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What Direction to take? (Band Blues)

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by bassbully, Jul 23, 2012.

  1. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    Well I never thought I would be here but I am. For those here he know of me and my band we are good, decent, Americana originals band with good musicians who gig basically like any cover band. We have booked gigs with flat rates although we make a bit less money wise.We have a couple of albums done etc.

    It all started a few months back when a founding member (drummer) moved out of state. We knew it was coming and it was going to be hard to replace him. It has been much harder than we would of ever thought. We went thru 3 drummers and thought we had the right one till he had a personal issue and backed out a few weeks ago. Truth is even that drummer who was really talented was not cutting it on allot of the songs. He was a jazz drummer and had issues with his tempo at times.

    So we are going back to drummer one who is solid but a real weird guy with a hygiene issues. We will use him for the last 5 gig of this year that are booked (thru fall) and then retool. This guy plays all over and like to be a sub in bands. He will not remain with us.

    Here is the issue. Our lead guitarist and songwriters wife and he are expecting their first child this fall. He said his wife feels it wont change the band much..I disagree as does he. He said he will work things out and wants to continue the band but also wants to take off all time after the last gig.
    No booking from November this year till say March 2013. This way he can get life going with a new family. I'm cool with it in a way and he has us lay low around this time anyhow but not normally this long. He and the multi- strings player in the band are both Medical professionals with taxing schedules and the multi strings player is nearing retirement and will then move south of us and that will be it..when we dont know but its coming.

    The other player is newly married and plays when he is free, we can play with or without him but he is a great musician and person. I love these guys and playing with them and this is the best music i have ever played I truly love the music and stand behind it. But... for the first time in 4 years I'm at a crossroads. We need a drummer but why look when we are shutting down for awhile. The time we are shutting down will be a great time to work on finding one but for what future? The lead wants to go to a 1 gig a month with 2 here and there next year and with all the schedule issues and new family ...I agree.

    I also am burned out being the sole person to do PR and booking. It is a really hard job in an original band and I get no help.The old drummer did some and It took the stress off me but he is gone. We have 4 venues that are good to us and will work with them for next year only. I have little time or energy to go out for more and the BL really doesnt want to do allot of travel or crazy gig and has turned them down in the past.

    My thoughts are maybe I need to start looking for a coverband to take me away when we are laying low. One with gigs and someone doing the work, bookings etc or do I stay home and work on my music on guitar. I'm kind of confused right now since I have not been down this road in 4 years...don't like it. Sorry for the rant but there is more :D
  2. bolophonic


    Dec 10, 2009
    Durham, NC
    Nothing wrong with keeping your fingers busy. Both me and my bandleader started families about a year ago and it took about three or four months before the band was active again and several more before we were back into a schedule and gigging.
  3. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    Wonder if you are a cover or originals band. My issue is if we lie low and lay off we couuld lose the contacts we have now...maybe not but thats my gut. It is really hard to get gigs in my area for any band and being an original bnad makes it harder. I worked hard to get these places we play monthly and would hate to start over re-booking in say 5-6 months.
  4. bolophonic


    Dec 10, 2009
    Durham, NC
    Our set is entirely original and our shows are large, somewhat infrequent events. So it wasn't critical for us to maintain a standing engagement. In our case, the hiatus probably worked in our favor. Hope it works out for you... It helps that the band member's wife is optimistic about the band's future!
  5. MrLenny1


    Jan 17, 2009
    Personnel issues in a band are part of the business.
    90% of my work over the years was subbing & getting the gig later.
    All kinds of issues with whom I replaced.
    Bass player got married, got busted & in jail, drank too much, missed too many gigs etc ..
    It is nice when you have a steady unit for a while.
    Stay busy, move on & keep in touch with your bandmates.
    You need everything to stay busy in this business.
    Good Luck
  6. edhead


    Nov 23, 2007
    Kent, Ohio
    I am familiar with your band and here is my $.02

    You guys will have no problems getting a few gigs a month once you start back up. I know Gary from the 97 and he and Debbie had nothing but good things to say about your band. They would have you back once a month, so that is a good start. You have a name established and that is worth a lot. Find another regular monthly summer gig and you'd be set.

    As someone that is always on the lookout for projects in the area, there seems to be a glut of bass players in the area that do the cover band thing. Getting into an established band, may be more difficult than you think. Try it though, and see what happens, worse case scenario is you end up in two bands.

    I know that finding a good drummer is a challenge, especially in this area. That is reason I am not in a band currently, I don't want to play with drummers that don't know their rudiments. Wish I had someone to recommend.

    good luck in whatever direction you go.
  7. Phalex

    Phalex Semper Gumby Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    G.R. MI
    I was in three bands for a short period of time. That was pure hell!

    2 is doable, but schedules still clash.

    My own personal preference is one band that works maybe just a touch more than I want to.
  8. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    Thanks for the kind words...really means allot. We love the 97 and Debbie and Gary are the best and we love playing there. I don't know if I have ever met you if not please stop out sometime would love to. We will go on it's just hard to know the unknown. We have put allot of work in this band and the music is good I really feel it is. My heart is original music always will be but covers are easy and to get a band that already books and has them might be great but again..maybe not.
    No matter what I will not leave this band but might work with another and will wait and see what the future holds I guess. Thanks for the replies and help from all.
  9. jive1

    jive1 Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    Here's a little positive outlook. You are an established band now, and it's time to start working it like one. You guys get paid, and do all nighters which is not a common thing for an original band that usually has 1 set of tunes and plays for free or almost free. As an original band, your biggest selling point and way to go forward are your songs. No matter what, you still have your tunes.

    For an original band in a smaller market, you don't need to play out every weekend like a cover band (especially if you don't need the money). The problem with playing every weekend is that it's easier for your fans to procrastinate and catch you at your next show. Maybe playing just once or twice a month will get you bigger and better shows based on draw. A less intense gig and rehearsal schedule will help you promote, book, write tunes, refine tunes, record, create merch, etc.

    As far as the personnel issue, remember, you still have the songs. Come up with some alternate arrangements of tunes that may have less instruments or no drummer. Find your absolute bare minimum to pull off your tunes, and let people fill in as they have time. It can be pretty fun that way, and you may get some cool guest musicians to fill in. Don't be afraid to use subs either. Every working band will have to use them sooner or later. Remember, you are established which means you have recordings a sub can refer to, gigs that pay, and players who know the material well enough to guide a newbie through or carry the show.

    If you want more work, there's no reason why you can't join a cover band as well. I find it nice to have a band where all they want me to do is play bass and maybe sing a little. It's also good to have your own project as well. If you have time, go for it. Either way, you can still make this work and have fun.
  10. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    As always Jive great advice. I did talk to our lead about a no drummer group but he doesnt like the idea much. He feels it would limit our songs but it's not that we could not add to the list with new material...he has allot of great songs written.

    As for subs, we are using the sub drummer now and like I said he is solid but has other issues but again, he is a sub.

    Again, Right on the songs and know where them al least. It's hard if we are taking time off or going to lay low I guess we will see on that. If we go one gig a month or less for a while and then go to 2 here and there next year (which is where we were) that would be fine and is what this band and its players lives can take.

    I get down sometimes knowing this band could offer so much more if we really had the enegy, time and efforts to do the PR maybe tour and push our music but that is never going to happen. It has made me want to give up and go hide in a coverband :smug: I'm not saying we are going to be stars at all but I feel we would have seen some decent rewards for doing the work.

    Since I have done both covers and originals with covers I never had those feeling it was what it was and we just booked and played shows. In playing originals I am so much more into what we do in a buisness approach that I want to get it out there and that's where the work comes in and I stand alone.
    Its like we are a small factory making a good product knowing if we had the money and manpower to mass produce it we could see it take off but there is no one willing to do it or have the time. It's like we all just like being the small factory churning out a good product that will be liked by a few who buy it but never go anywhere or get us anywhere. I guess in someways I'm ok with it since I play for the love of music but in other ways I wonder why? :rolleyes:
  11. MNAirHead

    MNAirHead Supporting Member

    Sounds like a great opportunity in your band.

    IF me.. I"d use the time to put together a band plan... the print materials.... visuals... website etc.... improve/streamline gear etc.

    I'd also book as a "stripped down" band for private parties... keep something on the calendar.. just write "private party" this will keep your calendar going.

    Taking a hiatus without a deadline is not good leadership.

    Regarding booking... after doing this for years... I've said it tons of times... first 15% goes to the booking guy... next 10% goes to the PA guy.... rest is evenly split.... IF you own the pa and book it you get the first 25%

    I own a brand new cool PA... I absolutely love leaving it at home and giving up 3-4% to the guy doing all the schlepping... Other guys in my band hate making phone calls and can't manage an event... I'll gladly take 15% for this.
  12. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    Good advice. We have a good site and keep it up. We have decided not to do anymore real PR since we are laying low and really to be honest where will it take us anyhow? Our BL would not travel before he had a child he sure as heck wont do it after. We could work with local media, radio etc, but this market is fickle and I have had it with them.

    On the PA its the BL and yes I book all the shows do the emails ,calls etc meet owners all of it. I just dont have the heart to charge the guys for it...its not me. This band doesn't make allot most nights we all take home $50-60 each and drinks and food. All tips and CD sales stay in a band fund.We all agree to this and it works and I'm good with it. It has never been a money thing it's more of a direction thing and That has me worried on my future and where my time needs to be spent.
  13. +1. since you guys seem to be established in your area maybe it Is time to start on the next step, wider regional exposure. work on the reverbnation, work on maybe booking a few bigger event/festival type gigs, which are usually booked pretty far in advance.

    maybe send off a few of your CDs to a record label, or local radio station. I'm sure there are tons of band related things you can do without actually playing any shows for a few months.
    it sounds like you have the personal drive to make your music heard. get it done!

    edit: I just saw your most recent post, kinda rules out everything I said haha. but don't loose your edge and passion for your band! even though you're not breaking up, a break sometimes gives people too much time to think :/
  14. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    Thanks, I addressed some of this as an issue. Yes I have (had) the drive and now its going to be hard to do even if I could with no long term plans as for the amount of gigs we will play after the BL has his child and we need a new drummer. Like I said the BL will not travel and does not want to expand PR for travel gigs before he had a child so he will not do it after.
    I hooked up a nice gig a few hours away at a club this past year for a club owner we play for his friends club. our BL said no saying "what good will it do us going over there? "We wont go back so what's the point :rolleyes:

    As for sending CD We have and had some luck but its like fishing and it gets costly. Like I said to the BL once so if we ever did get a song on the radio and became say a regional hit what would you do? We both knew the answer...nothing.
  15. MNAirHead

    MNAirHead Supporting Member

    This is meant to be a constructive reflection....


    Sales 101... Don't wait... load your schedule out for a year etc.. you have the opportunity to be more selective right now... waiting just puts off the number of calls and contacts needed to be well booked.


    Your band really sounds like it's going to fizzle out.

    I've been through bands... this one has the end of life vibe... partially due to the new family dynamics... some of your concerns... sounds like there may need to have some leadership step up.

    I'd start looking for other opportunities
  16. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    Your right and that was part of my reason for this post I feel that end of life vibe myself and it makes me sad. Part of me says stick it out and see were we go since I love the guys and music and the time will be worth it. The other part says move on since its never going anywhere and will grind to a slow stop but when?

    That is why I felt I might try to find a group starting out or booking around family etc like ours that does covers where I can just show up and play and then see where it goes. I'm at a crossroads and I know it.

    For now I will stick it out since my heart is with my band and keep my eyes and ears open...just wait it out. Thanks for all the advice and replies...it really helps.
  17. MNAirHead

    MNAirHead Supporting Member

    I'd not quit .... Quite the opposite--- just shift energy


    I have a project I've been in for a long time ---- we've been using the same exact setlist --- same arrangements

    He's well aware I'm playing other places ... The 6-12x we play each year are all well paid reunions
  18. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    Good advice. I respect the guys to much and to be honest it would take a hell of a project to make me walk away from them and that is not going to happen in my market. I'm a simple bassist not flashy enough to get the big paying gigs anyhow. You want solid? That's me, you want funk and flash? it ain't me.

    I'm sticking it out and seeing what we will do. The drummer issue is a big one since we need to find one who will do originals for low pay, not a real busy shedule and practice and learn all the materail. I feel that might be our biggest challenge.
  19. The sun will one day explode and wipe out everything. Meantime we make music.

    I'm in a little jazz band with some cool stuff. We get paid very good money to share our stuff with various audiences. It's seasonal and no record deal is coming our way but that's ok.

    I would say Jive was dead on, as usual. Be happy to have original stuff that goes down well and gets paid. If that's as good as it gets, it's WELL ahead of average.
  20. guy n. cognito

    guy n. cognito Secret Agent Member Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    I think your ratios are backwards.

    I've worked with a number of band leaders like this, and they rarely want the arrangement they state. When they tell me they want 25% off the top, I treat it like a sub job. My response is "Fine. I'll be on stage and set up 15 minutes before showtime and I'll need to be paid immediately upon completion so that I can get out of your way while you break down and schlep your PA." That usually changes the tenor of the conversation pretty quickly.

    As for the OP, I'll just make one comment. You're assuming that the new baby will mean an end to your band. The guy may want a little too much time off, but don't go begging trouble. Let him demonstrate that he can handle both before you assume he can't. I'm the most dedicated member of my band and I'm the only one with kids.

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