out the door.
  11. A tempo

    A tempo

    May 23, 2010
    Band 1, and Band 3 if it materializes. Politely opt out of Band 2.

    The one issue that hasn't been addressed is that you are driving 45 minutes to rehearse with a Band (2), half of which don't share your vision. Use the 1:30 of driving, plus the rehearsal time to refine your art. Sounds like Band 1 is going to usurp that time, anyway.
  12. Stumbo

    Stumbo Guest

    Feb 11, 2008

    Leave openings in your schedule to be filled by band 1 gig schedule and band 3 rehearsals.
  13. zephyr_words


    Aug 12, 2009
    Just figured I'd update.

    Band 2 completely fell apart while I was mentioning finding another bass player.

    Band 3 asked me to officially join and I know all their songs now. Band 1 is still going well, have had some really fun gigs the past few weeks. We're getting super tight which is cool.
  14. shadow_FIX


    Feb 23, 2010
    You did the right thing. A really good friend of mine fell down the slippery slope of not learning songs when he and his (now) wife got married and had two kids. I love his wife and kids, they're great, but now he never practices. My wife will understand that I will do everything I need to do to keep the family on top, but I need my practice time as well. I'm currently dating an excellent clarinetist, so this could work in my (our) favor :)
  15. Family will/should always come before pleasure. however, guys need there time for hobbies, and any good wife/family would know AND support that. my guitarist and drummer bring there wives and/or kids at least half the time. they love to listen and its good to have that extra ear that can listen and give feedback. especially from someone who can be blatenly honest about it.
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