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Lead Singers Who 'Only Sing'

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  • Lead Singers Who 'Only Sing'

    i've been trying to deal diplomatically with this same issue in both of my projects that i have in the works (one is a bar band playing covers, the other an original act), and so i can't help wondering whether it's me that's the common denominator problem rather than the 'lead singers' i encounter.



    my question is this: Am i out to lunch for expecting a little more versatility from a prospective band member than merely vocals?



    Is the pool of strong 'lead' singers really so small that they can get away with not playing an instrument, i.e., they 'only sing'? Or have i simply been having bad luck with these guys? I know that if i was looking to join a hockey team but informed them that 'i only play center ice and i do NOT kill penalties', clearly that would make me seem like a poor team player, and they would probably pass on me. Why do 'lead singers' think that they can get away with this?



    part of the issue for me lies in the fact that i sing lead (i play bass and sing) on many songs in both bands. in both cases, when i asked the 'lead singer' what they would want to do during the songs that i sing (would you play guitar? keys? percussion?), they said that they would leave the stage and grab a beer or have a smoke, etc.. WTF??? wrong answer!



    to me, this isn't a team move at all. if i'm supporting the main singer, i expect them to support me when i sing lead. i would sooner not sing at all rather than break up the chemistry of the team. if i was in the audience, it would look to me like the band was throwing the bassist some scraps and letting him sing a song because he would be butthurt if they didn't. shouldn't a 'full' band member play FULL time in the band? would ANY coach tolerate a player who stops hustling when they don't have the ball???



    so: any tips on making this situation work? i would definitely like to have an additional vocalist in the band, but if that means either 1) i don't sing at all or 2) the 'lead' singer drinks / smokes / takes a **************** while i sing, i'm not sure if that 'lead singer' is really helping the band. i'd like to add someone who adds OPTIONS to the band, rather than someone who add limitations. thoughts?



    as an aside, i can't help wondering: what does it say about the attitude / work ethic of someone if they play in bands for years but never learn even a damn power chord on the guitar? i spend my days teaching 10-year-olds to play guitar, and if they can do it, then surely a 30-year-old can! to me a 'lead singer' who never bothers to learn an instrument is like a person who lives and works in a foreign country and never learns the bare minimum basics of the language, like how to order a pizza or how to ask for directions: pretty arrogant and pathetic, no? (i'll keep this view to myself for now during the band discussion, of course!)

  • #2
    Lead singers are not team players or even musicians. That's just the way it is.



    I'd be happy if a lead singer would just help with load in/out. Or buy their own mic.

    Comment


    • #3
      Lead singers are not team players or even musicians. That's just the way it is.



      I'd be happy if a lead singer would just help with load in/out. Or buy their own mic.

      Comment


      • #4
        Not to oversimplify, but it really depends on how good they are. A truly great singer can single-handedly carry a So-so band. If they can play an instrument, that's a bonus. If this guy isn't much better than you, I see no point. If he is... Hey, it's a long night. Resting the pipes won't hurt.
        Free prog-related metal from Michigan.

        http://www.silentlapse.com

        Comment


        • #5
          Not to oversimplify, but it really depends on how good they are. A truly great singer can single-handedly carry a So-so band. If they can play an instrument, that's a bonus. If this guy isn't much better than you, I see no point. If he is... Hey, it's a long night. Resting the pipes won't hurt.
          Free prog-related metal from Michigan.

          http://www.silentlapse.com

          Comment


          • #6
            I would try to give the singer a harmony vocal or hand percussion role when they are not singing lead, but I haven't yet had this issue. My original project just recruited a new vocalist, and so far he is singing every tune. And he's a big guy, I will expect him to help with hauling gear on any gig.

            Comment


            • #7
              I would try to give the singer a harmony vocal or hand percussion role when they are not singing lead, but I haven't yet had this issue. My original project just recruited a new vocalist, and so far he is singing every tune. And he's a big guy, I will expect him to help with hauling gear on any gig.

              Comment


              • #8
                WTF is all this? If you don't like the idea of a lead singer who "only" sings, then don't hire one. Problem solved.



                But you might want to look around a bit and figure out why so many successful groups at ALL levels have a "singing-only" front man.



                You might also consider giving up the lead vocals on "your" songs and embracing the role of a kick-ass back-up vocalist, to keep the focus on the front person, where it (arguably) belongs. But that would mean putting the band first...

                Comment


                • #9
                  WTF is all this? If you don't like the idea of a lead singer who "only" sings, then don't hire one. Problem solved.



                  But you might want to look around a bit and figure out why so many successful groups at ALL levels have a "singing-only" front man.



                  You might also consider giving up the lead vocals on "your" songs and embracing the role of a kick-ass back-up vocalist, to keep the focus on the front person, where it (arguably) belongs. But that would mean putting the band first...

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I have no expectations that lead singers play instruments. But I do expect them to be front-people---working the crowd IS their "instrument" in many ways--and expect them to sing backup on songs where other people sing.



                    As far as your own lead singing goes, it only makes sense that you'd sing less once adding another singer. Unless it's just simply a song that suits your voice so much better, why WOULDN'T you prefer the front man to sing it?



                    But many/most of the best lead singers throughout history didn't play instruments. And their bands were probably the better for it. I've seen Mick Jagger play guitar on a few tunes, but does anyone think the Stones would be better if he did so all night? Rod Stewart, Roger Daltry, Lou Gramm, Brad Delp, Ann Wilson, Robert Plant, Eddie Vedder, David Lee Roth, etc etc etc all don't play instruments on stage. (Or rarely do.) If your singer brings it on level with this type of front person, then no instrumental ability is warranted. If not? Then maybe you don't really need one.
                    _________________________________________________
                    band websites:
                    http://www.JumpStartYourParty.com
                    https://www.gigmasters.com/Rock/Jump-Start
                    https://www.facebook.com/JumpStartYourParty
                    http://www.weddingwire.com/biz/jumps...587fe5f12.html

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I have no expectations that lead singers play instruments. But I do expect them to be front-people---working the crowd IS their "instrument" in many ways--and expect them to sing backup on songs where other people sing.



                      As far as your own lead singing goes, it only makes sense that you'd sing less once adding another singer. Unless it's just simply a song that suits your voice so much better, why WOULDN'T you prefer the front man to sing it?



                      But many/most of the best lead singers throughout history didn't play instruments. And their bands were probably the better for it. I've seen Mick Jagger play guitar on a few tunes, but does anyone think the Stones would be better if he did so all night? Rod Stewart, Roger Daltry, Lou Gramm, Brad Delp, Ann Wilson, Robert Plant, Eddie Vedder, David Lee Roth, etc etc etc all don't play instruments on stage. (Or rarely do.) If your singer brings it on level with this type of front person, then no instrumental ability is warranted. If not? Then maybe you don't really need one.
                      _________________________________________________
                      band websites:
                      http://www.JumpStartYourParty.com
                      https://www.gigmasters.com/Rock/Jump-Start
                      https://www.facebook.com/JumpStartYourParty
                      http://www.weddingwire.com/biz/jumps...587fe5f12.html

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        in both of these cases, the prospective 'lead' singer can perform the main songs roughly as well as i can (while i am playing bass, btw), so i wonder: why exactly are we adding this guy? i have no qualms with having a guest singer for the songs that are tough to play bass and sing live, but adding a permanent 4th member (and taking a permanent pay cut, plus adding the hassle of dealing with another schedule and another ego) seems like a solution to a problem that never existed in the first place.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          in both of these cases, the prospective 'lead' singer can perform the main songs roughly as well as i can (while i am playing bass, btw), so i wonder: why exactly are we adding this guy? i have no qualms with having a guest singer for the songs that are tough to play bass and sing live, but adding a permanent 4th member (and taking a permanent pay cut, plus adding the hassle of dealing with another schedule and another ego) seems like a solution to a problem that never existed in the first place.

                          Comment


                          • #14






                            Quote Originally Posted by Jerry_L
                            View Post

                            I would try to give the singer a harmony vocal or hand percussion role when they are not singing lead, but I haven't yet had this issue. My original project just recruited a new vocalist, and so far he is singing every tune. And he's a big guy, I will expect him to help with hauling gear on any gig.




                            ^^^



                            I've worked with lead singers and I am a bass playing lead singer myself. Most guys stick around and sing harmony, play perc, help drive the show with me while I'm singing lead. The good ones know the balancing act that it can be and know how to be there without upstaging. How to be a part of the tune without if being superfluous. I'd discuss this and try to get them to see it this way. It's weird for the audience any other way. Keep the chemistry as you say (the op).
                            __________
                            Ain't no sacrilege to call Elvis king
                            Dad is great and all but he never could sing -
                            Jesus

                            Comment


                            • #15






                              Quote Originally Posted by Jerry_L
                              View Post

                              I would try to give the singer a harmony vocal or hand percussion role when they are not singing lead, but I haven't yet had this issue. My original project just recruited a new vocalist, and so far he is singing every tune. And he's a big guy, I will expect him to help with hauling gear on any gig.




                              ^^^



                              I've worked with lead singers and I am a bass playing lead singer myself. Most guys stick around and sing harmony, play perc, help drive the show with me while I'm singing lead. The good ones know the balancing act that it can be and know how to be there without upstaging. How to be a part of the tune without if being superfluous. I'd discuss this and try to get them to see it this way. It's weird for the audience any other way. Keep the chemistry as you say (the op).
                              __________
                              Ain't no sacrilege to call Elvis king
                              Dad is great and all but he never could sing -
                              Jesus

                              Comment



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