The opposite of the typical Band Management horror stories. Who's in a good band???

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by two fingers, Apr 24, 2019.

  1. Nope.

  2. Heck no.

  3. Yeah Twofer done bumped his head and had a dream while he was out.

  4. Shut up, Twofer. We hate you.

  5. Beer, you say?

  6. Yay for cake!

Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Inactive

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    So, the vast majority of Band Management threads are horror stories. I'm not complaining. Vent to us. We're here to help. Keep 'em coming. I've been there before.

    But I wanted to take a moment to voice the flipside of the coin.

    Man, I'm in a good place right now. I know I'm lucky. I don't take it for granted.

    But my current band simply couldn't be any better for me at this point in my life. I started a few threads about it last year when we put this all together. There were a couple of speed bumps during the forming of the band. In short, the female singer and keyboard player rubbed each other the wrong way. But, that's all ancient history. They are good friends now just like the rest of us.

    Everyone in the band is GREAT at what they do. She can SANG! Keys player is also a great singer and harmonizer. (Think Gary LeVox from Rascal Flats with maybe not quite the high range.... but almost.) The guitar player is just freaking great. He nails Cliffs of Dover just for fun. And he's got some soul when he needs it. We have a new drummer. He's solid as a rock. And, get this. He has DYNAMICS!!!! He can knock the crap out of the drums one minute, and then make you wonder if the drummer took a pee break the next because he's playing so quietly. We lock in without even trying. I excel at singing high 80s rock stuff. We all bring something to the table.

    The harmonies. My gosh. The harmonies. I thought I was a great harmony singer until I got in this band. But those two SCHOOL me every time we sing together. It's a fun challenge. I have a wide range. So I'm singing the Ike part in Proud Mary one minute, and high backups over a female lead the next. It's a workout, but well worth it! The other two just make it seem effortless. Music simply falls out of their faces as if breathing.

    Our standards are high. Our "mission statement" is to be the best part-time bar bad in our area. We want to NAIL every song we do.

    Everyone owns part of the gear. We have a Midas digital board, high-end QSC powered speakers, in-ear systems AND floor monitors depending on the venue, the ability to run our own monitor mixes from our phones, nice LED lights, and good personal gear for each of us. We lack nothing. Setup is a breeze. The whole band with the entire PA, drums, backline and and lights could fit in a Suburban easily. And it's quality stuff.

    When it's showtime, we're all on. We agree that lights are not optional, but required. We dress the part. Nothing silly like David Lee Roth in 1985 (although he made it work). But we don't look like our audience.

    We have a fantastic place to rehearse/jam. It's the bonus room over my garage. Climate controlled. Plenty of space. 46" TV connected to my laptop (which is also run to the PA) to put lyrics on or show YouTube videos of songs we want to play. I don't know how they built my house, but it defies the laws of physics. We rehearse with half the PA (QSC top and sub) and full on drums and amps. My neighbors can't hear us.... at all. My next door neighbor has headed over to see me and got in my driveway before he realized I was jamming with the band. My wife and kids go to bed while we're still playing! At the end of our GTG I simply walk upstairs and fall into bed. All of us except the female singer live within 4 miles of my house. She drives about 18 to a nearby town.

    Here's the best part. We actually like each other a lot. Our personal schedules are crazy. Booking shows can be a challenge. But one or two a month was always the goal. We're making it work. Our personalities mesh perfectly. We are all goofballs. We laugh our heads off when we get together. Between songs during shows, the person talking to the crowd is usually the one person on stage who isn't laughing hysterically. We see things the same way. We have similar backgrounds. We're all 35 to 47 years old.

    Tonight we're getting together at my place. Do we "need" to? Nope. We could gig tomorrow and execute assigned duties flawlessly. (OK, not "flawlessly", but really well.)

    I have never been so excited to "rehearse". Sure, we'll get a little work done. But we'll also cut up and laugh a lot too. The music is simply an excuse to get together. Every time we get together, we start around 7:00 p.m. Usually it ends with a couple of us still standing in my driveway or sitting on my back porch talking around 11:30 or so. We just like to hang out.

    Female singer runs a bakery out of her house. She has taken requests from all of us. "What's your favorite kind of cake?" Each time we get together, another band member gets his favorite cake delivered to the jam. And we destroy it in about 20 minutes. Lemme tell you.... she bakes as good as she sings. :drool: I like to make a couple dips to have as well. Tonight is guac and buffalo chicken dip. We'll all have a couple beers. The Red Sox game will be playing silently on the big screen. (House rules. ;)) So, when Mookie knocks one over the Green Monster, I'll stop playing and "WOOHOO!" into the mic, I'm sure.

    Get this. We're actually planning to get together at my place for a pool party/cookout on a Saturday in the near future with all of our families. No music involved whatsoever. Wanna know why? We want to spend MORE time together! Our kids even like each other! Our spouses like each other!

    Again, I know how lucky I am right now. I'm savoring every moment because I know it can't last forever. But in THIS moment, my music life is good.

    Who else is in a GOOD PLACE musically right now?
  2. mrcbass


    Jan 14, 2016
    Sacramento, CA
    Congrats - enjoy it while you can. And yes we all hate you for it...:cool:
  3. Oddly


    Jan 17, 2014
    Dublin, Ireland.
    @two fingers I hit the like button, but in all honesty I hate you.:D
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  4. Spidey2112


    Aug 3, 2016
    I'm in a good place, but still want to be the water boy, in your band...

    ... and will hate you, after you hire me.
  5. RustyAxe


    Jul 8, 2008
    I'm in a good band. As many gigs as I care to work every month (at least with them), guys are all VERY experienced, great chops, and including me we have three competent vocalists who can sing lead or harmony (actually excellent by bar band standards). We get along without being bosom buddies. Been with these guys for nearly 10 years now. There were a few drummers in the first couple of years, but our guy now has been with us for eight years. No other personnel changes over that time is a good indicator of a solid band. My trio project is great ... although I am decidedly of a different political stripe than the other two, we manage to leave that aside and just make music. And best of all, for me, is that while we take the music seriously, none of us take ourselves too seriously. No egos, no drama. But then we're old(er) and are all "growed up".
  6. Dbassmon


    Oct 2, 2004
    Rutherford, NJ
    Yes, I have a very good situation. The band is made up of players in the NY metro area with serious creds, playing with major acts. These are all older guys, pros: great players, singers and lots of harmonies. We have spent many hours crafting what we do and stand out from the crowd of other bands because of unique arrangements and mashups.
    It does not hurt that we have five singers and great soloists on guitar and Hammond. Yes, we carry a B-3!

    That doe not mean there are no issues. Everyone has their personality quirks... what artist doesn't? The main problem is that we have set ourselves apart from other bands and we are sitting on that notoriety for too long. Honestly, some of the arrangements took months to put together, and it has been over a year since we added another significant effort. We pride ourselves on going where few others dare, but that has caused some fatigue.

    I am hoping we can rekindle the enthusiasm to get back to work. If not, we can not expect our following to see the same show month after month and adding filler tunes is not part of the mission statement.

    Last edited: Apr 24, 2019
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  7. lfmn16

    lfmn16 Inactive

    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    Most of the bands I have been in have been really good experiences. I probably sound like a broken record, but the vast majority of the issues I read about on TB are the poster's own fault because they didn't have a good screening process BEFORE they got in the band. I think some people have NO screening process.

    Both of my current bands are pretty easy. Everybody is on time (or close), everybody mostly learns the tunes, they are all good players and they are all dependable. It's not 100% foolproof, but talking about the issues prior to accepting an offer will avoid most problems down the line.
    nixdad, JRA, Bunk McNulty and 4 others like this.
  8. jshinal


    May 28, 2013
    Raleigh, NC
    Wow, that's pretty idyllic, congrats on having it all come together.

    I'm in a lucky situation. I'm working with very talented musicians who watch dynamics and changes pretty closely, and who can recover gracefully from a goof. We all get along well too, even though we rehearse at the end of busy workdays when tempers can get sleepy and grumpy. The pay has been pretty good at our gigs and we've had some really strong compliments on our performances. Hopefully we can make the next transition to larger corporate and civic events around our area, there's plenty of it, we just need to crack our way into that scene.
  9. LBS-bass

    LBS-bass Guest

    Nov 22, 2017
    It generally lasts about two years before it all goes to <a certain place> in a handbasket. Why? I don't know. I was in a very good place with one of my bands a year ago, but that phase has passed. The pain factor has recently increased by a factor of ten for reasons I probably shouldn't share online. But yes, a year ago we were having barbecues together and stuff, so enjoy all that while you can :)
  10. I'm also in the 'pinching myself to see if I'm dreaming' camp, although not as good as your delusion.

    I got pulled out of 'retirement' about a year ago to play with the neighbor's country band. He'd been hosting people as a hootenanny/open rehearsal/neighborhood potluck every Friday for decades (really!). Lost their bass player due to drama (his fault, not the BL/host) and someone told the BL that I used to play bass, but maybe left out some details like: 30 years ago... in my bedroom... as a teenager.... playing a very different style of music....

    So I was a friend first, most of the rest of the band is related by blood or marriage; so if there's drama, it's old news and nothing that anyone has any real hurt about. The Hang is fantastic (and was since before I was even in the band, lol), the absolute best part of my week.

    The Music is old country (50's, 60's 70's), which I've always much preferred over the stuff that's been called country music since the 80's :vomit:. They go for a good number of 'deeper cuts' so it's not all of the tired old standards and they also throw in bits of other stuff (classic rock, bluegrass, gospel) which makes it even more interesting, imo.

    I had to relearn even the names of the strings at first, but my retention of music theory (I played piano and violin as a kid so that had been drilled into me pretty well) plus a good, experienced and patient drummer have helped to bring me along pretty well. The first gig was 8 weeks after they shanghaied me, I didn't suck too bad ;).

    Our gig schedule this year is really sparse (so the Money isn't great atm), but we've been working on the marketing: recording everything to find good clean cuts for demo's and youtube, lots of photographs by my wife, both of us working on our design and layout skills. Plus I still have a lot of songs (200+) to make sure I at least have the chord progressions down as well as working to nail the distinctive bass lines.

    Lots of fun and lots to do. It's great to have something like this in my life. Interesting to realize that I could never have planned the string of events that got me here, I'm just so grateful that I am!

    Thanks for starting this thread so I could crow!

    Be well.
    nixdad, eJake, JRA and 7 others like this.
  11. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Gold Supporting Member


    i'm in a similar place with my jazz band. all great players, each with enough mileage that the 'small stuff' doesn't's the music which binds us together and propels us forward.
  12. ccooney78


    Apr 21, 2011
    Belleville, ON
    I count myself lucky, too. I'm in a 3-piece and we've been playing together off and on for almost 10 years. We gig 2-3 times a month, practice when we can. It probably helps that we're pretty much the same age and have similar living situations (full-time careers with wives and children). I've jammed with a few other people over the years but this group has been the easiest so far. The singer is taking a sabbatical next year so I imagine we'll hit the pause button while he's gone and pick back up where we left off. One year may seem like a long time but it's not nearly long enough to find anybody with the talent (and easy-going attitude) that our singer/guitarist has.
    BassCliff and two fingers like this.
  13. After a band situation went horribly wrong in the early 90's, I was out of the loop for a number of years with virtually no playing.

    Since that time I became more cautious about who I aligned myself with and tried to not commit to anything before really feeling it out. That meant missing a few possibilities that at first looked promising but later ended like a meteorite in the Siberian forest.

    I consider myself fortunate to be a part of the group I'm in now. 3 pc, reliable people that are on time and helpful, know their parts, and bring their own strengths to the mix. Is it perfect? Probably not, small disagreements come up from time to time but never anything that can't be resolved pretty quickly.

    We are in a good place now where we more offers to play than we have availability. It's about as good as I think it can get.
    JRA, BassCliff and two fingers like this.
  14. Holdsg

    Holdsg Father of Pugs Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 10, 2009
    Mesquite, NV
    I'm in a good place with my 3 current projects.

    Swansons (bass):
    I just play and get paid well. No drama, no nonsense, music is ok, not my fave, but it's better than some others I've played in. Get to play cool venues like the Whisky on a regular basis. BL is organized. What's not to love?

    Who Experience (keys):
    My longest lasting band, and we're starting to hit our stride as a tribute band. Lots of gigs. Love the music, as I've been a Who fan since a teenager. Never thought in my wildest dreams I'd be playing the music, but love it nonetheless. Most of guys in band are ok, BL is a bit challenged with people skills, but drummer(s) and guitar player are best buddies.

    Southern Rocket (keys):
    Newest band, and I'm just breaking into the guys personality. Large band (7 pieces). Love most of the Southern Rock music we play (yes, we play Freebird, and on keys, its actually fun to play). They are all relentless at teasing each other, which makes for long text message battles late into the night, but they all just like to have fun, its just been an adjustment.

    My preference would be to have more opportunities to play bass. I've been somewhat picky (that filter thing @lfmn16 talked about) and the good bass players rarely leave the best bands in town (see @BassCliff ). But overall, really can't complain about things now (versus 2-3 years ago when I was wondering if I'd ever find a good band to play in).
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2019
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  15. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Inactive

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    "D.... da...... das some fine quality H20 raht there."
  16. This- EVERY tryout/interview/date in life is two ways. Do they want what you are offering? Do YOU want what they are offering?

    So many people go through life never understanding this. EVERY poopie band I played with had warning signs from DAY one. Period. They were right there. Not knowing songs that they told me they played? Check. Volume issues? Check. Smoking MJ so thick my eyes were watering second-hand? Check. Cat crap right on the rug of their jam space? Check. Unrealistic expectations about what people want to hear at a bar? Check.
    oldrocker, lfmn16 and two fingers like this.
  17. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Inactive

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    I am more than familiar with these "text battles" you speak of. Keys player's birthday was yesterday. Man, we pounded him all day!
    Holdsg likes this.
  18. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Inactive

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    You must have taken my place in that band!!!
  19. RichardW


    Feb 25, 2016
    near Philly
    I love my band.

    A little history: I picked up the bass when I was 45 and told my wife my goal was to play in a band at my 50th birthday party. After 5 years of lessons, and about six months before my 50th I realized I had to get cracking if I wanted to meet my goal. I spoke to the guy to who ran the music school I attended, and he put me in contact with another adult student learning guitar. We connected and made plans to get together. Meanwhile, independently, this guitar player had met another guitar player our age and invited him as well. The three of us met, spent a lovely evening together jamming on some tunes, and decided to keep it going. Turns out a painting contractor working on the first guitarist's house was a drummer, so he joined. Then we went back to the music school and recruited a keyboard player.

    All five of us started getting together weekly to learn some songs. About six weeks before my 50th birthday (for which my wife had organized a big party) I told the fellas about my goal of playing in a band at the party. They all thought that sounded good and so we played about half a dozen songs to about 30 guests. We had so much fun we decided to keep going. About five months later we played at a music festival at a local school, and a couple of months after that we had our first paying gig at a local bar/restaurant.

    That was 2009. We've been together since then, gigging between 6-8 times a year. We are marking our 10th anniversary (and playing at my 60th birthday party in a couple of weeks). We met as strangers with nothing in common but a love of rock n roll. I now consider these guys my friends. We've had two female singers over the years, and the occasional horn player, but it's still the five of us. I can count on one hand the number of times there's been any strife among the members. We all have different personalities, but there is very little ego involved. If there's any barking the issue is resolved quickly and forgotten.

    We work hard on having a great song selection (and have performed more than 300 different songs) and spend a lot of time on our vocals and harmonies--a key differentiator from other cover bands. We have similar tastes in music and similar goals for the band. We rehearse almost weekly and I love rehearsal almost as much as performing.

    I know it can't last forever. At some point, someone will retire and move (though we range from late 50s to early 60s in age, so probably have a few more years); or--God forbid--someone could have a health issue. For me though, in the meantime, it is a complete joy to play with guys and I am so grateful that I can do so. Playing with them has made me a better musician and I think we've brought a lot of pleasure to our audiences over the years.

    I don't know if I'll ever be able to replicate with another group of musicians. Hopefully I won't have to find out for a long time to come.
  20. lfmn16

    lfmn16 Inactive

    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv

    Sometimes it's not so evident, they are a little fuzzy on the gigs, the setlist doesn't totally reflect what they said they were going to play, the great drummer turns out to be filling in, etc., etc.

    I once joined a country band and after the first gig I found out that the drummer was just filling in until the new guy was available. I asked all the right questions, just never thought to ask, "Are the people in this room right now all actually in the band?" :meh:

    And, as hard as it is to believe, some people lie to you!!
    scared little boy.jpg
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