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Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Robert H., Nov 12, 2017.
No makey sensey
That is not surprising at all to me.
And try this out-finding a harmony for a great singer while playing your instrument.
I haven't gigged in four years. I miss hitting that flow state, where the band is communicating almost telepathically.
Been trying to raise a band for a few months. All the good players I know of moved away. It's like pulling teeth, now.
I know my caption said " Join a Band!" But even for very inexperienced and insecure players, playing with friends will generally be such a great experience.
I agree that playing live pushes me to learn more, and when it clicks it can be great. And I agree with Jakedog's related observation that you get to know what gear works live by playing live.
In the last decade, I've played in several duo configurations, a trio and a 5 member band. But now I'm doing all solo performances. Band drama was involved in some of those situations, and so now I'm wary of getting into another band.
The one exception is with my younger brother. He lives next door to our Mom on our family property, which is 375 miles north of here, so gigging together regularly is not really an option. But I've played two of his gigs with him this past year. Both times I refused to take any payment for the gig. We really had fun working together. Of course, drama and personality conflicts can be found in sibling rivalry as well, but I have added incentives to make it work.
He's had some hard times personally and financially. He has a 21 year old low functioning autistic daughter to care for, a worthless wife that left him (he shouldn't have married her in the first place, but he didn't want to hear that back in the day), and a debilitating business injury. So for the last couple of years he's been trying to make a go of it gigging. Of course, there are ups and downs, and he's not getting rich, but for the most part he's done well. He's a good singer, a songwriter and frankly a better guitar player than me (and I'll get him for it! ). And when the good Lord was handing out self-confidence, that boy got in line twice. He has the salesmanship to book gigs, has gotten several residencies, and is playing several times each week. So, my incentives. First of all, I want him to succeed for his own sake. Second, they're his gigs/residencies. If/when I play with him, I'm the extra. Third, I want him to succeed for my mother's sake. I don't won't her to have to worry about him (though she probably does anyway).
Sorry, I digress. For now, at least, I don't want to get into another band, not even a duo, except for the few times I get to gig with my brother.
I just wish I could find some musicians to play with. Every craigslist contact I make turns out to be a flake.
This is a regional (or something) terminology. I host a "jam" at my house once a week. We almost next, except to warm up, say "key of A" go. We run through a bunch of blues standards, no so standards and occasionally, I will bust out something nobody was expecting, a little Neil Young last time. Thus we "jam" on it. I don't get all cranky about nailing it note for note, sometimes the solo section lasts a long time. It's a jam, its casual, not so serious, but we still play "songs". This closest thing this gets to a stage is an open mic night, which we've done a couple of times.
This project is actually more fun, and better, than the band I played paying gigs with. So I quit it.
+ 1,000,000 You will learn so much about music, you and your gear. Finding the right guys to play with is most important, unfortunately also most difficult!
2 tips on this.
1. You'll find yourself putting down those lead sheets to think about and practice rhythm. That part of music you know you should practice... but often don't.
2. If you're worried your playing is short learn how to sing harmony. If you can do this well a bum chord here and there will be forgiven before you realized it was the wrong chord.
2.b. If you're curious how to learn harmony, well try singing along with the guys in the bands whose names you don't know. You know... the ones who only sing some of the words.
Our band is unique in that most of us are best/close friends, and we all have a tremendous amount of respect for each other. Our band rule is that decisions are made only by unanimous vote. All full band members (four) have veto power. Our newest member has not been granted full member status. Probably the most contentious decisions we face are song lists. We're a cover band (now recording an originals album). We play some covers I really dislike, (songs I'd never listen to on the radio in a million years,) but I gladly play them because I know they get people up and dancing, and also I'm respecting the band member that wants to play it.
I play in this band because these are my friends and I love the music we create and play. It's too much work, and it takes up too much time and energy to consider being in any other band, and so this is the last band I'll ever play in. If this band ever folds I'd just continue recording originals using other musician friends.
I've looked at Craig's List on occasion as well, but I've never seen any ads there warranting a phone call or text. The problem is, I'm an old geezer. I play classic rock and a bit of blues, and old standards and Country (both classic and new). Almost everything I see on CL is young kids. In such a band I'd look like somebody's grandfather trying to fit in. And of course there are musical differences. Seems like everyone in South Texas is looking for Latin/Tejano/conjunto players, or metal, or indie rock, or punk, etc. The occasional ad for Country is always looking for a drummer or bassist or female vocalist, so they don't apply to me.
You have to play with good people. They don't have to be great musicians and you don't have to be close friends, to play music with them. When you are gigging, the humanity and decency of your collaborators becomes very important.
I own a lot of gear but very little of it goes to the gig. Playing out narrows your focus- what do I need?, what is reliable?, what is functional?
If you've got this far...... you should take the next step.
"Nothing better for your playing than four hours in a sticky-floored club playing a bunch of songs you don’t really know, throwing taste out the window, and soloing too much." - John Bohlinger
Agree 100%. Being in a band has improved my confidence so much that I play better, I switch off to bass and synths, and I even sing (something I thought I'd NEVER do - in fact, one of my biggest fears).
Just do it.
If you really want to approve as a band and as an individual - record your practices.
And then listen to them.
Can be eye-opening...
Absolutely agree with the OP.
And man, reading some of the responses just reminds me how grateful and lucky I am to be in the band I'm in, even if we are all lousy about booking enough gigs. No drama, no substance abuse, moderate amounts of beer/alcohol consumed during practice (and even moreso at gigs), and no huge egos. I guess I'm the de facto bandleader by virtue of the fact that I write all of our original material and I suggest more tune additions than the other two guys combined, but we've also agreed that everyone has veto power over a given tune or gig. There's no point in doing this if it isn't fun, since we all have day jobs.
you *might* be with the wrong guys if it's THAT challenging
go to a jam/open mic
Our BL does this, mainly as a passive aggressive way to tell one of the other guys he stinks and needs to practice.
We recorded our first gig as a group and it damn near sank the ship. In the end it boiled to really bad mixing - the loudest guitar was the guy that didn't really know the songs. Painful to listen to, but it did benefit us down the road.
Boy oh boy, I, for one sure am a believer in this.
I don't have a group that I gig with anymore- and I'm a ham-fisted hack at best.
BUT... years ago when I was in a duo, and years later when I was in a sometimes gigging garage band, I became 100% sold on the notion that you just don't know how you sound, unless you hear the recording. Period. Next best thing might be a well-placed, objective, learned, sober, critical, musician friend who could give you feedback.... but who has those at every practice and gig?!
SO many times I'd form what I thought was a true impression during a practice or gig only to find out that some subjective filter was at play. Maybe mood... maybe altered mood... maybe the music just went by too quick for me to analyze.... maybe my vantage point didn't capture the true mix.
A well-positioned little digital recorder nowadays is so easy to use, and records with such quality, you just really should do it -AND THEN LISTEN CAREFULLY to what got captured. Yes, there may be some/a bunch of audience noise on the gig recordings- but sometimes THAT can be both entertaining and informative too!
The recording doesn't lie.
You just don't know 'til you know.