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Very seriously need band advice, I'm in pain and miss my instrument

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Kosko, Mar 7, 2006.

  1. Kosko


    Dec 12, 2005
    In all sincerity I write this to the bass community which I’ve grown to know as people that experience similar events, are generally like minded, and have a love for bass. It seems you all may be the only people who can relate to my story and the only people who may give me honest advice.

    So here it starts. I started playing bass about six years ago, for two main reasons, I thought guitar seemed so little and dainty, and I loved funk. I could wail away on this bigger instrument, slapping, pounding, popping and getting down right funky. Granted it took years before I could actually play some funky slap but that’s beyond the point.

    So I’m in a band with some phenomenal musicians, I really feel honored to play with them. They are creative, funny, very talented and good people. It started out like the perfect band, funky, rocking, technically difficult, but fun music. I was writing my own bass lines, slapping, walking, rocking, etc, etc. But gradually the guitar player started writing classical music, very Bach-ish type music (16th note descending arpeggios with a counterpoint bass line). I didn’t really mind at first, because I thought this might be one our only fully instrumental pieces. But then the songs stopped coming, and the classical continued. After about 4 or 5 of these, the bass keeps getting written harder and harder, and I feel as though I have no say in the music anymore. I don’t have a chance to get funky anymore, and honestly it hurts. Like a part of me has been ripped away and put into storage, dormant until I take action of some form.

    So that might not be too bad, but its compounded with other things. It takes me a while to learn these pieces, A) they are difficult, it takes me a long time to 120 measures of different notes, up and down, up and down the neck B) I don’t really want to play, my hearts not in it, I had nothing to do with the bass lines and just have to learn them.

    The next catch, I live with my guitar player. He’s a ultra studious person, he’s pretty much abandoned most his old friends (well not abandoned, but he’d rather study than go out), and I can’t blame him for this. More power to him, he’s gotten very good at guitar in about 2 years. One of the best, most creative guitar players I know. But I’m different than that. I like to go out, have a beer with friends, hell have 20 friends over cause some ruckus, play instruments till dawn, laugh, eat, drink and be merry. Granted I’ve thrown a party maybe once since moving in months ago. I can’t go without people and good times, its what I’ve always done, its what makes (or made) me play the way I do. So he has this “master of the universe” attitude where he can do nothing wrong. I get looked down at from him and my drummer for liking these things. Like anytime I’m not practicing I’m doing something wrong. (I also work full time day job and try to manage playing, partying and life outside of it.)

    Now the next part I may be manifesting in my head, but it seems true. I feel like I’m always contradicted, like if I want to do anything I already know they’ll disagree. Two examples: A) I say, “Lets play Rise” (slap bass, singing, rockish), they’ll say, “No we really have to Tall Tale some more (Bach-ish, I had no part in writing). Example B) We were recording the other day, I say “You know, we should really put the wide diaphragm mic by the bass drum and then use the two pen condensers above the cymbals or one above cymbals and one in the snare hi-hat area. Them, “Right… maybe we can try that”, so I go back later, one pen condenser is inside of the bass drum, and one is in the snare hi-hat area.

    Lastly on my list of complaints is that they’re NEVER happy. Nothing is ever good enough. We’ve never played a show, because they feel our quality is simply not there yet. I hear from my friends that we sound pretty much like Phish, which is no easy task. We are all original so writing material is taking a long time, but still it’s like having two non-sexual girlfriends, I swear.

    In all fairness, they have made me a better player. After playing with them for about two years, I can do things that I would say most people can’t. I’m not trying to sound stuck up, but I have gotten a lot better. I can feel it, I can do things I couldn’t have even thought about two years ago, let alone play them. So I’m really confused, I don’t like playing classical, I like rock, I like funk, I like singing, I like what the band started doing. Now its just, “Here, learn this, then we’ll practice it for eight hours straight… What you wrist hurts? You know Flea used to have to put super glue on his thumb cause he would cut it up so bad.”

    I just miss my instrument, I miss the reason I began to play. I miss slap bass, I miss singing and rocking out. I want to have a beer with my band partners, hell I wouldn’t mind having 10 and getting all crazy with them. Just anything, something where I can feel like I actually have some kind of role in the band. Getting 120 measures of completely written out basslines is like getting slapped in the face. FYI, the drummer is amazing and cool guy too, but he "creates" his drum tracks, so he doesn't understand.

    Talkbass, you are who I turn to, I know these are matters really to be discussed with the band, to explain to them all these things. But, its much easier to turn to you first. People have experienced similar experiences, people who have dealt with these issues before. I’m not asking for sympathy, not at all. I just want to play some slap bass and lines that I’ve at least had a hand in. Thank you for reading all this, I truly truly appreciate it.
  2. Kosko


    Dec 12, 2005
    wow, i seriously wrote a lot, thanks to those that actually read it. I could probably write 10 times that much. But honestly, at least someone hearing my dilemna makes me feel better. Thank you greatly.

    also its important to reiterate, they also made me a much mroe talented player... improved greatly reading music, knowledge of the fretboard, control of my hands, speed...(think straight 16ths at 90 bpm, all different notes.)
  3. morf

    morf Banned

    Feb 17, 2006
    Well then. Tell them a band isnt all about technique. Make them listen to old rock bands from 60s-80s and remind them that its the feelings they put into music that got them where they are today. Your band will not make it big if they're only thinking about technique, and my guess is that if you guys play stuff without much feeling but lots of complicated and technical stuff, if not you, THEY want to make it big. Make them understand that this is NOT the way to go. If they want to make it big, it wont be by showing off amazing technique and playing super complicated songs, but by having fun playing music you guys love.

    More than technique, what people are attracted to is feelings put into the music. This is why punk rock made it big, that is why bands like Arctic Monkeys make it big today, their songs are very easy to play, dont require much technique, but they're original and true to the band members, true in the way that its not music "made for the public, or made to show you've got skills" but rather music made because thats what YOU like to play, what you have fun playing, music where in a concert you'll look up and grin watching your band members rock on to something simple yet amazing because played with all they've got.

    Talk to them, have them understand that, and make it big. I wish you the best of luck :)
  4. guy n. cognito

    guy n. cognito Secret Agent Member Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    Personally, it sounds like to have too much thought and emotion wrapped up in this issue. If the band is going in a direction you don't like, then tell them so. If they disagree, then quit and find another band that better fits your needs. It sounds like you want music to be fun and enjoyable, while your bandmates want it to be challenging and techinal. While neither is wrong, they can be at oppisite ends of the spectrum. It also suprises me that you have NEVER played a gig. Whats the point of two years of practice if you never get to use it?

    Musicians, especially young musicians, tend to go in different directions during their musicial career. Don't be afraid to move on if your direction leads you down a different fork in the road.
  5. KoskoArts, you are the band bitch. Pull out a mirror and ask your self: "Kosko, are you going to keep letting yourself get pushed around and continue to be the bitch, or are you going to take a stand and follow your dreams no matter what the result is?"
  6. Kosko


    Dec 12, 2005
    I agree with both you, very much so. Thank you. And the thing is I really both like technical and simple. I'll listen to punk and Bela Fleck, loving them both. They're both just very all-or-nothing, I'm more of lets enjoy the middle.

    And its true, I have been putting too much thought into it. Its more like an explosion of two years of pent up stuff.

    And not playing a gig yet... EXACTLY!!! Lol, we had even cut a three song demo that they didn't want people to hear because it wasn't perfect enough.

    Also, I apologize for being so melodramatic, again, just two years of pent up stuff.
  7. txbasschik


    Nov 11, 2005
    Leander, Texas

  8. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    I'd say that two years is too long to wait before playing out whether you are writing your own material or not.

    If the direction the band has gone in is really not the music you like playing, leave.

    It really IS that simple.
  9. AuG


    May 22, 2005
    Fort Collins, CO
    Sounds like what I got myself into a few months ago. The guitarist was all about being technical and flashy, and he didn't leave me a lot of room to write a bass line. What I did write he liked, but he wanted to practice the same two songs for 6 hours a day....yeah I got outta there after about 2 weeks. :meh:

  10. chaosMK


    May 26, 2005
    Albuquerque, NM
    Hi-fi into an old tube amp
    I would look for some other projects.
  11. Kosko


    Dec 12, 2005
    I think I will try some other projects. Thank you everybody. And AuG, I actually really do like flashy, thats fine with me, as long as I could write my own lines. That said, the songs where I have written my own are some of the most fun I've ever had while playing.

    One of the bands I'm really into at the moment is Coheed and Cambria, and prog in general. I like the whole technical emo thing.

    Once again thanks everyone. Even if this thread was just to vent, it helped a lot. Thank you.

    Oh I was thinking, we (bassists) should all move to some island in Polynesia and start a little bass commune. Free from the oppression of other instruments and let us practice the music of our choice... just a thought.
  12. sotua


    Sep 20, 2004
    SF Bay Area
    Run away - it will never be perfect enough. All you can reap from that band is more grief for not studying, etc, etc, etc.

    Run. Fast. Now. :eyebrow:
  13. Kosko


    Dec 12, 2005
    lol, true true. thats how i've felt, like we'll rock out one of our tunes, and i'd be like "frikkin awesome", and they'd be like, "eh that was pretty bad, we can do it so much better"

    as a total sidenote, i have a bruise that covers almost my entire right calf, so i've been really irritable as of lately. so that might have something to do with all this as well.