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Bring it and wing it is all a state of mind..


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And how good you do at it?

 

Up to you!

 

That is all.

 

But I like to remind myself that if I argue in favor of mediocrity, I will surely achieve it! (thanks Pat Coast/Bluestrat).

 

I don't sit in judgement of other players because I don't have time: I judge myself and look to better myself. And "Bring it Wing It" situations are a true test of that commitment.

 

Sure, it can be the ultimate in suck. But it can also be a musical orgasm. The risk is well worth the possible payoff, and that payoff includes giving the middle finger to fear and doubt.

 

:wave:

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And how good you do at it?


Up to you!


That is all.


But I like to remind myself that if I argue in favor of mediocrity, I will surely achieve it! (thanks Pat Coast/Bluestrat).


I don't sit in judgement of other players because I don't have time: I judge myself and look to better myself. And "Bring it Wing It" situations are a true test of that commitment.


Sure, it can be the ultimate in suck. But it can also be a musical orgasm. The risk is well worth the possible payoff, and that payoff includes giving the middle finger to fear and doubt.


:wave:

 

The important thing when you take that stage is that you have to be entertainers first and formost. A crowd will follow you to the gates of hell if they like you as a band. We do requests and we also take dares.

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We're constantly throwing stuff out there that we've never played, but that is familiar enough to at least fake it. (As we often tell the crowd, "We love requests. If there's something you want to hear, let us know. Even if we don't know the song.....we'll probably play it anyway.") Sometimes it works really well, sometimes it's a near miss, and sometimes it's a complete crash-and-burn train wreck. But hey...nothing ventured, nothing gained.

 

In fact, significant portion of my band's repertoire is comprised of songs we never officiallly "learned" as a band.....we just faked it one night and it worked, so we kept doing it.

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When my roots rock band The Saltlickers play a certain venue in town, frequently a very good blues player Chill Boy will show up. http://www.myspace.com/chillboy10/music/songs/i-get-so-funky-10868529

 

When called up to jam, our two guitarists, harp and lead vocalist will all step down and let me on bass, the drummer, and Chill wing it for 6 songs. Chill shouts out the changes and counts in tempo. That's it. It took me a minute the other night to realize I was playing a way funky blues version of the Spinners I'll Be Around in Bbm. That's great. I didn't get a chance to cop the Motown groove I already know. I created something based on Chill's shouted changes and his 4 bars of intro/setup.

 

Those jams frequently get more reaction than the band's rehearsed material.

 

Back in the 80's my power pop originals/cover band's lead singer Mark DeCerbo, was a walking Rock and Roll encyclopedia. Packed dance floor, he'd shout, "Eddie Cochran Nervous Breakdown in G!" He'd play the riff as an intro and we were off. "{censored}, Nervous Breakdown, do I know that?!?!?" Mark new how to use certain chords to telegraph the changes. Hand signals, eye movements, whatever, we would get there somehow.

 

And it was a lot more fun if you just smiled, relaxed, paid attention with your ears open and said WTF.

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In fact, significant portion of my band's repertoire is comprised of songs we never officiallly "learned" as a band.....we just faked it one night and it worked, so we kept doing it.

 

 

+1 Been there do that!

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When called up to jam, our two guitarists, harp and lead vocalist will all step down and let me on bass, the drummer, and Chill wing it for 6 songs. Chill shouts out the changes and counts in tempo. That's it. It took me a minute the other night to realize I was playing a way funky blues version of the Spinners I'll Be Around in Bbm. That's great. I didn't get a chance to cop the Motown groove I already know. I created something based on Chill's shouted changes and his 4 bars of intro/setup.

 

 

That's great and I'm sure a ton of fun....

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It's like someone said. If you play it in the right time, at least you're half right- which is better than being 100% wrong. I'm pretty competitive on the ear stuff, but sometimes my time sucks- if I don't work at it. Fortunately I play for country audiences, and they are more accepting of Lionel Ritchie songs done bluegrass-style.

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We host a sunday jam, Our houston drummer is down for a month. He did a few songs with his wife. He played guitar and they both sang. They sing harmony real well. Had a new waiter take over bass for a while, he can play . Had a guest singer who sang along on some neal young. guitars were switched and swapped . It was a garageokie night.

 

The drummer fell a few days ago and cracked two ribs, so he was playing with the help of modern science and determination. It was a pretty good jam.

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We host a sunday jam, Our houston drummer is down for a month. He did a few songs with his wife. He played guitar and they both sang. They sing harmony real well. Had a new waiter take over bass for a while, he can play . Had a guest singer who sang along on some neal young. guitars were switched and swapped . It was a garageokie night.


The drummer fell a few days ago and cracked two ribs, so he was playing with the help of modern science and determination. It was a pretty good jam.

 

Prime Time Band has a regular cast of sit-ins and bandmembers too. Sometimes there's 6 of us up there in the full band, but most of the time it's 5. There's a guy named Steve that gets up pretty often and sings on some tunes.

 

And he pulled a few out of his own songbook this week that the band didn't know. Didn't slow us down any.

 

A real highlight is this couple that will get up and sing duets. Man, they did "Jackson" (Johnny Cash) a few weeks back and it was stellar.

 

The only reason I'm even in the band is their regular bass player has serious health issues. At 43 years old I'm 20 years younger than the next youngest guy on that stage: they call me the baby of the band LOL.

 

Yeah, I'm really loving this. It's making me into such a better player: my ear is already noticeably better! OR maybe I should say: my ability to play what I'm hearing is noticeably better, AND with the experience comes less stress, and with the less stress comes less overplaying, less desire to fill holes that may not even be there! I'm playing a lot more whole notes now, and in some cases I'll play a double whole note (2 measures): I'm just much more in tune with the vocal, as that's what really sets up the changes. You cue off the vocal and hear where that line is going and BAM, you can predict that change and hit it cold. And the side effect again is that I tend to be more in tune with it, and much less willing or able to step on it with extra notes.

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Prime Time Band has a regular cast of sit-ins and bandmembers too. Sometimes there's 6 of us up there in the full band, but most of the time it's 5. There's a guy named Steve that gets up pretty often and sings on some tunes.


And he pulled a few out of his own songbook this week that the band didn't know. Didn't slow us down any.


A real highlight is this couple that will get up and sing duets. Man, they did "Jackson" (Johnny Cash) a few weeks back and it was stellar.


The only reason I'm even in the band is their regular bass player has serious health issues. At 43 years old I'm 20 years younger than the next youngest guy on that stage: they call me the baby of the band LOL.


Yeah, I'm really loving this. It's making me into such a better player: my ear is already noticeably better! OR maybe I should say: my ability to play what I'm hearing is noticeably better, AND with the experience comes less stress, and with the less stress comes less overplaying, less desire to fill holes that may not even be there! I'm playing a lot more whole notes now, and in some cases I'll play a double whole note (2 measures): I'm just much more in tune with the vocal, as that's what really sets up the changes. You cue off the vocal and hear where that line is going and BAM, you can predict that change and hit it cold. And the side effect again is that I tend to be more in tune with it, and much less willing or able to step on it with extra notes.

 

 

The difference is that this is low key and you dont feel any pressure to go out and get gigs and screw around with that aspect of it. Takes a huge load off. Show up , play. Its not about draw, or promotion. Its about playin.

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The difference is that this is low key and you dont feel any pressure to go out and get gigs and screw around with that aspect of it. Takes a huge load off. Show up , play. Its not about draw, or promotion. Its about playin.

 

Damn straight.

 

We lose sight of that sometimes when we play this cover band game. We focus on PA, gear, tone, lights, gigs, everything BUT being a better player!

 

So in that spirit I headed over to billy's house today, and him and I and Kody from bourbon country worked through 12 songs. Just the 3 of us in a living room, playing, talking, correcting each other, asking questions, saying: "what if we try this". Really working the music, working together to make better music. In a way, the opposite of what you might think with a "bring it and wing it". But what really happens in the good "briing it and wing it" deals is the guys are communicating up there. Like for example, the lead in Prime Time band has these little signature fills and walkups that he uses that really ease the rest of the guys into the next chord.

 

Sure, it can at times get cliche. But that's not really a limitation. I've got the ability to mix things up too. Like on a song friday night - don't remember which one - where the guitar was holding a D chord and then switching to the Bm (minor 6). I knew that so I threw in a major scale walk-down, and Doug on fiddle caught it immediately and he not only followed what I was doing but he did all these really nice harmonies in thirds over the top of it! I swear it sounds better than the original! And on break I said: "Hey, you caught that walkdown! Let's do that again" and he agreed. It was just smiles all around!

 

Now I just gotta teach Kody numbers. He's a good guitarist with a good ear but he doesn't know note or numbers and Billy and I do, so we kinda rag him a little bit *(good natured)*. I corrected a part we working on by using numbers: "hey, I think it's a vi, IV, V" and Billy got it immediately but had to show Kody since he doesn't know the system. And Billy says: "You're in a real band now, you gotta learn to play by numbers". LMFAO.

 

The other little "inside joke" that I rag Billy on all the time is the way he calls the key for "In Color". He calls it A#. I call it Bb. It's become a running joke, and I love telling him he's "wrong" on this LOL. Started innocently enough with me just saying i prefer thinking in Bb because there are fewer flats in that key sig than there are sharps in A#, and also it is very similar to key of F, which is itself a common key to play in. And that's the other thing: those guys use capos but I'm on bass so I have to play in flat keys and all kinds of crazy positions in this band. And it's cool. It's not a problem except for rarely! I'm getting quite capable and fluent in Bb and Eb! Whoda thunk it? But again, since they are in that capo mindset they don't wanna hear me talking about Bb necessarily!

 

Kody doesn't get that anyway: he's thinking chord shapes, like most guitarists do. Billy gets it and he can translate but OF COURSE his natural instinct is to think in shapes too. So it's pretty important that I know the tuning and the key going in or it's gonna be a trainwreck! That's why I'm making cue sheets so i'll know which bass and tuning I need to use. We are going to do an entire set in flat tuning so we don't have to swap instruments between songs, so that should help. But I'll have all three basses on the stage with Bourbon Country and it's already getting fairly complicated to deal with. But I can handle it! Part of the game!

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Damn straight.


We lose sight of that sometimes when we play this cover band game. We focus on PA, gear, tone, lights, gigs, everything BUT being a better player!


So in that spirit I headed over to billy's house today, and him and I and Kody from bourbon country worked through 12 songs. Just the 3 of us in a living room, playing, talking, correcting each other, asking questions, saying: "what if we try this". Really working the music, working together to make better music. In a way, the opposite of what you might think with a "bring it and wing it". But what really happens in the good "briing it and wing it" deals is the guys are communicating up there. Like for example, the lead in Prime Time band has these little signature fills and walkups that he uses that really ease the rest of the guys into the next chord.


Sure, it can at times get cliche. But that's not really a limitation. I've got the ability to mix things up too. Like on a song friday night - don't remember which one - where the guitar was holding a D chord and then switching to the Bm (minor 6). I knew that so I threw in a major scale walk-down, and Doug on fiddle caught it immediately and he not only followed what I was doing but he did all these really nice harmonies in thirds over the top of it! I swear it sounds better than the original! And on break I said: "Hey, you caught that walkdown! Let's do that again" and he agreed. It was just smiles all around!


Now I just gotta teach Kody numbers. He's a good guitarist with a good ear but he doesn't know note or numbers and Billy and I do, so we kinda rag him a little bit *(good natured)*. I corrected a part we working on by using numbers: "hey, I think it's a vi, IV, V" and Billy got it immediately but had to show Kody since he doesn't know the system. And Billy says: "You're in a real band now, you gotta learn to play by numbers". LMFAO.


The other little "inside joke" that I rag Billy on all the time is the way he calls the key for "In Color". He calls it A#. I call it Bb. It's become a running joke, and I love telling him he's "wrong" on this LOL. Started innocently enough with me just saying i prefer thinking in Bb because there are fewer flats in that key sig than there are sharps in A#, and also it is very similar to key of F, which is itself a common key to play in. And that's the other thing: those guys use capos but I'm on bass so I have to play in flat keys and all kinds of crazy positions in this band. And it's cool. It's not a problem except for rarely! I'm getting quite capable and fluent in Bb and Eb! Whoda thunk it?

 

 

 

IT sounds like you are having a good time.

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IT sounds like you are having a good time.

 

Yeah, finally.

 

So much tension, stress and "not quite there" situations with music and finally I realized that I have to lighten up in terms of sweating the business bull{censored}, and get back to why I do this and what it means.

 

Music. Sometimes you gotta strip the bull{censored} away from it all and get back to the truth of what it's all about. Just playing notes, having a good time, and most importantly: being able to have a conversation with music.

 

So EVERYTHING I do now musically is meant to get me closer to my goal of being able to make music my slave: to be able to play as effortlessly as I talk to you now.

 

I'm pretty sure that if I took this experience into a "typical" cover band AND had other guys with the same experience, we could make some world class music. Good thing is Bourbon Country is HUNGRY. We've got a talented young frontman with some quality originals and the desire to get them out there. I'll keep you posted man. Lord willing this band is gonna make a name for itself and we're shooting for a higher level than just gigging around town. Probably heading down to Nashville before the end of the year.

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Yeah, finally.


So much tension, stress and "not quite there" situations with music and finally I realized that I have to lighten up in terms of sweating the business bull{censored}, and get back to why I do this and what it means.


Music. Sometimes you gotta strip the bull{censored} away from it all and get back to the truth of what it's all about. Just playing notes, having a good time, and most importantly: being able to have a conversation with music.


So EVERYTHING I do now musically is meant to get me closer to my goal of being able to make music my slave: to be able to play as effortlessly as I talk to you now.


I'm pretty sure that if I took this experience into a "typical" cover band AND had other guys with the same experience, we could make some world class music. Good thing is Bourbon Country is HUNGRY. We've got a talented young frontman with some quality originals and the desire to get them out there. I'll keep you posted man. Lord willing this band is gonna make a name for itself and we're shooting for a higher level than just gigging around town. Probably heading down to Nashville before the end of the year.

 

 

Sounds like you've got the right attitude and priorities here. It needs to be about the fun and the music first, and then once you're successful with that, you can put in the the necessary energy and focus on the business part of it and trying to tell it.

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Sounds like you've got the right attitude and priorities here. It needs to be about the fun and the music first, and then once you're successful with that, you can put in the the necessary energy and focus on the business part of it and trying to tell it.

 

 

I have been in a few bands , been out of bands , worked back into it. It seems like the best ones just kind of fall together without a lot of stress.

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I have been in a few bands , been out of bands , worked back into it. It seems like the best ones just kind of fall together without a lot of stress.

 

 

Yeah, it almost by necessity HAS to be that. I use the phrase "same page" a lot, but it really is true. A band is a pretty close living/working situation on a lot of levels. Sure, you can compartmentalize a lot with different people you work with, but at the end of the day if you don't enjoy the people you're with on a personal and musical level and you don't click with them and respect them, it's gonna be difficult.

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...at the end of the day if you don't enjoy the people you're with on a personal and musical level and you don't click with them and respect them, it's gonna be difficult.

 

 

I hear what you're saying here ... and to a very large extend - agree with you in principle. However, I still cringe a little at the mention of "enjoy the people you're with on a personal...level". That statement conjures up the vison that we need to have positive personal interactions off the stage. For me, that's not all that important .... as long as I don't have decidedly negative interactions, I can happily work with a player. I've played with players who on a personal level I felt were absolute flakes and wanted nothing to do when we weren't playing. However, they demonstrated an ability to show up, ready to play and capable of consistently bringing it musically. I can easily play with those folks as long I don't have to deal with their flakiness personally - and be very happy doing it.

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I hear what you're saying here ... and to a very large extend - agree with you in principle. However, I still cringe a little at the mention of "enjoy the people you're with on a personal...level". That statement conjures up the vison that we need to have
positive
personal interactions off the stage. For me, that's not all that important .... as long as I don't have decidedly
negative
interactions,

 

 

And that's all I really mean. You don't have to be best buds with everyone in your band, you just have to not DISlike them. That's about all most good workplace relationships boil down to. The people in my band all get along pretty well, but I don't know how many of them I'd be friends with if the band didn't exist. And none of us really hang out with each other outside the band. And some of us are better friends with each other than others. Typical band dynamics. But as long as you're not gritting your teeth trying to just not say something negative to someone, it should be enough.

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I hear what you're saying here ... and to a very large extend - agree with you in principle. However, I still cringe a little at the mention of "enjoy the people you're with on a personal...level". That statement conjures up the vison that we need to have
positive
personal interactions off the stage. For me, that's not all that important .... as long as I don't have decidedly
negative
interactions, I can happily work with a player. I've played with players who on a personal level I felt were absolute flakes and wanted nothing to do when we weren't playing. However, they demonstrated an ability to show up, ready to play and capable of consistently
bringing it
musically. I can easily play with those folks as long I don't have to deal with their flakiness personally - and be very happy doing it.

 

I agree with this too.

 

But that said, I PREFER to be in a group where I feel comfortable with the people involved.

 

But it isn't necessary I think. Heck, I've been in bands with folks that just plain don't like me and the feeling was mutual! But it worked out okay as long as we kept our interactions minimal and strictly band related. He'd sometimes make political statements and such and I (almost!) always just walked away from that.

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And that's all I really mean. You don't have to be best buds with everyone in your band, you just have to not DISlike them. That's about all most good workplace relationships boil down to. The people in my band all get along pretty well, but I don't know how many of them I'd be friends with if the band didn't exist. And none of us really hang out with each other outside the band. And some of us are better friends with each other than others. Typical band dynamics. But as long as you're not gritting your teeth trying to just not say something negative to someone, it should be enough.

 

Hell I was in a band for 3 years with a guy that disliked me pretty intensely and I made it work until he crossed the line and got personal when he shouldn't have.

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Hell I was in a band for 3 years with a guy that disliked me pretty intensely and I made it work until he crossed the line and got personal when he shouldn't have.

 

 

Exactly. 3 years is about the "we're finally really getting this thing tight" point for most bands. Not when you want to be blowing things up over resentments that have been festering.

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He'd sometimes make political statements and such and I (almost!) always just walked away from that.

 

Haha! Yeah...politics. My bass player is a lunatic rightwing tea-bagger type. I'm a pretty hard-headed liberal. We get along great on just about all other matters and both do our best to just keep the political talk outside the band. Doesn't always work that way. Especially when the other two will sometimes purposely try to start political discussions just so they can watch us go at each other.... :facepalm:

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