My band's dilemma. (Long)

FUS44

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So, I've been in the same band for 15 years. I have been the ring leader for the whole thing. Line-ups have come and gone. I have replaced guys I didn't like, I had to replace my brother and best friend (they resigned in good standing). We have been great and we have sucked, sometimes not in a linear fashion.

In the past 3 years, we secured a highly sought after drummer and "scene" guy. He promotes, does vids and we get along great. He's not a drug addled fool or your starstruck idiot.

We also brought in a bass player. We had a bassist who was involved in other projects (he was a pro) but never seemed to really learn the set correctly and quit. The new bass player had never played in a band before. He's cool. A little green, but a good fit personality-wise. I figured I would train him to suit the band.

The band's profile is once again on the rise. We've done some buffoonish vids that have been getting some nice traffic and better bookings are coming in steadily.

The problem?

The band does not swing. I feel like we stumble.The drummer is a metal drummer. Despite playing it straight for his Rockabilly project (where the leaders of the band, also friends, have kept him under their thumb.) I feel like he over complicates the drum parts and we don't "stride" as a band. Because the bass player is a little green, I think this makes him alter his playing, too many notes, trying to accent drum parts.
(The bass player has a problem with being to far up in the high register and not down in the "Cash" register, where a bass should be...at least for these songs.).

I recently demoed three songs with someone else on drums and they went flawlessly. (I played bass too) The demos came out exactly like I want them. One of the demos is a song we play now. The demo is better than any version I can find of this line up. Of course our drummer LOATHES the drummer/engineer I did the demos with so that would likely start a war.....

I don't want to rock the boat, but THE MUSIC is most important. I don't care about you tube hits for nonsensical videos. I want the band to destroy people.
But I also want to HAVE a band and not have to replace MORE people.
I'm not the most tactful person and often put both feet in my mouth.
I was going to secretly record the whole thing by myself with the drummer and just put it out under our name.
:hmm::hmm::hmm::hmm::hmm::hmm::hmm::hmm::hmm::hmm::hmm:

(sorry for the dissertation but I had to vent.)
 

Actinic

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I take it that this band is not your main avocation in life, but something you do on the side. Am I right? How much do you pay each member? Steady pay and public recognition are what good musicians seek. Otherwise, it's just a hobby. How much commitment can you expect from a hobby? Find someone poor, but talented, who still has the hunger. A young Keith Moon, possibly.
 

FUS44

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I take it that this band is not your main avocation in life, but something you do on the side. Am I right? How much do you pay each member? Steady pay and public recognition are what good musicians seek. Otherwise, it's just a hobby. How much commitment can you expect from a hobby? Find someone poor, but talented, who still has the hunger. A young Keith Moon, possibly.

I don't think it's money(I actually pay the other 3 and don't take anything). My personal thoughts are they want to show off not play for the song. My benevolent dictatorship is going sideways.
I just wonder how some guy, who never played with me before can nail what I want yet guys I know and have appeared many times with, have missed the mark by so far.
I expect utmost commitment when we do it. Which probably wears people out. But we're not doing half assed versions of Freebird. I want it perfect.
 

Angus

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So, I've been in the same band for 15 years.

I've got minimal band experience, but it seems to me from what you say that you are really asking, do I want people in the band because they can play how I like them to, or do I want people in the band because of what they, as individuals can bring to it?

Obviously these two things have an overlap, but the fact that you're considering doing a recording in the band's name, without the band, implies to me that you take the former point of view and that its not so much a band to you as a "band effect pedal". That's not a criticism at all, but if you identify your true priorities and embrace them - that might be the best way forward.

If you really want to make the current band work, then why not be really honest with them, and respectful, and call a special rehearsal where they allow you to arrange them your way from the bass drum up? :) Being sure to point out that its an experiment, there's nothing wrong with the way they play, but are they game for giving it a try - and record it. Be sure to leave some space for them to be themselves, or its not really a band.

Good luck! :)
 

FUS44

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Angus, thanks for the comment.

You make a lot of sense.

See, in the past, we had a shared idea of "the band". When I brought these guys in, I wanted a band, not side men. I wanted to respect what we have done, but move forward.

But sometimes the music, to my ears, dictates a certain feel.

I liked the heavy footed approach our drummer brings, but it has morphed into a free for all where established music has become "free reign" and parts are changing so much it changes the dynamics of the music.

I expect people to play the 3-5 older songs the way they were recorded and we'd build up new songs that let everyone write their parts. But I don't feel like they are listening to the new MUSIC. It plods, doesn't swing. (Think late period Black Flag if you know anything about them)
I have ceded much of the "power" but if the music doesn't work, why do it?
If they didn't like the music in the first place, why sign up?

We've even included one of the bass player's songs. Never happened before but the drummer liked it and I felt it was the right move. To me, it is the low point in the set because it plods and there's no hook.
 

mdubya

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Would the drummer you did the demos with play with you regularly?
 

FUS44

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Would the drummer you did the demos with play with you regularly?

There are "afterhours" issues that we can't discuss in depth here in the gen pop.

But his "pet monkey" would probably preclude any kind of switch. I can only deal with that so much. Luckily he got paid for the studio time so he was "good".

I guess I'm like "this @#$%ing guy is @#$%ed up and was still able to hear four bars and come right in, perfectly. Do you not hear it?"

Plus, I like my guys. We worked well together, but I watch the game tapes and have live recordings from other eras that confirm my suspicions.
I don't know if I was more willing to let it slide in the past couple years. Just basking in having a band again. But spotlight is getting brighter and the deficiencies more obvious.
 

Shred Astaire

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Well, have you spoken to the drummer and let him know what you want from him? You didn't mention any band meetings where you guys laid out the plan and what you are looking for in this band. If you're the leader, then they need to understand that and take their lumps in terms of criticism/feedback.
If they can't do that, then you have two choices. Change your perspective on the leader and allow the others to contribute what they hear in their heads, or look for new guys who understand your direction.

You can't do any of that without talking to your band though. Somehow, this is almost always the bottom line with band issues. :)

Good luck man!
 

FUS44

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Well, have you spoken to the drummer and let him know what you want from him? You didn't mention any band meetings where you guys laid out the plan and what you are looking for in this band. If you're the leader, then they need to understand that and take their lumps in terms of criticism/feedback.
If they can't do that, then you have two choices. Change your perspective on the leader and allow the others to contribute what they hear in their heads, or look for new guys who understand your direction.

You can't do any of that without talking to your band though. Somehow, this is almost always the bottom line with band issues. :)

Good luck man!

In the past I have been likened to "the Fuhrer".

So in the spring we talked about this. And for a while things seemed to improve. I have really tried to not be myself, which is a controlling dick.
But we lost our practice space and drifted apart a little.

Our drummer uses the 3 old records for background music all the time. I cannot fathom why he can't understand or hear what's wrong. I played the old versions and the new versions for them, independently. Things were okay and improving, briefly.

I think I may need revisit this conversation politely and with tact, but with no uncertain terms about what I expect.
 

Arzachel

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sounds like my band

sounds like most bands

it is very tedious you would think having invested in learning an instrument that all involved would be up for playing 100%
 

Kamen_Kaiju

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is this the Band Life
is this just fantasy..



..hard to keep yourself happy with your music when you're trying to keep everyone else in the band happy too, isn't it? Taking in all suggestions, letting people play whatever they want...

People say Mustaine is a prick,..but that prick gets things done.

I don't believe in band democracy. One whiny b*tch can sink the whole ship. Seen it happen over and over and over.


<Darth Vader Voice>

You know what must be done. Look inside yourself and know it to be true.

</Darth Vader Voice>

Everyone must be on the same page or you're spinning wheels and wasting time.
 

FUS44

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Great, from Hitler to Vader.

You're not helping........;)

Tomorrow. Practice session and come to Jebus meeting scheduled. Getting my exhibits A-Z prepped, working on my caring and compassionate face.
 

Sct13

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If you declare yourself the leader ...then you have to take the good with the bad....

In my experience....the band should "gel" in the first few practices....even if there is a fraction of a bar that actually gels then you might have something....

YOU have to ask yourself a few Honest questions....do you lead well ?

Are you difficult and do you want to be pleased? If they are not following you then something is wrong with the way your doing something...

I was in a band where it was SOOoooo important to Just know the songs....there was no personal interaction, go to practice, play ...leave....as a result we came off that way....sterile.

a few personnel changes (for other reasons) and I suggested to the other guitar player...lets go and be social with these newer players....(we choose golf) :facepalm:

But it worked, we got to know the guys, things were looser, its was real good for about 3 years....that's a long time for some....

Point is....its Rock and roll and being a prick or being sterile produces the same prickish, sterile music...the audience isn't stupid....they get the jist right away if your "faking it" or trying to come off different than what you really are.

If your music isn't looser or swinging , then its the attitude in the room....one of the biggest killers is fear of making a mistake....destroys a mood instantaneously....

Music MUST Flow....OPen Jams work too, where everybody has a chance to contribute...relax the mood and don't overcorrect....
 

Kamen_Kaiju

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"not helping"

you didn't want the sugar coat. :laugh2:

when I was a kid the drummer would throw sticks at my head for f**king up.

Now you gotta be all PC. :laugh2:

make sure you all talk about your feelings and hug it out. :laugh2: update your Facebook status to, "getting better."


:laugh2: *ducks*
 

Sct13

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no sugar coating.....honesty....and confidence...the more confident the player the easier it is for them and the easier it is for them....the more musical it is....
 

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