WWYD? Issue With Band Member

Refugee

Tele-Afflicted
Joined
Mar 8, 2021
Posts
1,216
Age
53
Location
Hot Springs, AR
Can one of the guitar players sub on bass for one song? I can't sing and play bass at the same time either. When I did, on a few songs that I wrote, it worked best if I was singing and playing the exact same thing.

Yeah, it is definitely harder than it looks, for sure. Really blows my mind how Geddy Lee can sing all of those high parts and just blast killer bass lines all over the place at the same time. Heck, that bald fella that plays bass and sings for Keith Urban is amazing. Keith has a really high range, and this dude can hit a 5th above that and keep the bottom end going no problem.
 

Tele-friend

Tele-Afflicted
Joined
Dec 26, 2020
Posts
1,094
Location
EU
This thing obviously bothers you and the rest of the band mates. So it would be nice if the three of you (not only you!) would all tell him what you think about his singing and playing. But at the same time say it in a polite way, be nice. Also be assertive which means that you use sentences like:
"I know that you really enjoy singing but..."
"I have noticed that the audience ..... while you sing"
"I dont feel comfortable when you sing"
"I think that you should practice more"

Anyway hope you sort it out. Wish you best of luck.
 

421JAM

Tele-Afflicted
Joined
Dec 16, 2020
Posts
1,203
Age
50
Location
Atlanta, GA
This is an example of why I wish bands operated more like school orchestras, where they have sectional practices. All the trumpets go off and practice as a section, the percussionists as another section, etc. And then everyone regroups and it all gets put together as a full orchestra.

In this case, maybe a practice focused just on singing is on order. Have someone accompany on guitar or keyboard if you want, but focus hard and honestly on just the singing. It'll help the good and bad singers, and point out where work is needed or problems need to be eliminated.

There's also the alcohol and drugs factor. Does this guy drink or do drugs during/before practices and shows? If so, have a strict sober practice and see if that helps.
 

Martin R

Friend of Leo's
Silver Supporter
Joined
Jun 26, 2008
Posts
3,461
Location
Albuquerque
We had the exact same issue. We had the "talk" and lost a bass player and a friend. We found another bass player who was perfect for us, and the former bass player went on to form a successful cover band. You just never know.
 

Old Deaf Roadie

Friend of Leo's
Gold Supporter
Joined
Oct 11, 2017
Posts
4,342
Location
Goonieville, OR
I can't sing well enough to impress anyone to begin with, but can't sing at all while playing bass. For me, it's much easier to front a band on guitar, except I don't want to front any band at all.
 

Preacher

Poster Extraordinaire
Joined
Apr 17, 2007
Posts
5,307
Location
Big D
I read all the comments, and it won't work. You can show him videos, you can tape him and he will not recognize that he is the issue.

I had a similar experience with a guitarist who can't play and sing at the same time. He struggles rhythmically with anything that is not 4/4 and he struggles even trying to play 4/4 when he sings.
In my situation on the team at church the leader wanted him to lead vocally an old chorus while he played acoustic. We tried for twenty minutes to get his timing down as a band and each time we got a groove going he would change time signatures and we fell apart.
I finally got the leader off to the side and said we needed to scrap that song. She wanted to continue so I told her that he needed to do it on his own with only the acoustic guitar and his vocal (he was even messing up the melody some as well vocally). She did not want to not accompany him on piano and did not want to kill the song. I went back to my bass and told myself to lay out that song. I told the drummer to also not try to keep a rhythm as the singer would make him look bad when he got off of beat.

It was a train wreck with the piano player (leader) trying to keep him on beat and sing harmony with him. She eventually gave up but not till after they both butchered that song.
She was let go a few months after that and I made a point to not put that guy in that position in the future.

I have a different issue, I can sing, sometimes. Some days my pitch is pretty good and I can find a nice harmony part or sing lead. Other days, yuck... I know my place and make sure I don't get in a situation that my faults are put on display for all to see.
 

ping-ping-clicka

Poster Extraordinaire
Joined
Jun 28, 2019
Posts
7,805
Location
left coast
Advice please. If it matters for context, we’re a relatively successful four piece cover band (lead guitar / bass/”backing vocals” / drums/lead vocals, and me, on rhythm guitar/lead vocals) that primarily plays 60s, 50s and 70s pop and rock.

This involves our bass player. He requests to take lead vocals for a few songs. It usually ends up being about one song per set. The issue is his voice and vocal timing are both simply awful. These traits also carry over to his backing vocals. To make matters worse, when he sings, his playing suffers – at “best,” numerous clunkers – at worst, to the point of him stopping playing completely. Obviously, this overall is creating a harmful effect. You can often sense and see negative reactions from the audience. It’s also sometimes hard to conceal the grimaces exchanged between me and the lead guitar player. I’ve been telling myself “Hey, it’s only one song out of 15 or so an hour, so it’s OK.” But that’s no longer working for me.

For months, I have been mulling over what to do about this. I have brought it up individually to the drummer and lead guitar player, but have gotten nothing back from them except acknowledgement of the problem – no suggestions or commitment concerning what to do about it. The trouble is the bass player is an extremely nice guy, well liked by us and our audiences. He also secures a number of our gigs. I know that none of us want to hurt his feelings nor boot him out. But I can’t see us having this continue. And I also can’t see it being me alone to confront the situation. So, we seem to be stuck.

Have you ever had something like this occur in a band you were in? If so, what did you/the band as a whole do about it? If these same circumstances were occurring in a band you’re currently in, what would you do about it?

charlie brown   grumpy shrink.jpg
 

regularslinky

Tele-Afflicted
Joined
Jul 22, 2004
Posts
1,856
Location
NEPA USA
I don't see the sense of recording him. If he has a decent sense of pitch, he already know's he's singing badly. If he doesn't have decent sense of pitch, listening to a recording won't help. And either way, he must be aware that he stops playing bass while singing - but he doesn't care and still wants to sing. Unless you take his mic away, I don't think your problem is fixable. Sorry.
 

getbent

Telefied
Gold Supporter
Joined
Mar 2, 2006
Posts
47,617
Location
San Benito County, California
audio record practice/rehearsal. Maybe you already have gig recording.

Have 'listening night' whole band sits and listens to a gig and you stop and start the recording as you hear good things and bad things. After each song, anyone can comment.

Be frank. It doesn't have to be harsh, just be frank.

btw, I think it is good for bands to have multiple singers. It is easier on the audience who fatigue to the same voice all night.

Figure out how he GETS to sing. Figure out what he can sing and get that song in front of him. The right song, almost anyone can be successful.

The goal is to showcase him 3 times a night. Now, go to work. First, he has to hear for himself that it isn't working, second, a process to find what he CAN do, third, rehearse those three tunes and go back to having fun.
 

Junkyard Dog

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Mar 7, 2016
Posts
2,606
Age
48
Location
USA
I personally just can’t have somebody in the band who isn’t capable of singing and playing at the same time. There are exceptions for some players who are just simply the best in town on their instrument, but those are rare cases for me. Or if the band is just friends getting together for fun, then that’s of course fine too. But a bass player who couldn’t sing at least somewhat decently? No.
 

51Blackguard

Tele-Meister
Joined
May 7, 2015
Posts
113
Location
North Jersey
A lot of answers dealing with everything from "so what, it's only one song" to "record him singing", which case he still may not see his short coming.
The quickest and best approach is simply take him aside and tell him. Be honest, but understand and appreciate his willingness to sing. Speak well.
A good idea might be to have a suggestion or solution before you speak to him.
 

pi

Tele-Meister
Joined
Sep 30, 2003
Posts
472
Location
bay area, CA
we’re a relatively successful

Is this holding you back from further success and stardom? Did you all join the band to have fun and play music or to be pedantic and picky.

Most people are advising you to make him stop, so I'm taking the opposite stance--maybe you're taking this too seriously. Maybe you can work with him to improve to the point where it's OK to have a song or two per set. You can probably only accomplish this successfully if you don't take it away from him (or worse, shame him), but let him know how you feel and give him the encouragement, patience and space to improve.
 

Lawdawg

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Mar 13, 2018
Posts
2,266
Age
51
Location
Atlanta
Is this holding you back from further success and stardom? Did you all join the band to have fun and play music or to be pedantic and picky.

Most people are advising you to make him stop, so I'm taking the opposite stance--maybe you're taking this too seriously. Maybe you can work with him to improve to the point where it's OK to have a song or two per set. You can probably only accomplish this successfully if you don't take it away from him (or worse, shame him), but let him know how you feel and give him the encouragement, patience and space to improve.

That was going to be my response as well. If you're all just doing this for fun, his singing damage is contained to a couple songs a night, and otherwise he's a good hang and band mate -- you do your best but maybe just let it slide. If it's such an impediment that it's hampering everyone else's enjoyment in the band then maybe don't let it slide.

For a totally off the wall solution get a full time lead singer to front the band. Of course having a front person opens up a whole new can of worms.
 

JL_LI

Poster Extraordinaire
Joined
May 20, 2017
Posts
8,844
Age
72
Location
Long Island, NY
Back in high school in my garage band days we had an organist who wanted to sing. What should have been no problem was anything but. If he leaned in to the mic he lost track of where his fingers were and his voice sounded like the gargle with razor blades cliche. You can say no and lose an organist or you can show some flexibility. Remember “Louie Louie”? A gargled vocal works. And there are only three chords and nothing for the organist to do but play them. Play it in C and he only has one black key to find and if he misses a chord or two, two guitars and a bass drown him out. Throw in an organ solo for when he can see the keys and you’ve got peace in the valley, or on the island. Whatever.
 




Top