Uh oh, What Am I Getting Myself In To??

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by TheMadBassist88, Mar 18, 2023.

  1. TheMadBassist88


    Nov 5, 2022
    So, after many, and I mean many, attempts at finding people to try and form a band with, I feel it’s a lost cause. No one around me wants to do original hard rock or metal. I guess I’m a fading dinosaur in my locale haha. Oh well, so I decided I would attempt to start playing bass at my old church again. I made the band and went last night to check out their click track stuff, meet the band, etc. I was greatly impressed with everyone I met. They all were super nice, had great senses of humor and all, overall seemed to be an awesome bunch of people. Once they started going over the songs before services, and yes we have Friday night worship there, I got slightly worried. It almost seemed they had not practiced the songs all week. The drummer was fantastic, but the bassist and one guitarist were struggling with the songs. The bassist was trying to play a song they had changed keys to but reading the old chart. The guitar player was playing two songs in the wrong key. The click track switched out the bridge for an additional chorus part and they didn’t tell the band. The worship leader was just shaking her head. I’m sitting on a stool just shaking my head and giggling lowly thinking to myself, uh ohhhhhhhhhh. This could be a disaster in the making. When I played years ago, the band was tight and on point. It was fantastic and everyone was well prepared. I’m going to move forward with this adventure and hope and pray that this is not an every weekend occurrence. At least I’m playing music with others again so I’m happy about that.
    StayLow, Element Zero, N4860 and 9 others like this.
  2. As you know most church music teams are all volunteer. It just depends on the approach of the worship leader and the leadership as to how particular they want to be about proficiency. Some churches will hold the line and not allow someone who is not especially gifted musically to play, believing that even if all they have is a piano and a drummer that can play it will at least sound good and be recognizable. Other churches take the "well if he wants to play, we should let him play" approach. Being a part of the latter can be extremely frustrating to a musician who wants to sound good.
    I have played bass in church for quite a while. A few years ago I switched churches and after a while offered to playin the worship band. I was glad to see that they required an audition and I thought that because of that the situation should be pretty decent. Sunday morning playing sounded ok. Not great but had potential.
    When I got to the audition I brought both my acoustic guitar and my bass. I was asked to sing a song as part of the audition, so I just decided to play my guitar with it rather than without. After I did that I put the guitar down and started to get my bass when she said," Oh...that's OK. If you can play guitar then you can play bass."
    I almost walked out right there.
    I decided to give it a chance.
    it drives me crazy that rehearsals are so unprepared, and I have tried to effect change but no dice. At times I really want to step back from it but here is why I do not. And this is just me but maybe it will help you to possibly see it in another light. Maybe not. :)
    When I decided to join the worship team I asked God to make me a servant and use whatever I could offer for the benefit of others and not myself. He took me up on it and is really trying to teach me how much it ain't about me. I play in two bands outside of church and I do it purely for my own enjoyment. The practice is for me to get better, the money I spend on gear is for me, the feeling I get when the band is locked in and rockin is for me. So I am pretty good at taking care of me.
    At church rehearsals I have had the opportunity to help a few others realize the importance of at home practice. Gently and over time but the other bass player in the rotation, who never practiced at all now does so and is happy with his achievements and when he plays the band sounds a little better now. We have a guitar player who has also played out for years and is very good. He is now running rehearsals which is a big step in a good direction. Our worship leader is a singer, not a musician and doesn't focus much on the music. I think it is this way for a lot of churches.
    Our sound guy is "still learning" and sometimes my bass isn't even in the mix out front. We use in ears and the bass is there ok. So I am there to provide a little low end bass groove for whoever is listening to me through their in ear monitors. I have decided that I am ok with that. I hope it gets better and I think that it will at some point as we progress but for now it's lesson time for me.
    My wife, who loves to sing in church from the pew she is standing at, doesn't understand what I complain about because to her the music sounds great. And I look into the congregation as we play the songs they are singing to and I see happiness and not a care about what we sound like.
    Anyway, I hope this helps.
  3. FenderBassist

    FenderBassist The P & Me Supporting Member

    Oct 28, 2005
    Cool, glad you found people to play with.

    I sympathize, it's the same where I live. It's so hard to find kindred spirits - daily self-practicers looking to do something interesting and fresh, presented professionally.

    Hope things get better, perhaps if you get a chance to know each other a bit better and sort some things out.
    TheMadBassist88 likes this.
  4. TheMadBassist88


    Nov 5, 2022
    Yea I realize that the congregation probably doesn’t realize anything wrong is happening. I’m not a stickler for perfection, although I do tend to try and get it right for the most part haha, and maybe last night was not a normal occurrence for them, it just seemed all out of whack especially since they were about to play live. But yea I get it, thanks for the input!!
    FenderBassist likes this.
  5. TheMadBassist88


    Nov 5, 2022
    Thanks, I’m very thankful for the chance to jam with others and hey, it’s a great opportunity for sure. And you never know, there may be a couple of guys on the tram that would like to start something outside of the church setting. Never say never, that’s what I always almost never say, but it sounds good haha
    FenderBassist likes this.
  6. MynameisMe

    MynameisMe What will you be remembered for?

    Dec 31, 2018
    J'ville Florida
    Sometimes they know something sounds off, but don't know what it is.
    As musicians it is easy to sit in judgement of others when they play.
    I have to take a step back from that and appreciate what they are trying to do, even if it is painful at times.

    Our worship team makes potential new members sit in for three rehearsals before they go live.
    This seems to work well.
    Enjoy the environment and getting to play. As we get older these opportunities seem to be less and less.
    I am the second oldest (late 50's) in the WT. Our drummer is 21. I am having a blast.
    Alivefor5 and TheMadBassist88 like this.
  7. TheMadBassist88


    Nov 5, 2022
    Ah yea I know. I don’t judge anyone, my original post may have came across that way but that’s not what was intended. It was more comical than anything, but not funny if that makes sense. Just an observation on my part. I’m sure they all can play just last night wasn’t quite right. Not all of it was due to the musicians, some was the sound guy, and some was equipment. But yea, I’m super glad to be able to get back in with the church to play. I’ve missed it and will do my part volunteering when I can. I do not mind jamming with any age either. It’s all good with me
  8. JeezyMcNuggles

    JeezyMcNuggles Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2018
    Santa Maria, CA
    I suck, but nobody really notices
    I play bass in my worship band. Been 5 or 6 years now. I played drums there for 10 years prior.

    We have never practiced...ever. most worship bands don't. You don't even know what songs you're going to play until a half hour before service. Then, the keys change, and you end up playing one that's not even on the list.

    Hahahah. But, it always works out just fine.
    MynameisMe and TheMadBassist88 like this.
  9. TheMadBassist88


    Nov 5, 2022
    Hey buddy! That sounds like a “pull your hair out” situation haha. Nah they get the songs a week early. Meet an hour before Friday night service and rehearse, then play live so they have time to learn them for sure. Then the same team plays them again on Sunday for two services. The key change thing at the last minute isn’t fun I e actually had that happen the times I played before years ago. NOT FUN haha
    MynameisMe and JeezyMcNuggles like this.
  10. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    I do church gigs every weekend. I've played at a dozen places the last decade. There is a wide range of skill levels at different places. At the biggest place I play, and a few of the mid size ones, everyone comes very well prepared, we know what we are doing, The singers are absolutely top notch, and it's an absolute joy to play there. Good music tends to reinforce itself - a good band draws good players. If the band sucks, good musicians will tend to go elsewhere. It also helps a LOT of the worship leader/music director are organized, and get info out to everyone well in advance.

    Some of the smaller places I've played, not so much. It's also not strictly "volunteer vs paid" - in a big church, there are enough people in the place that there are inevitably some great musicians, and you can easily field a great band with just volunteers. In smaller churches, the talent pool is smaller, and often there are paid musicians brought in (and they're not always stellar).

    If you love your church and want to contribute, great. Maybe you can help them up their game. If you decide you want to help things improve, be gentle - churches are places where conflict can get out of hand very easily, even when everyone has the best intentions.
    MynameisMe and TheMadBassist88 like this.
  11. buldog5151bass

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

    Oct 22, 2003
    Sit down with the leader and offer to help - it likely will be appreciated. Maybe some of these players might want to join you in a secular project as well.
    TheMadBassist88 likes this.
  12. Michael Stanley 2112

    Michael Stanley 2112 Supporting Member

    Aug 23, 2020
    Maybe it's your mission to help them get their act together?

    The Lord works in mysterious ways ...
    TheMadBassist88 likes this.
  13. TheMadBassist88


    Nov 5, 2022
    You may be exactly right! On both parts!
  14. Marc DLarosa

    Marc DLarosa

    May 29, 2017
    Hey, if Alice Cooper can become a minister...
    TheMadBassist88 likes this.
  15. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member

    Churches vary immensely in their professionalism musically. A lot of it is just size and resources - human resources, not just financial. My old church was tiny, and I wound up being worship leader by default. The pastor picked the songs and wouldn't do so until the Thursday before, so there was no chance to rehearse them - just run through half an hour before service. With a lot of cajoling I got him to start picking them a week earlier, which he did for about two months, then reverted to same-week picks. He wanted them to match the sermon thematically, and he wouldn't plan his sermons until the week of. By that time, due to turnover, there was no real worship "band" - a given week was either just me on acoustic guitar or that one woman who played piano, and we alternated.

    My current church is way more coordinated - there's a pastoral staff of four people, one of them a dedicated full-time music leader, and they organize sermon series months ahead of time - they kind of have to, since they rotate preaching. Song lists are chosen a couple weeks ahead of service and charts for everything are on PlanningCenter. We have Thursday night rehearsals and then a Sunday morning run-through. Sometimes we do wind up with a last-minute key change, but then the leader runs to the office to print off charts with the new chords on the spot. And the worship team is actually a band (for the second, contemporary service - first service has an organist).
    TheMadBassist88 likes this.
  16. TheMadBassist88


    Nov 5, 2022
    When I was a part of the team about 15 years ago we had a leader that would make sure we had the charts via planning center a week early. Sometimes a key change would happen but he would make sure it was noted on the charts as well. He was a stickler for “perfection” and if he heard anyone play a wrong note while we rehearsed he would keep singing but turn his head and look at you lol. It was funny but kind of forced you to keep yourself in check.
    hrodbert696 likes this.