Author Topic: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)  (Read 2092 times)

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Offline Orbert

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The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« on: November 16, 2016, 11:26:07 AM »
The Musicians Chat Thread has been around for a while now, and while it's never enjoyed the amount of traffic that the "regular" chat threads have had, it's kinda nice to have a separate space for musicians to chat about gigs or writing or other things specific to musicians, that other musicians might be interested in.

Three years ago, I was approached to join a band that was being formed, and I chatted about it in The Musicians Chat Thread.  As time went on, I'd give updates, and because I tend to get a bit excited about making music and am rather loquacious anyway, some of the updates would be pretty big.  I try to make them both interesting and entertaining so people will read them, because there's not much point in writing them if no one reads them.  Also, I figured it might raise the amount of traffic in the thread itself.

The downside is that they can dominate the thread a bit too much, and I suspect that they sometimes discourage others from posting for fear of derailing, or feeling like they can't compete with my unfolding novel, or other reasons.  Some people have said that they enjoy reading the updates, and that's nice to hear, but I can't help but feel like not everyone feels the same way and they're just too polite to say so.

So I'm creating this thread to "consolidate" The Saga of Orbert's Band.  When I started with this band, I had no idea where it would lead, but I've posted a lot of updates and it occurred to me that a consolidated thread would also serve as a nice journal, a history of the band.

The first several pages (I'm guessing) will be repostings from the Chat Thread.  I also want to include discussion generated if it directly relates to The Saga, so there will be repostings from others as well.  This leads to the question of format.  What I've decided on (for now) is to include the "quote" markers, but close the quote immediately.  That way, people aren't reading pages of tiny, quote-sized text, but also know who said what.  I think it will work, but I won't know until I see it.  In my mind, it works really well.  ;)

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2016, 11:28:00 AM »
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About a month ago, I was contacted by a girl who used to sing in the bands with me at one of my other churches (I have a few, kinda) about joining a
band.  A regular band, classic rock.  They were getting together for an initial run-through and getting-to-know-you, I think it was back on the 7th, but I couldn't make it because I was rehearsing with the kids.  I told her that December is just too crazy, but I'm interested and please keep me in mind.  Church music will calm down significantly after the holidays, so if they still need a keyboard player come January, let me know.  She contacted me again the other day, asked if she could give them my email and phone number, and I provided them.  So we'll see.  I might actually be playing in a real band, first time in years.

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #2 on: November 16, 2016, 11:28:57 AM »
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I got a call tonight from the guy from the band that needs a keyboard player.  Unfortunately, it was while we were on our way out to dinner with another couple.  All four of us were in the car, I was driving, plus it was raining, so I didn't really want to talk on the phone at the time.  You know how people ask "Is this a bad time for you?"  Well, it was.  He understood, and said he'd call me back tomorrow afternoon.  I hope he does.  I want to play in a band.  A real band.

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #3 on: November 16, 2016, 11:29:34 AM »
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The guy called me back the next day, as he said he would.  It was a little different, but I can't say it was too weird considering the circumstances.  We're all fogies, in our 50's.  We used to play in bands back in the 70's and 80s.  It was just called Rock and Roll then, but now it's Classic Rock or 70's Rock.  Through a couple of different websites aimed at putting people together based on similar interests, he's assembled a second guitarist (he plays guitar), a bassist, and a drummer, also a male and female vocalist.  His "vision" is to have a singer of each gender to maximize the number of songs we can cover, and they can harmonize as needed, possibly adding one or more voices from the others.

The first male singer didn't work out, and they didn't have a keyboard player, so a week from today, I'll join them on keys, and the new male singer will also be there for the first time.  Right after Christmas, the drummer dropped out, citing previously unforseen conflicts, so a new drummer will now be starting as well.

The "different but not really weird" part is that it's somewhat business-like.  We talked on the phone for 45 minutes.  Talked about my musical background as well as my personal life.  He's the CIO of a major corporation; he's doing alright, and has no illusions of being a "rock star" as most of us did when we were younger.  This is strictly to get together and play music, hopefully very well, with other like-minded folks that he can get along with.  And if we ultimately end up playing weddings or parties and making some money, that's cool too, but it's not the primary goal.  So the lengthy phone call was like an interview, a phone screening.  By the end, he said I sounded like a good fit.  We have similar tastes in music, are around the same age, and played in bars back around the same time.  We all miss playing, and are just looking to play in a band again.

Through email, he sent out mp3's and chord charts for four songs, which everyone will practice individually, and we'll put them together on the 12th.  They're the same songs the others played last month, but half the band is new now.  "China Grove" by The Doobie Brothers, "High On You" by Survivor, "I Saw Her Standing There" by The Beatles, and "Spooky" by The Atlanta Rhythm Section.  All original keys, all original arrangements.  "High On You" fades out at the end, but we found a live version of it with an ending, so we'll do that.

The Beatles song is the only one without keyboards, but interestingly, there are handclaps throughout, and I have a couple of different presets with various sounds, including handclaps.  So I'll "play" the handclaps at the runthrough.  Will they be impressed at my initiative?  I don't know.  But in general, keyboard players are there to fill things in, and I'm covering something that's on the original record.  The song will sound better, and if they say anything, hey, it's on the record so I played it.  There were songs back in the old days that didn't have keys, and I sometimes grabbed a tambourine or woodblock, but sometimes those were just songs which I sat out.  I hated that.  If the band has keys, you play songs with keys, none of this "Well, you just don't play on this song" bullshit.

Anyway, we'll see.

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #4 on: November 16, 2016, 11:31:05 AM »
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These days keyboards a great "catch all" for any instrument or sound effect that another band member isn't playing, whether it was originally a keyboard part or not. Anything that makes the song sound closer to the original studio recording that people know and love and want to hear, all the better, I say.

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #5 on: November 16, 2016, 11:32:03 AM »
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That's my attitude as well.  It's gonna sound better having the part covered, especially if the alternative is me doing nothing.

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #6 on: November 16, 2016, 11:33:05 AM »
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If the alternative is doing nothing I'd go with playing handclaps, yes. With the Beatles songs we play, I usually fire up an old, distorted Farfisa organ, sounds pretty 60's. Or drink whiskey, but that's not really something to do during rehearsal. I totally agree with the way you approach keyboard playing though!

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #7 on: November 16, 2016, 11:33:32 AM »
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So I played with the new "almost-band".  Okay, it wasn't horrible.

The Good:

In two hours, we locked down four songs.  That may not sound like much (and it's not), but this is starting from nothing, and ending up with four songs we could play all the way through, everybody getting all their parts, vocals, instrumentals, breaks, everything.  Live performance quality.  And it sounded damned good.  Really.

The Bad:

John, the "organizer" (he emphasizes that he is not the "leader" but merely the one who organizes and schedules everything), started off by explaining the "rules".  We start the song, and any time someone gets lost or can't hear something or hears something bad, we stop and fix it.  Okay, that's one way to do it, I guess, but I'm used to at least plowing through the song the first time, and only stopping if it becomes a complete train wreck and we literally can't continue.  A lot of things work themselves out once you've played through the song once or twice.  Instead, we literally would play 20 or thirty seconds, stop, figure out what the problem was, fix it, start again.  Repeat.  And the vast majority of the time, it was stopping so that the guitarists and/or bassist could get something figured out.  They are the ones who've already rehearsed this stuff once!  The drummer and I, both of us new but apparently much better prepared, just ended up looking at each other and grinning and shrugging a lot.  We never said a word, but it was there.  "What? Didn't these guy learns their parts first?"  Never once did we have to stop for me or the drummer.

But hopefully that will get better.  I mean, I knew I was "trying out" so I've done nothing but listen to these songs on my iPod at home, in the car, and while working out.  I've played along with them, played without them, played them in my head while going to sleep.  I had my parts down.  What the heck were the other guys doing the past month?  I used to learn four songs a week.  These guys have had two months.

So it was a slow start, but a start.  By the end, we had four songs locked and we sat at the big table, had a beer/pop/water, and talked about the future of the band.  We're all in (for now).  We'll put together songs lists, start adding two songs per week, and in four months we should have 30 songs, enough to play a gig somewhere.

It's interesting.  I've never played in a band with "strangers" before.  It's always been the guys I grew up with, or at least one or two guys I knew, plus some friend of somebody's, something like that.  Here, I knew Karen the singer, she's how I got hooked up with these guys, but everyone else was new to me.  We all got on pretty well; we're all professionals, not kids with raging egos and delusions of becoming rock stars, so it was very well organized (almost too organized, really).  But once we get more comfortable with each other and our "real" personalities start to show, we'll see how well we still get along.  For now, it's just fun playing again.  The next couple of rehearsals will reveal much.

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #8 on: November 16, 2016, 11:34:45 AM »
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Progress is progress. What type of music are you guys playing?

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"Classic rock" -- whatever that means.  We all played in bar bands in the 70's, some of us in the 80's and beyond, and some still play.  We learned a 60's tune, two 70's tunes, and an 80's tune on Sunday.  Ultimately, I think we should focus more on just 70's and 80's.

With two singers, two guitarists, a bassist, drummer, and keyboardist, we'll never make any money, but if we're lucky we'll reach the point where we get paid enough to cover gas to get to the gig.  I have no idea how much bands make these days, I've been out of the biz for so long, but we're splitting it seven ways after expenses, so it's not going to be much anyway.

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #9 on: November 16, 2016, 11:35:41 AM »
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Update on the "almost band" that I'm playing with.  We decided that to start building our song list, we'd each email five songs to Rob the bassist, and he'd set up a Survey Monkey.  Each of the seven of us would rank the songs from 1 to 5 indicating how much we liked the song and/or would want to play it.  Survey Monkeys are anonymous.  After everyone votes, Rob ranks them based on average score, and we use that as our guide to narrowing the field.  This was all Rob's idea; he volunteered to do all this.

Dave (singer) screwed up and accidentally emailed his list to everyone.  Rick (guitarist) offerred his feedback by replying to all, and it was not positive.  Dave's a bit younger than the rest of us and is more into 80's and 90's stuff, and his list of songs reflected that, whereas the rest of us are all old farts and prefer 70's.  Anyway, I'm not sure what Rick's problem was, but he didn't hold back.  Lots of big red bold letters, THIS ISN'T CLASSIC ROCK and NO!  NO!  NO! next to every song.  Shit like that.  What an asshole.  So Dave quit.  His official reason was that a conflict has come up and he won't be able to continue with the band.  To be honest, I'd rather have had Dave than Rick.  With me on keys, we need a second guitar less than we need a good singer, and he was a great singer.

This all went down two weeks ago, also Karen (the other singer) had an emergency at home, and Rob threw his back out shoveling snow, so practice was cancelled, during which time John launched a new search for another male singer.  He also contacted Rick and presumably told him to stop being an asshole.

We got together last night, with the new singer, who also plays guitar.  He told us that he actually considers himself a guitarist first, and a singer second.  He likes to sing, but doesn't want to sing all the leads, so it's great that we have Karen as well.  He's a pretty good guitarist and not a bad singer.  So great, now we have three guitarists.  Oh yeah, Karen texted John earlier, saying she'd be there, but she never showed up.  John texted her, made sure she was coming, but she never answered.  She actually lives the closest to John, less than 10 minutes away.  Karen was on Facebook today, posting silly shit, so apparently she didn't get in a wreck on the way over or anything; she just didn't want to be there.  I think Karen is gonna quit, too.  That's too bad.  Karen's the one who got me into the band.  I don't even know the rest of these guys.

I still don't really care.  I just like playing.  We ran through a bunch of songs, tried out the new singer/guitarist, and it was all right.  With seven of us, we're never gonna make any money anyway, but some of the others said that there was no point in learning songs if we're never gonna gig anywhere.  I guess I can see that, and I'm not opposed to gigging.  Hell, it would be fun.  I haven't gigged regularly in 30 years.  But it's not my main goal.  I'll show up to practices, I'll have my parts down (I always do), and if we ever can keep any singers long enough, we might even have a band.

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #10 on: November 16, 2016, 11:36:08 AM »
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Aw Orbert, one day you'll get the band you deserve and rock the fuck out and it will be awesome.

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #11 on: November 16, 2016, 11:36:23 AM »
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Yeah, it's one of those situations which would actually be comical if it weren't so pathetic.  A bunch of fogeys trying to put a band together, apparently with no idea how, and with mostly different ideas about what we're doing in the first place.  But as I said, it was fun just playing with other guys.  I'll haul my gear half an hour up the road every couple of weeks to jam.   I guess I can see it getting old after a while, but for now, what the hell.

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #12 on: November 16, 2016, 11:36:41 AM »
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Organizing any group is going to have problems, which seem to compound with the more people you have involved, which is why putting together a band with a common goal and motivation is so seemingly difficult.
It goes for any task really. That's one reason I like to stick to the safety of working alone wherever possible to avoid relying on other people flaking out or just drifting apart from the same goal (that and having no friends :neverusethis: ).

And it probably gets even harder as you get older too, with more responsibilities and less disposable/expendable income for starting up and messing around.

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #13 on: November 16, 2016, 11:36:58 AM »

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #14 on: November 16, 2016, 11:37:17 AM »
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And one other thing.  When you're in junior high, playing in the garage with your bros, it's not a huge deal if one or more of you isn't exactly professional quality.  It's just for fun.  Okay, some of you might be naive enough to think that you're great and will become rock stars, but eventually you grow up.  35 years later, I still get together with those guys back home once or twice a year and have a great time.  There's nothing like jamming with guys you've known all your life.  It's gonna be fun anyway.

But this is different.  Most of us don't know each other, or didn't before signing up for this thing, so there's no personal connection.  And none of us are under any delusions that we'll someday be rock stars; we're definitely just doing this for fun.  But it's no fun if one or more guys is an asshole and/or doesn't learn his parts and/or can't play in the first place.  We practiced again last weekend, four songs, everyone knew what to learn, the guitarists exchanged emails on the side to make sure everyone knew who was playing what part.  Rick is still an asshole.  "Oh, I thought I was playing this part." And "Hey, I know we agreed to <something> but I just thought it would sound better if I played <something else>."  Seriously, dude?

Then the clincher.  Afterwards, we're packing up and hauling stuff out to our cars.  Some guys leave some gear there, singers travel pretty light, Terry the drummer just leaves his kit there (he has three!), but I have to make multiple trips up and down the stairs (keyboards, amp, stand).  I head down for my second load, and John is there with some of the others, and he says "Hey, while I've got you guys here, can I ask your opinion of Rick?  Do you think he's going to be a problem in the future?"  And three of us immediately say "Yes" and go into reasons why and examples so far.  My biggie is that we now have three guitarists, and we just don't need that.  Even if there are three distinct guitar parts on the record, two will be played and I can cover/fill on keyboards.  It will sound fine.

John shares with us that Rick actually took him aside just a few minutes ago and said "I don't know how much more of this I can take."  That surprised John, but he diplomatically asked him to elaborate.  "You know, there's all this pressure to learn all these songs, and it's like we're supposed to have everything just right.  Like, there's no room for any real grooving or anything."  Or however he put it.

Yeah, we pick the songs, and we each have two weeks to learn four songs.  Studio versions, as closely as possible; we'll explore ways to "liven them up" as we go, but everyone has to start from the same place.  Yes, you're supposed to come to practice after actually having learned your parts.  Don't waste band practice time learning your individual part, and don't argue about what you think would sound better after everyone has agreed on who plays what.

So, sorry Rick, but you're an asshole and you can't play.  Plus, none of us know you from Adam, so that doesn't leave many reasons to keep you in the band.  After getting our feedback, John said he'd been contacting Rick this week to let him know that the band "will be moving forward without him".  There's a reason this guy is a VP of a company.  He takes charge, and he runs a tight ship.  We've still got a lot of shit to work out, but we're getting there.

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #15 on: November 16, 2016, 11:37:54 AM »
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I just read some of your posts today about this band you've been practicing lately and want to say its great you guys got rid of that Rick problem quickly before it turned into a bigger problem and messed up the entire band. Hopefully this is a good push for the band in the right direction and everything else goes up for you guys.

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #17 on: November 16, 2016, 11:38:58 AM »
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We're getting more to where everyone's on the same page.  The only remaining instance of people pulling in fundamentally different directions -- which hasn't caused a real problem thus far, but still might -- is how often we practice and how fast we get songs down.

The original concept was John was just putting a band together to play songs in his basement and have fun, because he misses doing that, and is in a place in his life where he's got some time to do it and some money for some equipment.  After that second practice, the first one I was at, we sounded good.  I mean, damned good.  It was only four songs, but we could've played them live in a bar, we were that tight.

So suddenly (some) people are talking about actually getting out and playing.  How often?  One a month, twice a month?  And if we're serious about that, learning four songs every two weeks isn't gonna cut it.  Problem is, we have day jobs, and varying degrees of free time, so that's about the best some of us can do.  I'm out of town this weekend, so when I left Sunday, the next practice was set for two weeks hence.  Then emails went out yesterday, John asking who's around this weekend and when, and everyone except me is getting together.  There's one song left with no keys, and Steve the new singer still needs to be brought up to speed on the other songs.  (I noticed that Rick is not on these emails, so that's good.)  John made the point that this is all they can do until Bob gets back, so I don't fear for my position or anything.  Everyone else seems to think I'm fine, and John's a staight-shooter.

Argh.  Sorry for dominating this thread so much lately.  Apparently I need to get a lot of this off my chest.

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #18 on: November 16, 2016, 11:39:22 AM »
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I've enjoyed your posts so far and need more. Sounds like a band's autobiography being written down here. I like it. :hat

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #19 on: November 16, 2016, 11:39:46 AM »
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Thanks. :) I at least try to make it interesting.

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #20 on: November 16, 2016, 11:40:18 AM »
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Wow, it's been a month already?  Must be time for another update.

So Rick is out.  Good.  He was a head case, and honestly wasn't that great on guitar anyway.  We've rehearsed three more times, and we keep getting better.  First set is almost done.  We have 11 songs.  Yesterday, we were going to get together for the fourth week in a row, just to nail down all the songs, and learn that 12th song.

Friday night, John called me with bad news.  Rob the bass player had fought off cancer three years ago, it was in remission, but now it's back.  They had talked for a while, and basically Rob was giving us an out.  He loves playing, he still wants to be in the band, but he has to be honest in that these next few months will be really tough for him, and his head will not be in it, not to mention whatever will happen to his body during the treatment.  They're starting chemotherapy pretty much immediately, of course.

At this critical point in the band's development, do we wait six or eight weeks for Rob to get the treatment he needs, then slowly work him back in, then slowly move forward?  Or as a practical matter, do we start looking for a new bass player?  Because, for all we know, this is it for Rob.  Even if he beats it, he won't be 100% and we'll have put things on hold for 6-8 weeks anyway.  He told John that he totally understood if we moved on without him.  I read that as him giving us an out.

John and I talked for maybe 15 minutes.  I told him that we should start looking for a new bass player.  I also reminded him that Karen's husband Mike is a bass player, and I've played with Mike before.  He's a good guy and a great bass player; there's no doubt in my mind that he could step right in and learn the songs.  He probably already knows many if not most of them.  It occurred to me at that point, and I didn't share it with John, that Rob is actually the weakest link at this point.  Now that the Rick problem is solved, Rob is the one who shows up to practice most often without having learned the songs.  He usually has an excuse, some of which are even pretty good, but it's somewhat annoying.  He learned a different version, or he couldn't find the mp3 (both of those excuses suck because I've already told everyone that I have every single song we've talked about, and can always get them).  Or he didn't have time because he was out of time.  Well, that one's better because we know he travels for work a lot, but combine that with the other times, and it's not great.

Still, cutting the guy because he has cancer and we don't want to wait around for him seems really cold.  But that's what I told John we should do, since he was asking.  And I kinda felt shitty about it, but again, I didn't know any of these guys before January.  I knew Karen, and personally I'd rather play with Mike anyway.  The rest of them, well, sorry.  We're trying to put a band together.

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #21 on: November 16, 2016, 11:41:06 AM »
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Letting people go is always difficult, especially when it's because of a disease. You could however make some sort of agreement, that when he is back to full strength he could start rehearsing again, and you could get a new guy, but letting that new guy know that's it's maybe only for a short period of time. On the other hand you have a way to say 'well to be honest, it's been pretty awesome with the new guy, so we're sorry but that's it'. That way you don't have to deliver the bad news right now, and you still keep a door open for him to come back.

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #22 on: November 16, 2016, 11:41:54 AM »
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The situation is just so different from any other band I've been in.  I've never been in a band before that didn't start with most if not all of the guys being friends first, and deciding to form a band.  Guys from school, guys I grew up with in the neighborhood.  The bond is already there; the music is better or at least more fun and worthwhile because it's your friends, and the friendship is strengthened by the music being made together.

Or at the very least, after a personnel change or two, it's an established, working band.  You've gelled, you have gigs, then someone suddenly can no longer play.  The answer there is pretty obvious; you have to replace them.  This isn't just for fun, there are contracts in place and money will change hands.

Here, the band isn't even working yet, and we're still mostly getting to know each other.  Bringing someone in temporarily is an idea, but in everyone's minds, it's temporary, and there's just that much less commitment to it, and that will affect things.  How fair would it be to the temp guy to send him on his way if/when Rob gets better?  No, at this point, the change must be permanent.  It's cold, but sometimes there is no easy solution.

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #23 on: November 16, 2016, 11:42:22 AM »
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Firstly, I would like to thank you for sharing your experiences here. Iíve never been in a band before, generally just working on recording projects by myself, so I always enjoy when people share their band stories. Itís an interesting dynamic for sure.

I donít think it is cold to move on from Rob at all. Nor should you feel bad about it. If you guys continue on like you always have, still leaving Rob at bass and expecting for him to continue his regular duties, that would be unfair to both him and the band. Especially if you guys want to start playing some more gigs. And after all, it is just a band and his health is the first priority for sure. 

Also, waiting for him wouldnít be a good solution either. That would be unfair to the band, would stall the bandís progress. If he is a sensible person, he would probably see this.

The hard part of course, is telling him. I think the best solution would be have the entire band meet (or if there are one or two ďleadersĒ) and just talk it over. Ask him how he is doing. Ask ďHow do you feel about playing in the band?Ē Say that you understand that he is going through a lot right now, will have a lot of commitments, and if he needs to drop out of the band, you guys completely understand. Leave the decision up to him, or set him up to make a decision. I think overall itís the best decision for him and itís the best decision for the band.

I think also, if he decides to leave and you guys part ways, offer to have him come and listen to a rehearsal if he feels up to it, or any shows. Still include him in the loop from time to time.

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #24 on: November 16, 2016, 11:43:38 AM »
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Wow, just an hour ago I received an email update from John (our fearless leader) thanking Rob for his time with us and for having the courage to gracefully step down so that the band can continue to form and grow (they'd spoken privately - it's official).  John is a corporate executive with years of experience writing emails and and, on occassion, having to let people go both publicly and privately, so that was the short version.  His email regarding cutting Rick was similarly elegant.

The rest of the email outlined the next step, which is auditioning new bass players.  Priority is (1) Karen's husband Mike, who is currently in another project in the same formative stages but who would like to be in a band with his wife, (2) other bass players that anyone in the band knows and can recommend, and (3) a few leads out on BandMix.com, one of whom has already expressed interest.  John asked for people's availabilty this Sunday for auditions, so we're moving forward, and quickly.

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #25 on: November 16, 2016, 11:43:59 AM »
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Well, I typed all that for naught, but I'm glad to hear it worked out.

Do you think that both husband/wife in band could cause some potential issues, or do you think that age/experience/band dynamic make that a non-issue?

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #26 on: November 16, 2016, 11:44:16 AM »
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It's a non-issue.  I played with Karen and Mike in the praise band at one of my other churches years ago, and then again last summer for a one-off thing.  They're both great people and super mellow.  They've been in bands together before, so it won't be a problem.

Also, as a practical thing, it makes some difference in that it will cut down on potential scheduling conflicts.  That is, if there's a time when either one of them might not be available, there's a slightly higher chance that the other also won't be available because they'll be at the same wedding, party, etc.  The total number of potential outside conflicts is reduced by having the two of them aligned.

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #27 on: November 16, 2016, 11:44:36 AM »
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Well that's that sorted then, glad to hear.
I can't imagine how it would be to play in a band that has no friendship or no sort of connection prior to playing together. I've done gigs, either as a fill in, or as somewhat temporary, with people that I didn't know very well, but never an entire band of strangers. Takes courage to dive into something like that.

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #28 on: November 16, 2016, 11:45:11 AM »
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It's weird.  We're all middle-aged professionals, each good at what we do, so I approached it initially as I would any project I'd be working on at my day job.  Everybody be cool, do your job, keep the overall goals in mind, etc.  Don't tell others how to do their jobs, but if you must, frame at as something different they might try that could be beneficial to everyone.  Over the course of even these past three months, I've gotten to know everyone a bit, and we've reached the point where we give each other shit (in a good-natured way) during rehearsals, and we mess around a bit musically.  So it's coming together.  I'm not yet at the point where I consider any of these guys friends, but I guess we're almost there.

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #29 on: November 16, 2016, 11:45:29 AM »
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So Mike, Karen's husband, auditioned with us yesterday, and he's in.  There's no point in even considering anyone else.  Karen was out of town, so the audition was free from any bias or potential awkwardness which might have arisen from her presence, so that was cool, but I think it would've been pretty decisive anyway.  As I mentioned, I've played with Mike before and he's great, and he and Karen are both super mellow people, so I don't anticipate any issues with them being married and in the same band.  Also, I was mistaken in thinking that they'd been in bands together before.  Other than the praise band (which isn't really a regular band, not like a gigging band), and the one-offs we do from time to time, they've never worked together in a band, and both are looking forward to it.

Also, wow, we didn't realize how mediocre Rob was until Mike walked in, played all nine songs with us, and we even jammed on a few tunes, and it was great.  He was all over it, with a good, clean sound, lots of motion but never overplaying, pretty much everything you want in a bass player.  The band has once again "traded up".  If this is our final form, I think we're in good shape.

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #30 on: November 16, 2016, 11:45:45 AM »
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Great news, Orbert. Hopefully everything continues to run smoothly for you now. :tup

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #31 on: November 16, 2016, 11:46:01 AM »
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Thanks.  Yeah, that's what we're hoping now.  First set is almost done, and we're looking at songs for the second set now.  We didn't even miss a beat.  Old bass player out, new bass player in, he already has all the songs down (and some even better) and we're moving forward.

Overall, I'm feeling much better about the band now.  Also, the whole "playing with strangers" thing is diminished, since there's now two others that I have history with, plus the rest of us are getting to know each other and joke around more.  Sunday's session went nearly three hours, but it flew by and was a good time.

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #32 on: November 16, 2016, 11:46:48 AM »
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We have a gig!

Okay, it's not a paying gig, but we will be playing live, in front of real people.  The neighborhood bash that John's neighborhood has every summer ("Countryside Oaks Summer Fiesta") is actually organized by John's wife Kay, and she put us on the docket.  It's in July, so we have three months to get our shit together, which shouldn't be a problem.  More details to follow, but I'm guessing we'll play a set or two, then eat hot dogs and drink beer.  Something like that.

This is exactly the type of thing we need at this stage.  Playing live, but low key, not for money, just for the experience.  It will help solidify the band.  I'm thinking we should have a second set's worth of tunes together by then, so it should be a good time.

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #33 on: November 16, 2016, 11:47:06 AM »
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Sounds like a good test run for the band, without the pressure of a paid gig.

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #34 on: November 16, 2016, 11:47:26 AM »
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Wow, more drama.  This is actually getting to be pretty amusing, a part of being involved in this band which is almost as entertaining as playing music.

I got a call last week from John (the leader) asking what I thought of our drummer Terry.  Terry's a good drummer, and a good guy overall.  Things that come to mind immediately are that he's always pushing for more rehearsals, and more frequently, because we'll never get any good otherwise, and also we should be looking at more modern stuff.  And less important, but still coming to mind, is that he's from a somewhat different culture.  He smokes, is pretty free with the profanity in casual conversation, and just seems a bit more "blue collar" than the rest of us.  As I said, that's pretty far down the list in terms of importance, though.  To me, anyway.

Interestingly, John had the same concerns.  All three.  The pushing for more rehearsals and more frequently, newer songs, and the fact that he's the slightly odd man out in the group.  John is very much about making sure everyone in the band is a "good fit" on all levels.  And it's his band, so what the hell, I'll go along.  Terry is a blue collar man.  Works construction, overhauls cars and trucks on the side as a hobby and secondary source of income.  Comes to practice clean but stinking of cigar smoke.  I don't give a shit about any of that.  In fact, I thought it was kinda fun and made it more interesting that we have such different personalities, but can all play, and play well together.  But we don't all have tons of free time as Terry does, and the band was started with "classic rock" as one of its tenets.  There may be some good, newer stuff out there, but none of the rest of us know any of it, and really, we're more into this just to play some old songs that we like.

I got an email from John today asking what people's availability is this Saturday to audition a new drummer.  Whoa, I guess we're moving right along.  Sunday is Easter, and most of us won't be available, but John wants to try this new guy out.  Emails go around, and there's a two-hour window when we're all available, so John laid out six songs, and maybe we'll have time afterwards to jam a bit and get a feel for each other.

Like a revolving door.  Hell, at this point, I wouldn't be surprised if I found out at some point that I'm out.  But until then, ride the lightning.