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Playing in multiple bands

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by LiquidMidnight, Feb 11, 2002.

  1. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    I don't really know what the purpose of this thread is. Maybe it's just an outlet for me to complain. :D

    But anyways......

    I don't know why certain musicians have to be in multiple bands. Our guitarist is in another band, and it has become a real pain in the A** for both of the bands. Our singer has to be careful when booking shows that it doesn't fall on the date that he's booked with the other band. (I could go out and get us bookings at local bars/venues where I live, but I don't bother, cause I could end up booking on a date he can't play) We've already had to grab other guitar players to fill in for certain dates. I could be playing almost every weekend instead of twice a month (when I'm lucky) if it weren't for this. He's an awesome guitarist that can play everything from blues to flamenco but it's just starting to frustrate me. I've learned that whenever I join any more bands, I'm making sure that this band it everyone's first priority. (musically that is)

    I can understand having another side thing going on like a little jazz combo that plays at a club on Thursday nights, or maybe a recording project your doing, but I've learned, being in two bar room/weekend bands doesn't work. (Unless one band is only interested in playing a few dates a year or something)

    What have been your expierences?
  2. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    I play in 2 bands now, I've played in as many as 4 at one time. If it became a real conflict, I'd make changes.

    Right now my 2 bands are my original and my cover band. In the original band we're pretty easy going so there's rarerly a conflict, the guy who runs the cover band drives me nuts though cuz he want's me to leave all weekends open. That's unreasonable. For now I've agreed to book only one original gig a month on weekends (and we discuss it if a good oppotunity arises for more gigs). What I do to keep the peace also is IMMEDIATELY notify each band of ANY dates that I become unavailable. This illiminates the fear of either band booking on a date I already have a gig.

    If the guitarist is giving you as much a problem as it seems, I think he's being unfair. If you guys have a goal, and want to be playing more (and aren't becaue of him) then I think you have a responsibility. I'd replace him, regardless of how great I thought he was. There really are lots of GREAT guitarists out there. They're not terribly hard to come by. The way I see it is you either accept the way it is and play the few gigs you do, ask him if he's willing to change, or make the seemingly necessary change.

    Good luck.
  3. mchildree

    mchildree Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2000
    I've always been involved with more than one band at once..at least since I stopped being a "full timer". Right now, I'm working with 5 bands regularly and none of them stay really busy so it works out just right. I personally gig quite a bit, but I can't remember the last time I had one gig interfere with another. None of my band mates have a problem with this because they are all multi-band guys themselves.

    I just stick with a self-imposed rule: First booking gets first consideration, no matter how much money is involved.
  4. Funkster


    Apr 6, 2000
    Wormtown, MA
    I play in three gigging bands and I rarely have a conflict.
    It helps being the prime booker for two of the bands;)
    Seriousely First band who gets a booking on a certain weekend gets the gig...The only way I would change a date is if my original band got a important showcase but I have been known to play two gigs in a night..
  5. Sundogue


    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    LiquidMidnight, like any relationship, it's about communication.

    I myself have played in multiple bands...and I have to do what's right for me...that doesn't make it right for others, but they're not living my life.

    Perhaps your guitar player wants to play out more...or he wants to explore different styles of music. Either way, you can't fault him for that.

    Like a relationship, he obviously is not feeling fulfilled playing only with your band and feels the need to get it somewhere else. :)

    You need to sit down with him and the rest of the group and talk this out. If the rest of the band just can't stand it like this anymore, you need to let him know about it.

    If you aren't willing to compromise with him...or you aren't willing to change as a band to suit his needs...then the choice is obvious. He will either leave on his own accord or you guys will need to fire him.

    If he is really that good, you can't hold him back (if that is the case)...on the other hand if his wanting to play in other bands holds your band back...you can't afford to keep him in the band.

    The best thing you can do is talk about it. You simply cannot force your will on him though. Being in a band is alot like being in a relationship with a woman. Things cannot always go your own way. There has to be compromises, but most of all COMMUNICATION.
  6. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Is this guy doing music full time? It's hard to fault someone who need the gigs to pay the rent.

    I'm only part time, but I play in two bands as well as freelance. I just like to play and the money is nice (though it only makes up about 10% of my total income).

    In the past I have quit bands when conflicts got too much. I just keep in mind that no band lasts forever, so I like to keep active in the scene so when one gig dries up I've got contacts for a new one.
  7. I practice 8 times a week (twice on Sunday) with 4 bands 3,2,2, and 1. If I could find some people to play during the weekday, I'd add 5 more practices with 2 or 3 other bands!

    Why I do this is because uh, playing music is fun? And I like different types of music.

    As far as gigs, I just let everybody else know as soon as I know when I have a gig. It's not been a problem.

    Being a competent bassplayer makes me pretty busy. If I were a competent keyboard player, I would be insanely busy. I could probably show up only at gigs for 10 different fun bands and actually make a living. Maybe I'll go practice some keyboards!
  8. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    Hey thanks for all the relies guys. I don't know really what we are going to do. I'm not going to push anything major right now, cause it looks like I might have to relocate to find a job anyways. When I see what's going on with my life more, I'll see more clearly what's suppose to happen.
  9. I've found that one of the best ways of developing as a musician is to play with other people. I play in 4 bands at the moment:

    The Chameleons - 2 gigs per year - great fun, good vocalists, and not too much pressure - the material is quite easy, and we add new stuff, and dust off the oldies...

    Jazz Ensemble - weekly get-together - mostly Real-Book

    "The X-tet" - trumpet, sax, 2 guitars, bass, drums - rehearse weekly, get the occasional gig - mostly Real-Book, but occasionally someone will come up with something else

    "3 - Jazz Trio" - 2 guitars, bass - 2 or 3 times a month at a local restaurant - play for dinner - mostly Real-Book stuff, but interesting arrangements

    er, that's it...

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