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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. And to me, that's when you lay down the law. Let them know you appreciate the effort that has been invested by all but, now we have to make the big push to take that hill.

    Let them know you understand that they may have other projects they are in but, you need their full commitment here.

    We all need to commit to learning that new material.
    We all need to make sure we nail the material as recorded to the best of our instrumentation allows, no playing country licks on rock tunes and, so forth.

    Then give them a chance to comply. If not complying, start the replacement.

    If I join a band, they give me a song list to learn and if I don't make the effort to learn the material, I'm out.

    Just like any other job one would apply for. If you took a job and had to learn something on the job that you are required to do and you don't, would they keep you?

    They would have no obligation to do so like, you have no obligation to keep members who don't learn the material and give their full commitment regardless of what they've got going outside the band.

    But, that's just me :)
    Last edited: May 22, 2019
    SmokinJoe992, Stumbo and mrcbass like this.
  2. tekhedd

    tekhedd Tone chaser Supporting Member

    Feb 9, 2009
    Colorado, USA
    Owner/operator of BYTE HEAVEN
    This. You must understand your expectations.

    In a cover band, need to know exactly how far down the "what the fans want" rabbit hole you are willing to go, and exactly what you are willing to do to entertain. First you need to decide this for yourself, then as others have said, you must "talk to the band members and find out what they want" as well.

    Good luck, the cover band thing can be emotionally stressful even without drama.
    Jimmy4string and SmokinJoe992 like this.
  3. Bullitt5135


    Nov 16, 2010
    SE Michigan
    People don't change. I've been in this exact situation, and it ended badly. At first I was frustrated, then resentful, then angry...then I was the one out of the band. If you feel this strongly, I'd start looking for a replacement for your guitar player -- but find a viable replacement before you break the news to the band. No sense in jeopardizing gigs already on the calendar if the current guitar player catches wind and bails.

    Then do yourself a favor and find a great female singer. You can greatly extend your potential song list and improve your harmonies and stage presence at the same time. I've been turned down by clubs who shy away from bands with one lead singer. Add a hot chick singer to the mix, and you'll be much more marketable.
  4. Two great pieces of advice, solid gold.

    First, bringing in a new guitar player who understands and supports your goals (which you have thoroughly discussed with all your new guitar audition candidates), and doing so without the approval of or mentioning it to your current members, shows you are decisive and determined to make the most of your efforts and have the band live up to its potential, and you don't need the permission and consent of others to achieve that. You're the one with the most skin in the game, and if anyone (like the keys player) doesn't like it, the writing is on the wall and he can decide for himself if it's still a good fit for him. Anyone who gets angry and accuses you of dictatorship is confused and should be dismissed, because this is actually good management skills in practice. Someday you can leave these decisions open for discussion and vet newcomers as a band, but right now you need to be sure you are working with like-minded individuals.

    And a good female singer with a wide range both directions can pull off around 75% of the typical mainstream pop rock cover band playlists out there. Anything too low for her is probably right in the ballpark for one of the guys in the band. If she knows how to present well and interact positively with the audience, you have the voice, face, and ambassador for your band. It's crazy how many doors that can open all by itself. But again, make sure your singer candidates understand, accept, and pledge to support the business model and game plan you have in mind.
    Last edited: May 21, 2019
  5. Drop1


    Mar 28, 2019
    I agree with a female singer if you guys dont mind.

    Female headed bands around here pack houses like crazy. They also tend to attract a LOT of women to the shows and where there are women, the men will follow.
    retslock, Ronzo and SmokinJoe992 like this.
  6. So what I have read, you want to blow up what you have built already with some good players ( you said so yourself), because you played a venue where you didn't get the response you were looking for?

    First off know the crowd, listen to the juke boxes that they are dropping their $ into when you are on break, because if they are paying to hear it you can bet your butt they want to hear it from you,
    so set list maybe your issue.

    Number two, to assume the crowd knows if your lead guitarist is playing the song note for note or whatever, isn't happening unless there is a musician in the crowd who wants to point it out to everyone near him. For the most part the crowd isn't there to study your playing of the song they want to have a good time, which leads to number three, you need to be able to make the people feel they're part of the fun, crowd interaction grab attention with banter and then bring them in.
    Unless you were hired as background music, this is something you should look at imho.
    SmokinJoe992 likes this.
  7. LBS-bass

    LBS-bass Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2017
    This is a good suggestion.

    The band I spoke about earlier in this thread is the first "real" band I joined when I got back into music after a long absence. Even though it seems to have come close to its expiration date, I've been able to accomplish a lot through working with them over the past two years that I couldn't have done, otherwise. I've gotten myself out there, gotten my chops back, networked with other local musicians and so forth. It all has value to me as a player because I'm more in demand and I get calls about work and am not doing auditions anymore.

    So I suggest you keep putting your best foot forward for as long as it takes, network as much as you can and keep playing until you find (or create) something else that you feel excited about.
    SmokinJoe992 likes this.
  8. fishdreams

    fishdreams Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2010
    Brooklyn, NY
    Endorsing: Arkham Vacuum Tube Amplification
    ...just a lil' side note on the topic of band members relying on iPdas, notations and what not: good players work a lot, and therefore good players may need notes. What IMO/IME is important is the flow of the show. Guitar player holding up the show because they are rifling through their iPad for a minute and a half in between tunes is just bad (& unforgivable). Guitar player having a few notes somewhere on the floor so they literally won't skip a beat is maybe very good.

    It is all in clearly identified, stated and communicated goals beforehand.

    To hold people accountable as a BL is fine-but hold them accountable for the results as they digress from the goals. IF goals aren't met, then look for a solution as a team; to bluntly tell people (especially grown-up, experienced players) what they are and not allowed to do is not necessarily productive in the long run.

    Good luck!
    Last edited: May 21, 2019
    DJ Bebop and SmokinJoe992 like this.
  9. MakoMan


    Oct 17, 2011
    Ottawa, Canada
    I was in almost exactly the same place 4 years ago that you are in now. I blew it up and reformed the band under the same name, kept one guitarist and brought in a drummer and lead guitarist that I knew would bring their positive attitudes and good work ethics to the group. It was extremely hard to do at the time, but ultimately was the best move I ever made.
    I originally made the change to get rid of band drama and that is what turned out to be holding us back all along. For the most part we got along, but we were always arguing over what new songs to add, learning songs and then dropping them, playing stuff that was full of self-indulgent guitar solos and drum fills etc. With everyone in the band positive and on the same page we have more than quadrupled our song list and greatly built up our audience. I am still the band leader and main promoter, but everyone plays a part in selecting new songs, getting people out to our shows and finding new venues or events to play.
    BTW, your drummer sounds like a keeper to me.
    Last edited: May 21, 2019
    instrumentalist likes this.
  10. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011

    IMHO, this is a pretty tough situation. One sort of ironic problem is it sounds like the band is actually more successful than most bands. The problem is you want to actually rise up to being a pro-level organization and everyone is else happy being at a semi-pro level. In order to get to the next level, the band is going to require a complete change of culture and goals. I think that it will be very difficult if not impossible to achieve this degree of change with existing personnel, but perhaps you should call a band meeting to discuss.

    Unfortunately the culture of this band seems to be very democratic and there is no clear indication that you are seen as the clear owner and leader. IMHO, your best course of action probably depends upon how important it is for to you to maintain relationships with the band members. I suggest you think about this before you do anything else. It's usually best to avoid burning bridges if you can.

    You also may think about some questions you could ask to try and get what you want. For example, you could have a band meeting and let everyone know your goals. Then you could ask if any of the band members are interested in the same goals. You could also indicate that it is import for you to maintain relationships and that you are struggling with how to proceed in order to maintain relationships and achieve desired outcomes. You could ask how the band would continue if you left. If none of the members express an interests in leading the band, and all that entails including booking gigs, then you are probably clear to retain any band members who share your goals and negotiate replacing those who don't.

    You should also think about what sort of help you need from existing band members to take it to the next level. I don't necessarily see your repertoire as the biggest problem. I suspect marketing and presentation are what needs the most work. Marketing relates to how you develop and sustain a following as well as how you get gigs. Developing a following is required for you to get into the preferred venues because they are looking for symbiotic relationships. They give you a place to perform and pay you for it, and you bring people in so they make money. When you go in to talk to a new club manager, you should have a well prepared publicity kit with you with various media that showcases the band and what it can do for the venue. I have never run a commercial band, but I suspect merchandising (which falls under marketing) can also be important.

    As far as presentation. There are a lot of facets including lighting and the way everyone dresses. The music has to flow seamlessly and in a way that generates an emotional response from the audience, and you need performers with stage presence and charisma who can interact with the audience and draw them in. So you need someone who knows how to program shows and also performers who can effectively front a band. Although I find it somewhat distasteful, a band with excellent presentation will tend to go further than a band the plays extremely well...IMHO, if you want success, focus primarily on being entertaining and engaging. Most audiences don't actually care if you play well.
    SmokinJoe992 likes this.
  11. Stumbo

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

    Feb 11, 2008
    Song Surgeon slow downer. https://tinyurl.com/y5dcuqjg
    You get the gigs, you call the shots.:thumbsup:
    DJ Bebop likes this.
  12. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    To my way of looking at it, you don’t have a band.

    What you have do have is a booking and management company that gets jobs for two other guys who are not committed to taking things anywhere beyond what and where you already are. In short, it’s something you’re a little passionate about, whereas for them it’s just a source of gig money for not a lot of additional effort on their part. They basically just want to show up and play it their way.

    To me it’s not so much of question of blowing up a band. It’s more a question of whether you want to stop being their agent and go start a band.

    tl:dr - if it were me I’d keep the drummer and try again. I’d also keep the current thing going in the meantime to keep your face and name active in the local scene.
  13. DirtDog


    Jun 7, 2002
    The Deep North
    Sounds like that your expectations have changed as you’ve gained experience and confidence. Gut check your emerging expectations against those of the other members. If there’s a gap between your expectations and theirs, blow it up. Maybe keep the drummer and look for new personnel and a new band name.
    Wasnex likes this.
  14. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    The people at bigger venues aren't dependent on friends and family for their audience. People come to see them because they like the band, not as a favor.

    Certainly seems like it's time for a sit down. Who is willing to help market the band? Keep them.
    retslock, LBS-bass and Wasnex like this.
  15. It isn’t a note for note thing. It is more of a effects, sound and feel type of thing. It is definitely noticeable on some of our songs. Not so much on others.
    electracoyote likes this.
  16. MrLenny1


    Jan 17, 2009
    Good luck.
  17. And they have the additional bonus of control over what they will or won't play, audience be damned.

    Sweet deal for them. Not so sweet for OP.
    retslock, Ronzo and 40Hz like this.
  18. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011
    I supposed everyone has their limits, but I used to play the Chicken Dance on a regular basis, so what do I know.
  19. Make no mistake: Many audience members know if you're "close enough" to the original hit recording or so far from it as to be annoying and distracting. Maybe they can't voice it and be specific like musicians, but audiences know.

    You maintain the standard for accuracy. You decide when it's close enough and ready for public consumption. Trust your gut.
    EddiePlaysBass likes this.
  20. You play weddings, you better damn well be prepared to play "The Chicken Dance." As dumb as it is, it still gets requested by that client and people still do the dance.

    I understand a musician drawing limits, as long as they can accept that those limits may make them a poor fit for the project.
    Wasnex likes this.

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