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Dirty-South Blues Harp forum: wail on! > Part time bands???
Part time bands???
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702 posts
Apr 25, 2021
12:57 PM
B4 this covid period hit.
I have done single deal with rack since 1980--bands on n off.

when I first started in 1980 playin in bars, the guy who started the trio said

" Ive been in bands a long time, democracy doesn't work on stage, I call it".
He also said were gonna do covers "our way" --he said when u try to do the song exact, U BETTER BE EXACT.

He also got us playin new songs, right away in public, usually at an appropriate time. Not at peak but at a lull.

Im still doing solo a lot.
Play harp only, in a 'staright up' blues band as well. The blues band gets 1-4 giggs month. we practice maybe once or twice b4 playing, very loose format. people love us and we have fun.

I practice with a second band that has a lot of problems. A perfectionist drummer who stops us all the time. The band fluctuates between doing the song the way it was originally done and our way, not a good mix. The guy who started it insists that we should all have asay in things, as a consequence, absolute caos.

We seldom play in public due to them complicating everything and no leadership

Im not an ass. I agree with my first BOSS.


IF U THINK YR BAND LEADER IS AN ASS ---IT IS STILL NECESSARY TO Have one---work with the leader and take aload off her or him

1] Do u prefer the perfectionist approach and play less often? or

2] looser format and get out there

I think some people have fear of playing in public---I have fear of not playing enough---My soul starts to wither---especially during "F'n" covid

Last Edited by snowman on Apr 25, 2021 12:58 PM
274 posts
Apr 25, 2021
3:08 PM
I've been in both types of situations. Definitely the situation with a strong bandleader was the most organized and smoothest running. By far.

But is it the best situation for a player? Depends. Depends on what you as a player want to get out of the situation. If you want to get out and play gigs, this is the fastest approach. If you want to be creative and explore the music, not so much, depending on how your exploration aligns with the band leader's ideas.

Also a lot depends on the skill and capabilities of the bandleader. If the bandleader is skilled, knowledgeable, and knows what they want, it can work well. A lot of you may remember Joe Lee Bush from this forum. A real pro and one hell of a harp player. I was the bass player in his band for a while. He knew exactly what and how he was going to play his songs, and I knew exactly what his expectations were for me on bass. If I got too loud, or too busy, or was f'ing up, he would say so and I would know what exactly what to do. We never rehearsed. In my time in the band, we added two new songs, both were played for the first time on the bandstand in front of an audience after a few quick words. Always at the end of the evening when the crowd was light. The whole thing was a great experience for me as a relatively inexperienced bassist. The structure and direction worked in my favor for sure.

Now I'm playing harp in a band that's a democracy. Its less organized, its harder to get songs ready, and it can be frustrating at times. But its very creative and we're coming up with new things that would never happen without everyone participating. The chaos is productive in that way.

So bottom line ... it depends.
3345 posts
Apr 25, 2021
6:53 PM
I came up in the blues jam mentality in and around North Texas beginning in the 90's. Jams were fertile ground for being recruited and recruiting members into bands and projects.
I totally agree about leadership on one hand. One strong leader can keep things on track and make the hard decisions that are necessary to keep a band going. Some outfits I co-founded- more democratic in nature- had personnel changeouts about every 5 weeks over a year and a half. I admittedly was not willing to be the heavy usually, and if nobody else was, we had pandemonium on and off stage. That was one early project in particular. Stronger egos than mine actually drove me out of "my band", and that result did not last but a few months after that.
Next major project, a few of us fell together with some help from a drummer friend. We had 3 pretty strong personalities and a couple who went with the flow. One guy pretty much became the leader since the other two of us were not willing to be in that role. We still had a lot of good energy and a lot of good material was fielded, even some originals a couple of us brought to the table.
I had other projects which went a ways locally but not having a clear leader was the kiss of death basically.
I worked in a couple of duos back in the day and deferred to the guitar player mostly if we could do some stuff I liked as well.
For the past 17 years I have been in a duo, with some side projects where I was most definitely not the leader, nor did I want to be. Hired gun and that worked okay but ultimately I devoted the past 9 or 10 years to my duo with wife Jolene. What began as having a rhythm guitar player for when I was between projects evolved into a serious duo with co-ownership of all that entailed. Booking jobs, picking material to cover, writing songs and working them up, everything, has been a mutual decision. Recent years have seen us playing places all over the country, basically wherever we could get hired where we wanted to be. I would guess that this could not happen in most couples who do music. I have been incredibly fortunate. There are times when one or the other does step up and determine a course. For the most part we have to agree on new things or set them aside.
Ultimately, I think I will be on my own again. F$%^kin' cancer is in the mix now. Who knows how long my wife/partner will be with me from here on? We are seizing every moment believe me! The future is not very visible past my intention to always do music. I can go several different directions, travel where I want within reason, and pursue several different courses. I've thought about putting some guys together and actually being a leader all the way for a change. I've considered the sideman idea. Maybe a duo again. Or even developing further my own self with cajon and learning some slide guitar and going total solo, which I feel is my first choice. Things could grow from that.
The big question I think you have to ask yourself is, what do you want? If it's a business treat it like one, either lead, follow, or get out of the way. Do your best excel at your part and try to promote other members to do the same. If it's more a lab, so be it, support other ideas and put yours out and be supported. Think about the Grateful Dead. Was that the ultimate jam band? Yet they had huge success for decades. If you can frame your question to yourself accurately, then answer it honestly, you will succeed.
Music and travel destroy prejudice.




10351 posts
Apr 28, 2021
12:14 PM
An option for somewhere between a dictatorship and democracy... you can have meetings to plan out what songs to do, good for developing leadership skills, is to have it so each song has it's own band leader. At practice you run down each song and each band leader arranges their own song.

My old band sort of did this, mostly based on who wrote the song or who brought the band to the group. It worked fairly well although we probably should have formalized the rules a bit.

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First Post- May 8, 2009
3346 posts
Apr 28, 2021
7:04 PM
Most bands I worked with regularly had more than one singer and whoever sang called the tune. You can get some good synergy going when member have a bigger stake in the material and everyone supports others' work.
Music and travel destroy prejudice.





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