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Chemistry amongst your band mates?

Discussion in 'Band Wagon' started by Flat6Driver, Jan 28, 2018.

  1. Ron R

    Ron R Friend of Leo's

    Mar 23, 2016
    Raleigh, NC
    I already know I'm lucky/blessed to be in the band situation I am; every time I see one of these topics, it serves as a great reminder. We're just a 3 piece, so less chance for drama, but we complement each other well musically, and we all get along very well. No backbiting, we're all on the same page musically and in terms of priorities. We all enjoy a few (literally) beverages during practice, and maybe one or two during a gig. No issues with too much drinking, or substances.
    brookdalebill likes this.

  2. Gene O.

    Gene O. Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

    Sep 20, 2015
    Canton, Ohio
    What I consider my main band - the one I put most of my effort into - has great chemistry, both personally and musically. What we don't have is gigs. The band/individual I work with most is one of those blues guys that's been around forever. It's sort of hit or miss on chemistry with him, and the story is far to long and complicated to get into here. There is a [married] couple that I play a few gigs a year with - he plays keys, she plays bass, and they both sing. Musically we're not always on the same page, but they are the nicest people in the world, as is the drummer (who is very good), so the personal chemistry overrides any musical disagreements.

  3. Flat6Driver

    Flat6Driver Friend of Leo's

    Jan 14, 2013
    DC Burbs
    Got my blues group together last night. We're playing at an OM on Thursday. It was like herding cats to get through what we wanted to play. Everyone wanted to chat an cut up. Normally I wouldn't care, but I'm the nominal leader of this so I wanted to steer the session into a finished product, but it was cool....everyone is excited to do it, we get along pretty good and the few times we've been on stage, had a great time of it. I'm probably the most wound up actually on stage since I want to appear competent....bass player isn't into this genre and drummer is more of a rock drummer than a blues drummer and tends to speed up, so when we hit the stage I'm trying to maximize our output in front of other musicians, which is always a little nerve wracking. Since it's not a for profit endeavor, I don't sweat it too much. That's probably the key to having a good time with it.

  4. cattzap

    cattzap Tele-Meister

    Jan 18, 2018
    Carlos, Tx
    People are who they are. Adding a band or music on top of that doesn't change anything. Being in a group, mostly for me has been in our Sunday morning services. When I started with that, it was led by a guy who was a complete jerk and control freak. Thankfully he's gone. If he gave you a song on a paper, the date and time he gave it to you would be written on it. If for any reason that got misplaced, and you asked for another copy, all you would get is notified of the date and time that he gave you the only copy your getting. After some time, I was going to step out because the air that seemed to go with him was always a negative vibe kinda thing. You just felt it. One guy left because of that, and there was only three of us. He just got tired of it. Thankfully he left. That's just stupid and takes away from everything. Now we have built a new Sunday morning group that is some really good people before there is any group or music, so that makes the group and music really good and enjoyable. I have a Thursday group now that meets at my house to either have a jam session, or sometimes we take a month and focus on learning something, a song or a technique, new chords, new strumming patterns, etc. Its a good group and we don't have any control freaks and that makes it very pleasant. There is a guy that plays a steel and his wife will come with him. She plays a fiddle. When they argue they tend to bring it with them and she will let it show sometimes and that can get uncomfortable. This past week they were arguing bad and she set her fiddle down and refused to play or talk to anyone. Aint nobody got time for that.

  5. codamedia

    codamedia Friend of Leo's

    Apr 4, 2009
    Western Canada
    The sum should always be greater than it's parts!

    A group of players having fun and creating good music is infectious to the crowd ...
    People don't need to be best friends... but they need to respect each other. When respect is lost, it's time to move on.
    Minimalist518 and McGlamRock like this.

  6. teleforumnoob

    teleforumnoob Friend of Leo's

    May 25, 2010
    North Alabama
    My current band gets along very well. We don't socialize with each other very much outside the band but inside the band it's congenial and fun. Not because we're not otherwise compatible but because we all have a life. We're gigging as much as we want to, 1-2 a month, and a rehearsal almost every week. If we saw each other much more than that heck we might start to get on each other's nerves.
    Minimalist518 likes this.

  7. Wrong-Note Rod

    Wrong-Note Rod Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Mar 4, 2009
    Our band's chemistry is pretty good, and while I like everybody in the band... theres a part of me which is somewhat reserved about it, because I'm basically a hired gun.

    Thats what the gig is, and I'm aware of it, and I could get canned at any minute for any reason.

    The band is good, they're nice people... but I dont hang out with them. In some of my other bands, chemistry was better, and we would hang out together. Then again some of those bands werent anywhere near as good musically.

    So there you go.
    Minimalist518 likes this.

  8. Guitaryellow

    Guitaryellow Tele-Meister

    Dec 22, 2017
    In my band the drummer is just happy to be there, the singer is the star "In his head".
    The bass is cool as ever and I smooth out any issues.

  9. Tele1966

    Tele1966 Friend of Leo's

    Jul 30, 2014
    Up until recently we were a three piece with a front man. My best friend is in our band, and another very close friend is in the band as well as another who is a good friend, we all hang out together. The dynamics and the chemistry musically is about the best I could imagine.

    I mentioned "up until recently." We recently added a young lady vocalist/keyboardist and I've noticed, as anyone would expect, a change in band dynamics. She is less than half the age of most of us. She is a fantastic singer and keyboardist. She is extremely talented. Great stage presence. She's only played two gigs with us so far. She is so talented she just fit right in, and she would fit in with any band. I think a hundred or more bands around here would want her in their band.

    The change in dynamics is not negative. Some band members have mentioned that yes of course she can bring in her originals and the covers she wants to do, it's only fair. We'll see how they feel when we start playing Taylor Swift songs. :) I would never disrespect Taylor Swift, I think she's absolutely great, but we're a cover band of mostly older guys playing '60s - '90s classic rock and pop and so it will be interesting to add girl based current pop songs. She wants to play the bars where more of her age group hangs out. If that happens it will be interesting for sure.

    Edit to add (sorry for the lengthy post!)

    My bottom line has always been to record my songs. I need female vocals for some of my songs, and there are a few great female vocalists I've asked in this area that have told me they would record my songs, but the problem has always been what if a song gets traction and my band needs to perform it live? Even though at least one of the other ladies has said she would represent the song live and perform with us, I don't see it happening, her band is constantly booked for most of the year.
    Minimalist518 likes this.

  10. Flat6Driver

    Flat6Driver Friend of Leo's

    Jan 14, 2013
    DC Burbs
    I did manage to get an audition with this band I referred to above. In a couple of weeks. I think it's a little like granpa's axe really. The band seems to be named after the lead singer/rhythm guy that's no longer there. I think since their demo video on their site and now, everyone has turned over with the drummer being around the longest. The newish lead singer told me he's a type A guy and did the recruiting for this go round. I'm curious to see how it all goes. I'll assess chemistry from there.

  11. 41144

    41144 Tele-Holic

    Sep 5, 2017
    West Midlands
    Sounds like the singer's ego is a bit out of control there but, in a band you've got to be able to trust one another and be honest with one another if you want to have any chance of longevity for the band.
    So, if you can't turn to a band mate and say, In rehearsal ... What the .... was that you just played ... What was that you just sang etc ... And elicit a laugh from someone else, preferably the person it was aimed at ... Its probably not the band for you .

    But, on stage everything's wonderful - you're supposed to be entertaining folk, not engaged in a fued ... leave the "discussions" til later. :)
    Tele1966 likes this.

  12. christhee68

    christhee68 Friend of Leo's

    Aug 1, 2011
    south carolina
    In my last band, I liked a couple of the guys, could tolerate one and couldn't stand another. Even the ones I liked I only saw at rehearsals or gigs. It's not like we ever hung out or anything.

  13. LarryInTexas

    LarryInTexas Tele-Meister

    Jul 2, 2012
    I was in a band in the early '80's that started off great but degenerated quickly. The lead singer and bass player were more experienced, and they took that to mean they knew it all and the rest of us were simpletons.

    To make it worse, about a year and a half in, my girlfriend and I broke up, and that very night, she shacked up with the bass player. They were happy to flaunt it in front of me and took every opportunity to do so.

    I gave it about another six months before I quit and joined another band. The bass guy and my ex got married soon after. They were divorced almost exactly a year later.

    I ran into the guy about 10 years later, and he couldn't stop apologizing.
    Tele1966 and Minimalist518 like this.

  14. Smiff

    Smiff Tele-Holic

    Oct 1, 2017
    In some perverse way; the best bands I’ve seen are where there’s conflict between members. They try and out do each other and everyone ups their game. If it comes off, it’s awesome. Although the flip side is if it doesn’t, it really sucks. Fortunately I’ve not seen that happen to many times.

    These days, I rarely play out; more of a hired gun if somebody needs a hand one night. I guess having limited exposure means I don’t see the chemistry day to day, but any conflict is immediately obvious as an outsider. You tend not to notice as much and ignore it when you’re more involved.

  15. Flat6Driver

    Flat6Driver Friend of Leo's

    Jan 14, 2013
    DC Burbs

    That doesn't sound like much fun. I really did like the guys in my other band, we just had so many "music" problems that I felt we couldn't manage to get past. I don't see the need to play with people I don't like just to play. I played a jam with a drummer that was hired for the event. He was a pro. Could play anything. But seriously worked union hours. 45 minutes and would step outside for a drink of water. The whole time, it was almost like he was checking his watch. Gave the whole thing a bad vibe.

  16. Flat6Driver

    Flat6Driver Friend of Leo's

    Jan 14, 2013
    DC Burbs

    Chemistry between the guys seemed all there at least for this rehearsal/audition. They were way better players than I am. I guess it didn't carry to the stage that day. I'm not sure I cared for the one guy, but it doesn't matter, I pretty much decided that I wasn't gonna fit in with these cats...and asked to be taken out of consideration....there's something about being me new guy I don't think I could handle anyhow. Could have been a good experience, but I think it would require too much on my part to come up to their level and I don't think I truly have the time to devote to it.

  17. Jack S

    Jack S Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Sep 25, 2008
    Berwyn, IL
    My current band (two guitars/singers, bass, and drums) is my favorite band ever. We have developed a familial relationship and all of us know that if any single member were to depart the band would be finished. We have collaborated on writing and there has been no friction over music or personalities or any of the crap that can spoil a relationship. I hand picked two of them because I knew they had been in a band before and knew each other well. The third member was also a former bandmate to both of the others (unbeknownst to me beforehand) and brother-in-law to the drummer so there is an actual real relationship that exists.

    We all know each others' strengths and weaknesses and work to maximize our efforts. I love this band.
    Tele1966 likes this.

  18. CK Dexter Haven

    CK Dexter Haven Friend of Leo's

    Jun 7, 2017
    I play in two "pick up" bands but do so less and less. There are a pool of players for each group, and the line up changes based on work and other commitments. I have known one of the guys since high school, and we understand our differences, and work to minimize them. The other guys not so much, they are leaning more towards "my way of the high way" w/ a bit of "get off my lawn" tossed in. There are also a few guys who refuse to leave various topics at the door, which becomes distracting when they feel the need to get a rise out of some one before the end of business.

    I see more and more solo work in the future..

  19. Beachbum

    Beachbum Friend of Leo's

    Mar 11, 2009
    Sand Land
    When I was young I used to tolerate drama. As time went by I finally got to the point that I learned not to waist my time with any group that couldn't get past that in short order. If it kept happening on more than a few occasions I was known to unplug, pack my gear in the middle of a rehearsal and bid them a not so fond farewell. As far as chemistry goes it's a nice thing to have but I could have cared less. All I ever required was that we do it solely for the music without agendas, egos or infantile dreams of becoming rock stars. Life's to short.
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2018

  20. Charlie Bernstein

    Charlie Bernstein Poster Extraordinaire

    Apr 26, 2003
    Augusta, Maine
    The chemistry that matters most is the music. Jefferson Airplane's members were famous for their fights, but the music was good while it lasted.

    On the other hand, if other band members seriously offend, alarm, insult, or endanger you, bag it. It won't get better. It'll just get worse.

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