What's it like to suck?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Da LadY In Red, Dec 27, 2004.

  1. I've recently heard some bands from the local scene that I'd consider to be less than average bands.

    Now I'm in a band too, and I consider/hope/pray that we play good music.

    I wonder a lot these days, what is it like to just, well, suck? Anyone know one of those particularily terrible "screeching" local punk/emo bands that play the same "punk" beat EVERY song, have dumb lyrics about wanting to kill themself, terrible guitar work. For clarification I'm not trying to offend punk or emo lovers, it's just in my experience that most of the local bands I hear play those styles of music.

    I dunno, do they know that they suck? Are they living on fantasy island thinking their music is awesome, though it's quite the opposite. What's it like to make music that is just god awful?

    Just on the noggin. I'd appreciate a couple cents in my pocket from this guy.
  2. Against Will

    Against Will Supporting Member

    Dec 10, 2003
    Big Sound Central
    Sometimes the band is in it because they think it will get them chicks, or they're so ecstatic that they were able to form a band with their friends that they become utterly oblivious to what they're actually playing.

    Other times, they have a serious case of idol worship and try to emulate a style or sound that their favorite artist has and get caught up in themselves and end up sounding stupid and melodramatic.

    And still other times, they play a few shows, get enthused and develop an attitude because they think they're only a few steps away from being signed and becoming the next big thing. This is especially a problem with bands who resort to cover songs to 'liven' up their set, because their original stuff is not really all that original or catchy.

    Ultimately, a lot of the time, I've found, it's a matter of how self-absorbed the people in those bands are. That's not to say that these people are not nice people, but it's a matter of being able to listen and critique yourself. Of having a clear image of what you want your music to communicate to the audience, and at what level you are content with the music you are making. Some people are never content with the music they create and continue to evolve and change their sound, others find a sound that they're happy with and keep making that same kind of music. There are great bands in either category. For the sucky bands, it's usually a matter of them not realizing that their poor performance is hampering what they're trying to say...if they're saying anything at all.
  3. It's pretty okay. At least I can still buy basses and stuff.
  4. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA

    for a minute there i thought you were considering a career in prostitution. glad i read the entire thread rather than just the thread title. you had me scared................. :p
  5. HamOnTheCob

    HamOnTheCob Jacob Moore Supporting Member

    Nov 21, 2004
    Cambridge, Ohio, USA
    Endorsing Artist for Warwick Basses, Mesa Engineering, Joyo Technology, Dr. J Pedals, and Levy's Leathers
    I totally understand the bad band thing... but the worst thing is when you're friends with a musician (a drummer, in my case) who is decent but still has a long way to go, and every time you're thinking of starting up a band he starts making comments such as "We could get so and so to play guitar" like he's already in the band. hehe

    I can't bring myself to tell him he's not as good as he thinks he is. The thing is, he plays metal, and he's very fast with his feet, but has an awful hard time with... well... time. He can't play a fill without losing the beat, and his double kick stuff is fast, but usually out of time. He knows he's fast, and assumes that because of it he's good. He also has a thousand-piece drumset with a million cymbals (his idol is Dave Lombardo from Slayer) so he thinks he's the best drummer in our area. Poor kid. He's only about 21 or so. He'll certainly get better, and he's a good guy. But it's one of those cases like the topic of this thread is talking about.. he just doesn't know he's not that good.
  6. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    First thing that comes to my mind is when a band 'drags' the timing really bad. I don't mean they play the beat slow, but it's like everybody is tentitive, and 'following each other'.

    I've heard this 'syndrome' in plenty of young or new musicians, but I think it happens to some extent with almost any group a little sometimes. In the twenty years that I was out of playing with a band, some of the old homethown guys would get together sometimes and jam a little. We'd tend to make tunes - especially slower, or 'slow blues'-ish sounding songs sound like a funeral durge. The best (I mean WORST) song for this was Rockty Mountain Way - total funeral durge, complete with slightly flat singing.

    To this day, when our current serious, well-practiced band catches ourselves dragging during a rehearsal (like I said - I don't mean playing a song too slow, although playing a song a little slow tends toward causing this to happen), me or the drummer will like even stop dead right in the middle, and say "Rocky Mountain Way", or even more often say "R.M.W.! R.M.W.!" I put it like "we need more hopty-bopty in this one!"

    Know what I mean?

  7. HeavyDuty

    HeavyDuty Supporting Curmudgeon Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2000
    Suburban Chicago, IL
    "Suck" should be my middle name. I have lots of fun anyway.
  8. Stinsok

    Stinsok Supporting Member

    Dec 16, 2002
    Central Alabama
    Dwight Yokam's character in "Sling Blade" comes to mind about being oblivious to sucking.
  9. Well basically my band (or me and the rhythm guitarist at least) never really know...
    We started our first practise and we were like wow, that sounded amazing! I think back now it must have been the worst thing ever, but today we play a show and go and really don't know cos we know that what ever it sounds like to us probably sounded totally different to everyone else...
    So we come off stage going wow, that was fun but we sucked reeeal badly and people come up and go hey! You guys were good!
    We come off just about every show and say we had great fun but then start saying all the things we did wrong and how we sucked. At least then when we do do a bad show and somebody says, you guys sucked, we can say, yeh, but at least we know it...

    Sorry if that made no sense what so ever :D
  10. Bassic83


    Jul 26, 2004
    Texas, USSA

    Mmmm...reckon he sucks...mmmmhmmm...

    "What you doing with that lawnmower blade, Carl?"
    "Mmmm...reckon I aim to kill you with it."
    "Then you better call for a Hurst (sic)..."
    "Mmm...how you dial 911 on this here phone?"

    Awesome movie! I do a pretty good impression of Carl onstage...people who have seen it laugh and really get it. Those who haven't seen it are left scratching their heads, wondering why everyone else is laughing...
  11. Bassic83


    Jul 26, 2004
    Texas, USSA
    BTW- one of my favorite sayings to drummers is:


  12. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    Good point. I think of our fairly new little 3-peice band, Mole Patrol - we really probably spent a little too long rehearsing before we wanted to book gigs, and the reason I think is that we had some kind of gnawing feeling that we were getting WORSE or something! I'm pretty sure (gulp!) that really it's just that our ears and our musical standards are growing with our musical skill and tightness as a band - maybe at a slightly faster clip...

    ..So we ended up with this little 'complex' for a while, I think, and spent a couple extra months down in the basement Mole-Hole (you know - sort of like the 'Bat Cave') practicing, when it probably would have done us more good as a band to have been out playing a few taverns!

  13. yeah i think it has a lot to do with when you're just starting in your first band. I remember when we first started gigging, to us it sounded good, but we didn't have a real reference point. I think we were so excited to be playing original music in a bar that we misinterpreted that excitement for good playing/music. Big mistake. Plus your friends always tell you you played well. You need to bring that one friend that always gives it to you straight to gigs.

    But after you've played out for a while you can start to hear your band and your band's music more objectively I think.
  14. rllefebv


    Oct 17, 2000
    Newberg, Oregon
    Sometimes, it is good to suck, as long as you're aware of it... Gives a point of reference for improvement... It really hurts when one isn't aware of the level of sucktitued... I recently left a band with a drummer like this...

    In my current, 11 piece Blues Brothers semi-tribute band, the sound person is like a twelfth member and mixes/records each rehersal as a way for him to improve... IMO, nothing serves like a suck barometer better than a recording! It is also a way to justify the hard work you are putting in...

  15. secretdonkey


    Oct 9, 2002
    Austin, TX
    Hahahahaha! Suck barometer - I love it! :D
  16. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    A soundman who comes to rehearsals to produce the whole show for an eleven-piece horn band?!

    That sounds like some soundman!

  17. FUNKonthewall

    FUNKonthewall Nailing The Groove

    Sep 29, 2004
    Atlanta, GA
    Endorsing: Fodera Guitars, Aguilar Amps, Dunlop/MXR Accessories
    Speaking of local, sucky talent, I have a guitarist "friend" who thinks he's a god, and so did we, until we heard him play. I'll admit that he's got the brain for music (scales, chords, odd meters, etc...), but he has NO ear. When he plays by himself there is no discernable rhythm or any sense of time for that matter. He thinks he is simply amazing and has the ego to back it up, but NO ONE will play with him because he can't back his ego up. When everyone hears him play, they're like, "Wow. This kid sucks." But he's absolutely convinced that he's a god. I've narrowed it down to the fact that he has no ear. He can't tell good time/rhythm from bad time/rhythm. It literally took me an entire day to teach him to play this syncopated 16th note line from a fusion song I wrote. If I had the recording (I'm on a friend's computer right now), I'd post a clip of the little lick so you could see how easy it really is. I'm sure anyone on this forum could figure it out in about 10 minutes. Which brings up another thing I just remembered about that song. I gave him a copy because he wanted to put a guitar part to it (mind you, I purposely wrote it without one), and when he played it for me the next day, it sounded like ****. Not only could he not play a simple funk strumming pattern, but I could tell on about the third chord that he had no idea what the chord progression was. When he finished, I just simply looked at him and said, "That sucked, dude." Then he replied with, "It's just so boring though. The only time signature in the song is 'stupid 4'." Inside, I let out one of the biggest laughs I've ever experienced and thought to myself, "He just doesn't get it." And besides, would you want to listen to a funk song in 13/16? I don't think so.
  18. What's it like to suck? Mind-numbingly blissful. The singer in my first band was horrible, a fact we ignored because we were all friends with no talent drinking a lot. We eventually got better, booked shows..etc, and he remained the weak link in the chain. After a year or so, we split up and started back again, sans the singer. He called me and asked me to play bass for his new band. I politely declined. After our conversation, he decided to fill the gap himself. To this day, I'm sorry I inadvertently pushed this man onto the bass playing community. Please forgive me.

  19. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    that reminds me of an open mic i was at some years back. this younger guy comes in with a six of some sort, and warms up doing all this tapping and stuff. really impressive chops. Then he sits in and plays a blues number with the house band and was just completly lost - i was cringing. Later i hear him talking to the band leader saying something like " i think i was having trouble with that song because it was too simple"......... :rolleyes: