Are Local Bands Getting Worse?

ahiddentableau

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Not to be overly pessimistic, but I think you have to consider the overall ecology of the situation. There are a lot of regions where nobody under the age of 30 or even 40 has ever lived in an area where live music was a real thing. In most of the places I've lived there's been almost no live music, and certainly no local scene where young people can cut their teeth. It's awfully hard to get good at playing in bands when you have nowhere to play.
 

Dostradamas

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I used to live with a couple that held weekly "jams."

The host was the only one with any talent musically.
He was classically trained and knew his stuff.
Problem was he was only holding the jams for income and he was constantly fleecing the group with "great job!"
"awesome" "we really nailed that" even though outside the jams he lamented how soul draining it was to hack to death song after song.

I heard many a classic rock tune destroyed jam after jam and the group would always leave happy and reassured that they sounded "great" so the host could rely on another payday next week.

If a person wants to believe something it really takes little support to absolutely convince them.

Lots of people think if you do something enough times you must be good at it.
 

Marc Morfei

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I don't think "hacks" are stealing gigs from "pro players." I think live music is just not as important overall any more, so there is less of a market for it. Some small venues are only willing to pay $300, $400, $500. If no band was willing to play for that little $, the venue wouldn't pay more, they just wouldn't have live music.

Many places just want to spend $200 and have one guy with an acoustic guitar. Music is not the featured attraction, it's just a bonus. Are you a better player than him? Sure, maybe. But don't think he's stealing your gig. If you want the gig, go get it. If you don't want the gig because it doesn't pay enough, don't blame him. Some venues will pay more to get better talent. But many places just don't think it's worth it, because it's not very important to the customers. Sure, some people care, and will go to specific bars or venues because there is a band. But there are fewer of those people, and fewer of those places. Is that a crying shame? I suppose.

Thirty years ago the smallish place I grew up in had a half-dozen bars/clubs that had live bands every weekend. Today I think there is only just one. There's still the same number of bars and clubs, maybe more. But people don't go out "to see a band", like they did way back when.
 

Telenator

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I spend at least half my time in Southern Connecticut and have played and gigged here most of my life.
For 3 years I was in a host band of great players for an open mic. And up to 2012 had gigged with the same band for 10 years. After that, it all seemed to go down hill.
Southern CT used to have a a lot of great players and seriously good bands. You'd never know it from the auditions I've been on lately though.
I guess everything just up and changed and I'll be long gone before it gets better. It's not like I can't play either. I'm not delusional here. I'm no rock star, but I can hold my my own.
 

loudboy

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It's sort of a chicken/egg situation.

Is it that there are no venues to play, so the bands they get are bad?

Or is it that the bands are so bad, that music-based venues aren't viable?

There are still some really good cover bands playing, and they do well. But there are a LOT of bands that play lackluster shows and wonder why no one cares.

Back in the glory days of cover bands, audiences came specifically to see music and have a good time. The bands were also very good, and carried full production - 10pm came and it was on.

There's also the problem of venue mismatch - most owners like the idea of live music more than they like the reality of it. Especially if it's a full band. Ridiculous volume constraints, space limitations, etc. kill any chance of a band being able to do their job.

The fact that the classic cover band demographic is aging out also comes into play - I doubt there was anyone under 60 at the Dylan Birthday gig we did last week.
 

Old Deaf Roadie

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Around here you can't get booked unless you are pretending to be someone else in a tribute band. If the original artists ever heard some of these "tributes", I am certain they would be nowhere near impressed.
 

Telenator

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I used to live with a couple that held weekly "jams."

The host was the only one with any talent musically.
He was classically trained and knew his stuff.
Problem was he was only holding the jams for income and he was constantly fleecing the group with "great job!"
"awesome" "we really nailed that" even though outside the jams he lamented how soul draining it was to hack to death song after song.

I heard many a classic rock tune destroyed jam after jam and the group would always leave happy and reassured that they sounded "great" so the host could rely on another payday next week.

If a person wants to believe something it really takes little support to absolutely convince them.

Lots of people think if you do something enough times you must be good at it.
Interesting. I think that guy actually serves a purpose in that he makes others feel good about themselves. The host bands I've played in did the same. If a guy came up and showed us the chords, we'd back him up like a pro band and he would sound terrific and come back the following week and bring others. It was OK. That's part of host a good open mic. But I do get the bit about some people not realizing their strengths even after a great open mic experience. It cuts both ways. At least some of the people are happy. Much better than no one. Then your open mic shuts down.
 

FaithNicole

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I'm afraid that I'm one of the hobbyists. I'm ok, not great. mediocre but solid. I do the best that I can. yes I use a tablet, most of the content is new to me. I'm working hard to get to the point where I can be attentive to the crowd all the time rather than occasionally. Sadly, I am better than the guy that I replaced - I mean that in regards to topic. There are a lot out there that simply aren't up to it.

In my area gig money dried up, this topic is full of whys. The really dedicated players left the scene. Rather than play for next to nothing they stay home and jam with friends or not at all.

Clubs, at least the ones we deal with, cap what they will pay - take it or leave it. I believe that the clubs end up with exactly what they pay for. None want to build up the reputation of having quality shows because the investment takes too long for a return. complacency .. middling bands, middling return, minimal effort expended .. cheap
 

chris m.

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I'm afraid that I'm one of the hobbyists. I'm ok, not great. mediocre but solid. I do the best that I can. yes I use a tablet, most of the content is new to me. I'm working hard to get to the point where I can be attentive to the crowd all the time rather than occasionally. Sadly, I am better than the guy that I replaced - I mean that in regards to topic. There are a lot out there that simply aren't up to it.

In my area gig money dried up, this topic is full of whys. The really dedicated players left the scene. Rather than play for next to nothing they stay home and jam with friends or not at all.

Clubs, at least the ones we deal with, cap what they will pay - take it or leave it. I believe that the clubs end up with exactly what they pay for. None want to build up the reputation of having quality shows because the investment takes too long for a return. complacency .. middling bands, middling return, minimal effort expended .. cheap
I see this as an opportunity, actually. If you get a really good, tight band together, that plays music and puts on a show that people really enjoy, then you will be in demand and can get as many gigs as you want. Admittedly not for as much money as you would like, most likely. Kind of like a good mechanic or plumber-- no shortage of work. Any band that has a hard time getting gigs might want to look in the mirror because maybe they're not as good as they think they are.

I can say this from direct experience. I was in a tight, instrumental neo-funk band, and we were getting gigs, but it was very much on us to kind of nag the venues to get dates. A year ago we added an amazing female singer with tremendous stage presence, learned a whole ton of great songs for her to sing, and now the venues are calling us and pleading with us to be available more often.

Punk rockers have shown that you don't have to be a great musician as an individual to have a great band. The key is for that band to become a tight unit. A band of advanced musicians can find that tight groove very quickly. But even teenagers in garage bands can sound pretty darn tight if they just set their minds to it and practice a ton as a band.

Adults with commitments? If your band could practice two days a week, four hours total a week, and everyone worked hard on their own to get the tunes down, within six months you should be pretty darn tight even if you are all intermediate level players. The only key ingredient is everyone putting in the work, and everyone willing to take objective (and diplomatic) criticism from each other and try to get better.

Why work that hard? Not for the money, which is a joke, but for the joy of being in a band that sounds really good, and you know it because the audience is going nuts. Our last gig we got $300 from the venue, and $250 in tips, which tells me we are definitely doing something right. Before we had our amazing singer I don't think we ever got more than $20 in tips.
 

arlum

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Doing it the hard way has lost a lot of it's popularity. Where, in the past, a hard regiment of practice, skill building and a knowledge of equipment and how to properly use it resulted in a solid feedback of appreciation for your achievement, many today would wonder why you go through all that work when you don't have too. Today is filled with short cuts. Why work in an office when you can work from home? Why spend time on getting that run to smoothly slip into the spaces of the syncopation of the drummer? Why learn note for note when most listeners won't notice? Why take the time to learn how to use an analog device when a modelling device will sound almost as good with little or no practice? And No. I'm not dissing folks for using shortcuts. Today's requirements for gaining the skills to make a decent living and support a family are far greater than what folks from my time period had to learn to work on an assembly line, clean out a boiler, etc. etc.. I took notice when school districts started agreeing that cursive writing was a thing of the past. My first thought .... how will they sign a check or a contract or whatever? Then the realization. Checks? Cash? Signage? My adult children smile and shake their head when I use these methods. Folks have to divide their time to first meet all mandatory requirements and then they have the luxury of choosing what should fill the remaining time they have to commit. With the unreal popularity of social networking, online gaming, etc. I'm not sure a modern human would have the time to commit to achieve a skill level on an instrument that was available in the past. I'm glad I was born when I was born. The birth of electric guitars and amps yet prior to the internet, computer skill requirements and other college level skills I don't understand much less have a definition for. I hate to say it but ..... maybe this is why Data and Captain Picard were reveling in the escapades of Sherlock Holmes. At some point technology and science came to require too much time for an individual human to have time to contribute to the arts of writing, composition, musicianship, painting and multiple other art forms from the past.

I'm glad I'm old enough to retire anytime I want to. I still love my job and have no plans to retire but I look around my workplace at so many younger folks that I have a hard time identifying with. Their perspective on what's important is alien to me. Their division of available time is lost to me. Yet. They're young. They live in today's world. They have guidance counselors leading them in this direction. I fear art is slowly fading into the past. At least my idea of art. Who knows what the future will bring. Computer art? AI art? Did you see how I used AI? I heard that was modern day cool.

Don't expect the old fashioned instrument players / song writers / front man skill levels from the past. We had time to kill. You're busier than Sh*t. I'm both sorry and glad for you. The past is fading but the future looks huge!
 

teleplayr

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I have a younger friend who's had a band ? that doesn't play tunes with the proper chords or sounds, actually they're pretty bad and they were getting gigs!
 

GBfun

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Music is a product. Produce a bad product and it won't be profitable.

Produce a great product and the world will beg for it. (a market might have to be developed)

But if one inflicts physical discomfort or permanent damage on your market by being too LOUD...

Shame.

You reap what you sow !

If you don't believe this, imagine a group called the Beatles(yeah, somehow these hacks managed to be loud and still achieve something, but it wasn't necessary) at a local bar near you, or a guy named Elvis(feel free to substitute a modern Star of choice).

Would people disengage their souls from their phones and games long enough to check them out ?

I have a real suspicion that eventually they will, and demand for the above musical "hack's" services will go UP, and they will "create" a market if it doesn't exist, in almost ANY decade in modern history, and they can make more money than they can spend !

In short, well crafted, compelling songs, excellent performance skills, ambition, and talented members that stay the course.

Piece of cake. ;)
 

Tonetele

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I played mainly in the 70s and 80s and just to get into a band you had to be good.Auditions were tough.
Now I play ina trio of an ex music teacher and a true maestro. We're all Silverbacks.:)
 

Cyberi4n

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Here in the UK, from memory, the licensing changed, so that venues could have duos play, but needed a licence for bands that were more than 2. Before that, there were gigs aplenty, after that there were fewer and fewer places to play as landlords/owners simply didn't want the hassle. So the lack of live music in the UK does not necessarily point to people not wanting to see it, but can point to venue owners simply not wanting to spend the money on licencing, or having the space to make it worth while.
 

Telenator

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I'm playing tomorrow with a band that uses some pre-recorded tracks. That's a whole other mine field. Trying not to form an opinion before actually doing this.
I'm not afraid of it. Several years of studio experience have me prepared. I just need to get my head around the "not totally live" aspect. I might love it. We'll see.
 




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