Are Local Bands Getting Worse?

Jazzcaster21

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Back in the Steady Club/Venue days there were plenty of good bands around me - we used to get 6 nights a week easily for years - and generally when you play that much you get really good - the few guys that get booked a lot these days are generally good - but the rest are mediocre to average - I mean they can play the tunes - but there is something missing.

The whole industry in the mid 70s to the 90s was in a healthy state - lots of opportunities - you could play as much or as little as you liked - when that went away - combined with the forray of the Hobbyist honing in on Gigs - things became disrupted - and the whole scale was brought way down - now days one is hard pressed to find clubs at all - let alone any steady gigs - so that leaves everybody - even the really good guys - struggling.
Another thing that allows this to happen - mediocre bands playing live - is the fact that they will play for little to no money because "it's fun" for them. This makes it harder for the pros to get a decent pay from a bar and opens the door for more hacks to play. It's not always the case but I would say that is a big part of it around here: the weekend warriors who are doing it because they can.
 

Bartholomew3

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I walked into an audition and saw the drummer with a click track machine. Knew it was bad news right there.
 

slauson slim

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Last October I left the band I had been in for six years. The members refused to rise above mediocrity, were unconcerned about quality or could not grasp the details and mechanics of being in a band.

The members are friends and work acquaintances. We had two very good female singers. Keys, two guitars, bass and and drums. I played bass mostly

All members except me had limited experience with bands. For my whole time in the band there were problems with volume, tuning - despite tuners, dynamics, over playing and speeding up and slowing down and not listening to each other. Plus the the rhythm guitar had not memorized songs, lyrics or arrangements and read chords out of a note book, which resulted in burying his nose in the book and always playing behind. Several members used music stands.

The guy who put in the least effort - the chart reader - wanted to be a rock star. His amp was always the loudest. At one gig he dimed his amp and the lead guitar player's amp after I had done the sound levels because THAT's ROCK N' ROLL! Keith Moon was the drummer's fave drummer, and he could not play softer, tune his drums or play in time, always lagging. The keyboard player wrote dopey songs and we played them. Cargo shorts, sandals, white sox. Songs would lurch into intros and flop along searching for a groove.

Practices and gigs were like Groundhog Day.

Members, except the female singers - one of whom was a DJ, were totally unfamiliar with any music after 1970, except for Tom Petty and Foo Fighters. Brown Eye Girl!

I constantly tried to get them to improve. I finally gave up, the lack of proper tuning - and that members could not hear being out of tune - finally drove me over the edge. When the gals were singing and the harmonies worked it could be good and gave me hope. Like a good shot in golf keeps you playing.

I saw a video of them playing last weekend and it was deja vu all over again with a violinist and a new bass player.
 

teletail

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Last October I left the band I had been in for six years. The members refused to rise above mediocrity, were unconcerned about quality or could not grasp the details and mechanics of being in a band.

The members are friends and work acquaintances. We had two very good female singers. Keys, two guitars, bass and and drums. I played bass mostly

All members except me had limited experience with bands. For my whole time in the band there were problems with volume, tuning - despite tuners, dynamics, over playing and speeding up and slowing down and not listening to each other. Plus the the rhythm guitar had not memorized songs, lyrics or arrangements and read chords out of a note book, which resulted in burying his nose in the book and always playing behind. Several members used music stands.

The guy who put in the least effort - the chart reader - wanted to be a rock star. His amp was always the loudest. At one gig he dimed his amp and the lead guitar player's amp after I had done the sound levels because THAT's ROCK N' ROLL! Keith Moon was the drummer's fave drummer, and he could not play softer, tune his drums or play in time, always lagging. The keyboard player wrote dopey songs and we played them. Cargo shorts, sandals, white sox. Songs would lurch into intros and flop along searching for a groove.

Practices and gigs were like Groundhog Day.

Members, except the female singers - one of whom was a DJ, were totally unfamiliar with any music after 1970, except for Tom Petty and Foo Fighters. Brown Eye Girl!

I constantly tried to get them to improve. I finally gave up, the lack of proper tuning - and that members could not hear being out of tune - finally drove me over the edge. When the gals were singing and the harmonies worked it could be good and gave me hope. Like a good shot in golf keeps you playing.

I saw a video of them playing last weekend and it was deja vu all over again with a violinist and a new bass player.
You put up with that for 6 years? That’s on you, not on them. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
 

Timbresmith1

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My MIL lives in an assisted living facility and they occasionally bring in musical performers.

Some of the groups are astonishingly good.

I mean professional level jazz singers and piano players and others.

The talent is still there. Just not slinging PBR’s with auto tune. 😆
I would give your post 5 skeep-bop diddly-wops if I could.
 

Flat6Driver

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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. ;)


All top bands these days are promoted. They are on the Today show playing the summer concert series, SNL, etc. We might question the musical taste, but the quality is usually there. Would they be as big without all the promotion? Early on, the Beatles and Elvis always had promoters to get out ahead of them being in a venue, right? (The got on the Ed Sullivan show or whatever was popular in the day).

In my DC market, there are a number of top cover bands, they have been around a while and have a draw from the woo woo girls crowd.

I suspect there are original bands, I don't know any of them, also popular in their space. What I have learned in the last few years reading this board, every overnight success had many years in the trenches. And those trench years they worked hard. Playing every hell hole bar, bowling alley and pizza joint to just get out there. We only ever read about them once their hype machine kicks in.
 

David Barnett

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I was the sound tech guy at a local music venue for 18 years. We had all sorts of things, from local garage bands to national acts. I noticed a downturn in the quality of the local acts starting around the turn of the century. I quit and got a day job in 2011, mostly because the boss was an idiot, but also because I hated most of the music.
 

pbenn

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.....they're often four or five fifty-year-old "wannabes"..... :(
Phew! I'm 66 now, glad I sneaked by.

Good things about being an open stage "customer:"
Go home when it is right for you;
Play with better people than you have a right to (sometimes);
Avoid bringing amp/driving;
Meet all the local players good and bad;
Find best bass player in a geographic area;
Constantly do opening song in public... doesn't help with stamina but does help with set starting
 

Dismalhead

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At least some of you have clubs that still have live music. All the places that I used to frequent and play at went out of business in the '90s.
 

Dan R

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If you want to hear good bands in any venue, go to Nashville.
I think they have a hack-ban.
I never saw or heard a soul there that couldn’t consistently deliver the goods.
My hometown, uh, not so much.

Your point cannot be denied. The best pickers are in Nashville and I think that's always been true. Many songs have been written about them.

As for local bands getting worse, I don't know. They seem to be sparse around here. Way too many DJs. They have killed the music biz.
 

chris m.

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Your point cannot be denied. The best pickers are in Nashville and I think that's always been true. Many songs have been written about them.

As for local bands getting worse, I don't know. They seem to be sparse around here. Way too many DJs. They have killed the music biz.
I’ve seen a different evolution. Clubs with live bands gave way to clubs w DJs and EDM. But then a ton of cool breweries a wineries opened up, and they want live music. So the club scene is dead but the brewery and winery scene is booming. And it’s a nicer atmosphere and vibe than those old, skanky clubs. Our gigs are typically 7-9 or 8-10 instead of late, there’s no cigarette smoke, and nobody fights.
 

telemnemonics

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Aside from craft beer, herbs, and artisan cheese, it seems like the quality of everything and the integrity of everyone has been declining.
 




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