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Old Guy in the band

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by SteveC, Nov 13, 2017.

  1. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    So I searched and found a "big guy" in the band thread - which I also am, but I'm down 10 pounds so I'm trying. I am also the oldest guy in the band. 51 and pretty grey. Not especially good looking compared to these guys. Everyone else is at least 12 years younger than me, the female singer is maybe 20 years my junior. Very attractive female singer, good looking guitar player as are the drummer and keyboard player. We've had a few public outings. I wouldn't call them a gig, but we've played a couple sets for an art festival and a outdoor festival. I've seen pics and video and while I don't look completely out of place, I don't exactly fit in.

    They asked me to play, and I've played with them before, but that was in a horn band and different jazz groups. Age/looks didn't seem to be as big a deal in the horn band, and jazz...anything goes there. But this is a dance/party cover band. I can play the tunes, but that isn't what will make the band. It's the show, engagement, hooking the crowd.

    Like I said, we've tried bands before with different levels of success. Talent and ability to play the music is not an issue. We can play. But we've always missed the show part. I think our singer will help a lot. Thing is, I am not a show player. I stand pretty still. I like to be in the background. I'm having fun, but people tell me I look bored.

    I'm a little torn. If I say something, I think they'd say I'm crazy. Or maybe they'd offer suggestions to try and make myself more interesting when I play, but I think it would come off as fake. I don't want to hold them back. I don't want people to say hey, this band is great and fun, except for their dad on bass.

    Like I said, we have yet to do a real club type gig, but I'm a little worried that I might not be the best fit for the band.

    Any thoughts?
    Quantized Harmonic and nixdad like this.
  2. Don't sweat it.

    The band I play in are all old gits, guitar the youngest at 58, me at 66, drummer 71.
    We still play pubs and clubs and keep getting return bookings (so must be doing something right). We also have the advantage that we are now picking up 70th birthday party gigs because we play mainly 60s songs and that was their era.

    We do have a dress code which pulls us all together and makes sure no one stands out or is lost at the back. This depends on the availability of a changing room. The bathroom, cooler room (with water on the floor), or parking lot are not considered "changing rooms" so we will wear black trousers (that we arrived in) and either matching patterned shirts or shirt of choice. If a changing room is available first set is usually matching mid blue suits and ties with shirt of your choice. Second and subsequent sets we ditch the ties and jackets or switch to black trousers and different shirt.

    I am the quiet one so this is made a bit of a feature and I deliver a few one word replies when asked questions.
    Ductapeman, mikewalker and Stumbo like this.
  3. Bullitt5135


    Nov 16, 2010
    SE Michigan
    What you're describing worked for Bill Wyman, John Entwistle and a thousand other bassists. It's hard to groove like Flea if it doesn't come naturally. You can work on your stage presence -- make it part of rehearsal. Relax and groove with the music. See if you can let yourself go a little bit and rock out at times. Interact with your bandmates. Look up. Make eye contact. Smile every once in a while. Dress the part -- ask your singer to give you some style advice.
  4. I forgot to say that I am also #1 sub for a young singer/guitarist (he is about 30). I asked him one day why he didn't get a sub his own age, his reply was that older guys usually know a lot more material and styles and don't have drink, drug, or woman troubles. (His drummer is mid 50s.)
    ezra1, Phud, Diamond_Dave and 5 others like this.
  5. Bunk McNulty

    Bunk McNulty It is not easy to do simple things correctly. Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 2012
    Northampton, MA
    If you band doesn't have a problem with you, then you don't either. Don't invent one!
  6. Torrente Cro

    Torrente Cro

    Sep 5, 2013
    Nobody looks at bass player anyways ;-)
  7. 3Liter


    Feb 26, 2015
    My last band had a bass player that was older than the rest of us. No drugs, drink or woman problems. He knew how to work the equipment and had a great ear. BUT, he didn't know the music. Not sure he liked the music but hopped on as a learning experience. So he didn't play the role of bass in a rock band....more like a jazzer.

    Wanted to do more harmonies than we needed AND could do them.

    So age was never a problem.... "Just play the root in eigths on this one, buddy... Was
  8. StyleOverShow

    StyleOverShow Still Playing After All These Years Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2008
    Hillsdale, Portland
    I’m the oldest (67) in all three bands I play with currently. I lost 20 lbs by cycling, started touching up my white eyebrows and now regularly hit the sideburns too.

    It’s a demographic fact, the boomers are greying and so is TV, movies and music.

    Do the best you can to play well, look your best and keep a positive attitude. Best we can do, right?
  9. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    I have been the oldest in several bands I have been in and it has never been an issue.
    Phud, FlatwoundFunk and StyleOverShow like this.
  10. Yeah, I gotta agree. This seems like a non-issue.

    In fact, I’d go so far as to say if someone asked most audience members “did you see how old that bass player was?” Their answer would be “what bass player?”
  11. friskinator

    friskinator Supporting Member

    Apr 5, 2007
    Montreal, QC
    Agreed. In my experience, the audience barely looks at the band anymore. They're too busy on their phones.

    But regarding the OP's statement, I've been the oldest and youngest guy in various bands. Was never an issue either way. As long as you're dressing the part (especially in a party band), you'll be fine.
    FlatwoundFunk likes this.
  12. Tony In Philly

    Tony In Philly Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Oct 25, 2007
    Filthydelphia, USA
    I'm 64 and am playing more than ever. As long as I'm not playing music that is associated with youth I don't give it a second thought.
    FlatwoundFunk likes this.
  13. Element Zero

    Element Zero Supporting Member

    Dec 14, 2016
    Ok. Seriously. Try this. Learn Jamiroquai “Summer Girl”. It’s not a particular difficult bass line... but it should get your booty movin.
  14. Fat Freddy

    Fat Freddy Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2016
    Albany NY
    Maybe make a feature of your relative older age?.....

    Haven't had time to come up with suggestions as to how yet but I bet you could come up with something....

    Anyway....the band don't seem to have a problem....Don't worry about it :):thumbsup:
    FlatwoundFunk likes this.
  15. rtav

    rtav Millionaire Stuntman, Half-Jackalope Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 2008
    Chicago, IL
    John Myung.

    Somehow he manages to keep his job, and somehow no one minds his stage presence.

  16. Fat Freddy

    Fat Freddy Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2016
    Albany NY
    pcake and rtav like this.
  17. gln1955

    gln1955 Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2014
    Ohio, USA
    You have an attractive female fronting the band. Nobody is going to be looking at everyone else that much. You are what you are. Just dress well and act naturally.
    DirtDog, pcake, Joebone and 3 others like this.
  18. bass40hz

    bass40hz Cigar smoker, scotch drinker, American Patriot

    Aug 13, 2014
    Sussex County, NJ
    no endorsements but would love a few ;-)
    I'm 51, oldest guy in the band also, but, its my band, there is your work-around if you need one, go start your own thing and call the shots. Luckily for me the guys in my band became all great friends, we do Sunday gravy at my house, pool parties at my GPs house, etc...with wives, kids, pets, etc, I find that as long as you arent 30 years apart in age and have the same musical tastes and goals for the band, it works out OK, youngest guy in the band is 35, me being the oldest at 51...anyway...rock on ;-)

    BTW - I am particularly good looking ;-)
    FlatwoundFunk and Fat Freddy like this.
  19. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    True. I enjoy my position behind her.
    My wife found me a nice jacket to wear with dark jeans/pants and a nice graphic tee so I'll try that for our gig this Friday.
    FlatwoundFunk and Spidey2112 like this.
  20. SactoBass

    SactoBass I like all-tube amps! Supporting Member

    Jul 8, 2009
    Sacramento CA
    Age doesn't matter. Skill and attitude matter.
  21. QweziRider

    QweziRider Supporting Member

    Sep 15, 2008
    Las Vegas
    Well, what we do can involve a bit of acting. Pretending. Especially in bands that are more towards full or visual entertainment rather than a band to go listen to the amazing musicianship alone. I get what you're saying, but sometimes we do have to become actors a touch and learn how to be visually entertaining without looking fake. I wish I knew how to better explain it. My main gig has all of us musicians in all black and largely not the focus. That's the singer. But night after night, you still have to react to the jokes as if it was the first time you heard them. You have to find a way to pull the audience into what just happened on stage, make them believe it spontaneous when we all know the truth up there. I wish I could explain how to do it, but for me it's just another skill to work on just like our playing.
    mikewalker, FlatwoundFunk and SteveC like this.

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