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What to do?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Steve Clark, Jun 29, 2004.


  1. Steve Clark

    Steve Clark Supporting Member

    Jan 9, 2004
    London ON
    I'm a 38 year old bassist getting back into the local scene. I graduated from a jazz performace program years ago so my heart lies in getting a gig playing some kind a jazz/blues/funk thing.

    At the moment I am rehearsing with a band that want to go places, tour, etc. The singer and one of the guitar players are well connected (and talented). We need a better drummer though. "Aint go no groove if you ain't got no pocket"

    My dilemma relates to the song material being chosen. Some tunes are great for me, Tear Your Playhouse Down (Pino Palladino groove), some Colin James blues tunes (more rock than blues) and some standard stuff like Mustang Sally and so on. But after that it gets a bit weird. We were all asked to throw some tunes onto CD for everyone to consider. I chose a few more Paul Young ( read Pino Palladino ) among others. But some suggestions make for a REALLY weird set list. Pink Floyd, Stone Temple Pilots, Eve 6, RHCP, Phish, Van Halen and to top it off Def Leppard. Sheesh. A cover band is one thing but does this seem really mixed up to you guys or is it just me. Is this what cover band do these days? Sure not all the songs on the list will end up on a set list but it seems that we are suffering from an identity crisis at this point.

    I have already said, politely, from the very first rehearsal that I am not really interested in being in a hard rock cover band. No offense intended to any hard rockin' TB'ers. As I said earlier I am looking for a gig that challenges me musically with some jazz, blues, funk thrown in. That said my tastes run from Scofield to Primus to Gov't Mule. Now a Gov't Mule cover band would be very interesting. :D

    So what do I do? Stick it out and try to have fun? Use this project as a way to get my name out and see what happens? The singer will be bringing short term contracts to the next rehearsal. :eyebrow: The guitar player I mentioned as been on and off the road with all kinds of folks and has said that if I want to get into that type of work he can make it happen very quickly. Apparently he thinks I am good at da bass. :bassist:

    Perhaps this ambling post makes no sense at all but would appreciate any input from those of you who have been in my shoes.

    Other than that I'll keep going to the blues jams.
     
  2. Steve Clark

    Steve Clark Supporting Member

    Jan 9, 2004
    London ON
  3. Sounds like a cover band geared to their tastes, which must run a little more to the hard rock side. What audience do they intend to play to? I run sound for a band that plays lots of private parties. Lots of the tunes aren't the type of music I'd like to play, but it seems to go over very well and some of the gigs have paid pretty decent. I've also played in bands where the leader has put forth their own personal favorites...and the songs put the audience to sleep.

    I guess I'd try to try to ask as politely as possible, exactly what they want to do/where do they want to go/who do they want to play to. If you can tolerate that, go for it, if it's too different for your own personal satisfaction, you're faced with some tough choices: a) try to convince them to play stuff you want (unlikely), b) go along with the program or c) look elsewhere. Maybe b) and c) simultaneously....
     
  4. jazzbo

    jazzbo

    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    It sounds like you need to more clearly communicate to your bandmates what you're feeling. The post you made here should essentially be what you say to them. I don't care if it's not what they want to hear or not, honesty is always the best policy, and the odds are great that they'll respect you in the end more for it.

    It looks to me like the best idea is to:

    1) Have a frank discussion about where your interests lie. Understand that this is a group dynamic, so if you see that the band will be, (not "can be", WILL be) successful, you may have to make some compromises. That's just life, and I'm sure you don't need me to tell you that.

    2) If you feel that the rest of the band is on the same page, it's just you that wants something different, you should:

    a) Tell them that you're interested in a different type of band, quit, and continue looking for what it is you want to play.
    b) Tell them that you're interested in a different type of band, that you're going to pursue that, but if they want you can continue to play with them until you find what you want, at which time you'll give them a minimum of 2 week's notice to replace you.

    Remember, there are many different ways to get your name out there. I wouldn't feel like you have to stay in this band for exposure. Sure, that may work, but there are open mics, music store postings, online ads, local independent newspapers, etc. I don't know Ontario well, but it strikes me as a large enough city to where there are options.

    I sincerely feel that the best solution is discussing these things with your bandmates, and being completely direct and honest with them. And never, ever, ever, burn bridges. Networking is key!

    In regards to your cover band questions. No, I don't think that cover bands are going to generally run the gamut from A to Z in music genres. Diversity is essential, and opens doors, but an identity is more crucial. Different things call for different things though.

    If I think of a corporate gig, I can't see playing Def Leppard then Mustang Sally being terribly successful, but then again it's not like going from Guns N Roses to Benny Goodman. Personally, I've always found it best to find that niche. That thing you do best. Establish your sound, and be good at it. In my experience, the only musicians that can play Guns N Roses then Benny Goodman, and make it honestly work, are complete and total professionals. It just doesn't sound too much like that's what you're dealing with. Now, granted, when I say a total pro, I don't mean Christian McBride or somebody on the recording scene. I just mean somebody that really, truly, thoroughly knows music, inside and out, and also, knows the business of music and gigging, equally well.
     
  5. bass_man86

    bass_man86

    Apr 29, 2002
    Virginia Beach
    When you get down to it, any band is an exercise in compromise. If you are no longer willing to do it, you need to move on. If you are not happy with the outfit you are with, start your own. Just remember, music (as any artform) will always allow you to make some money; it may not always allow you to make a living. Whatever you decide to do, you will have to balance your decision against that annoying little truism. Remember, the average club audiance more than likely does not care what a great set of chops you have, all they care about is how well you entertained them. In most cases, the music you like, is not going to be the music they like. Peace!
     
  6. Thor

    Thor Moderator Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    These guys nailed it, except,
    I never knew ONTARIO was a city...

    except in California, of course, thanks for cueing me into that ...

    Urban sprawl must be hitting all the way to North Bay, eh?
     
  7. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    Ontario
    Well, if the Greater Toronto Area gets any bigger...

    Talk to the guys, play some good music, and keep your eyes open for other options would be my advice.
     
  8. jazzbo

    jazzbo

    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    I'm American. I don't know geography.
     
  9. Steve Clark

    Steve Clark Supporting Member

    Jan 9, 2004
    London ON
    Thanks for the input everyone. Here is the email I recieved today. I think I will stick with the Jamie Aebersold band for now. Again thanks for the input. It would seem that this bar band is getting ahead of itself.

    Hi everyone:Some news, BLANK was not aware of a commitment of his on Sunday, meaning that he will not be available.

    The rest of us will meet anyway on Sunday at 7:00. I guess that this is where the rubber meets the road, fellas, I'm sorry
    for not being a little more agressive with the scheduling. Let's fix that now.
    Rather than ask everyone to bring their schedules on Sunday for us to discuss, I'm going to provide a rehersal schedule that we'll all have to stick to come hell or high water. That's the committment level that we need.
    That being said, please provide me with any regularly scheduled commitments that you have so that they can be taken into consideration when completing the schedule. If there's anything glaringly wrong with the schedule on Sunday, (or when I email it to you) then let me kow and I'll try to correct it.
    The schedule will include two evening a week and a full day every other weekend. Next. Regarding the music: Some of us have to be much better prepared for rehersals. This includes me, I was not well prepared for the last rehersal and you have my appologies. BLANK, if you haven't picked up
    ]the disk from BLANK and BLANK today, then you may want to re-examine your aproach to what we're doing. You're a talented guy with a great future and you have an awesome personality, but you should have at least listened to
    Playhouse once in two weeks. We need a lot more from you, Bro. at least a couple hours a day.

    Some determinations will be made on Sunday about commitment levels based on how well prepped we are and whether this is the right project for some of us.
    There's no point in signing contracts if the commitment's not there. (On a side note, Anyone who knows where lyrics can be downloaded for our songs, please let me know. Trying to guess some of these words is driving me nuts!! ;-)
    >
    Anyways, I hope that I haven't stressed anyon out TOO much, this is what we're going to need in order for this thing to work.
    Also, I'm reviewing contracts now. They SHOULD be ready for Sunday. Looking forward to your emailed weekly schedules, and to our next practice.
    >
    > Oh. Am also looking for a house to rent, where we can set up
    > permanantly
    etc.
    > Let me know if you hear of anything.
    >
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