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Should I quit this band?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by pklima, Dec 21, 2011.

  1. pklima

    pklima Commercial User

    May 2, 2003
    Kraków, Polska
    Karoryfer Samples
    I've never seen one of these threads on TB where the consensus opinion wasn't "oh just quit now, why are you even asking?", but I'll post this anyway.

    I'm in three bands. One plays acoustic versions of modern pop stuff, the second is pretty much the same thing with some originals thrown in and the vocals split roughly equally between English, Portuguese and Spanish, and the third plays jazz standards, Edith Piaf, Marlene Dietrich etc.

    The singer from the third band is the most talented, both vocally and in terms of stage presence (and the daughter of a professional double bassist), but the band draws poorly. We've played three bar gigs and crowds ranged in size from about 7 to 25 (plus some riverboat gigs where we didn't need to bring people in). I think the problem is that our setlist is very retro, our friends aren't into that, and we don't know how to market ourselves to people who are.

    Is this salvageable, or should I just give up and stay with the two bands that play for bigger crowds and play music I like better anyway?
  2. jsbachonbass


    May 16, 2006
    Denton, TX
    That is because if a situation is bad enough for you to post it, there are really only 3 ways to resolve any band issue.

    1. If you have the power, then you force a change in others. Threatening to quit can force a change.

    2. If you have other options, remove yourself from the issue. In other words, quit.

    3. If you have neither power nor other options, then shut up and deal with it.

    Above all, I think #2 is probably the easiest to do, and probably the most healthy.
  3. jmattbassplaya

    jmattbassplaya Looking for a gig around East Islip, NY!

    Jan 13, 2008
    IME, if you feel strongly enough to post about it on TB then you probably are ready to move on from the gig and just need a gentle nudge to make you actually do it. I'd say move on if you already have two gigs that you actually enjoy.
  4. kevteop


    Feb 12, 2008
    York, UK
    If you don't really enjoy the music and you aren't getting any other sort of satisfaction from the gig then there's not much doing it, IMO.
  5. CS


    Dec 11, 1999
    If you have no power to change the situation, walk. If you do talk to the others.
  6. Denny Coon

    Denny Coon

    Jan 10, 2010
    If you do it for money which is probably the band that draws the most, then stick with them if you depend on that income. If you do it for the love of the music you prefer and it dosent have a draw, then (for me) i would get the most satisfaction from that. Playing what you want and have those moments on stage where you just love your tone or magic moments happen is the most rewarding thing you can ask for.
  7. ChrisB2

    ChrisB2 Bass... in your fass

    Feb 27, 2008
    TalkBass > Off Topic
    If you and maybe another member or two wants to put in the effort to figure out the right setlist and the right venues to make it work, then do that and it's probably salvageable. If no one does anything, sounds like it will probably die on its own anyway.

    If you don't care and are just tired of it, then quit. You have our permission. :p
  8. Dave W

    Dave W

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    Do you enjoy playing in the band? If you do, then stick with it, unless you've got major issues with the people in the band. Who care's about the draw if it's a good situation?

    If you don't enjoy it, make a change or move on.
  9. Yeah no one said it would be easy, A BAND is the closest you'll come to be married without being married so either you work at it to fix it or it ends in divorce simple
  10. mellowinman

    mellowinman Free Man

    Oct 19, 2011
    I'll never understand how someone can be in THREE bands.
  11. M0ses


    Sep 11, 2009
    Los Angeles
    Jazz standards don't draw crowds. It sucks, but there you go. Find some dedicated jazz clubs to play in: they'll love you there.

    That is, if you don't need the money. If you just can't afford to spend time on a band that doesn't make nice money, you should quit, because a band playing jazz standards very likely isn't going to do it.
  12. pklima

    pklima Commercial User

    May 2, 2003
    Kraków, Polska
    Karoryfer Samples
    I do think the band is fixable, and like I said the singer is great. We've tossed some ideas around for trying different venues etc, we just don't have any ideas that I see all that much hope in.

    Sure we could radically change the setlist and start playing completely different stuff, but the singer doesn't want to do that and I don't want to turn this band into a redundant copy of another band I'm already playing in.

    We could play background music in restaurants and dance music for tango clubs, but I'm not really doing this for the money as much as I was a few years ago... my day job pays much better now and how much gigs pay matters less than it used to. At this point I'd rather play gigs that I can invite my friends to and that my friends will want to come to.
    I care. Hence the thread. And it can't be a good situation if you can't even fill a small hole in the wall bar.
  13. Jazz doesn't sell in bars, anymore than Metal sells in a jazz club. You have to have the presence of mind to know who you play your music for and where you can do it. It's really no more complicated than that. If your friends don't want to come to the restaurants and other venues where you would be best received, then it is what it is. If I was diggin' the music, I personally wouldn't care if my friends showed up or not. It's not about them, it's about the music.
  14. Passinwind

    Passinwind I know nothing. Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    I always vote for playing what you like. I played old school torchy Diva jazz for several years (stuff like this, so maybe slightly less emo than what you implied) and it drew pretty well on the winery and festival circuits around here, with the occasional restaurant or function gig also working fine. Bars? Not a chance! I have no idea how or if it works in Poland though...:cool:

    Many of our gigs were that type you mentioned, where we just needed to hold an existing audience, not bring one in.
  15. pklima

    pklima Commercial User

    May 2, 2003
    Kraków, Polska
    Karoryfer Samples
    Yeah, bars probably don't work here... I mean the last place we played at called itself a jazz club, had been calling itself that since 1994, and the regulars were happy that we were playing "normal music". Apparently there's not a lot of jazz or even vaguely jazzy concerts there anymore because...
    ...the night after we played at that jazz club they had a metal band with a cellist. They apparently get mostly metal bands nowadays. Jazz gets played elsewhere.

    As far as the quitting part, yeah, I probably should. The signer is great, but seems to want to play music that her friends can respect and admire her for. I want to play music that will make women think I'm not as old and boring as I actually am, haha. Those are very different goals.
  16. Phalex

    Phalex Semper Gumby Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    G.R. MI
    My thoughts exactly.
  17. charlie monroe

    charlie monroe Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2011
    Buffalo, NY
    This reminds me of a quote from an old TV show called WKRP in Cincinnati. In this episode a punk rocker was being interviewed about his musical background and he boasted a performance degree in Cello from the Royal Conservatory. The follow up question was about how this degree led to punk rock? The answer?

    "You can't get thousands of screaming teenage girls to a cello recital, now can you?"

    I have read a lot of your posts, pklima. I like you. I think that you have a great attitude toward music and life in general, equal parts pragmatism and playful lunacy.

    My $0.02? Lose the gig, keep yourself on the sub list and find a third band that pays you with smiling, dancing eye-candy! Enjoy the ride!
  18. jive1

    jive1 Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    How do you like the music of band #3 vs bands 1&2?

    I think if you're one of those guys in multiple bands, it's a good idea to be in a band for the love. IMO, if you're playing cheesy covers for your other 2 gigs, it's good to be in a band that challenges you musically/creatively or plays a type of music that you love regardless of marketability.

    I'm currently in 3 bands, a variety band, a Country band, and a Reggae band. I just picked up a 4th band playing a style of music that I love, Funk. I get to play Jimmy Nolen licks all night, and I'm loving it. The band gigs, but more importantly, I dig the tunes and that's enough for me.

    Chicks and money are good, but so is playing music you love.
  19. the yeti

    the yeti

    Nov 6, 2007
    raleigh, nc

    if that's all there is too it (you don't know how to market) it is salvageable. i'm guessing you just aren't enjoying it, but i'm also wondering how her father factors into this.
  20. Passinwind

    Passinwind I know nothing. Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    Yep. Not very far from my situation, and I eventually did bail on that band.

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