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Pet Peeve: Bands hinding behind music stands

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by mboogiemanusa, Sep 28, 2010.

  1. Seems to be quite a few bar cover bands in my area that never practice as a unit and only get together if there is a paying gig.
    That's ok for the semi-pro experienced players that gig regularly but what sticks in my craw is the bands where every member is standing behind a big black orchestra stand with their faces buried into notebooks of tab sheets. What should be a performance is really just getting paid to do the practice should have be done on your own. Am I the only person that believes that music stands and tab sheets belong in rehearsal rooms but not on a stage? I'm talking about typical 3 chord bar band music like Start me Up or Sweet Home Alabama not a jazz ensemble.
  2. Mudcat35


    Feb 21, 2009
    Austin, TX
    I play in a cover band where three of the four singers have stands in front of them. Drives me absolutely crazy. If I have to learn my bass part, why don't they have to learn the lyrics?
  3. Marginal Tom

    Marginal Tom

    Apr 28, 2010
    O'Fallon, IL
    I'm a male senior citizen. There's no reason that I can think of why anyone would want to look at my chest while I'm playing. My head and neck are clearly visible above my music stand if anyone in the audience wants to watch me. I play requests, and have a large songbook. I'd rather have a music stand on the stage than forget the second verse of a song.
  4. mrwink


    Apr 30, 2000
    Los Angeles area
    my singer uses a stand - I dont' really care except that on smaller stages it takes up too much space.. I don't think most of the audience gives a rip about it.
  5. Axtman

    Axtman Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2008
    Seattle, WA
    I play in a worship band where everyone has stands. It does not bother me so much except I find myself not looking around and missing signals. Last week I could not find a song fast enough so I had to wing it. I was surprised how well I knew the song that I had not practiced in months. So I am going to challenge myself to not look at the music so much. Eventually I just want to do without music stands all together.
  6. Stinsok

    Stinsok Supporting Member

    Dec 16, 2002
    Central Alabama
    Recently did a gig where the lead singer had a music stand, light on top, small fan attached to the light. It was about 6 feet tall.
  7. Marginal Tom

    Marginal Tom

    Apr 28, 2010
    O'Fallon, IL
    Depending on the song, you have from one to ten chords to consider, and a handful of notes that might reasonably get you there. There are hundreds of thousands of words in the English language, and many of them appear in song lyrics.

    Also, flubbed words are a bit more obvious to the audience than a clam on the bass.
  8. feelinthefunk39


    Jan 30, 2010
    I used to play in a band with a singer who was always forgetting lyrics. am i crazy for quitting because she couldnt remember the words to songs she wrote? just sayin.
  9. wideload


    Apr 15, 2004
    Salinas, CA
    Not when I play, buddy! :hyper:I make my flubs low and loud!
  10. sobie18


    May 5, 2002
    Shaw AFB, SC
    I can see music stands maybe when the band is just getting out of the gate but if they are somewhat "seasoned," lose them suckers. Ya gotta ween yourself off them...
  11. jimc


    Sep 17, 2002
    New Carsmell, CA
    It's a peeve of mine as well. It makes me think the band is less professional. Horn players I make exceptions for but singers are what the audience tend to look at and I don't like to see them obscured by a stand.
  12. Samsound


    Sep 28, 2010
    My P&W band does mostly new songs every week, so everyone except the drummer uses stands. I set mine off to the right against the wall if I need to refer to it, but mostly play from memory and cues. I feel much more tuned in to worship, the other musicians, and the congregation by not having that stand between us.
  13. pkmoor


    Jun 4, 2009
    Maple Glen, PA
    I'm in a wedding band and we usually get the bulk of the requested stuff about 2 weeks before the gig. Most of the gig is from memory, last minute stuff is read from a stand I keep to the side. I have some cheat sheets I keep on the floor for stuff we play less frequently.
  14. More obvious?? I must be nuts but a 'clam' on the bass stands out like hell.
  15. duff beer

    duff beer

    Dec 2, 2007
    I was once in a worse than average classic rock band where every single member had a music stand on stage (drummer included). I was the only person who didn't have one ...and I made less mistakes than the others.

    They thought it made them look "professional"... :rollno:

    It was hilarious when one of them had their song sheets out of order and had to scramble looking for the next song...we once played the entire first verse of a song with no vocals while the singer frantically looked for the lyrics :D
  16. dls59

    dls59 Supporting Member

    A pet peeve of mine, as well. I think they look unprofessional.
  17. corinpills


    Nov 19, 2000
    Boston, MA
    Quite often, I find that singers need lyric sheets for very, very well known songs that the majority of the audience could probably muddle through if forced. It's a crutch and once their heads are in the book, they'll never get out of it and there's zero entertainment or connecting to the audience going on.

    For instrumentalists, it's more of a gray area in my mind. Certainly, for last minute requests or unfamiliar tunes it's fine to use a stand for a few songs, but if you're reading the same songs week after week it might be time to actually learn them. Maybe even go out on a limb and try to use your ears and musicality or something. Also, I think a lot of it has to do with whether or not you sing as well. Part of the job description of a singer is to put some feeling into the song and actually sell it to the crowd. Ideally, the whole band adds to that to some degree. I've just never seen a music stand with any charisma.
  18. Bufalo

    Bufalo Funk in the Trunk Supporting Member

    Jan 6, 2005
    Harrisburg, PA
    I think it's totally situational. If you're a bar band getting paid to be a live jukebox of covers, then your job is to learn the songs, play them, and entertain the crowd: No stands. If you're in a situation where your musical parts are complex and fully written out, or if you're in a situation of playing new music every time you perform, or who knows, then if a stand is required, then go for it.
  19. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Retired Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Tom Jones never uses a music stand.
  20. JohnMCA72


    Feb 4, 2009
    For some musical genres, it's tolerated if not expected. For example, classical/orchestral, concert band, big-band swing, & probably a few others it goes with the territory. For others, where it's more-or-less expected that musicians are playing "from the heart" if not outright improvising, then they're less prevalent.

    Where I get heartburn is in one of those genres that are "supposed" to be more spontaneous, with players who never seem to take their nose out of the stand! Heaven forbid, actually make eye contact with a member of the audience! Don't want to give them anything more than they might get out of the jukebox!

    Something I learned a long time ago, rehearsing a play, was that I could never completely learn my part as long as I had that script in my hand. Same thing for music on a stand. If it's there, it becomes a crutch. Without the crutch, you're forced to learn to walk!

    It's one thing to have a stand off to the side, with a set list or a book of charts. It's quite another to keep your nose buried in it so deep that neither the player(s) nor the audience is aware of each others' presence!
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