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Thread: Need advice for gig that could go south quickly

  1. #1

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    Default Need advice for gig that could go south quickly

    So, a few weeks ago I was contacted by a guy asking me if I had any interest in jamming with his band he recently put together. It's all 90's alternative covers pretty much. Apparently him and the other 2 guys all work/go to church together and they needed a drummer. So I agreed to meet up one evening at a rehearsal studio and play some songs. He had gave me a list of about 8 songs they were working on, I knew a couple, and worked on the other 6 for a few days and went to their jam session. Even though all of this will sound like a bunch of bashing on the other guys, Its not, I am just trying to explain what I am hearing from sitting in the middle and getting to hear all sides.

    Everyone got plugged in and within the first 3 minutes of the first song, I was under the impression that they had never practiced the song while listening to the actual song. I suppose everyone has their different ways, but when I try to learn music, I listen to whatever I am learning through headphones and play along until I get it. Maybe they used different versions of the songs than I did, I don't know, but it seemed like everyone was on different pages of how the songs actually went, so it got confusing quick. The bass player however, we could lock in together and stay on track. I really feel like the guitar player was following the singer. I am almost certain the singer is a little tone deaf and he has problems hitting certain notes. I was going through this song list with someone I work with before hand, he plays guitar. His first words for the whole list was " this guy better be able to sing if he wants to pull those off".

    I honestly feel like if the singer would use his own natural singing voice, he would be a lot better than trying to emulate the original singer of the song and since his timing is off, that in turn throws off the guitar player. Along to the guitar player, he is still having trouble switching from chord to chord in songs. I can play guitar a little and I completely get it , I know how hard some chords can be and trying to quickly change to and from takes practice. Which is ok, we are all learning. I think he mentioned he hasn't really been playing all that long and again, I have no problem with that we all start somewhere. The bass player has been at it a while and there is no issues with him. Even for songs he don't know, he can read music and play along no problem. So that evening we jammed for a couple hours, packed it up and went home.

    At that point, I felt like I would definitely play with these guys again, with some practice, it could potentially all come together if we start off with easy songs. The next day the singer texted me and asked if I would continue to jam with them and I said yea. I just want to play music with people and have fun, that's why I agreed. I am not looking to jam with professionals, they usually expect a reincarnation of Bonham to show up, and that's not me. We schedule another evening at the studio for a few days later and he had sprung on me " Oh by the way, we have a gig lined up in the end of April, it's my company party" and it's at a classy bar on the beach that's open to the public that evening as well. I told him they need to start practicing and we will all need to be on the same page as far as how the songs go. I told him I am practicing to the album versions and that's a good place for them to start. He agreed.

    So we met up again, and I would guarantee that no ones instrument cases had been opened since the last time. It was the same deal again for over 2 hours. we did get through a few songs, but when I say they were rough, they were rough. I feel like I put my time in learning these songs, at least a couple hours at home each day I would be practicing to get them down. Them, not so much.

    I want to be in a band, and starting with these guys is ok. Like I said I think it could come together over time, and at that point I would have no problem playing out with them. Gigging or not, I just want to play music with people. It is way more enjoyable than by myself with headphones on. I just am 100% sure this isn't going to happen by the end of April.

    Here is where I need advice. These guys all know each other, probably have for a long time. I have a hard time being the one that has to say, we suck right now and I think it's a very bad idea to go and try to play in front of a crowd. Especially when they have to go into work the next morning and face their co-workers. They have me involved in a group text between everyone, and from what I see/read daily, they are determined to do this gig and believe it all sounds great so far. They are all recommending new songs to each other, maybe we should do this one, or that one. I really want to say, why don't we learn what we have so far and get them rock solid before throwing other stuff in. I just don't want to come off as a jerk big headed new guy. How can I nicely put it that this gig doesn't need to happen, and if it does I don't really want to be part of it, because we are into April now, the singer is out of the country for a week. Just not enough time.

    Thanks for any advice, I really hope I didn't come off as being arrogant or big headed, none of this is meant to be harsh on anyone. I am just trying to be realistic about expectations.

  2. #2

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    Default Re: Need advice for gig that could go south quickly

    I don't read any arrogance from you.

    From reading your post, it sounds like y'all are on opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of what being in a band means. Some people like the idea of being in band, yet have no interest in committing to working on their craft/songs, outside of band practice.

    I don't know how old you are or what your tolerance level is, so take this with a grain of salt. I would have a very respectful yet candid conversation with them. Tell them what you are seeing and that taking a gig when y'all aren't completely ready does nothing but hurt your band in the future. Trust me...word gets around town about bands - professionalism, quality of play, how much they drink, the size of crowds they draw, etc. If they get pissed or show egos, run away quickly. The trick is to be respectful so you aren't inviting a defensiveness just by the topic of conversation. You never know, they may completely own up to it and get serious.

    Tex

  3. #3

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    Thanks, yes I completely see what you are saying. I am 38, they are all older than me. I think everyone got a late start in learning music. I started playing guitar when I was 10 or so, but drums has been only a few years off and on, but I have jammed with many many people with my guitar. Some really good, some not so great so I feel like I got an ear for listening to everyone in a studio and having a good idea what things would sound like outside of practice.

    I have tried getting into a conversation with them about the gig twice now, and they are like, oh don't worry, no pressure its just for fun then it gets blowed off. I get it, its just for fun, thats why I am there. I have no dreams of big crowds and tour busses. I just want what I am doing for fun to at the very least sound well put together.

    I think you are right on point though, their idea of what a band should be is completely different than mine. It wouldn't bother me one bit to meet up once a week for a year before playing a first gig just to make sure everything is tight.

    I can honestly say that if I walked into a place to have dinner or a drink and heard what I hear at the studio I would go find another place eat. Not that everyone is playing bad, but because it isn't well put together yet. Me and the bass player are on a different page than the other 2 guys.

  4. #4

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    On top of that, the guitar player asked me about the tuning of a certain song, I responded quickly and said thats tuned in Eb or half step down. His response was you might have to show me how to tune like that as I have never done it that way. I'm like, ok no problem, I can also bring a guitar with me to the studio already in Eb you can use.

    Now that I think about it, he at the very least needs to know how to tune his guitar. Ugh... as much as I want people to jam with, maybe I should just politely walk away.

  5. #5

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    seems to me that some of your teamate carries a serious lack of work ethic. pretty much all. how can you play a song from the start to the end nicely if you don't know it on your fingertips in the first place? ...that seems to be the problem with your teamate. period. are they proefficient on their respective instrument? only you knows. a player may be adequate technically speaking, but if said player don't give a crap about learning a song in order to play it decently, it's lost time.
    tama SC/BB anthique sunburst 14-10-8-10-12-16-bd 22reference snare14x5cymbals HHX's/AAX'shardware tama

  6. #6

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    I am huge believer in first impressions..................and yours is headed for failure.
    I agree completely with Tex -- "a very respectful yet candid discussion".
    Before you have that discussion, might it be helpful to get in a private conversation with the bassist and get a notion of his comfort level ?
    Perhaps he is in 100% agreement with you and the discussion could be more productive with his involvement.
    Gretsch USA & Zildjian
    (What Else Would I Ever Need ?)


  7. #7

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    I do this for a living . I've done many company parties where some of the workers put a band together to play a set at the "company party" , whatever it may be . And I tell you even tho the band had to follow some "real" musicians (us) and they sounded bad .... no one cared ! They were getting big applause and big cheers . More than we got ! The fact is they knew they weren't all that good and when they would say "this song came out good or man we nailed it" they were speaking relative to what their skill level was . Their co-workers were thrilled to see their mates playing on stage and no one booed them or made a disparaging remark about their skill level . The crowd was with them and it was awesome .
    What I'm trying to say is that maybe ..with this band .. you shouldn't take it so serious and just have fun . From what I can tell it's just a company gig right ? Their company . They're mates and maybe it will go off better than you think . I'm sure no one will be expecting Toto to show up . I wouldn't pass the chance to get some stage time under my belt no matter how bad the band was . And trust me...I've played with some pretty BAD bands . Never hurt my rep any ...
    Just me . Take it for what it is . Play your heart out and just have fun .
    And one more thing , if you do the gig ..very important.....TIP JAR!!!
    Good luck .

  8. #8

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    Default Re: Need advice for gig that could go south quickly

    Agreeing with Tex. You can torpedo your band before it even gets started by taking a gig too soon. And the next band you try to get in will remember you as "the drummer from that crappy band."

  9. #9

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    I am completely on board with what everyone is saying. I am also a firm believer in first impressions and it won't be a good one. Yes, Jedi, this is their company party, but the place is also open to the public and it is usually a heavily crowded place. If it was just their co-workers in a private environment I probably would just relax and let them do their thing. But since it's not, I would rather do this and do a good job if I do it at all.

    Ricardo, that is some good advise to talk to the bass player seperately. I do know when we are playing and the singer and guitarist goes off track he will look at me either confused or laughing a bit. I think he is on the same page as me. I will talk to him first and see.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Texdrumr View Post
    I don't read any arrogance from you.

    From reading your post, it sounds like y'all are on opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of what being in a band means. Some people like the idea of being in band, yet have no interest in committing to working on their craft/songs, outside of band practice.

    I don't know how old you are or what your tolerance level is, so take this with a grain of salt. I would have a very respectful yet candid conversation with them. Tell them what you are seeing and that taking a gig when y'all aren't completely ready does nothing but hurt your band in the future. Trust me...word gets around town about bands - professionalism, quality of play, how much they drink, the size of crowds they draw, etc. If they get pissed or show egos, run away quickly. The trick is to be respectful so you aren't inviting a defensiveness just by the topic of conversation. You never know, they may completely own up to it and get serious.

    Tex
    Take Randy's advice, he knows what he is talking about and is right on the money.

    On a side note, they should be glad they aren't working with me because it would be known as "Musicians as roadkill". Randy is a good and patient man, I, on the other hand, am not.


    Some of these posts came up after I posted. I agree with literally everything they said except 1. I never worked in a band that put a tip jar out, but I've seen it many times. I would feel like a man with 1 leg sitting on a sidewalk in NYC begging for money.
    Last edited by rickthedrummer; 04-02-2017 at 06:32 PM. Reason: =======

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by N2Bluz View Post
    Sounds like you have 2 guys that really will never be "legitimate" band material, and 1 guy (bass player) that has potential.... and you connect with. At this point, the only real potential I see is you & the bass player hooking up and forming a new band. If you have a solid bass player that you connect with, you'll be fine (even if the other guys crash & burn in front of their friends and co-workers). You're not an established band yet, and it doesn't sound like the other 2 guys have much future in it, so there's really nothing worth worrying about at this point. I'd go play the gig and just have fun. Use the opportunity to connect with the bass player. He may (or may not) want to start something without his buddies, but regardless, it's a chance to jam live. Being able to listen & follow the rest of the band on new material or in an improvised (jam) setting is a valuable skill in my opinion.
    I agree 100% !!

  12. #12

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    I didn't detect any arrogance at all in your comments. Short & sweet...................Tell them nicely and politely that this band is not ready to play out and if they insist on doing so............you're out. Based on your post, sounds like these guys don't do time in the woodshed and are happy to just get out in public whether they're ready or not. No matter what anyone else says.......that will not be fun on any level.

  13. #13

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    All I can tell you is what I would do in the same situation. From what I read you take this more seriously then the rest of the guys except for maybe the bass player. So that tells me they do not value your time, the time you spend on your own learning the songs, and the time you waste with them fudging their way through the songs at practice. So if I were in that situation I would say bye bye and walk away. This business is difficult enough and there is really no sense in wasting time with people that are not on the same plain as you are both in talent level and dedication.

    I joined my first band at age 17. I learned quickly that a weak link with halt the success of the band and my goal right out of high school was to try and make a living playing music. So I was a hard *** from day one and i refused to waste my time. I practiced my butt off for many many long hours and I just was not willing to waste my time with people who were in it just to "be in a band". In the music business time is a very valuable thing. A year spent with a band that is going nowhere is a year wasted. So I moved quickly from one band to the next until i finally found like minded musicians and had a very successful 14 year career playing out. Even if you are doing it for fun you still need to find players that can appreciate the music enough to learn it and make it enjoyable to play.
    Last edited by NPYYZ; 04-03-2017 at 07:43 AM.

  14. #14

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    Thanks for all the comments and great advice from everyone! Looks like a talk is in order with everyone. I think you all are right that 2 of the guys obviously isn't as serious about this as I am, even though its just for fun, I want to dedicate time so what I am doing for fun turns out good. I just can't accept half arse jobs. I wish I could relax and just do it, but within a month time frame its still going to come out sounding like a very bad high school talent show, with an out take from american idol singing. Especially with this being my first time out in a long long time.

    Good thing is drummers are always needed, so I shouldn't have any problem finding new people to play with if thats where this ends up.

    Thanks again everyone!

  15. #15

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    Everybody has different expectations and yours is just as valid as the other guys. Go do the gig. I've been in similar train wrecks and who's to say when a band's ready for their first gig..when everybody has their parts down and when can that be? I've wasted many months getting ready for the "first gig" and it never materialized and the band broke up before we played out.

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by late8 View Post
    Everybody has different expectations and yours is just as valid as the other guys. Go do the gig. I've been in similar train wrecks and who's to say when a band's ready for their first gig..when everybody has their parts down and when can that be? I've wasted many months getting ready for the "first gig" and it never materialized and the band broke up before we played out.

    There is a fine line between being ready and not being ready for a 1st gig. I wish I could tell you exactly where it is, but I can't. I do believe that confidence plays a big part. Going up on stage for the 1st time knowing that you have everything covered as best you can will make a big difference.

  17. #17

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    Well, I am confident in my part of the songs. I've put my time in learning everything given to me up to this point. I am just not confident in them knowing their part. They will probably want to meet up at the rehersal studio again next week when the singer gets back from vacation. They will have all had 2 weeks practice, I guess I will gauge then if we have got any better.

  18. #18

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    Campbell this is my thought, that they want to play this party and it may not go that well but if you guys have fun an sounds have way good see how they are after the gig at another practice and if it like they don't care they I would leave and if you can take the bass player if he is willing to go and start something else. I am going to be in a new band myself just need to learn my songs and see how it goes. I would at some point play at bars and how fun and enjoying myself. Good luck brother.
    Conrad

    Drum set: CB700 8,10,12,13,14,15 and 16 concert tom 12,13,14 toms. 14X14 16X16 ft. 14X20 bds. 5 1/2 X14 wood snare Zildjian ride hats and crashes. Wuhan china. Looking for and 14X20 Bd mark series round lugs Metallic blue or two 14X22 bass drums.

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