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Would you rather play with people that aren't that great, or stay home and practice?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by glocke1, Feb 12, 2014.

  1. glocke1


    Apr 30, 2002
    I had been playing for the better part of two years with a friends band...

    Musically, they were ok..Id say skill wise they ranged from average to slightly below average, and there were many things that were lacking...first and foremost were good vocals, second was the jam/improv component, third were the tempos (they played everything fast, even slow songs). The jams and improv segments just really lacked a lot of cohesion/communication and direction.

    Really the only reason that I kept going back was because it allowed me to keep my chops up and practice the songs they were playing.

    Now, since these guys want to practice more than I am willing to (which is every week, and sometimes twice a week), I pretty much told them to find someone someone else as a bass player, and call me on days when that guy is not available.

    I think this is better for me, as I can put more quality time in for practicing at home, playing things the right way as opposed to hauling my stuff out and playing things somewhat incorrectly. It also leaves my schedule open for better playing opportunities since I have friends that play the pro circuit and often call me up for gigs with better players.
  2. Kmonk


    Oct 18, 2012
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan Strings
    The sad fact is that most bands are pretty bad. I would rather stay home and practice. I get very frustrated when I play with people who are not very good. I took several years off from gigging even though I had plenty of offers to join bands. I am now in a situation with great musicians who are also a lot of fun to be around.
  3. Jarrett


    Jan 19, 2004
    Waxahachie, Tx
    I've been in similar situations over the years. It all boils down to your desire. Let your desire for the musical situation guide you.
  4. Hobobob

    Hobobob Don't feed the troll, folks.

    Jan 25, 2011
    Camarillo, CA
    It's very frustrating to me when bands can't play songs in the right groove. I played Brass in Pocket with a band a while ago that sped it up like 20 BPM, and it just totally killed my enjoyment of playing the song.
    If a band has a good, solid drummer I can usually hang. But if the drummer is speeding things up or not grooving, I'll bow out.
  5. glocke1


    Apr 30, 2002
    thats really pretty much what it came down to in this situation, the drummer not being able to keep tempo despite my attempts to set the correct tempo...

    unfortunately the drummer is the guitar players neighbor and they come as a matched set...once I invited a percussionist to sit in hoping he could help lock things down, but that resulted in an enormous amount of butthurt from the drummer
  6. FretNoMore

    FretNoMore * Cooking with GAS *

    Jan 25, 2002
    The frozen north
    I agree the main thing is if you can work with the drummer. If you can't it's just becomes too frustrating and even if you stay with the group to practice your own part it will be too difficult if you're not in sync with the drummer. I can live with less skilled guitarists/keyboardists/singers.

    Personally I need to be in a group, preferrably also with a decent amount of gigs, to be motivated to practice at home. Playing in a group is where the joy of music comes from, practicing I see as a necessary evil to build skills and play well in the band.
  7. I'd rather play out, even with a crappy band, than sit at home. If nothing else, playing out forces you to learn the song all the way through. Sitting at home tends to encourage only learning the cool parts of a song. Doing a live performance also has more of an andrenaline rush and more opportunities for social interaction.
  8. Nashrakh


    Aug 16, 2008
    Hamburg, Germany
    After such an experience, I lean towards staying home - that is, if you wouldn't want to be in the band for the hang and have nothing better to do than rehearse. Staying for the hang is a very valid reason, and it's something only you can decide. For me the people would have to be the greatest bros on earth though. If not I'd rather polish my chops at home.
  9. glocke1


    Apr 30, 2002
    Too busy with other things in my personal life really to just be there for the hang...plus outside of music I have nothing in common with these guys...they are ALL diehard sports fans and when not talking about music are talking about sports.. :spit:

    I've also got other opportunities to play with better musicians...albeit these are infrequent, but are more rewarding.
  10. nukes_da_bass

    nukes_da_bass Banned

    Feb 19, 2006
    west suburban boston
    Drummer is make or break- good drummer makes the gig, bad drummer breaks the band for me :)
  11. ChrisB2

    ChrisB2 Bass... in your fass

    Feb 27, 2008
    TalkBass > Off Topic
    For me, I choose #3, playing with people who are good.

    But given those two choices, I still would stay with the crappy group rather than play at home alone.

    For me, it's about playing bass, making music with others, playing out live, entertaining people, getting out of the house and socializing. At home I get only one of those.

    For me, playing at home is preparation for playing in a group live. I like to cook and for others to enjoy my creations, but playing at home would be like shopping for a bunch of great groceries and then never making the meal or getting to eat it or having the joy of sharing it with others. Or like planning and packing for vacation then unpacking and never leaving home.

    Edit: of course, there has to be a base level of skill and ability. Can't stay with truly bad players just to play out. Have to find better group.
  12. Zegie


    Dec 8, 2009
    UK South East

    That's my take too FWIW. But the vocalist thing is an issue. A good vocalist IMHO is the 'glue' in a band ( probably more so than a drummer) because in my experience he/she will have a strong view (if not the ultimate say) on how the set list is constructed, arranged, interpreted and delivered.
  13. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    If it was seriously impossible to find a better group to play with, I'd play with a mediocre group and hope for growth. Playing by myself gets tired after a while. But in this situation, I would definitely be scanning CL ads for anything promising and hanging out at open mics.
  14. obimark


    Sep 1, 2011
    IME- Many "bands" expect a bass player to be there and be a robot- in terms of "lets play through the same song 3-4 times in a row."

    This gets old fast particularly when you as the bass player already know the song down cold.
    At that point, I usually say "Hey, why don't you guys woodshed this song more, and let's try it next week"
    The sad fact is, for many gui****s and singers the ONLY practice they do is at band "rehearsal" and they want to drag EVERYONE along for the ride.
    My new MO is hey "I already played this song twice through on my own this week, if you need to do it more than that at rehearsal, do it on your OWN TIME"
    But yes you are playing with a sucky band, and IME usually they don't get better, surprisingly the things they suck on, they will STILL suck on even after practicing them 100 times over.
  15. GKon

    GKon Supporting Member, Boom-Chicka-Boom

    Feb 17, 2013
    Queens, NY
    I'd rather play alone than out with a band I feel is crappy.
    I wouldn't mind so much jamming with a crappy band in a practice space, however.

    People often talk about playing with someone that's better than you in order for you to get better. So, in this situation, you are the one who's better than the others.

    It does rely on the fact, though, that they are willing to learn from you, in order to get better.
  16. MrLenny1


    Jan 17, 2009
    CL listings are not panning out for me.
    Tried another jam last night.
    Was given a song list and tunes they would like to work on.
    No one new them except for me, I learn't 12 tunes and they did not know them at all.
    Too bad, nice studio & cool dudes but could not get thru a single song.
  17. pedroims


    Dec 19, 2007
    Nothing worse than a band that plays in fixed tempo, or a drummer that cant play the same pattern for more than two bars. I would not mind to play with a band that is not good as long as they know they are bad and they work to improve.
  18. Nashrakh


    Aug 16, 2008
    Hamburg, Germany
    Sounds to me like you made the right decision, then. Can't hurt to keep a foot in the door though - my last band was rather mediocre but the guitarist is good and likes to experiment, we started a new band together. (He is still with the old band, but only for ***** and giggles - he doesn't take the new country rock direction very seriously but wanted to play with a full band once in a while)
  19. Is either band gigging? Successfully?
  20. marmadaddy


    Oct 17, 2005
    Rochester, NY
    I'm fortunate in that I have lots of options when it comes to worthwhile ways to spend my time, so in order for something musical to be worth it to me I rely on the 2 out of 3 rule: the music, the money, the hang. I need at least two of them to consider it, otherwise I'd rather play at home. Fortunately my current 3 regular and semi-regular gigs have all three.