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Would you blow it up and start over again or stick with it?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by SmokinJoe992, May 21, 2019.

  1. These are all great suggestions. I have seen other bands have members do these "walkabouts" during breaks and I have always thought it was a good idea, but to be honest I have meant to do it numerous times, but have never actually done it. I will make this a priority at our shows from this point forward.
  2. PauFerro


    Jun 8, 2008
    United States
    I wouldn't fire the current band. You've had an amazing accomplishment with so many paid gigs in such a short period of time. Great job. Keep that going! {I have a feeling you owned your own business or were/are in sales?}

    I understand the frustration of being with musicians who won't do what is necessary. In a part-time situation, there isn't much you can do as the $$$ just aren't there to hold "performance" reviews if soft methods of asking them to change fail. I particularly don't like it when I do all the work you do, and then find certain musicians want to control the fun stuff -- repertoire.

    I would first have a discussion with the band about the need to take it to the next level, probably individually. REfer to the reaction at the big venue and what you feel is necessary for bigger dollars and crowds. Do it in a group and the naysayers feed off each other, and no one wants that, so do it individually. Use your interpersonal skills to invite each member to improve. See what they say. You might get somewhere if you haven't tried it.

    If they won't change, then this is what I would consider doing.

    1. Use the existing band to build a good sub list. If you can get some decent paying gigs on the table (seems to vary depending on the town) then don't fret if one of the musicians aren't available. If it is far enough out, use the time to groom a sub who has what it takes. You could even schedule gigs when some of the underperforming members aren't available. This way you can at least build on what you have created.

    My book of musicians gets better and better every time someone isn't available. Each musician has their own strengths and quirks. Had a guy bail two days before a gig and the replacement I found is better than anyone else I've ever played with!

    2. Consider a drastic move -- go to one of those big venues and offer them a sweet deal to get on the books. Quite a way out on the calendar. Even if you have to subsidize pay for the other musicians. Then build a band composed of the members that are working out, and a different set of musicians for the ones who aren't willing to do what is necessary. Give this new band a new name and make it part of the deal you can record a professional video.

    The best place to get new members is to ask for recommendations from other musicians or go to shows and pick musicians you think are suitable -- but I never do it from bands with whom I have a relationship. Make sure you make your new expectations clear when you on-board these new members -- there is a sweet spot when someone is about to be "hired" -- they will often agree to things they will refuse afterward. Be upfront about music selection, level of preparation required etcetera -- just make sure the dollars are there. The best musicians seem to like the structure and clear expectations.

    Get 3 videos of this new improved band from the gig, and put it on your site. Now you're a booking agent who is also a musician in your band. Two acts to pitch for different situations!

    3. If the original members of the first band balk..., or seem envious of your new string of bookings due to killer players, let them know that a) if they can fix those things you raised earlier, you're happy to sub them in when necessary and b) if they make the necessary changes AND book a gig, they can play it in the new killer band.

    But they still keep their position in the original band where there performance level is sufficient.

    Stuff like that -- look at yourself as building a suite of offerings, not building a single band. In fact, I can't tell you who is in what band anymore -- they have some common repertoire, so I just use whoever is available and right for the gig given their strengths and quirks.

    I have one band for non-profit work, one for smooth jazz and and a pro trio. Also I have an originals band for places that don't want to pay copyright. I also have a dance band, although I promote it less and less as the novelty of gigging has worn off after 10 years.

    Good luck...I've done all these things, and they have worked for me!
    Last edited: May 21, 2019
  3. Gravedigger Dav

    Gravedigger Dav Supporting Member

    Mar 13, 2014
    Fort Worth, Texas
    Good idea. It builds a personal relationship with the band for them. They will come back and bring friends.
  4. I agree with this exactly. If you want to have a successful band, all members must be flexible and make compromises. It's different if you're only doing it for fun– in that case you would almost never make compromises, because compromises aren't fun! I would never say, "oh, I don't like that song, I'm not going to play it" to my band (who is also looking to make a name for ourselves), unless we all totally agreed on that. That is a detriment to the group, as there is a 100% chance someone in the audience would love to hear it. That said, you can make it bearable for that band member by offering to cover a song that they in particular would like to play. That seems only fair.
  5. Gravedigger Dav

    Gravedigger Dav Supporting Member

    Mar 13, 2014
    Fort Worth, Texas
    I'm 100% with you on that.
    BassGeekJack likes this.
  6. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    Song Surgeon slow downer. https://tinyurl.com/y5dcuqjg
    Since you put the group together and book the gigs, I suggest taking on more of a BL status.

    Keep the band going but find other musicians you can replace the guys that are holding you back.

    I mean, if people aren't dancing, getting sweaty and buying drinks, seems to me that these guys are in it more for the vanity than anything else.

    This attitude about songs "he just won't do" is crap. Play what fills the dance floor. Even then, as a BL, you drop songs that aren't fulfilling that goal.

    Why be in a cover band if you won't play covers that people want to dance to?

    Where's @PauFerro when you need him?:thumbsup:
    Last edited: May 21, 2019
    Nevada Pete, PauFerro, Ronzo and 3 others like this.
  7. Drop1


    Mar 28, 2019
    A year or so is not a terribly long time, especially for building up an audience. That's what you need. Followers. People that want and are willing to pay to hear you play.

    I'd take a hard look at the big picture.

    Do people ever complain about anything? Not just the music, but anything related to your band?

    How much of a following do you currently have? Is it worth giving up what you do have now to start over? If people out there know your bands name, it may be a bad idea to kill it off.

    Larger venues have bad nights. Trust me, they have seen slow crowds ignore bands before. This isn't new to them. Dont sweat that detail too much.

    The music you guys choose to play is a big deal. Cover bands have to be in touch with their areas taste. You need to focus on reading the crowd in the first few songs and cater to them. Be smart with the set list and willing to change it on the fly.

    Rocking out all night can get boring. A steady build towards the end of your set is better, but using tension and release throughout the night creates energy. Slowing things down gives people time to take breaks and buy drinks. Bars love this when done right. A good mixture isn't that difficult.

    Timing and luck. Sometimes that's all that's needed. The right venue on the right night can completely change your bands destiy.

    You do need band mates that are invested.
    If you want better paying gigs, professionalism is a must. But going back to the beginning, a solid following really is the biggest key. Venues will let all kinds of crap slide if you're filling the house.

    We used to pay the sound guys to record us into a 4 track. We would then have that mixed and turned into CD's and pass them out to whoever looked like they would be interested and gave them away at shows. Building a fanbase is pretty much a daily chore. Every member of your band needs to be putting you guys out there every chance they can.

    If you get any more bigger nights, attack social media. Get as many people sharing as possible. Even flyers work. It's very area dependent though. They work best in college towns.

    I'm sure I left out plenty. These are just things I noticed through the years.
    SmokinJoe992 likes this.
  8. sevenyearsdown

    sevenyearsdown Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    Sanborn, NY
    1. It sounds like you are doing all of the work.
    2. Not everyone is willing to put in the work that you are.
    3. Life is easier if you can find guys willing to work as hard as you. Anything less is always going to be somewhat irritating.
    SmokinJoe992 likes this.
  9. LBS-bass

    LBS-bass Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2017
    I am so in a similar place with one of the bands I am in. We all agree with regard to what needs to change, but they don't make the changes they need to make. I have tried to do it, and I'm done spinning wheels for them. I already provide a rehearsal space and practice the material far more than anyone else seems to. I think some bands just hit their maximum capacity with the personnel and you need to either accept that this is as good as it gets or move on.

    For me, I have several other projects in play so, for as much as I love these guys, I have lowered them on my priority list. My eventual hope is to find a project that is 1) good enough for me to want to remain involved and 2) has personnel who are committed enough that we will eventually work as much as I want to, and I can let everything else go.

    One of my other projects holds promise in that way. But the thing for me is that I know I can't make anyone else want to do what they aren't committed to doing. So when something seems like it's gone as far as it's going, it probably has.
    Nevada Pete and SmokinJoe992 like this.
  10. LBS-bass

    LBS-bass Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2017
    I always do this, but not so much to get feedback as to make sure I touch base with everyone who made the effort to come out to see us so that they feel appreciated, especially my own friends. It really helps for people know that their attendance is important and means something to you.
    Last edited: May 21, 2019
  11. Gravedigger Dav

    Gravedigger Dav Supporting Member

    Mar 13, 2014
    Fort Worth, Texas
    LBS-bass and SmokinJoe992 like this.
  12. I think this is definitely a big part of it.
    sevenyearsdown likes this.
  13. Two to three seconds between songs with a firm set list is an achievable target. More fumbling than that loses the audience.

    That should be a firm rule, IMO. Even with iPad, charts, lyric sheets, or whatever. You have a set list, right? Why aren’t the lead sheets (or whatever) in order?

    Professionalism is necessary.
  14. I guess that is kind of where I am at now. There have been tons of great suggestions given so far, but at the end of the day none of them will help if the other members don't put effort into implementing them. You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make them drink.
    leto, instrumentalist and LBS-bass like this.
  15. This constantly irritates me during a show. Lack of preparation is another way of saying "I don't care".
    leto, MobileHolmes and Ronzo like this.
  16. Have someone take a phone video of a set, and insist that the band members all see it - all of it - at the same time at a band meeting. Then, there’s no argument about how unprofessional futzing around between songs looks to an audience.

    Of course, the worst offender will object to watching all of it, or to watching it at all. This is the first person you should replace, regardless of talent level.

    “One monkey don’t stop no show.”
    leto likes this.
  17. I was in this stage with my band and blew it up. same type of deal -guys stuck in dad band mode when we needed to be a rock band to compete.
    Not dressing the part. Talking between songs. dead wood in set lists. No harmonies. Stuck in a rut. :)
    However, we did pretty good otherwise ;) :)
    Tony In Philly and SmokinJoe992 like this.
  18. Mo cowbell

    Mo cowbell

    Mar 2, 2017
    Tough call. If you enjoy playing with these guys, make good music, and are having fun, stick with it and keep options open.
  19. lfmn16

    lfmn16 SUSPENDED Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    I vote for a third option - upgrade what you have. What's the weakest link? Start there and replace as necessary. Getting rid of one person may motivate others. ;)
    Tony In Philly and Jimmy4string like this.
  20. mrcbass


    Jan 14, 2016
    Sacramento, CA
    Don't know how much room you have on your plate, but I'd probably consider keeping this working band together and start up a new project to get to where you want. Blowing it up will leave you with no band and some time before you can get out there again. Turn this project into a part time band like everyone else seems to be treating it and focus on your new project and be sure to recruit the people who will help you reach your goal, not hinder it. Win/win.

    If you don't have time/energy to do this, then yeah, I'd probably start over. I don't know about your market, but mine doesn't pay anywhere near close enough to put up with a dissatisfying hobby experience.
    crazyBassClown and SmokinJoe992 like this.

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