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Would you join a band named after the lead singer?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Joebarnes, Nov 28, 2012.

  1. Joebarnes


    Oct 4, 2011
    Surrey, BC
    Recently was offered an opportunity to join a band with a decent female lead singer (not unbelievable, but quite good). The music is good, and the players seem to have some talent.

    The challenge (for me) is the name of the band is the lead singer's name that she has concocted for herself. For the purposes of the argument, we will say the band is called the "Susan Sunshine Band" (Not what it is really called, but not as far off as you think).

    The challenge I am facing is I don't think as a singer she is so fantastic that she is the draw on her own, and I'm expected to kick in weekly to pay for rehearsal spaces.

    She has written "all" of the songs (aka the lyrics) so I am expected to learn the tunes without input.

    I also have an opportunity to hook up with a couple of solid guitarists and start something from the ground up.

    Which way would you go faced with this dilemma? Obviously, I am torn between the two opportunities, so I am asking for Talkbass' advice, since I haven't requested it before, and it apparently is obligatory.

    Rock on.

  2. Oracle

    Oracle Banned

    Sep 7, 2012
    seems like it is HER band and SHE is looking for a bass player, if that the case then I will ask for gigs and rehearsals to be paid, no paid? then I will hook up with the other musicians and try to start a band.
  3. hdracer


    Feb 15, 2009
    Elk River, MN.
    I would never pay to be in HER band.

    I should add,
    If the band is their band and they write and tell me what to play. I am just the bass player. Don't ask me to pay for anything. Just pay me for my time.

    If they are the BL and it is "our" band and I have some freedom in how I play and have a say in what we play, sure, I'll kick in my fair share and do extra work promoting "our" band.
  4. Most of the bands I've played in were named after the lead singer. In each case they were solid guitarists and vocalists, wrote the music (which we had some freedom with in terms of how it was put together as a band), organized the band practices (when, where, how often etc) and landed us the majority of the gigs we played.

    In these experiences the music would be recorded by the lead, at their cost (typically with no input of mine or other band members). We were there to mold a recorded piece into a live-performance. As the band moved along and we became closer musically and personally we became more of a "band" in that writing was more collaborative and less singer-only led, but I'm talking a year to two years down the path of being the hired gun bassist.

    With these bands I look at it as an opportunity to meet new musicians, learn new music, and do what I love. If it develops into more than that, GREAT! If not, I'm cool with being a hired gun.

    My rules are pretty simple for this, it all boils down to "does this make sense for me?" The long version of that is:
    1. What's the music like? Do I enjoy it? Is it interesting and well done? If it's a wreck and the lead isn't willing to work on cleaning things up, I'm out.
    2. What are the people like? Will I want to go out and grab a drink or dinner with them after a gig or practice? Would I invite them over to watch the game? I can put up with difficult personalities, but if rule 1 isn't met, it's not worth it.
    3. What's the commitment like? Are they asking for 3 2-hour rehearsals a week, while the 10 likes on Facebook are all from family members? Does the music require that level of practice?

    It sounds like you know what you're getting into. If you're cool with just playing with cool people, then this can be a lot of fun. If you're looking for something that where you will write, develop, arrange etc. as a band... this may not be the best choice for you at this time. YMMV
  5. RandalPinkFloyd


    Jun 3, 2012
    I wouldn't, but that's just me. Definitely in this case where there appear to be little to no perks outside of networking opportunity. No artistic input and basically having to pay to be in her band? Forget that. I'd rather not get paid in my own endeavor rather than pay to be furniture in another band. Just my 2 cents.
  6. Oh yea, and I wouldn't pay to be in her band unless I'm getting compensated for it elsewhere (share of recording profits if any exist, money at shows etc.)
  7. Basshappi


    Feb 12, 2007

    If I am being treated as a sideman, then I'm getting paid as a sideman.
  8. Duckwater


    May 10, 2010
    USA, Washington
    Not unless I was getting paid a bunch
  9. I played in a band that was female fronted with her name as part of the band name, but we were a band. We all wrote our own parts for songs with little restraint, and all brought in riffs and song ideas. I am trying to think of an analogus band - maybe Ben Folds Five? That was fine by me.

    Now, would I do a sideman gig? Where I played prewritten parts and didn't have input on songwritting? Probably not. For free? Definitely not. If I had to kick in? Holy hell, no.
  10. scottbass

    scottbass Bass lines like a big, funky giant

    Jul 13, 2004
    Southern MN
    There's nothing wrong with a band named after the front person. I have found named-after-person bands tend to build a following quicker. I suspect this is because they are easier to remember; name recognition happens faster for a person's name than for a non-person band name.

    The question is which band/project is going to make YOU more satisfied. If it bothers you to be perceived as part of the "backing band" instead of a perceived equal band member, whether real or imagined, then that is significant for you.

    I don't give a hoot about the band name (unless it's something like "The Pink Fuzzy Bedroom Slippers"). I care about the musical direction of the band and how much I do or do not want to be a creative member. You should make your decision on those factors, not on the name itself. IMHO
  11. I joined a band named after a bandleader, but I respect him very much and it is a honor to play with him for me. I think this is important. If you dont respect her, dont do it. On the other side if there gonna be a lot of gigs (well paid) and you have time to do it, then do it. Every experience is good. Sorry for my english...
  12. lfmn16


    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    The band being named after her would not be an issue for me. I once renamed a band where I was the BL after a singer that joined the band (my idea, not his) because he was the draw.

    Let's be honest - most people pay attention to the singer, maybe the guitar player if he is a showboat. Unless your name is Victor or Marcus, nobody is coming to see the bass player.
  13. If the lead singer is the focal point of the band and highly talented, charismatic, and interactive with the audience or writes/cowrites the songs, yes, his or her name up front makes good business sense and I would not be deterred from joining in the least.

    The last pop rock band I joined, I actually tried to convince them to put the lead singer's name up front. She was the main attraction after all, why not capitalize on it?

    Everyone agreed, except for the lead singer. Despite being very talented and popular with audiences, she is also very modest.
  14. Itzayana


    Aug 15, 2012
    Oakland Ca
    Actually I am in a band that is named after the lead singer and has been playing the San Francisco Bay area for the last 30 years with that name.
    I have been in the band for two years.
    Doesn't bother me at all. The band is very well known, super tight, and lots of fun.
  15. Phalex

    Phalex Semper Gumby Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    G.R. MI
    I used to be in a band that was "The name of the songwriter Band".

    The guitar players brother played bass in a different band, but he would constantly give us crap about being in "The name of the songwriters Band". In all honesty it may be a little pretentious to name a band after yourself, but he rode his brother about it mercilessly.

    I told the guitar players brother that we were going to name our next band after him and we were going to SUCK! The guitar player and I thought that was pretty funny.......
  16. The name thing wouldn't bother me in the slightest so long as I like the music. I assume this band isn't doing regular paid gigs yet? If they were, part of those funds would be used to pay for rehearsal space. If the band isn't getting gigs yet, then throwing in for rehearsal space isn't unusual, but I would hope this girl is working hard to get bookings as soon as possible.

    It really comes down to this: do you see this band going anywhere? If you think they have real potential, then I would do it, but I would certainly expect some musical input (as I would with any band).

  17. depends on the pay 100%

    last weekend i did a gig with "the ______ trio" (bandleaders name).. i never even stopped to think about that. he's the one who gets the gigs and writes the tunes, and im only a sub bassist for them anyway, so who cares.

    even if it was something i was more invested in, if she wants the image of a bandleader i would let her have it. but i'd also assume she'd take on more of a management-type role, booking gigs and putting together press kits and such.

  18. SirMjac28

    SirMjac28 Patiently Waiting For The Next British Invasion

    Aug 25, 2010
    The Great Midwest
    +1 which pays more? and if money isn't your motivation start your own band.
  19. RustyAxe


    Jul 8, 2008
    I'd rather work for "Susie Sunshine and The <CoolBandNameHere>" ... she gets her billling, the band gets its billing ... and should the two ever separate no sweat no foul, they keep their names.

    Think Eric Burdon and the Animals, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band ... etc. Then there's the weird situation that J. Geils faces these days. He performs under his own name ... and yet the band from the 70's still performs as "The J. Geils Band" and he's not with 'em anymore!

  20. That is truly bizarre!