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How to form a band... where YOU remain boss...?

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  • How to form a band... where YOU remain boss...?

    I know, I know, you're gonna call me Mister Bossy-Pants. But I have a legitimate question:

    Let's say you have a definite conceptual idea for a band... You don't have your players yet, but you are firm in your belief that this band will not be a softheaded "democracy"... a teenaged free-for-all in which every player does as he wishes....

    The long and the short of it: You want to be boss. You want to determine what songs get played, and you want to provide rough leadsheets to ensure that the songs have shape, and you are not just fuelling a garage-band free-for-all.

    How does the more serious, conceptual band get formed? A band with a tight image, style and defined sound?
    Every paint-stroke takes you farther and farther away from your initial concept. And you have to be thankful for that. Wayne Thiebaud


    Friend me on FACEBOOK!

  • #2
    You have to put it in writing, a basic contract where you have the power to hire and fire.
    G-Dub
    www.studiog-fx.com
    15 inch Quad-core i7, Macbook Pro,
    OSX 10.8.2, LPX, Logic 9.1.8, Apollo Duo

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    • #3
      Either book the gigs, thereby in effect being responsible for paying your players, or if this is gratis, find players that are absolutely in love with your concept. That 2nd one's a toughy but possible. I've played bass and sang backup on gigs of writers where I just dug their stuff so much, their concept was so fully realized, etc. that I was willing to play to odd gig free and follow their wonderful direction. But do you really have that to offer?


      If this a money situation, book the gigs, refine the concept, put all the work into it ahead of hiring guys, then it's a no-brainer for them. You're boss, they get paid. You want me to play root/5, wear a diaper and crew socks and... you pay 300 a night. Do I supply the diaper and socks? Cause I can...
      __________
      Ain't no sacrilege to call Elvis king
      Dad is great and all but he never could sing -
      Jesus

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      • #4
        Be unbelievably great, with a fantastic presence and charisma and well-written songs that are so obviously good so musicians beat a door down to play with you for free.

        Otherwise, pay attention to Lee Knight's post.
        Ken Lee on 500px / Ken's Photo Store / Ken Lee Photography Facebook Website / Blueberry Buddha Studios / Ajanta Palace Houseboat - Kashmir / Hotel Green View - Kashmir / Eleven Shadows website / Ken Lee Photography Blog / Akai 12-track tape transfers / MY NEW ALBUM! The Mercury Seven

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        • #5
          well-written songs



          That's what its all about. End of story. Everything else is just BS crap we have to put up with..
          Fusion Tycoon

          Mercury Catfish Myspace

          Mercury Catfish

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          • #6
            I haven't played a gig here in LA for a two bazillion years. Never played a band situation that wasn't overflowing with gigs before I got in it... or started it. In that respect, I guess I've never done the "hey wanna start a band" thing.

            Gigs or other financial deals help tremendously with the power aspect.

            But... if there are no gigs, or there is no deal....let's face it.... it IS a garage band.

            In that scenario, no one can be counted on for anything. You can count on that.

            About the only thing you can do is be sure you own the garage and that way.. if someone's giving you a hard time or not following your vision... stop inviting them to your garage.

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            • #7
              My band of 11 years is more or less a democracy, but it's certainly not "softheaded" nor a "teenage free-for-all." We simply found other people with more or less the same musical vision, and no ego trips. If the concept is well defined and you can attract people who are into the idea, there's no problem.

              Whoever wrote any given song has the final say if there's any disagreement over arrangements, etc. Anybody's welcome to write songs, and anybody can veto a song (which rarely happens because none of us bothers to submit a song or a song idea unless we're quite sure the others are going to like it). We all work hard at giving input into each song and working up appropriate parts. And we all listen to each other and figure out pretty easily what works and what doesn't.

              So we're pretty much the second situation that Lee K described, even though we don't have a real "boss". Yes, it's tougher to form a band that way because finding exactly the right people is critical, which can be very difficult. But, IMO, once you do find the right people it's way worth it.
              What The...?
              http://www.what-the.com
              http://www.facebook.com/whattherock
              http://www.myspace.com/whattherock

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              • #8
                My band of 11 years is more or less a democracy, but it's certainly not "softheaded" nor a "teenage free-for-all." We simply found other people with more or less the same musical vision, and no ego trips. If the concept is well defined and you can attract people who are into the idea, there's no problem.

                Whoever wrote any given song has the final say if there's any disagreement over arrangements, etc. Anybody's welcome to write songs, and anybody can veto a song (which rarely happens because none of us bothers to submit a song or a song idea unless we're quite sure the others are going to like it). We all work hard at giving input into each song and working up appropriate parts. And we all listen to each other and figure out pretty easily what works and what doesn't.

                So we're pretty much the second situation that Lee K described, even though we don't have a real "boss". Yes, it's tougher to form a band that way because finding exactly the right people is critical, which can be very difficult. But, IMO, once you do find the right people it's way worth it.


                You are very fortunate. I find it like pulling hen's teeth to get bandmates to play originals... even though nobody else writes, AND I get all the gigs! It's a huge reason why I play solo 80-90% of the time. Dealing with musicians who are satisfied just playing classic rock standards -- and are too damn lazy to learn anything new -- frustrates the living hell out of me.
                John Bartus
                John Bartus & Storm Watch
                Live From the Florida Keys
                http://www.johnbartus.com
                http://www.cdbaby.com/Artist/JohnBartus

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                • #9
                  You can get all the control you'd want if you're hiring people and paying them.

                  If you're not paying them, then expect them to want creative control of what they do.

                  We're both in the Hill Country and I have a real idea about the availability of folks in the area. If you consistently paid people 150-250 a night, you can get okay players who will play whatever you need them to play (IME), with the main barrier being that it will be difficult to get them to learn one-off material unless you can notate it.

                  The other obvious problem is that it can get kind of expensive to do that unless you're getting a pretty good rate, which is not likely doing originals where you're at.
                  My Business: Media Production in the Texas Hill Country

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                  • #10
                    My band of 11 years is more or less a democracy, but it's certainly not "softheaded" nor a "teenage free-for-all." We simply found other people with more or less the same musical vision, and no ego trips. If the concept is well defined and you can attract people who are into the idea, there's no problem.

                    Whoever wrote any given song has the final say if there's any disagreement over arrangements, etc. Anybody's welcome to write songs, and anybody can veto a song (which rarely happens because none of us bothers to submit a song or a song idea unless we're quite sure the others are going to like it). We all work hard at giving input into each song and working up appropriate parts. And we all listen to each other and figure out pretty easily what works and what doesn't.

                    So we're pretty much the second situation that Lee K described, even though we don't have a real "boss". Yes, it's tougher to form a band that way because finding exactly the right people is critical, which can be very difficult. But, IMO, once you do find the right people it's way worth it.


                    From what I know of your band, it is held together by friendship, trust and mutual respect. That is really rare.
                    Good deals with - Yarbicus, CBH5150, BozzofAngels, Alvin Wilson, Harris Quinn

                    Oh, but you can't expect to wield supreme executive power just because some watery tart threw a sword at you.

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                    • #11
                      How does the more serious, conceptual band get formed? A band with a tight image, style and defined sound?



                      Bands usually divide all income by equal parts, otherwise they fall apart sooner or later.

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                      • #12

                        The long and the short of it: You want to be boss. You want to determine what songs get played, and you want to provide rough leadsheets to ensure that the songs have shape, and you are not just fuelling a garage-band free-for-all.


                        You hire musicians to play your music with you. If it works, ask them if they'd like to continue as a band to play your music.
                        --
                        "Today's production equipment is IT-based and cannot be operated without a passing knowledge of computing, although it seems that it can be operated without a passing knowledge of audio." - John Watkinson, Resolution Magazine, October 2006
                        Drop by http://mikeriversaudio.wordpress.com now and then

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                        • #13
                          Install yourself as the lead singer, songwriter and guitarist
                          Do you need live drum tracks? http://www.drumtracksdirect.co.uk/

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                          • #14
                            You hire musicians to play your music with you. If it works, ask them if they'd like to continue as a band to play your music.
                            This. Very simple: just hire your sidemen and pay them each per gig. That includes paying them even when you get stiffed, of course. You book the gigs, you pick the set list, you do the work.

                            Of course, if you're a god leader and not a fool, you pay close attention to their feedback and encourage teamwork, just as good leaders do in any "work for hire" situation. Like my engineering job: I do what I'm told, but if my management doesn't value my judgement, we're both better off not working together.

                            How does the more serious, conceptual band get formed? A band with a tight image, style and defined sound?
                            That's a completely different question. A democracy can have this, and a bandleader with hired guns can lack it.
                            learjeff.net

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                            • #15
                              You are very fortunate. I find it like pulling hen's teeth to get bandmates to play originals... even though nobody else writes, AND I get all the gigs! It's a huge reason why I play solo 80-90% of the time. Dealing with musicians who are satisfied just playing classic rock standards -- and are too damn lazy to learn anything new -- frustrates the living hell out of me.


                              I honestly don't understand why anybody like that would want to keep playing. I go nuts if I don't keep things fresh and come up with new stuff. My bandmates are the same way. There ARE people who prefer to play originals, but it's a different mindset, and perhaps it's easier to find them in a big city.
                              What The...?
                              http://www.what-the.com
                              http://www.facebook.com/whattherock
                              http://www.myspace.com/whattherock

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