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The crazy s*** you do when you're a variety band...


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Agreed strong vocals really are the heart of performing these songs. We have four guys who sing in this band... well three guys who can sing and two who can rap. There's alot of passing lyrics around. If we had to rely on one singer to get through this material there's no way we would cover it all.


With rapping, inflection and timing are just as important as pitch and projection for a singer. You can't mumble through lyrics or it will fail. It's best to sit with a metronome and really make sure your timing is on point. If you fall behind or speed up it's a train wreck.

 

 

Yep. Agree with all that. Having two girls and three guys that can sing means we can usually figure out a way to do just about anything, and stuff gets passed around a lot. Anything with a rap was always our stumbling block before, but it turns out that Tiffany is actually pretty good at it. The only odd thing there is sometimes she's rapping a male rap part but, as of yet, nobody has seemed to think anything negative about it.

 

I'm still keeping one eye open for a younger dude who can rap, sing a bit and play percussion and/or keys.

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no one is doing what we do, so we have the unique thing going for us.



:thu: 'Niche' is the key--in any business; in any market. There's probably 100 places to eat dinner in your city on any given night. The joints that are the most successful are the ones that offer something unique in either the food or the location or the atmosphere.

In our market there are probably a dozen different bands playing a similar songlist in a similar format, but the most successful ones are the ones that carve out a special little niche for themselves. Ours is we serve it up in bit more audience-involved and family-friendly manner. If you want a band who does it with a big horn section, or one that does it with younger, prettier people on stage for you to look at? There are other bands that do that better than we do. If you want to make sure everybody is going to have fun? We're pretty sure we'll deliver that.

Typical example: we played a wedding a few weeks ago where the people had rented out a separate room and set it up with a DVD player and a TV for all the kids to watch while the dancing was going on. Turns out they didn't need it. None of the little kids were watching the TV because we had them all involved with what was going on with the music and the dancing. The parents always just end up thinking we're the "best band ever" for letting them take pictures of Junior up on stage with the band playing a maracca.....

Silly and stupid on one hand, but people eat that {censored} up and doing these sorts of things have created a nice little niche for ourselves.

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Hey Guido----When doing weddings,do you ever have the problem of trying to round up everyone from the bridal party onto the dance floor for garter/bouquet toss,etc,etc??Seems like a lot of times half the bridal party will be outside smoking.Also everything always runs a little late because of the photographer.

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Hey Guido----When doing weddings,do you ever have the problem of trying to round up everyone from the bridal party onto the dance floor for garter/bouquet toss,etc,etc??Seems like a lot of times half the bridal party will be outside smoking.Also everything always runs a little late because of the photographer.

 

 

Wedding coordinator is your best friend whenever available; that's their responsibility to wrangle.

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Hey Guido----When doing weddings,do you ever have the problem of trying to round up everyone from the bridal party onto the dance floor for garter/bouquet toss,etc,etc??Seems like a lot of times half the bridal party will be outside smoking.Also everything always runs a little late because of the photographer.

 

 

Yes. The way to best handle this (we've found) is to try and have some sort of contact person. Usually a bridesmaid or someone close to the wedding party so we can ask "hey, I think it's time we did the bouquet toss, etc....can you see about rounding everybody up?" Otherwise you're left with one of two scenarios. Either A) Somebody tells US it's time to do that stuff, and then we're standing around doing nothing for 10 minutes while they try to round everybody up or B) they forget about it altogther and them come running up 5 minutes before the scheduled end time and want to squeeze it all in.

 

As far as the photographer goes, we always try to keep one eye on what's going on there so we can push back certain activities if we know they aren't ready it.

 

Part of pulling off a successful wedding is taking charge to a certain degree and--if not actually TELLING them when they are going to do what---at least making sure everyone is on the same page. Sometimes there will be a wedding planner there who stays through the whole event and they are usually pretty good at herding the cattle.

 

And yes, things almost always run late. I don't mind because usually there's a strict "stop" time with the venue. So that just means we're playing less songs. Yeah, weddings are usually a long day regardless, but getting paid good money to play for what sometimes is only about an hour isn't a bad deal either.

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Yes. The way to best handle this (we've found) is to try and have some sort of contact person. Usually a bridesmaid or someone close to the wedding party so we can ask "hey, I think it's time we did the bouquet toss, etc....can you see about rounding everybody up?" Otherwise you're left with one of two scenarios. Either A) Somebody tells US it's time to do that stuff, and then we're standing around doing nothing for 10 minutes while they try to round everybody up or B) they forget about it altogther and them come running up 5 minutes before the scheduled end time and want to squeeze it all in.


As far as the photographer goes, we always try to keep one eye on what's going on there so we can push back certain activities if we know they aren't ready it.


Part of pulling off a successful wedding is taking charge to a certain degree and--if not actually TELLING them when they are going to do what---at least making sure everyone is on the same page. Sometimes there will be a wedding planner there who stays through the whole event and they are usually pretty good at herding the cattle.


And yes, things almost always run late. I don't mind because usually there's a strict "stop" time with the venue. So that just means we're playing less songs. Yeah, weddings are usually a long day regardless, but getting paid good money to play for what sometimes is only about an hour isn't a bad deal either.

 

 

When we first started doing weddings 4 years ago, we cheat and bring our own 'Wedding Laison' who MC's and works with the wedding coordinator. A guy who's been friends of the band for years and has MC'd events as part of a DJ duo for over a decade (he was the mouth, the other guy just spun records). He was smooth, great talker (voice for radio), knew when to speak and when not to... best of all he would quarterback the event with the wedding coordinator, banquet manager etc. It's was $250 well spent and allowed us to do what we do best, play music.

 

Now that we package with a DJ he coordinates all of that.

 

In NY/NJ the Banquet Coordinator is the only person really with direct contact with the bride. The venues take ownership of that relationship... really you are playing in their house, so they tell you when to start, stop, coordinate for the banquet toss etc.

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Yeah, we (very) briefly talked about adding a keys player too, but we realized we really didn't need one for 85% of what we do. After all, we're having a lot of success already so we're not trying to change too much. Me picking up a synth to use it for 5-6 songs a night...yeah it's a little more equipment to carry and a little more space taken up on stage, but for the payoff we're expecting from. Bringing people something they don't see often, we're hoping it's worth it.


Much respect to you guys too...I wonder sometimes how you're able to pull off the songs you do with just guitar/bass/drums. From what I gather you must put a fair amount of work into your arrangements, and having a hottie up front that can really sing don't hurt either.
;)

 

Hey, I really appreciate it. Yeah, arranging the tunes we do sometimes takes a bit of work. OTOH, so many of today's pop tunes are SO ridiculously easy, that the trick is figuring out what parts to play, but once you grab that, putting the song together takes no time at all.

 

A trick that works really well for me. Put the song on while driving and turn it down to "background music" volume. The parts that still "cut through" are generally the important stuff. The rest is just production fluff.

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Hey, I really appreciate it. Yeah, arranging the tunes we do sometimes takes a bit of work. OTOH, so many of today's pop tunes are SO ridiculously easy, that the trick is figuring out what parts to play, but once you grab that, putting the song together takes no time at all.


A trick that works really well for me. Put the song on while driving and turn it down to "background music" volume. The parts that still "cut through" are generally the important stuff. The rest is just production fluff.

 

 

Exactly. Very simple at its roots, yet a million and a half layers of BS included too.

 

That background volume thing seems like a good idea! I will try that.

 

Even with me playing keys, we're going to be doing a bit of picking and choosing what goes in and what we leave out of these tunes. I think as a band sometimes we almost try too hard to include every little detail rather than just getting the major parts in and letting the little things go. One person in the band in particular doesn't subscribe to the "less is more" theory and I have to ask him or 'suggest' sometimes to just hang back and not play during a verse (for example) because it's just too muddy. We have to learn that a little space in the music isn't necessarily a bad thing (if it's done properly of course).

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Exactly. Very simple at its roots, yet a million and a half layers of BS included too.


That background volume thing seems like a good idea! I will try that.


Even with me playing keys, we're going to be doing a bit of picking and choosing what goes in and what we leave out of these tunes. I think as a band sometimes we
almost
try too hard to include every little detail rather than just getting the major parts in and letting the little things go. One person in the band in particular doesn't subscribe to the "less is more" theory and I have to ask him or 'suggest' sometimes to just hang back and not play during a verse (for example) because it's just too muddy. We have to learn that a little space in the music isn't necessarily a bad thing (if it's done properly of course).

 

 

Funny you mention that, because we have to work on that as well. Even with 1 guitar, bass and drums, we focus on sitting out certain sections. A full sound is a relative thing. If all that's in the verse clean guitar, drums and vocals, distorted guitar w/bass in the chorus sounds full in comparison. Another thing that works really well is having the drummer lay off the cymbals in the verses then add them in the chorus.

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