Archive for the ‘Band Etiquette’ Category

Sacred Pagan Word-Help

Sunday, May 5th, 2013

The first image that comes to mind when I think of the word ‘help’ is the commercial for some charity with a middle aged gray bearded man holding a dark skinned child in a poverty stricken third world, somewhat primitive, village while he proclaims that a dollar a day will…; you get the idea. The next image is from one of the Icelandic Sagas in which a man is asking a more powerful neighbor for help in a legal suit at the Althing. They negotiate favor for favor and come to an understanding. From the Havamal we hear that everyone has worth; a man who has lost a hand can herd sheep, a deaf man can go into battle and prevail. From these images I deduce that in the Pagan world the sacred word ‘help’ implies a two way street. We help each other. We make commitments to each other and we live by our word. Another saying from the Havamal is “Only a corpse has no value”. In the born again world I guess the old self dies and all commitments die with him. We mourn the loss of our drummer.Bob & Steve

How Many Bassists does it take to…

Saturday, August 28th, 2010

In the past year and a quarter Steve and I have had close to a dozen different bassists play with us in my basement.  I know I’m doing something wrong.  I’ve temporarily allowed comments without registration or approval and I’m going out for the day.  I really want to read what people have to say about this post so, you might have to read through a lot of spam to get to real comments.

Owning a Song

Saturday, April 17th, 2010

I could regurgitate copyright law and mechanical licensing fees but, I’m not even going to bother to put links in this post. Instead, I want to talk about a group’s performance of a song and each individual’s contribution. I haven’t done a lot of collaborating on songs.  Steve has helped me with lyrics a few times for songs we’ve put on Music from Bob’s Basement.  Denis took liberties with the drum part on a few BoScoDen songs.  On his song, Gasholes, I played what he told me to play.  10 to 9 Jam was complete improvisation on my part.  I never discussed with Scott and denis where their contributions came from.  I found all of these approaches very satisfying but, the sense of community ownership of the Jam gives me pleasure on so many levels.

Band Etiquette Part 5

Sunday, December 13th, 2009

The most important rule of band etiquette would have to fall under the category of honesty. Say what you mean and mean what you say. If you don’t like something; let your band mates know it. The truth will surface eventually. If you can’t be somewhere at a certain time; don’t make a commitment. If you can’t learn a part by a certain time; be realistic. The golden rule doesn’t necessarily apply. I wouldn’t want to be asked to play a drum part but, the drummer probably wouldn’t mind. If he does mind then he should say so. Being able to work with others is a lot more important than being a great player.  INXS had a reality show not too long ago in which they were looking for a new lead singer.  They didn’t choose the best singer, nor did they choose the most popular; the guy they eventually chose had been voted out by the audience numerous times.  They chose the guy who wanted it the most.  This was not American Idol but, being in a band is a whole different skill set than being a pop star.  It may look and sound the same but, one is more of a journey than a goal.

Band Etiquette Part 4

Saturday, July 4th, 2009

I screwed up royally. I directed a flood light directly over Keith’s music stand.

Band Etiquette Part 3

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

For the past month Steve has been coming over once a week to play drums. Neither one of us had any expectations of anything more than a chance to make a lot of noise for a few hours. We’ve been really enjoying ourselves and are now working on making a CD together. We’re also looking for a bassist to play with us. At this point we have Keith coming over to play with us this Friday and Joe coming next Thursday. I found Joe on Craig’s list. Joe wants to play once a month and I’m all for playing as often as I can. Joe has quite a resume as a performer and I think we’ll have a great time next week. Keith is from my old stomping grounds of Long Island. I met him at Sam Ash in White Plains. We jammed together for a half hour on the store’s instruments. His fills and time on the bass would categorize him as my favorite kind of bassist. I may have committed a faux pas in my search for a bassist but, I’m willing to play with anyone and everyone who will play with me. I hope that I can always live up to my commitments and not let anyone down.

Band Etiquette Part 2

Saturday, May 2nd, 2009

In Band Etiquette Part 1 I focused on the various goals of the individual band members.  In part 2 I’d like to talk about song preparation.  Like most things in life you should keep an eye on the big picture but, remember to enjoy the here and now.  At some point between the casual sloppy jam and tour performances that mimic the CD to every nuance of every note players may discuss a playlist of songs.  They could be originals or they could be covers or they could be a mixture of both.  Few songs are equally challenging for all players and nobody is perfect.  We all make mistakes.  Sometimes you have to just give up on a song.  Of course, if you’ve spent 4 hours every night since the last rehearsal mastering every tricky riff in a solo it’s hard to give up on a particular song.  Now, suppose everyone spent 4 hours every night learning their part to a particularly challenging song and the versions they practiced individually are incompatable with each other.  It might be better to learn the song together.  Then again, the rhythm guitarist who has a simple rhythm with 2 simple chords that repeat ad nauseum for 20 minutes has to listen to other people screw up over and over again, then they stop, and then they try it again.  I have simple advice for him; consider it a form of meditation.  In fact, I would consider it all a form of meditation.  You’re there to achieve a higher state of musical communion with each other.  Isolate a phrase and set up a loop.  Repeat it until you’ve reached that higher plain of auditory existentialism.

Band Etiquette Part 1

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009

Having been in a number of bands and a slew of other musical groups, all with varying degrees of success, I would now like to explore the ways interpersonal relationships and interactions manifest themselves in a rock group and lead to success or failure.

First, we should define what success is. It doesn’t necessarily mean sold out tours and platinum albums. Success could be as humble as an appreciative listener in a bar buying you a beer or, even more modestly, that good feeling you get when everyone ends the song together. Whatever your definition of success it’s nice if the players know what they want and even if they don’t want the same thing, the thing each individual wants needs to be compatible with what the other player’s want. Even if all the bassist wants is to get drunk and laid once in a while and the drummer wants a Beverly Hills mansion, there’s no reason why they both can’t be satisfied. Well, there might be a lot of reasons but, at least they’re not working at cross purposes. Since my word count is approaching 200 this would be a good place to call this part 1 and ask you to leave comments along the vein of what success in a band is.