Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Donkeybass, Jul 10, 2003.

  1. Donkeybass


    May 13, 2003
    Odessa, TX
    OK guys,

    I'm in a standard four piece band that was started by the drummer. They brought me in later in the picture after their previous bassist. By demonstrating my skills in music theory, as well as my knack for ear and tempo, I have slowly gained clout. Now, it is mostly my decision whether or not a song is "ready" for live performance, as well as determining what order we play the songs in our book.

    HOWEVER, when the band brainstorms on new song ideas, they continually pick whiney, sappy songs, which we already have too much of. My suggestions for popular new alt songs or even upbeat classic rock gets cast aside, as if I have no clout at all. Now, I agree that every bar band should have a few slow songs, but when over half of every set is slower than 80 beats the crowd gets bored and in some cases even gets driven away. In fact, to my dismay our gig this last weekend began with a full house, and by 1030 half the house was *half-empty. This was in a popular bar!!

    Should I try more agressive means of introducing songs, or should I coax the band to take different venues that fit our set list? (IE Weddings) Or am I overstepping my place? Its in my opinion that to make money with one of these bands, you have to keep the house packed or at least sell a lot of beer. Ill take any suggestions, and thanks in advance!


    *Edit: half-empty vs empty
  2. inazone


    Apr 20, 2003
    donkeybass: That should be my post! The only difference is the guys want to play b side songs that most people have never heard of. I ask the guys "who do you want to play for? The 5 guys banging their heads on the stage saying play slayer or the 100 people sitting at their tables waiting to dance". Im all for and enjoy playing those songs but when it exceeds 50%, I tend to think that you wouldnt build much of a following.
  3. jive1

    jive1 Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    One of the rules in business is to know your market. I am not familiar with Odessa, TX so I can't be much help in analyzing your market fairly. But, if people seem to like the sappy songs in your neck of the wood and you don't mind playing em, then go for it. If not, I think that you should be somewhat agressive in getting your point across. For bands whose goal is live preformance, then booking and gigging are the lifeblood of the band. If you aren't getting booked and having successful gigs, the band is likely to disintegrate.
    If you want to play more wedding type of music, make sure there is market for it where you are. Weddings tend to pay pretty well, so if you're into it then cool. If playing that sort of stuff disgusts you, then you know what to do.
    For the bar scene, bringing in people who buy drinks is essential. A slow song works well once in a while, but I don't recommend overdoing it. Do it too much, and I find that one of three things happen.
    1) People get bored - A slow blues tune is to a guitar player, what a Playboy magazine is to a teenage male. It prime [email protected]@tion material. Even though the guitar player is ripping up a mad solo, people tend to get bored if you do that type of song too much (even when there are guitar players in the audience). The same thing goes for those vocal ballads. Have you ever seen the energy of the room go up when an Air Supply/Ambrosia/Michael Bolton extended medley is played? I rest my case.
    2)People get sad - If you're in love and with the one you love a sappy love song is fine. That's why it works at weddings, but rarely elsewhere. A sappy love song for a lonely or sad person, usually doesn't lift up their spirits. It reminds them of their lonliness and how everyone else seems to be in love or happy. Also if I had a hard day, the last thing I need is continual background music of Tear-In-My-Beer so that by the time I leave the bar, I'm really depressed. I can't say that I have never been in a bar where there weren't any sad or lonely people. Get a balance - move people's emotions, and then give them a chance to forget about the hard ones.
    3)People get mad. Yup, I find in my experiences that a slow song will more likely erupt a barfight than a danceable number. Why? People sometimes confuse anger with grief. Sometimes it's easier to be mad than sad. Plus, if I'm going out to party and practice the fine arts of revelry after a hard week of work, then the last thing I need is stuff that's gonna bring me down. There's plenty of other stuff to do that. Yeah, I'd be pissed if my favorite rowdy bar had some sappy Elton John playing instead of the usual rock tunes.

    OK, I said enough. No more of my mail order diploma, wanna be psychiatrist crap. Get out and get your bass heard.