who leads your band?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by black_JB62, Sep 17, 2003.

  1. vocals

    22 vote(s)
  2. guitars

    16 vote(s)
  3. bass

    39 vote(s)
  4. drums

    6 vote(s)
  5. other

    24 vote(s)
  1. black_JB62


    Aug 10, 2003
    in my past experience, all the bands that i have played in have had, whether explicitly or no, a designated leader. a leader in the sense of defining/maintaining the professional direction of the group, the concept of the music, and the leader of rehearsals.

    first instinct is to think that the main songwriter should be the leader, because the writer presumably has the best idea musically of where the band should go. however, this may result in a total lack of subjectivity, and the nevertheless important business side may be neglected. ok, so that's the business side.

    on the music/playing side, i think that almost all parts have a viable argument for leading rehearsals. vocals because they are at the end of the day the focal point, bass b/c we act as the liaison between melody and rhythm/tempo that keeps things together, or drums b/c they are the core of the metric. guitars i'm not sure about.

    what do you guys do/think?
    i'm starting up a new band of my own and thinking about what kind of "democracy" i should set up.
  2. Fleckbass211


    Mar 20, 2003
    My Room
    It's all about having a group role. Everyone shares opinions and comes up with what is best.
  3. black_JB62


    Aug 10, 2003
    At the end of the day, yes. Everyone should pitch in their two yen or else there would be no point in having a band.

    However, since we are not in the best of all worlds, people will have disagreements in tastes of music, how they play their instruments, what they would like their career to be, and what they are willing or unwilling to sacrifice to fulfill those goals. Even minor disagreements on these kind of things can cause a band to fall apart when it doesn't have to. Somebody that mediates and brings the group together is very important.
  4. really, because he writes all the music. the musical concept is really his, and we all round it out. i would say he determines our creative direction.

    that said, our singer also plays a vital role, because he comes up with the vocal melodies. he's also a good frontman most times. so he leads our performance direction.

    i am the gabber/pr/booking person, so i lead our professional direction. but i always get input on what venues we want to target.

    our bassist mostly follows the guitarist's lead, but as he is an accomplished player, he is taking a more active role in songwriting, in so far as rounding out the music.

    but i still think by and large our guitarist calls the shots on what we play, what our musical direction is, and many times, what else is being played within the music. that is, i can't just decide i want to play a certain groove. if he doesn't like it, i do it his way.

    though sometimes frustrating, i think this is the simplest way to make progress. too many chefs and all that. we are all free to make our comments and give input, but at the end of the day, vic pretty much calls the shots.

  5. in the band im in (we dont have drums or vocals yet) we just kinda go with the flow someone might start playing a song and we all will start playing
  6. gweimer


    Apr 6, 2000
    Columbus, OH
    I pretty much ran the show for my recent band. As a bandleader, you have to make sure that everyone gets what they want out of the band experience, and that things get done. It's easier said than done. One band member wants to do covers, another refuses - what do you do as a band leader?
    My opinion is that the leader is more of a facilitator and negotiator than anything else. You have to balance the needs of each individual against the needs of the band as a unit. Knowing how and when to compromise is very important.

    One small hint - whenever you direct a band meeting, avoid using the words "You" and "I" as much as possible. The word "We" can keep things running smooth without starting petty squabbles.
  7. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    Lovesjones is run on fairly 'consensual' lines. I'm often the one who makes sure we start the right song in the right key, the drummer teaches us a lot of neat endings and fills, etc. In some ways it would be easier to have a clearly defined leader (I find it frustrating trying to get people to decide on a set list early so I know what to focus on in my practise) but it does work reasonably well.

  8. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    we've got a pretty good balance going in the nerve!

    our drummer has little to no input, and he prefers it that way

    i for the most part call the shots

    randy (guitarist singer) does a little more of the footworkwork than me

    randy (as of late) has been writing most of the material

    my responsibilites: website, flyers, thinking, writing emails, making flyers, other promotional work, making decisions, etc...

    randy's responsibilities: any mailings we need to do, making copies and posting flyers, booking rehearsals, booking gigs, corresponding with industry people, other networking....

    can't think - thieres lots more we both actually do but i gotsta get outta here....
  9. FretNoMore

    FretNoMore * Cooking with GAS *

    Jan 25, 2002
    The frozen north
    Voted "other" - we don't have a clear leader in either of my two bands, it's more of a communal thing, whatever everyone seem to go along with is what we end up doing. This can be very frustrating as there is a lack of "drive" sometimes, no-one cares enough to push things along or to protest. On the other hand none of us wants to rule or be ruled. As to practical matters I tend to be the person who gets things done, in terms of PA, transports, cleaning the rehearsal space etc. There does seem to be a lot of bass players that are also the organized practical guy in the band.
  10. jimbob


    Dec 26, 2001
    Charlotte NC
    Endorsing Artist: Acoustica Mixcraft; Endorsing Artist: DR Strings
    This is a cool thread because...I'm not sure who is running my show but it's happening either way.

    I am the "Harmony Guy"/bassist in the band so the stuff that sounds good with harmonies gets a lot of feature time on stage but I'm not pushing for it and I'm not the leader. We play out what we play well and that's it.

    For covers, we leave it up to the lead singer.
    For Originals, we leave it up to the writer. For bookings, we leave it to the guy with the connections.
    For artwork/website, we leave it to the guy who knows that stuff.

    Somebody pinch me! I found a great bunch of guys and were booked until New Years!

    Seriously though, I am fortunate. We know what needs to be done and we are doing it without a lot of hand holding or [email protected]# kissing.

    A lot of it has to do with maturity and business sense in my situation. I have been in dictatorships and it stinks. I have tried to run the show before and I had a great time in College doing that. I have been a pawn and made $ doing that.

    I am currently believeing that maturity and business sense will get you there. Get it and you will work!
  11. JPJ


    Apr 21, 2001
    Chicago, IL
    My experience has been that whenever there is one, very strong and prominent "leader", you're usually asking for trouble. In fact, whenever a band is dominated by one person (one songwriter, one gig booker, one decision-maker, etc.), the group tends to be less of a band and more of a supporting cast for one guy. Likewise, I've found that the one person usually doesn't have many true leadership qualities at all.

    The bands that I have played in have all been very open and democratic, where everyone is free to express opinions and musical ideas. There are often disagreements and arguments from time to time, but ultimately I think it makes for better music and a better relationship between band mates. First, one person doesn't have to face ALL of the pressure of writing music and managine the band. Also, since different people have different strenghts and interests, creating an environment where everyone is free to contribute often leads to the band's tasks naturally shifting to those who enjoy and are good a those things. For instance, one guy may like songwriting and hates doing promo work. The next guy may love doing promo work but isn't a great songwriter....it all works out! :)
  12. I'm usually the one to arrange practices. I also mainly sit around at home and think up intros for songs and then when we get together, I present them and the guitarists will add their parts and then I'll add in the bass to those and then drums will come in and eventually after much trial and error we emerge with a song. We all pretty much decide on the kind of music we want to play (mainly rock) but we might add some RATM style stuff in, but with all the effects on my end (bass) instead of guitar end. But the main thing about it is that we all have fun and love doing what we do!
  13. black_JB62


    Aug 10, 2003
    Good point:) Missed that one.

    To the people responding to the original thread, just want to make sure that I'm not being misunderstood though, I didn't mean for the word "democracy" to be taken quite literally. Maybe a better expression would have been "active participation." In the sense that everybody needs to take on some responsibility.
  14. When my current band started I was the source of all the songs playing bass and vocals. I wrote all the words and music. Now the music is more collaborative which is a good thing. The drummer and I jam about 4 times a week coming up with most of the raw material and then the guitarist comes in and smooths things out and adds a thing or two. This is the first time I've played bass and sang at the same time it is a totally different dynamic than singing while playing guitar but I'm really digging it. Playing bass allows me to feel the song more which comes accross in the vocals.
  15. black_JB62


    Aug 10, 2003
    just took a quick look at the poll results. although there are probably a number of ways to interpret, i thought it was prettty striking that nobody has yet to vote for drummer.

    what can this mean?
  16. the drummer isnt the one who leads the band?

    BTW, we arent talking only song wise here, its orginization, song writing, organizing practices, booking gigs, etc.
  17. writing music: we all bring something to the table.nobody is the set leader. it just doesnt work that way.

    as far as setting up shows and stuff like that: Its the drummer and I. coz we are both the oldest in the band. and the only ones who drive. hehe. :) the others are still in highschool and dont really have jobs. so we setup shows based around our work schedules.
  18. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    I've always played a passive role, let the guitarists do the talking and only offer my opinion when asked for or when I feel strongly against something. But it's an understanding, once they come up with something, they ask for my input, and I give it to them, and they value it. I guess, in a way they look to me as a leader, but it's entirely a group effort.
  19. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    Bidgie Reef: Vocals and Keys players (but there's a fair level of democracy

    Blackseafire: a joint venture, except that I just take back seat cause we argue too much over styles if I have my say

    Personally, I cant abide having a say it what goes on unless I completely share the same ideas and tastes as the other band members - which just doesnt ever happen.
    The lead singer and lead guitarist in my rock band have such radically different tastes to my own that i take a back seat and "just play bass" because i - honestly - think their ideas are appaling sometimes and cant abide what they do to our songs in the studio etc.

    I'm very opinionated about music and I like to have my own way.. but at the same time I'm happy to just sit back and play bass and let the rest of the band ruin their songs ;)
  20. Stephen Soto

    Stephen Soto

    Oct 12, 2003
    Other... Everyone contributes everything that they can.
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