When is a band right or wrong?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by kyral210, Mar 4, 2024.

  1. kyral210


    Sep 14, 2007
    When do you know if a new band is right or not to join? Do you have any rules you live by?
    DJ Bebop, Smooth_bass88 and SteC like this.
  2. ArtechnikA

    ArtechnikA I endorsed a check once...

    Feb 24, 2013
    There must be something in it for you.
    Maybe it's gig money, maybe it's an opportunity to learn from better players, maybe it's just fun, if you can afford it.
    tshapiro, jefkritz, Keither and 11 others like this.
  3. FatherTrucker


    Jun 9, 2017
    Hang/Music/Money. In most cases at least 2 of those better fit the bill.
  4. epinson


    Jan 3, 2024
    kyral210, RGerhart, DJ Bebop and 2 others like this.
  5. 1. They all better be at least as good as I am, better than me is preferable.
    2. No drama, mama. Life has enough of its own. I don't need any more.
    3. Practice needs to be taken seriously. It's where you eliminate all your mistakes before the gig.
    4. Money is nice, but I'm not trying to make a living doing this.
    5. Have fun!
  6. jimmydean


    Mar 14, 2009
    Playing with decent/ nice people , good musicians , no hard drugs , no alcoholics and play a minimum of two gigs a month . Making money is nice , but I have money......not huge on my list .
  7. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    Creative outlet. Lack-O-Drama. Fun/hang. No Wagon Wheel.
  8. mrcbass


    Jan 14, 2016
    Sacramento, CA
    It can be a tough call sometimes. I try to weed out prospective auditions before I get there, checking for red flags before I show up. Not always possible, but I try. My criteria:
    1. Are they targeting a genre I'm interested in?
    2. What are their rehearsal expectations? I'm fine with tune-ups and new song workouts, but have no desire to just go through weekly motions.
    3. Do they gig enough to be able to limit rehearsals?
    4. Except for me, are they ready to gig? I'm not in for 6 months (or more) of garage time. I get ready quickly and finding that I have little patience for others to catch up with me. I get it that other parts are typically harder than mine, but I have a limit.
    5. Are they generally organized? Do they respond to my questions with real answers?
    6. How is the vibe? It's hard to tell pre meet, but are they people I want to hang with?
    7. How often do they update their playlist? I hate regurgitating the same 60 songs for more than a couple of months.
    8. How big are their dreams? Gonna tour, make records, just do the local thing? This probably rates higher than #8.
    9. Am I good enough for them and are they good enough for me?

    Once at the audition:
    1. Do they live up to the hype?
    2. Do I know their songs better than they do?
    3. Was it comfortable or was I watching the clock to get out?
    4. Overkill on drugs/alcohol? I'm OK with a little - we're supposed to be having fun - but if it's affecting things, I'm out.

    There is always some wiggle room on everything - if one thing stands out above my expectations, it might be OK for another to fall a little short.

    The genre thing is probably the most versatile thing on my list. If their genre is somewhat adjoined to my interests, I might check it out. Early in my career, I almost backed out of an audition because I felt like a poser in the genre. I sucked it up and got the gig. It's always good to expand horizons - if you can tolerate the music.

    Honestly, if you're asking the question, the band you're considering is probably not for you. Something about them doesn't feel right for a reason.
    pcake, kyral210, mikewalker and 8 others like this.
  9. dbsfgyd1


    Jun 11, 2012
    Mascoutah, IL
    ‘Zero narcissists would not be tolerated in any form or fashion. Respect and being respectful of other members is a must. This include the 100% adherence to the No personal degrading statements rule, especially when there is more than the two principles present at the time of the discussion.

    Also respect for other members time is paramount. Band members need to be on time, prepared, and sober. If a member is going to call out, and or not prepared they need to provide advanced notice as not to waste everybody’s time.

    As for dealing with various talent levels: all members need to be willing to coach, as well as accepting being coached. Humans do have the ability to improve. A helpful word is more effective than a constant harangue. Recorded examples prefaced with a ‘Hey, I want you listen to something where we may have a conflict” is a more effective tact than “hey what you’re doing there sucks.

    Finally. The band needs an online calendar. Set up a face book account (the band should have one of these anyway), or better yet a Google calendar specifically for band use only. And, it is up to each member to notify who is booking gigs and setting up practices for the band of times when they are unavailable. It is also up to the members to notify the BL, or the person that books the band when the dates blocked off are is now available.
    I can’t begin to tell you how many gigs we’ve lost because a member blocked of a date but didn’t notify the BL there plans fell through.

    Let me add another few things to look for . Accountability, honesty, ambition, and being team minded.

    This has been the model of the band I’ve been apart of for 54 years. Not every member that came on board subscribed to those standards, and typically they tended to wash out in a relative short period of time. In a nut shell, assuming your not a butt head, the only way out of this band is death.

    I hope this helps.
  10. Micha84


    Jul 11, 2021
    Although I am normally not the person to advocate it, but in this case: gut feeling. If I am not too sure about joining or not, not joining is probably the better idea.

    I am doing this for fun, I don't need any money from it. So in the gig triangle of money/music/hang, hang is the most important. Hang is about sympathy, and if I am not sure I'll be wanting to see these guys on a regular basis things probably won't work out.
  11. kevindahl


    Aug 21, 2006
    Personality first. Work ethic second. Musicianship third.
  12. 1. Good people to hang out with & similar availability time
    2. Enjoy the songs (if covering) or the genre (if original)
    3. Minimal drama: nobody needs another baby-sitting gig

    The rest will sort itself out. If you have good chemistry and play well together, the gigs will come. As long as everyone gets along well and enjoys the creation process, it's all good. I prefer a democratic writing/song choice method, but I've played in bands with a strong BL directing the list and arrangements, and that can be ok too if gigging/money is a high priority, but often has a negative influence on the hang.
    kyral210, SDBassed and groovepump like this.
  13. Brother Goose

    Brother Goose Supporting Member

    Dec 4, 2013
    Nashville TN
    God Is Love
    1. good music
    2. good people
    3. snacks
    smogg, SharpCat, STRMan and 2 others like this.
  14. gln1955

    gln1955 Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2014
    Ohio, USA
    It has to be fun, period. That means playing music I like with people who are not jerkweasels. Regular gigs are also required to keep my enthusiasm up. Money is the least important factor, thankfully.
  15. bigdaddybass12


    Feb 26, 2021
    1. Must be fun
    2. Need to play some challenging songs, (not all)
    3. Make a little money
    smogg likes this.
  16. jerry

    jerry Too old for a hiptrip Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 13, 1999
    Paying gigs!:)
    Old Blastard, smogg and DWBass like this.
  17. Good people who play music I like to play and having pride in what we do.

    After a cross country move and leaving a great band, I ended up in a new start up. All great people who are far more talented and experienced than me.

    I’ve been challenged to be better and have improved so much the last 6 months. All the while having some laughs and setting goals.

    I spent a lot of time auditioning bands and almost settled. Almost.
  18. Always play a couple of time with a prospect band to check consistency.
    See if they have a good attitude/ are positive persons.
    No drugs, never.
    No smocking inside the music room.
    If a beer is offered before the mid session pause, goodbye.
    The player's level is not as important as it's commitment and willingness to learn.
    Act like a pro, answer reasonably fast, is to the point, no BS.

    That is about it.
  19. lowfreqgeek

    lowfreqgeek Supporting Member

    Mar 15, 2010
    Tijeras, NM
    I'd put personal relationships over all else when considering joining a band as full member. How much time are you going to be with these people? Do you like them all enough to justify that time spent? After that, then musical compatibility is pretty important, meaning you all gel and play well together as a band. You don't just appreciate the same style of music, but you work well together. If there's disagreement musically, point number one goes a long way toward keeping the peace and making things work. Another key point is mutual respect for each other. Again, that's a lot easier if you enjoy each other, but just because you like someone doesn't mean they are worthy of your respect musically. I have good friends who I really like and completely respect in areas other than music, but I wouldn't join a band with them because they just aren't at the level they need to be.

    Other factors worth much consideration:
    - you have to not hate the music. Even if all else was good, I'd have a hard time joining a thrash-metal band cause that's just not something I enjoy listening to, learning, or playing. No offense meant to thrash-metal bassists.
    - common goals for the band. This one is actually a big one because you all need to agree on the reason for the existence of the band. Are you there for fun, for money, for commercial success, for fulfillment, experience, etc.?
    - Financial arrangements. Are you an "owner" or an "employee" of the band? Get that figured out before it costs you more than you're willing to pay, whatever that is.

    Personally, I'm happy to be a "hired gun" most of the time. My standards are quite a bit lower if I know there's no strings attached. But if I'm asked to be a permanent member of something, then all the above becomes much more important. FWIW, I've been a permanent "hired gun" (i.e. sideman) with an artist for about 13-14 years now. Everyone in the band is good friends, but there is one band owner and he does all the owner stuff, but we're all on the same page as far as goals, relationships, money, music, etc. It's not my favorite music to listen to, but I'm happy to play it and really enjoy the whole experience, unlike other bands I've been a member of.
  20. KenSmithFan


    Feb 14, 2024
    Funny you should ask. I just posted these in another thread.

    1) How often do you play
    2) Where do you play
    3) How much does the band charge
    4) Who books the band
    5) How often do you practice
    6) Where do you practice
    7) How close to the original song do you try to get
    8) Who provide the PA
    9) How is the band money split
    10) How do you choose songs
    11) Check out the song list

    ALL of these should align with your goals, otherwise you'll be back here in a few months with a thread, "Should I quit this band?"

    My other three that are non-negotiable are - Good musicians, Good guys (or gals), Good music.

    If you're on the same page with the first 11, and you can answer yes to the last three, you should probably join the band.
    kyral210 and mrcbass like this.