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So Now I am the Band leader!! Whats next?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Manuel101, Mar 13, 2013.


  1. Manuel101

    Manuel101

    Jul 4, 2010
    As you may know from some of my previous post my band has gone through some setbacks and changes. Lately we have been stalling and nothing has been getting done. The drummer was the band leader as he originated the band. He is very passionate but also has very strong opinions which can sometimes cause issues.

    He told me yesterday that he wants me to be "the go to guy" for the band, which includes booking, setting up rehearsal schedule etc etc. He wrote that he was frustrated because nothing has been getting done. Our last show was Jan 4 and the band moral has been low. He told me that maybe I can boost the band's moral and take us in a different direction.

    The problem is I have never lead a band. I have usually played for established latin bands and I have no experience leading a band. My dream would be for us to eventually make a decent living of our music but if this doesn't happen I would like to at least make some money and have fun playing. Help me out here guys. What strategies can I use to get the band going and eventually bearing fruit?
     
  2. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    You become a jerk who picks terrible songs, tries stupid gimmicks, and puts unreasonable demands on people who won't listen, tries to rehears every 20 minutes, and forces everyone else in the band to go on drummer and guitar player forums to piss and moan about how stupid and demanding you are. Good luck with that!
     
  3. Manuel101

    Manuel101

    Jul 4, 2010
    well that doesnt sound like advice lol. your reply seems uncalled for:eyebrow:
     
  4. Manuel101

    Manuel101

    Jul 4, 2010
    I dont make demands, that just doesn't work, unless you are a hired gun for a big time artist. It is more because i work well with people and I am very dedicated.
     
  5. Bass_Band

    Bass_Band

    Aug 2, 2012
    Wow. I wanna be a band leader!! :confused:
     
  6. Manuel101

    Manuel101

    Jul 4, 2010
    So far no decent response guess I had too much faith in the talkbass community
     
  7. Tom Lane

    Tom Lane Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    My 2 cents as a jazz band leader. It sound to me as if your current leader is trying to dump the leader responsibilities onto you without accepting any of the responsibilities. My backround in jazz dictates that for the most part, he who gets the gig is the leader. That entitles the leader to negotiate pay and privileges along with gig start and end times, and set the tunes. In my world, the leader is also responsible for naming the tunes, providing the charts, ensuring that the environment meets the other players needs and everyone, including the establishment, is happy. Based on your post, it sounds to me as if the drummer is trying to take advantage of you and you shouldn't go for it. If you do, it becomes your gig. Your tunes, your players, etc.
     
  8. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    First of all, let's get clear on this: You're not necessarily the leader - just because the leader & founder of the band wants you to become "the go-to guy" (whatever that means). You won't fully become the leader until everyone in the band accepts you as such - including the drummer/founder. And that includes having the authority to hire & fire people, as necessary - including the drummer himself.

    What you're asking entails a big subject - one that can't be addressed appropriately in just a few forum posts. And unfortunately, coming at it from a dead stop, with absolutely no preparation for it, and no expectation of ever doing it, is probably the worst possible way of approaching it. :eyebrow:

    Real leaders generally have a vision of where they want to go - and a plan for how to get there. This isn't something that just happens overnight.

    I wish I could tell you more, but as I say, it's a BIG subject, I honestly don't have the energy to expound on all of it - and you have a LOT to learn. Let's see if there are any more replies that are actually constructive... :meh:

    MM
     
  9. pushbuttonfour

    pushbuttonfour

    Dec 20, 2012
    well, I guess SOMEONE's had problems with sh*tty band leaders :rolleyes: As a band leader, I feel like I have the opposite problem. I don't wana hurt anyone's feelings and have them not enjoy themselves in the band. That's my number one goal: for everyone to have fun. Cuz honestly, we know we're not gonna make it big, so it's really just about having an awesome time. I feel like if OP combines elements from my style and the style you described, he'll lead his band well
     
  10. I would say your dream is so far from everyone else's at the moment that you should not pursue it. The fallback position of money spinning weekend warriors probably appeals to more of the band you have.

    As time goes by the dead wood fire themselves by not meeting the requirements of the weekend warrior band. You will replace them with more enthusiastic ones.

    Then the real fun begins when you want to chase midweek gigs and far away weddings. Then competent weekend warriors come on internet forums to moan about their overdemanding bandleader.
     
  11. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    There is much to learn in that reply if you read it correctly.
     
  12. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    I've never claimed to be the leader of a band, but in at least three of them I was. If you lead the band rather than dictate to the band, you'll be OK. Leadership is mostly about building consensus - taking in all the opinions of the other members, and bringing them together all headed in one direction. It takes, finesse, tact, and a certain level of determination and assertiveness without bullying.

    That said, frankly, I don't think the drummer is asking you to be the leader. It sounds to me more like he wants you to take on all the work and responsibility. He's a smart guy.
     
  13. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    Intergalactic Mind Space CA
    Song Surgeon slow downer software- full 4 hour demo
  14. Manuel101

    Manuel101

    Jul 4, 2010
    Let me clarify a few things. Its an original alternative rock band; lead singer, guitar, bass and drums. We played only 13 shows last year because the drummer insisted that we should not play at bars since we would loose prestige by doing so, we also had some set backs because the lead singer and one of the guitarist quit.
    He has very strong opinions so that many times he would clash with other band members. For instance somebody once mentioned that we needed a keyboard player, but he said "no" that if we needed samples or loops he would get a trigger box with prerecorded stuff and control it while playing drums. Sometimes he would get into arguments with the current lead singer and I would have to tell him to come down and take it easy as we could not afford to loose her.
    Also none of us got paid last year as we would use what little we made to invest in the band. Now what I really want is advice in terms of gig selection, should I take them all or only paying gigs? How can we promote ourselves locally and online? How much should we charge per show? what steps can the band take to develop a stronger following and begin earning a decent amount or miraculously making it big?
     
  15. You're in way deep and asking questions that are market dependendent, bandmember skill and enthusiasm dependent, and not paragraphed, good luck.
     
  16. Shoal of Time

    Shoal of Time

    Jan 4, 2013
    It depends on what the leader of your band would do. Often leadership can work if certain tasks are the responsibility of different members of the group--the person who is the best at getting gigs can oversee that, the person who is best at directing a rehearsal can oversee that, the person who is best at organizing new material for original tunes can oversee that. If one person takes on everything, it can become perceived as that person's band rather than a true "ensemble." Which is fine if that's what the band actually is and all members understand and want this.

    One idea might be for you to consider exactly which responsibilities you would be able to assume and which another member might be better able to handle. It is not necessarily true that a band has to have a single leader who is responsible for everything. That can create a lot of tension in the band and a lot of stress and pressure for some people who don't actually want all that responsibility.

    Which is how it seems you may be feeling. It seems like a burden is being shifted to your shoulders a bit by default. Maybe you could have a band meeting and figure out who is going to be in charge of what and get everybody on board with the organizational setup.

    And of course you will not know what you are doing at first, as you said you haven't had that experience. So as long as the band understands this and trusts you, and as long as you understand this and see it as a continual learning experience, it can work.
     
  17. Shoal of Time

    Shoal of Time

    Jan 4, 2013
    It depends on what the leader of your band would do. Often leadership can work if certain tasks are the responsibility of different members of the group--the person who is the best at getting gigs can oversee that, the person who is best at directing a rehearsal can oversee that, the person who is best at organizing new material for original tunes can oversee that. If one person takes on everything, it can become perceived as that person's band rather than a true "ensemble." Which is fine if that's what the band actually is and all members understand and want this.

    One idea might be for you to consider exactly which responsibilities you would be able to assume and which another member might be better able to handle. It is not necessarily true that a band has to have a single leader who is responsible for everything. That can create a lot of tension in the band and a lot of stress and pressure for some people who don't actually want all that responsibility.

    Which is how it seems you may be feeling. It seems like a burden is being shifted to your shoulders a bit by default. Maybe you could have a band meeting and figure out who is going to be in charge of what and get everybody on board with the organizational setup.

    And of course you probably will stumble here and there at first, as you said you haven't had that experience. So as long as the band understands this and trusts you, and as long as you understand this and see it as a continual learning experience, it can work.
     
  18. ChrisB2

    ChrisB2 Bass... in your fass

    Feb 27, 2008
    TalkBass > Off Topic
    +1

    - Don't become a jerk
    - Select good songs that are appropriate for your band, the venue, and the audience
    - Avoid stupid gimmicks
    - Be careful what you ask your band to do (like engage in stupid gimmicks)
    - Just know that your band will appear to not be listening to you and not taking your lead, but remember that even though they seem ambivalent, your words and deeds are getting noticed; do a good job and eventually they MIGHT follow your lead... maybe
    - Limit rehearsals to something reasonable, say 1x/week, 3-4 hours unless special circumstances dictate otherwise; then be prepared for resistance
    - Don't be stupid and demanding and force everyone else in the band to go on drummer and guitar player forums to piss and moan about how stupid and demanding you are
    - Good luck!
     
  19. tycobb73

    tycobb73

    Jul 23, 2006
    Grand Rapids MI
    The most successful leaders have a vison and make sure everyone shares that vision. Most relationships (bands, marrages, etc) fail because of differing expectations. Your #1 job is to make sure everyone is on the same page.
     
  20. robgo

    robgo

    Jan 25, 2008
    UK
    I am really struggling to understand this whole 'bandleader' thing. I've been in bands for the last 20 years and never heard of the concept until i saw it on this forum - maybe it's an american thing?

    All the bands I've been in were 'co-operative' bands. We all knew who was good at booking gigs and pushing publicity etc and who was good at writing songs and creative direction etc but all decisions were taken together, anyone tries to 'lead' or impose their views above others and they'd have been straight out of the band. (just like McCartney and the Beatles I suppose !!! (oops!))

    I guess it would be different for a more corporate functions band but it all seems a bit bizarre to me - maybe I've just been lucky!!

    Reflecting slightly further, most of the bands I've been in, we've all felt the need for management - someone who can do the admin and business side that us 'creative types' have less time/inclination/aptitude for - but it wouldn't have been right any of the band taking a formal lead role in the way described here.

    I'd be curious to hear other's views/experiences?
     

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