Tone Deaf lead singer with Axle Rose complex

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by RicPlaya, Oct 6, 2003.

  1. RicPlaya


    Apr 22, 2003
    Whitmoretucky MI
    O.k., our lead singer is tone deaf. He thinks he is a great singer, thinks he is hitting the right notes, but he's not at all. We recorded our practice he sounds like crap, but still thinks he sounds good. The rest of the band is in total agreement, he sucks. I guess the main problem he is in denial, he actually thinks he's great. So what do I do, here's my problem:
    1. How do you make him see the problem?
    2. How do you fix it, vocal lessions?
    3. We have a gig in three weeks, what would be a quick fix?

    If we didn't have a gig, which just kind of fell into our laps, we would just confront him and pitch in for vocal lessions, but we have three weeks, what to do? We will confront him on this because it's holding down the progress of the band, but is there anything we can do in three weeks?
  2. ONYX


    Apr 14, 2000
    Not trying to sound cold-blooded, but, I don't think there is much that you can do in three weeks. If he's that tone deaf, it's going to take a lot longer than three weeks to fix the problem ( if it even can be fixed--face it, some people just don't have what it takes.)

    If you're that concerned about the vocalist, use the time that you have to find a replacement. It sounds like your current vocalist won't understand why he is being replaced, but that's the way the cookie crumbles.
  3. RicPlaya


    Apr 22, 2003
    Whitmoretucky MI
    Replacing him is out of the question, roommate....He has a lot of dedication to the project, but he is very very stubborn....If we could just work on some vocal stuff for a couple of weeks it would help, but i am by no means a vocalist and don't where to even begin.
  4. James Hart

    James Hart

    Feb 1, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: see profile
    Hey, I jammed with that Dude!

    Seriously, which will hurt the bands and your own rep more...

    Calling off the gig with the explination that you don't feel the current singer is at a professional level and you need time to get the band in proper shape...


    Showing up and sucking! The singer is all that matters to 99% of the audience
  5. LoJoe


    Sep 5, 2002
    Concord, NC USA.
    Three weeks isn't much to work with, but if you must go ahead with the gig and this guy is the only game in town, you might try to convince him to have a few sessions with a vocal coach. Last year my oldest daughter requested that I play guitar and sing a solo at her wedding. I can manage ok on the guitar, but was NO singer. When I first started practicing...well in a word, I SUCKED!! My wife convinced me to work with a vocal coach. I only had 4 sessions with him over the course of about 6 weeks and it helped immensely. He taught me how to power the sound with my diaphram instead of my throat, how to use my posture (head back) to hit the notes, some tidbits about pitch and relative pitch, and some scale excercises first with and then without a piano. The improvement was dramatic and I pulled it off with many compliments and of daughter owing me big time! :D I'd still rather keep my mouth shut and play bass though. :bassist:
  6. Its never out of the question ...... or everyone else will end up leaving the band.

    On a positive note, you could move to Missouri, bands with singers like you describe are the norm around here, heh.

    Ok, thats an exaggeration.
  7. You either replace him, or watch your band crash and burn early on. Dedication is great, but it's not strong enough on it's own. The remaining band members deserve more.
  8. RicPlaya


    Apr 22, 2003
    Whitmoretucky MI
    I hope it's not this cut and dry, The guy has been a great friend for over 25 years and I am not even 30 yet. But at the same time I don't want to look like an anus in front over 100 people! Should I try to salvage this thing, get him a vocal lesson or two before the show and go from there or cut my losses like a lot are saying. It would damage our friendship I'm sure of it.
  9. Well, thats a tough situation.

    Sometimes you have to do a few gigs, and when ppl say "Hey the band is great, but your singer .... "

    Then they get the point.


    If you've been friends for so long, I hope you can be honest with each other and talk it through.
  10. Be upfront and totally honest with him. Give him a chance to speak for himself first, but offer the two options: he either A) gets lessons ASAP (any before the gig will help) and continues with them until his vocals improve, or B) he is let go. He needs to acknowledge that his current performance is affecting everyone (if his pig-headedness continues, option B is the answer...).

    If you're both near 30, he should be mature enough to make the right decision. If he's mature enough you won't lose the friendship.

    This is unfortunately one of those situations where you have to look out for number 1, lest you (and the rest of the band) get dragged down. If you bust out onto the live scene sucking, it's gonna be a hard road uphill to gain credibility as you improve.
  11. jive1

    jive1 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    1. You told him yourself, the band members told him, and you played a tape for him. What else can you do. He also tone deaf, so how are you gonna make him hear how out of tune he is if he can't even tell if something is in tune? Maybe go out to Karaoke and let him suck in front of strangers without your band. If anything, he can get an objective opinion. Sounds to me like a psychological issue more than a musical one. And psychological issues like these won't be fixed in three weeks.
    2. Vocal lessons will help, but you aren't gonna turn him into a Freddy Mercury in 3 weeks. It's doubtful that you will be able to get him to sing on pitch during that time. If you plan an working with this guy for a while, vocal lessons is the way to go. Especially if you or anyone else in the band can help. Sometimes people need advice and criticism from people other than his friends or family. As they say, a prophet is never heard in his home town.
    3. A quick fix? Hmm lemme think. Maybe one of those expenwive, fancy digital pitch correction devices they use in studios? How about hiring a professional singer to sing the vocal tracks and he can lip sync? Worked for Milli Vanilli and Menudo. Maybe you can just turn up his volume in the monitors and down in the main PA. Hopefully no-one in the audience will tell you they can't hear the singer.

    Voice is hard thing to coach. Since you are the instrument, you are the direct recipient of the criticism. You can't blame being out of tune on your bass with the broken tuner. The blame is on you, and you alone. It's hard to criticize the voice without having the person feel like they are being criticized personally. That's why I feel self confidence is one of the keys to good vocal coaching. Luckily I've had two friends that were great vocal coaches for me over the years and got me from awful to adequate. Coaching was hard to take in the beginning, but the results were well worth it.
    Honestly, if this guy can't take constructive criticism or take opportunities to grow, he's not good for your band. A good singer can make or break a band.
  12. jondog


    Mar 14, 2002
    NYC metro area

    I jammed with that dude, and I played that gig. The people there said "Your band is good, but your singer . . . " I was willing to work with him, but the rest of the band fired him, and in retrospect they were right. Unfortunately, that band never found a singer up to their/our standards and we broke up. That was a good band band. :( My new band is good in different ways, and the singer is great! :)
  13. 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
    Re-read ONYX and nil. Then read them again. You're not going to get the answer you want here, because you're unwilling to do the only appropriate thing: fire him. Your band will suck as long as he's in it. It's on you if you let him stay.
  14. RicPlaya


    Apr 22, 2003
    Whitmoretucky MI
    I've confronted him, he has agreed to take lessions. we have a friend of our coming over who has been gigging for 20+ years. He is going to help us out with vocals for a couple practices untill the gig, then he will enroll in regular lessions. I owe him the opportunity, if lessons don't solve the problem then we will move on. Worse case senerio he will become the second guitarist and do backups.
  15. Sweet! Sounds like you're all working towards a common good.

    Good stuff!
  16. RicPlaya


    Apr 22, 2003
    Whitmoretucky MI
    Lets see if we can get him to follow through! I'm sure we can get through this, if not, I'll start a new thread..LOL
  17. RicPlaya


    Apr 22, 2003
    Whitmoretucky MI
    We talked last night for several hours. We have a freind comming over to work with us for the next 2-3 weekends to polish up the vocals. He may also enroll with a vocal coach, but definately after the show he will take regular lessions for vocals. I feel much better and glad I have not given up just yet, but if he doesn't follow through or show no marked imporvement we may have to scrap this thing. He has a decent work ethinc I think we can try to work throught it. Wish me luck getting this on the right track!!!! thanks for listening to my band drama. Untill the next episode of " The Vocalist and the Restless " Rick
  18. Can someone explain to me what its like when you're tone deaf?:confused:
  19. You simply have a hard time differentiating audible tones/pitches - but usually you think that what you're hearing is correct. For example singing (or even playing, if you're not looking at the fretboard) an A# but to you it sounds like an A.

    It's almost like a audio version of color-blindness...and can be hard to accept the first time someone tells you you're out of tune (embarrassment, fear of failure, all those lovely weak human traits ;) )...