Advice regarding Direction

Discussion in 'Band Wagon' started by Bob Sushko, Dec 23, 2018.

  1. Bob Sushko

    Bob Sushko TDPRI Member

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    I live in an area that is filled with rock bands playing 60's - 90's stuff, I've played in a number of rock bands. What we don't need is another rock band doing Allman Bros. Grateful Dead and Clapton, etc. stuff. So, I started a dedicated Chicago Blues band and it went down well, however, after 3 gigs the harp player wasn't cutting it so I dissolved the band to a four-piece (guitar, bass, drums, & keys). During a rehearsal, I was talking about my younger years when I played a lot of jazz standards and we quickly realized we all have an affection for the Funky Hard Bop Soul stuff like the B3 groups and so forth. So my intention was to focus on the blues end of these compositions and call it something like Hard Bop Blues and bring it to the clubs/bars.

    My dilemma is when discussing this direction with the wife, she thinks I'm crazy, that no one wants to hear this stuff around here, it would be hard to pull off convincingly and would be hard to book. She has a point. What do you guys think?
     
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  2. beyer160

    beyer160 Friend of Leo's

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    Is this a business, or a hobby?

    If it's a business, think of it as introducing a new product to the marketplace. There's obviously no current demand in your market for this product, so you have to create one. This will require some amount of marketing work- do you have the interest/inclination to do that?

    If it's a hobby, do whatever you want.
     
  3. Paul in Colorado

    Paul in Colorado Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Try it. You don't know until you get in front of an audience.
     
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  4. jrblue

    jrblue Tele-Afflicted

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    Good question. I share your interest, but have been surprised that the genres you mentioned do not seem -- as yet? ever? -- to have experienced any kind of revival. I think you'll either find it hard going, or else (perhaps) get a solid reception for providing something that's not otherwise out there much.
     
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  5. Jakedog

    Jakedog Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Do what you want, you might be surprised. When I meet other musicians around here for the first time, they are constantly floored that I stayed as busy as I do playing what I play. When I say I don’t like new or modern rock/country, I won’t play the latest pop hits, and no, I don’t do Zepp or Sabbath, I always get blank looks. Usually followed by “but... you HAVE to or you can’t work around here...”

    I’ve found being one of a very small crowd that does what I do has paid off very well for me.
     
  6. Nickadermis

    Nickadermis Friend of Leo's

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    I like listening to people who are obviously enjoying what they are playing. If I’m paying to listen, I kind of expect it or I’m not going to do it a second time. Giving people a variety of listening experience is precisely why I support our local public radio. Maybe not Miles Davis at the local Hip Hop joint but some tasteful Jazz/Blues at a classic rock venue isn’t a stretch. I would say they are both probably adult audiences?
     
  7. T Prior

    T Prior Poster Extraordinaire

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    I'm not sure I understand the dilemma. Every band in this region plays Wagon Wheel ! The simple fact of the matter is some bands are much better than others, even if they are playing the same set list. Some bands are really BAD at covering those same songs. If you have 30 to 40 really good well know songs that people like,and you play them really well, you will have a successful band. Now obviously there are some genre specific outlets but if you do that you will be limited to genre specific outlets.

    Hit the road with 30 to 40 really well known songs, play them WELL and there will be a difference. It's kinda like playing Eagles songs but the guitar players are faking the Don Felder arrangements. It jumps out at you.

    Don't change the music , change the way it is presented. And yes, there are a lot of bands in the weeds that you may have to work thru, it won't happen overnight.

    Whatever style you decide to play, play it well. The set list is the the #1 key to success, the #2 factor is the presentation of #1.

    You mentioned a Harp player , my opinion,. just me, Harp players ( they only play Harp) can be the most obnoxious players in a band. Ask yourself this if you think I'm crazy, when was the last time you time you heard Paul Butterfield play Harp and sing at the same time or play over Bloomfield ? Right, never. Harp players with a mic in front of them is like a drug ! :eek: Of course not all, but many. Probably most.
     
  8. 41144

    41144 Tele-Afflicted

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    What a great genre to try and introduce, got a kinda veering away from blues towards jazz/funk myself ...

    1) What's to lose?
    2) What's the matter with folk in your area... Don't they like to get up and dance around? ;)
     
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  9. Musekatcher

    Musekatcher Friend of Leo's

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    I get the OP's question. When you have four guys with energy, affinity and that want to do something, you don't want to squander that energy working up material that's gonna flop. Its a missed opportunity, that likely ends up dissolving the band completely if you waste it on the wrong direction. I think your wife is most likely correct. And the previous poster is correct about competence over content. Well played standards are much more successful than ok-played anything else. But sneak in a special tune or two, and nail it. Then see if anyone notices.

    It might be time for a public service bulletin for covers. I think one reason covers become covers, is not just that the tune has a great hook. Its because they are easy to perform really well, and they have a great hook. As a result, bands can nail them, which is what folks like.
     
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  10. VintageSG

    VintageSG Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    Play what you enjoy and have fun. If you're having fun, it becomes contagious. If you're 'phoning it in, it's obvious.
    Mess with covers, make them original.
    Emphasis the Bop!
    Generate the groove.
    Make the zone a fun zone to be in.

    After endless nights in the safety zone of vanilla covers, give the patrons something to jig about to. Something to click their fingers to, nod their heads to, then give them a comfortable cover to reassure them.
     
  11. Sparky2

    Sparky2 Friend of Leo's

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    Four words;

    Speed death-metal zydeco.

    :oops:
     
  12. Bob Sushko

    Bob Sushko TDPRI Member

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    Ironic you should mention playing at the Wagon Wheel, that is also the name of the club I play at around here! Anyway, 30-40 well known Hard Bop blues tunes? I dare ya to even list 5 'relatively known' ones! LOL . . .
     
  13. T Prior

    T Prior Poster Extraordinaire

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    NOT HARD BOP BLUES TUNES, I couldn't even name one !

    30 to 40 TUNES in general that people know and like, 50,s 60's R+R throw in a few Country , mix in some 80's , 90's rock. Theres only a few thousand to select from !
     
  14. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Poster Extraordinaire

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    With all due respect, you may be a little too concerned about a "label". Play songs you all like and can get into....regardless of its "genre". I find it can get a good audience response to throw in something a bit unexpected, as long as it's done well, and doesn't go on too long. When you try to be too specific about what your material is CALLED, you run the risk of alienating potential fans before they ever hear you in the first place. Call it "funky/blues/soul" or something to start with, and then, if you're GOOD, word will get out and you'll establish a fan base. And, don't be afraid to throw in a polka every now and then.....people LOVE them......;)
     
  15. nvilletele

    nvilletele Friend of Leo's

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    Do it. And include some “soul jazz”

    Maybe some Work Song, Mercy Mercy Mercy, Cold Duck Time.

    Eddie Harris, Bobby Timmons, etc.
     
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  16. Dennyf

    Dennyf Tele-Afflicted

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    Exactly. Don't try to pin it down, paint it with as broad of a brush as you can. Be inclusive, not discriminating. Hell, folks don't know any better anyway. Your gigs will speak for themselves.
     
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  17. 4pickupguy

    4pickupguy Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    If this is where your musical passions and interest lie and you are teamed with like minded people (oh man, what a blessing), go make music, make it sound good and entertaining and people will climb on board.
    Entertaining is the key word. Brave Combo plays polka tunes and have a loyal following... If you want to be a weekend warrior who plays covers for money and thats where your passions and interest lie, more power to ya. I find I last about 20 minutes listening to a live juke though. That IS just me, because there are literally countless bands doing that...
     
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  18. schmee

    schmee Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    Try it. Around here there has been some resurgence in the (traditional) R&B, Motown, Funk, dance stuff. I know I'd rather hear that than Skynyrd, Southern rock, and the other overplayed stuff.... if it's well done...
     
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  19. RifleSlinger

    RifleSlinger Tele-Meister

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    Did you start playing music hoping someday to really nail the target demographic of your average citizen?

    If you have love and passion for something, i.e., if you have a dream, and you’re fortunate enough to be playing with other people that share it, don’t listen to anyone who tells you it will fail. There are always a thousand reasons your dream won’t work. You can find ways around obstacles.
     
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  20. MilwMark

    MilwMark Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I’m confused. Is there a market for Chicago Blues covers that is more vibrant than for Jazz covers?

    If that is the crux of the delimna, color me surprised.
     
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