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So, Has Anyone Actually Stepped Up?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by jive1, Jun 26, 2014.

  1. jive1

    jive1 Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    There's lots of threads in BM about guys who can't cut the mustard on several levels, and one of the typical responses is to give the person in question a chance to step up and get their act together. In over 25 years of playing, the last time when someone stepped up and met the grade was probably in high school but that was because we all sucked on our instruments and were messed up in the head, so there was nowhere to go but up.

    But in my adult, and semi-professional world this never has happened. Folks who couldn't play didn't actually learn to play in time for the band to get somewhere. Folks with drug/alcohol/relationship problems usually didn't clear up these issues until maybe 10 years later when the band had long been folded. People who were unprepared or flaky didn't all of sudden become responsible and reliable. And people who were difficult to work with, never seemed to get easier to work with. If anything, they got worse.

    So, give some hope to this jaded musician...
    If there has been a time where someone stepped up their game and got their act together, please share. If not, you can share in my jadedness.
  2. fourstringdrums

    fourstringdrums Decidedly Indecisive Supporting Member

    Oct 20, 2002
    I've had times where I needed to step it up and while I definitely did make an effort, it wasn't enough for the band. I always try to do my best, even if that means that I have to improve, but I can only do so much.
  3. mellowinman

    mellowinman Free Man

    Oct 19, 2011
    Maybe they did, but not before I fired them. We'd have to ask their next bands.
    joebar, SasquatchDude, edpal and 4 others like this.
  4. One Drop

    One Drop

    Oct 10, 2004
    Swiss Alps
    In my professional life, people have, but they were usually people who were quite obviously underperforming for a reason and not for lack of commitment or character. But people are what they are and the big secret to having an easier life is to not try to change people or expect them to meet one's unrealistic expectations.
  5. I play with a great musician who cleaned up his alcoholism. Truth be told, it never hurt his playing! But he's more responsible now, certainly easier to work with. The previous band I played with him in broke up for other reasons. The current band is going pretty well, although we're all pretty busy. He himself has twins that just turned 1, which keep him and his current wife pretty busy, once you add on the full-time job.

    We are playing on Friday, last-minute thing helping out a bar that had a cancellation. Our last gig was last Saturday at exactly the same place.
  6. RustyAxe


    Jul 8, 2008
    Thanks ... it's always nice to share.
  7. I was initially the lead guitarist in my band, but the bassist had to quit. So I switched to bass because A) I had one B) I had the experience. The rhythm guitarist was mostly into metal (still is). However, that meant he had to step up his game in terms of learning the lead solos and playing more rhythmically (ie. funk strumming for certain songs).

    So he actually spent hours practicing per day getting cover songs down note-for-note. Actually exceeding my own abilities as I never take the time to learn solos note-for-note (or anything actually). My cover band philosophy is get the song as close to the original, but leave enough room to adapt to my personal styles for comfort and adapting the song to the band to fill in the sound when needed.

    While I'm sure he had the talent and potential, he just never had the will or confidence to learn those songs close to perfect beforehand. The only downside is... is that he still lacks the ability to improvise well or adapt songs to the band yet. So if it's a two guitar song, he's going to learn one part and that's pretty much it. That's fine though, as long as we make a concerted effort to play songs from bands with similar line-ups. (We don't however)

    So it can happen. His hard work is commendable.

    The rest of the band... not so much in terms of improvement. I'll just leave it at that.
  8. Jade comes in so many beautiful hues, and not just shades of green! White, Black, Grey, Orange, Purple...

    A good name for an oldies band: The Jaded Has-Beens.
    joebar, Zos Kia Cultus and jj4001 like this.
  9. interp

    interp Supporting Member

    Apr 14, 2005
    Garmisch, Germany
    I'm fairly cynical, I suppose, but in 47 years of playing in bands I've become convinced that people (not just musicians) ultimately do exactly what they want to do. If they want to drink, do drugs, hang out with their friends, ignore commitments, etc. that's what they ultimately do. Regardless of what they say they want. If they want to work their butts off to achieve goals, raise a family, help other people, etc. that's what they ultimately do.Very few exceptions. I don't know of any personally.
  10. Hobobob

    Hobobob Don't feed the troll, folks.

    Jan 25, 2011
    Camarillo, CA
    I was in an originals band with a couple of guys who were a few years younger than me. The guitarist was a good songwriter, but he didn't have much confidence in his playing.

    The drummer was the opposite - total prog fanatic who couldn't go a few measures without messing with the meter or playing some ridiculous fill.

    Maybe it's because I'm a little older, but when I talked to them about their playing they actually listened. The guitarist got serious with his practicing, and eventually got to the point that he was throwing down some pretty awesome leads.

    The drummer took a little longer, but after introducing him to a few awesome bands and showing him that their drummers played with obvious skill, but knew to save the really spectacular stuff for when it would be the most impactful, he calmed down and now plays with much more taste.
  11. MegaSwing

    MegaSwing Your Obedient Bassist® Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 26, 2002
    Baltimore, MD USA
    I can only think of one player who was an adult when I met him who has gotten into a new orbit as a player. He's a guitarist. As you say, Jive, it's not fair to judge players based on what they could (or couldn't) do as kids. The other side of that is there are many players I thought were outstanding when I was young in my knowledge that have turned out to be just ordinary since I gained more experience. Overall, I have found that the great majority of players I have met in the last 20+ years are pretty fully formed as players—known quantities, as it were. Not a lot of new tricks are getting learned, but for some of them the same old tricks are still amazing. This is why your reputation means so much in this business. It is your track record, not your potential.

    I have met only one player whose alcohol use made me cut him loose forever, after one absolutely horrific gig. Very talented player, too. Supposedly cleaned up and lives a respectable life now. Congrats. Live long and prosper. Not interested. As in never again.
    swamp_bass likes this.
  12. Bassist4Eris

    Bassist4Eris Frat-Pack Sympathizer

    I pretty much share your jadedness. The only minor exception I can think of is that my current guitarist used to noodle a lot at practice and play too loud. He's actually been the subject of a whiny BM thread. I had a good talk with him, and he's reined in those tendencies considerably.
  13. BassCliff


    May 17, 2012
    So. Cal.

    There is always hope. Never give up hope. But I admit I've seen the spiral down more often than I've seen the stepping up. I often wonder if there's anything more I could have done.

    Thank you for your indulgence,

  14. Schimmy


    Jul 5, 2012
    I'm happy enough to have a friend who is a guitar player, and we basically go in all sort of bands together. We tried to get in two bands, hopeless, both of them.

    Then we decided it was time to find ourselves a drummer - with the same mindset we have - and voila! Great band, awesome energy.

    Therefore, based on all i lived and experienced so far, a huge no. Find good people to be with and play, don't wait for them to step up.
  15. pglaser01


    Mar 19, 2013
    St. Louis, MO
    If only I were that good....
    Now I'm not sure if this qualifies but here goes. Band I just joined about 3 months ago...our current bass player originally was their ryhthm guitarist and singer about a year ago. After awhile his voice just couldn't hit the notes anymore (think AIC, Candlebox, 90s). They had another pro player coming in but lost their bassist, they really wanted to keep this guy because his energy was great and he was a joy to be around so they asked him to play bass....fast forward, he is a really good pocket and melodic bass player....so I say he really stepped up when asked!!!
  16. swamp_bass

    swamp_bass I love it when a groove comes together

    Nov 20, 2013
    North Cackalacky
    I think it's also a matter of definition. As someone who has only been playing bass for only 2 years, I'm still amassing skills and knowledge. While my work ethic may be good, I'm not good enough for the A list bands, and if I joined one I'm sure I couldn't get there fast enough not to bog them down before they fired me. But I'm now the strongest member of the first group I joined six months ago as the weakest member.

    But if your definition of stepping up is to do something within your means, such as practicing songs you don't know on your own time (doing your homework), improving shortfalls in attitude or behavior, or growing where you need to grow, then MegaSwing said it best: Your reputation is based on your track record, not your potential.

    A tiger doesn't change his stripes.
  17. obimark


    Sep 1, 2011
    I shall share in the jadedness- IME- Everytime I have joined a band the same issues that are present at that first practice are there at the final gig.

    Guitarist is way too loud at first practice- he is way too loud always. doesn't change.

    Willingness to accept that we may have to play some songs that aren't personal favorites to actually get decent gigs. Nope, no growth or learning on the other members parts.

    Matter of fact the same mistakes that are made on songs at first rehearsal, ditto, they never change.

    "Understanding that if you play too loud for the venue, you won't get called back? Hell no- let's just go louder..."

    Am seeing a bit of this in my band now as it spirals slowly down the drain--- refusal to grow on some peoples part and step outside there narrow notions of what is good and what isn't.. As the saying goes a Cat doesn't change its stripes.
    pglaser01 likes this.
  18. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    I have had several times where people had the talent, but wern't putting in the time, where they took hold of the line and hauled themself up. A drummer, and a keyboardist. Rare, but it happens. I hate to see talent go to waste.
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2014
    edpal likes this.
  19. When I started playing big band jazz I could barely remember how to read notation values and didn't read a note of bass clef. I bumbled my way through the initial gtg and since I was the only one interested who could read a damn thing I came back the next week quite a bit better. Now I can sight bumble with conviction all the new charts, pretty major step up if I do say so myself.

    Tl.Dr, if I didn't learn to read bass I had to bow out, so I learned.
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2014
    Nashrakh likes this.
  20. Do any of the late-in-life learners count? There's many threads on TB about people taking up music (bass) late in life, starting at ground zero/from scratch. When they've gone from not knowing how to play a simple root-5-octave to playing with a band (roots-only through the chord changes) to regular gigging and throwing in unison lines with the guitarist and songs with signature bass-lines (ex. Stand By Me etc)... is this not stepping up?

    I do love orange & purple jade...
    bass81800 and Linnin like this.

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