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Oh and btw here's 19 songs

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by bearfoot, Jun 12, 2018.

  1. bearfoot


    Jan 27, 2005
    schenectady, ny

    an old friend asked me to play some for his wedding. I'm doing two songs on guitar for the service. He also asked me to play bass with the wedding band.

    So many months ago, I get in touch with the wedding band, they send me a large list of tunes, and say a final set list will be forthcoming. I mention that I've never played anything on their list, and yes, I'd like charts / lead sheets.

    Then, nothing. No set list, no charts, no feedback. I talk to my friend, and he says the band decided to go with a smaller arrangement, and I won't be needed on bass.


    Fast forward to yesterday afternoon, and the BL sends me a huge list of songs, and rather thoughtfully reminds me that I'll need to remember to bring my bass guitar and amplifier. :eyebrow:

    I immediately said there's no way I can learn the jazz covers , for the wedding portion, I'm out. For now, I've decided to take a stab at the 19 reception songs, which are in the classic rock/ R&B vein.

    Because of time/space, I have exactly one free evening to grok all 19 songs. Wedding is this Saturday, BL gave me the list Monday. So far, they still haven't sent any lead sheets which I again asked for ASAP.

    So, where I'm at right now is, I don't have time to both format and print out 19 songs, and woodshed them. I'd really like to follow through on this, and it will be a very fun crowd to play for.

    But it might be impossible at this point.

    What's the shortest notice you've ever been given to learn material? Zero? I'm not a sight reader. Many of the songs, I am familiar with, but I have never played a single one of them.

    What a PITA. If this wasn't a high school buddy's request, I wouldn't be burning the midnight oil tonight.

    Whinge over. Time to clock out from work, and hit the woodshed. If you hear any screaming/crying coming from that direction, stay the hell away.....
  2. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    At that moment your responsibility to do anything other than the two acoustic songs during the ceremony ended.

    When the BL sent you the list you should have told them your friend said you weren't needed with the band so you wouldn't be playing with the band. Done.
  3. Nev375


    Nov 2, 2010
    I've had to learn 40 songs in 3 days before.

    I did not like it.
  4. gln1955

    gln1955 Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2014
    Ohio, USA
    Yeah, why are you doing this? It might be fun to play for your friend, but not with the stress you're having.
    Guiseppe, Aqualung60, DirtDog and 7 others like this.
  5. Amano


    May 5, 2015
    Planet earth
    The shortest time for me learning songs was on the spot. Getting the songs or charts late sucks. People always seems to think bassplayers just need little support. Not responding on email is just a bad thing. But ontopic.

    If it is jazz it is easy to get charts. You can download the Irealpro app. Or get a realbook. Both have the most populair and often played jazz song. With Irealpro you can transpose the song to any key. Its common in jazz to play it a bit your way. As long as you take the supportive role respect the song like Playing the root notes on the first beat. Keep us updated.
  6. jchrisk1


    Nov 15, 2009
    Northern MI
    I have a hard time believing a wedding band, that should be getting prepared months in advance, can't get their crap together enough to send you a setlist with a chart with plenty of time to learn their songs. Gotta make you wonder how well everything else is going to go.
  7. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    Cali Intergalactic Mind Space - always on the edge
    Song Surgeon slow downer software- full 4 hour demo
    Why doesn't the wedding band already have a bass player?

    Are you getting paid?

    Did the wedding band reduce their price?

    I'd just play the two songs.
  8. Oddly

    Oddly Unofficial TalkBass Cartographer! Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2014
    Dublin, Ireland.
    Just play the two songs at the service.
    Anything more than that is putting yourself in a bad situation totally out of your control.
    Your friend is already aware of the band's previous decision not to use you, so there should be no expectation there.
  9. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    I had to sub on a week's notice - 60 songs, about half I had played sometime in the past. Most I had heard before. Yeah, I had an extensive cheat sheet.
    foolforthecity likes this.
  10. WardEarth

    WardEarth Supporting Member

    Feb 18, 2010
    Anchormanville, CA
    Even IF you can get all this down tonight, how prepared do you think the rest of the band will be? You guys are basically gigging as your first practice?
    Don't do it unless you absolutely want to do it and don't mind 1-2 plus hours of a possible uncomfortable situation.
  11. Gearhead17

    Gearhead17 Supporting Member

    May 4, 2006
    Roselle, IL
    I am not sure why you are taking this on when you were already ruled out. I don't know you well at all, but it sounds like you are trying too hard to not burn a bridge here. Some bridges need to be burned or at least your boundaries need to be enforced. This is no harm in stating your boundaries - if the other person does not like it and makes you feel guilty for it, time for a new friend. Regardless, good luck on everything and do the best you can. Simplify a bass line where possible and ad lib when necessary. When you play a bad note or 6 during the songs, make sure you smile DIRECTLY to your friend EVERY TIME. :)
    spaz21387 and foolforthecity like this.
  12. "One thousand dollars or I'm out and good luck."
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2018
  13. punchdrunk

    punchdrunk Supporting Member

    Jun 22, 2013
    Jacksonville, Fl
    Must be a small azzed town.
  14. arbiterusa


    Sep 24, 2015
    San Diego, CA
    I’ve done this, now done it a couple of times. It’s not fun, but hey, look at it as a challenge. How good are you? You’ll find out.
    4dog, buldog5151bass and spaz21387 like this.
  15. Chris Doherty

    Chris Doherty

    Jan 31, 2018
    I've been in similar situations before (albeit not my friend's wedding!). What i find helps is to just not bother learning the exact bassline. Play through all 19 songs a few times, coming up with your own gut-feeling bassline that fits the chords and vibe of the song (unless it's like... billy jean lol). When it comes to playing it live, you won't have a brain-fart and forget it. Also print out a setlist with the key of each song and anything important next to the names, just so that you can glance down and jog your memory. Also, learn the first 2 or 3 songs especially well, to get the gig up and running smoothly!

    Good luck!
    Engle likes this.
  16. I accepted an invitation to sit in with a local established band to play only two or three songs from their recent CD. The invitation was extended on Thursday, the gig was Sunday. At least one song was an original; the other two being their stylized covers. One of those songs I never heard before. I asked when we could rehearse and the BL said just be 2 hours early for the gig and we'll rehearse then. I asked for a copy of their original song and the BL said he'll see what he can do. He never supplied it and I ended up downloading their CD online. I listened to the specific song they wanted me to play on several times. Their stylized cover of the other song was very different than the original.

    I arrive at the venue at the agreed upon time and the BL has nothing for me. No lead sheet, no chart, and no written notation. The BL then gets angry with me for not knowing his songs.

    I will never again agree to sitting in without either written charts or an adequate rehearsal time. I hope your situation works out better than mine did.

    Thump on,

    Deak and Oddly like this.
  17. matthewbrown

    matthewbrown Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2003
    Harwich, MA, USA
    It's time to come up with a really good, but not believable excuse. A broken hand, for instance. Arrive with it wrapped in gauze.
    Chris Doherty likes this.
  18. foolforthecity

    foolforthecity Supporting Member

    Spidey2112 likes this.
  19. steelbed45

    steelbed45 TRemington Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2011
    Nolanville, TX
    I've had to do this a couple of times and hated it. After all the woodshedding, I was so focused on retaining what I had crammed that I wasn't able to actively enjoy the experience.

    From reading this thread, seems I'm not alone.
    Guiseppe and davidprice like this.

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