My singer stinks.

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by shirojiro, Jan 22, 2005.

  1. shirojiro


    Jan 24, 2001
    San Francisco
    Ever had a sudden epiphany that makes you want to up and quit your band?

    I had one last week.

    I've been playing bass for 20 yrs now, and I've been part of a band with a great group of guys for a year or so. I don't mean to sound too conceited, but I'm the warhead of the group, but the other guys are good, not great, but good. I really enjoy spending time with the guys, though, so it's been a lot of fun. Most of the writing is done by the keyboard player, but all of the songs have been a group effort. They sound good, and it's rewarding to play them.

    We've been having problems finding someone to sing, though. We currently have a singer who is a good friend of the keyboard player (who writes of of the material...). The singer is a great guy. The problem is: he stinks.

    I record every rehearsal on Minidisc, and I review them all the time. When I have time, I convert the recordings to mp3 and post them for the band on my yahoo account.

    We haven't played much in the past couple of months, but this last time, he was just awful. I mean, painful to listen to.

    There's no real controversy here. We all know that he's not a great singer, but for some reason, I was able to put up with it before. Now, I realize that I can't be in this group with this singer. The other guys totally understand, and want to look for another singer as well.

    I'm just amazed that we/I put up with the bad singing for so long. I wish that our friends had been more honest with us after gigs too. When I review the gig recordings, I cringe a little.
  2. odie

    odie Supporting Member

  3. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    I'd cut this guy loose while looking to find another singer, if the rest of the band wasn't willing to do that, then I'd quit.

    I've been in situations like this. Every body in the band realized the singer had to go, but they were'nt willing to off him, so I'd always wind up quitting. I've done gigs with crap singers and the end result was pretty much the same. "Oh man, that band sucks because of the singer."
  4. bassjamn


    Jan 4, 2002
    San Francisco
    Ya please,
    We could have our own little american idol :bassist:
  5. shirojiro


    Jan 24, 2001
    San Francisco

    Yeah, I figured someone would want to hear.

    I'll post a link when I get home from work. Access to my yahoo stuff is blocked here.
  6. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    Here's a suggestion. Talk as a band with your singer and suggest that he have singing lessons. I'm not kidding. It is possible to improve some of the worst singers with training.

    It doesn't even take a long time to make a noticeable difference in a singer's ability. Sometimes even a class or two is enough to show the guy what he is doing wrong and how to correct it.

    You don't say exactly how your singer is deficient, but I would guess he has problems with pitch. He might also have problems with volume, phrasing and elocution, even expressiveness.

    I don't know what style of music you play, but some folks voices lend themselves better to one style then another. The guy who sings for Sepultura probably could not do well in a Beatles cover band, for example.

    Another easily resolved problem might be that his octave range and vocal capacity is not suited to the key in which your band is playing some of your songs. Some singers have a limited range in which they sing very well, but get them in the wrong key and they sound horrible.

    Before you ditch this singer or ditch this band, try to salvage your singer by having a vocal coach evaluate his singing ability and help him overcome his deficiencies. If your frontman refuses to do that or is not helped by lessons, then you will be on firm footing asking him to leave because even he will recognize he does not sing well enough.
  7. DaftCat


    Jul 26, 2004
    Medicine Hat


    PS: You won't be seen as the bad guy either. Constructive criticism is a worthy cause.
  8. shirojiro


    Jan 24, 2001
    San Francisco
    Boplicity - That's a *great* suggestion. I hadn't really considered it, but it really is a fantastic idea.

    The singer's main problem is intontation. His timing, projection, dynamics are pretty good.
  9. yea, i've got an oddball singer too. he can pick up the rhythm (has to write his own stuff more) and is good with timing, but for some reason he has an unbreakable voice box, and his voice (when projecting) is stuck in this high octave. it was ok for a while, but i had to start telling him he needs to work with the tools he has and sharpen them if he wanted to get anywhere
  10. QORC


    Aug 22, 2003
    East Coast
    it happens. We fired a guitar player early on because frankly he wasn't good enough, plus he was a very negative influence in the band. We discussed it behind his back. Had a band meeting and cut him loose. It was not easy but we ended up with a MUCH better guitarist and are a better band for it.

    but what do you do if the band LEADER (esp. if he is the singer) is the weak link? You don't have much choice unless you ALL quit and reform under another name. So you have 2 choices. Love it, or lump it.
  11. Shiro, we all have this magic dream of putting together a totally great band. Some of us here may have actually realised our dreams.

    I have been in bands where the music was tight and we sounded great, but the singer couldn't carry a tune in a bucket.

    First time, I left and they broke up. Second time, I said - this guy is just no good, so we got another singer (who was a drunk, so that didn't work either...haha)

    These days, I make sure the band is very sound before I agree to join, just because I think it takes everyone to be happy with the other members of the band before you can get really going.

    If I were you, I'd take the hard option and dump the singer, but only if your band sound greater without him.
  12. Bard2dbone


    Aug 4, 2002
    Arlington TX
    And bear in mind how hard it is to find a decent singer. Those American Idol audition loser shows where crowds of deluded idiots that all think they are awesome show up to sing...and sound exactly like a cat trying to poop through a sewed-up a$$? They are not the exception. They are the norm.

    My best band was an all originals group called Fuzzy Logic. We tried to find a good singer FOR THREE YEARS. Out of about fifty or so singers who auditioned:Two were better than me. I think of my vocal ability as 'good enough for backup.' Notice that means I don't believe I am good enough to be a front man. That means I am apparently practically unique. Because the majority of those applicants were every bit as bad as the ones you laugh loudest at after watching the American Idol auditions show.


    We had two actual good vocalists audition. One we hired, then he showed up for the first rehearsal stoned and I fired him on the spot. The other turned us down because he wanted to join a gig-ready cover band to make some quick money before moving to California. I am told he was on MTV a year or so later, but I forget the name of the group he was with. His name was Ben Castellano. He was really good and I wonder what he is doing now.

    If you can fix the 'singer' you have now, awesome. If you can't, get ready for a possible long period of suckitude.
  13. eric atkinson

    eric atkinson "Is our children learning "Is our teachers teachin

    Feb 4, 2001
    I feal your pain man! I also suffer from bad singer complex! Me and my drummer have been together for over 12 years now. I have played bass for 20 so you would think it would be easy to put a band together. And what really sucks is when the singing is so band that it throws off the other guys! I will notice some times the singer is so bad off my drummer starts to stare and just go off time like no other! Kinda like driving by a car accident! But as stated above we are putting him in vocal classes!
  14. RicPlaya


    Apr 22, 2003
    Whitmoretucky MI
    You said he is a great guy! Attitude is 95% of it IMO. Talk to him, suggest lessions and vocal training. If he is a good person like you say he will be open minded and work to correct his shortcommings.
  15. johnvice


    Sep 7, 2004
    A good band with a crappy singer is still a crappy band.
  16. shirojiro


    Jan 24, 2001
    San Francisco
    This is sad, but totally true.
  17. cheezewiz


    Mar 27, 2002
    I'm relieved. I saw the thread title and thought it was another Nickthebassist thread!
  18. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002

    A band is only as good as its weakest member.
  19. Johnny Fila

    Johnny Fila Formerly "The Crusader"

    Nov 21, 2004
    Elmont, NY (near NYC)
    Leave the kid alone. He trys a lot at 17 years old. what were we all doing at 17? answer honestly..........furthermore, if he ain't here to defend himself, don't knock him, it ain't cool AT ALL.
  20. Zombass


    Feb 8, 2005
    yeah we had a awful singer for about 2 years, but he was a really good mate, so we didnt really want to kick him out, then he started being a total nob so we booted him out, luckily enough at his last gig we found our new singer who was an old friend of mine and now we are better than ever