Putting together my first “from scratch” band, tips/advice?

Discussion in 'Band Wagon' started by fjrabon, Oct 17, 2018.

  1. fjrabon

    fjrabon Tele-Holic

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    So, every other band I’ve been in was pretty well established before I joined and I was either taking somebody’s place or adding a second guitar to the mix.

    As such, the band’s culture was always more or less in place: the work ethic, methods, how rehearsal worked, the song list, etc. I didn’t have to worry if things were going to work out, because they were always a fairly well oiled machine and I only needed to know my parts and show up on time.

    This is different, because we are sort of working how it will work in this band from scratch.

    It’s soul/heavy blues/southern rock. The bass player found us all. I had my first session with him today. It went well, I like him, he sings well on soul songs, which is good because my voice is more southern rock. He seems like a solid enough bassist, though it’s somehwat hard to tell without a drummer. We are aiming for our first full band rehearsal in a week and a half. We worked up 5 songs about as well as you can with just one guitar and bass. I took it for a “feeling each other out” session as much as anything.

    In some sense I suppose the “band leader” role is kind of in the air, even though the bass player sort of set it up, he doesn’t seem like a take charge guy. But I also think we all want it to be mostly a democracy. I’ll be doing the PA for gigs where the venue doesn’t provide it. Booking is looking like an all hands on deck type of thing between me, the bassist and second guitarist. For now we are all just giving songs we know we can sing well, that are big hits, until we have a decent song list worked up. For now if you suggest a song you have to sing it.

    So... any words of advice here? Tips that helped bands you’ve been in work smoothly? Mistakes that ended up causing things to not work out?
     
  2. galaxiex

    galaxiex Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    Never started a band from "scratch".

    The one I joined many years ago had basically one policy...

    "Leave your ego at the door".

    We have had some personnel changes over the years and I have seen this work very well.
    Those changes were for reasons other than egos.
    One guy moved to a different city, etc, things like that.

    Now years later, we are all friends and support each other.

    I'll admit there have been times I wanted to say something to another band member
    that could have been construed as my ego wanting to have something done "my way",
    but I bit my tongue and kept silent.

    Later found a way to bring the subject up as a suggestion, and had the thing accepted.

    Tact, humility and respect for all other members goes a long way.

    Just common human decency I guess.

    That's all I got.
     
  3. Finck

    Finck Tele-Afflicted

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    My advice for ANY working group, no matter if it's a band or a team of engineers: don't face a professional disagreement as a personal attack. That's a difficult task, indeed. The rule "let ego at the door" makes total sense to me.
     
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  4. slinger

    slinger Friend of Leo's

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    everybody sings
     
  5. regularslinky

    regularslinky Tele-Holic

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    If the goal is to gig, agree on some rules early and save aggravation later. Bad rehearsal habits carry over into gigs. No booze/drugs at rehearsal. No between song noodling at rehearsal. Be prepared: rehearsal is not where you learn the songs. Rehearse as if you are performing, not in a circle looking at each other, not while reading from a chart or lyric sheet. I find its more efficient to group songs into clusters of two or three, and always rehearse and gig those song clusters together. Less “what’s next?” and more music.

    Spend some time together outside of rehearsal to make sure you like each other and to do non-rehearsal stuff like planning, choosing songs, shooting the breeze,etc.
     
  6. chemobrain

    chemobrain Friend of Leo's

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    don't quit your day job and remain a solo artist/performer.:cool:
     
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  7. T Prior

    T Prior Poster Extraordinaire

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    do it with people you like and with people that like each other. Otherwise it will be a lot of work for nuthin' !
     
  8. fjrabon

    fjrabon Tele-Holic

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    Yeah, I’m very insistent on setlists and only deviating from the setlist when the tip jar demands it.
     
  9. ndcaster

    ndcaster Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    Being early is on time; being on time is late.
     
  10. Pineears

    Pineears Tele-Afflicted

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    Probably should start by writing a song about starting a band.

     
  11. MatchlessMan

    MatchlessMan Tele-Meister

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    Done this twice. Never again!
     
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  12. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Poster Extraordinaire

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    Sounds like a recipe for disaster to me....;)
    Seriously, though, I don't think I've ever seen a successful band come together casually....you've got to have a leader. That doesn't mean a DICTATOR, but someone with a vision and able to direct everyone toward that vision. Your approach to rehearsals and learning songs may be radically different from the others. To me, everyone should learn songs BEFORE practice, and then put those songs together at practice. That doesn't mean you can't EVER jam or fool around, but if that's at EVERY rehearsal, you're wasting too much time. Too many guys think playing in a band is effortless, that stuff will just "fall" into place.....I've never seen that happen. Good luck....and I really hope you guys are compatible.....
     
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  13. Commodore 64

    Commodore 64 Friend of Leo's

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    Wait a minute. Isn't that what rehearsal is for? Or is there a distinction between practicing with your bandmates and rehearsing?
     
  14. regularslinky

    regularslinky Tele-Holic

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    My advice was assuming that OP wanted a gigging band. If not, then anything goes. But if the goal is to gig, then rehearsal should be treated like a job. A very cool job, but a job nonetheless. Everybody is there to work. Several of my experiences starting bands involved rented rehearsal space - wasting time was wasting money so we were efficient while we were "on the clock." We did all the other stuff during occasional non-rehearsal band meetings at someone's house. I'm convinced that the discipline of trying to be efficient at rehearsal makes for a better band on stage.
     
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  15. ndcaster

    ndcaster Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    Know your part beforehand. Rehearsal is for putting it all together.
     
  16. Whatizitman

    Whatizitman Tele-Afflicted

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    The short answer is "yes". But not every band's goals and purpose are the same.

    Working cover band? Most definitely yes. Practice your parts at home until you know them inside and out. Rehearsal is for getting ready for the stage. Not for learning or working out parts, arrangements, etc... It's not hang time. It's not jam and noodle time. It's work time.

    Jam band? Fun hang dad garage band? New originals project? Jam away. Your time together is for being creative.
     
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  17. charlie chitlin

    charlie chitlin Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    Always go with the better PERSON over the better musician.
    Follow your instincts. If you have doubts find someone else.
    Every time I second-guess myself or don't follow my own rules, I've been sorry.
    Stay away from keyboard players whenever possible. ;)
    If you want a harmonica player, find one who knows what note he's playing at all times....which, basically, disqualifies 99.99% of harmonica players.
     
  18. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Poster Extraordinaire

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    You do a great job of demonstrating my point above.....If I'm "serious" about an effective rehearsal, and you're "serious" about just having a good time, we're both at cross-purposes. This is precisely the reason most bands fail. Let me repeat that.....THIS IS PRECISELY THE REASON MOST BANDS FAIL!
     
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  19. charlie chitlin

    charlie chitlin Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    My band likes tight, well-rehearsed original tunes.
    We work hard to get it right.
    For us, a rigorous, productive rehearsal is a fun one.
     
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  20. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Poster Extraordinaire

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    And don't let me be misunderstood.....I agree 100%.....
     
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