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ggm1960

Do You Have A Feeling Of "Ownership" In Your Band?

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I had not for quite a while until my wife and I recently formed our own duo act. The last three or four bands I was in prior to that I really only had a feeling of being a hired hand. I just went through the motions; learning the songs that were selected, showing up for rehearsals and performing my best at gigs. Years before that I had a lot more input into what we were playing and I did a lot more of the singing, song selection, putting together set lists, scheduling, etc.. I even ran my own band a couple times where I essentially did everything!

 

There are obvious advantages to both approaches. As a hired hand I didn't need to concern myself with the booking and business end which we all know can be a major PITA but at the same time I often felt like we could be doing some things better or my full potential wasn't being utilized and I was a voice in the wilderness.

 

As a band leader one must be out dealing with bar owners, representatives or agents and dealing with the often frustrating business of lining up gigs and scheduling practices. Putting your best face forward and hoping for a little bit of success. I had to hope that my direction was the right thing but there was great satisfaction when it proved to be true.

 

The last band I was in continues to be very popular, well paid and busy. Despite my association as really just a hired hand it kept me working hard. They are known for being on the cutting edge and are always adding new, often current hit, songs to the sets. My job (and some of my over and above work was my own fault) was playing keys and guitar but I took it to a pretty high level using a MBP, MOTU interfaces, Digital Performer & Reason. Besides having three (and later scaling down to two) keyboards to cover a lot of parts I often added sampling and sequencing. They were not real happy when I announced I needed to take a break and leave the band haha!

 

Now perhaps I'm happier than I've been in a long time. My wife and I enjoy playing music and work on it at our leisure. Low pressure, low pay is ok for now!

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I posted on this before due to the fact I don’t feel I have ownership of the material and that was my biggest thing with starting my own band, the music. My guitar player and girl singer write songs. In the past I have let them know I don’t think their songs “fit” the genre that well. Our singer isn’t a musician and the guitar player at that point didn’t have a good base in the style. It’s a lot better now years later but sometimes still they think I owe them something because they wrote a song when most of the time I know it won’t fly. I have to tell them honestly and they get insulted when I tell them. The proof is that sometimes the girl singers material clears a dance floor. I am not a song writer but kind of produce this stuff. I can usually tell. The advantage to staring and owning a band as you can see it through. What’s hard is juggling it and staying ahead of the curve.

 

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Posted (edited)

I definitely feel 'ownership', or at least 'partnership', with the co-founders of my bands. I have never felt very comfortable joining 'established' bands, which I have done many times in the past, usually winding up being a short term member due to 'creative differences' or personality issues.

For the record, my main band will celebrate its 20th anniversary in September, with the three 'founding' members [vocalists/soloists] still there.

Edited by daddymack
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Posted (edited)

As the bandleader, I definitely feel a sense of ownership. The frustrations of dealing with the band and the business can be frustrating at times, but the rewards are definitely there.

Edited by MrHarryReems
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I think that also.  As long as your ahead of the curve you can kind of have a say in things and how the outcome might be.

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My wife and I own the band, we even trademarked the name.

We make all the decisions, profit from the good ones, hopefully learn from the bad ones, get all the income and pay all the bills. I make all our backing tracks, we play all the live instruments, we do all the singing, pay Uncle Sam taxes on our profits, and other than crumbs from a couple of agencies, we do all the booking. It's like our own little mom & pop type small business.

We are not wage slaves in some faceless corporation, we are basically two of the shrinking breed of free people in this country.

Notes

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I'm the main songwriter in the original band that I'm in. For that reason I feel like I have a level of ownership in the band that is different than the level of ownership of the other band members. I don't know if they agree or not.

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I do all our own backing tracks, my duo partner isn't capable of that, although she has a great musical mind and can make some nice suggestions. Does that give me more ownership than her? Not in my opinion. We all contribute what we can.

But that's our situation - everybody and every duo and every band is different.

Insights and incites by Notes

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20 hours ago, Outkaster said:

Yeah that is probably a different thing but when you have 6 or 7 people it's another.

I was in a 7 piece road band and we all had a feeling of ownership. We had to fire a guitarist because of alcohol problems and it had to be a unanimous vote of everybody but that guitar player before letting him go. He made it easy for us by showing up sloshed too many times and it severely affected his performance.

I've never played in a band where the 'leader' owned the band and I was just a hired hand.

Insights and incites by Notes

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