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General => Musicians => Topic started by: Orbert on November 16, 2016, 11:26:07 AM

Title: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 16, 2016, 11:26:07 AM
The Musicians Chat Thread (http://www.dreamtheaterforums.org/boards/index.php?topic=33789.0) 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.  ;)
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert 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.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert 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.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert 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.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert 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.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert 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.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert 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!
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert 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.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert 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.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert 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.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert 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.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert 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.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert 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.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 16, 2016, 11:36:58 AM
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Yep.  All of those things.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert 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.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert 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.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 16, 2016, 11:38:19 AM
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Nice.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert 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.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert 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
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 16, 2016, 11:39:46 AM
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Thanks. :) I at least try to make it interesting.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert 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.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert 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.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert 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.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 16, 2016, 11:42:22 AM
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Firstly, I would like to thank you for sharing your experiences here. I’ve never been in a band before, generally just working on recording projects by myself, so I always enjoy when people share their band stories. It’s an interesting dynamic for sure.

I don’t 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 wouldn’t be a good solution either. That would be unfair to the band, would stall the band’s 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 “leaders”) and just talk it over. Ask him how he is doing. Ask “How do you feel about playing in the band?” 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 it’s the best decision for him and it’s 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.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert 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.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert 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?
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert 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.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert 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.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert 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.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert 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.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert 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
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert 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.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert 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.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert 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.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert 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.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 16, 2016, 11:47:48 AM
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I was just thinking that. :lol
Maybe they're having the conversation right now.

"So hey, what do you think of this Bob guy? He plays well enough, but he's too quiet, and keeps voting members out of the band." :neverusethis:
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 16, 2016, 11:48:11 AM
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I know, right?  John has mentioned in passing a few times when he's bounced ideas off of his wife Kay, so he's not doing this in a vacuum.  I bounce things off of my wife as well, including this latest development.  She pointed out that if Terry's not a perfect fit now, if he's frustrated by wanting to practice more and play newer songs, then he's eventually going to leave the band anyway.  If he's that good (which he is), then he'll find a band that plays more music that he likes, and has a work ethic more in line with his own.  A better fit.

As for me, I think I'm safe.  John sent me a Friend request on Facebook last night.  Steve and Karen are also friends, so that just leaves Mike.  But Mike doesn't get on Facebook very much, so he probably just hasn't accepted the request yet.  I took this latest move as a "confirmation" of sorts.  I may be wrong, but it seems weird to Friend someone you're thinking you might axe later on down the road.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 16, 2016, 11:48:24 AM
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If it's taken this long for him to add you, then I'd probably take it as confirmation, unlike had he done it as soon as you joined/formed the band.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 16, 2016, 11:48:38 AM
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Exactly.  I kinda did that, at least I started searching on Facebook just to see what the others had out there, and couldn't find John.  His last name is also pretty common, so there were dozens, but of the ones with pictures I could see, none were him.  Probably had it set to private.

I took this latest move as him consolidating things a bit.  I find this whole process interesting.  Forming a band, corporate style.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 16, 2016, 11:48:57 AM
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Wow you should make a TV series about this :lol
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 16, 2016, 11:49:10 AM
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Over The Edge are down to produce

"The Orbert Carries On"

Ya heard it here first folks

Thanks to Over The Edge for the facts
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 16, 2016, 11:49:23 AM
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:lol
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 16, 2016, 11:49:39 AM
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Oh you guys (and girl).  :P
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 16, 2016, 11:49:54 AM
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Orbert's Den
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 16, 2016, 05:10:42 PM
This is kinda weird.  As I said, I've included the "Quote from" links to indicate who said what, but it's easy to mentally skip past that and it looks like I'm just having conversations with myself (which does happen, but generally not in public).  But I can't think of a better way to attribute posts without making everything tiny, so unless anyone has any suggestions, I'm gonna just go with it.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 16, 2016, 05:11:44 PM
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Ha ha, our new drummer is named JT, too!

We played for a couple hours yesterday, he literally hadn't played in four years, and he already smoked our other drummer.  He was late to the audition because he had to stop by the storage unit to pick up his drums, where they'd been for the last 3 1/2 years.  His old band broke up, he kept his drums around for a while, then finally stashed them.  He and his wife swapped cars and keys for the day because he needed the truck to move the drums, but he forgot that his copy of the strorage unit key was on his keys.

Anyway, he showed up late, explained why -- during which time it came up that he hadn't played in four years, but he'd "listened to the songs a few times this week" -- and I'm thinking "Shit, what have we gotten ourselves into?"  But he set up pretty quickly, didn't warm up much at all, and said he was ready to go.  He was amazing.  We have a new drummer.

So at this point, the only original members are John and Karen.  I came in later, and actually am next in "seniority", although I'll admit that that doesn't actually mean much in a band.  At this point, it's pulling your weight, practicing, showing up to rehearsals on time and prepared, basically doing your job.  I just think it's amusing.  This whole process has been amusing.

Emails went out last night; John was specifically asking for a Yay or Nay vote on whether we replace Terry with JT.  I voted Yay.  I would not have sought to replace someone pre-emptively like this, but since John had set it all up and asked, and I don't have to do the actual firing, well yeah, JT does seem a better fit, and is a better drummer anyway.  Round and round she goes...
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 16, 2016, 05:12:26 PM
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You realize your position in the band makes you LaBrie, right? So like... when is your anniversary?

This story is what keeps me coming back to this subforum :)
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 16, 2016, 05:12:49 PM
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So JT is our new drummer, and he's working out really well.  At the first practice with him as an official member, he brought his Roland V-Drums, and this made a huge difference.  For those who aren't familiar, these are electronic drums, good ones.  Unless you have walls, any band rehearsal basically has to be at least as loud as the drummer, but most of the time you don't want to practice at full volume in the basement.  V-Drums, like all electronic drums, have a volume control.  Problem solved.  We can now actually hear each other, say things to each other, verbally cue each other, while we're playing.  This is huge.

During that same rehearsal, we put some polish on "Set 1".  11 songs, since we dropped one due to not having someone who can sing it ("High On You" by Survivor).  It's not really Set 1 in that these aren't the eleven songs we'll always play first set or anything, but we'd originally put together a list of 12, and as we approached it, it was something like a goal, a milestone.  Once we have a complete set, we actually have something, and it kinda stuck.  We played through them all, and they're pretty tight.  Most are performance quality.  Actually all of them are, depending on how drunk the audience is.  In other words, the ones not quite perfect, we can fake well enough.

So last night we worked up three more songs, the supposed start of Set 2, and it occurs to me now that it's becoming sillier and sillier to use that terminology, but whatever.  It's easier than calling them Songs 12 through 15.  Obviously once it comes time to play a gig, we'll decide on actual set lists.

I am now officially keyboards, woodwinds, and background vocals.  Whoa.  Keys of course, sax on a couple of songs, and we talked about the occassional flute (some Jethro Tull, also maybe "Land Down Under" by Men at Work).  Last night, one of the songs on the list was "R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A." by John Mellencamp, and it has a short recorder solo in it.  Since I'm the woodwind guy, I worked up the solo and brought one of my recorders.  Hey, we start by covering the song as close to verbatim as possible; we introduce possible deviations later.  So John set up a mike for me and I took the solo.  Later, while working on "Show Me the Way" by Peter Frampton, I was helping the others by singing the different parts, and finally they said I should just sing the lower part.  Suddenly John is talking about other songs where it would help if I sang, too.  So add background vocals to the list.

Good rehearsal.  We settled on Monday nights, but it was Tuesday this week because Mike was out of town Monday.  I'm not thrilled about rehearsing on a weeknight since I live half an hour away and have to haul, set up, break down, and haul again all my gear every time, plus leave it in the car all day at work (John's house is on my way home from work), but it's the day that worked best for all.  We must all sacrifice for our art.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 16, 2016, 05:15:00 PM
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We have a name.  After much discussion, whittling it down six finalists, and voting, the band is Oh Zone.  (I didn't vote for that one, but whatever.)

Also, we have two gigs lined up for next month.  Both are gratis, but that's okay.  We need the experience and exposure more than we need the cash, and this has never been about money anyway.  Mostly it's the chance to play live.  One is a charity gig featuring four local bands (of which we are one), and the other is the neighborhood block party in the neighborhood of the house we practice in.  His wife is on the planning committee, and we got on the list.  Actually, this was set up months ago and would have been our first gig, but the charity thing came up and happened to be two weeks earlier, so what the hell.

For each of these gigs, we'll need about 90 minutes of music.  Two sets.  As of this week's practice, we'll have two sets of music, then three weeks to practice our brains out.  Actually, it won't be that bad.  We've all played in so many bands before, we know how it works, and we've gotten to the point where every one of us is damned good.  We work up our own parts, then spend rehearsal time putting things together, maybe working out vocal harmonies and/or who plays which guitar part, and each song is nailed down in about half an hour, maybe 45 minutes.  As it should be.  These upcoming gigs will help solidify things, then we start working up a third set, at which point we'll be ready to do real gigs.  We don't have any yet, of course, but we'll be ready.

Weird Side Story/Update on Rick

Remember Rick, the original guitarist who turned out to be a head case, was a dick to our original singer and made him quit, and eventually got fired because he was a head case and a dick?  Okay maybe you don't.  Anyway, I got an email from him, started off with some "Hi, remember me?" stuff and went on to talk about the new band he's in, and they need a keyboard player, and he wondered if I was interested.  Right now, I'm in at least two bands plus have some other musical commitments, so no.  I gave him a quick update on Oh Zone and how we lost Rob because his cancer came back, and Terry got canned somewhat preemptively but it was pretty clear that he wasn't happy.

Rick's response was to totally blast John for how he runs the band, and that he thought maybe I'd had enough of it by now, which is why he asked me to join his new band.  I thought that that wasn't a completely unreasonable reply, but then he went on to talk about how John had conspired to get rid of him (Rick) and probably told us all that he'd fired him, but the truth is that he quit.  Also, Rob probably lied about his cancer coming back and just wanted out, and probably quit too, same with Terry, and John again just made it sound like he'd fired him.  Whoa.  Some of this might actually have been true -- I mean, all we have is John's side of the story when relating how the calls went to Rick and Terry -- but we were all in on the decisions, and Rob had actually contacted me on the side, apologized for leave us hanging like that, and I even told him we could jam some time when he's feeling up to it.  Basically, Rick is out of his fucking mind.  Delusional.

So at the next practice, I started telling John about this weird email I got from Rick.  John says "Oh yeah?  I got one, too.  Did he ask to come to your house?"

What?  Um, no.  "Did he say he had a present for you or something like that?"  No...

John told me about it, but it was so bizarre that he just ended up forwarding me the email from Rick.  Rick had been doing a lot of thinking, and wanted to clear the air between him and John.  He wanted to come over, maybe have a drink, and just talk.  He also had a business proposal for him.  He also needed John's wife's advice on a business matter (John's wife Kay is a real estate agent).  It would take maybe 90 minutes; two hours, tops.  In exchange for their time and consideration, he'd already picked up a nice gift that he wanted to give to them.

Seriously, what?  Steve (new guitarist, Rick's replacement) read that and said "John, under no circumstances do you let this guy anywhere near your house!"  Joking but dead serious.  Of course, Rick knows where the house is, but whatever.  John had already answered the email, saying they could talk on the phone, but he was really too busy to devote a few hours to chatting, wasn't really looking for any new business opportunities, and Kay wasn't either.  This was a few weeks ago.  Rick hasn't contacted myself or John since.

I am very glad that I'm not in a band with this nutcase.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 16, 2016, 05:15:31 PM
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This Rick is a character of a slasher movie. Keep the distance, my friend!
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 16, 2016, 05:15:47 PM
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This Rick is a character of a slasher movie. Keep the distance, my friend!

:lol Maybe not a slasher film, but it definitely sounds like Orbert signed up for a reality TV show rather than a band.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 16, 2016, 05:16:28 PM
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Yikes. That is creepy as hell.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 16, 2016, 05:16:41 PM
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Yeah, my email was weird enough -- actually the reply to my reply, where Rob supposedly lied about having cancer just to have an excuse to quit the band -- but John's email took it up a notch.  Especially the part where he has a "gift" for John and Kay and wants to give it to them personally.  Steve and I theorized that Rick would have a bag with him, then at some point reach into it and say "And now, I have something for you" and pull out a gun... and blow himself away.

We probably shouldn't have joked about it, since John seemed a bit freaked out about it, but he laughed it off and seemed more annoyed and puzzled than anything else.  I guess Rick met Kay once for maybe 30 seconds as he was arriving for a rehearsal, and John just said it was weird that Rick wanted to discuss business with her and had a gift for her.  It just wasn't appropriate (that's the word he used) and showed out far out of touch Rick was.

I was trying to think of a closing quip about about how entertaining it is being in a band, especially a band made up of people who met online, and it occurred to me that they do warn you about people you meet online.  And sometimes they (whoever they are) are right.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 16, 2016, 05:17:03 PM
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Alrighty, then!  Tonight's the final rehearsal before our first-ever gig, which is this Saturday at 6:00 PM.  We're the first of four bands, with the second band starting at 7:30 and things continue at 90-minute intervals, so we each get 75 minutes to play.  The house is providing the P.A. and sound man, we bring our stage gear.  They mike it up, run a quick, cursory sound check (basically make sure all the mikes are working, and they'll fix up the levels once things get started) and off we go.  Actually, since we're first, we're hoping this means that we'll have a chance to do just a bit more than a cursory check, but we don't know how it's gonna work.  But what the hell, it's for charity and we're not getting paid anyway.  We can't exactly complain about the gig.

Then, Sunday morning, my church band is doing all the music for the service.  Hymns, offertory, prelude and postlude, everything.  We usually do one gig during the summer and kinda take over everything, and give the organist the day off.  It would not have been my choice to do these two gigs barely 12 hours apart, but that's the biz.  The date was carved into sacred rock before the charity gig came up.  These past two weeks have been full of rehearsals and music and rehearsals and rehearsals.

Rock and Roll!  ♫♫
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 16, 2016, 05:17:30 PM
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Being first and running the first sound is always good. My buddy's (now defunct) band played this big battle of a bands thing at a chili cookoff a few years ago... they were up first and wound up performing an extra song for the sound check. They would have won but some generic stupid screamo band took it.


The song they played for soundcheck was like their strongest they had too.  Oh Well.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 16, 2016, 05:17:51 PM
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Yeah, that was really a big factor in us deciding whether or not to take the gig.  We were pushing it to have everything together by the end of July, but figured we could do that, plus it's just a neighborhood party.  Then this charity thing came up and it's two weeks earlier.  They said we'd be first, and we hoped that that meant that we'd at least have a little more time to check sound and stuff, so we took it.

Then our drummer was out of town on business for a week, then our bassist was out on business for four days, and our singer was in the hospital for a while...  let's just say that we haven't gotten as much rehearsal time in as we'd thought.  But the show must go on.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 16, 2016, 05:18:21 PM
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Y'all are gonna rock, man.

Speaking of first shows, my band is finally playing a show after a few months of just kind of practicing every now and then. I'm pretty stoked to finally play out.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 16, 2016, 05:18:40 PM
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Y'all are gonna rock, man.

Speaking of first shows, my band is finally playing a show after a few months of just kind of practicing every now and then. I'm pretty stoked to finally play out.
[/quote]
Y'all are gonna rock, man!
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 16, 2016, 05:18:54 PM
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Y'all are gonna rock, man!

Well, we did rock. How about you, Orbert?
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 16, 2016, 05:26:18 PM
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It kinda sucked, for reasons mostly out of our control.  It should've been great.  The place is big, a sports bar with outside deck, indoor gaming room, and a private room as well.  Thunderstorms threatened all day, but didn't actually come through until late that night, after everyone had finished playing.  But because of the threat, the owner had gotten a huge tent to cover the entire deck.  Why not just move things indoors?  Because he'd booked the big room indoors.  Jim, the guy who organized everything, has been doing show for seven years and the guy had never done that before.  They've had to move it inside once or twice in the past, and now didn't have that option.  But it was a charity gig and we couldn't really complain.

So okay, the outside deck has two stage areas, elevated areas at each end (the big room inside also has two stages, that's how big this place is) so we could still do the thing where one band sets up while the previous band is still playing at the other end.  There were four bands altogether, so going back and forth would be a big help.  Nope, the owner decided that one end was all we needed, and he'd rather use the stage at the other end for more customers.  Because the stages are elevated and terraced, exactly one table fit there, seating four people.  All this extra bullshit for the bands to deal with, just so four more customers could be seated.

So anyway, it was 85 degrees out, hadn't rained yet so it was really humid, plus with the huge tent covering everything, there was no breeze.  So we were all sweating buckets.  The deck itself is surrounded in brick, so the sound of the drums was deafening, and we had to bring up the stage volume just to hear ourselves.  Singers couldn't hear themselves in the monitors, drummer couldn't hear anything except drums, it was a mess.

But we've heard some of the audio, and out in the audience, it didn't sound too bad.  From on stage, it sounded like shit.  We couldn't hear anything, just kept going, and somehow managed to put on a half-decent show.  So we rocked, but didn't know it.

(http://imgur.com/Y6aaQxy.jpg)

Steve (lead guitar) couldn't hear himself, so he knelt down to be closer to the monitor, which allowed me to actually be visible for a few moments.  I was buried in the back.  Karen on vocals, JT on drums, Mike (up top) on bass, John on rhythm guitar.  You can't really see it, but the top level had another drum kit already set up on it, owned by the band that was hosting the event, and that got to sit there all night and everyone else had to work around it.  Our drummer JT is on the middle level, and I would've been up there with him (and more visible) but they had a bunch of gear just sitting there and wouldn't move it, so again we had to work around that.  So with me, Steve, Karen, and John all on the floor, squeezed between the stacks, I ended up back in the corner.

Most people saw this most of the night:

(http://imgur.com/38TH4QB.jpg)

I'm directly behind Steve, invisible.  Yay.  Mike said he felt like he was up on a watchtower or something.  What a screwy setup, when it easily could have been really, really cool.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 16, 2016, 05:26:41 PM
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So we rocked, but didn't know it.

:lol I like this. It wouldn't be rock n roll if everything went smoothly. And you've got a real gig under your belt now, even if it was just a charity gig.

What was your setlist?
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 16, 2016, 05:26:53 PM
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Mostly 70's classic rock.  "China Grove", "Takin' Care of Business", "Show Me the Way", "Barracuda", "Rocky Mountain Way", "Sweet Home Alabama", that kind of thing.  The idea is to play to our strengths, what makes us unique, and in our case we have a female lead singer and also keyboards/saxophone, so our setlist leans in that direction.  "Long Train Runnin'" and "What I Like About You" both have harmonica solos that sound good on sax, "Play that Funky Music" has a single horn line in it, but it's a good song and is another excuse to get some sax in there.

We do a handful of "newer" songs (80's), "I Love Rock and Roll" (female singer), "What You Need" by INXS (saxophone), "Two Tickets to Paradise" (keys), and a few others.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 16, 2016, 05:32:41 PM
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Congrats, man! I know how it feels like to play without enjoying the moment. It sucks. But you rocked. Life sucks anyway. Just keep going!
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 16, 2016, 05:32:55 PM
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So we rocked, but didn't know it.

:lol I like this. It wouldn't be rock n roll if everything went smoothly.

I forgot to mention William, the sound man, who was amazing.  He's friends with Jim, who organized everything, and also Mike and Karen from my band, as Mike used to play in a band with Jim, and I met William last summer at a thing at Mike's house where Mike and Jim's band played, and William ran sound for the whole thing (got all that?) which was also a multi-band event.

Anyway, we couldn't hear shit from on stage and just had to trust that the sound man was gonna somehow make it all sound good, or at least as good as possible, and he did just that.  I've heard audio from four songs now, and the mix is great.  We're all war-scarred veteran rockers and know the drill.  Doesn't matter, you just keep playing, and trust your sound man, 'cause there's nothing else you can do.  We were very fortunate to have him at the sound board.

William, you are the man. :tup
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 16, 2016, 05:37:33 PM
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It's been a while, but not a lot has been happening.  We played another gig, another freebie.  When originally scheduled, it was to be our first gig.  The neighborhood party in the neighborhood where John (band leader) lives.  His wife is on the planning committee and we got booked for the entertainment.  At the time (April or May I believe) we were just starting to put our second set together, but figured we could have two sets down by the end of July.  Then that other gig came up, the charity gig where we rocked but didn't realize it, and it was two weeks earlier, so it was our first gig.  This party was just that, a party.  Free food and drink, in which we tried not to indulge too heavily, and we were also much looser, having played our first gig already.  So we were even better this time.

(http://imgur.com/qeQb3VP.jpg)

(http://imgur.com/UahtBRM.jpg)

So now we're into the business of getting our third set together, which around here is a "full night".  You can play out with only three sets because (1) a lot of places only need two or three hours of live music a night, and (2) you can repeat songs from the first set if necessary because no one stays that long, and if they do, they're too drunk to care.

And the problems have started to arise again.

Our singer, Karen, is not a prima donna.  She's actually really cool.  She's just a flake, and really busy.  Because we all work day jobs and the band is just a thing, we mostly communicate via email.  Emails go around with songs and people offer feedback, and we vote, and we have the next three songs we're going to work on, and at some point we notice that Karen hasn't said anything, then she finally speaks up and doesn't like one of the songs and one of the other ones is okay, but there's this other song which is probably better for her voice.  And she's right, but it would have been nice if she'd said something a week earlier.

Her excuse is that she's so busy, so can't check her email every day or every night like a lot of people, but every couple of days (more like once a week or two weeks, but whatever).  And then there are "thousands" of emails piled up, so she has to kinda skim through them.  This means that she's often late to the conversation, gives her input on things that we'd thought we decided weeks earlier, and in general causes chaos.  She's said from the beginning that without a lot of free time, what she'd really like to do with this band is "just show up and sing".  And hey, once we get the third set nailed down, we can coast a little bit.  All any of us have to do is just show up and do the songs.  All this more timely communication won't be so critical, as long as everyone knows when the gigs and practices are.  And we'll need to add and drop songs from time to time, but that's down the road, too.  But we're not there yet.  Right now, we need everyone to participate.  It's really not that hard.  Just keep your head in the game for another month or so, and we can get this figured out.

And there's now an added complication.  Our bassist, Mike, is Karen's husband.   He's a great guy, an excellent bassist, all that, but if Karen goes, he goes too.  He has another band, but joined this one because we needed a bassist and he had never actually played in a band with Karen before.  He knows she's a flake.  Not difficult to get along with in the classic sense, difficult to get along with because she's not all there.  But when she does get around to giving her input, she's right.  The standing rule is that if you don't provide your input, you can't complain about the output.  Ever try telling a female that?  I'm sorry if that's sexist, but it's generally true.  And even if it weren't, there's still the problem that she's our lead singer, a damned good one, and if we try to "lay down the law" she could just decide that it's not worth it, and we lose a great singer and a great bassist.  We don't want her gone; we want her to get her shit together.  But we shouldn't have to schmooze one of our own band members.

John related to us the parable of The Scorpion and The Frog.  If you don't know it, look it up.  I knew it already.  The basic message is: people don't change, they do what they do.  She's not going to change, and we can't expect her to.  If it's a problem, we either learn to deal with it, or do what's necessary, which is to can her, and we lose Mike, too.  And hell, I'm mostly in it because of Mike and Karen, so that gives me something to think about, too.  Right now, we're pretty good.  We're getting better.  We will probably be able to find another singer and bassist, but that will take time, and it will take time getting them up to speed, and dammit, I hate doing things over and over again.  We've been through this shit so many times already.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 16, 2016, 05:37:51 PM
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If she's married to another member of the band, why is she behind on this stuff? Get Mike to keep her informed on band emails, so when you vote on something, he can just get her input and put it in his email, or let her know what's going on. Am I missing something?
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 16, 2016, 05:38:04 PM
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If she's married to another member of the band, why is she behind on this stuff?

Yeah, that confused me quite a bit as well.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 16, 2016, 05:38:47 PM
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Mike is as frustrated by this as the rest of us, but because he is her husband, he knows that there's nothing he can do.  He cannot persuade her to read her emails and vote on the songs for the band, he cannot force her to do anything.  She says she knows, yeah yeah, she'll get to it.  Then another week goes by.  It is confusing, in a way.  I too would have thought that because this is something they're involved in together, that there would be more of an incentive for each of them to stay on top of things, try hard to make it succeed.  Mike is always on top of things, always knows his parts, but that's because we're not exactly doing challenging songs, he's been playing a long time and knows most of them anyway, and is a real pro.  But this isn't even about the playing.  It's about answering your fucking email and honoring the commitment to the band.

Mike has also said that he doesn't want to be the "liason" between her and the band.  He's not going to ask her what songs she decided on and let us know for her.  He's not going to tell her that there's a new email from John and we need to read it.  First of all, that's stupid.  I wouldn't put him in that position.  She's an adult, she should answer her email.  Second, and this is just a guess, but I'm thinking even if he asked her, she'd just say she hasn't had a chance to think about it, and she'll get to it.

As of tomorrow, it will have been another week.  As with the scorpion and the frog, I don't think things are going to change, and if we let her ride us, she'll sting us and we'll all drown.  What makes it worse is that it hasn't always been like this.  We haven't even been doing this very long, only about eight months, and at first everybody was into it.  I guess she got bored with it or something, and just doesn't want to make the effort, and the fact that her husband is in the band doesn't make any difference.

Maybe she is a prima donna after all.  I've known Karen a long time, she's a friend, so maybe I'm not seeing things clearly.  But this is a clear-cut case of something not happening because she doesn't want it to happen, and it will happen when she's damned good and ready.  I've always seen it as flakiness.  John called me and used the same word.  He said he didn't want to offend me or anything, but Karen is "a real flake".  It's weird because she's such a nice person, a real sweetheart, that I can't imagine that she's doing this on purpose.  But she's got us over a barrel.  We can't make a move without her.  And that's gotta change.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 16, 2016, 05:39:01 PM
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Mike has also said that he doesn't want to be the "liason" between her and the band.  He's not going to ask her what songs she decided on and let us know for her.  He's not going to tell her that there's a new email from John and we need to read it.  First of all, that's stupid.  I wouldn't put him in that position.  She's an adult, she should answer her email.  Second, and this is just a guess, but I'm thinking even if he asked her, she'd just say she hasn't had a chance to think about it, and she'll get to it.

Seems like it would be a simple enough thing to do without causing any problems, but I officially do not understand people. Hopefully things get sorted without the band taking a couple of steps backwards.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 16, 2016, 05:40:41 PM
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My suggestion woulb be: get rid of the girl. She's gotta go, you know that. It won't work. If her husband decides to go as well, that wouldn't be professional! If she is too busy even to pay attention to her own husband, then I guess he would not mind... But if he does, find another bass player.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 16, 2016, 05:41:08 PM
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If her husband decides to go as well, that wouldn't be professional!

Can't agree there.  He only joined the band because his wife's the singer.  I wouldn't expect him to stay in if we axe her.  Why would he?  He owes nothing to the band.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 16, 2016, 05:41:21 PM
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Exactly.  No reason for one to stay if the other goes.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 16, 2016, 05:41:50 PM
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The other shoe drops.

Three weeks or so ago, John the band leader says that it's time to start working up that third set.  Emails go around, songs are picked, we decide on a next practice date: this Sunday at 5:00.  We've all been working on the new songs.  Karen actually participates in the email discussions, even makes some good suggestions.

Today she sends an email to everyone in the band, saying that she's really sorry, she's been trying to come to terms with this, but she's decided that she just can't continue with the band.  She says she knows she's let us down, she's tried to keep the band balanced with all of her other commitments, but it's just not working, etc.  In a way, it's a relief.  Things were looking better for a while, but I was kinda wondering how long it would last.  Scorpion and frog.

Mike, her husband, sends an email.  He's blown away!  "Respectfully, Karen, WTF?!"  He's pissed.  He's been working on the songs, a couple hours each, and she should've said something sooner.  Not only that, but he's her husband and this is how he finds out she's quitting the band they're both in?

Yeah, we kinda knew that these two didn't always communicate on things, but whoa.  Blindsided by his own wife.  And pissed about it, and blasting her on a Reply All to the whole band.

I wonder if this means he'll rethink his position on staying in the band.  He said he wouldn't stay if we fired her.  That would be understandably awkward, as it means that even if he voted to keep her, he stayed in a band that voted to can his own wife.  But this is different; she quit, obviously he had no idea that it was coming, and he's pissed.  Also, on a selfish level, I'd rather we didn't have to find a new bassist and a new singer at the same time.  We were just going to come off a two-month break; this could kill the band.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 16, 2016, 05:42:05 PM
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Ha, she just sent another email, all indignant, saying that he's the one that encouraged her to quit.  And some other things.

John sent texts to the rest of us (leaving Mike and Karen out) right after Mike's email, advising us to just keep quiet, let them spat.  Of course!  I've got a front row seat, I don't want to mess up the show.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 16, 2016, 05:42:26 PM
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:clap:
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 16, 2016, 05:42:42 PM
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I saw this coming, man! I told ya before the situation wouldn't hold itself. I've walked that road. I'm glad you guys got rid of her!
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 16, 2016, 05:42:50 PM
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Well, we didn't actually get rid of her; she quit.  But yeah, either way, we are rid of her.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 16, 2016, 05:43:03 PM
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Whoa, that's some drama! I've been waiting for the update on this band. It's the backbone of the musician chat thread. :lol
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 16, 2016, 05:43:16 PM
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:lol

Sadly, the emails have stopped.  I think they both said their respective pieces and have calmed down enough to realize that Reply All is not the proper forum for a husband-wife spat.

So this Sunday's practice is cancelled now.  I'm not surprised.  Steve (lead guitar) told me a while back that he was checking out another female singer, and she was pretty good, but he didn't want to jump the gun or have anyone get upset, so he hadn't contacted her or anything.  Shit, now it looks like we just should've pulled the trigger back then.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 16, 2016, 05:43:37 PM
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:lol

Sadly, the emails have stopped.  I think they both said their respective pieces and have calmed down enough to realize that Reply All is not the proper forum for a husband-wife spat.


You think? :neverusethis:

So she can't reply to emails at regular times, but then after she quits, it's constant. :lol She has some serious communication issues.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 16, 2016, 05:44:02 PM
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The past couple of weeks, it seemed like she'd actually figured it out.  As I said, she participated in the discussions about which songs to do next, who's singing what, what key, that kind of thing.  She was making an obvious effort to communicate and make it work, basically solving the only real problem we had with her.  Then suddenly "I can't do this anymore, I quit."

I think Mike's reaction was real, I think it caught him completely off guard, and he went ahead and shared his reply with everyone to let us know that he was just as shocked as we were.

Then she had to defend herself of course, saying he was the one who encouraged her to quit.  I honestly can't see that, it doesn't make any sense, but I can imagine it being a twisting of certain conversations.  She's really busy, she's got so many things going on, she can't handle it all, and he says maybe she should consider dropping something.  Too many plates in the air, something's gonna fall and break.  The topic comes up a few more times, the way it does between a married couple, and again the only advice he can offer is to cut back on the number of things she's trying to do at once.  So she quits the band.

If there had been a next email, it would have been from Mike, saying "I said to quit *something*, not quit the band we're in *together*!"  That's my guess.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 16, 2016, 05:44:14 PM
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Shit.  So Mike is out, too.  He says it has nothing to do with the band itself, as he likes us and likes playing with us, but has everything to do with trying to build back his relationship with his wife.  Apparently they've been having problems lately, have been separated on and off, and this is why he didn't see it coming, and earlier could not commit to being the liason between her and the band.  Communication has been strained of late, and dropping out of the band will help them both.  He's said from the beginning that he's only in it because of Karen, so this isn't really a surprise, just disappointing.  But I didn't know about all the shit that's been going on behind the scenes.  So there ya go.  We need a new singer and a new bass player.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 16, 2016, 05:44:28 PM
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Well, keep on going... You have a keyboard, just do the bass lines and ask for the drummer to improve on the bass too.
Ask one of the guitar players to sing till you find a new singer.
Maybe, after all this adaptation process, you find out you don´t need anybody else in the band!  :biggrin:
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 16, 2016, 05:44:43 PM
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One of the guitarists does some lead vocals.  Actually, he's been doing about 2/3 of them up until now, but that was never the plan.  It was supposed to be about 2/3 Karen and 1/3 Steve, but since Karen never picked songs and wouldn't sing songs she didn't like, Steve ended up singing more, but we've got a couple of female singers lined up, so John said to watch our emails for audition times.

As for the bass, I've done keyboard bass before, but never in a "real" rock setting (church band only).

I know your suggestions were half tongue-in-cheek, but we've actually knocked around the different variations already, and really do need to replace each of them.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 16, 2016, 05:45:01 PM
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Keyboard bass sounds like such a better option, over having a living, breathing bass player :lol I say that as a bass player myself.  You would have a much more versatile sound. 
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 16, 2016, 05:45:19 PM
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The problem is that we've specifically picked a lot of songs because they have keyboards in them.  And songs with keyboards... tend to actually have keyboards (plural).  Piano and strings, organ and piano, piano and synth, etc.  If it's not a basic guitar-rock song, then at least half the time, I'm going two-handed already, so covering bass as well just isn't an option.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 16, 2016, 05:45:32 PM
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What about a midi foot controller/keyboard thing? I have one thats one octave and it comes in handy when I need both hands.  Granted you probably couldn't get too tech with it, then again I don't know how good you are with your feet :lol
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 16, 2016, 05:45:46 PM
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I'm not a organist.  That is, not a real organist, the kind who can run scales with their feet.  Besides that, you have to be sitting down to do that.

Bass pedals and even keyboard bass are no substitute for a real bass player.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 16, 2016, 05:46:00 PM
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Fuck it Bob. Fly me out there. I'll play bass.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 16, 2016, 05:46:11 PM
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Thanks for the offer, Jay.  I'm not sure how well it'd go over with the others, telling them there's this guy I know from the Internet, and we need to pay to fly him out for an audition, but I'll keep it in mind.  ;)

I guess John has been in contact with Rob, our original bass player, who dropped out to fight his cancer which had come back.  Actually, he never lost contact with him; he said he talks to him every couple of weeks, and he (Rob) knows our situation and has offered to fill in if we need it.  I asked John how Rob's treatments have been going, if he's up to it, all that.  Turns out Rob hasn't started his treatments yet.  He's been putting it off.  I thought he dropped out of the band because he was going to be dealing with that, and John said that's what he thought, too, but apparently not.  So I guess I don't know what's going on there.  But we weren't talking about getting him back in the band, just that he'd offered to fill in if we need it.  But with no gigs lined up, and no singer, that's not an issue right now.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 16, 2016, 05:46:39 PM
(oops, double post)
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Elite on November 17, 2016, 12:52:50 AM
Three pages in and we're only at 2014. Wow! :lol
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Jester on November 17, 2016, 04:30:00 AM
Is this available in Kindle format?
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 19, 2016, 01:15:26 PM
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The Ongoing Trials and Tribulations of Orbert's Band

Previously on The Ongoing Trials and Tribulations of Orbert's Band...

Our lead singer Karen suddenly quit, three days before we were to resume rehearsals and start working up our third set.

Her husband Mike, who is also our bass player, also quits, per some agreement he and Karen had made, but he's pissed.  Basically both of them have too many things going on and need to focus on their marriage.  He hates that she put him in this position, but he still has to put his wife before the band.

Our fearless leader, John, starts searching BandMix.com for female lead singers in our area, our approximate age and background, and interest in "classic rock" or "70's rock".  He keeps the band updated via email.

No results.  John announces that he is expanding the search in terms of age requirement.  The assumption has been that while younger singers will generally have better voices, they will also be less likely to want to work with a bunch of old farts like us.

One hit.  After exchanging emails and setting up a time to talk on the phone, twice, and not calling, John drops her.  She never does get back to him.

John announces that he is expanding the search in terms of geographical area.  John's house is way out in the northwest suburbs, and I drive half an hour each way as it is.  But if someone wants to drive an hour or more, fine.

One more hit.  About our age, same background, great voice, also good looking.  And she likes our set list!  John talked to her for an hour on the phone, and she's psyched.  We set up an audition for this Sunday. 

Bonus trivia: The band she just left had also auditioned Karen way back when, but went with her.

Bonus bonus trivia: Since we don't have a bass player, Mike agrees to help us out by playing with us for the audition.  He says he misses playing with us.  He is therefore helping us audition the singer who'd beaten his wife out for her previous gig, for a gig to replace his wife, in a band he's not even in anymore.

We received an email last night.  She's taken a gig with another band.  They're already out there working, and in some of the nicer venues around here, and their singer just quit.  Can't blame her, but now we're back to the drawing board.

John announces that he's expanding the search to include transvestites.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 19, 2016, 01:15:47 PM
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My offer still stands
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 19, 2016, 01:16:05 PM
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You're going to become a transvestite?
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 19, 2016, 01:16:21 PM
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You're going to become a transvestite?

 :lol
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 19, 2016, 01:16:43 PM
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If that is what it takes to make it in music in the 'burbs round Chicago. .
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 19, 2016, 01:17:02 PM
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:metal
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 19, 2016, 01:17:33 PM
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I swear, you could not make up better drama and general clusterfuck than this.


So, John had announced that he'd expanded the search to include transvestites.  If you knew John, you'd know that this is way out of character for him.  He's a very straight-laced guy, never swears or tells off-color jokes.  This is his frustration and anger showing.

Our drummer JT says "Wasn't that the last singer?"  Does this on a Reply All, and I'm thinking "whoa, dude..."

Mike jumps in a gives JT some shit about checking the list of recipients before hitting Reply All and saying things about someone's wife, mother, daughter, etc.

JT says "Wait, what?  I'm talking about that other chick (the one who never called back)!"  John had forwarded everyone links to her page on BandMix.com and to her personal page so we could check her out, so we'd seen pictures of her.  One of JT's friends said she looked like a guy in a wig (which she kinda does) so that's what JT thought of when John made the transvestite joke.  He explained as much.

Backpedalling?  I honestly don't think so.  JT is a straight-shooter, ex-military, and had previously confided to me that he thought Karen was pretty hot (which she is) so I believe him.  But he's not particularly eloquent, especially in email where expression is limited, so it did come off as a somewhat lame attempt to save face.

Mike seems to buy it, apologizes for jumping to conclusions, etc.

Two days later, Karen sends a Facebook message to "the group", to the band's Facebook page.  Word has gotten back to her, she's upset, disappointed and saddened that people would say things like that about her, for the record, she is and has always been a woman, etc.  But I'm the one who set up the band's Facebook page, and as admin, I'm the only one who can even read the message.  That put me in the position of having to clear the air, explain how it all went down, and try to calm her down.  At this point, I honestly don't care whether or not JT's comment was a bad joke about Karen (which I still don't think it was), I'm gonna say whatever it takes to convince her that it wasn't, and that it was all a misunderstanding.  Why?  Because Karen's my friend, and I might be in a band with JT, but I still care more about Karen than JT saving face.

So I explain it all to her, sprinkled heavily with reassuring things about how JT would never say that (which is true) and that he actually thinks she's hot, and how I really shouldn't share that because it goes against the guy code, but it's true and relevant here.  She writes back.  She buys it.  It all makes sense now, especially how Mike would specifically tell her the part that hurts her the most, and downplay JT's explanation as a lame attempt to save face, because he's like that.  So abusive, so disrespectful of her feelings, and a bunch of other shit that I have no business getting into the middle of.  I consider both of them friends, and I met them together, played with them together, and this is super awkward for me.  Karen goes on about how facing the prospect of being single at our age and at this point in her life is scary, and she's just feeling vulnerable and overreacting to everything, and feels really stupid now.  I say all the right things like how it sucks how this went down, but she's a great person, talented, attractive, and she'll be fine, but yeah it's kinda scary and I'm there for her if she ever needs someone to talk to, etc.  She writes back, I'm a good friend, yay.

John sends another email to the group.  The last chick, the one who took the gig with the other band, called him back.  Yeah, they gig regularly, which was the big draw to her.  They actually work every weekend, and practice twice a week (which is probably why they're so good and work so much, but not everyone has time for that) and that's actually too much for her.  So she called them back and said she changed her mind and now wants to try out with us again.

Desperation sucks.  Yes, this is a good thing, because we still need a singer, so if she's figured out that the other gig was actually too much and she'd just like to get together once or twice a month and rock and roll, then that's cool.  But she didn't actually talk to this other band first?  They didn't tell her that they practice twice a week and have gigs booked every weekend from now until next year?  They thought they had a new singer, and now they don't.  We thought we were auditioning a new singer, then we weren't, but now we are again?


So much drama, so much pain, so much daze and confusion.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 19, 2016, 01:17:49 PM
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Why is this not a reality show already, Orbert? I'd watch this.  :corn I still hold out hope that one day your band might actually make it to a gig before exploding.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 19, 2016, 01:18:04 PM
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That would be cool, wouldn't it?
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 19, 2016, 01:18:17 PM
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Amazing.  :clap:
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 19, 2016, 01:18:40 PM
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Orbert, I love reading your posts in this thread :)
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 19, 2016, 01:18:51 PM
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Thanks.  I do try to make them interesting/entertaining, which is pretty easy, given the source material.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 19, 2016, 01:19:11 PM
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Orbert, no updates?
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 19, 2016, 01:19:31 PM
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Orbert, no updates?

Oh okay, since you insist. ;)

--------------

This new potential lead singer, Anne, has a gig coming up, so she tells John that if he'd like to come see her and her current (soon to be former) band, she can put his name on the guest list.  It's a private event, but they told the band that they could each invite one or two friends.  So John and Kay (John's wife) go to this party thing.

The event is the annual bash put on by the "Gender Society of Chicago" or something like that.  Transvestites, transsexuals, and other trans.  The joke John had made about expanding the search criteria to include transvestites came immediately to mind.  She says in her email that they pay well, and as most artists say, "A gig's a gig."  Hey, I'm not judging.

John gets hit on all evening.  He's a good-looking guy, tall, in good shape, great smile.  His wife Kay is a babe, and they totally ignore her.  That's probably never happened to her before.

Oh yeah, the band.  They sucked.  They set up on a "stage" which was basically a platform raised a foot off the floor at one end of the room.  It wasn't very big, so the monitors were down on the main floor, right against the front of the stage, which meant that most of the monitor sound went under the stage, not up to the band.  Since the band couldn't hear themselves, the sound guy tried to compensate by cranking the mains, resulting in massive feedback screeches every couple of minutes.  Whenever that happened, one of two things would happen: (1) he pulls the mains back down and throws his hands up in a "What am I supposed to do?" motion, or (2) nothing, because he's outside having a smoke.  Option 2 happens a lot more than Option 1.  The feedback screams for a while, then he comes running in the back door and pulls the mains down.  Also, he's set up to one side of the band, slightly behind the stage, because that's probably where they told him to set up, so he can't hear anything anyway, and has to do the thing where he adjusts a fader, runs out to the main floor to listen a little, runs back and adjusts some more, etc.

The bassist, guitarist, and drummer all suck.  John says that Anne the singer and the other lead singer, who plays the flute and think's he's Ian Anderson, are the only ones with any actual talent, and Anne would definitely do better with a decent band behind her.  The lead guy acts like he's taking medication to enhance his spastic actions.  He runs around and dances and stuff, trying to be Ian Anderson, even though there's really no room for it, and looks pretty stupid, but obviously he thinks it looks really cool, and it's his band, so whatever.  You can understand why Anne wants to leave this band.

We set an audition date.  We set up a song list.  Five songs; three from our current list, two new ones that she likes.  One is "What's Up?" by 4 Non Blondes, which everyone in the world knows, and if they don't, they will two minutes later because it's literally the same three chords all the way through.  Verses, chorus, breaks, same chords (A, Bm, D).  The other song is new to us.  "High Road Easy" by Sass Jordan.  Never heard of her, but it's a kickass song.  We're so eager to learn new songs and also hopefully impress this girl that we agree to learn two songs just for the audition.  And she's impressed by that, so... cool.

Steve, our guitarist who has been looking for a job for like two like years,  has scored one.  Driving a truck, 11 days on the road, three days off.  This means he's available every other weekend, but that's cool because we only practice every other weekend, and hey, a gig's a gig.  But it makes it tricky to schedule the audition because the weekend he's in town is coming up, and that's not enough time to learn the new tunes.  Two weeks later, Anne gets sick and can't sing.  We were all ready to go.  That was the weekend before Thanksgiving.  We still haven't rescheduled her audition.

Meanwhile, we've got a few bass players who look promising.  We auditioned one of them, Jerry, last week.  He's mediocre at best.  Personality-wise, he's a good fit.  Same age as us, one teenager and one in college, lives nearby, been playing since high school, all that.  The audition takes place one day short of three months since our last gig.  He seemed impressed by how tight we were for not playing together for three months.  Meanwhile, we're not particularly impressed by him, especially considering that this is an audition and he presumably had prepared and this was as good as he was gonna do.

We do "Long Train Runin'" by The Doobie Brothers in E, down from G, because Steve can't sing it in G.  Too damned high.  Our previous bassist, Mike, had no problem playing it in E, even said it was easier.  Jerry said almost the same thing, "It's just frets."  Except he got lost and confused a few times.  On one of the other songs, "What You Need" by INXS, he played something... weird.  Mostly just thumped on the tonic, instead of that awesome moving bass line on the record.  We stopped the song and asked him what he was doing.  He said that "that's what on the sheet music."  Oh shit.

I've looked up chord charts and sheet music for songs before, and it's often a handy shortcut to what key it's in, and some of the chords that venture outside your standard 1-4-5, but after that, you still have to learn your part.  Anyone with ears knows the guy isn't just thumping on the F# the whole verse.

So Jerry is not a strong prospect.  Earlier this week, John sent an email saying he had two other guys lined up, and they've both backed out.  One decided he didn't really have time after all, the other has gotten back with a former band.  Shit.

JT, our drummer, sent an email last night saying he's got a guy who wants to audition, is Monday okay?  Four days from now.  Sure, what the hell.  Since then, John and Steve have practically gotten into an argument about which songs to play before I've even responded (I didn't see the email until this morning).  So I finally replied and told them I was in, and when they figure out which songs to do, to let me know.

I won't have much time to prepare anyway, and might not even bother setting up my gear.  It's still packed from Jerry's audition.  This Sunday, the choir is doing our Christmas Cantata, and we have a full rehearsal on Saturday.  Yeah, baby!
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 19, 2016, 01:20:00 PM
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I was in a bit of a hurry and forgot a few things I meant to include in that last update.  Yeah I know, it was long enough as it was, but I really do think of these things, and try to remember to write about them here.

So remember how JT had made that bad joke about transvestites and "the last singer", meaning that other girl who never did audition with us because she never called John back (after twice saying in email that she would)?  And how he had to explain all that when Mike, Karen's estranged husband (but trying not to be) called him out on it, taking offense because he thought JT was talking about Karen?  Well, it turns out that JT really did stick his foot in it, really was talking about Karen, didn't notice that Mike was on the Reply All list (because at that point Mike was out of the band, but was on the email because he'd agreed to play bass with us to help audition the new singer), and he really was backpedalling.  Steve told me about it when we got together last week for Jerry's mediocre audition.  JT sent Steve a text about it.  JT did such a brilliant job of backpedalling that I actually bought it.

Still, even if I hadn't, I would've given the same story to Karen because there's no point in her feeling like shit over something like that, and there's still a chance that Mike only shared that with her to upset her.  I have no idea how fucked up their relationship is, but Karen intimated that it's abusive and it would be just like Mike to do something like that.  I had no idea.  They always seemed so cool together.  But regardless, at that moment, Karen needed some reassurance and understanding, so I gave it to her.  It helps that I believed JT's story, or wanted to believe it anyway, but I would've lied to spare her feelings.  I don't know if that's right or wrong.

I'm Facebook Friends with all of these people, and saw recently that Karen is now Friends with Rick, the original guitarist who turned out to be a psycho head case.  John fired him from the band after a unaminous vote, but Rick tried telling me that he'd actually quit and John just told us all that he'd fired him.  Rick was the guy who would show up to rehearsals and play things completely differently from the record, and differently from what they'd decided (with multiple guitarists, you have to decide who plays what), and then later complained to John that he couldn't take it anymore, being expected to play things a certain way, and answer to everybody else in the band, and whine, whine, whine.  The first thing is just common sense; when everyone's worked out their parts, you can't just play something totally different because you thought you'd try something new.  The second, I have no idea where that came from, except maybe that some of us said something about how he wasn't playing anything like what was on the record.

Anyway, Karen and Rick are now Facebook Friends.  They can bond over quitting the same band, or getting fired, or however they want to see it, and have a few laughs at our expense.  Good for them.

And finally, because I'm Facebook Friends with Steve, I know that he recently joined a group called Chicago Area Musicians Looking for Bands, or something very much like that.  So that's kinduv interesting.  Maybe it was part of the search for bass players, and maybe it was for himself, who knows?

The drama continues.  Still no lead singer and no bass player.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 19, 2016, 01:20:18 PM
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I actually read all of that (both posts). Always amusing to catch up on the Orbert news (we really need a name for these reality show shenanigans).
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 19, 2016, 01:20:30 PM
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The Chronicles of Orbert: Musical Madness Made Magnificent.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 19, 2016, 01:20:44 PM
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JT's new guy, Tony, was amazing, and he has been voted into the band, unanimously.  We have a new bass player.

JT's been around for a long time, and is a very talented and very intense person.  He's toured professionally (I think he said he was with Bette Midler's band for a tour) and also done some pretty high-profile gigs.  The last time Tony and JT played together was at the Trump Tower for the Australian Consulate.  So yeah, high-profile stuff.  So why's he slumming with a middle-aged garage (actually basement) band?  Because he's 50, owns two businesses and runs three, and just wants to play rock and roll for fun.  The hassle of chasing down gigs and dealing with all that is for younger guys, or guys with more time than he has.  He keeps one of his four kits at John's house, and just drives over for practices.

Anyway, the guys eventually agreed on five songs, which we and Tony blew through, no problem.  He was great, jumped in and did background vocals, the whole nine yards.  Then it was time to sit down and talk a bit, get to know each other, and everybody was cool and joking around and he was a good fit personality-wise as well.  Then John says "Okay, now what?" and I knew he was talking about whether we vote or what, but I didn't pack all my shit and haul it half an hour up the road to play five songs, so I said "Let's jam some more."  So we went and jammed for another half hour, maybe 45 minutes.  Good times.

Anne, the potential new singer, still can't sing.  We rescheduled her audition again, then had to cancel it again.  Her doctor says it's developed into some kind of bronchial infection.  Nasty stuff for anyone, but obviously extra bad for a singer.

John sent an email today saying he has reached out to another prospect, someone named Julie, and asked for our thoughts.  I told him that it's not a bad idea to keep our options open.  He sent a link to her page on BandMix.com.  Three song samples, but no pictures.  This is incredibly shallow of me, but generally if someone thinks their looks will help their chances of getting gigs, or at least won't hurt their chances, they include pictures of themselves.  What does it mean when someone is looking to join a band, but doesn't want anyone to see pictures of them?  Yeah.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 19, 2016, 01:21:12 PM
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Could be a problem.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 19, 2016, 01:21:25 PM
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Depends on what her age is? A lot of people over 40 and even some slightly over 30 still think putting their pictures online is a huuuuge no-no even in places where they're required. You're gonna see her at some point anyway so maybe it's not a big deal.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 19, 2016, 01:22:05 PM
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True.  But in the music biz, image is often just as important as talent, possibly moreso.  Not so much for the stuff we're doing, but still, the lead singer is the face of the band, and right or wrong, looks matter.  If there are two or three potential candidates with decent promo pics, that's all you need.  You check out their song samples, read their biographies, and go from there.  By not including any pictures at all, she's letting the music do the talking, which ideally is how it should be, but the number of people who listen to her samples will be greatly reduced to begin with.  She's already put herself in the "second choices" pile.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 19, 2016, 01:24:19 PM
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Anne, the potential new singer who for two months now, on and off, has supposedly been trying to set up an audition with us, and us with her, sent John a text saying that they really need to talk.  Yeah, so that sounds ominous.  They talk, and she's completely on the fence about this whole thing.  She doesn't like to disappoint people, and she doesn't really handle change well.  Sure, her current band isn't great, but they have fun and they do get some gigs, and that's okay with her.  Apparently all the reasons she wanted to quit are no longer relevant.  So why is she even calling?  What, just to vent?

John has had about enough of this, and he also wants her for our band, so he tells her that really, she needs to decide what she wants to do.  Does she want to audition with us or not?  Does she really want to stay with a band that pushes her aside for some spazz with a flute and not even see if the grass is any greener elsewhere?  (Basically, shit or get off the pot, honey.)  She finally decides that she should at least audition with us.  Well, damned right she should!

Except she's still supposedly fighting off whatever bug has invaded her body and won't leave.  And even if she auditions with us, we don't know if we're any closer to stealing her from her current lame band.


In other news, Mike and Karen's New Year's Eve Jam is coming up again.  They host a big jam every New Year's Eve at their house and invite all their friends, which includes a lot of musicians since they've played in a lot of bands and count all of them as friends.  I've been invited every year for four or five years now, but we always got together with our friends and I couldn't do it.  Last year, the female half of the other couple (who is also named Karen) got sick, so our plans were cancelled and I was free to go jam.  Yay!  Except we got a foot of snow that night, starting at around 6:00, so I stayed home after all.  :( 

So anyway, our band, Oh Zone, was invited, either individually or as a band.  Since we just got a new bassist and still don't have a singer, Mike said he and/or Karen would be happy to jump in a fill things out.  It's just gonna be a bunch of musicians forming various groups and subgroups and playing songs.  I'm looking forward to it.  I want to jam.  I just want to play.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 19, 2016, 01:25:07 PM
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In regards to the jam, JAM OUT, MAN. Jamming is awesome. Especially when it's with people you know pretty well and you can just rock out.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 19, 2016, 01:25:30 PM
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We finally auditioned Anne yesterday!  She was great.  Not perfect, since she's still getting over that bronchial infection or whatever it was, but already a step up from Karen.  We were a little rusty too, having not played since July other than auditioning Tony the bassist, so it was interesting.  Anne had her friend Joe with her for moral support and to help assess things.  He said that he could tell we were a bit rusty, but still a lot better than Anne's current band.  As always, JT and I were the best-prepared.  We had our parts down.  John honestly is probably the weakest link, but it's his band, and Steve and Tony admitted that they had worked on the songs but not that seriously, since they didn't really think the audition would ever happen.  Great attitude, guys.  I learned the fucking songs two months ago when we were gonna audition her the first time.

Anyway, we voted, and have offered Anne the job.  If we've gone through all this and she doesn't join our band, I will actually be pissed.  I don't even care if she also stays with her other band.  Heck, we're just a part-time band anyway, and don't have any gigs.  We're still trying to put our set list together (though it hasn't helped that the band went on hiatus in July, then two key members quit three days before we were to start working up our third set).  But we told her that we're willing to make her the front person, give her final say in all song choices, and build our set list and show around her.  Honestly, I can't imagine someone turning that down, but what do I know?

So now we wait.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 19, 2016, 01:25:49 PM
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Good luck, buddy.  There's nothing worse than being a musician and not being able to play.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 19, 2016, 01:26:09 PM
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We have a new singer!  Anne has accepted the position.  We are now sporting a full lineup for the first time in months.  Time to get crackin' on some songs.

Anne has already taken it upon herself to get the party started, and sent out a list of five songs that she really wants to do.  This is fine, by the way, as John has encouraged her to speak up about what songs she wants to do, something our previous singer never did.  Two of the songs are the ones we learned for her audition, so no problem.  The others, no problem.  She also had a "wish list" of another dozen or so songs she'd like us to consider.  See, now this is progress.  Instead of us all sitting around going "What songs should we learn next?" she's got a bunch in mind.  Some of them won't work, some aren't exactly our style, but it's still better to have a bunch of stuff to choose from than to have nothing.  We literally begged Karen to name songs she wanted to do, and she never did.  She ultimately contributed very little to the band, and it's sad because she's the reason I joined.  She's the only one I knew before; I didn't want to just join a band of strangers.  I'm not that desperate to rock and roll.  But now I'm kinda glad she left.  I've gotten to know the guys, and damn, we keep losing members, but replacing them with upgrades.

Anyway, John sent out an email summarizing where we are now, and the three things we need to do.  We need to decide which songs from the previous set list should be kept, we need to decide on new songs to feature our new singer, and we need to decide on a rehearsal time.  So we have some more administrivia to deal with, but we're making progress.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 19, 2016, 01:26:25 PM
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Moving forward is preferable to standing still.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 19, 2016, 01:26:39 PM
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Definitely.  Also, a lot of the newer songs have synthesizer(s) on them, so I'll be breaking out the Prophet-5.  Thus far, I've been covering everything with piano and/or Hammond patches, and occassional strings and/or horns, on my Yamaha.  I'll bring the Prophet, but only if we actually need it.  I ain't a kid anymore, and it's not about showing off the rig.  The thing weighs 40 pounds and is an extra trip to/from the car and up/down the stairs by itself.  Hardwood and metal, the way they used to make keyboards.  I mean, my 10-pound Yamaha sounds great and is fine for what we've done so far, but it looks like we're going to step it up a notch.

I'm ready.  I sent John an email reminding him that I've got a poly analog synth and I know how to use it.  I only ask that when deciding on tunes to rehearse, that he group them together.  If I'm going to haul the thing and set it up, I'd rather we work on two or three songs with synths.  It's kinda not worth it to practice one song.  Kinda the same as with the sax.  I'll bring it, but let's practice two or three songs with sax at the same rehearsal.  The sax and stand aren't heavy, but together they're an extra trip because I can't carry them plus the piano and amp, so again I'd rather practice two or three songs with it, or none at all.

So it's kinda like the 80's all over again.  I'm still trying to figure out if that's good or bad.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 19, 2016, 01:26:55 PM
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So it's kinda like the 80's all over again.  I'm still trying to figure out if that's good or bad.

Clearly it's a good thing.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 19, 2016, 01:27:06 PM
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As long as we don't have to wear Spandex.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 19, 2016, 01:27:26 PM
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As long as we don't have to wear Spandex.
What about parachute pants?
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 19, 2016, 01:28:15 PM
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Nope, gonna pass on that, too.

I thought rock was getting downright stupid for a while with the makeup and hairspray, and I don't know if it was grunge or whatever the subgenre was, but I'm damned glad that they brought back jeans and T-shirts and other normal clothes on stage.

I know some people like glam metal or hair metal or whatever you call it, but come on.  This is not what rock and roll looks like to me (yes, that's four dudes):

(http://www.theglamnationnetwork.com/uploads/1/3/1/2/13123626/8210803_orig.jpg)


This is what rock and roll looks like to me:

(http://spraguehs.com/students10/lowe_jordan/web1/fav-bands/Media/pearl-jam-live.jpg)


If any of the guys in your band are wearing lipstick or feather boas, seriously, just get the fuck out.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 19, 2016, 01:28:44 PM
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I submit the following bitchin' 80's music video as evidence to the contrary.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=85BVnQMiFFw

100 internets to anybody who accurately guessed the song prior to clicking.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 19, 2016, 01:29:11 PM
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A lot of 80's music sounds good to my ears.  My wife made a mix CD once (back when people did such things) simply called "Hair Metal" and I was surprised to find myself rocking out to it in the car with her.

But I just can't watch it.  Sorry, Coz, and I actually thought of you while writing what I did above because I know you're partial to 80's metal, but man, that shit's just painful to watch.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 19, 2016, 01:30:06 PM
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I get it, honestly.  It IS completely over the top.  And in some instances, even I can agree that it's a little cringe-worthy, albeit not very often.  :lol

That's just part of what I have always loved about it.  EVERYTHING was over the top back then.  The hair.  The outfits.  The neon.  The women.  The guitar solos.  The alcohol.  The partying.  The endless nailing of groupies.  It was about reveling in the here and now and enjoying every second of it.

Not that there isn't other less obvious music that celebrates enjoying life and such, but for some reason, the excess of it all just connects with me.  I don't know why, it just makes me happy.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 19, 2016, 01:30:17 PM
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Happiness counts for a lot.

But a lot of it I find kind of silly now.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 19, 2016, 01:30:31 PM
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Okay, that's a fair point, Coz.  Rock and roll is about letting loose and just doing whatever the fuck you want, to as extreme a degree as you can handle.  The fashion thing is a part of that, and it eventually got out of hand, but it's a self-correcting system.  Eventually everything goes too far, implodes, and we're back to jeans and T-shirts.

Something else I thought of.  All the glam and hair could well have been started by this:

(http://www.flushthefashion.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/rush.jpg)

I thought that look was cool as hell.  And in 1976 it was.  But bands kept pushing the limits, and eventually you have glitter eye shadow and lipstick on dudes.  Shit like that.

In 1982, we were playing a venue with chandeliers hanging from the ceiling and blue carpeting on the walls, and our guitarist Pete got hit on by some guy.  Like, seriously hit on during the breaks.  I was unaware of any of this, but it was later that week that Pete announced that we were ditching the spandex and hairspray.  I'm pretty sure those two events are connected.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 19, 2016, 01:30:47 PM
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:rollin
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 19, 2016, 01:31:31 PM
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In 1982, we were playing a venue with chandeliers hanging from the ceiling and blue carpeting on the walls, and our guitarist Pete got hit on by some guy.  Like, seriously hit on during the breaks.  I was unaware of any of this, but it was later that week that Pete announced that we were ditching the spandex and hairspray.  I'm pretty sure those two events are connected.
You don't need spandex and hair spray to get hit on by a guy.  Maybe his vibe was just so sexy that everybody fell in love with him .... everybody.  Are you telling us the whole story?   :laugh:
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 19, 2016, 01:49:07 PM
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Update on Orbert's almost-band.

First rehearsal tonight with the new lineup.  Our new singer, Anne, has decided to join our band but also stay with her other band.  Her other band has gigs lined up through this summer, so she can't just leave them.  We're not exactly in a position to demand that she quit them or anything.  In fact, Steve (guitar) has another band, I have a few other musical commitments through the church, and JT (drums) and Tony (bass) both occassionally do local session work, so none of us are really monogamous, musically speaking.

It was kinda funny, though, the way she sold it to us (which she didn't even have to do).  She pointed out that she's still rather new to the game, and this experience with the other band will ultimately make her a better singer and performer, thus our band will benefit.  She's only been singing in bands for a few years, and this other band she's in is the first one to actually play gigs.  I didn't realize that.  I thought she was just like us, been doing this since junior high or high school, maybe was out of the game for a while to raise a family, but is now back in.  Nope.  She's always liked to sing, and a friend of hers finally convinced her to "get serious" about it and audition for a band, but she's never done this before.  She's great.  Also pretty hot.

So ideally, she'll keep working with us while we put the set list together, keep getting experience and confidence working with the other band, then eventually quit them because they suck and go full-time with us when we start landing gigs this summer.  That would be the best possible outcome.  There are obviously many scenarios with less desirable outcomes, the worst of course being that she quits our band when her other band actually starts getting better and she's too busy to do both.  Well, we can't control what happens, so we'll just have to see.  Time to go grab some food, then head out to John's for practice.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 19, 2016, 01:49:30 PM
...
PICS
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 19, 2016, 01:49:49 PM
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I thought about that, actually.  Right now, I'm gonna hold off.  Once we have some pictures from gigs or even rehearsals, sure, but just posting pictures of her because I think she's hot doesn't seem quite right.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 19, 2016, 01:50:15 PM
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Always a gentleman...
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 19, 2016, 01:50:26 PM
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Well, sometimes.  Also, you guys have to remember that I'm 52 years old, and no one in my band is under 50, so "hot" is relative.  I think she's really pretty, but a lot of guys would look at her and say "She could be my mom!"  Well yeah, she could.  But then you wouldn't be quite so ugly, would you?
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 19, 2016, 01:50:43 PM
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lol

I admire good-looking women, regardless of age.  I mean, as long as they are legal.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 19, 2016, 01:51:00 PM
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Same.  We have a lot of older good looking women at work. I don't discriminate.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 19, 2016, 01:51:23 PM
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That's one of the few perqs of getting older, the change of perspective.  Those hot college girls still look great, of course, but the 30- and 40-somethings who I (mostly) wouldn't have given a second glance back when I was in school look pretty good now.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 19, 2016, 01:51:40 PM
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That's one of the few perqs of getting older, the change of perspective.  Those hot college girls still look great, of course, but the 30- and 40-somethings who I (mostly) wouldn't have given a second glance back when I was in school look pretty good now.
I agree wholeheartedly.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 19, 2016, 01:52:56 PM
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Three rehearsals down, four songs each, 12 songs in the bag.  We have a full set of tunes.  Next rehearsal, we run through all 12 songs to freshen them up in our minds and work out the rough spots.  We also have a name.  We are Flashdrive.  Sure, why not?

Every practice, I'm more and more impressed with our new singer, Anne, and she's more impressed with us.  She openly marvelled at how fast we're putting songs together.  Well yeah, but this is how it works in any decent band, as far as I know.  Everyone learns the songs on their own, then you spend a few hours every two weeks putting them together.  Through email, we agree on who's playing what, or what key it's in, if there's any question, otherwise everybody shows up ready to go.  So four songs every two weeks.  Another couple of months and we'll have three sets, a full evening.  Then we'll be ready to play out, just in time for summer.

One thing that still bothers me a little bit is that she still refers to the band as "you guys".  She still has her other band, the one she's been in for two years and the only band she's ever been in, so when she comes to rehearse with us, we're her "other band" and she thinks of us as "you guys".  I try to gently correct her.  Like, she'll say "Wow, you guys are really good!" and I'll say "No, WE are really good!"  And she'll say "Right, right".  Not dismissively; she's nodding her head and smiling, like she's embarrassed to have to be corrected (again).

Her other band had a gig last weekend, and she posted pictures on her Facebook page, and obviously that's the foremost band in her mind right now.  We are just her side project.  Our drummer JT took a picture at rehearsal the other night and posted it on Facebook, tagging everyone, and she removed her tag.  I'm trying not to jump to conclusions, as there can be different reasons for that.  She'd just posted a bunch of pictures of her other band's gig, and changed her cover picture to a nice band picture of them, so being tagged in a pic the next day of her rehearsing with a different band would be weird (especially since her other band members would see it, and I don't know if they know she's moonlighting).  Also, it's not a particularly flattering picture for her.

So even though the band sounds pretty fucking great (we really do) and it all seems to be going well, there just seems like a little bit of uncertainty to it all.  But as I said last time, it's nothing I can control or do anything about, so it'll just have to be.  I know, it's only rock and roll.  But I like it.  ♫♫
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 19, 2016, 01:53:17 PM
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:metal
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 19, 2016, 02:03:43 PM
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The drama, or more accurately "the trauma", continues.

We rehearse every other Saturday.  Steve (lead guitar) is currently paying the rent driving an 18-wheeler and is on the road 11 days out of 14, so he's only home every other weekend.  JT (drums) runs a restaurant and owns two other businesses and Saturday mornings are just about the only time he can manage.  Our new bassist, Tony, works various odd jobs as he can get them and his schedule can be unpredictable.  The stage is set.

After three pretty good rehearsals in a row, each covering four songs, we had 12 songs -- one set -- and the next rehearsal was to nail them down.  Finally getting a song right after working on it for half an hour or 45 minutes is fine, but if you can't come back to it two weeks later, or four or six, and get through it, you didn't really have the song nailed down.

It turns out that John (guitar, leader, and owner of the basement in which we practice) is going to be out of town, doing college visits with his son.  They've tried, but there's no other date that works.  Can we do Friday night, or Sunday afternoon?  We settle on Friday night.  I pack all my stuff into my car before heading to work, since I'll be driving out there right after work.  During the day, I get an email.  JT's grill cook's grandmother has died suddenly, the cook has called out, and JT has to cover.  Sunday afternoon doesn't work, and by Monday, Steve is back on the road.  So no rehearsal.

Two weeks later, Tony has to be somewhere by Noon for a job, so we move practice time up from 10 AM to 9 AM, so we can be done by 11 and Tony can go make some money.  I get there about 8:30, since I have to set up my keyboards, amp, and sax, so I'm first one there.  I get to the basement and meet Dave, John's friend, who is filling in on bass.  What?  Tony's start time got moved up to 11, and rather than move the rehearsal time yet another hour earlier (and on very short notice), John called a friend of his who plays bass, just so we can get through the rehearsal.

Rehearsal is not great.  At this point, it's been four, six, or eight weeks since playing the songs, plus we don't have our regular bass player, so I'm not even sure what the point was of practicing, but at the very least, it helped the rest of us to run through the 12 songs, scrape off some rust.

Two weeks later, Tony has to miss another rehearsal, as he has something going on and they need him all day Saturday.  He also mentions that now the baseball season is starting, he'll be busy on weekends.  He plays on a minor league team.  What the fuck?  You join a band, knowing that you won't be available on weekends?

John sends an email expressing his frustration.  Anne (singer) has another band, and they suck, but they're out there playing.  Steve has another band, and they're finishing their third set.  Why are we still in the basement with only a dozen songs?  (Answer: because we keep changing personnel, taking "breaks", and cancelling rehearsals when we do have a full band.)  He questions the commitment of people.  He (rightfully, mostly) complains that you shouldn't commit to a band if you can't even learn your parts and show up for rehearsals.

I sent him a reply, him only, saying that we're all busy as hell, but Saturday mornings worked for us for over a year.  Tony is the new guy, and he's a great player and also has an ear for harmonies and background vocals, but if he's the reason we keep cancelling rehearsals, then he's gotta go, and really, he shouldn't have taken the gig if he knew this.

Tony sends a reply to everyone, voluntarily dropping out of the band.  He knows the score.  So okay, this was probably the least painful way it could have happened, we didn't have to fire him or anything, but shit.  Time to find a new bass player.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 19, 2016, 02:04:23 PM
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I think once you pass the age of 25, these rules apply to musicians:

1.  You have a job (and maybe even family) that takes up the majority of your time.  Rehearsals are the first thing to get tossed out.
2.  You don't have a real job (career), so you have a lot of time to rehearse.  But if you don't have a real job by age 25, it probably means you aren't exactly reliable.  So you miss rehearsals any way.

You really have a clock ticking on doing anything professionally as a musician.

Despite all that, I wish you the best in getting it all worked out.  It definitely won't happen if you don't try.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 19, 2016, 02:04:35 PM
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That sucks, Orbert.  Hopefully you can find a new bass player.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 19, 2016, 02:05:59 PM
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John has contacted Jerry, who was runner-up bass player last time.  Jerry did not play horribly, but he wasn't great, and it took a bit of convincing for JT and Steve to even give the guy another shot.  He's the one who played some very pedestrian parts, and said "But that's what it said on the sheet music."  I know, not exactly promising.  But a not-great bass player is still better than no bass player at all, and if there's one position in our band where we could get away with a not-great player, it's the bass.  If your drummer can't keep basic time, it's obvious and you suck.  If your singer can't sing, it's obvious, and you suck.  If your guitarist can't play, it's obvious and you suck.  Keyboards, just turn him down in the mix and no one will know the difference anyway.

But, and I mean no offense to bass players, if your bass player isn't exactly John Entwhistle, but he keeps the bottom end and is at least in the right key and stuff, the part is covered.  Yes, a really good bass player is a definite plus, and can take you to the next level.  But we have a gig coming up and 20 more songs to learn.  If he's down there just thumping roots, we at least have the part covered.  Anything beyond that is bonus, and he did show some game.  We didn't really give him much time to prepare last time, and after we'd played the song on my iPod for him, he picked up the part, so he does have ears.  I'll give him the benefit of the doubt and figure he used the sheet music to cheat a little (which I've done) and never had time to come back and work up the actual part.

So John has contacted him and impressed upon him that the position is his if he wants it, but he's gotta step up his game a bit.  John's going to work with him one-on-one a little, then throw him into the fire.  So this should be interesting.

It has now been over a year, over 15 months actually, and we've played two gigs, changed personnel countless times, and currently have no songs in the bag.  Good thing I really like to play and have a high tolerance for bullshit, because this is really getting pretty silly.  But whatever.  It's still fun to get together every other Saturday and jam with these guys.  Life could be worse.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 19, 2016, 02:07:21 PM
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Band rehearsal, our first official one with Jerry, our new bassist.  We started with four "older" songs (even through they're all new to Jerry), then worked on four new ones.  We did something different, which was to listen to each song first.  I always have my iPod run through my mixer/amp, the output of which is also fed to the board.  We've gone to it in the past to settle disagreements, or just to review the song itself, but this time, we listened to each song first, then did the song.  I always create a playlist of current songs and listen to them non-stop for days leading up to rehearsals, so for me it was a waste of time, but I know not everyone else does that, so it was good for everyone to have each song fresh in their minds.  We got through eight songs in three hours.

I broke out the Prophet-5.  I love playing it, but it's a 40-pound beast and up until now, there hasn't been anything that required it.  I can split the keyboard on my Yamaha and do organ/piano, piano/strings, etc.  But one of the new songs was "Separate Ways" by Journey, and that tune demands real synth, so real synth it was.  Jeez, you'd think these guys had never seen a synthesizer before.  They were literally fawning all over it.  But I suppose you don't see a vintage 80's analog synth every day.  It sounded great, which was all I cared about.

Jerry was much, much better than at his audition.  He was actually tight, yet loose and groovin' in spots.  Jumped in on some background vocals, too.  I wish he'd played like this at his audition.  I was okay with him before, but some of the others weren't sure, and it also didn't make sense to just jump on the first guy we auditioned.  Tony was amazing, but Tony joined the band knowing full well that we rehearse Saturday mornings, and his Saturdays are all tied up.  So we basically wasted a couple of months there.

Anyway, great rehearsal, eight songs nailed down.  My back hurts.  It hurt when I got up this morning; I probably slept funny, but after three hours of jamming, it's kinda bad now.  These are the sacrifices we make for our art.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 19, 2016, 02:07:38 PM
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First, congrats on the new bass player.  Finding band members can be a pain.  They always seem to be great and unreliable or average and reliable.  Obviously that is because the better you are, the more options you have.

I broke out the Prophet-5. 
What other synths do you have? 
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 19, 2016, 02:08:00 PM
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Separate Ways on a legit synth? :metal (although the original uses a Jupiter 8, but I'm sure it still sounded amazing). One of the few songs I can play fully on keys too.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 19, 2016, 02:08:17 PM
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I think Jerry might just be a poor auditioner, Orbert. It happens to people. But god, I'm jealous of you and your synth.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 19, 2016, 02:18:32 PM
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What other synths do you have? 

Just the Prophet.  For years, I didn't have any keyboards at all.  When the band broke up in '83, I got the piano, but the synth belonged to "the band", which actually meant it belonged to Pete the guitarist, who started the band and had sunk a bunch of his own money into it.  So he kept the Prophet, but let me take the Yamaha piano.  It was a weird, 80's electronic piano that was fun to mess around with, but I went back to school, got a real job, etc., and it was just taking up space, so eventually I sold it.  By then, my parents had retired and moved to a condo, so I had the acoustic piano I'd grown up with.  There was no reason to keep the Yamaha thing.

It was probably around 2005 that the Prophet that I play now showed up under the Christmas tree.  My wife found it on Ebay.  There's a company in Ohio that refurbishes and sells them.  It's a Mark III (there were three versions of the Prophet 5), exactly like the one I played back in the 80's, and because it came from Ohio and I'm from Michigan, there's even a chance that it's the same machine.  That would be wacky, but I have no way of knowing, since I lost track of Pete a while ago.

When I joined the church band in 2009, I needed something more practical, so I grabbed a cheapo Yamaha because it was all I could afford, but I made sure it had 88 keys, could split, had a bank of presets (standard Yamaha 500 voice library) and some other goodies.  Right now, that's all I have.

(http://imgur.com/NBpZt5j.jpg)

Separate Ways on a legit synth? :metal (although the original uses a Jupiter 8, but I'm sure it still sounded amazing). One of the few songs I can play fully on keys too.

It did sound pretty fucking great, if I do say so myself.  I know my way around the Prophet pretty well, and the patch I built, to my ears, sounds exactly like the Roland that Cain used on the album (actually I thought it was a Juno -- they look very similar).  The guys were going pretty nuts, asking me why I'd never brought it before.  Because we never needed it before, that's why.

All those knobs and switches... how do you know how to work it all?  I could explain it all, and I could even make you understand.  How much time do you have?  Just as guitarists can flip switches on their pickups and push foot switches on their pedals and make their guitar sound just like what we hear on the radio, I know my way around oscillators, envelope generators, and filters.  It's the same thing, just more nerdy.  Guitarists are cool; keyboard players are geek nerds.  It's something I resigned myself to a long time ago.

I think Jerry might just be a poor auditioner, Orbert. It happens to people. But god, I'm jealous of you and your synth.

Jerry said as much, but of course it seems that way now.  He was having trouble with his amp at the audition, and he told us that when he got it home that night and opened it up, something had fried on the main board.  So he was nervous, dealing with that, and hadn't really had a lot of time to prepare for the audition, due to some work obligations that popped up unexpectedly.  He started with some sheet music as a shortcut, but didn't have time to work up his parts properly.  He was easily twice as good today as he was at his audition, maybe three times as good.  A completely different player.

Someday, someone's gonna come to a gig I'm playing and see the Prophet and offer me a ridiculous amount of money for it.  And I'll have a hard decision to make.  I love it, and it sounds great, but I'm well aware that my attachment to it is purely sentimental.  It's far from practical, but it's the machine I played during what was easily the funnest time in my life.  Even if and when I graduate to a pair of Nords (ultimately, I want an 88 and a Lead), I'll always love the Prophet.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 19, 2016, 05:12:50 PM
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Tomorrow we're going to do "Smokin'" by Boston.  The day after the email went out, John called me just to make sure I was okay with it.  I'd mentioned that I'd played the song before in a band.  Well, technically I suppose that's true.  Three years ago, at a one-off gig, we put together some songs and played them, and "Smokin'" was one of them.  Anyway, I told him I'd be ready.  I'd started working on it the night before, about an hour after getting the email.

The solo for "Smokin'" is interesting because it's a combination of ad-libbed and certain points where the band comes together.  Obviously we all have to hit those big A's and go "wahh!" all together, but in between he's just riffing.  And actually, he's just playing a couple of riffs, a couple variations each.  Tom Scholz plays some keyboards, but he obviously just put together enough generic bluesy organ licks to do the solo.

Anyway, I told John that I'd planned to start the solo, hit those chords where we all come together, and riff around in between, so it'll work but not be exactly what you hear on the record.  He was fine with that.  Some solos are iconic; you play them as written because they're as much as part of the song as the words (Stairway to Heaven, for example), but some solos are obviously meant for ad libbing.  So this will be interesting.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 19, 2016, 05:15:24 PM
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Band practice tomorrow, we're gonna put together "Hotel California," so that should be interesting.  I got together with John and Steve (the two guitarists) last Saturday at Steve's, and we worked out who's playing what, and we're putting it together with the rest of the band tomorrow.  Basically, John and Steve cover the important guitar parts (and there are a lot of them), and I fill in B-3 with one hand and layered six-string plus 12-string with the other.  Also "You're No Good" by Linda Ronstadt, and "Wonderful Tonight" by Clapton.  Whoa, I just noticed that they're all pretty mellow, this batch.  Except we're doing the live version of "You're No Good" which kinda rocks out.  The Clapton is fun though because I'm again doing the B-3 with the left hand, but a Rhodes with the right.

We're also gonna review the two new ones from last time, Foghat's "I Just Wanna Make Love to You" (live version) and "Smokin'" by Boston.  "Smokin" totally smoked.  We sounded great, and that's a hard tune.  So we'll do some rocking, too.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 19, 2016, 08:15:09 PM
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Just got back from a pretty shitty band rehearsal.  Feeling shitty, also pretty tired since I worked all day then went to rehearsal, as did everyone else.  That's probably one of the factors; us all being tired.

Once we'd decided to rehearse every other week back in March or whenever it was, John had sent out a rehearsal schedule with dates, every other Saturday through September, which is when we have a gig.  This past Saturday would have been a rehearsal day, but since it was the 4th of July, he asked if people would be able to get together Monday night (tonight) instead.  We've done it a few times before, but it always sucks.  I guess it's better than not rehearsing at all, but we're all tired, especially from the holiday weekend.  We should've just rehearsed Saturday morning as usual.  I didn't have anything planned until later in the day anyway.

Despite John sending out the song list for tonight's rehearsal nearly two weeks ago, and me making sure everyone had copies of the mp3s later that day (I'm the official curator of tunes in the band), we still got there tonight and our other guitarist has been "too busy" to learn the new songs.  Like, apparently at no time in the past two weeks did he even listen to the songs.  I honestly don't even understand that.  I put the songs on my iPod and listen to them every day, because these aren't always songs that I know, and even if they are, I've never listened to them with an ear toward learning to play them before.  Driving to and from work every day, sitting here on the PC, I listen to the songs over and over, sing my keyboard parts out loud in the car, drill them into my head.  I don't necessarily expect everyone to do that, but how can anyone, especially these days, claim that they haven't had time in two weeks to listen to the songs?

Our drummer and singer ignored the mp3s I'd sent out and just went on YouTube and found a different version of one of the songs, didn't even bother to check and see if it was the same one, and they learned that version.  It's the live version, and is very different.  Different intro, different breaks, different ending.  Great, so we wasted a bunch more time trying to figure what the hell was going on, and finally decided we'd learn the live version, so our singer is going to email it out to everyone.  This is after I'd spent two weeks learning the studio version.

And to top everything off, we're dropping two songs which would have featured the keyboards: "Smokin'" by Boston and "Separate Ways" by Journey.  The keys sounded fucking fantastic, if I do say so myself (which I don't, but literally everyone else did).  I worked hard on those tunes. But our singer can't sing them; they're just too damned high.  It's no one's fault, so I'm not actually mad about it, but I'll admit to being pretty damned disappointed.  Not many people, male or female, can sing like Brad Delp or Steve Perry, but I'd hoped that she could.  After a couple of times through, it was pretty obvious that it wasn't gonna work.  Shit.  So we had to drop them.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 19, 2016, 08:16:14 PM
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Ah, it always sucks when you can't do a really good song because its just too damned high to sing.  That's like my band with Hotel California.  Sucks cos I miss out on all that delicious guitar wank at the end!!!

You couldn't just drop the key of the song(s)? One of the bands round our circuit plays everything with guitars tuned to Eb, which makes a lot of sense.  Even just that semitone drop can make a world of difference when it comes to singing.  I imagine you're more than competent enough to change your playing to suit that, or you could do the lazy way and hit the transpose button on your keyboard, I know I would :lol
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 19, 2016, 08:16:28 PM
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Damn, isn't half the benefit of having a female singer the higher range?
Separate Ways goes up to an E5, which should for manageable for a female singer with a typical register as a one off note. Even if she couldn't hit that note, you could easily modify the melodies to only need to go up to the B4 (which shouldn't be a problem for any female singer) and only sacrificing a couple of notes in the process, which the average listener probably wouldn't notice anyway.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 19, 2016, 08:16:45 PM
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Damn, isn't half the benefit of having a female singer the higher range?
Separate Ways goes up to an E5, which should for manageable for a female singer with a typical register as a one off note. Even if she couldn't hit that note, you could easily modify the melodies to only need to go up to the B4 (which shouldn't be a problem for any female singer) and only sacrificing a couple of notes in the process, which the average listener probably wouldn't notice anyway.


:blob:
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 19, 2016, 08:17:04 PM
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This was the second time we'd tried Separate Ways.  She wasn't too sure about it the first time, but had been working on it and thought maybe she could make it work.  I got the feeling she really wanted to do it because the band sounds so damned good on it, but the high stuff at the end was killing her.  The ad-libbed stuff is optional, technically, but the scream at the end is not, and it was just killing her.  Doable, but not healthy.

We also tried dropping it to D.  It just sounded bad.  Probably partly because we'd just been playing it in E, but also, the harmonics on the guitar don't work the same way so it wasn't possible to get that sound in E.

Smokin' was the same way.  Doable, mostly, but she really had to push herself, and it was showing.  And again, dropping the key just made it sound wrong.  I know a lot of people can't tell when the key of a song has been changed, but I can always tell immediately, and so can Steve, our lead guitarist.  It doesn't just sound different; it sounds wrong.  You're playing it in the wrong key.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 19, 2016, 08:19:48 PM
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Bob, I can sing those songs.  I'll move up there and join your band.

Well, no I won't.  But it would be fun to jam out.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 19, 2016, 08:21:51 PM
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Ah, it always sucks when you can't do a really good song because its just too damned high to sing.  That's like my band with Hotel California.  Sucks cos I miss out on all that delicious guitar wank at the end!!!

Anne emailed everyone a recording she'd made of us doing "Separate Ways".  She said it wasn't as bad as she'd thought, and she's willing to give it another shot, but either she sings it solo or we do some real work on the background vocals.  She's right.  Journey harmonies are clean and tight and a big part of their sound.  Either do it right or go home.

Now I'm having mixed feelings.  Yeah, great song, keyboard sound is a big part of that, but it is literally the one and only song which uses the synth.  I love my Prophet; it sounds great and is perfect for the song.  But it's a 40-pound beast and hauling it to rehearsals and gigs just for the one song is kinda dumb.  Also, we go to a gig, keyboard player has a fucking Prophet up there, and we play one song with it?  Oh, that's right; maybe two people in the whole place would even realize.  Forget I said that.  Anway, as disappointed as I was to drop the song, part of me wouldn't miss having to haul it around just for the one song.  But I'm a whiner.  The band was originally "70's classic rock" but we've been moving into some 80's stuff.  If we actually did a few more songs with synths, it would be worth it.

We do "Hotel California".  She sounds pretty good on it, and so do the background vocals and everything else.  The two guitarists do the main guitar parts, and I lay a bed with Hammond in my left hand and a 12-string patch in my right.  Rolling the chords sounds just like strumming, and it's definitely good enough to fill in behind the guitar lead lines.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 19, 2016, 08:22:30 PM
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Ah, it always sucks when you can't do a really good song because its just too damned high to sing.  That's like my band with Hotel California.  Sucks cos I miss out on all that delicious guitar wank at the end!!!

Anne emailed everyone a recording she'd made of us doing "Separate Ways".  She said it wasn't as bad as she'd thought, and she's willing to give it another shot, but either she sings it solo or we do some real work on the background vocals.  She's right.  Journey harmonies are clean and tight and a big part of their sound.  Either do it right or go home.

Now I'm having mixed feelings.  Yeah, great song, keyboard sound is a big part of that, but it is literally the one and only song which uses the synth.  I love my Prophet; it sounds great and is perfect for the song.  But it's a 40-pound beast and hauling it to rehearsals and gigs just for the one song is kinda dumb.  Also, we go to a gig, keyboard player has a fucking Prophet up there, and we play one song with it?  Oh, that's right; maybe two people in the whole place would even realize.  Forget I said that.  Anway, as disappointed as I was to drop the song, part of me wouldn't miss having to haul it around just for the one song.  But I'm a whiner.  The band was originally "70's classic rock" but we've been moving into some 80's stuff.  If we actually did a few more songs with synths, it would be worth it.

We do "Hotel California".  She sounds pretty good on it, and so do the background vocals and everything else.  The two guitarists do the main guitar parts, and I lay a bed with Hammond in my left hand and a 12-string patch in my right.  Rolling the chords sounds just like strumming, and it's definitely good enough to fill in behind the guitar lead lines.

I'd love to hear some of your cover band tunes, can trade you tune for tune ;)
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 19, 2016, 08:23:18 PM
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At practice the other day, we were working on "Hard to Handle" by the Black Crowes, which has some Honky-Tonk piano in it.  After we finished a run-through, John says "Bob, nice job on that Honky-Tonk piano."

JT, ever the smartass, says "Hey, isn't that racist?  Since it's Bob, shouldn't it be Asian-Tonk piano?"

"Asian-American-Tonk piano," I say, "if you please."

So there it is.  The tune has Asian-American-Tonk piano, courtesy of the resident Asian-American keyboard player.


My wife got a chuckle out of it, but I had to explain it to my kids.  I know; if you have to explain it...
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 19, 2016, 08:23:30 PM
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lol
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 19, 2016, 08:27:18 PM
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Anne emailed everyone a recording she'd made of us doing "Separate Ways".  She said it wasn't as bad as she'd thought, and she's willing to give it another shot, but either she sings it solo or we do some real work on the background vocals.

If it helps at all I'd checked this song out years ago, to possibly do.  The chorus harmonies are actually fairly easy to remember, as the harmony notes above and below the melody do not change.  The upper note is a B, throughout and the lower note is an E, throughout.  I just double checked this on the little piano app on my phone to make sure I remembered right.  Of course it sounds odd, because the melody part has an A and an F# in it, then the backing chords are Em, D, and C.

I'm almost positive this is how I remember it, so give it a listen, try those harmony notes, and see what happens.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 19, 2016, 08:27:31 PM
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There's also the pre-chorus harmony a 3rd below.

I think the point is more the singing ability than knowing what the parts are. The lower E in the chorus is easy enough (and you could either forgo the higher B, or do it an octave lower, which I'm not sure they don't also do anyway), but the pre-chorus harmony may present some trouble for an average male vocalist.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 19, 2016, 08:27:48 PM
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Oh yeah, I get it.  It ain't an easy song to pull off, regardless.  Just putting out the info.  I was just sitting here thinking about the pre-chorus harmony and thinking "I'm pretty sure there's only the lower harmony there".  I didn't think that pre-chorus harmony was very demanding, but maybe I'm not remembering right.  I'm kinda out of it lately.  :lol
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 19, 2016, 08:28:03 PM
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Yep, prechorus is just the two parts, lead and harmony. The chorus has more layers, but they're dead simple parts if you can hit the note. The pre-chorus melody isn't that hard if you're a solid vocalist, goes from an E4 up to a G4 (A4 briefly), so the range is narrow, but it may be upper range for regular dudes.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 19, 2016, 08:28:16 PM
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The fortunate thing about the high harmony is that, if you can hit it, it doesn't last very long, so it doesn't tire you out too badly.  I always do the high harmonies in anything we do, because nobody else can do them, despite the fact that my talking voice is decidedly UN-high.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 19, 2016, 08:28:28 PM
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And also because it's a BG vocal and doesn't move around in register, falsetto is ok.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 19, 2016, 08:28:57 PM
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The chorus harmonies are actually fairly easy to remember, as the harmony notes above and below the melody do not change.  The upper note is a B, throughout and the lower note is an E, throughout. 

That's exactly what it sounds like to me.  I could not convince the others that this is the case.

And also because it's a BG vocal and doesn't move around in register, falsetto is ok.

I'm making some progress convincing them of this.  To me, the important part is that the notes be there, and if it's just background vocals, quality of voice is far less important.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 19, 2016, 08:29:19 PM
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The chorus harmonies are actually fairly easy to remember, as the harmony notes above and below the melody do not change.  The upper note is a B, throughout and the lower note is an E, throughout. 

That's exactly what it sounds like to me.  I could not convince the others that this is the case.

And also because it's a BG vocal and doesn't move around in register, falsetto is ok.

I'm making some progress convincing them of this.  To me, the important part is that the notes be there, and if it's just background vocals, quality of voice is far less important.

When it comes to background vocals, pitch is much more important than tonal quality or how you hit the note. People are focusing on the lead vocal, with the background vocals just adding fullness, as long as they're not mixed louder than they should be.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 19, 2016, 08:29:40 PM
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I actually, on my little android screen piano, tapped out the upper, lower, and melody notes all at the same time and it sounded just right.  I can see how it would be tough to believe (the harmonies don't move AT ALL??  With different chords in the background that aren't Em??  Bullshit!), but that's most definitely how it goes.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 19, 2016, 08:30:07 PM
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The chorus harmonies are actually fairly easy to remember, as the harmony notes above and below the melody do not change.  The upper note is a B, throughout and the lower note is an E, throughout. 

That's exactly what it sounds like to me.  I could not convince the others that this is the case.

And also because it's a BG vocal and doesn't move around in register, falsetto is ok.

I'm making some progress convincing them of this.  To me, the important part is that the notes be there, and if it's just background vocals, quality of voice is far less important.

When it comes to background vocals, pitch is much more important than tonal quality or how you hit the note. People are focusing on the lead vocal, with the background vocals just adding fullness, as long as they're not mixed louder than they should be.

I'm definitely a backing vocalist :lol
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 19, 2016, 08:31:57 PM
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So... the long-awaited first gig is scheduled for this Saturday.  This is the band that played two gratis gigs last summer, did pretty well and got reasonably good comments, then we took a short break while people went on vacations and stuff, and two days before we were to reconvene and start working up our third set, our singer quit.  She was followed out the door by the bassist, because he's her husband and it was pretty much understood that she was the reason why he was in the band.

Over the winter, we auditioned singers and bass players, found a great bass player, then it turned out that he can't practice on Saturdays, which is when we practice and he knew that.  By spring, we had a singer and bass player and started building a set list.  We're up to 26 songs, two or three sets (kinda), and this Saturday would be my first actual paid gig since the 80's.

It's an outdoor gig, a block party, and it's supposed to rain all day.  Rain date is Sunday.  It's supposed to rain all day.  Shit.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 19, 2016, 08:32:08 PM
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Did you get Separate Ways worked out?
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 19, 2016, 08:32:23 PM
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Yes!  We're doing the song, with the correct harmonies and everything.  If we play, that is.

We have another gig scheduled for two weeks later, another gratis gig.  It's another charity fundraiser thing, so I shouldn't really complain, but damn, it would be nice to actually get paid some time.  I love to play, and I do consider myself fortunate to be able to rock out with some good musicians and make people happy, but it is a lot of work, too, so even the $50 apiece we're supposed to get for this block party is nice, and makes it all worth it.  Not sure how many more freebies I have left in me.  Good practice blah blah blah good exposure blah blah blah charity fundraiser blah blah blah give me some fucking money, okay?
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 19, 2016, 08:33:08 PM
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The long-awaited debut of Orbert's Almost-Band (now an actual Band) got rained out.  Shit.

It rained on and off all day Thursday and Friday, and Saturday was looking better, but not guaranteed.  We were to start at 8PM, but had to make a call by Noon whether or not we would risk it.  Easily $10K worth of gear set up in the middle of the street with no protection from the elements, it would all be at risk if a sudden storm came through.  As of Noon, it was still raining, and the best-case scenario had things clearing up by late afternoon and staying dry throughout the evening, but that didn't look likely at all.  Worst-case and everything in between included rain.

As it turned out, things did clear up by about 5:00.  If we could've set up in three hours, in dwindling light and on wet pavement, we could've played after all.  But we called it off, and it was the right decision at the time, based on the information available.

The world will have to wait just a little longer to experience our awesomeness.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 19, 2016, 08:36:13 PM
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What is "Orbert's Almost Band"? It sounds cool.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 19, 2016, 08:36:46 PM
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What is "Orbert's Almost Band"? It sounds cool.

Just a silly nickname I came up with a while back.  This band has gone through many, many personnel changes, and it's still less than two years old.  We're a band, I mean we have singers, all instruments covered, all that, but we have yet to play a paying gig.  We did a few gratis gigs last summer, just prior to our latest implosion and subsequent restructuring.  I haven't done the math, but it's entirely possible that we've spent more total time missing at least one position than we have at full strength.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 19, 2016, 08:37:13 PM
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What is "Orbert's Almost Band"? It sounds cool.

Just a silly nickname I came up with a while back.  This band has gone through many, many personnel changes, and it's still less than two years old.  We're a band, I mean we have singers, all instruments covered, all that, but we have yet to play a paying gig.  We did a few gratis gigs last summer, just prior to our latest implosion and subsequent restructuring.  I haven't done the math, but it's entirely possible that we've spent more total time missing at least one position than we have at full strength.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 19, 2016, 08:38:01 PM
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Well damn, it looks like we're actually gonna play this Sunday.

For those not following along (which is pretty much everybody, since this has gone on for so fucking long), the core of the band, the two guitarists and myself, have been together since last year.  We've gone through singers, drummers, and bassists, and all the personnel changes kept setting us back as far as getting songs put together, but we have 25 songs, and we're gonna see how many we get through.  No, it's not yet enough to play the bars, but it is enough for a two-hour thing.  A Sunday afternoon charity motorcycle ride to benefit the local animal shelter ("Hogs for Dogs"), a 90 minute ride out to a bar in the far northern suburbs, where we'll be set up.  The riders will get free food and reduced prices on drinks, and we'll be providing the music.

Stupid things that could not be helped:
Our third gig if you count the two from last summer and still no payday, but this is a pretty nice place and apparently it's a huge deal to play there.  Just to be able to say you've played there gives you some cred, so what the fuck, let's rock and roll.  I'm looking forward to just playing somewhere other than the basement.

Pictures to follow, if we actually pull this off.  I'm still not quite believing it's happening.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 19, 2016, 08:38:17 PM
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Good luck.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 19, 2016, 08:39:00 PM
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For those not following along (which is pretty much everybody, since this has gone on for so fucking long)

Hey now, this real life Spinal Tap saga is the very backbone of this thread! :tup

Good luck for the gig, Orb! I hope it all goes as well as can be expected under the circumstances.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 19, 2016, 08:39:25 PM
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Thanks for the well-wishes, guys.  I guess it wasn't the best choice of phrase; I know some people have been following along, but this really has been a ridiculous journey, and I recently referred to this band as an "almost-band" due to us spending nearly as much time without a full lineup (including several months without a lead singer) as we have with one, and someone asked for clarification.  So I was trying to jokingly refer to the fact that I felt the need to recap.

Finally getting to play that first gig is a great thing, and with all the lineup changes, this is a new band with a new name, so we're calling it our first gig.

We practiced Tuesday night because we couldn't get together over Labor Day weekend, and by time we were done (pushing 10:00 PM after working all day on a Tuesday that felt like a Monday) I was pretty wiped.  John asked if I wanted to just leave my piano there at his house, and he'll load it up with all the P.A. gear and his own stuff and bring it tomorrow.  At the time, it sounded like a good idea.  After running through all the songs again, I had them down.  I still do, but it's gonna kill me all day today to not run through them all one more time for tomorrow.  I'll practice my saxophone solos.  That'll be a real treat for my wife and daughter, who will be home today.  I'll have the tunes on my headphones, so all they'll hear will be saxophone solos, over and over.  If they're smart, they'll go shopping or something.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 19, 2016, 08:39:49 PM
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  • They want us to start at 2:30.  This is idiotic because the game starts at Noon and won't be over yet.  The riders will start showing up between 1:30 and 2:30, and the whole timetable was set up before anyone realized that it's the day of the home opener.  But they didn't want to change anything because all the posters were printed and timetables were sent out.  I can't even imagine someone telling us to start playing if the game is still going, but they said they'll have it on the TVs and just turn the sound down so we can play.  Um, okay.

Oh god i hope it works out, especially this part.  We have done a couple of gigs where we've had to play through a big game, and its never fun, especially if there's a bar full of people wanting to watch.  If the bar has any common sense they'll let the game run first.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 20, 2016, 10:47:49 AM
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Incredible.  In-fucking-credible.

Our drummer, JT, called John at 8:00 this morning, said he was in pain, probably a kidney stone, thought he could play the gig anyway.  Called him back at 10:00 from the ER, pain was so excrutiating that he couldn't move.  No way he could play the gig today.  Some phone calls around, and there was no drummer who could just jump in and play with us today, no one available anyway.  Our singer Anne's boyfriend Brian has a band, which she also sings background vocals with, and they covered the gig.  The only way it could work was if Steve and John headed over there with the P.A. and stuff, and Steve ran sound.  It was 10:30 by time the decision was made, and they had to come in from far and wide.  There was no way they could be there in time to set up the P.A. and everything else, and start in time.

I had left my house a little after 10:00 AM, allowing an hour out to the place.  We were going to set up between 11:00 and 11:30.  It was close to 11:00 when I hit the gas station a few blocks from the bar, used the bathroom, and checked my phone.  A missed call, a voicemail, two emails, and several texts.  Uh-oh.  The whole saga.  The voicemail from John had come ten minutes after I'd left my house; now I'm a few blocks from the bar.  So I just went over anyway.  Helped set up the P.A., talked with the other guys, met the other band (I'd met Brian before a few times) as they showed up one by one over the next few hours, and stayed for the first hour or so of them playing.  They weren't horrible, though not great, but they sounded as good as they were going to because of Steve's killer P.A.  Had a truly disgusting chicken sandwich, threw part of it away.

So our contribution was the P.A. I guess.  Rockus (the other band) played, so the event had tunes.  At least we got someone to cover the gig.  I'm just bummed, and still a little bit in disbelief, that once again, our debut gig was cancelled and we didn't play one way or another.  It's like the music gods hate us.

It's been over a year since the previous "stable" lineup, Oh Zone, played a gig.  The new lineup, FlashDrive, is yet to play.  The plan was to get these two gigs under our belts, there was going to be a photographer there, and we were going to get some video and audio, too, for the website and Facebook page, and we would start looking at putting together the third set, so we'd truly be ready to start playing out.  Now, we still have to do all that, but we haven't played out yet, and we have no promotional materials.  And since we didn't play the two gigs, we didn't exactly score any new connections, either.

Shit.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 20, 2016, 10:48:03 AM
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Seriously, your drummer ends up in the ER on the day of your gig? What are the odds? Your band is clearly cursed! :lol

At least he didn't die, or else my Spinal Tap comment earlier may have been too scary. :|
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 20, 2016, 10:48:14 AM
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It is truly incredible.  I am so ready to play.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 20, 2016, 10:48:28 AM
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Your band is clearly cursed!

My first thought!  Jesus, sorry to hear that Orbert.  That is truly unbelievable. 
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 20, 2016, 10:49:06 AM
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The ongoing drama/trauma of Orbert's almost-band continues...


After our second non-debut a few weeks ago, our fearless leader John emailed a list of seven (seven!) potential gigs he'd drummed up.  Ranging from 10 miles away to nearly 30, mostly playing for the door, but hell, at this point we'll take anything we can get.  We have to get out there, get some experience playing, get some pictures, audio, and video, and hopefully make a connection or two.

JT was the first to reply.  He's out of town for three of the seven dates.  As you may recall, JT (drummer) was the one who got a kidney stone the day of our second attempt at a debut.  Obviously that could not be helped, but still, that's the first thing that came to my mind.

So this past Saturday, the 26th, was our next practice.  Full run-through of both sets, in preparation for the one gig of the seven which actually panned out (some were just too far away for shit pay, some had other date conflicts).  Also, John's wife Kay has a nice camera and a bit of photography experience, so she's gonna take some posed group pictures after practice, just so we have something for the web site and Facebook page.  John send out an email with all these details, and also some guidelines on what clothes to bring, etc.

I go clothes shopping and bring my wife along since I have no idea what looks "cool".  I'm 50something years old, an aging rocker, who must somehow get up on stage and look like a rocker without looking ridiculous.  We find some nice shirts that she assures me will look very cool with black jeans and my extremely Asian appearance.  :orbert:

Friday night at 10 fucking PM, JT sends an email, and just to make sure we all get it, a group text telling everyone to check their email.  He got his dates mixed up and is flying out Saturday morning, not Sunday.  Oops.

That's it.  No apologies -- although I'm not sure what's left after his literally four or five apologies for the kidney stone, which he couldn't help -- and no actual statement that he won't be able to make the practice, although that was obviously implied.  Just that he got the dates mixed up and he will be flying out in the morning.

Anne (singer) had gotten her hair and nails done, because of the pictures.  Kay (John's hot wife) had rearranged her work schedule to be available that day to take pictures.  She's a realtor and Saturday is normally a very busy day for her.  We have all been practicing.  The night before, all JT can say is "Oops".

JT got his dates mixed up.  JT got a kidney stone.  JT had already missed the last two practices and now this one, which has not just inconvenienced others but also cost them money.  JT recently dropped some of his other commitments so he'd have more time for the band, but was the first to get three of seven potential gigs crossed off the list because he's out of town.  JT is in the proverbial doghouse.

John is beyond disappointed, and beyond pissed.  I had a long phone conversation with him, and he's going to talk to JT about the band and his level of commitment to it.  I am, as always, thankful that that's his job and not mine.  I love to play, I want to play, but this is still just a hobby for me.  If it falls apart, I'll be bummed, but not heartbroken.  For John, this is his dream.  He's put a lot of money, time, and effort into this band, getting it going, keeping it somehow going despite all the shit that's come our way, from within and without, and he's not a quitter.  He's finding us gigs, just working independently as our manager, without an agent, with no experience at it, just through effort and perservenence.  I genuinely feel sorry for the guy.

After our phone call making sure a few things were in order and that I was available on certain dates, John sent out an email with two practice dates.  We have to do weeknights because we're out of weekends (the gig is Oct 10 and we can't practice Oct 3), the practices will be Oct 6 and Oct 8, please let him know as soon as possible if there are conflicts.  He did not say that the practices are "required" or "mandatory" because that was implied.

Next week we have two weeknight practices, and a gig on Saturday.  Third time's the charm?
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 20, 2016, 10:49:24 AM
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Wow, man, that sucks.  Hope everything turns out OK.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 20, 2016, 10:49:36 AM
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Sounds like your band needs a new drummer.
Although that's honestly a lot easier for me to say than you guys. It seems like he is only creating problems, headaches and stress, but I imagine things used to be fine if he is still in the band. Hopefully this is just a phase and everything will go back to normal soon because I would imagine this takes a lot of fun out of your hobby with all the drama going on.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 20, 2016, 10:49:49 AM
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He is an excellent drummer.  He is experienced, as we all are, and rock-solid when it comes to keeping time.  He came in on the recommendation of Steve (guitar) and has shown that he knows probably thousands of songs.  Learning new ones takes time, of course, but fortunately we've stuck mostly to tried-and-true bar standards for now.

He is also busy as hell much of the time.  He owns and/or runs three businesses, one of which was recently demoted from "owning and running" to merely "owning" because he had too many things on his plate.  He actually wrote an email to the rest of the band a few months ago apologizing for how distracted he's been and how he has so much going on, and he's cut back on his commitments and promised to be much more there for us in the future.  Then John manages to find seven gigs for us, and we can't even consider three of them because JT is out of town those dates.  So much for minimizing distractions.

This whole experience has been very interesting for me.  When you're kids in school, your bandmates are your friends, guys you've known for years.  There's already a bond, and already a level of commitment both to your friends and to the band.  What we're doing now is merely a business arrangement.  I like the other guys in the band, but it's on the "co-workers who you get along with" level, not "dudes I've known since grade school" level.  We don't get together and hang out much, we don't call each other on the phone or chat just to chat.  It's business.  And it's weird for me because I've never been in a band like this.

So if after talking with JT, John decides that we need a new drummer, I'll be bummed, but not crushed or anything.  I like JT alright, but if he's holding us back, we are probably better off with someone else.  That "someone else" may not turn out to be any better, but he may.  As with anything else, it's about weighing cost/benefit.  Another personnel change will cost us the time to get the new guy up to speed.  The benefit is ending up with a (hopefully) better drummer.  "Better" meaning many things, not just playing.  Being available for practices and gigs is starting to weigh big.  Right now I'd settle for anyone who can keep time and make it to practices and gigs.

And something which is also in the mix is that we basically "stole" our lead singer Anne from another band.  She was singing with an actual working band.  Yeah, they kinda sucked, and she knew it, so after months of discussion and ass-kissing, John was able to convince her that she's rotting on the vine with the other band, and with us she can really go places.  And six months ago (holy shit, has it been that long?!) she starting working with us and was blown away by our level of musicianship.  And we are good, if I do say so myself.

But after all this shit and we still haven't played a single gig yet, I wouldn't blame her if she said "You know what?  I gave you guys a chance.  I quit a gigging band that still wants me back*, and I have gigs singing backgrounds with my boyfriend's band.  I don't need you."  I wouldn't blame her at all.  If we decide to look for a new drummer, and that causes our lead singer to quit, then we're really, truly fucked.


*In an ironic twist, her old band auditioned and eventually hired Karen, our old singer.  Then Karen quit, just as she quit our band, with basically no notice.  They had gigs booked, so they begged Anne to do those gigs with them, and since we weren't doing anything, she agreed.  Also, they got rid of the one guy who sucked the hardest, and now they're better.  It would actually be a good move for her to get back with them at this point.  I just hope she doesn't figure that out.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 20, 2016, 10:53:29 AM
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Wow man.  This whole situation is almost unbelievable.  I really feel for you.  I know how hard it is to get gigs booked, and what it feels like when one guy lets the team down.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 20, 2016, 10:57:57 AM
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This Saturday, we're going to try it again.  We're going to attempt a debut gig.  Our first attempted debut got rained out; our second attempt was cancelled when our drummer JT ended up in the ER with a kidney stone.  Third time's the charm, right?

It's a semi-crappy gig, to be honest.  A sports bar 15 miles from here will have the Blackhawks game, and they want a band to play from whenever the game ends (around 10:30) until closing time.  We'll only have time for two sets, which is fine because that's all we have anyway.  I'm sure it's gonna be one of those situations where the owner won't want to hear a sound while the game is still going, then expect us to start immediately and sound perfect without a sound check.  Our sound check will be the first couple of songs.

We're running through the first set Tuesday night, the second set Thursday night.  I hate evening practices, but this is what we have to work with.  I'm taking Friday off of work to prepare myself mentally and physically.

Ha ha, just kidding.  I had Friday off already anyway.

The first time, I was wired, so excited to be playing a live gig.  But as the week went on and we watched the weather forecasts, I had to keep my hopes guarded, and ultimately was disappointed but not surprised when we were rained out.  The second one, I'd actually driven out there before I found out the situation, then stayed and hung around the board with Steve and John because why not (also, the waitress in our section was... damn!)

I find myself not excited about this at all.  I honestly cannot get excited about something which, in my mind, may or may not happen.  Saturday night, if I get there, we set up, nothing catastrophic happens, and we play, great.  I will play, I'll do all the things on stage that I'm supposed to do, and I'll kick ass.  But I can't help feeling that someone's fucking with me.  I will not get my hopes up again.


So I'm on Facebook, checking to see who's going to our Event (I manage the band Facebook page), and I see that four Friends are going and four Others are going.  That's kinda weird; I thought the other five members of the band had at least clicked that they were going.  I look and see that JT, our drummer, is no longer a Friend.  What?  I click, go to his page, and nope, we're not Friends.  It lists Friends we have in common, which include Karen and Mike (the husband-wife team who quit) and some other guys we both know, but neither myself nor anyone else currently in the band is Friends with him anymore.  Apparently he had a hissy fit and un-Friended all of us.

Oh, the drama!  Oh, the humanity!
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 20, 2016, 10:58:28 AM
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Best of luck, mate. Hopefully no issues this time. Maybe Orbert's Almost Band will become Orbert's Actually a Band Band.   ;D
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 20, 2016, 10:58:41 AM
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That JT is really grinding my gears!
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 20, 2016, 10:58:58 AM
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EDIT: Just read until the end of the post, which I didn't before - was in a rush to go somewhere. This guy seems like a butt.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 20, 2016, 10:59:29 AM
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I just got off the phone with Steve.  JT is apparently going through some serious shit right now.  Like, he and the girlfriend broke up, he moved out kind of shit.  I said maybe he got "breakup drunk" and went on a Facebook rampage, deleting Friends and stuff.  He said No, he'd talked to him, and he's in the middle of creating a new Facebook persona.  Also, he doesn't drink.  Well okay, but kinda weird that he'd specifically un-Friend the other members of the band and keep everyone else.

Also, significant drama is brewing with Anne, our lead singer, who is showing signs of advanced psychosis.  Clearly, this is just what we need right now.

Practice is tonight.  This gonna be good.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 20, 2016, 10:59:41 AM
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i really hope this all works out for you. i know whats it's like to want to get somewhere in band and having other people in the band hampering things regularly. nothing to this extreme, but it can get very frustrating very fast.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 20, 2016, 10:59:59 AM
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Also, significant drama is brewing with Anne, our lead singer, who is showing signs of advanced psychosis.  Clearly, this is just what we need right now.
No, no, you're looking at this all wrong.

Every good singer is crazy.  This is just what you need!
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 20, 2016, 11:00:13 AM
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I'm starting to believe that.  I've worked with a number of singers over the years, and in general, the better they were, the crazier they were.  Unfortunately, this also meant that they were harder to work with.  Finding a balance is key, as with all things.

Steve texted me this morning, saying that Anne was burning up his phone again.  She has a lot of comments about how things went last night at practice.  I told him I think it's great that the two of them have such and open, honest rapport going.  (And by that I mean it's great that it's the two of them and I am not one of them.)
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 20, 2016, 11:00:34 AM
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:tup
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 20, 2016, 11:01:07 AM
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Ha ha, I may not have been entirely clear.  Her comments were not positive.  I'm glad I'm not the recipient of her outbursts.

She has plenty of critique for what everyone else is doing, but when it comes to her, if there's something she's not singing correctly, it's "I'm having trouble feeling this song.  I don't really like it."

Well shit, we all have songs that we don't really like.  But we play them because other people love them and they're in the set list, the set list that we all agreed to.  So suck it up and do your fucking job.

My remark to Steve had two sides, though.  Steve and Anne have not always gotten along.  For a while, they were ready to kill each other.  But they got together for lunch and drinks on a day off, and had a long talk about the band, music, etc., and now they have a pretty good rapport.  So I was telling Steve that it's great that they're talking and stuff, but really I'm just glad it's not me.  I still get to hear all about it from Steve, so it's not really that much better. :p
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 20, 2016, 11:01:20 AM
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lol
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 20, 2016, 11:01:33 AM
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By the sounds of it, I should be glad I'm a solo musician. This band shit sounds tiring  :lol
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 20, 2016, 11:01:49 AM
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This is easily the most drama I've ever dealt with in a band.  Most bands I've been in have gotten along pretty well, because we were friends first.  We were in a band together because we knew each other and liked each other first.  This band was formed via Internet searches, and is people from all different backgrounds.  We don't have the bond.  But we all have experience in bands, and know how it needs to work; it just doesn't quite feel the same and I don't think it's a conscious thing that it doesn't work.

Also, we all have lives and jobs and other commitments, so it's not like when you're 20 and the band is your life.  This is just a hobby.  It's supposed to be fun.  And it is, once we start playing.  It's just getting to that point that's a pain.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 20, 2016, 11:02:17 AM
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We did it!  We fucking did it!  We played a gig!

(http://i.imgur.com/iMtmSBu.png)

Getting ready for the second set.  Steve checking the talkbox, as we open the set with "Rocky Mountain Way".  Me watching the babes playing darts over in the corner.  They were there most of the night.  The one, Corinne, was pretty hot.  She came over and talked to me and stuff, introduced herself and her friend (I don't remember her friend's name) and kinda kept me company throughout the show.  It's cool when you get to interact with people in the audience, cooler still when they're babes.  Corinne gave me a hug at the end of the night, said I was awesome.  Damn, I've missed doing this.

We were not flawless, but we were pretty damned good, especially for a debut, and missing our singer for rehearsal the other night (meaning we never did get a full run-through of the second set).  Also no sound check.  The owner was a real dick.  But... owners.

A new chapter.  I'm so psyched.  It's 2:45 AM and I just got home from the bar.  An actual paying gig, first in over 30 years.  Okay, we only made $10 each, but a gig's a gig.  We played for the door, and for friends and significant others, and for fun, and for experience playing, and so some agent named Bob Something could come see us (he did, and he said he was impressed, so that's cool).
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 20, 2016, 11:02:42 AM
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Awesome!
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 20, 2016, 11:02:54 AM
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Nice! I can't wait to actually do a live show.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 20, 2016, 11:03:04 AM
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Congratulations! Glad things finally worked out.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 20, 2016, 11:03:15 AM
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Great news, Orbert!  Congrats!
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 20, 2016, 11:03:28 AM
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congrats, orbert! make sure when u start touring the world to come to ct.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 20, 2016, 11:04:45 AM
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Ok I'm way behind but Orbert next time you have a gig let me know where you are playing! If it's not too far let me know and I'll (hopefully) make it out to see you (to return the favor for seeing me like 5 years ago!)
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 20, 2016, 11:05:02 AM
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It's a deal.  It looks like we might be playing 210 in Highwood (formerly The Alley) the day after Christmas, which should be interesting, and way the hell down to Sheffield some time in January.  It sucks just starting out.  You have to take what you can get.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 20, 2016, 08:04:36 PM
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It's a deal.  It looks like we might be playing 210 in Highwood (formerly The Alley) the day after Christmas, which should be interesting, and way the hell down to Sheffield some time in January.  It sucks just starting out.  You have to take what you can get.

Yep. Develop a following and report and it will get better.

Highwood I can't do because I'll be likely out of town for the holidays, and Sheffield is way out there. Keep me posted.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 20, 2016, 08:05:24 PM
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It has begun.  The agent dude who John was talking to, the same guy who asked if we could do the day after Christmas, offered us a one-nighter at a place we eventually want to get into anyway.  December 18, a Friday night in the middle of Christmas craziness, $500.  Even for a fraction of that money, this is a place we want to play.  The owner is actually a neighbor of John's, and when John asked him about playing at his place, he had to talk to the agent dude.  Agent dude just offered us the place.  If we do well, we play there again.

But we don't have four full sets of tunes.  We've got a couple hours, and are adding a third batch now.  Agent dude suggests we play three 45-minute sets, with 25-30 minute breaks in between.  His idea.  Shit, we could do that right now.  So anyway, we're in.  Then if we do well there, and the thing on the 26th, he says he's got some stuff to look at in Q1 2016.  He tends to book a quarter at a time.  Very businesslike.

So... things are happening.  Gigs booked, promise of future gigs with the agent dude who basically owns this county.  We keep him happy, he keeps us working, and everybody's happy.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 20, 2016, 08:05:39 PM
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Sounds great! Looking forward to hear how it all turns out!
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 20, 2016, 08:05:50 PM
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Good luck Orb! Hopefully you can keep one lineup through it all!
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 20, 2016, 08:06:05 PM
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Thanks.  In a weird way, I kinda miss writing about all the band drama, since most of it is apparently behind us.  Saying "We practiced on Saturday and nailed down two more songs" just isn't as exciting and provacative.  But we practiced on Saturday and nailed down two more songs.  Starting two weeks hence, we're gonna try to "bulk up", adding half a dozen cheap 'n' easy songs that everyone knows.  We jammed on "Cocaine" for a while warming up, so that one's in.  Apparently we all know "Sweet Home Alabama" so that's in.  That kind of thing.

At the one gig we played, someone yelled "Freebird!" (because there's always someone who does) and since John was still in the process of switching guitars, I started playing Freebird just for the hell of it.  JT came in on drums and Steve played the whiny lead and we got through the intro.  Then John was ready and we started the next song, but we got a brief round of applause.  I suggested to John that we actually play the song next time, another ten minutes on the clock.  He seemed to consider it.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 20, 2016, 08:06:21 PM
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Okay, you knew it was too good to be true.  You knew that this band couldn't actually start gigging regularly and making money.  You might not have any idea why not, other than that it's pretty much how it has always been with this band, but it had to happen.

Steve (lead guitar, lead and background vocals) has quit the band.  Over something completely stupid.  Completely over-reacting to something, because it's his way, because he's a fucking misogynist who told us right up front that having a girl in the band is "poison" and that no band he's ever been in with a female has lasted more than a year.  Well, we now know why.  It's not because girls are poison, and it's not the girls themselves.  It's Steve.

John had tried, as manager, to get some gigs for us, and scraped up some crummy little gigs, one of which we even played, but the reason why we didn't get anything better was because they all book through the same company, which comes down to the one guy, agent dude.  Well, we're in with agent dude.  Agent dude sent some stuff to John, needs names, phone numbers, website and/or social media pages, and a secondary contact.  John forwards this out to all of us, just keeping us in the loop, letting us know what's going on.  But we need a volunteer to be secondary contact.

JT (drums, and also a personal friend of agent dude) says he's just the drummer, but he does know agent dude.  I say that that sounds to me like someone volunteering.  It's a joke, son!  A joke!  Anne says she votes for JT.  Just innocuous little messages via email, right?

Steve sends a text to Anne, asking her what her problem is.  Anne is confused.  Steve asks what gave her the right to start the voting.  He wants to be the secondary contact, he has the most experience out of all of us, blah blah blah.  Anne isn't even sure he's serious.  Has he actually gone off the rails over this?  She asks if he's going to make a bigger deal out of this than it has to be, or something like that.  Steve says Fuck this, I can't be in a band with you any more.  He then calls John and tells John the same thing, that he can't be in a band with Anne any more.  John can't believe he's serious either.  Are you quitting the band?  Steve says Yes.  John accepts his resignation.

John calls JT, who has known Steve for many years and is the reason he (JT) is in the band, and asks him to call Steve, and find out if this can be saved.  Ten minutes later, JT calls John back.  Steve is out, he ain't coming back.

If we could've held it together for six more weeks, we'd have those two gigs behind us, be on agent dude's list of groups he can count on, and we'd be on our way.  But the underlying problem in the band, Steve Who Cannot Get Along With Females, would still be there.  If we survive this one, we'll end up better off.  Harmony within the band is still more important than raw talent.  Finding a guitarist who can sing is nothing.  Finding one who you can get along with is the trick.  And we're back to Square One.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 20, 2016, 08:06:49 PM
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Jesus Christ.  :facepalm:
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 20, 2016, 08:07:02 PM
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Maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan seriously? That sucks. It would be funny if it weren't real. I'd expect this kind of drama from a teenage band (no offense, teenagers), but not from adults.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 20, 2016, 08:07:23 PM
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This is so ridiculous that it defies believability.  It truly does.  Couldn't Steve have kept his assholic tendencies in check just a little longer?  We were on the fucking brink.  Paying gigs booked, promise of plenty more where that came from, as long as we don't suck (and we don't).

Steve and Anne have apparently never really gotten along.  John shared this with me.  He's actually talked to both of them, many times, and things seemed to be getting better.  I've noticed little snipes at each other during practices and stuff, and while we all joke around and give each other shit, I've often suspected that these were actual barbs.  Mostly Steve giving Anne a hard time over something stupid, and just not backing off.  Overreacting.  Anne would eventually get tired of his shit and strike back, but I've never seen her start it.  Steve, on the other hand, is like a teenager, so yeah, all this drama.

I wouldn't blame Jerry, JT, or Anne if any one of them decided that enough is enough, this band is just plain jinxed.  I don't know if we could survive a second departure at this point.  It would vastly increase the odds that a third would occur, and at that point, I think everything would collapse.

Personally, I'm still in.  I mean, I don't have anything else going on, why not?  I have a bunch of holiday-related musical obligations coming up, but other than that, nothing.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 20, 2016, 08:07:39 PM
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This is so ridiculous that it defies believability.

Yyyyep!  Its like, how more fucking ridiculous could this get. 

Steve sounds like a raging douche, and you guys are certainly better off without him, though I understand that this is just more ass pain for you guys.  Hopefully you can find someone quick smart to fill in!
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 20, 2016, 08:07:57 PM
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Tell Steve we think he's a prick.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 20, 2016, 08:08:09 PM
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lets start an official steve depreciation thread.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 20, 2016, 08:09:28 PM
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I got a text last night, after I'd stuck my phone in the charger for the night, so I didn't see it until this morning.  "Sorry Bob, I just couldn't deal with her anymore.  Her need to control everything, her constantly needing to have her way, even to the detriment of the band..." it goes on.  He's fucking psychotic; I never truly saw it before.  I wanted to ask him if he'd looked in a mirror lately.  Instead, I said that I never really understood what the issue was between the two of them, but I guess sometimes certain personality types just don't get along.  Like Steve and anyone female.  I didn't say that last part.  So after sending my reply this morning, he replied again, going on about all the horrible things he imagines she's done.  I just put the phone down.  I'm not continuing this conversation.

Last year's drama, with our original singer Karen, actually made sense compared to this, if that statement itself even makes sense.  Karen was a great singer if she liked the song, barely tolerable if she didn't.  She also missed practices and sometimes showed up obviously unprepared.  So Steve's complaining about her was legit, and I guess when he took the opportunity to rant about how females are always pulling shit like this and how it's just not worth it, I let it go because he was annoyed, as we all were.  When he started in on Anne, who is a much better singer, has infinitely more stage presence, and is just a much cooler person in general, I didn't get it.  It's like he's constantly looking for things to get annoyed about, and of course always finding them, because if they're not really there, he'll just make them up.

Or maybe I just looked the other way because he's a hell of a guitarist, one of the best I've ever played with.  But I'd rather have someone with half the talent if I can get along with them, and the whole band is better off without someone like that.  If we survive...
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 20, 2016, 08:09:43 PM
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Orbert's Almost Band is starting to sound like Orbert's Teenage Grindcore Band.
I'm also starting to think you could make a soap-opera after this, called Orbert Street.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 20, 2016, 08:09:56 PM
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Tell Steve we think he's a prick.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 20, 2016, 08:10:11 PM
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Orbert, you may have answered this long ago, but where did you even find this guy?
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 20, 2016, 08:10:25 PM
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Steve answered the ad for a singer way back when we lost one of our original singers, Dave.  Dave could sing high stuff like nobody's business.  Survivor, Journey, Toto.  He was amazing.  Steve doesn't have the same kind of range, but he can play a killer guitar, and we figured that would help make up for reduced song selection.  Eventually it became obvious that not only was our original lead guitarist Rick an idiot and a head case, but we also didn't need three guitarists, so Rick was let go and Steve took over lead guitar.

The original concept for the group was a male singer, a female singer, two guitars, keyboards, bass, and drums.  It's John's band, and while he is easily the least talented and least experienced of all, he's also a millionaire with a huge house and a studio/practice space in his basement and lots of top-shelf equipment.  His idea was to surround himself with great performers and just have fun rocking out in the basement.  Having both a male and female lead singer meant greater song selection and built-in strength with harmonies and stuff.  It was only after "accidentally" amassing a lot of genuine talent that we started talking about actually playing out.  Adding Steve while losing both Dave and Rick was a good move overall, and certainly a good move at the time.  Also, a band with seven people is just too big.  It's still tough with six of us, but it's workable.  After John and myself, Steve was next in seniority in the band.


John sent out an email this morning, assuring everyone that he intends to keep this band going, and reminding everyone that setbacks happen.  I made sure to reply quickly that I for one am still in, and pointed out that the band has been through many changes in the past, and each time we've gotten better people.  Better in terms of a better fit for the band (we get along better), and also more talented (doesn't hurt to toss in a compliment, especially since it's true anyway).

All three of the others are still in.  Jerry also expressed disappointment, but he's in.

It occurred to me that Jerry and Anne were the last to join the band, and therefore this is the first personnel change for them, so it's not like this is the final straw or anything like that.  I've been through all seven.  Two singers, a guitarist, a drummer, and three bassists.  And we have in fact gotten better people each time, and keep getting closer to our ultimate goal of playing loud music not just for our friends, but for hordes of drunk people in bars.  Dare to dream!
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 20, 2016, 08:10:40 PM
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Where are you guys located? And what's the age group of the members?
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 20, 2016, 08:10:58 PM
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If you guys would commute to North Carolina, I would totally jam with you guys.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 20, 2016, 08:11:12 PM
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If anyone of you guys came to my house in Wales - you'd hate me just as much IRL - if not MORE !! :neverusethis:
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 20, 2016, 08:12:29 PM
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Where are you guys located? And what's the age group of the members?

Chicago far northern suburbs.  We're all in our 50's.

Most of us played in bands back in the 70's or 80's, and have played on and off to varying degrees ever since.  John organized a reunion of friends at his house a few years ago, and they had a band back in the 80's which didn't really go anywhere but was fun, so when they got together, they brought their gear and played some songs.  The "Before" and "After" pictures are great.  John got bitten by the bug, and decided that he's got the time, he's got the money, and he's at a point in his life now where he can buy a bunch of gear and put a band together.  That's us.  He freely admits that he has the least experience of all of us and is probably the least talented (he's correct on both counts) but it's his band, and all we're doing is playing for fun.  Or at least that was the idea at first.  Once JT our drummer joined, it started becoming clear that we have some real potential, and we started talking about playing out, once we get enough tunes down.  That was nearly two years ago, but we've been plagued by personnel changes, each one of which sets us back in terms of time to find a replacement and time to get the new person up to speed.  But each change has ultimately helped the band because we've "traded up" each time.

It's different doing this now as adults with kids/wives/lives as opposed to when you're young and stupid and the band is everything.  It's just a hobby.  We have no delusions of grandeur; we're never going to get rich doing this, and we know it.  We just like to play.  That's all we're trying to do.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 20, 2016, 08:13:05 PM
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Get John to put up $50 and make a profile on The Musician's Contact Service and put an add on there. https://www.musicianscontact.com
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 20, 2016, 08:13:20 PM
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Thanks for the suggestion.

The band was mostly put together via the Internet.  Various online want ad places, such as BandMix.com and ReverbNation.  Steve, Anne, and Jerry were all the results of web searches and subsequent auditions.  JT came in when we lost our first drummer, as he was someone Steve knew.  I came on board because the original singer Karen knew me, but otherwise the entire original lineup was formed via the net.

John's buddies have all scattered to the winds.  None of them lives close enough to play on a regular basis, so he used Internet searches to put the initial lineup together.  I guess that's why, from the beginning, there's been an attitude that if anyone doesn't work out, we try someone else.  The other big difference between this band and the kind of band you're in when you're younger is that back then, the band was all guys you knew from school, maybe even grew up with.  That was my first band, all guys from the neighborhood.  Later that expanded to include guys who knew other guys from somewhere, but there was always a personal connection.  Our band has more the feel of a business arrangement.  I like everyone well enough, but we're all from different towns, different walks of life.  I didn't know anyone in the current band before the band.  We're not quite friends; we don't hang out together on weekends or go hit the bars together.  We're more like co-workers who get along and have a good time, but when it's time to go home, that's it.  Well, we're all friends on Facebook.  We share jokes and memes and stuff, and we've met most of each other's significant others.  So I guess we're closer than just co-workers, but don't have tight personal bonds yet.  This whole experience has been very interesting.  And if nothing else, I've gotten to play with a number of different people, played songs I never would've played otherwise, and am a better musician for it.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 20, 2016, 08:13:36 PM
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To be honest, I'm just exceptionally surprised you can keep a positive outlook on this. I'd have told each individual member of the band where to shove their finger and left if all this had happened to me, so, good on you, man.  :tup
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 20, 2016, 08:14:56 PM
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Believe me, there's been a couple of times I've been tempted to just quit.  We've gone through a lot of personnel changes, resulting in a lot of lost time.  If we'd had the same lineup for two years, we'd probably be gigging by now.  But the original band did kinda suck, so there would be limited payoff in that.  And I'm serious when I say that every time we lost someone, the replacement we eventually found has been better, both in terms of talent and personality.

I like to rock, but I don't have any other rock bands to play in, and I don't have the time or energy to devote to starting one up.  I still get my musical rocks off on a regular basis singing in the church choir, and also leading the praise band, which gives me the opportunity to arrange tunes for some pretty esoteric ensembles, also sing and play piano, sax, and flute.  So I've stuck with the rock band, because it's still worth it for me.  John does all the organizing, web-searching, dealing with agents and bar owners and stuff.  All I have to do is learn my songs and show up for practice.  I like learning new songs, and I like getting together every other Saturday and playing.  The money is absolutely not a factor.  We got $10 each for that one crappy gig we did play; it paid for my dinner, eaten there at the bar before the show.  Burger and Coke was $8 or so; I gave the girl a ten and told her to keep it because she was hot.  When John came out of the office later with $10 each for us, I just chuckled.  I got dinner and got to rock and roll for a few hours, and broke even.  It cost me gas money, but it was a reasonable night's entertainment.

I would love to actually play gigs.  Rocking out in the basement is fun, but obviously playing for people is the goal for most musicians, myself included.  So these setbacks have been very frustrating, but there's not a damned thing I can do about them.  I still get to jam every other Saturday.  Quitting the band would mean giving that up, so I stick with it.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 20, 2016, 08:15:22 PM
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Well, at least you still find getting together to jam with them enjoyable. I'm wanting to start a band with people from my school (my school is pretty music-intensive) - we have a "band night" every year where bands with members from the school can gig, but to be honest it's difficult to find people with the same music taste as me. You don't get many 15-17 year olds who listen to prog. Plus, we don't get any money for it. :lol
I'm looking at playing some of my ambient stuff outside of my school soon, though.
Just make sure you guys actually keep practising. I hope to see an Orbert's Almost Band debut album at some point.  :)
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 20, 2016, 08:15:36 PM
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Do you guys have a name? Or do you just go by "Orbert's Almost Band" in the real world as well?
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 20, 2016, 08:15:50 PM
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Do you guys have a name? Or do you just go by "Orbert's Almost Band" in the real world as well?
I really want them to, but I doubt it...
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 20, 2016, 08:17:35 PM
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Somewhere in this thread, I think I mentioned that the original band went by the name Oh Zone and that the current band is called FlashDrive.  But maybe not.

(http://imgur.com/cuVhoyi.jpg)

Cheesy logo I whipped up in half an hour using Word.  John is currently trying to hire people to come up with a more "professional" looking logo.  So far, he's spent $300 and they've all sucked.  We haven't officially voted or anything, but Jerry and Anne have said that they like this one fine, and don't see the point in changing it.

So he's having one of his sons work on it.  Since his son is a graphic designer, it will obviously be much better (yeah right).  And since it's his son, it will be free.  Mine was free, too.  I don't really care that much; I just don't want our logo to suck, and while this isn't exactly "professional" quality, it's sharp and easy to read, which none of the "professional" ones were.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 20, 2016, 08:18:04 PM
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How did you arrive at Flashdrive?
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 20, 2016, 08:18:18 PM
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FlashDrive, with a capital D.

Last year, after we'd lost our singer and bass player at the same time, we decided that we needed a new name.  At a band meeting, we'd decided on a new batch of songs, and this was before I'd set up my Dropbox, so we passed around flashdrives with the new songs on them.  Someone remarked that "flashdrive" was a cool, catchy word, also a relatively new word, having only been created in the past decade or so, but now quite common.  Good for a band name.  I pushed for the capital D.

John argued that it's Foghat, not FogHat; Coldplay, not ColdPlay; Soundgarden, not SoundGarden; and others.  All single words without a capital letter in the middle (something he personally dislikes, and which I agree with in general).  I pointed out that every one of those names aren't real words in the first place, but two separate words slammed together.  I thought that the idea was to take a common, everyday word and put a spin on it, not just use a common everyday word.  Anne said that she likes the big "D".  It emphasizes that it's two words that each sound like something.  "Flash" and "Drive" both are "action" sounding words.  Both are both nouns and verbs.  That kind of thing.

I just said Hey, Anne likes the big "D".  How can any guy argue with that?  And with that, I won the argument.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 20, 2016, 08:18:40 PM
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hahaha she wants the big D
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 20, 2016, 08:19:01 PM
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Exactly.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 21, 2016, 07:32:10 PM
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I like the name. You should do it in the style of the Flashdance writing. :lol

Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 21, 2016, 07:32:29 PM
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How did you brainstorm that and not go with the name:
The Big d

Just make sure you don't become dated with FlashDrive.  If your band started earlier, you would be:
The Floppy d
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 21, 2016, 07:32:42 PM
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Brilliant  :lol
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 21, 2016, 07:33:58 PM
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I like the name. You should do it in the style of the Flashdance writing. :lol

I want to see one of the professional guys come with that.  That could be fun.  I have not the skill.  The "logo" I came up with is basically Word Art, although I did cook up the outline color and custom fill gradients to match the lightning bolt (which was just clip art I found on the net).

(http://imgur.com/cuVhoyi.jpg)

Click on it to biggify.  There's actually a bit of detail to it, which I'm kinda proud of.


In other news, we already have a guitarist/singer lined up to audition a week from Saturday, which would have been our next scheduled practice anyway.  His name is Pat, he's about our age and background.  The band he was in before was really good; in fact, they got so good that they were working every week, sometimes twice a week (one-nighters Friday and Saturday probably) which was really getting to be too much, as most of them have full-time day jobs.  So he ended up leaving that band and taking a break, but now he wants to get back into playing.  Once or twice a month, tops, and that's perfect because that's exactly what we'd already decided on.  We don't want to gig every weekend, certainly not twice a week.  Once or twice a month sounds about right.

I've seen an old promo video of his former band on YouTube.  Guitar sounded pretty good, vocals sounded great.  He was one of three singers in the band, and the promo vid showed that off, but we got to hear him sing a verse of "Come Sail Away" and "Footloose" and he's got that high voice that sounds pretty effortless.  As an added bonus, the video was made at the same crummy bar we played at a few weeks ago, our one and only gig.  When I recognized it, I chuckled mightily.

Anyway, John has already talked to him, he says he knows a lot of the songs in our list.  They're going to decide on four songs for the audition.  We usually work on four songs every two weeks, so this will be basically like a practice session.  I do not know if Anne is the one who "found" him or what, but he said he's worked with Anne before and he likes her.  So that right there is a big step up over Steve, who told me point blank that he didn't really like or respect Anne.  So this should be fun.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 21, 2016, 07:34:15 PM
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:clap:
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 21, 2016, 07:34:33 PM
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(http://www.fightersgeneration.com/characters4/shazam.jpg)
Shazam TV show opening (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p7TR4ixOkhM)

I was trying to think what that lightning bolt reminded me of.  But it isn't quite the same, so you are legally able to proceed.   ;D

Nice work on the lettering btw (I biggified)
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 21, 2016, 07:35:42 PM
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I remember that show.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 21, 2016, 07:36:22 PM
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I was trying to think what that lightning bolt reminded me of.  But it isn't quite the same, so you are legally able to proceed.   ;D

Nice work on the lettering btw (I biggified)

Thanks.  And yeah, the Shazam logo zags twice, whereas ours only zigs once.  I figure other than the lightning bolt itself, which is clip art that I directly grabbed from somewhere, I'm pretty safe, and since the bolt is tilted a little bit (it tilted 11 degrees ccw when I tilted the letters, since they were grouped at that point) it might be considered modified enough to skirt an infringement.  We're just a bar band from the burbs.  If someone wants to sue us, we'll stop using it, but they're not going to get blood from a stone.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 21, 2016, 07:36:40 PM
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Not that I'm a graphic designer and have any weight behind what I'm about to say, but ...

You did a nice job of adding some flair without going over the top.  When I did my company logo, I started off a bit over the top, but when I found time I scaled it back to simpler design (less color and texture).  So don't pick at the logo and find new things to add.  Your balance is already ... balanced.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 21, 2016, 07:38:23 PM
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Thanks.  That's the thing I was going for.  The idea was that it needed to look good in a tiny square as a Facebook profile picture, bigger on a T-Shirt, or really big on a poster.  I wanted it to be simple, little more than just the name of the band and a lightning bolt.

I wasn't exactly sure how to combine them, but I started with just writing the word with the lightning bolt behind it, and I already felt that I was most of the way there.  I knew I wanted to use Word Art, since it's simple and easy to reproduce, with the words filled in with color, so I found a font that looked good "hollow".  I liked how this font has the extra shadow lines built in, giving it a 3-D look.  Then it was just a matter of playing with the colors until I liked how they worked with the lightning bolt.  Outlining the letters in dark orange had the unexpected but welcomed side effect of changing the lines inside the lettering to the same color.

One of the "professional" designs had the word written in the lightning bolt, which looked kinda cool, but it was hard to read the word itself.  They provided a couple variations on that idea, none of which I really liked.  Another design had the word much more stylized; the "F" had a lightning bolt "tail" on it, and the "E" angled up, but had a weird downward curve at the end which made the whole thing remind me of a dick going limp.  A third design was just too busy.  Lots of colors, and lightning in the background.  I have no idea how that could be reproduced, but in graphic design, lots of colors = more money to reproduce.

The one thing that all three of those designs had in common was that they were just so damned fancy that you had trouble reading the word FlashDrive.  In my mind, that is the most important point.  If someone looks at your logo, which is basically just the name of the band, and it takes them more than a few seconds to even read it, the logo fails.  Promoting the band, and the brand, is way more important than looking all super-fancy.

I know nothing about design, either, but I looked at the "professional" submissions (we had the first two at that point) and said "Shit, I could come up with something better than that in half an hour in Microsoft Word" and proceeded to do just that.  The third submission came in, and it too was just too fancy and silly.  Often, simpler really is better.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 21, 2016, 07:38:57 PM
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which made the whole thing remind me of a dick going limp.
Save that design for your band's alter ego, The Floppy d

Quote
The one thing that all three of those designs had in common was that they were just so damned fancy that you had trouble reading the word FlashDrive.  In my mind, that is the most important point. 
Absolutely.  There are so many creative things one can do with the letters of a title/name, and it almost always ends up looking funny.

Quote
I know nothing about design, either, but I looked at the "professional" submissions (we had the first two at that point) and said "Shit, I could come up with something better than that in half an hour in Microsoft Word" and proceeded to do just that.  The third submission came in, and it too was just too fancy and silly.  Often, simpler really is better.
I wouldn't totally discount the pros though.  You might have just ended up with a few bad ones.  It is a bit like being a musician.  You can learn things to expand your abilities, but you still have to be a musician at the core.  The people that are meant to be in graphic design and take the time to learn the trade skills are actually quite impressive.  And sometimes the person requesting the work can make a world of difference by just articulating what it is they are looking for.

But you lucked out and already hit upon a clean logo.  Send the bill to the rest of the band.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 21, 2016, 07:39:30 PM
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Sounds like they were not very good designers. Simplicity is actually one of the hardest things to achieve, because it gives you nowhere to hide. Also a designer's goal is to fit what the client wants, and you seemed to know the parameters well (I've worked for people who have basically contradicted themselves at every turn, but you still try to give them what they want, because that's your job).

It is a bit like being a musician. 

I think it is like being a musician. The key to both is knowing when not to do something, just as much as doing something. A new designer is like a young musician; they think they'll be great and stand out by throwing in the kitchen sink and overdoing something (whether it's adding lots of gradients and lens flares, or trying to write a 5 hour wankfest prog concept album).
The pro knows how to do a lot with a little, because they can do it with style that only comes from experience and taste. You can hear an amateur guitarist and a pro guitarist play only one note, and instantly hear the difference in execution. It's the same with anything creative.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 21, 2016, 07:40:32 PM
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The curse of Orbert's almost-band-now-actual-band continues!

This past Saturday was our next scheduled practice, and was also to be the day we auditioned potential new guitarist/singer Pat.  Instead, we got 12 inches of snow.  John lives out in the sticks a ways (in a "neighborhood" of mansions) which means 10 miles on a two-lane road that winds through hills and shit.  It was still coming down Saturday morning.  So... no.  Practice/audition was postponed until tonight (Tuesday), the next day we were all available.

Last night, our drummer JT got in a wreck.  Nothing broken, but some separated ribs and torn cartilage.  He'll be okay, eventually, but is currently in the hospital on a lot of pain killers.  He will not be playing drums for a while.

It just never ends.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 21, 2016, 07:41:13 PM
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Are you a praying man, Orbert? If not, your look seems so bad, you really should be.
Best wishes to JT. Hopefully Orbert's almost-band-now-actual-band won't do a Yes and kick him out like Jon Anderson...
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 21, 2016, 07:41:26 PM
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Is your rehearsal space by any chance built upon an ancient Indian burial ground? Have you noticed any suspicious looking people hanging around sticking pins in little dolls that look coincidentally just like the members of your band?
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 21, 2016, 07:42:18 PM
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Are you a praying man, Orbert? If not, your look seems so bad, you really should be.

Funny you should mention that.

Monday night, I was at a meeting at the church, and we start each meeting with "check-ins" which is just going around the table and each person checking in, giving a little update on what's been going on in their lives and what's on their minds.  Music and the band is never far from my mind, so when it came to my turn, I just said I've been working on music and the band, the usual thing for me.  They all asked how the band was doing, and I said that we'd managed to play one gig, then our guitarist quit rather suddenly, but we have an audition tomorrow.  I did not ask for prayers, although that was an option, and it did occur to me, the way things have been going for this band.

I can't help but think of "that kind of prayer" as being rather selfish.  A relative dying of cancer, or a friend going through a rough time, sure.  Pray for help, for them.  But I figure God has plenty to deal with without dealing with my stupid band that can't seem to get its shit together.

Less than two hours later, JT wrecked his truck.  I don't know whether to feel guilty or what.  I also don't know how serious I am about that last statement, because I know it doesn't work like that, but... damn.  This is getting truly ridiculous.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 21, 2016, 07:46:06 PM
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(http://imgur.com/38fJEMw.jpg)

FlashDrive Update!

We auditioned Pat last night, and separately, each of us has "approved" him.  All that remains is the formality of John offering him the position and him accepting it.

We played four songs from our list, songs that he and John had previously agreed on which Pat knew already.  John also wanted to try the beginning of "Come Sail Away", which we've never played before, but I've known it forever so I started the piano thang and Pat sang and it sounded great so we kept going.  Bass and drums came in on the second verse as I added some layers to the keys, then the big change when the guitars came in, and we even fumbled through the Ab bridge (I was yelling out chords and stuff) and came back to C and finished it.  And it wasn't bad.  We could add that song to the list now.  I love it when you can just play a song in a band because everyone knows it, or knows it well enough to get through it.  It was pretty cool.

Then we did "Some Kind of Wonderful" by Grand Funk Railroad, and Pat impressed us by adding guitar, and doing it tastefully.  Our general rule is to stick to the original arrangements, but there's no guitar in that song.  He just added scratches and fills, but it was sparse and kept the original feel of the song, and was very nice.  (I'm pretty sure Steve could never have done that.  He tends to overplay everything.)  Then Pat said he'd been working on "Hotel California".  So we did that, too, and it was pretty damned good.  Sure, there are a few spots where the guitarists need to figure out who plays what, but it's already 85% there.  And then, just for fun, "Johnny B. Goode" in A.  Silly, brainless jamming, just because it feels good.

I'm pretty sure we have a new guitarist/singer.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 21, 2016, 07:46:30 PM
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That's great news! It's a shame your next band update will probably be about the drummer spontaneously combusting or drowning in his own vomit (or someone's vomit. You can't dust for vomit).
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 21, 2016, 07:46:42 PM
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Great news, Orbert!
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 21, 2016, 07:47:02 PM
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After we finished, JT disappeared for a little while.  He was in so much pain (from the accident a few weeks back) that he was in tears.  But of course as a former Marine, he's manly and could not let us see it.  I honestly do expect him to be the next one to go, if and when that happens.

Pat has officially joined the band!
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 21, 2016, 07:47:14 PM
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:tup
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 21, 2016, 07:49:13 PM
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It has begun.  The agent dude who John was talking to, the same guy who asked if we could do the day after Christmas, offered us a one-nighter at a place we eventually want to get into anyway.  December 18, a Friday night in the middle of Christmas craziness, $500.  Even for a fraction of that money, this is a place we want to play.  The owner is actually a neighbor of John's, and when John asked him about playing at his place, he had to talk to the agent dude.  Agent dude just offered us the place.  If we do well, we play there again.

But we don't have four full sets of tunes.  We've got a couple hours, and are adding a third batch now.  Agent dude suggests we play three 45-minute sets, with 25-30 minute breaks in between.  His idea.  Shit, we could do that right now.  So anyway, we're in.  Then if we do well there, and the thing on the 26th, he says he's got some stuff to look at in Q1 2016.  He tends to book a quarter at a time.  Very businesslike.

So... things are happening.  Gigs booked, promise of future gigs with the agent dude who basically owns this county.  We keep him happy, he keeps us working, and everybody's happy.

That is amazing.

Can't make either of those days, but keep me posted.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 21, 2016, 07:50:55 PM
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(http://imgur.com/38fJEMw.jpg)

FlashDrive Update!

Pat has officially joined the band, and amidst the holiday craziness, John still feels that we should try to keep some momentum going, which isn't necessarily a bad thing.  The problem of course is that it truly seems like this band is cursed.

We were going to get together a week ago last Saturday, our next regularly scheduled rehearsal, but JT had booked something else that day.  The regular rehearsal schedule probably became tentative once Steve quit and the future was uncertain, and I don't blame JT for booking a catering gig.  He's a chef, and this is income for him, catering a holiday party.  He said he was available that evening.  John sent emails around asking if a weeknight the following week would work.  JT reiterated that Saturday evening was still open.  No one replied for a while.  I think the unspoken consensus was that giving up a Saturday morning to practice was one thing, but giving up a Saturday night was another, which is kinda sad, but that's reality.  This band keeps getting closer and closer to being something, but thus far it is still not a working band, therefore giving up a Saturday night to practice in the basement with fellow losers is tough, especially during the holidays when we all have better things to do.  But no one wanted to say it.

So that Saturday evening came and went without a decision.  The next round of emails started with John again asking about weeknights, and we decided on Monday the 28th (two days ago).  And that day, we got hit with an ice storm.  I swear, this band is cursed.  No way I was driving 10 miles out into the sticks on icy roads, and at least one other person agreed, so I'm glad.  Last night wasn't good, so we settled on tonight.

Yesterday, I noticed my brakes were feeling kinda "squishy" and there's the noise when I go around corners, so I took the car to the shop and called my wife to come pick me up.  My car is one of only two which can hold my keyboards and gear.  I have to check with my son to see if he's using the Durango.  His girlfriend comes back tonight after being gone for six weeks, but I think he said she won't be in til kinda late, and they'll get together tomorrow.  We shall see.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 21, 2016, 07:51:09 PM
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May the Force be with you.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 21, 2016, 07:53:02 PM
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Orbert, I just liked your band's facebook page. Hope to hear you guys soon.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 21, 2016, 07:53:14 PM
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Thanks!

At our next practice, we'll be putting together six more tunes, which will bring us back up to 20.  That's how many we had before Steve had his hissy fit and quit the band.  With 20 tunes, we'll at least be able to do split shows and some places which don't require a full four hours of tunes (such as the two gigs we had booked but had to cancel).  Agent Dude says to let him know when we're ready, and he has some places in mind.  He said up front that the #1 thing he wants from bands is honesty and integrity.  Don't take a gig if you're just gonna back out later for some bullshit reason, but if you do have to cancel, give him plenty of notice.  Don't wait until the week before and then say you'd tried to work it out but ultimately couldn't.  It was like two days after he'd set us up with those gigs that John had to call him and back out because Steve quit, but he was cool with it because it was beyond our control, and he had plenty of time to find someone else.

Then the goal of course is to keep adding tunes until we do have a full evening's worth of material, and that gets us better gigs.  Then after that, go back through and add some more interesting/challenging songs and drop the filler.  We've managed to amass a fair amount of actual musical talent in the group, and ultimately our goal is to play songs that are recognizable, but which you rarely hear bar bands playing because they're so hard to play.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 21, 2016, 07:53:27 PM
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If you are in need of an additional vocalist or keyboard player, you know who to contact ;)
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 21, 2016, 07:53:39 PM
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I'll keep that in mind.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 21, 2016, 07:54:17 PM
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(http://imgur.com/38fJEMw.jpg)

FlashDrive Update

We have a gig!

February 27, at some dive an hour west of here (and thus a half an hour west of civilization) called Sammy's Bar & Grill.  They know we only have two hours of music, but they think that's just fine.  Okay.  They're also going to pay us $400, and that's definitely okay.

No lights or sound equipment, no stage.  It's one of those "you can set up in the corner there, just move those tables" kinda places, but what the hell.  We need to gig, and it's not big money, but it's better money than the last gig.  We're movin' on up!
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 21, 2016, 07:54:30 PM
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Awesome! Looking forward to know how it turns out!
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 21, 2016, 07:58:18 PM
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Found out more about the gig.  The dive bar is hosting some kind of political fundraiser, and we're the "entertainment".  I'm not sure how I feel about this, I just know that somehow it seems to change things.  I've never liked mixing politics with... well, anything really.  I suppose if I like the candidate, then it's cool, but if I don't like the candidate, then I'm helping support someone/something I don't really believe in, and being paid for it.  That makes me something bad and evil which I can't think of the right word for right now.

I don't have any more details.  A gig's a gig, so we're doing it because we need the gig.  The money is nice but isn't the primary motivation here.  We just want to get out and play.  But I'd feel really shitty if we got there and it's some asshole candidate who I honestly don't like or want to support.  Hopefully it's just some local thing that I won't have to give a damn about.  It's in the next county over, so maybe.  Ugh.   :-\
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 21, 2016, 08:00:13 PM
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(http://imgur.com/38fJEMw.jpg)

FlashDrive Update

Found out more about the gig.  The dive bar is hosting some kind of political fundraiser, and we're the "entertainment".  I'm not sure how I feel about this, I just know that somehow it seems to change things.  I've never liked mixing politics with... well, anything really.  I suppose if I like the candidate, then it's cool, but if I don't like the candidate, then I'm helping support someone/something I don't really believe in, and being paid for it.  That makes me something bad and evil which I can't think of the right word for right now.

I don't have any more details.  A gig's a gig, so we're doing it because we need the gig.  The money is nice but isn't the primary motivation here.  We just want to get out and play.  But I'd feel really shitty if we got there and it's some asshole candidate who I honestly don't like or want to support.  Hopefully it's just some local thing that I won't have to give a damn about.  It's in the next county over, so maybe.  Ugh.   :-\

Please keep me posted about this... Chances are because it's there it's probably some county fundraiser, but it's probably of a political party of the opposite persuasion than my personal views.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 21, 2016, 08:00:59 PM
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Well, you've Liked our page, so updates will be coming your way on Facebook, but I'll probably post some details in here as we get them.

I know some bands hype each and every gig, which is fine, but right now we're a new band without any following to speak of, and trying to get people psyched up about driving an hour each way to see us play some dive for two hours feels... embarrassing.  We had two gigs within 30 minutes of our "home turf" I pumped the hell out of those, then they each got cancelled.  John asked me to put together an Event (every gig is an Event) so I did, and of course I did it up, but it feels just a bit silly.

I know.  You gotta be shameless.  You gotta hype yourself and your band relentlessly.  I honestly don't know how much difference it makes, but I guess if the result anything greater than zero, you gotta do it.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 21, 2016, 08:02:18 PM
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Yeah I really hate that as well.  The acoustic duo I'm in doesn't have a Facebook page, and I have no interest in making one just to tell people we are gigging somewhere. We get paid no matter who shows up, and seeing as neither of us are in it for the glory, I don't see much point.  Sure, it can be a crucial marketing tool, but we seem to do well without it just by proving to bar owners that we know our shit, are professional and entertaining.

The other band I'm in, the page is run by our singer and some of the stuff he posts is so cringe.  'We're coming for you! radiradirah.' fuck that.  It's a fucking covers band, give it a rest.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 21, 2016, 08:02:31 PM
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The thing is, there is no "promoter" for bar gigs.  You are the promoter, not the bar, and not the agent.  Last December when we first hooked up with Agent Dude (during the two days between the initial hook-up and when Steve had his pissy fit and quit the band), I read over the "agreement".  It's not a contract, just an agreement.  It outlined a number of expectations that both we and Agent Dude are expected to follow, one of which is that we must promote the gig.

It makes sense.  Why should he book us for gigs if we're not even going to promote ourselves?

If we're going to play somewhere, we should have posters up on the bulletin board at that venue a month before.  We don't just expect the bar to promote us.  We go there and put up posters with, at the very least, our name and/or logo, and the date(s) we're playing there.  I mean, that seems pretty obvious; if you're going to build a following (which theoretically is the idea here) then you want your name out there.  Do it often enough, and there will eventually be some people who recognize it, and some of them will specifically decide to go to that venue that night because they know you're playing, and you're good.  There are bands around here who've achieved that level of name recognition.  You say their name, and bar owners want to book them in their place, and people will go to see them.

Obviously we're nowhere near that level yet, but you have to start somewhere.  In addition to posters at the venues, hype each gig on your official band page and any social media you might have.  We have a band website and a Facebook page, and the gig is on there, so we've met that requirement.  Agent Dude didn't book us this one, but it sure doesn't hurt to have a bunch of past Events on your Facebook page.  It shows that you gig a lot, so you must be good, so more people will come to see you, so you'll gig even more, because you must be good, etc.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 21, 2016, 08:03:12 PM
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hmm.  must just work differently here.  Most bars hire bands to play weekend nights, and promote it as 'Live Music Friday' or whatever.  If you get hired to play at a bar, you're pretty much their employee.  The onus is on them to promote their bar and get punters in - its not on you.  If no-one shows up, the bar still pays you.  They didn't pull a crowd and they take that hit. 

It's different if you get the odd gig where the bar insists on you taking a cut from the door.  That's when you need to promote the shit out of it, otherwise you won't get paid. 
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 21, 2016, 08:03:23 PM
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It's different here, but not that different.  Lots of places around here advertise live music on Friday and/or Saturday, and there are always the regulars who go to any given bar on a Friday or Saturday anyway, or it will at least be one of a short list of options for them.  But within that, it can't hurt to play a place so often that people recognize your name, and if it's a matter of heading to the bar or going to someone's house to chill and watch the game, or just staying home, there's always a chance that someone'll say "Hey, FlashDrive is playing at Sammy's tonight.  They're pretty good, and the singer is hot.  Let's get some guys together and go."

Again, I have to figure that that doesn't happen a hell of a lot, but it can and does happen.  And if a bar owner notices that the place is busier on nights when certain bands play, they'll be more likely to book you next time.  That's why it's not just "fun" to have your friends come out and see you, it's good business.  Even if each band member brings one or two people, that's ten or more people there, buying drinks and filling tables.  When regulars come in, it's a couple more tables that are full.  That all helps build critical mass.  The place is that much busier, and everyone there is that much more likely to stay, 'cause the place is hopping and the band is rocking.

The gig in December was heartbreaking.  Not only were we going to get paid $500, but it was 20 minutes from their house, John's wife is a realtor, and she was going to set up a "Customer Appreciation Night" there and invite all her clients.  If you show up to play a place, and bring 30 people and buy food and drinks for them all night, that's a party.  You just put a couple hundred bucks in the till.  The owner is pleased.  You're coming back.  That one gig could have gone a long way towards putting us on Agent Dude's "keep these guys working" list.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 21, 2016, 08:04:28 PM
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I got a little more information today about the "gig".  It's a fundraiser thing for someone running for States Attorney for McHenry County.  We still don't have a name.  Appetizers and ass-kissing start at 7, and we start playing around 8.  It's at a bar, but it's not a regular bar gig; we'll play for a couple of hours (because that's all we have).

I'm guessing that because it's a bar and it is a Saturday Night, that they might ask us to play more.  Some folks might stick around, but once they figure out that we're playing all the same songs over again, they'll start bailing, or maybe not.  Meanwhile, once the event is over and regular bar hours start, people will come in and they obviously won't have heard us before, so hopefully they'll stick around.  But I don't know.  I do know that if we start playing at 8, we sure as hell aren't going until 2 like a regular gig.  So we'll see.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 21, 2016, 08:06:14 PM
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Our new guitarist/singer is named Pat, and he used to be in a band called Soda.  The Soda demo video (which is five years old) has him in it, and since the whole point is to showcase the band's various strengths, part it has Pat singing "Come Sail Away" by Styx.  He sounds great.  In fact, when he auditioned for us, John asked me to work up the intro and first verse just so we could hear if Pat still has the pipes.  He does.  (Also, I've known the song since junior high, but whatever).  Jerry and JT (bassist, drummer) also knew the song, so we fumbled through the whole song, including the A-flat bridge, despite never having played it before, at Pat's audition.  That was cool.

Anyway, a few weeks ago, JT was on his way home, an hour west of here, and stopped at this dive called Sammy's Bar & Grill to get something to eat.  The lady behind the counter, Diane, says "You're new around here.  What's your name?" and he says "James".  She says "James?  That's a nice name.  James what?"  "James Taylor".  (That's his real name, so he always just goes by JT.)  "James Taylor?  Like the musician?  Are you a musician?"  And JT says "Yes, but I'm not a singer.  I play the drums."

There's a big board that says "Live Music Saturday Nights" with pictures and the names of various bands that have played there.  JT continues "In fact, I was looking at the board there, and I've played with a lot of those guys."  He names one of the bands, names some of the guys in it, says he used to play with them in some other band, etc.  So now they're talking about bands and stuff, and she says "You know, there was a band we used to get a lot, but we never get them anymore, there were called Soda.  Those guys were great."  JT tells her that our new singer used to be with Soda.  "Pat?" she asks.  "Sailing Pat?"

Sailing Pat?  "You mean, like Come Sail Away?" he asks.  "Yes!  Come Sail Away!  What a great song, and the way he sang that song..."  So JT tells her, yes, "Sailing Pat" is now in our band, and (he bends the truth just a bit) we do "Come Sail Away".

Just then Mike (the other owner, Diane's husband) comes out of the kitchen, and Diane says "Hey Mike, this guy James is in a band with Pat from Soda!  You know, Sailing Pat?"  And Mike says "I love Styx.  Come Sail Away is one of my favorite songs by them.  Pat is in your band?"  And JT nods.  Diane goes on "Plus, he's played with (so-and-so from this band, so-and-so from this other band)..."  And Mike says "You're hired.  I'm sure you guys are great if you have Pat, and you've played with those other guys, too.  When do you want to play here?"

JT says "This is the part where I give you our manager's name and phone number."

And that's how we got the gig.  They never listened to us, didn't go to our website or Facebook page, and JT could have been completely bullshitting them, but we got the gig based on "Sailing Pat" being our new singer, and they love that one song he sings.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 21, 2016, 08:07:18 PM
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Looks like you guys auditioning Pat was a good move! :biggrin: Things seem to finally be taking off for your band, which is great especially after all the problems you guys went through.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 21, 2016, 08:07:28 PM
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Thanks.  Yeah, seriously, the crap we've been through.  I have to admit, I've been tempted to just throw in the towel, but as I mentioned upthread, I don't have another band right now, I might as well stick with this one.  We're getting closer to being an actual working band.  If we can just keep our shit together a little longer...


So at our last practice, during which we made sure we have "Come Sail Away" nailed down, so we can impress Diane and Mike and at least have one regular place to play (they said if we're good, we come back and become a regular band there), JT said that this is a hell of a song, and we should make it like a complete showpiece.  Bob should jam a bit on the piano, a solo, then work into the intro to "Come Sail Away" which everyone in the room will recognize, they'll go nuts, we nail the song, and we're freakin' heros.  I was cool with all of it except for the piano solo, but what the heck.

So I jammed bit in C, went through a few changes, worked around to a G, then started "Come Sail Away".  They thought it was pretty cool.  So it's gonna be our second song.  We open with "Born to be Wild", then completely kill the momentum by having Bob do a piano solo, leading into a tune that's six minutes long already, then Anne introduces the band.  That's our opening one-two punch.  I guess it could work, but I pushed for saving it for later in the show.  They said we only have two sets right now.  It'll be one of the ones we play again later.  Whoa.  Roll with the changes.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 21, 2016, 08:07:47 PM
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Quote
whoa. Roll with the changes.

Will you do Roll with the Changes? That one is fun to play.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 21, 2016, 08:08:00 PM
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I imagine it would be.  I've always liked the piano in that song.  But no, we don't. :(
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 22, 2016, 09:36:45 AM
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Roll With the Changes is an awesome song.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 22, 2016, 09:37:20 AM
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Orbert, how did the gig go? I was planning on going most of the week but lack of funds and daughter starting to not feel well meant I needed to stay home unfortunately. Hopefully the gig went well enough that there will soon be another gig?
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 22, 2016, 09:37:40 AM
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I was looking for you, but figured something must've come up.  Sorry you couldn't make it.

It went really well.  It was weird, a Saturday night in a small town, a political fundraiser at 7:00, and we start playing at 8:00.  We were there about 4:00, figured two hours to set up, sound check at 6:00, get out of the way, have something to eat, festivites start at 7:00.  That all went according to schedule, except that come 7:00, no sign of any "festivities" starting.  There were a lot of people there, however, and there was one guy in a blue sport coat and tie and great hair passing out business cards, so we figured he was The Man.  He was.  He came by our table maybe quarter after 7.

By this time, everyone's met Mike and Diane, the owners, and they're great, really nice people.  After The Man wandered off to kiss some more asses, I asked Mike if he still wanted us to start at 8:00, because I thought things were gonna start at 7:00 and I couldn't tell if they had or not.  He said he wasn't really sure about how this works, having never done it before, but yeah, we should start playing at 8:00.  I said that that meant we'd be finishing up before 11:00, so how does that work?  He said the place usually starts clearing out by Midnight.  This is not a huge place, and it's a tiny town.  No crazy headbanging until 2:00 AM here.  So okay.

Five minutes to 8:00, we start gathering, doing some final checks on stuff, and The Man asks if he can just say a few words before we start playing.  Sure, we figured that was the deal.  He introduces himself, some buddy of his running for Commissioner of something, and some other buddy running for Circuit Court Judge or something like that.  Asks everyone for their support, then introduces the band.  That was the extent of the political activities during the night.

We totally killed 'em.  I mean come on, this is Huntley, Illinois.  We were the best thing they'd seen/heard in a long time.  We played a little over an hour, took a break, came back and played our second set, by this time it was pushing 10:30.  Diane asked if we could play a little more.  We told her that that was actually all we knew; we've only practiced together four times.  "Four times!"  She was blown away.  But we whipped out Johnny B. Goode in A, stretched it out, everyone took solos, then we repeated Born to be Wild, and did Come Sail Away again (even better than the first time) which is Diane's favorite song.  I did my piano solo thing leading into the intro, John did the Tommy Shaw solo at the end and took it a bit farther, then the big ending.  It was actually a really good rendition.  Diane looked like she was gonna cry.  She said we're definitely invited to come back.  So that's cool.  I'm not a fan of the hour drive out there, and playing two counties away doesn't do a lot to build a local following, but a gig's a gig.  They like us and are willing to pay us, and it's good practice for when we start doing more high-profile stuff hopefully not too long from now.

Now we just gotta get a third set together and we'll be ready to go.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 22, 2016, 09:38:17 AM
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*gig write up*

Sounds great, Orbert!
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 22, 2016, 09:38:49 AM
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Thanks!  It was a good time.

Our next gig is two Saturdays from now, a private thing in another tiny little place in a tiny little town.  Somebody rented out the bar for a birthday bash and will pay us $300 to play.  Sure, why not.

So John wants to get together this Saturday to practice, brush up a few things that didn't quite go right the other night, and also learn "Birthday" by The Beatles.  As much as I'd rather have a Saturday to sleep in, it wouldn't hurt to practice a bit more.  I already know "Birthday" (having learned it and arranged it for the praise band a few years back) but it'll be cool to whip it out at the gig, since it's a birthday party.  Also, there's always a chance that someone will be out celebrating a birthday, so it'll be a good song to have in the bag anyway.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 22, 2016, 09:39:03 AM
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it'll be cool to whip it out at the gig, since it's a birthday party.

I predict this will be the last gig you get.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 22, 2016, 09:39:19 AM
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Hey, we don't know what kind of birthday party this is, at all.  It could well be what gets us many gigs in the future, though perhaps of a slightly different nature.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 22, 2016, 09:39:31 AM
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You got me there. In that case, rock out with your cock out. :metal
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 22, 2016, 09:39:42 AM
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:metal
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 22, 2016, 09:40:00 AM
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If they are renting out the bar, it's possible that the manager of the bar may also be there, and if they like you, well there you go.

Where is the gig? Obv since it's a private party I won't be going, but just wondering for geographical purposes and what you mean by tiny town :lol
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 22, 2016, 09:40:24 AM
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The town is Wonder Lake (https://www.google.com/maps/place/Wonder+Lake,+IL/@42.3848148,-88.3754022,12z/data=!4m2!3m1!1s0x880f657dbeca9bfd:0x70ab595cf505070), on the shore of... Wonder Lake.  Population 4000 as of the 2010 census, but in 2000 it was only 1300.  West of 31, east of 47, north of 120, south of 173.  I've never heard of it before now, but that's not unusual.  There are a zillion little lakes around here.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 22, 2016, 09:40:43 AM
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The town is Wonder Lake (https://www.google.com/maps/place/Wonder+Lake,+IL/@42.3848148,-88.3754022,12z/data=!4m2!3m1!1s0x880f657dbeca9bfd:0x70ab595cf505070), on the shore of... Wonder Lake.  Population 4000 as of the 2010 census, but in 2000 it was only 1300.  West of 31, east of 47, north of 120, south of 173.  I've never heard of it before now, but that's not unusual.  There are a zillion little lakes around here.

And every lake has a town. Round Lake, Grayslake, Third Lake, Lake Villa, Lake Forest, Lakemoor, Lake in the Hills, Crystal Lake, Fox Lake, Gages Lake, Island Lake, Lake Barrington, Lake Zurich, Lakewood... And half of those towns are in Lake County. :lol
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 22, 2016, 09:40:54 AM
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Seriously.  Lakes all over this damned state.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 22, 2016, 09:41:21 AM
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(http://imgur.com/38fJEMw.jpg) (https://www.facebook.com/Flashdrive2015/)

Thanks to Splent and Cozmo for their support!
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 22, 2016, 10:14:39 AM
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In other news, my band has a gig tomorrow, and try as I might, I just can't get fired up about it.

(http://imgur.com/38fJEMw.jpg) (https://www.facebook.com/Flashdrive2015/)

It's the second gig with the new guitarist, and he's great and the gig two weeks ago rocked, and we finally seem to be getting somewhere.  But tomorrow's thing is at a place even more remote and nowhere than the last one, the venue itself has no website, and their Facebook page (which is apparently their only official web presence) looks like shit.  No logo, no picture of the place, just a semi-bad picture of the sign hanging over the door taken by a patron and submitted to the page.  Other pictures taken by patrons and submitted reveal a tiny little place frequented by 100% white rednecks.  User posts rake them for being racist assholes and implore them to at least come into the 21st century.  For obvious reasons, I'm a bit sensitive about racism.  Interesting that the posts are even there.  Either the people running it don't care, aren't savvy enough to remove them, or some combination of both.

Yelp reviews aren't all horrible, but the second one mentions the bartenders getting high right outside the front door so people have to walk through the smoke to get in.  Real classy place.

Our drummer JT took a trip up there to do reconaissance, and says the place is about 2/3 the size of the last place (which was tiny) and has a stage.  A stage might sound good, but it's actually not.  It means that we have a predefined place to set up six people, and there's no way to push out even two inches onto the dance floor.  And we were pretty crammed into the last place.

So it's basically a shithole out in nowherefuckingland, and once again will do nothing to help build our local following because it's an hour away.  I told John all this in an email and that I realize that we have to start somewhere, but shouldn't we at least try to have some standards?  He acknowledged my concerns, and joked that hey, as long as they check for weapons at the door, we'll be fine.  The next email from him was the official announcement to everyone that we had accepted the gig, because Agent Dude (the same guy who got us the shitty gig last November) got it for us, and he's in with The Man, and we want to make The Man happy, because he's the one who'll get us the real gigs.  Whatever.  I do love to play.  I'm just having trouble getting excited about this one.  The last gig was a nice place that just happened to be really small.  This place really does look like a shithole.  We're not even getting paid as much as the last gig, and this time we're paying a sound man, too.

(http://i.imgur.com/S9BZcBW.jpg)
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 22, 2016, 10:15:04 AM
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Well...

Yeah :lol

No seriously I hope you guys do well there. Yeah you gotta start somewhere but I hope you can start playing at some venues closer to where you guys are.

I don't know of any places by me that do live shows, there are some bars that do karaoke but I don't know if that means they do bands or not.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 22, 2016, 10:35:01 AM
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I know we have to start somewhere, but the idea is that it doing it will lead to something.  What's next, birthday parties for 10-year-olds?  The only reason I can see for playing this gig is because playing live gigs will help solidify the band, work out some kinks, etc.  That's always good, but driving an hour each way, setting up and tearing down in middle of nowhere, is not necessary.

I told John that we don't have to jump on every gig they offer us.  Agent Dude is, by all accounts, an asshole.  JT and Steve have both met him and confirm this, but more importantly, they also both say that we don't actually have to kiss his ass.  It doesn't hurt to keep him happy, of course, but he's basically The Man's lap dog.  We're already in with The Man.  Last band meeting, John asked us if we thought we were ready to call The Man and tell him we're ready for real gigs, and we all said "Yes!"  The Man had us booked twice last December before Steve had his hissy fit and quit, one for $500 and one for $400, and we're better right now than we were last December.  We're getting $300 for this nowhere gig, a fucking redneck birthday party, and our sound man comes out of that.  It's time to cut out this piddly shit and play some real gigs.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 22, 2016, 10:35:28 AM
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What's next, birthday parties for 10-year-olds?

I believe next is an Air Force base, then some kind of jazz exploration in front of a festival crowd.

If you had a few more gigs under your belt and a small following, I'd start to get more selective, but for now I'd just take it as experience with the worst to prepare you for anything that comes later. So basically what you said.
I shall wish you good luck though, and pray to the rock gods that nothing more goes wrong. :tup
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 22, 2016, 10:36:25 AM
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Request:  A thread called "As the World Orberts"

The only thing worse than moving slowly is not moving at all.  I'd just power through the gig and treat it like a very important gig.  Pump up the crowd (patrons).  Get a local fan to record the performance for facebook or similar posting.  If you are worried about somebody sneering that the gig is a joke, that just gives you the opportunity to respond that the band treats every gig like a no holds barred event.

This can then become your calling card (or link) for local gigs.  Perhaps some similar hole in the wall local gig will think "Hmm.  I like band's that would treat my place like the greatest gig ever offered."

It sounds like you've passed the worst part of a startup band.  The band itself.  There are so many factors with the players.  Not aligning with the band direction.  Not showing up to rehearsals.  Talent and ability.

Heck, one band (with original music - so even tougher on direction alignment) I played with was great.  We all got along great.  We all were supportive of one another.  Rehearsal was a fun event, so calling for a rehearsal was as easy as "have free time to rehearse tonight?" answered with "let's do it."  All were very talented.  But they were more the garage band type (mentality).  When it was just us jamming, we pushed each other to perfection.  If we had to quickly rehearse something before a class, we knew the songs so well we could play a 6 minute song in 3 to 4 minutes.  And other musicians would always look in the door window and tell us it sounded great.

But ever rehearsal would end with me or the other guitarist saying "let's play live".  I understand the hesitation.  We were talking about playing in front of a ton of top notch musicians that could be the "arms crossed observer" x10.  It was strange though because prior in high school, I'd always form the bands that played in front of the whole school.  And I had enough muso friends to say "Christine from the Drama department asked me to have us play as part of their big production."  We could have same day prep and go in with no fear.  Now I'm at a musicians school playing with top notch musicians and some of them freeze at the thought of playing live.  What if they mess up?  So what?  And that's all in your mind because you play flawlessly when you didn't even these musicians are watching you through the door anyway.

After so many rehearsals, my friend and I just scheduled the time and told them we were playing instead of asking.  They said no at first, then agreed.  We played and the intro was great.  Then a few bars in, the bass just dropped out.  And that is a big frequency range drop.  Then the other guitar dropped.  Thankfully the drums kept going.   It caught me by surprise, and I turned from the audience to the band and thought I was going to mess up as well ... but the ungodly amount of rehearsals kept me playing and it was like somebody else was playing as I talked the drummer into not stopping so the others could find their place and come back in.

After we were done, they were adamant that they weren't ready to play again.  I said it wasn't their rehearsal prep, but their stage fright and they just conquered it.  If anything, we should play again the very next night.

It was a strange thing because we played smaller stages around town and even in front of the MI teachers as part of the curriculum where it wasn't about cheers, but always about critique on what we could do better.  In other words, unless you were the best, most perfect band ever created on the planet ... you were going to get feedback / critique.  And it was done without a hitch.  But go up on the big stage and these insanely good players freaked out.  It almost made me want to call up the less stellar high school buds to come play just so I didn't have to deal with people that had no reason to freak out ... freak out.

And you are past all that.  Where 800 factors of band dynamic are checked and in the rear view mirror.  Don't cancel the upcoming gig.  Own it and push really hard for more gigs.  If you aren't concentrating on why this gig is so bad and possibly cause another bandmate to lose enthusiasm, you can concentrate fully on the other gigs.

Especially the jazz exploration gig.  (BTW, I know I'm not telling you anything you haven't thought of.  But sometimes it is good to hear)
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 22, 2016, 10:36:40 AM
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What's next, birthday parties for 10-year-olds?


What's next ? A gig for ANTS?!
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 22, 2016, 10:39:20 AM
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Calvin, you are spot on.  Treat every gig like it's an event, treat every crowd like you're there just for them, because you are.  Every one of us has done this enough to know how it works.  By time we get set up and sound checked, the adrenaline will be flowing and I'll be ready to rock.

There was exactly one gig, back in the 80's, that I didn't give the proper treatment, and I regret it.  We were to be the "special guests" at some multi-band thing an hour south of where we lived.  The problem was that we had a gig the night before, two hours north.  This was in the days of three-day and four-day gigs all over northern Michigan, so driving two hours each way was okay because it was an extended gig and good money.  Well, $700 in 1982 money, which wasn't too bad.

Anyway, we decided to tear down and pack the bus the night before, get some sleep, then hit the road when we got up the next day.  We got started late, traffic sucked, and we got lost on the way there.  We were still there half an hour before we were supposed to play, which was good, but that's when we found out that being the "special guests" was a euphemism for "suckers who we got to fill up a set".  Our guitarist and bassist had to plug into the "host" band's amps.  Drummer had to use their kit, and I had to use the keyboard rig.  Seriously?  In the half hour we had, I went up there and tried to quickly learn everything I could about some other guy's setup.  He gave me a ten-second summary, then disappeared, because he didn't like the idea of someone else using his gear any more than I did.  Nice stuff, but it was all backwards.  Synth on the left, organ on the right, piano in the middle.  I always have the synth on the right (it's a fucking lead instrument, of course it's on the right if you don't stack them) and my choice would've been to have the organ on the left, but I wasn't allowed to move them around or anything.  I'd never played a real Hammond with drawbars and everything, and it would've been nice to actually have even ten minutes to learn, but we weren't allowed to make any sound during the break, I guess because people wanted to hear the shitty jukebox music.

I was tired, sore, felt screwed over, and was trying to navigate someone's else rig.  "Special guests" my ass.  I decided it was okay to let it show on my face.  Yeah, we sound like shit, sorry, we're not happy about it either.  Later, the other guys asked me what the deal was.  Apparently they all had problems and I was the only one who actually sounded good, but I looked bored/unhappy/whiny the whole time.  Even their sound man said it was cool finally getting to mix a keyboard player that knew how to actually use all that awesome gear.  It was just a shame that obviously it wasn't easy for me, but it sounded great.

So... never again.  Every show is an event, every audience is special.  I'm a professional (even if I'm just an amateur) and I'm gonna act like one.


Sorry to hear about your experience playing with great musicians but never really getting to go live with it.  I love playing music, and just jamming with other talented guys is great, but ultimately, playing for others is where it's at.  Our band was originally formed because John has a huge basement and plenty of disposable income, so his idea was to buy a bunch of gear, assemble a group of capable musicians and have a freaking awesome time rocking out in the comfort of his basement.  Like me, he hadn't played in a "real band" since the 80's, so the idea of gigging wasn't even in the picture.  That changed when we realized how good we are.  It's already great playing with these guys, so going live is the next level.

Oddly enough, just thinking about this is starting to get me kinda fired up.  Or maybe it's the coffee kicking in.  I think I'll go make another cup.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 22, 2016, 10:39:48 AM
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I completely understand not feeling on top after all that you described about that gig. I'm not sure I would have been able to keep up my enthusiasm either.


I'm both nervous and excited when I think about playing live with the band some day. Nervous because I have aspergers, and am nervous as shit around people in general. And excited because we have some really cool music, and I think it'll sound really good live. And I do like performing music for people, despite my otherwise nervous nature, so I'm sure it'll be worth it once we get there.

I expect it will be really difficult finding an audience for our weird prog/metal/rock where we live, but we will certainly try our best.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 22, 2016, 10:41:14 AM
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I completely understand not feeling on top after all that you described about that gig. I'm not sure I would have been able to keep up my enthusiasm either.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 22, 2016, 10:43:19 AM
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Last night's gig went really, really well.  Probably the best the band has ever played, and we had a small but appreciative audience.

It was at a little dive called The Lizzard Lounge, a surprise birthday party for someone named Patrick.  He thought he was just meeting a bunch of people there, but they'd rented out one side of the bar, set it up with food and balloons and stuff, and we were the entertainment.  A dozen or so folks our age, plus I think it must've been his mom or someone (older lady named Maggie, seemed to be in charge of things) and one of her friends, and even some little kids.  We had a sound guy named Marty who'd worked with Anne in her previous band, and he was great.  On stage, everyone could hear everyone else, and it was loud, but balanced.  The loudness couldn't really be helped because the place was tiny, but a lot of people told us we sounded great, one even said we "have a great sound" and that's the sound man, not us.  I suspect that we'll be working with him again in the future.  He actually asked John if we had a regular guy, if he (Marty) was just filling in for the night, or what, because he loved working with us.  He can afford to be a little picky about who he works with, and he said we're a group he'd like to work with.

Our set list had one saxophone song in the first set and the other three were in the second set.  That's just the way it worked out.  During the break, Patrick the birthday boy asked if we could do more songs with saxophone, because he loves the sax, and we told him we had a bunch coming up.  During "Play that Funky Music (White Boy)" everybody was dancing at the end when we normally end it, so I started wailing, the band followed my cue, and we went around another time with an impromptu sax solo, then came back and finished with another chorus.  I think that was our first improvised "live" moment as a band, and it came off really well, like it was planned that way.  I also doubled the length of the solo in "What I Like About You" although I think that might've been an effup.  Anne didn't come in to sing the third verse; she kinda looked at me like she wasn't sure if she was supposed to come in.  The solo literally goes right until the vocals come back in, so there's no break.  Anyway, she held off so I kept wailing, we went around again, and then she came back for the third verse.  More saxophone!

(http://i.imgur.com/iL4WKR3.png)

So my greatest fears were not realized, and that's good.  Everybody was really cool, really nice people, and I even got a piece of birthday cake, so what the heck.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 22, 2016, 10:43:39 AM
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That's awesome! :tup
Either you've used up all of your bad luck and are on easy street from here on out, or you're overdue for your drummer to spontaneously combust.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 22, 2016, 10:43:54 AM
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Cool :)

I used to play the saxophone when I was young. A little before I turned 16, almost 7 years ago, K picked up the guitar amd now only very rarely pick up the sax. I'm learning the piano as well now and people mostly know me as a guitarist. A lot of times when people find out I play the sax, they tell me I should play it more often and I do need to really,  it's an awesome instrument. Unfortunately, finding the time to practice guitar and piano is difficult enough and I need the guitar for my band and the piano for my work, so it's a tricky situation.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 22, 2016, 10:45:16 AM
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So glad to hear your gig went so well Orbert.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 22, 2016, 10:45:26 AM
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Thanks! :tup
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 22, 2016, 10:45:51 AM
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Cool story Orbert, glad it was a fun gig! It's funny how sometimes the gigs that seem like they're gonna be a total dead rubber turn out being fun.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 22, 2016, 10:46:22 AM
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Thanks! :tup

And going by your first impression of the gig, thank you for not ending up in a bar room brawl.  You planted some doubt in the back of my mind that I might have cheer led your band going to a legitimately dangerous gig.   :blush  Or your story today would be about your gear being stolen.

When are you posting the pics and/or video?
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 22, 2016, 10:47:56 AM
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Unfortunately, there aren't any pictures of us playing, because we were all on stage.  Jerry's wife Vicki usually takes literally hundreds of pictures (she's a camera nut), but since it was a private event and we were just hired as the entertainment, plus it was out in the middle of nowhere, we didn't know if it would be okay to bring our significant others, and we didn't ask.

Jerry took one picture of the stage before we started.  He stood in the middle of the room.  There were four booths along the wall behind him, and three or four tables to the left.  The thing that looks like a gazebo next to where I'm standing is a stairway leading down to the storage/office areas.  That's it.  The place is small, and we were only on one side of it.

(http://imgur.com/R5iRqy8.jpg)

I snapped a picture later, knowing I'd want to put at least something on the band's Facebook page.

(http://imgur.com/HjInRT2.jpg)

$2.00 PBR in 16oz CANS!


look like you're into it.

I have also found this to be sooo important. Many modern beginner bands, at least the genres I usually listen to, often think it best to look really "cool" and serious, as if it's no big deal. Like they're not enjoying what they're doing at all. Not just live but in music videos and stuff too. So when you come across someone who you can truly feel is really into the music, it always makes it better, and it pulls you along.

I had a great buzz going by time we started, plus I get really wired up when I play music anyway, so I was laughing and smiling and having a great time all night.  JT (drummer) was sweating his ass off, but I kept looking over at him and laughing, and he couldn't help but smile back.  Jerry (bass) was kinda bummed because he literally could not move around at all; there was just nowhere to go once we were all up there, but I laughed at him and got him to smile, too.  When I wasn't playing keys or sax, I whacked the cowbell or just danced badly behind my rig.  I just kept telling the others how awesome they were, how awesome we are, and it was infectious.  A lot of people said it looked like we were having a great time, and we were.

Bonus picture of Orbert laughing while playing:

(http://imgur.com/qb4Lpk9.jpg)


Damn, I love playing music!!
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 22, 2016, 10:48:31 AM
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:tup

So happy you are now getting to enjoy what you set out to do with this adventure.  Good luck on keeping it up and adding to the fun.

But people love drama, so be careful not to change the show's dynamic of "As the World Orberts"  or you risk viewership.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 22, 2016, 10:48:55 AM
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Oh yeah, I know.  Some kind of shit is bound to come up.

John contacted The Man, and said we were ready.  The Man said he just had someone cancel May 27.  That's the Friday of Memorial Day Weekend, and I'm out of town.  Meanwhile, Agent Dude had something for us on April 1.  I'm out of town that weekend, too.  Both events are set in stone.  Shit.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 22, 2016, 10:49:32 AM
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That (partially) sucks.  I know if you were 18 to 25, the answer would be easy.  "Damn the torpedoes.  Let's do this."

By set in stone, John agreed to them already or it is just accept those dates or miss out completely?
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 22, 2016, 10:50:30 AM
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Yeah, that wasn't very clear.  I have commitments which are set in stone for both of those weekends.  One is a trip to Virginia, the other is a trip to Michigan.  The Memorial Weekend trip to Michigan happens every year, for nearly 20 years now.  I'm okay skipping it, but my wife would have some trouble with it.  I brought it up, and she said that since it's a Friday night, we could conceivably hit the road Saturday morning, return late Monday night, and still basically have a three-day weekend.  So I went to email John again, saying it was now a maybe, but by then Pat had responded, saying that he was also out of town that weekend.  I feel better knowing I'm not the one holding us up.  If two or more of us can't make it, well that's just how it goes.  The Man has got to know that with us older dudes, we have families and stuff.  The 20somethings can drop everything and play that weekend.

The thing on April 1 would have been nice because it would've been our first time playing at least in this same county, actually in Anne's home town.  But that's been set for a while, too, and it's a train trip for myself, my wife, and our daughter to visit her college.  We've always wanted to take a trip by train, and since I really, really hated driving through the mountains last time, this kinda combined the two concepts.  We get to do the train trip, we do the college visit, and I sleep rather than white-knuckle it for 12 hours each way.

There will be other gigs.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 22, 2016, 10:50:55 AM
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How receptive is *The Man*?  Does it seem like he's looks at it as "there will be other gigs" or does it seem like he might feel "this is why I don't get older people gigs."

Why is *The Man* doing this btw?  If it is their livelihood, I could see the latter reaction.   The good thing is you guys did last weekend's gig.  If you had turned that down and then these two, I could really see *The Man* losing interest.

When do we get to have a perfect world that stops so we can go realize our dreams on the side?
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 22, 2016, 10:51:46 AM
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The Man is the biggest agent in Northern Illinois for bars which have live music.  He is basically the agent.  All the major venues in Lake County work through him, and many in the neighboring counties as well.  We've known for years that to make it in this area, we must work with him.

He says he's not vindictive, and past experience bears this out.  If he offers us a gig and we turn it down, he doesn't get pissy and not book us for six months or some shit.  He's a businessman.  Treat him right, he'll keep us working, and we all make some money.

This isn't a huge deal.  He had set us up with two gigs in December, knowing full well that we only had two sets, maybe 2.5 hours of material tops.  He booked us anyway, and said to play three 45-minute sets with 20-minute breaks.  Three hours, problem solved.  Then Steve quit, and John called him immediately, told him the situation, and we had to back out.  He understood.  We gave him plenty of notice, so he wasn't left hanging.  That's good.  So yesterday, John sent him an email saying that we were back to at least where we were in December, and should be ready for full shows by summer.  He responded by saying that someone had just cancelled on him for May 27, and offered it to us.  John said he'd check with the band and let him know as soon as possible.  Two of us can't make it, so John will reply today that we can't do it.  I'm sure he doesn't actually expect to get a response same day, so I don't think this will be a problem.  He's still got over two months, and plenty of bands trying to get work.

I'm using monikers like "The Man" and "Agent Dude" because in general, I have a thing against booking agents.  That's from past experience getting screwed by them, even though it was years ago with my old band.  But in relating these events, I've chosen to give them silly names rather than use their real names.  There's no point in that, plus there's the tiniest chance that these tales will show up in searches and stuff.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 22, 2016, 11:16:50 AM
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Saturday was band practice with FlashDrive.  Worked up a medley of three songs that our new guy Pat used to do with another band, and tightened up "Babe" by Styx which was a minor train wreck at our last gig.  The break was, anyway.

The band has another offer, second weekend in June, at another tiny little place with a tiny little stage, but at least it's in the same county.  Actually not too far from John's house.  So at least it's not a frickin' hour away like the last two gigs.  That would be two gigs in June.  Hopefully something will come up between now and then, though.  If not, we'll have time to nail down our third set and be ready for the summer festivals.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 22, 2016, 11:17:17 AM
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Where are the gigs in June?
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 22, 2016, 11:17:31 AM
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Where are the gigs in June?

Saturday, June 11 at The Irish Mill Inn in Mundelein.  Tiny little place.  The upside is that it's close by.  Downsides are... many, but it's a nice little place.

Saturday, June 25 is a thing called VetFest, the first annual actually.  It's out in Huntley.  I guess our debut at Sammy's in Huntley impressed somebody so much that they contacted someone they knew who's on the team organizing VetFest, and convinced them that we should be one of the three bands.  So we are.  That's how word-of-mouth works.  VetFest of course is a festival honoring Veterans, and half the band are Veterans (three of the six, including myself) so it's a good fit.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 22, 2016, 11:23:36 AM
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Had a gig last night, it went pretty well overall.  Outdoor thing set up in the big parking lot out back, under a tent, perfect weather, the first band went from 1:00 to 4:30, then we were supposed to go 5:30 to 9:00.  Well, that's wrong, because it takes more than an hour for one band to move all their stuff out and another to set up and be ready to play.  At 5:30, however, we were surprisingly close to set up, thanks to a lot of coordination and many hands making light work, but once we got to checking the mikes, something was wrong.  So we lost 20 minutes chasing down a bad cable, and that was after taking longer than I would've thought for two guitarists to get all their shit together.  I thought the idea behind having all your pedals on a board and semi-permanently arranged was so that you can just plug in and play.  I was the first one set up, and had keyboards, stand, pedals, amp, saxophone, and my own mike to deal with.

Anyway, we didn't start til nearly 6:30, so after the first set, one of the guitarists turns around and says "We should just keep going, since we started late".  I was still pretty fresh, so I voted "Yea" and so did everyone else, so we went another set.  Okay, at 8:15, I was damned glad for that break.  Somewhere in there, I got a cramp in my foot, since gigging and rehearsing are the longest I ever stand up non-stop these days, but I kept playing, and tried to make it look like I was striking dramatic rock poses while I was stretching out my left leg and foot.  For anyone actually watching me, that is.  One of the good things about being in the back corner is that no one ever sees me, and to be honest, I'm usually okay with that.  Yeah, it would be nice to be seen once in a while, but mostly no one knows I'm even there.  "Oh, your band has keyboards?  Cool."

Proof: During the break, I went to get a Coke at the bar.  The guy took his time (asshole), slowly wandered over and got a cup, poured it, and asked me if I was gonna run a tab or what.  I told him I thought the band got drinks for free (which we do, word from the owner herself).  He said "Oh, are you with the band?"  You asshole, I just got done playing for nearly two hours, and I still have my saxophone strap around my neck.  Also, you asked me the same thing last time I was here.

Anyway, this was our first time playing three full sets.  John had it in his head that we needed to have 40 songs down before we started taking on full gigs, which meant that we nailed down two songs at our last rehearsal.  There, we have 40 songs.  But we only skipped two songs, skipped a break, and still went until 9:30.  I guess around here, you play three longer sets.  Back in the 80's, it was four  sets of 45, sometimes five 40's, whatever.  Now they want fewer breaks, so longer sets.  Getting too old to Rock and Roll?  Never!!
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 22, 2016, 11:24:44 AM
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:metal
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 22, 2016, 11:24:56 AM
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I'll catch you guys at the next one. I'll be done with school then!!!! FINALLY!!!
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 22, 2016, 11:25:10 AM
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Next one's up in Mundelein on June 11.  John says the stage there is really small.  This will be the closest gig so far, at least in the same freakin' county, but with six of us, fitting everyone up there will be a pain.  This should be interesting.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 22, 2016, 11:25:24 AM
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And you know that by the rules of stage priority, you'll probably end up having to play the gig from the bathroom. People can say hi on their piss break. :neverusethis:
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 22, 2016, 11:26:06 AM
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Yeah.  There's usually a round of emails that go around after a gig, and this one's no different.  Things that were good, things that we need to work on, etc.  As usual, most pictures show our singer being animated and engaging, while the guitarists are standing up there looking at their hands while they play.  The back row is actually looking up and out most of the time, but our front line is pretty boring.  I can't even be seen in most pics, since I always end up behind a stack and/or in the shadows.  I could actually be off stage somewhere, and maybe four people there would even know the difference.  And half of them are in the band.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 22, 2016, 11:26:42 AM
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That's the way it goes sometimes. When my dad's band plays at Coins in Kenosha, it's like that, but they have such a blast playing there. Having that energy and excitement through the ENTIRE band and not just the singer is very VERY important. When that happens, the crowd will usually be engaged.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 22, 2016, 11:28:34 AM
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I'm hoping to catch your gig this weekend, Bob. It's all dependent on how tired I am and I honestly don't remember if anything is going on Saturday... Sunday I'm going to two parties (my brother-in-law;s retirement party and my friend's Tonys party) so I'm honestly not sure what's going on.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 22, 2016, 11:28:51 AM
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The venue is small, and the stage is even smaller.  John gave us an idea of the size of the stage the other day at practice.  "See the area of the brown rug.  It's about that."  The brown rug covers about half of our practice space, maybe a little less.  Maybe 15 feet wide, eight feet deep.  The rest is covered by the blue rug.

I'll be crammed into a corner, behind one of the stacks, with my saxophone set up under the piano.  Because the place is so small, John has opted to forego a sound man, so you won't hear me, either.  As usual, the guitars will get louder as the evening goes on, meanwhile no one will be there to turn up the keys, which will be coming through the P.A.  I'll have my little practice amp on stage, but that's basically my monitor.  It's the only way I can hear myself.  My amp, hidden behind the stack next to me, cannot possibly compete with guitars and Mesa Boogie amps.

So while I hope you can make it, this one has a relatively low potential to not suck.  We're only doing it because it's five minutes from John's house and he likes the place.  Acoustic duos and trios play there, and are fine.  I have no idea why he thinks it's a good idea for a six-piece rock and roll band to play there.  I was pretty pessimistic about both of the places we've played so far, however, and all three (two at the same place) have turned out to be great gigs.  So hopefully we won't suck.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 22, 2016, 11:30:02 AM
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Okay, we didn't suck.  In fact, people seemed to really like us, which obviously is not a bad thing.  Maybe I should just accept the fact that John is going to book us into crummy little places because that's all we can get (for now?) and stop being so pessimistic, because the fact is that we haven't had a bad gig yet.  Every one has been well received and, I must admit, much more fun than I thought.

I wasn't too far off about the stage dimensions.  18 wide by 7.5 deep.  Tight.  Also, at one end was a statue of St. Patrick, and at my end -- I jive you not -- a bookshelf and some other crap that we were not allowed to move.  Also, behind the stage was a big TV, which was left on all night.  He killed the sound, but since one of the other two TVs in the room was down, he wanted to leave the big one on.  Okay.

(http://i.imgur.com/EF45mxu.jpg)

It was loud as fuck in there, as predicted, but my wife was there, and she says that yeah, the volume was insane, but the mix itself wasn't bad.  You could hear everything.  I asked if that included keyboards, and she said yes, in fact they might have been too loud in a few spots.  Yes!  I mean, no, not great that things were out of balance, but I do get a bit tired of playing for my own amusement.  Because the place was tiny, John chose to forego a sound man, and as the guitars got louder, I just turned myself up, too.

Our drummer JT was late, as usual, so sound check was late and rushed, which is bad enough in a small room, but fatal if you don't have a sound man to adjust things as you go.  I'd turned my keys down to 2 to warm up (which we all did while people were still trying to watch TV and stuff), and before I knew it, John had turned me up at the board to compensate, and that part of the sound check was done.  Then we started the first song.  I was therefore responsible for turning myself up a bit for solos, but there's a huge difference between 2 and 2.5 when the P.A. is multiplying everything.  But in general, the mix was good, people danced, I got paid, and overall I had a great time, and I think so did everyone else.  So we're four-for-four.  I mean, I really don't think our band is capable of playing a gig that truly sucks, so I shouldn't be surprised.  All things considered, we're getting pretty good.

I also met a very pretty girl named Jessica who told me I was great and had "mad skills".  I also met her boyfriend Armand, and my wife was there and there was zero chance of anything happening anyway, but Jessica had beautiful hair and a great ass and it's important to remember why we're doing this.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 22, 2016, 11:30:37 AM
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Indeed  :metal
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 22, 2016, 11:31:06 AM
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I'll catch you guys one of these days. I swear. This sounds like a broken record of promises. We had two parties the next day (my brother in laws retirement party way out in Hampshire and then my friends Tony award party in Des Plaines so lots of driving (I didn't drive because I drank more)... But yeah. Couldn't go the night before. The next gig looks more doable.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 22, 2016, 11:31:23 AM
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Vet Fest in Huntley Town Square.  Apparently we're going to be playing two hours straight, no break, one of three bands on the bill that afternoon.  So that should be interesting.  I hope you can make it.  This last gig, we played two 90-minute sets.  Damn, that was killer, especially since it was about 90 degrees in there.  I had a big fan blowing directly on me where I stood, so that made it bearable, but just going 90 without a break, then going another 90 was tough.  Hell, just standing that long would test me, let alone rocking the whole time.  During teardown, I was leaning over to deal with some cords, then sat down on the floor because it was killing me to lean over.  I realized my mistake almost immediately.  At some point, I had to get back up.  I briefly considered just laying down right there and sleeping a little bit.

Anyway, I know it's tough to make it out to see bands, especially when you have a family and other commitments.  My one buddy at work -- the only other musician type -- has been wanting to check us out forever and this gig was like 10 minutes from his house.  So of course he was out of town last weekend for a family thing.  That's the breaks.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 22, 2016, 11:32:07 AM
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I will try to make it to Huntley to see you guys but it's not as cut and dry as I thought since we have to get up at early 0'clock to go to church since my daughter is singing with VBS. I know you aren't playing that late but my wife is like "man that's going to be late" so I don't know.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 22, 2016, 11:32:21 AM
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We're scheduled from 6:30 to 8:30, no break.  On the other hand, they've only allowed half and hour between bands (4 to 6, 6:30 to 8:30, 9 to 11) because organizers are stupid like that, so I suspect we'll be running behind before we even start.

Still, I hope you can make it.  With no break, a rush to get things cleared out once we're done, and you having to leave, I don't know if we'll get a chance to talk, but let's see how it goes.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 22, 2016, 11:32:56 AM
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(http://imgur.com/38fJEMw.jpg) (https://www.facebook.com/Flashdrive2015/)

Holy Hell!  95 degrees in the shade, two hours without a break, people passing us bottles of water so we wouldn't pass out.

But it was a big tent open on all sides, so plenty of breeze, a nice stage, and so it was another rockin' Saturday in the park.  I still love outdoor gigs the best.

(http://i.imgur.com/bHruYD2.jpg)

Orbert, Pat, JT, Anne, Jerry, John
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 22, 2016, 11:33:22 AM
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Quote
95 degrees in the shade, two hours without a break
That must be exhausting! I haven't commented on them I think, but I do really like reading the Flashdrive updates :azn:
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 22, 2016, 11:33:48 AM
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Yeah couldn't make it. There was no way... especially since my wife worked early afternoon, and then later my mother in law took us to dinner (we aren't passing up free dinner :lol) plus our daughter has been absolutely ridiculously obnoxious the last week or so, going through a phase of testing us with EVERYTHING. Plus with the weather... it was AWFUL the last few days... we went to swedish days yesterday in Geneva (where our church is, so we were down there anyway) and we were dying. Add on top of that that my wife has an accompanist audition at New Trier on Tuesday and she needs to practice... Believe me a week ago I was still planning on coming.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 22, 2016, 11:34:10 AM
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It's okay.  As I'd mentioned, the way things were scheduled, we wouldn't have had a chance to talk much anyway, if at all.  There's one guy from my church who comes to most of our gigs, mostly because he doesn't have a life, and I felt kinda bad for basically blowing him off.  As I suspected, we spent most of the time beforehand getting things unloaded and staged, then we had half an hour for both the previous band to exit and us to get set up, plus sound check (we made it in about 40 minutes), then two hours no break.  After we finished, he came up to me and said we were great, but he had to get going because he worked in the morning.  I got the distinct impression that he stuck around just because he wanted to say something and didn't want to leave before we finished, but he bailed almost immediately.

And man, once we finished, it was the same thing, get our shit off the stage as fast as possible.  I took the time to pack mine up and take it to the car (I scored rock star parking right across the street) because I knew once I sat down, I didn't know when I was gonna get up again.

Would've been nice to see you, but really, don't feel too bad.  Next time.  Mike and Diane from Sammy's were there, they raved a lot, and they want us back again.  Looks like we're getting really popular out in the booming metropolis of Huntley, Illinois.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 22, 2016, 06:33:20 PM
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Remember how I said I still love the outdoor gigs the best?  Man, I was starting to seriously reconsider that last night.

A private gig, backyard party for which we were each paid $100.  Six piece band, do the math; these people have a little money.  97 degrees out, no breeze, and threat of storms coming later.  We get there and yeah, it's big backyard.  A bunch of 8x4 plywood sheets laid on the ground is our "stage", covered by a big tent, roomy enough, but with the back and sides down, no air.  Step 1, before setting anything up, get those back and side curtains up.  Ah, a little bit of air at least, though there was still virtually no breeze.

Deck on the back of the house has steps coming down into the yard and also connects over to the deck surrounding the pool off to the right.  Really one big deck, actually.  Little kids' play area with some climbers past that.  Tables and chairs, most under tents, some out in the open, more or less in front of us and to the left.

These folks throw a big backyard party every summer and invite all the neighbors, so there were maybe 30 or 40 people when we got there, with more arriving as time went on.  Probably 100 or so total, with people coming and going.  This year's party is extra special, because their daughter graduated from high school, so it's also a graduation party for her.  This is good to know because there are half a dozen very pretty young ladies in tiny little dresses and other things you wear when it's 97 degrees out, and since they're the grad and her friends, they're all 18 (or close enough) so it's okay to look.  (It would have been impossible not to, but it's good to know it's okay.)

Three sets, 70-75 minutes each, so four hours with breaks.  Somehow we survived the first set, during which it was hot as fuck.  That's the only way to describe it.  I survived by doing the same thing I do at every gig, which is stand in my corner with my 20-inch fan leaning on an amp up at me while I play and watch the babes.  You know how 18-year-olds sometimes look like they're still in junior high, but sometimes like they could pass for 25?  This one brunette was absolutely stunning, the "looks much older" type not just in looks but in the way she carried herself, clearly the leader of this little group.  Of course, it turns out that she's the guest of honor.  Also a 4.0 honor student and a very nice young lady overall.

Her favorite band is Twenty One Pilots, so we learned and played "House of Gold" just for her, and opened the second set with it.  It was also the birthday of Joe, one of the neighbors, and another neighbor also named Joe had his birthday this week, so we played "Birthday" by The Beatles next, continuing the "hey let's celebrate things" theme, which seemed to raise spirits a bit.  People seemed to like us, but it was hot as fuck, so not much dancing or anything.  Mostly people sitting under tents drinking and trying to have a good time.  By the end of the second set, the sun was down and it was starting to cool off a little, so that helped.

Second break, we're all checking the radar on our phones and stuff, and the storms which were forecast are definitely on their way, though it looks like they might veer north.  Clouds roll in, and suddenly the air temperature drops and the wind comes up, both very noticeably.  The storm front is here.  We're either going to suddenly get wet, or we're just going to enjoy the breeze and the fact that it's now only about 80 degrees out, which is still kinda warm but feels heavenly compared to five minutes ago.

It did not rain.  The third set was amazing.  Cooler now and with a breeze, people were up and dancing.  People were eating, and all that drinking they were doing earlier to try and stay cool was hitting them pretty good.  The place completely came to life.  In a far corner, some guys were doing bong hits.  And at some point, the graduate and her friends decided it was time to hit the pool.  Remember how the deck to the pool is just off to my right, maybe 20 feet away?  These are times when you know that there is a God.  I have seen proof!  I mean, go ahead and use your imagination, but it will not exceed what passed before my eyes, many times in fact.

So another rough start, but by the end, again, I'm thinking yeah, I still love outdoor gigs the best.  :xbones
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 22, 2016, 06:37:19 PM
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(http://imgur.com/38fJEMw.jpg) (https://www.facebook.com/Flashdrive2015/)

Remember how I said I still love the outdoor gigs the best?  Man, I was starting to seriously reconsider that last night.

A private gig, backyard party for which we were each paid $100.  Six piece band, do the math; these people have a little money.  97 degrees out, no breeze, and threat of storms coming later.  We get there and yeah, it's big backyard.  A bunch of 8x4 plywood sheets laid on the ground is our "stage", covered by a big tent, roomy enough, but with the back and sides down, no air.  Step 1, before setting anything up, get those back and side curtains up.  Ah, a little bit of air at least, though there was still virtually no breeze.

Deck on the back of the house has steps coming down into the yard and also connects over to the deck surrounding the pool off to the right.  Really one big deck, actually.  Little kids' play area with some climbers past that.  Tables and chairs, most under tents, some out in the open, more or less in front of us and to the left.

These folks throw a big backyard party every summer and invite all the neighbors, so there were maybe 30 or 40 people when we got there, with more arriving as time went on.  Probably 100 or so total, with people coming and going.  This year's party is extra special, because their daughter graduated from high school, so it's also a graduation party for her.  This is good to know because there are half a dozen very pretty young ladies in tiny little dresses and other things you wear when it's 97 degrees out, and since they're the grad and her friends, they're all 18 (or close enough) so it's okay to look.  (It would have been impossible not to, but it's good to know it's okay.)

Three sets, 70-75 minutes each, so four hours with breaks.  Somehow we survived the first set, during which it was hot as fuck.  That's the only way to describe it.  I survived by doing the same thing I do at every gig, which is stand in my corner with my 20-inch fan leaning on an amp up at me while I play and watch the babes.  You know how 18-year-olds sometimes look like they're still in junior high, but sometimes like they could pass for 25?  This one brunette was absolutely stunning, the "looks much older" type not just in looks but in the way she carried herself, clearly the leader of this little group.  Of course, it turns out that she's the guest of honor.  Also a 4.0 honor student and a very nice young lady overall.

Her favorite band is Twenty One Pilots, so we learned and played "House of Gold" just for her, and opened the second set with it.  It was also the birthday of Joe, one of the neighbors, and another neighbor also named Joe had his birthday this week, so we played "Birthday" by The Beatles next, continuing the "hey let's celebrate things" theme, which seemed to raise spirits a bit.  People seemed to like us, but it was hot as fuck, so not much dancing or anything.  Mostly people sitting under tents drinking and trying to have a good time.  By the end of the second set, the sun was down and it was starting to cool off a little, so that helped.

Second break, we're all checking the radar on our phones and stuff, and the storms which were forecast are definitely on their way, though it looks like they might veer north.  Clouds roll in, and suddenly the air temperature drops and the wind comes up, both very noticeably.  The storm front is here.  We're either going to suddenly get wet, or we're just going to enjoy the breeze and the fact that it's now only about 80 degrees out, which is still kinda warm but feels heavenly compared to five minutes ago.

It did not rain.  The third set was amazing.  Cooler now and with a breeze, people were up and dancing.  People were eating, and all that drinking they were doing earlier to try and stay cool was hitting them pretty good.  The place completely came to life.  In a far corner, some guys were doing bong hits.  And at some point, the graduate and her friends decided it was time to hit the pool.  Remember how the deck to the pool is just off to my right, maybe 20 feet away?  These are times when you know that there is a God.  I have seen proof!  I mean, go ahead and use your imagination, but it will not exceed what passed before my eyes, many times in fact.

So another rough start, but by the end, again, I'm thinking yeah, I still love outdoor gigs the best.  :xbones
I love you.

BTW, my 13-year old daughter's favorite band is also Twenty-One Pilots.  I am glad that she has a band to be really excited about (like I have been about other bands), but I wish it was one that I liked better lol (although I actually like their new song "Heathen" from the Suicide Squad film).
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 22, 2016, 06:37:41 PM
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I've only heard the one song, "House of Gold", but I guess it's alright.  Mostly uke and voice, so we did a special thing where John's son played the uke and Anne's son sang it.  Keys, then drums and bass come in later.  The grad loved it.

One of her friends came up to me later and said "I'm your number one fan!"  I told her I was glad to hear that.  High five.  I'm Bob, by the way.  She said "Oh, okay" and turned and walked away.  Some fan.  Didn't even stick around for an autograph.  What, is it because I'm like three times your age?  We could make it work!
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 22, 2016, 06:37:52 PM
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lol
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 22, 2016, 06:38:31 PM
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With three more gigs under our belt and three coming up on the calendar, you'd have thought the band was finally getting something going, starting to fire on all cylinders, doing the things we've been trying to do for nearly three years now.  And you'd be right.  After last practice, we had a brief meeting to talk about some of the calls we've been getting, and John just wanted some guidance as to how much we should ask for, what's the lowest we'd take, that kind of thing.  We all seemed to be in the same boat.  Things are finally happening.  A well-known if not huge venue coming up, and a well-known and huge venue after that, our biggest so far.

So of course our "new" guitarist/singer (joined us in the spring) gave his notice that he's quitting.  He'll work the gigs we currently have scheduled, if we want (we do) and honor his commitment to them, then he's gone.

When he joined us not that long ago, he didn't have a day job and was gigging as much as he could to make some money.  We were one of three bands he was in.  Shortly after joining us, he dropped one of the others, as we were making more money.  Since then, he's been called back to his old day job, and only needs/wants to play in one band, not two, and we make less than that other band, so we lose.  He's a mercenary, something we hadn't counted on.  He freely admits that we're a better band and more fun to play with, but they're gigging regularly and making some good money, and if he's gonna be in a band, he'd rather make steady money than just play for fun.

That's the difference.  Since we're never gonna get rich doing this anyway, we're just doing it for fun.  Sure, it's nice to play bigger crowds and take bigger bucks; we're getting there, slowly but surely.  Wouldn't be so damned slowly if people would stop quitting the fucking band every time we get something going!  But each time, we get closer.  We've actually played paid gigs and have started building a very small following.  Two steps forward, one step back.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 22, 2016, 06:38:46 PM
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Sucks about your guitarist, Orbert.

Hopefully you can find someone else soon.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 22, 2016, 07:44:52 PM
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Thanks.  So far, the rest of us are still in.  I'm getting pretty tired of this shit where we finally get something going and somebody quits or has a hissy fit or whatever, but what can I do?  If I decide I've had enough of this crap and also quit, then I don't have a band.  I would then have to hunt around and try to find a band to play in, and hope that that band works out (and I'd have no reason to believe the odds are any better than what I have now) or just stick with what we have.  So I might as well stick with FlashDrive.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 22, 2016, 07:45:15 PM
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Keep it going :tup

I've had to endure many line-up changes and people not being committed enough to do shit, but once you get a steady line-up of players that want to work for something good, well, you probably know that better than me ;)
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 22, 2016, 07:46:39 PM
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More ch-ch-ch-changes for Orbert's band.

I mentioned meeting a pretty girl named Jessica in this post (http://www.dreamtheaterforums.org/boards/index.php?topic=33789.msg2177371#msg2177371) about a gig we did earlier this summer.  I didn't mention it at the time because it didn't seem important, but I was introduced to her by our band leader John.  Separately, John has mentioned wanting to do something about what he considers the band's most obvious weakness, which is our vocals.  I agree, and have been pushing for vocal rehearsals, but John is too impatient and too much a damned manager for that.  He started talking about this band he saw that had two female singers, one mostly leads and one mostly harmonies, and they sounded great.  He decided that that's what we should do.  Two strong female singers, then if me or him or our new guitarist also sing, that just adds to it.  Seven piece band, with two who basically just sing.

Well, what the hell, we're not in this for the money, so splitting things seven ways rather than six isn't my biggest concern.  My biggest concern is that we already have issues scheduling practices with six people, and already have to cram ourselves into tiny little stages.  This will only make it worse.

Then he mentioned that Jessica, the pretty girl with the great ass, is the one who he wants to be our other singer.  This changes everything.  Well, not really everything, but it changes something.  I'm thinking as long as she wears those white pants, she can join the band.  I'll just stand back in my corner and try (unsuccessfully I'm sure) not to stare at her ass all night.

Jessica and Anne were at John's the other night trying things out, and John recorded some of it and sent it to us.  They sound pretty damned good together on "Bring Me To Life" by Evanescence.  I can now imagine us doing Heart, Pat Benatar (with proper background vocals) and some other stuff we couldn't really do justice to.  So... interesting.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 22, 2016, 07:47:27 PM
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That's cool.  :metal
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 22, 2016, 07:47:42 PM
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John sent us an email with a full document of the rehearsal.  They sang six or eight songs together (I didn't count), and nailed every one.  She is a vocal music teacher with a degree in vocal music, so her ear for harmony is excellent.  In the recording, she was easily nailing 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th harmonies like it was nothing, because to a trained vocalist, it is nothing.  They're just lines to sing.

And of course she's hot.  Two reasons to be excited about this.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 22, 2016, 07:47:57 PM
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So practice was cancelled earlier this week because JT (drummer) had to travel on Saturday.  Then practice was back on because JT isn't travelling because of Hurricane Hermine.  Then practice is probably back on, but JT might still need to fly out on Saturday, but we'll know for sure by Thursday at 8:00pm.  It's Thursday afternoon now.  Then practice is on for sure, but JT has to leave by about Noon, and Pat isn't included on the email this time because he's a short-timer and we're going to repurpose the rehearsal.  Jessica is coming, and we're going to run through some songs with her, the ones she sang with Anne the other night.

I'm the first one there, and John is telling me all this, and I say Oh so kinda like an audition, and kinda like a proof of concept, the dual female vocal thing?  John says No, that part's a forgone conclusion.  She's there to meet the rest of the band and practice the songs she's singing with us at the gig, a week from tonight.  Um, okay.  (It really is okay with me.  It caught me off guard, but I'm fine with her joining, so whatever.)  Then afterwards, a band meeting to discuss current issues and future direction.  She will leave, Pat won't be there, the rest of us can chat a bit.  We already know where JT stands on all of this (his position, officially, is to let other people worry about it; whatever we end up doing is fine), so it's okay that he has to go.

That's the plan, anyway.  We're standing on John's driveway discussing this, and Pat pulls up.  John panics just a little; I tell him Hey, it's no biggie.  If Jessica's singing with us, it makes sense that she'll be there.  I hear John going over to Pat, saying Hi and that we'll be having someone join us today, something new we're trying out, and Pat's fine with that because he's leaving the band anyway.  Jerry is always so direct, it's funny.  He pulls up and yells "Pat!  I thought you weren't going to be here today!"  Pat says he wasn't going to just leave us high and dry.  He's still in the band right now, so he's going to attend rehearsals and stuff.  A true professional, even if he is kind of a dick.

So we rehearsed as a seven-piece, and it sounded freaking awesome.  The set we do with Jessica is going to rock, hard.  Pat's always the first to leave, and he does, and JT bails to catch his flight, and apparently no one told Jerry to stick around, so after Jessica leaves, it's just John, Anne, and myself.  So we discuss the future of the band.

Jessica sounded great, Anne is fine with her singing backgrounds.  Jessica also wants to sing lead on just a few songs a night.  This isn't a bad idea, as it will give Anne a break.  The problem is that she's great at backgrounds, but not really a "lead singer" quality vocalist.  We tried one song with Jessica singing.  It was only one song, and I don't know if it was a fair trial; it wasn't planned.  Anne's fighting a head cold and started coughing and needed a break, so we figured we'd let Jessica sing a song, we'd all see how she did.  She picked a song from the list and sang it, not really well but not horribly.

Pat made it a bit easier on the rest of us by being his usual pissy-bitchy self.  When he left, it was like "Later, now we can talk about you."  Okay, it wasn't quite like that, but it kinda was.  It's harder to part ways with someone you like a lot; Pat never warmed up to the rest of us, and we never really warmed up to him.  He's a great guitarist and pretty good singer, but never really felt like part of the group.  I figured it would come with time, but there weren't even signs, and now he's leaving.

Anyway, we're moving forward.  We are adding a second singer, and it will probably be Jessica.  We're still looking for another guitarist, preferably one who sings, but apparently we're now talking about John singing more leads, and maybe even me, so if the new guitarist comes with a couple of songs that he sings, we're all set.  Anne will still sing between 2/3 and 3/4 of the songs, and instead of one other person singing leads, it will be spread out a bit more.  That's cool; other bands do that, and it works.  Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 22, 2016, 07:48:14 PM
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:tup
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 22, 2016, 07:49:50 PM
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(http://imgur.com/38fJEMw.jpg) (https://www.facebook.com/Flashdrive2015/)

Tonight we play our shortest gig ever, but also in some ways our most important.  There's a place nearby that's large enough to have national touring acts play (my son has been to concerts there a few times) but is really a huge bar/restaurant with an upstairs room that's like a concert hall, except they also serve food and drink upstairs.  So it's somewhere in between.  You're not gonna see KISS there, but Motley Crue and Avatar play there.  Bands doing the club thing these days because they can't fill stadiums anymore, and smaller bands on their way up.

Anyway, a Led Zeppelin tribute act called Kashmir plays there a few times a year and is by all accounts very, very good.  We're opening for them.  Ten songs, 45 minutes, get the hell out of the way.  So the biggest venue we've played yet, the biggest crowd, but most of them won't be there to hear us.  Hopefully, however, we manage to impress some people.  Tonight will also be our last gig with Pat, who is a good guitarist but has turned out to be a pissy bitch and we're kinda glad he's leaving.

We auditioned two guitarists last Sunday and the second one was much better, so we hired him.  Well "hire" is the wrong word, since this isn't just a job; it's an adventure!

His name is Larry and he's like us, been playing in bands 30-some years, just for fun, looking to play maybe once or twice a month, certainly no more than that because then it feels like a second job.  It stops being fun when you feel like you have to do it.  This is exactly our attitude, so he fits right in.

Anyway, he was great with Journey, Benatar, Doobie Brothers, etc.  The audition was five of the ten songs we're doing tonight and he nailed them all.  I almost pulled John aside afterwards to ask him if maybe Larry should just learn the other five songs and play the gig with us.  We still have the Friday night practice (last night) to run through things.

I mentioned this to John at rehearsal last night, and he said the exact same thing crossed his mind.  He did call Larry afterwards and told him three more songs, the other two being optional because if he ran out of time we can get by with one guitar.  Larry is coming to the gig tonight to check us out anyway, and just in case Pat did something truly dickish, Larry said he'd be ready to jump in.  This is just in case Pat calls John during the week and has some story about how he's sorry but can't do the gig this weekend blah blah blah, Larry will be ready and have his guitar in the car.

Strange the shit you have to do in a band sometimes.

But Pat was at rehearsal last night, and it went well.  On the way out to his car, John was helping carry some of his equipment, and Pat stops and just goes "Man, this is a good band."  Was that regret?  He already said we're the best band he's played with in a long time, but we're just not pulling in the money.  John told us about it when he came back in.  Pat is in it for the money, which as far as I'm concerned is stupid.  Yeah, you can pick up some extra green if you want to bust your ass, play every weekend, and really make it a second job.  But as I said, that really doesn't sound like fun at that point.  I play because I like to, because I want to, not because I have to.  Pat's talking about getting to Wedding/Special Event level.  Taking home $1000 apiece every time.  Yeah, that would be awesome, a true second source of income.  And (still) much more work than I'm really into.

Anyway, huge gig tonight, then we move forward with a new guitarist who could be better than Pat anyway, and is a much cooler guy.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 22, 2016, 07:50:10 PM
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Holy crap, what a gig!  Well as much as a 45-minute set can be a gig, anyway.  We hit 'em hard, and didn't let up.  Even got an encore, which was pretty cool, and also pretty unusual from what I hear.  I mean, we were the warm-up act for a tribute band, so still not exactly big time, but it was the nicest room we've played so far, they hit us with their lights and sound and even a smoke machine.  So we got to be rock stars for an hour.  A couple people asked for our business cards, a bunch of new views and Likes on the band Facebook page, and the guys from Kashmir said we were great and could open for them any time.  Hopefully this exposure will lead to something.  We currently have no gigs on the schedule (which is actually okay since we now have to get our new guitarist up to speed as soon as possible).

I've seen a handful of pictures, so far nothing with the entire band.  A few with everyone except me which actually look pretty cool, but fuck if I'm going to post those.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 22, 2016, 07:50:24 PM
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Some gig pics.

(http://imgur.com/QORgHET.jpg)

(http://imgur.com/N1V0QmQ.jpg)

(http://imgur.com/ij4OFZa.jpg)

(http://imgur.com/5rYZbdo.jpg)
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 22, 2016, 07:50:43 PM
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That's awesome, Orb. :tup
What was your setlist? Did anyone get video?
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 22, 2016, 07:50:57 PM
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(http://imgur.com/ij4OFZa.jpg)

Very nice shot, congratulations!

Greetings...
Nef
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 22, 2016, 07:51:15 PM
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(http://imgur.com/ij4OFZa.jpg)

Very nice shot, congratulations!

Greetings...
Nef
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 22, 2016, 07:52:25 PM
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Thanks.  I'm trying to look contemplative or something, like it's no big deal playing two parts at once, but in reality I'm concentrating pretty hard.

That's awesome, Orb. :tup
What was your setlist? Did anyone get video?

Someone got 30 seconds of cell phone video. That's all I've seen. Also, it starts out correctly aligned, then she turns her phone 90 degrees, so 28 seconds of it is sideways.

Separate Ways
Born to Be Wild
Hit Me With Your Best Shot
China Grove
Chain of Fools
Higher Ground
Play That Funky Music
Long Train Runnin'
Bring Me to Life
I Just Wanna Make Love To You
Encore: Come Sail Away

We do the Little Caesar version of "Chain of Fools" which rocks pretty hard. Also, our "Higher Ground" is somewhere between the Stevie Wonder original and how the Red Hot Chili Peppers might play it if they had keyboards.

Yep, we got an encore, which I understand is pretty rare for this place, for an opening band.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 22, 2016, 07:52:49 PM
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awesome, cool set up! and...

(http://imgur.com/ij4OFZa.jpg)

Very nice shot, congratulations!

Greetings...
Nef

that's a mean photo.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 22, 2016, 07:53:14 PM
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Great set list, Orbert.  Very cool.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 22, 2016, 07:53:26 PM
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Pretty sweet, Orbert!
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 22, 2016, 07:53:43 PM
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Thanks, guys! :tup


"But Orbert, what about the drama? We miss the drama which only your band can provide!"

The gig at Austin's Fuel Room was our biggest gig yet, despite being less than an hour set.  It was the largest, nicest room so far, and gave us great exposure.  John got a call the next day; some guy saw us and wanted us to play this weekend, but we currently don't have a full lineup, because it was also the end of an era of sorts.  It was our last gig with Pat, who joined the band in February on guitar and vocals, replacing Steve.  It was our second gig with Jessica, added recently to help bolster our vocals.  She's been a great addition to our sound overall, even if I was philosophically opposed to her joining in the first place.

But when Pat gave his notice, we began the search for another singer/guitarist, had a few leads, both of which fell through, and John made the decision to focus on guitar skills, with vocals a nice plus.  Jessica would have to step up her role, and John and I would sing more, perhaps even some leads.  We found a great guitarist named Larry, who told us up front that he'll sing backgrounds if we think it'll help, but he's not a great singer and if we already have three parts covered, we're better off without him.

Because John is a businessman and the band has always been run more like a project at work than a "regular" band (whatever that is), we kicked off the new era with a meeting at his house last Saturday.  The agenda included future direction of the band in general, how the dynamics and roles have changed, which songs on the current set list to drop, which to keep, and new ones to vote on adding.

We all thought that Anne and Jessica got along fine.  Anne and Jessica thought they got alone fine.  This meeting showed that that's not necessarily the case.  Anne has always sung around 70% of the songs.  She can't sing lead on every song for three hours, and having another singer gives her a break as well as adding variety to the set list.  This is by design.  Steve sang 1/4 to 1/3 of the songs, and so did Pat.  Since Larry doesn't sing lead vocals, we discussed how the aforementioned redistribution of vocal dutes would work.

Anne has a problem with this.  Even though what she's actually doing in the band will not change (she'll still sing around 70% of the songs, more if she wants), the fact that Jessica is now also going to be a lead singer bothers her.  Why?  It wasn't a problem when Steve sang leads, and it wasn't a problem when Pat sang leads.  What's different?

The difference is that Jessica is only a singer.  Anne will do lead and background vocals, Jessica will do lead and background vocals.  Anne will still be our front person and lead singer.  Her role is not changing.  But she wants to be the lead singer.  The only one.  Fucking seriously?  Ego?  Now?  When we're on the fucking verge of really, really making it big?  It was okay with her when Steve or Pat was singing because they were also playing guitar.  Maybe she's so insecure that she imagines that eventually we'll just want Jessica and not her (not likely -- Jessica is good but not nearly as good as Anne).  Maybe it's because Jessica is also female.  Anne has always gotten along better with the guys than with other girls.  Some girls are that way.  Not a problem... until it becomes a problem.

So she's all upset, and we're trying to get her to articulate exactly why, and she's having trouble getting to it (what I just wrote above is my summary of what we managed to drag out of her over the course of 15 or 20 minutes).  We assure her that she's still our "main" lead singer, she's still the face of the band, the front person, and then in an incredible display of stupidity, Jessica pipes up "Wait a minute, I'm a front person, too.  I mean, I'm right up front, too, right next to her."  Jane, you ignorant slut!  You were hired as a background singer.  You were told you could sing lead on one or two songs, so your friends could come see you and cheer for you.  But you were never a front person, and you're not a front person just because you stand on the front line.  The drummer, bassist and I are the back line, the guitarists and singers are front line, because this is Rock and Roll and this is how it works and this is what looks cool.  But you're not the front person any more than the guitarists are.  There can be only one.

(http://imgur.com/rWZPCry.jpg)

I didn't say any of this, because there are seven people in the band and at least four of them were already talking.  JT is amazed by this and gets up to grab something to drink or something.  Then he comes back and we see how incredibly mad he really is.  "I have played in dozens of bands the past 30 years, and almost none of them had the talent that this band has.  But every one of those bands broke up because of one thing: Ego!  There is no room for that.  There is what's best for the band, and that is what you do, and if you don't like that, you can leave!"  He's not speaking to anyone in particular, just venting, but his words are true, and we all know it.  We all enjoy playing in the band, but we all have things we want to get out of it, therefore every single one of us must compromise, at least a little.  I just wish he hadn't said the part about leaving if you can't deal with it, because it looked to me like Anne was about to quit.  She's sitting there crying, and feels like everyone's ganging up on her.  We're really just trying to talk sense, but when you have three or four people all doing that at once, let's face it, it's ganging up.  Jessica has chosen the worst possible time for her little power play, and is sitting looking somewhere between defiant and confused by how much commotion it's caused.

JT leaves.  He cannot calm down enough to stay in the room and deal with this level of stupidity.  His position has always been "I'm merely the drummer" which sounds like a cop out, but in fact it has helped on more than one occassion.  He really doesn't care what we play or where we play.  Somebody make the call, and he'll learn the songs.  After nearly three years with us, we've worked this out and it's fine.  He'll be fine; he just needs to calm down.

Jessica has to be somewhere and has to leave at Noon.  We knew this going in.  It's almost Noon now, so she starts gathering her stuff.  Jerry, who has always been the mellowist, most laid-back person in the band, says he hopes we can figure this out, because right now he's about 50-50 regarding whether this is worth it.  He loves the band, thinks we're great, but all this bickering and behind-the-scenes shit really bothers him.  This surprises me because he's never let on that that was the case, not until now.

The meeting is apparently over.  Jerry and Larry get up to leave, and John walks them to the door (and presumably takes the opportunity to say something to each of them).  This leaves Anne and me in the room.  Anne's still sitting there, no longer crying but still visibly upset.  I go over and give her a hug.  We've reached this point; at gigs and practices we greet each other with a hug and say goodbye with a hug.  For me, it both reinforces bonds and serves a completely selfish purpose; I think Anne is hot and hell yes I'll take the opportunity to hug her.  But standing up and hugging someone while they're sitting down is a little awkward, so she stands up and turns to face me and goes to continue the hug.  Just as we're leaning into each other, I see her face.  Oh shit!  It's that face.

You see it in movies and bad TV shows.  A mix of realization, resignation, vulnerability, and uncertainty all at once.  Two people, just friends until this moment, and then the look crosses one or both of their faces, and they start making out.  Depending on the circumstances, clothes might start coming off (which is always hilarious to watch, especially if they try to do this without releasing liplock).  But this is not the face I wanted to see.  In retrospect, maybe I shouldn't have been surprised.  She and her boyfriend broke up a few weeks ago, and the last couple of practices, when I asked her how she's doing, she's actually told me.  Not great.  Adjusting.  Getting used to being alone again.  And it can be tough at our age.  I've tried to be a good friend to her, not just because I like her and genuinely care about her, but again for selfish reasons, this time going the other way.  The better she is, the better the band is.  Got to keep her happy, and let her know the rest of us are in it with her.

I made the split-second decision to completely ignore "that face" and just give her a hug.  A supportive, friendly, chaste hug.  By time I release her, I look and her face has changed.  We're just friends.  Good.  But I know what I saw, and goddammit, of all the things this band does not need right now, it's this.  Well, this and our two singers not agreeing on the dynamics of front-line singers and their respective roles in the band.  I asked her if she was okay, she said Yes, and thanked me.  I started heading toward the door, and I guess I figured she'd be right behind me.  I get outside, John is still talking a bit with Jerry and Larry (that sounds funny) and I ask "So, do we still have a band?"  Larry says "I'm still in!"  Ha ha, good answer, one who has not yet played with us.  Jerry says something like "I think so."  I hope so, Jerry.  None of the behind-the-scenes bullshit has been resolved, apparently.  I look, and Anne has not followed me outside.  She's still inside, alone at this point, probably still getting her head together.  John glances around, apparently reaches the same conclusion, and says Bye to us and starts heading back inside.  The rest of us get in our cars and leave.

I have no idea what the fuck is even happening anymore.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 22, 2016, 07:54:05 PM
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Woah. I don't even know how to respond to that :lol
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 22, 2016, 07:54:19 PM
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Good grief
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 22, 2016, 07:54:32 PM
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You're really telling us the true life story of Heart, and passing it off as your band, aren't you.  Somebody is going to have to be the opportunistic one here and destroy the band when he hooks up with Anne.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 22, 2016, 07:54:44 PM
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I'm not familiar with the backstory of Heart; I'm somewhat familiar with the the backstory of Fleetwood Mac (the Buckingham Nicks version) but only because so many stories have been told about how the band didn't break up, but instead got a lot of good songs out of the shit they went through.  The important thing is that they did get through it.  That's not the case with Heart, I presume?
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 22, 2016, 07:54:59 PM
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Woah. I don't even know how to respond to that :lol

As I was driving home, I remember thinking to myself "Ha ha, the guys on DTF would love this" but the drama was mostly a thing of the past.  Once we got Pat settled in and started actually playing gigs, things were pretty cool for a while.  This past summer has been great.  Plenty of good Rock and Roll, plenty of fun.

But then I figured the drama is, at the very least, entertaining.  Might as well share it.  And unless I completely misinterpreted "the face" -- which I suppose is still a possibility -- I'm actually involved in some of it.  Possibly.  Hopefully, it's nothing.  A moment of minor weakness, no harm, no foul.

It was funny, though.  John called me a couple hours later, just to check in.  He does that.  After a meeting or practice, especially if things didn't exactly go well, he'll call specific individuals and speak privately with them.  He's a manager by profession, and this is how he manages issues within the band.  If having everyone in the room together just leads to chaos and yelling and crying, he deals with us one-on-one.  Anyway, I'd gotten pretty stoned on the way home, and John opens with "So I talked with Anne a bit after the meeting..." and I'm thinking Holy shit, please this cannot go where it sounds like it's going.  What, she's all confused?  She thought that maybe I was trying to... something?  She thinks that maybe she's... something?

He continues, "...and, I guess I just wanted to thank you for being one of the cooler heads in the room today.  Things got pretty tense, and I had to alternate between sitting back and letting people sort it out, and jumping in to be the referee.  I noticed that you didn't say a lot, but when you did, it was calm, made sense, and tended to defuse things.  Anne said you stayed a bit afterwards and talked to her, got her to calm down, and I appreciate that."  He went on to talk about how we're at a crossroads, the lineup has changed and we have to figure some things out, etc.

I'd almost forgotten that Anne and I did talk quite a bit.  I told her that I know she's not sure what's going on right now, no one is, but this is the best band I've ever been in, and I really want it to succeed.  She seemed surprised by that.  But to do that, we have to keep it together, and get through the rough times.  I was holding her and saying all kinds of nice, reassuring things, she's a great singer and a great person and I know she's been going through some shit lately, but I'm there for her, and I think that's what led to the face and the almost-more-than-hug, but it was just a moment of vulnerability.

Anyway, I reminded John pretty directly that I was against adding Jessica for exactly the reasons we're dealing with now.  If he sees our vocals as a weakness, our first course of action should be dedicated vocal rehearsals.  Anne would see adding another singer as a threat.  He would have to approach it very carefully, get her buy-in at every stage, and keep things cool on both sides.  He reminded me that he'd started this process in February.  Eight months ago.  Whoa.  The gig where I met Jessica was in March.  He'd been taking this as slowly as he could, but when Pat decided to leave and we couldn't find a guitarist who can also sing (they're all already playing in bands), it changed things, and Jessica's role has changed.  He thought that the girls were getting along fine, were comfortable with each other, and that this wouldn't really be a problem.  He was just wrong about that last part.

Anyway, don't worry, I'm not going to try and bang our singer or anything like that.  I'm not an idiot.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 22, 2016, 07:55:18 PM
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More Drama!

In the Chicago suburbs, every suburb has their own festival and celebration every year.  They range in size, but in general are the biggest local event of the year.  The Village Green or whatever the big park downtown is gets converted into a fair.  Rides, games, and of course live music.  This is known as "the festival circuit".  Bands can make anywhere from $800 to $2000 for that one night, and if you manage to get on the circuit, you go around and play six or eight (or more) of these during the spring and summer months.

Two weeks from Friday is a big thing at one of the big hotels, it's a showcase for the local festivals.  Reps will be there to decide what bands to hire for next year's festivals.  Bands will be there to basically do mass auditions.  15 minutes, show them what you've got, maybe score big.  This is a very big deal.  We weren't ready for the festival circuit this year; we would've had to have been ready last fall and appear at this showcase.  We're ready now.

So the thing is coming up, and the organizer contacted John with some tips: Don't play individual songs, put together a medley of 7-8 songs which show your versatility, variety, musicianship, and vocal strength.  That's the only one that caught us by surprise.  We'd decided which three songs to play, killer songs, but what the hell, we can put together a 15-minute medley of songs.  I volunteered to do it, and "Festival Medley v3.mp3" was eventually emailed out to everyone, along with a breakdown of how it's all put together.  Saturday was our first practice of two to nail this thing down.  We worked on it for three hours.  It's coming together really well.

Some things didn't work quite as well as I'd thought, but whatever; I knew this was only a draft.  Some transitions worked better if we left in four or eight bars to give someone time to switch guitars or stomp on pedals.  Some things flowed better if we cut this out part out, but left this part of this other song in.  That kind of thing.  I remember that there was an one eight-bar section we cut that Anne felt very strongly against cutting, but it was basically a throwaway section.  It's in "Separate Ways" right near the end where Perry is ad-libbing "I still love you I really love you blah blah blah" while Neil plays the same solo he'd played before, then the big ending.  We cut that.  Anne thought it made more sense lyrically to keep it because the next thing is "Noooooooo!!!!" over the synth hook and it would sound like she's telling him No, as opposed to No, please don't go.  Whatever, it's bits and pieces of songs.  The buyers will not be critiquing the lyrics.

I get up from my Sunday afternoon nap yesterday to a missed call, a voicemail, and a text, all from John, all asking me to call him.  This will not be good.

He got an email from Anne Saturday night at 11:00 PM (after he'd gone to bed; he didn't see it until Sunday) which he presumes came about after several glasses of wine, but as he puts it "alcohol is the best truth serum" and he's right.

Anne can't deal with this.  The way we disrepect her (what?), the way we're always talking about her behind her back (which she's never seen but she knows we do it), the way she never has any input into the decisions we make, blah blah blah, whine whine whine (and probably more wine wine wine).  This thing with cutting the vocal ad-lib part was just the last straw, the one that broke the camel's back.  She's so tired of having to put up with all the shit she gets from us (seriously, WTF?) and the way we gang up on her if she dares to open her mouth.

Uh... no.  This is a band.  Every one of us has compromised, for the good of the band.  Every one of us puts the band first, because without the band, we don't get to be rock stars on the weekends.  Every one of us, except her.  John says that this has been going on for a while, most of the summer at least (I had no idea) and her emails are always full of "I thought... " and "But I wanted..."  It's always about her, it's never what's better for the band.  He's spent the last few months trying to smooth over the hurt feelings regarding adding Jessica as a support singer, which a bigger person would be able to see objectively makes us a better band.  Our vocals now are as kickass as our instrumentals.  We did it.  We are now a fucking top-shelf cover band, really for the festival circuit, the big bucks as far as this level of entertainment goes.  So of course it's now time for someone to get fucking butthurt about something and want to quit.

John's telling me all this, and I'm thinking maybe it's time for a different approach.  Mediation?  That would be weird.  How about we just ask her what the fuck it is that she wants us to do?  Does she want full control of the set list?  Not gonna happen.  Does she want final say on all vocal decisions?  She has the most say, but the final word still comes down to the band.  No one has 100% control over anything.  It's called compromise, putting the needs of the many ahead of the needs of your own selfish ass.  Given that, what does she want?  Have we ever really asked her that, point blank.

John says that he suspects she'd never be able to articulate that.  And unfortunately, it really doesn't matter at this point because there's more.  First, this has been going on for a while (that's when he shared that bit about it going on all summer) and Anne is beyond pessimistic, beyond paranoid; she's full-blown delusional.  The accusations of us colluding against her, the objectively wrong perception that she has no input into the decisions, the way we brought in another singer without her approval (approval?)... But most of all, there's another thing.  Jerry, who at our last band meeting said he was 50-50 on staying and putting up with this shit, had also sent John an email after Saturday's practice.  He's decided.  He'll play this showcase thing with us, but after that he's gone.  He won't be as dramatic as Steve was ("either she goes or I go") but basically he's tired of dealing with Anne and her shit.  Again, I'm totally caught off guard by this.  I had never perceived anything negative between those two.  Never.  When we're playing, for three hours, everything in the world is great.  I'm playing rock and roll.  I'm playing good rock and roll with a good band with good singers and it sounds good and we are good.  As far as I knew, everything was great.  Maybe I'm the naive one.

But there it is.  We either find another singer or we find another bass player.  Steve left because of Anne, Pat had numerous reasons for leaving but #1 was Anne, and Jessica isn't available for the showcase thing (she teaches vocal music, and that is the day of her school concert) but has intimated to John that she's having second thoughts about being in the band and working with Anne.

There are other bass players, and yeah, I'm sure it's easier to find a good-enough bass player than a good singer.  But from Day One, the basis of this band has been that it is not our day job, and we may never make any money doing it, therefore it has to be about fun, and playing music isn't fun if you don't get along with the rest of the band.  It's about "fit".  John has cut people he didn't think were a good fit, and right now, if there's one person who's causing the most problems, giving him the most headaches, not "fitting" with the rest of the band, it's our prima-donna lead singer Anne.  He's made the executive decision and she's got to go, for the sake of the band.  The band is not the lead singer.  Actually, he sees the core of the band as JT, Jerry, myself, and him.  We've seen lead guitarists come and go.  We've seen singers come and now probably go.  These are key positions in the band, no question.  But if the person in that position places their wants above the needs of the band -- that is, considers themself more important than the other five members combined -- then that person is the problem.

My phone says that John and I talked for 46 minutes, 11 seconds.  I basically agreed with him on everything we discussed.  I like Anne, he likes Anne, but we both like the band more, and the band is not going to bend over or bow to the wishes of the lead singer.  Some bands do that.  This is his band, and this band will not do that.  I'm perfectly fine with that.

Next steps: Somehow keep it together for two more weeks.  Get this festival showcase done, wow a bunch of people, line up some big gigs for next year.  Then replace our lead singer and, by next summer, get another one and get her up to speed.  When we hit the festival circuit next year, and live out our dream of playing for thousands of people at a time, we will not be the same band that auditioned; we will be better.

Two steps forward, one step back.  That's been the pattern, every single time.  We finally had a full set list together and were ready to start playing gigs when we lost Karen.  We finally got to actually playing live when we lost Steve.  We finally got to playing some decent venues and not $10 shitholes when we lost Pat.  We are on the edge of playing the festival circuit, and it looks like we're losing Anne.  John says that there's one thing that could change the outcome of this, and it's that Anne has to convince him that she's turned herself around, realized how out-of-touch with reality she's been, make amends with the rest of the band, and show that she's ready to place the needs of the band ahead of her own.  He seriously doubts that this will happen.  But he has to keep her compliant until after the showcase.  Placate her, tell her Let's just get through this thing and then we can take a serious look at her issues and what we can do about them.  It would not exactly be untrue.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 22, 2016, 07:55:33 PM
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I haven't read the latest Orbert's post yet—I'm going to be on it right after I post this—but I've got to say, these FlashDrive updates are the best thing happening on DTF right now, as far as I'm concerned.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 22, 2016, 07:55:51 PM
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I kind of agree, it's great reading all of that.

Wow, I think you guys have got the right idea though; the band is always more important than a single person, but as soon as that single person gets too much a hold of a band's sound or writes most of the music, it's not as easy. This happens with lead-singers, lead-guitarists and bands in which there's only one person writing the songs (Steven Wilson comes to mind; every musician can basically be replaced except for him). You guys are a cover band, so obviously anybody could potentiallybe replaced and as you said, the intention is to have fun. Don't let your fun be spoilt by drama and tell you lead-singer what you said here. Oh, and nail that festival show-case!!
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 22, 2016, 07:56:02 PM
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By the time I'd gotten up from my Sunday afternoon nap, John had already spoken with JT and Jerry, and they were both on the same page as he and I.  Also, John had replied to Anne's email, stating in what he thought were very clear terms that he thought she was off base with her perceptions, there was no great conspiracy against her, and that everyone is compromising here.  Everyone is placing the good of the band ahead of their own wants, except her.  He gave multiple specific examples.

She completely either missed or ignored the point of the email and responded with more "But I wanted..." and "But I said we should..." and "But I thought..." and literally just a bunch more examples of her just not getting it.  She sees the band as existing so that she can get what she wants out of it.  That's true for all of us.  But she is not more important than the band itself.  No one is.

It was that reply which prompted John to contact the rest of us individually and bring up the impending departure of Anne, and do whatever calming down and/or convincing was necessary.  None was necessary.  We all agree completely with John's position on this.  For now, if Anne brings anything up, we just say that yeah, it looks like we have some more stuff to work out, but let's focus on this showcase for now, then we'll address specific complaints that anyone might have.  And just hope she doesn't bail before then.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 22, 2016, 07:56:22 PM
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I just thought of something.  And to be quite honest, I feel kinda shitty that I hadn't thought of it before.

I do consider Anne a friend as well as a bandmate.  I personally would rather see her stay in the band and work things out, if that's at all possible.  Even so, it's still three votes to two against her.  (Larry and Jessica presumably do not get votes, having little to no tenure in the band yet.)  I could reach out to Anne, call her, send her an email, something, and tell her Hey, this is it.  John is ready to kick you out, and let's just say it's not looking great but there's still something you can do to fix that, maybe.  You're not gonna like it, but here it is, take it or leave it.  And tell her what John said about what she has to do, completely, or else.  And we're still outvoted and John could still say Bye-bye, so it could just make things worse.  Jerry could decide Well okay, I guess she's staying, so I'm gone, sorry it worked out like this.  And we'd have Anne, but she'd still be a psycho prima donna, and now we need to find a bass player, too.

So I should just shut up.  And let my friend get kicked out of a band she really likes being in.  The fact that I'm also a member of that band shouldn't matter, right?  But it does.  The band still comes first.

Fuck.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 22, 2016, 07:56:34 PM
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Band comes first.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 22, 2016, 07:57:03 PM
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Bros before... well, something like that.  I won't speak that way about Anne, maybe because I still kinda want to bang her, though I'm pretty sure that would never happen anyway.

Steve at least had one thing right: Females in a band make things infinitely more complicated.  If it's all dudes, we can give each other shit, speak freely and with whatever level of profanity is appropriate, and at the end of the day it's all good.  With females, you never know what one remark they're going to remember and go home and cry about, and then bring it and a dozen other things up later when they finally get upset enough to make a scene.

John has started looking (quietly) for another female singer.  I asked him whether he's learned anything from dealing with Karen, and now Anne.  He says he has.  I hope so.

Something else I thought of.  All this crap that Anne has been laying on John these past months, all the whining and long rambling wine-fueled emails that have driven John to the point of just not wanting to deal with her any more regardless of how great a singer she is... that's all John's word and nothing else.  It's possible that John is completely making it all up.  It's not likely, and I don't believe it for a minute, but it's an interesting thought.  What if John is really the psycho here, and his "alternate personality" surfaces from time to time and torpedoes everything we've accomplished?  Weird how you never really know.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 22, 2016, 07:57:16 PM
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:omg:
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 22, 2016, 08:04:15 PM
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It's a wacky thought, and as I said, I don't believe that that's the case.  For example, Jerry independently brought up at our previous meeting about how all this behind-the-scenes drama was just driving him nuts.  He wouldn't feel that way unless he too had seen it, right?

Or maybe John had been telling him about it, driving him nuts, and it never really existed.

Jessica made the situation ten times worse when we were in the middle of reassuring Anne that she's the lead singer, the one and only front person, and she (Jessica) said "Wait a minute, I'm a front person too!"

Or maybe John had been talking to her about that, and told her to make sure that if it comes up, to assert herself.

John talks to each of us individually, and there are also emails to subsets of the band back and forth, the ones he feels are relevant to the conversation.  This is 100% due to his many years of "managing" people, and he takes the exact same approach with running the band.  I'm sure you can see the problem there.  Being in a band is not the same as working your job and doing what your manager says.  The band is supposed to be fun; we're all in it because we want to be.  You can't just up and quit your job if you don't get along with a coworker.  Well, you could, but you get the point.  It's not the same thing.  Some aspects have similar dynamics, yes, but you can't just run it exactly the same way.  It's just interesting that it creates the possibility that he's manipulating every one of us.  Or maybe I'm going nuts, too.  It's a very paranoid thought to even have, isn't it?

Anyway, it's just a weird and wacky thought I had.  For right now, the band still exists, I get to Rock and Roll, and it's all good.  I'd rather Anne stay, but if she's causing problems for the rest of us, causing others to leave, then she's the problem.  It's just a lot harder to find a good leader singer than it is to find a good bass player.

And in a twisted way, I do find all of this drama interesting.  Call it studying human behavior.  I'd rather it didn't happen, but as long as I get to Rock and Roll, whatever.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 22, 2016, 08:04:27 PM
...
It's just a lot harder to find a good leader singer than it is to find a good bass player.

Are you sure? I mean an actual good bass player. Not a guitarist who happens to know where the notes are, but one that can groove and really give a song that nice low-end. One who can add subtle bass lines to the song without overdoing it or becoming yet another melody-instrument.  In my experience, a good bass guitarist is really hard to find. Then again, this can be said for basically any instrument. Once you really start looking for quality, you'll find out how many bad musicians there are out there.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 22, 2016, 08:04:41 PM
...
In our position, yes, I think it's harder.  We're all in our 50's, and it's just common sense (and a bit of experience) that the singer will need to be of a similar age.  Some hot 20-something or 30-something singer might have great pipes, but they're not going to want to sing classic rock with a bunch of dinosaurs.  They also have to live near enough to make practice every weekend and have weekends free in general because that's when the gigs are.  John is set on the singer being female, so if she has kids (which is definitely the norm around here) they have to be old enough to be left alone during these times.  Sure, it's possible that she's so fired up about being the singer in a rock band that she'll shell out for a babysitter just so she can go practice with a bunch of dudes 20 years older than her, but what are the chances of that, really?  And how many 50-somethings can still sing, really sing Rock and Roll?  If they can, chances are good that they're already in a band.

And part of it is because, while we'd love to have a really good bass player who can groove, there's a bit more leeway there.  The bass player only has to be "good enough".  The musicianship level of the rest of the band is still very high; we could get away with a mediocre bass player if need be.  A mediocre lead singer/front person is not an option.

It just blows my mind that this band keeps getting better and better, and we're on the verge of actual success, including real money (which was never the goal but certainly a nice plus) and we have not one, but two people going "nah, this just isn't working for me".  We're a fucking great band, it's official.  Every time I play with this band, I can't believe how good we are; it's the best band I've ever played in.  And our singer still can't put her selfish wants and needs aside; it's still not enough for her.  And our bass player loves playing with us but can't deal with the behind-the-scenes bullshit, which is so behind-the-scenes that I didn't even know it existed.

When I'm playing, if the music's good, I don't give a fuck if the singers hate each other, if the bass player secretly wants to be somewhere else, or anything else.  All that matters is the music.  I guess for me, that's enough.  That makes it all worthwhile.  Others aren't the same, though.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 22, 2016, 08:05:13 PM
...
Solution: get a male singer.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 22, 2016, 08:05:36 PM
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I'll second the "way easier to find a good bassist than a good singer" conundrum.  Currently there myself, and I suspect that it's due to the kind of stuff we want to do.  We've likely been entirely too ambitious in the type of stuff we've chosen to do, and because of it, we can't find a singer worth a shit.  Or at all, really.  Bummed, but not much I can do.  I need to get something going though.  I'm ready to start playing again and really would love to be playing again.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 22, 2016, 08:05:48 PM
...
Solution: get a male singer.

Female singers start with the advantage of having higher voices.  Good singers are hard to find anyway, but you'll still find more girls that can sing Steve Perry or Tom Johnston than guys who can sing Pat Benatar or Ann Wilson.  Also, John is pretty stuck on having a female singer, although part of that is because of the variety and flexibility that comes with it.

Even if you find a guy who can sing way up there, how many are willing to sing "girl songs"?  Benatar, Heart?  Joan Jett if you're lucky.  Girls don't seem to have the same issue singing guy songs because they're the norm.  Very few bands can get away with only doing songs originally sung by female lead singers.  You'd have to be really, really good, make it your thing, your trademark.  Otherwise the lack of variety just won't get you gigs around here.  Way too much competition.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 22, 2016, 08:07:12 PM
...
So we got together Friday night for a short practice.  We ran through the medley start to finish a couple of times.  Got through it both times, which was good, second time was better than the first.  This Friday is the Festival Showcase.

I was the last to leave, stuck around and asked John if anything had changed since we talked last Sunday, he said No.  Oh, well Yes, actually.  Friday is the thing, then our next regularly scheduled practice is Saturday.  The rest of the band, including Jessica, gets together to check out a singer named Cheryl.  Or maybe that'll happen Sunday afternoon.  He'll let us know.

This is shitty.  No one says a thing to Anne about the impending axe falling, because we want to get through the showcase, then John's gonna talk to her I guess (or maybe not), and we're already looking for new singers.  Just like how it's done in business.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 22, 2016, 08:08:21 PM
...
John called me this evening, says there's a new wrinkle.  I can hardly wait.

I've been whining about feeling shitty about how this is all going down, with Anne and the Festival Showcase, but Larry (unlike Orbert) had the fucking balls to lay it down with John.  He does not feel good about doing this showcase with Anne and her having no idea that she's about to be chopped.  And he cannot in good conscience play the showcase with her if we don't tell her what's what.

Bravo!  I didn't have the balls to put a friend before the band, but he did, and I'm glad.  His history is not with this band, it's with Anne.

I say to John "So you're calling her tonight, right?" and he says "I already left her a voicemail."  I told him I look forward to hearing about their conversation.

You cannot make this shit up.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 22, 2016, 08:08:38 PM
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Can Jessica do the job for the showcase, if Anne won't do it?
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 22, 2016, 08:08:56 PM
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Jessica isn't available that day, which is why we have Amy to fill in.  But Jessica is not a lead-vocal quality singer anyway.

It comes down to Anne doing it, knowing full well that it'll be her last appearance with us and that she's basically helping us to move on without her; or her choosing not to do it, which is well within her right.  If she doesn't do it, we don't do the showcase.  We find a new singer, work up our new guitarist, and say "Just wait 'til next year"
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 22, 2016, 08:09:49 PM
...
I received a text from John about an hour ago.  She called him back.  He told her, she's bummed, she'll go through a few more emotions in the next 24 hours and be a wreck at work (kinda dumb idea calling back from work, but whatever).  Then she texted him 20 minutes later and said she wouldn't be doing the showcase on Friday.

As for "back-stabbing" and doing stuff behind her back, it's all a matter of perspective.  John is a communicator.  He talks to each of us individually, he sends texts to the group, he sends emails to the group, or to the subset of the group which seems relevant.  As much as possible, he tries to insulate the rest of the band from issues any given individual might be having.  This can be good or bad.  If there are problems and they get dealt with and I never even knew about them, I'm fine with that.  But the deal with Jerry getting to the point where he's ready to quit, while I had no idea, was an interesting example of how it might be better to let others in on things sometimes.  But what's he gonna say?  "By the way, Jerry is thinking of quitting, he's so tired of Anne's crap."  And before John could do that, Jerry himself let it fly at a band meeting.

After dealing with Anne all summer and trying to get her to put the band first, to try to work with others instead of always saying "I want this" and "I don't like that" and finally having it lead to one member leaving and another threatening to leave, John made the decision to start looking for a replacement.  It's his band and as far as I'm concerned, that's his decision to make.  He assures me that if I knew all the shit he's been through with her, all the back and forth, all the whining he's gotten and the pleading he's done in vain, I would feel differently.  Well, okay, I'll have to take his word for that.  Anyway, because he didn't want to make a decision this critical without input from the others, he contacted me, Jerry, and JT separately.  Jerry and JT were on board.  I took a little more convincing, but I'm on board.  It wasn't a "secret vote" or a great conspiracy against her, though I can see how it looks like that.  It was to see if he has a consensus, and he does.  Larry was approached a bit differently.  He's a member of the band, but hasn't actually started working with us yet.  He was okay with the decision, though a bit bummed because it was Anne who brought him in.  But he didn't like the idea of doing the showcase with her and her not knowing what was coming while the rest of us all did.  That's fair, and that's why he insisted that Anne be brought up to speed.

So John had to tell her, and hope that she'd be willing to do the showcase anyway.  She has chosen not to.

This weekend, time and date to be announced, we start looking at new lead singers.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 22, 2016, 08:10:46 PM
...
The other shoe drops.  Larry has left the band.

Larry was brought in by Anne, and seemed to fit very well with us in terms of personality and of course musical background.  John talked with him before the official decision to cut Anne, and Larry indicated that he would stay in the band even if Anne was cut.  At his "suggestion" Anne was informed of her impending fate prior to the showcase, and she has chosen not to do the showcase, which surprised no one.  Larry quitting, I must say, is not really a surprise, just disappointing.  Because he said he'd stay even if Anne was cut, my only conclusion is that it wasn't just the cutting; it was the way it was done.

Texts have gone around.  JT asked if it's time to call Jimmy.  I ask who Jimmy is.  Jimmy is a male singer.  Goes against John's "vision" for the band, we're already looking at a singer this weekend, and in context I assumed he was a guitarist.  Maybe Jimmy Page is looking for a new gig.  You never know.

So once again, I feel like I have no fucking idea what's going on.  But I'm still not ready to quit.  I'll stick with it and rock when I can, because the current option is to not rock at all.  Finding a new band would be a pain in the ass.  Jerry hasn't weighed in yet.  If Jerry quits (less likely now that Anne is officially out but potentially more likely because Larry is now also gone and we're again looking at rebuilding for a few months, minimum) then there's a good chance that the band will just fold.  When John called me the other night to talk about things, he briefly mentioned the possibility of the ending of the band, so it's crossed his mind as well.

In a way, it would be a relief.  An end to all the drama and frustration.  If that happened, I'd probably see about maybe finding another band.  I still won't be the one to quit and do that, though.  I don't see any upside to quitting a known quantity to take your chances on an unknown, not in this biz.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 22, 2016, 08:11:16 PM
...
FlashDrive is officially in a rebuilding season.  I tossed that term out there yesterday and got nods all around.  Wait, let me back up.


The Festival Showcase was Friday.  The band did not play, but that turned out to be maybe a better thing after all.  Last Saturday after practice, we sat and stuffed press kits, 50 of them.  Nice shiny black folder, logo (custom decal) on the front.  Open it up, 8x10 glossy of the band on the left side, song list and cover letter on the right.  Pretty slick-looking package.  John called them this week and turned the $100 audition fee into a booth fee, a kiosk with electricity.  He sat there all day Friday with the kits and a laptop playing video of FlashDrive playing live, ready to fellate prospective clients.  Good stuff.

Friday I had the day off, so I was being a bum at home and decided Oh yeah, I should revoke Anne's Editor privs on the band's Facebook page.  While I was in there, I took the opportunity to clean up some things, standardize Album Titles, add Descriptions to pictures, make sure everything looks nice if/when prospective talent folks go there for a look.  One of the pictures from our last gig is JT and Amy.  Amy is the girl who was going to fill in for Jessica as backup singer, since Jessica is a teacher and couldn't just take the day off.  Anne had added most of the pictures in the last two albums, but didn't add Descriptions, so I added them.  Mostly serious, some silly.  It was easy to tag Amy because we became Facebook Friends this week, yay.

I get a Facebook message from Amy, thanking me for the tag.  She remembered that picture being taken, but didn't get a copy.  By the way, her and JT have had a falling out and she doesn't think they'll be friends any more.  Um, okay.  So she removed the tag but downloaded the picture.  Then it occurs to me that Amy was really only brought in to fill in this one gig, Anne took her under her wing, we didn't do the gig, Anne is gone, her only connection to the band was JT, and I wonder if anyone actually told her that we weren't doing the gig.

Turns out Amy called Anne to talk about practicing one more time this week, and Anne told her the gig was off.  John assumed JT would tell her, JT saw the group email saying that we weren't doing it, but didn't notice that Amy wasn't on the To: list (it was just regular band members) and thought she knew.  Meanwhile, she found out from Anne, who was already pissed about being let go and had quickly become best friends forever with Amy so Amy called JT and says What the fuck, you didn't even tell me? and JT has no idea what she's talking about so they get into an argument and let's just say JT isn't fucking Amy anymore.  Too bad, she was cute.  Amy and JT aren't Facebook Friends anymore, but she and I still are.

Also, Anne unFriended Jerry and JT, but not me, and I can't believe I'm relating Friending and unFriending drama like it's the 90's and we're in high school but that's just how ridiculous this all is.  Bring on the fucking drama.  Jerry sends a text to me, JT, and John just laughing about the fact that Anne has unFriended him ("Good riddance!") but wondering why.  I said it's because she traces her exit from the band back to his comments at the round table, about him being 50-50 on quitting the band because of all the drama, and she knows she brings the drama, so it's "his fault".  Ah, wisdom!

John's email is just to me, JT, Jerry, and Jessica, the only people still officially in the band.  I'm the only one left whose name doesn't start with J.  It states that Anne is officially out of the band, and that Larry has left as well.  Larry was on his third strike with him (John) anyway, so John didn't actually try that hard to keep him.  So the search is now on for a new lead guitarist as well as a singer.  John goes on to question his leadership of the band, and now understands why many band leaders prefer a more Authoritarian model than the more Democratic model he's been using.  He does not say so, but he seems to be looking for feedback.

So I give him some.  First, I ask for clarification on Larry's "three strikes".  Then I go on to say that I actually like the way the band has been led thus far.  No leadership model is perfect for all situations; it depends heavily on the individuals involved.  If someone's not good with the way the band is run, they're not a good fit for the band, and that's going to be true of any model.  The band has been through some serious setbacks recently, the lows which always seem to follow the highs, and it's natural and expected for him to reexamine things, but I'm telling him that things couldn't really have gone any other way.  Anne was consistently putting herself ahead of the band, and was practically the definition of "not a good fit".  But we've replaced band members before.  I'm still in.

He thanks me for the "calming words".  Larry's three strikes were: 1 Telling John that he was okay waiting until after the showcase to tell Anne and otherwise deal with band personnel issues.  The personnel issues are separate from the gigs we have to play. 2 Turning around and insisting that Anne be told, or he's not going to play the showcase.  But don't worry, he's not quitting the band or anything; he just thinks it's not cool using Anne like this.  3 Quitting the band anyway after Anne says she's not doing the showcase.

Saturday (yesterday) I get there, ready to audition a new lead singer named Cheryl.  Her Soundcloud is good.  She's also pretty, but it's just a head shot.  She sings Jazz, but that's just her Soundcloud profile.  She sang in Rock and Roll bands for eight years out in Colorado.  Okay.

I get there, and Jerry is already there.  I ask him point blank: Are you still in?  He's like What?  The band, Are you still in?  He's like Yeah, of course I'm still in!  JT shows up, and I ask him: Are you still in? and he's like Fuck yeah, I'm still in!

Wait, this stack of promo packs that we stuffed last week, it looks like most of them are still here.  John fills us in on the showcase thing Friday.  It was "a learning experience".  Promoted as a showcase to 40 or 50 local vendors, representatives from three counties, folks looking to sign bands to their local events and bands looking to play them, John says there were maybe 12 or 15 vendors there all day.  It wasn't a continuous crowd, lots of folks all checking out the local talent.  There were two or three people there at a time, at the most, they'd listen to a few bands and leave, and sometimes they'd go a while with no vendors actually there.  The first band, right at 9:00, played to an empty room.  No one was there yet.  They just kinda wandered in and out all day.  John handed out 15 packets altogether, but probably only 12 to vendors.  The other three went to other bands.  They were wandering around, too, and saw our kits and went "Whoa, can I take one?"  So now they know how to make a professional-looking press kit.  So anyway, if we'd played, it would've been for the maybe one or two reps there at the time.  This way, 12 vendors out there have our info.  The band that they sign will not be the same people as in the picture, but so what?  We show and play, we have a new singer, or a new guitarist.  It happens.

Cheryl is just going to audition with the four of us, the "core" of the band.  We have just established that we are in fact the core and are all still in, and we've replaced singers and guitarists before, and what the hell else are we gonna do on weekends?  And we're all here, and we all sit down for a second and have some snacks (John always has snacks and drinks; he's an excellent host) and reassure ourselves and each other that we're the core of the band and we're all still in.  We ponder whether being "the core" means that the new guitarist and new singer will not by definition be part of "the core".  That depends.  Pat never felt like he tried to fit in.  Larry seemed like he would have, everything seemed so cool, but then he went psycho on us the same way Anne did.  So you never know.

Cheryl arrives, along with her husband Neal.  She hopes it's okay that he came along (of course it is) and she jokes that you never know, she thought she was auditioning for a band, but she might have been driving out to some house to get gang-raped or something.  Neal is maybe 5'7" with glasses and kinda nerdy-looking, and he immediately points out that he would have been no help at all if this had turned out to be the case.  Okay, so these two have a wacky sense of humor and don't feel the need to hold back.

Cheryl sings pretty well.  We go through four songs, "What's Up?" by 4 Non Blondes, "Higher Ground" by a cross between Stevie Wonder and Red Hot Chili Peppers, "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" by Pat Benatar, and "Some Kind of Wonderful" not by Grand Funk Railroad, but Joss Stone's version.  We've never heard her version.  Jerry has never heard of Joss Stone.  Loser.  The rest of us have.  John plugs Cheryl's iPhone into the board and we listen to it.  It's funky, cool, and does not suck.  So we try that version.  She's like What, do you know this version? and we're like No but we just listened to it so let's try it and she seems impressed but hey, we are professional musicians here, baby.

So we rocked it.  We couldn't remember how to get to the ending thing, so it kinda crashed at the end, but we did it, a funky, cool version we'd never even heard before.

Cheryl and Neal leave, just the core four of us again.  Thoughts?  Decent singer, a bit thin in the upper range, though.  Alto, not a Soprano.  Anne was stronger in the upper range, so it didn't matter so much that Jessica wasn't, but we don't know how it'll work with Jessica and Cheryl.  They might be able to support each other, or they might suffer because neither are really that strong up there.

JT points out an uncomfortable truth.  This is show business, and talent definitely matters, but image also matters.  Cheryl is pretty, but she's not tall, and nearly as wide as she is tall.  She's like, round.  You can get away with mediocre looks if you have massive talent and presence.  You can get away with mediocre talent if you're hot and have great presence.  You can even get away with lousy stage presence if you're hot and talented.  But you have to have at least two of the three.  She was a decent singer, had no presence, and is not strong in the "image" department.  Hmm.  John says, Well, we keep her in mind and we keep looking.  Somewhere in here, I threw out my line about this being a rebuilding season.

In sports, a team occasionally has a period where it's a given that they're not realistically even thinking about the pennant.  They've lost some key guys and/or have a lot of new talent coming up and in need of seasoning, etc.  With us, it always seems to be winters.  Two years ago, we'd lost Karen and Mike, and had to replace a singer and a bassist, then we had to build up enough songs to play gigs.  We rebuilt over spring and summer, and by fall we played out for actual money.  Then Steve quit.  We got Pat in and by spring we were gigging again.  We gigged all summer, had some fun, played a major local venue, then lost both Pat and Anne.  Larry never even played a gig with us, so fuck him.  We got the holidays coming up again, I'm always busy with other musical things this time of year, and there's no gigs anyway, so whatever.  We rebuild, and keep on rocking, because what's the alternative?  Not rocking?  Sorry, but that's just not an option.  We must rock!

FlashDrive updates will likely be lesser over the upcoming months, as we enter the off-season and audition folks.  Hopefully, we'll be back to a full lineup and gigging again before too long.  I might take the time to create a separate thread for all these band updates, because in terms of total content, there's a fuckton of it and I feel like it dominates this thread too much.  I know some of you guys are fine with that, but hey, you can follow the updates in the new thread, too, and this way guys like Kotowboy and TheLordOfTheStrings and their projects don't get bombed out by me.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 22, 2016, 08:24:02 PM
We're caught up now.  My first post about this band, or the first version of the band which became Oh Zone, which later evolved into FlashDrive, was nearly three years ago on Page 10 of the Musicians Chat Thread, which right now is up to 44 pages.  This thread is 12 pages, so just over 1/3 of the posts from that point are either me talking about the band, or discussion more or less directly related to it.  I should have been more consistent and in general more ruthless with the editing.  I think it's kinda cool to have some follow-up discussion of things directly brought in the updates, but I wavered between including it all and trimming it down.  So this is what we have.

To all of you who've been following the drama and trauma of Orbert's Band in the Musicians Chat Thread and have commented positively, Thank You!  I don't know whether that thread will see more traffic or less now.  Maybe more because my updates have rather dominated things and in that sense discouraged others from posting, maybe less because my updates themselves generated traffic.  So we'll see.  I'll still post in The Musicians Chat Thread about other music-related stuff I'm doing and have been up to, but the band updates will just be here from now on.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: sneakyblueberry on November 23, 2016, 01:02:05 AM
Following.  As always.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: BlackInk on November 23, 2016, 01:03:34 AM
Following.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: pcs90 on November 24, 2016, 05:33:37 PM
Glad to see there's a thread just for this now. :D Makes it a lot easier to follow, IMO.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 24, 2016, 08:17:24 PM
Minor update: John has been in contact with a couple of guitarists, including one who lives right near him and coincidentally just listed himself online the same day John called him.  Similar age, background, etc.  They're going to get together next week for some 1:1 jamming, just so John can get to know him a bit.

After not getting any leads on female vocalists, he's decided to give a male singer named Jim a try.  If Jim works out, I will be the only person in the band whose name doesn't start with "J", although we still have a guitarist to add, and the guy the lives by John is named David.

Then just yesterday he found someone named Angela who would seem to be the perfect fit.  Vocal performance major, 10 years experience fronting cover bands, can sing lead but is currently looking to share lead vocal duties.  Also, she's hot and JT knows her.  I told him to set up an audition, and others concur.

Rebuilding is underway!
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: TheLordOfTheStrings on November 25, 2016, 03:01:29 AM
I know some of you guys are fine with that, but hey, you can follow the updates in the new thread, too, and this way guys like Kotowboy and TheLordOfTheStrings and their projects don't get bombed out by me.
That's nice of you man! Don't feel bad about that though - you've got a very interesting saga going on. ;)
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 29, 2016, 09:04:06 PM
Audition with Angela is set for a week from Saturday.  Her signature song is "Alone" by Heart, so we'll learn that.  I've got it pretty nailed down already.  Great song, lots of cool keys for me to play.  It's gonna kick ass.  I can't wait to hear her sing it.  She was over at John's singing to some karaoke tracks, and he said she sounded great.

We're also gonna try "Bring Me to Life" with her.  Both of these are with Jessica on harmonies.  Then Jess wants to try singing lead on "Separate Ways".  Angela will probably take the high harmony (B) so I'll take the E.  That'll rock.

We'll also mess around with "Burning Love" (Wynonna version), "Hit Me with Your Best Shot", and "Shut Up and Dance".  At that point, we should all have a pretty good idea if it'll work or not.  I'm looking forward to this.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 30, 2016, 09:51:56 PM
David will be joining us on December 10th as well.  It will be a "kill two birds with one stone" type of day.  Multiple auditions, Angela, David, and us.  David wants to play "Rock and Roll" by Led Zeppelin for us, but someone needs to sing it, so we'll see how Jess or Angela, or both, do.  John shared the rest of the list with him, and he'll be ready to play them as well.  They got together a little bit the other night.

We got a gig!  We're set for one of the local festivals next June.  $800 for an hour and a half.  Not too shabby.  Now we just need to put a band together.  We only need 90 minutes.

Since i manage the band's Facebook page, I get notifications like "FlashDrive has received 8 new views" and "FlashDrive has received 4 new views" every couple of days.  I'm guessing that that's people out there who John has given promo packs to, and maybe some others.  The promo packs have the band website and the Facebook page, and each of them has links to the other.

Here's a fun story:  Angela and John were talking about how she has experience fronting bands, but her profile page says something to the effect that she hasn't found the right band since returning to the Chicago area.  She says Yeah, she moved back her a little over a year ago, and auditioned for some band, and it was such a negative experience for her that she got turned off for a while, and is just now getting back into things.  Apparently they acted all desperate and pushy about setting an audition date and she finally auditioned for them and they went "You're great!  Welcome to the band!" and she told them No because actually they kinda sucked and she didn't really like them anyway.  She shared this with John; we don't know how much of this she actually told them.  John asks if that band happened to be <Anne's old band>.  It was.  And John laughs, and Angela laughs, because John knows those guys, and they're assholes.

But wait, didn't Anne leave that band two years ago?  Correct!  Two years ago, we talked Anne into leaving her old band to join us.  This left them needing a singer, and who should join them?  Karen, our old singer.  The one who left us with no notice.  So while we were building up our show with Anne, her old band was rebuilding with Karen.  We basically switched singers.  Then Karen quit that band too, also with no notice.  This left them needing a singer again, and pretty badly because they had gigs booked.  That was a year ago, when they auditioned Angela and acted all desperate (because they were), and she told them No.  Now she's auditioning with us.  Except we're freakin' awesome and she'll see that and want to join.  And so will David.  John says he has a good feeling about each of them.

I cooked up a new synth patch tonight.  Nothing huge, just a little snippet for "Shut Up and Dance".  That high resonance synth that comes down right before the second verse.  It's a cool sound, a fun sound.  I'll whip that out on Saturday, too.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: BlobVanDam on November 30, 2016, 09:56:23 PM
I'll whip that out on Saturday, too.

Wait, what kind of audition is this? :zydar:

So does your area just have a small pool of singers/musicians for your type of music that these people have been related to these same bands, or are they just the best people going around for this type of thing?
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: pcs90 on November 30, 2016, 10:07:29 PM
Funny how you basically keep trading singers back and forth with this other band. Hopefully this audition goes smoothly and you guys can get back on track!
At least you are able to recover over and over again after losing members. That's more than a lot of bands end up doing.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on November 30, 2016, 10:53:58 PM
To answer both of you, it kinds works out this way because there are only so many singers and musicians out here in the burbs, and we all want to play, so various subgroupings come and go.  Steve, our old guitarist, has a new band, and he's got Jerry playing bass and Jessica is their lead singer.  The same Jerry and Jessica from our band.  That's why both of them were willing to push back against Anne.  Because they have another band, it would be a shame if FlashDrive came apart, but it wouldn't be the end of the world for them.  Steve approached me to play keyboards for him, but I don't need any more bands right now.  And when Steve left and we got Pat, we got him because Anne knew him from her old band, and he basically played with both bands for a while, and ultimately quit our band to go full time with them.  Heck, for all I know, she'll go back with them, too.  I heard their new singer sucks.

I did tell Steve that if FlashDrive falls apart, and if he still needs a keyboard player, I'll think about it.  That would make four former FlashDrive members in the same band, though we weren't all in FlashDrive at the same time.

It seems to me that music for people our age is best played by people our age.  Some of the other guys talk about wanting to play more newer music, more recent stuff, and I think that "kids" these days (which is anyone younger than us, which is most people) don't want to hear a bunch of 50-year-old dinosaurs trying to sound cool playing whatever's hot and hip right now.  That should be left to people who know that music and grew up with it.  We grew up with 70's music.  We're best playing 70's music.  I think it's cool that it's so easy to do that, for bands to find people and people to find bands, through the Internet these days.  It wasn't like this back in the 80's.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Jester on December 02, 2016, 05:20:14 PM
Is this thread Back to the Present now?
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on December 02, 2016, 08:49:53 PM
Yeah, the backstory was caught up earlier on this page.  Moving forward, it's all real-time.  Or close enough for Rock and Roll. ♫♫♪♫
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Sir GuitarCozmo on December 05, 2016, 08:31:34 AM
So does your area just have a small pool of singers/musicians for your type of music that these people have been related to these same bands, or are they just the best people going around for this type of thing?

Most local music communities are one big dysfunctional incestuous family.  There are a couple bands here or there that have had an established lineup that has stuck because it works.  There's a band around here called Steel that has been together for 20+ years.  Unquestionably the single best band in the area, without a doubt.  The bass player rocks the living shit out of a BC Rich Bich.  Nails all the bass licks on Slow Ride, for example.  The guitarist gets a solo spot doing Satch Boogie.  Slightly faster than the recorded version, which is quick enough already.  The singer effortlessly nails things like Last in Line and Victim of Changes.  The drummer is a drummer.  But he's still freaking stellar.  They will never have a need to recruit a new member for any reason.

The other 99% of the bands that seem to crop up and subsequently die quickly often have a lot of the same names and faces.  I was in two bands for a while.  My bass player is currently in two bands.  The band we've been talking about putting together (that I'm pretty sure isn't going to happen now) would've put my rhythm guitarist and drummer in a second band.  Lots of the guys on the scene are in multiple bands.  So it goes.  And it isn't necessarily because they're best suited to anything, because believe me, some of them aren't.  :lol
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on December 10, 2016, 08:32:43 AM
Minor update:  Today is our "double audition" and I'm pretty psyched.  David on guitar and Angela on vocals.  It's partly a time-saving measure, since we have to audition both of them anyway, and partly a practical thing.  Ultimately, we all have to play and learn to create together anyway, so let's throw everything into the pot and see what we can cook up.

"Alone" by Heart has a very distinctive 80's electronic piano sound (it's actually two patches synched), and I realized that playing it with my stock Yamaha piano sound wasn't cutting it, so I spent some time yesterday building new patches for that song.  I have to have just the piano thing, then with quiet strings in the background, then blasting full orchestral while I pad everything out with cheesy 80's synth on the Prophet.

I also came up with another new patch for "Shut Up and Dance".  The synth drone is more synthy now.

Playing in a cover band is interesting for me, someone who considers himself reasonably knowledgeable about music and how it's created.  I know damned well that 90% of what we do is going to be just fine with most people.  But there will be specific things that stick out.  When we get to that one part where the singer really nails that one note, it has to be good.  If not, we suck.  That one guitar lick has to be there, every time, and it needs to sound just like on the CD because everyone knows that part.  If not, we suck.

So if you think about it, most of the hard work we put into covering things properly doesn't even get noticed, and that's a good thing.  Some people will walk out of there thinking the singer was really good, or the guitarist was really good, or whatever.  Most will think we're pretty good, some will hopefully think we're very good.  What we do not want is people hearing things they don't like.  What gets noticed is where you didn't put in the work to make it sound right.

Most songs, we dive right into them if everyone feels good about them, but sometimes John thinks it's a good idea to play the mp3 once or twice to get the tempo and stuff into our heads.  A couple of times, I've started playing songs and some of the others didn't come in because they thought we were listening to the mp3 one more time.  Yes!  I sound just like the fucking mp3.  That's the idea, right?
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Sir GuitarCozmo on December 16, 2016, 07:27:38 AM
So how'd it go??
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on December 16, 2016, 11:16:49 AM
I just came here to post an update, so thanks for saving me the trouble of digging up the thread. :)

It went very well.  Angela was amazing.  "Alone" by Heart and "Bring Me to Life" by Evanescence both sounded great.  Jess wanted to try singing lead on "Separate Ways" by Journey and she blew us away.  I'd never heard her sing like that.  She says it's because Anne would never let her.  It's been coming out more and more how much drama, turmoil, and just plain shit was caused by Anne, especially towards the end when she went full-blown psycho.  Everyone agrees that she wasn't like that at first, but gradually went that direction.  Jess has only ever seen her dark side, having been brought in to help build the band's vocal strength (easily our weakest spot for a while) and Anne treated her pretty badly.  Jess also sang "Rock and Roll" by Led Zeppelin so David could audition his signature piece, and she killed that, too, again surprising us all.  So we seem to have two kickass female singers now.

David I honestly was not as impressed with, but he mostly did well.  He had the harmonics and a great sound in "Separate Ways" but there was one chord somewhere that was just plain wrong.  Every time it came around, it clashed horribly with what John and I were playing, and we all heard it.  The second time, he looked at John; the third time, he knew it was him.  Later he said something about working with John on that one some more.  My concern is that I don't consider that a very difficult song.  Sure it sounds impressive as hell if everyone's playing it right, but the parts themselves aren't that hard.  But maybe the guitar part is.  He rocked on "Rock and Roll" and his power chords were powerful on "Bring Me to Life" and "Alone".

What else did we do?  "Burning Love" (Wynonna Judd version) was good, "Shut Up and Dance" and "Hit Me with Your Best Shot" were good, overall he was good.  It was just that one chord in the one song, I guess.  It stuck out, and I guess it made quite an impression if it colored my opinion of him that much, because I can't think of anything else he did that sounded wrong.

We took a break, chatted a bit, got to know each other a bit, then played through the songs again.  I told David to go ahead and turn up a bit, since he seemed to be holding back, and he did, and went a little nuts with the harmonics in "Separate Ways" which got so ridiculous that I busted out laughing.  I looked at JT, and he started laughing too, though he didn't know why.  Angela said something later about how we seem to have a lot of fun, while playing some pretty difficult music, and that's impressive.  I was just really buzzed, more than I'd meant to be since it was an audition, but since the band rarely sees me in any other state, it was just Orbert as usual to them.  And I'd just as soon keep it that way. :hat


So emails went out this week, first from John asking if anyone had any comments, concerns, reservations, and it came out that Angela is still nursing a vocal chord injury and needs to take it easy for a while.  No more than a two-hour rehearsal every two weeks.  If she's going to be splitting the lead vocals with Jess, then that's fine.  She'll gradually increase the amount of time she can sing.  She's working with a therapist, and she's a trained vocalist anyway, so she knows how to deal with this.  Also, if that was her not at 100%, then she is going to absolutely slay people when she's back to full strength.  Jerry was the most concerned, but we convinced him that this is still the best course.  Everyone else was in.  David had a great attitude and seemed like a good guy, and everyone was in favor of him, so invitations went out to both David and Angela to join the band.  David was invited and accepted right away, but we had a bit of discussion via email about Angela's convalescence and what it means, but eventually her invitation went out, and she accepted just this morning, which is why I was coming here to update things.

FlashDrive now has a full lineup again!  As always, we'll start by keeping as many songs from the current list as possible, in order to minimize the total amount of work to get us to a full set list.  Obviously the new people will have the most new songs to learn, but most of these are songs that everybody knows or at least has heard 1000 times on the radio.  We'll also work in the new songs each of them brings with them.  John is very good at selecting which songs to work up each rehearsal to spread things around, give everyone a little something, and I expect no different in the coming months.  We have a gig booked in June, but we're hoping to get some lined up sooner than that.  Still no other bites from that showcase thing in November, but no real surprise there, as it was mostly a waste of time.  We'll see how things go.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: pcs90 on December 17, 2016, 10:14:58 AM
Definitely sounds like you guys made the right decision by getting rid of your old singer. Now you have 2 great ones instead!
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on December 17, 2016, 11:37:09 AM
It would seem so.  Cutting someone is always a tough decision to make, but in this case it was particularly tough because we were already replacing a guitarist at the same time.  And just making the decision to do it was hard, because we were gigging.  We had a sound, it was good, and people liked it.  I personally was okay with how we were doing, and would have chosen to just keep her.  But things behind the scenes were so bad that the band was ready to fall apart unless we rooted out the problem.  Pat had already turned in his notice, Jerry was ready to quit, JT likely would have followed, and Jess told John privately that she really wasn't having any fun with this band.  If Anne stayed, the band would have completely come apart.  So it was necessary if we wanted the band to continue (which obviously we all do) and thus the right decision.  But man, it was tough.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on December 17, 2016, 11:55:35 AM
I noticed the other day that I hadn't seen any Facebook updates from Anne, and I checked and we're not Friends any more.  Bummer.  For at least a few days after the showcase fiasco, she'd kept me, after cutting everyone else, and I thought maybe I had some kind of special circumstance.  We'd worked separately from the rest of the band to work up a song for her mother's birthday, which we celebrated at our second-to-last gig.  Also, I seemed to be the only one that didn't have a serious problem with her, and I really do consider her a friend.  Heck, we played in a band together for two years, greeted each other with hugs and the occasional peck on the cheek.  We go from that to literally no contact at all?  But she probably thought it best to just cut all ties, which is understandable.  Any time one of us posts something and she sees it, it would remind her of this awesome band she used to be in that fired her for reasons that she somehow cannot comprehend.

What's odd -- and 100% on me, I admit -- is that I still have her son as a friend.  I'd gotten to know him pretty well, since he came to a lot of the gigs and even helped me load up my stuff a few times.  Also, he and John's son did "House of Gold" with us that time.  We have gigged together, and I always feel an extra connection to someone I've played music with.  Plus, a few times he told me that I was the coolest guy in his mom's band.  Anyway, we're still Friends, as are Larry Who Was Briefly in the Band and yet Played No Gigs with Us and also Amy Who Rehearsed with Us and Played No Gigs with Us.

I guess I don't feel the need to cut them from my lists because I don't believe in burning bridges.  It didn't work out, okay, but I have nothing personally against either of them, or Anne's son, and who knows?  Someday I might need to get ahold of a guitarist or singer, and they might be the perfect fit.  If they don't feel the need to cut the tie, I don't really care.  I've hidden them from my Newsfeed because I don't really care about what they had for dinner or the latest pictures of their cats or whatever, but music is different.  You never know when your paths might cross again.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: pcs90 on December 17, 2016, 12:05:32 PM
Yep. I keep everyone on my friends list. I did a major clean-up a year or so ago, but those were all people I barely knew anyway that mostly added me from when I was in high school or whatever. But even with musical projects that don't necessarily end on perfect terms, it's up to them to remove me. You never know what could happen.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Sir GuitarCozmo on December 17, 2016, 08:50:14 PM
Orbert, do you remember what chord was the issue on Separate Ways? The pre chorus part still confuses the hell out of me, and I've devised a somewhat alternate way of playing it myself, that kinda covers all bases.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: BlobVanDam on December 17, 2016, 09:18:13 PM
Orbert, do you remember what chord was the issue on Separate Ways? The pre chorus part still confuses the hell out of me, and I've devised a somewhat alternate way of playing it myself, that kinda covers all bases.

There are a few chords in the song where I'm not sure whether I should be playing the B or the C in there, although it's never clashed whichever I've gone with (I'd imagine it would sound worse with the range and voicing on guitar though). It would have to be either the pre-chorus or the chorus, as the verses just chug the E, and every other section is using the chorus progression.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Jester on December 17, 2016, 10:16:01 PM
I noticed the other day that I hadn't seen any Facebook updates from Anne, and I checked and we're not Friends any more.

Maybe she did a google search of some keywords (band name, bandmember names, gig venue names, songs rehearsed) and stumbled upon your diary here?
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on December 17, 2016, 10:37:13 PM
It's possible.  I'd feel kinda shitty if that were the case, but I feel kinda shitty about the way the whole thing went down anyway.

Orbert, do you remember what chord was the issue on Separate Ways? The pre chorus part still confuses the hell out of me, and I've devised a somewhat alternate way of playing it myself, that kinda covers all bases.

There are a few chords in the song where I'm not sure whether I should be playing the B or the C in there, although it's never clashed whichever I've gone with (I'd imagine it would sound worse with the range and voicing on guitar though). It would have to be either the pre-chorus or the chorus, as the verses just chug the E, and every other section is using the chorus progression.

I think Cain has some fun with the chords throughout, taking advantage of things like Em, Em/D, Em/C, and the fact the Em/C can sound just like a CM7 (because it basically is).  The verse is Em, D/E, C/E.  The pre-chorus is just C, D, Em, D, C but the last time you go D, Em/C and you get the CM7 effect when you get to Em/C, but to my ears, there's no question that that's the right chord.  I hear both the CM7 tonality and the Em.

Then with the chorus, he turns it around: Em, Em/D, Em/C, though each Em is actually D-Em, D-Em.  That's where most people get the background vocals wrong.  Harmonies stay on E and B because the chord never actually changes, only the bass.  It's D-Em, D-Em in the keys.

I don't remember exactly which chord it was, though I think it might have been one of the times it should've been Em/C and he went to C.  Em/C gives that nice CM7 effect as mentioned, but you absolutely cannot have a C in the chord itself.  The resulting CB dissonance would kill you.  I think that was what we heard.  You can just about get away with it when practicing it by yourself, but the chords will clash if someone plays C while some else's playing Em.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Jester on December 17, 2016, 10:49:31 PM
It's possible.  I'd feel kinda shitty if that were the case, but I feel kinda shitty about the way the whole thing went down anyway.

If true, she knows you kinda wanna bang her as well  :o  So she has her own little victory, so don't feel too bad   :biggrin:

Nothing in your diary is something other musicians haven't gone through in one form or another themselves.

But please, fix that damned chord already.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Sir GuitarCozmo on December 19, 2016, 09:02:15 AM
I think Cain has some fun with the chords throughout, taking advantage of things like Em, Em/D, Em/C, and the fact the Em/C can sound just like a CM7 (because it basically is).  The verse is Em, D/E, C/E.  The pre-chorus is just C, D, Em, D, C but the last time you go D, Em/C and you get the CM7 effect when you get to Em/C, but to my ears, there's no question that that's the right chord.  I hear both the CM7 tonality and the Em.

Then with the chorus, he turns it around: Em, Em/D, Em/C, though each Em is actually D-Em, D-Em.  That's where most people get the background vocals wrong.  Harmonies stay on E and B because the chord never actually changes, only the bass.  It's D-Em, D-Em in the keys.

I don't remember exactly which chord it was, though I think it might have been one of the times it should've been Em/C and he went to C.  Em/C gives that nice CM7 effect as mentioned, but you absolutely cannot have a C in the chord itself.  The resulting CB dissonance would kill you.  I think that was what we heard.  You can just about get away with it when practicing it by yourself, but the chords will clash if someone plays C while some else's playing Em.

That all makes sense, because I've often figured JC is playing something different on top of what everyone else is playing, in order to color things differently.  Off the top of my head, an example would be the guitars playing an E power chord while the keyboard plays a G major chord, resulting in an Em7 tonality.

So what I've found myself doing is on the two chords behind "If you must" (pickup to pre-chorus), I'm playing (all notes will be low to high) A-G-C-E and B-A-D-F# (Am7 and Bm7).  Then on "Go", I play a G/C (C-B-D-G) and a D.  On "Wish you love", I do D and Am7 (as noted previously).

To my ears, this was the best way I could seemingly incorporate everything I was hearing into one guitar part, especially if the keyboard player is nonexistent or doesn't know the song any better than I do.  :lol  I know the G/C creates a bit of dissonance, and I don't have a guitar in front of me, so I might not be remembering that right.  In my head, the bottom note is the guitar part and all the other notes would mimic the keyboard parts.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on December 19, 2016, 11:03:33 AM
Interesting.  I don't play any GM (or Em7) anywhere.  I'm not saying it's right or wrong, I just stick to Em, D, and C throughout, and with the way they play against the bass, it sounds right to me.  Definitely on the word "Go" I'm doing Em where you're doing G/C.  But I'm not covering a bass note anywhere, so I really don't know what he's playing there.

On "Wish you love" I'm doing D-C, which of course is very similar to D-Am7, and again I don't know what the bass is.  If he's playing A with my C, then were have the Am7 tonality.

The only time I vary from Em-D-C is "How we touched and went our separate ways" which I play Am7, D, D#dim (basically D with D# in the bass).
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Sir GuitarCozmo on December 19, 2016, 11:46:55 AM
I used the Em7 reference as a random example of the thought process I had in mind (guitars play E power chord (E-B), keys play a G major chord), not necessarily as a reference to an actual part of the song.  This idea actually plays out the same in the C/Am7 example from the song, now that I'm thinking about it.

The "If you must" chords on guitar are A5 - B5 (root+fifth chords, of course).  I assume this is where you play C and D.

The first chord on "go", is a C5 on the guitar.  With your Em, that would make a Cmaj7.  Then everyone plays D.  Then the guitar plays D5 - A5 (on "wish you love"), which with your D - C, which would, as you said, make for an Am7.

Then there's the second half of the pre-chorus where the only change is on "miss you love", where the guitars play B5 - C5.  What do you play here?


As an aside, it absolutely fascinates me that one little part of a song we all know so well is proving to be this involved, when all parts are considered.  You're looking at it from a completely different perspective, chordally, than the guitars are.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on December 19, 2016, 01:03:04 PM
At "miss you love" that's where I go D - Em/C.  Interesting that you play an open B where I play D, but I can see (hear) it.  The implied Bm7 would work.  The chords do sound fuller than a simple D major.  It's the bass that tells you whether that D is really a D, or if it's a Bm7.  Then I really do play an Em/C, since I go two hands on the synth for a few.  I like the extra C an octave down to give things some punch.

Now that I think about it, if the bass is B-C and the guitars play open B-C, then me playing D (plus the mid-low D) still works, and gives it even more of that yummy seventh dissonance.

All this discussion has reminded me that I've never been 100% certain of the chords in the first place.  I played "Separate Ways" back in the 80's and never knew then if it was "right" or not.  It sounds good to my ears, and of course in our biz, "right" is exactly that. It just has to sound good, and sound like the "real" thing to pass for correct.  That makes it "right". :)
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Sir GuitarCozmo on December 19, 2016, 01:13:17 PM
You know your chords better than me, Em/C would also be considered Cmaj7, right?

Okay, so the full chordal context is as follows:

If you  must   gooooooo I wish you love - you'll never walk   alooooone.  Take care my love, miss   you love.

Am7    Bm7   Em/C  D      D     Am7                 Am7   Bm7   Em/C   D             D    Am7       Bm7   Em/C


That's pretty cool, actually.  Thank you for the insight from your side of it.  I'm tempted to sit down and record just the pre-chorus instrumentally, just to hear a little better how the parts work together.  It was always hard to nail down the guitar parts, because I was hearing the keyboard chords playing something different and it threw me.  Now, if I ever find myself in a band playing this, I guarantee you we will play it more accurately than anyone else in the area has ever played it.  :lol
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on December 19, 2016, 02:10:39 PM
That matches what I'm playing on keys, except sub C for each Am7 and D for each Bm7.  I'm playing (bottom to top) G-C-E then A-D-F#, so with A and B in the bass, they're Am7, Bm7.  It's almost semantics at this point; truly, the difference is just in my head.  But I really do think of it as C/A, even if the result is equivalent to Am7.

And again, I don't really keep of what's going on with the bass, other than to help me out sometimes when first working out the chords.  But I prefer the "cleaner" sound of G-C-E against A in the bass, implying Am7, to actually playing an A in there somewhere.  Same with A-D-F# against B.  I like the subtly different dissonance created by going C/A to the Am7.  It's a big, full-sounding chord either way.  Also, I like when the keys aren't just doubling the guitars.  You get different textures, similar two guitars playing different inversions or even just messing with the sounds (clean vs dirty, different harmonics, etc).

Now I need to listen to it again and pay attention to the bass.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Sir GuitarCozmo on December 19, 2016, 02:23:44 PM
Right, so the full thing looks like this:

Keys:

If you  must   gooooooo I wish you love - you'll never walk   alooooone.  Take care my love, miss   you love.

C        D        Em    D       D     C                       C       D       Em    D              D     C           D       Em


Guitars:

If you  must   gooooooo I wish you love - you'll never walk   alooooone.  Take care my love, miss   you love.

A5       B5      C5    D5      D5   A5                     A5     B5      C5    D5             D5   A5          B5      C5


Combined chordal context:

If you  must   gooooooo I wish you love - you'll never walk   alooooone.  Take care my love, miss   you love.

Am7    Bm7    Cmaj7  D    D     Am7                 Am7   Bm7   Cmaj7  D            D    Am7       Bm7   Cmaj7



Yeah, basically semantics as to what to call them.  I guess the difference is all in how you learn.  If I played an Am7, I'd know it by that name, simply be the movable chord shape my left hand was employing, and it would never occur to me that it was a C/A.  Sure, if I wrote down all the notes, I'd see that technically those are the notes I had, but I never would've looked at it like that.  I feel like it would be really worthwhile to start looking at chords that way, for a fresher perspective, and it's something that I want to actively try to do from now on.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on December 19, 2016, 03:03:41 PM
I have the advantage (if you could call it that) of having messed around on the piano for a while before ever taking lessons, then taking lessons from a very good teacher, then quitting and continuing to mess around and teach myself.  Just from learning "Chopsticks" and "Heart and Soul" before ever seeing a written note, I knew some chords and the basics of cadences and resolutions.  I remember even then playing around with those basic progressions and taking solos and shit.

Then when I took lessons, I learned what it all "looked like" on paper.  But I was an obnoxious 10-year-old, and once I learned how to read music, I figured "Okay, the lessons worked, I can now play the piano" so I quit.  I mean, the point of taking lessons is to learn how to do something, right?  And as far as I was concerned, I could play, I could read, so mission accomplished.

But I loved it anyway, and continued to push myself.  My sister bought lots of sheet music, mostly books but a lot of singles as well, and back then they all had the chord symbols and little six-string guitar fingering diagrams, at least for "popular" music.

(http://imgur.com/fJnZdnF.jpg)

I played through all of them, and also looked at the chords and learned how they related to the notes.  I didn't think in terms of inversions; I just knew what notes the chords were made up of.  I started buying my own sheet music for stuff like Yes and Genesis, and holy shit, some of those chords and progressions were nuts!  But again, there it was, all laid out three different ways.  This was stuff my classically-based piano teacher did not, and could not, teach me.  But I dig deeply into it because it was awesome.  I learned early on that the sheet music usually left out the solos and other significant instrumentals, so I had to come up with those myself.  The goal was a performance-quality solo piano arrangement of the song, the whole song.  Most of the time the solo was just over the same progression as the verse or chorus, but I still had to figure it out.  The prog stuff, they didn't even bother trying with the instrumentals.  It was just a double bar, and the transcription picked up when the vocals came back in.  That presented some interesting challenges, but again, being "forced" to figure all of this out myself made me a better player.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Jester on December 19, 2016, 03:19:09 PM
Yeah, basically semantics as to what to call them.  I guess the difference is all in how you learn.  If I played an Am7, I'd know it by that name, simply be the movable chord shape my left hand was employing, and it would never occur to me that it was a C/A.  Sure, if I wrote down all the notes, I'd see that technically those are the notes I had, but I never would've looked at it like that.  I feel like it would be really worthwhile to start looking at chords that way, for a fresher perspective, and it's something that I want to actively try to do from now on.

Your best entry into that type of stuff is probably to formally learn a bit about 4 part harmony.  It is the basis for "orchestration".  The foundation.

Some things to try out:
1.  Distorted guitars do very well with power chords and diads.  Main reason is all the harmonic coloring from the distortion.  That also means more complex chords can quite frequently be a mess with distortion.  With that in mind, consider the guitar's role sometimes as being the chord meat (diad) and using the other instruments (commonly the keys) for the color.

2.  Flip that with clean guitar.  Especially arpeggiated playing.  You can then have another guitar doing the power chord thing or just consider the keys, bass and even vocal harmonies can now take the role of the "chord meat"

3.  Two distorted guitars can break up a color chord into a diad for each of them.  It isn't a guarantee though.  And it doesn't have to be them both playing "whole notes".  One could play quarter notes and the other staccato eighth notes, as a simple example.

4.  Distorted guitar diads, with second guitar having more of a lead feel playing single notes that are more for harmonic content than melodic content.  Although in 4 part harmony, you will see how they basically do both.  Independent and part of the larger picture.

5.  A fun experiment is to have two guitars play single notes, but not on the same beat.  So guitar one plays the root and holds it for a whole note.  Guitar two comes in a half note later and plays a whole note of ... the third to make it simple.  The first guitar is still holding that root note, but a half note later (a whole note for the guitar in isolation), it moves done to the 6th (relative to key center) which makes the guitars playing the 6th and 3rd or essentially a perfect 5th apart.  This is a good exercise because it really lets you zero in on the simplest of harmony and how faster movement can happen even though each guitar is playing long ass whole notes.

There's really so much you can do when you look at the guitar as 1/4th or 1/5th or whatever fraction of the total music as opposed to it needing to be juggernaut every song, every measure, every note.  And don't forget the other option.  Silence from the guitar.

Four part harmony will definitely get you thinking in that head space.  The first thing you will notice is that four part harmony really, really, really hates metal guitar (doesn't like parallel 5th movement - ahem - power chords).  Just remember, it is theory, not rules.  Don't feel the need to make everything fit theory and don't feel the need to disregard it simply because it goes against some things you've come to love.  That's just a neat challenge to force you out of your comfort zone.  In the end, you get the best of both worlds.

For the record, I never actually think in theoretical terms when writing.  Especially during the inspiration phase.  Just like you probably never think of Zep or KISS or whatever when writing.  It just became a part of you.  Theory is very similar.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Jester on December 19, 2016, 03:32:45 PM
In terms of playing around with chords and inversions and single note movement as opposed to entire chord shapes, I'd recommend thinking in Van Halen - Running with the Devil headspace.

Zeroing in on just the D - G - B strings.  For a starting point, play a major barre chord (root on the low E).  Now get rid of all the fingerings that aren't on the D - G - B strings.  Toss out you pick and just pluck all three notes at the same time with your fingers.  This is like playing a triad on a piano.  At a slow to medium tempo, play eighth notes of that current triad.  Every eighth (essentially a new measure), change just one note from that triad shape.  Keep that eighth note pulse running with the idea you are going to change just one note in that shape every measure.  Your ear is really going to start to realize the significance of the single note movement in relation to the 3 note harmony.  It also frees you up from diatonic scales.  You can move a half step, when the current key called for a whole step movement.  Essentially, you are most likely employing some complex theory chord substitution or key change, but you've broken it down to the simplest form of simply using your ear.

This similar to how I messed around on piano as a little kid.  I learned the C-E-G closed triad and would drop the C to B for B-E-G.  I didn't know about inversions or chord progressions.  I just liked the way it sounded.  And I'd keep doing it, eventually wondering what would happen if I mixed in some of those black keys I always had trouble getting to work.

You can do it on more of a conscious level.  Play that C-E-G or I chord.  Maybe try the simplest I - IV - V - I progression.  Figure out how you are going to get there on just those 3 strings with as little actual movement as possible.

Those 3 strings can become a home base for chord movement.  When you can always find the core of the chord there, you can usually find the doubling or color notes on the other 3 strings either by recognizing the mini shape within, or simply using octaves or whatever to find the other notes to make the chord "bigger" more guitar strum chords.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on December 19, 2016, 03:39:24 PM
Is that how it's spelled?  "barre chord"?  I always figured it was "bar chord" because your index finger makes a bar across the top.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on December 19, 2016, 03:44:43 PM
Also, kinda wacky that such a discussion takes place in this thread, after I split it off from the main Musician's Chat Thread, as this is obviously stuff that could be of interest to musicians in general.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Jester on December 19, 2016, 03:53:07 PM
Cozmo is also in a certain mode in his own thread.

I'd love if some actual musician - composition techniques threads broke out.  Most of my knowledge is from the past and is not currently being practiced, but maybe if I found the time and a thread to have back and forth, I'd find some spark to get back into it.  The spark is there, but real life keeps it from igniting again.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Jester on December 19, 2016, 03:55:01 PM
Is that how it's spelled?  "barre chord"?  I always figured it was "bar chord" because your index finger makes a bar across the top.

I've seen it many ways
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barre_chord

I don't get caught up on what is correct.  Especially with guitar as it is one of the most perverted and messed up instrument to study.  Probably draws the most "DIY" informal players of any instrument, so the terms start to become more slang than codified.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on January 03, 2017, 05:46:24 PM
John has been busy scheduling meetings and practices and stuff.  With some help from Jerry (who is better at online resources such as shared calendars and Google groups), the band's shared calendar is set up, and before any practices are not one but two band meetings.  These take place on Wednesday evenings at John's house.  The first was last week, the next one is tomorrow.

The meetings were to go through the existing song list and decide which ones to keep and which ones to drop, talk about new songs that the new members might be bringing in with them, and lay out the future direction of the band in general.

As it turns out, Jess is not available for tomorrow's meeting, so in the interest of expediency, Jess and Angela conferred (apparently quite a bit) and put together a list of songs, including who will sing each one.  We went through that first, then went through the existing list.  The list from the girls had a healthy dose of Country songs, and nearly all were from the 80's, 90's, and later, since the girls are 20 years younger than us guys.

JT was thrilled that we were considering stuff written after 1978.  His tagline is "merely the drummer" but that doesn't stop him from whining about Classic Rock.  He really is quite sick of playing Classic Rock.  He's the one person in the band who's been playing pretty consistently since the 70's, so he has a legitimate gripe -- except that he joined a Classic Rock band.  John just wants his band to succeed, and a lot of that depends on keeping his singers happy.  Jerry is more into Alt Rock, including many bands I've never heard of or given a shit about.

By the time we were done, no saxophone songs were left, and actually very few of the current song list was left.  The band is now aiming for something between 80's and 90's stuff, some Country, and a little Rock and Roll.  Most of the songs have either no keyboards or a shitload.  In the past, the guys have raved at how well I play.  Yeah, that's nice, but I've been listening to them on the radio for 40 years, and let's face it, they're just not that hard.  Preparing any Classic Rock song for practice was usually just a matter of working out what key it's in (elapsed time: 2 seconds) and building a patch (elapsed time: 2 minutes).  Then play the song because it's the same three chords over and over anyway.

I'll actually have to learn this new stuff.  I'll need to cover layers and layers of 90's synths with a pre-programmed Yamaha P.O.S. and an ancient analog synthesizer.  I like a good challenge, but come on.

The biggie is that the band has, quite suddenly, evolved into a band that I'm not so sure I want to be in any more.

John tends err on the side of "over communicating" and leaving us the option of skimming past it when necessary.  After the meeting last Wednesday, I fully expected him to send an email recapping what was discussed, what remains to settle tomorrow (select songs for the first four practices, and make final decisions on a few "iffy" songs that people wanted more time to listen to), and in general raving about how excited he is.  Because that's what he does.  I shot him an email expressing my concerns, including a reminder that one thing that we used to stress was how to distinguish our band.  The keyboards, the saxophone.  Both of these have been scaled back because what now distinguishes us is that we're so damned good and we have two hot singers.  Or this will be the case in a few months anyway.  But originally the first meeting was supposed to be to decide which songs to keep and the second was to talk about songs to add.  Somewhere in there, I'd hoped to remind people that we do have a saxophone/keyboard player, so I figured I'd let John know my concerns and he could work that into his meeting recap.  You know, just a mention to keep the sax and keyboards in mind.

He didn't answer my email, and no recap came out.  Today, he sent a reminder about tomorrow's meeting, and that we'll be making final decisions on some of the "iffy" songs.  Apparently we will not be having any saxophone in the future, and we are quite clearly no longer a Classic Rock cover band.  We will try to be all things to all people, with Rock, Pop, Country, and a whole lot of stuff that honestly I have very little interest in playing.

I like to play.  Actually, I love to play, and I love to play with other talented musicians, and I love being part of something that sounds really good.  But it will take work to get to that point, it generally helps if I at least like the music, and I just didn't envision this rebuilding period to be such a radical change from what we were previously.  I'm going through the current list and I can honestly say that I don't actually like most of them.  I was going to count, because numbers carry more weight, but I think the result will just depress me even more.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: hefdaddy42 on January 04, 2017, 09:36:11 AM
 :(
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on January 04, 2017, 10:36:58 AM
I couldn't help myself.  I went through the new, non-final list, and counted.  Of the 45 songs, over 20 are from the old list, maybe not as severe as I'd thought, but half the songs being new is still pretty severe.  The girls did include some songs from the current list in their new list.  Yeah, thanks.

What bugs me the most is not the change of direction, it's that my private email to John voicing my concerns was completely ignored.  The day after the first meeting would have been the perfect time for the recap, with a little guidance on what to keep in mind when choosing songs for the band.  Instead, in emails leading up to the meetings, John kept emphasizing that we're a great band with tons of talent (which is true) and that we can play anything, therefore it's a blank slate as far as he's concerned.  I wasn't thinking that we were going to completely reinvent the band.

The girls, being so much younger, are certainly more in tune with more recent stuff.  Some of it is not horrible.  I'm calmer now, and after going through the list again, some of these songs might even be fun to play.  Not many, but some.

We'll see.  After tonight's meeting, we'll all have a better feel for how things will go.  I'll probably stick with it because I'm stubborn, I do like learning new stuff, and because we really are chock full of talent and walking away from that would be a damned shame.  Plus the fact that I've publicly scorned former members for doing exactly that.  I hate hypocrites.  I just would rather be playing songs I like, or at least know.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: pcs90 on January 04, 2017, 02:01:11 PM
If I were in your situation I'd definitely stick it out a bit longer. Especially since you say some of the new songs do have a lot of synth, it will probably be fun once you learn them.

With songs that don't have much (or any) keys in the original, do you create extra parts, or just sort of chill out? Some bands play covers as closely as possible to the originals and some change  up the arrangements, so just checking. If you have some freedom to change things up that could definitely be fun and give you more creative possibilities.
The fact that your email was basically disregarded is kind of crappy, though. I mean, aren't the meetings also to make sure everyone has input? So surely they should leave some songs that you enjoy playing that are more keys or sax dominant...maybe bring it up tonight?
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on January 04, 2017, 02:38:29 PM
With songs that don't have much (or any) keys in the original, do you create extra parts, or just sort of chill out? Some bands play covers as closely as possible to the originals and some change  up the arrangements, so just checking. If you have some freedom to change things up that could definitely be fun and give you more creative possibilities.

It depends on the song.  The idea is usually to copy the original studio version as closely as possible.  What we've decided is an "acceptable variation" is doing a live version of the song the way the original artist/band might do it, but some personnel is different, some instrumentation is different, and it's naturally going to sound different.  But we keep the essence of the song.  For example, we do "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" by Pat Benatar.  There are no keyboards in that song, but it's mostly a unison riff by the guitar and bass anyway, so I also play that riff using a B-3 patch.  Fattens up the sound, makes it rock a bit harder.  Then there are things like "Hotel California" which has at least four guitar parts and no keys.  We do that with two guitars playing the main lines you hear and would recognize, and I'm filing in with a strumming kinduv sound in one hand and B-3 padding in the other.  Some songs I have no choice but to just add a piano or B-3 (those are usually safe choices), and if there's anyone out there going "Hey, there's not supposed to be keyboards on this song!" then fuck them, because what else am I supposed to do?

One of John's mantras for the band is that it's a compromise; no one will get everything they want, but everyone will get something that they want.  I get that.  With six, now seven, people in the band, it's a given that there will be songs some people don't like.  It's just that when you start with a group whose goals are more aligned, more people will be getting more of what they want more of the time.  I originally joined a Classic Rock cover band, whose only goal at the time was to get together in John's basement every other Saturday, play some tunes, and have fun.  Not everyone liked every song, but we all liked most of them, so it was cool.  As members have left and been replaced, we accidentally became good enough to start thinking seriously about playing out.  It's now a foregone conclusion that that's what we want to do, and we seem to agree on the frequency of rehearsals and gigs, so that's good.

The song list is much more difficult to compromise on.  The girls came in with their list of tunes in order to expedite things, but what really happened is that except for a couple of songs which we all agreed were poor choices for one reason or another, they were all in.  That's half of our total set list which I had no input into, except to try to veto if I really had an objection to it.  The remaining half of the songs came from the old list, but there are songs there that I already wasn't thrilled about.  So we're down to maybe 30 or 40% of the songs are those that I actually like, where it used to be more like 70 or 80%.

I get it.  We have new members, very talented members, and we want them to feel welcome in the band and that their choices are valued.  Also, I'm probably the one who's most hung up about playing songs he likes, because... well, because I'd rather play songs I like than play songs I don't like.

You're right in that once we get to playing the songs, I'll probably find that I like a lot of them.  That happens when you play live.  Once the adrenaline is pumping, you get off anyway.  But in between gigs and practices, the doom hits.  Whereas I used to look forward to learning new tunes, digging into them because I've always liked them and am looking forward to playing them in a band, now it's looking at a list of songs, half of which I've never even heard of, many of which I actively dislike, and trying to get excited about learning them.

We'll see how it goes.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: hefdaddy42 on January 04, 2017, 03:35:42 PM
Bring in Lifting Shadows Off A Dream or Metropolis.  See what they say.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on January 04, 2017, 04:21:33 PM
I couldn't even get them to try "Abacab" or "Turn It On Again" and those were actual 80's radio hits.

Actually, I had JT on board for "Turn It On Again" but then the band exploded and regrouped yet again so yet again any support I'd built up was gone.  When Pat was singing, we had "Come Sail Away" and "Babe" which are both boring as fuck, and I was working up support for "Fooling Yourself" which is actually interesting.  Gotta start again with that, too.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: hefdaddy42 on January 05, 2017, 07:24:40 AM
Fooling Yourself has that instrumental bridge with tricky timing, doesn't it?  Should be cool if everyone can pull it off.

Or am I thinking of Come Sail Away?  lol
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on January 05, 2017, 10:12:42 AM
Come Sail Away is still on the list.  I suppose I'll have to be happy with that.  Main song is in C, but it has the wacky bridge in Ab (during the "fast part") with the bass and guitars doing differently-timed things while the synth takes a solo.

Fooling Yourself has some tricky timing in the intro and outro, and the bridge is in 7/4, so it's a bit on the tricky side.  But it's a more interesting song to play.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on January 05, 2017, 11:56:22 AM
Overall, last night's meeting wasn't bad.  We reviewed the list from last week, which included a number of "write-in candidates" and compared notes.  No two of us had exactly the same write-in songs, which I found amusing.  There were a number of artists/bands where we had two songs and were supposed to listen to both of them and we would decide which one to do.  We made those decisions last night.  One of the new songs has saxophone in a prominent role; the only potential sicking point is that there are keyboards at the same time.  Angela plays the piano and has played some keyboards in previous bands, so I asked her if she could cover some chords while I play the horn line.  She's fine with that.  Then John points out that there's no guitars at that point (boo hoo) so maybe the guitars could play the line and it'll sound cool and I could play the keyboard part (boring chords), so let's just do that and put it on the list.

I said "Now wait just a minute you stupid micro-managing pindick mutherfucker.  We already axed all the songs with saxophone, we add a song that actually has saxophone, and you want to play that line on guitar?  Fuck you."

Actually, what I said was a bit more diplomatic, but that was the basic idea.  Short version: we're doing it as is, and too fucking bad that there's actually a song with no guitars.

We decided that scoping out the next four practices is too much (actually I just said it and most people agreed), but the next two makes sense, since I will be out of town for the first one.  The others will all be there and can work on songs with little or no keyboards.  Second practice I'll be back.  We picked five songs to work one for each of the next two practices (1/14 and 1/28); two new songs and three old ones.  10 songs is half of what we'll need to play the thing in June, so obviously we'll be well on our way, and at that rate we'll be ready by the end of February.  And if that rate continues, we'll have a full song list by the end of April, ready to gig once Spring arrives and the flowers start blooming.  Realistically, that rate will likely not continue, since things pop up from time to time, various folks have to go out of town or have family emergencies, that kind of thing, but we can make up a certain amount.  It may turn out that we can grind out more than five songs every two weeks, since the three oldies shouldn't need that much work and most of the new ones are pretty simple.  That's why I suggested scoping out two practices rather than four.  We don't know yet how it'll go.

Overall, I'm feeling a bit better about the whole thing.  I've been listening to the new songs a lot lately, mostly cranking them during my commute, letting them sink into my brain, trying to find things to like about them, that kind of thing.  Angela is such a babe, and damn she can sing.  I'm willing to hang on for a while just because of that.  Yeah, I'd rather be playing songs I like, but I will end up liking some of them, at least more than I do now, because that always happens.  Rebuilding season kicks into high gear now, as the others start working on new songs for 1/14.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on January 27, 2017, 11:52:12 PM
Tomorrow (actually today, since it's after midnight as I write this) is the first full practice with the new lineup.  We'll start by running through the five songs from last time, just to brush them up, then put together the next five.  That's the plan, anyway.  Due to various people's commitments before and after, we get two hours.  Personally, I think it's a bit optimistic, but what the heck.  From the notes I've seen, the practice two weeks ago went well overall.  Two songs with no keys but for which I'm making some stuff up, the other three with minimal keys, mostly embellishing stuff, so those songs were a good choice.  I'll add my parts, we'll get a better feel for how they work overall, then we'll work on the next batch.  All in two hours.  We'll see how it goes.

Emails going around, there's chatter about adding more rehearsals.  Fuck.  We already have every other Saturday, and half the time we won't have everyone, so there's talk of "penciling in" other practices, which we can always call off later if we don't think we need it.  I don't want to rehearse every week.  I don't want to have to learn songs every week.  Every other week is fine, but this is a hobby, and I actually do have a life.  I mean, it's not really much of one, and I do love my hobby, but I don't want to be spending every evening working on songs.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: pcs90 on January 28, 2017, 05:15:41 PM
Wouldn't it be better to find some times where everyone can come rather than having multiple rehearsals where not everyone can make it?
Maybe that's just not possible at the moment, I don't know, but even if the rehearsal schedule has to be changed a few times to get everyone there, that seems more productive to me, and then there would be no need to add on more rehearsals if everyone has their parts together.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on January 28, 2017, 07:55:06 PM
That's how we're doing it.  The vast majority of rehearsals with be with everyone there.  The one on Jan 14 was screwy because John put the every-two-weeks schedule out there before I had a chance to block out the time I'd be out of town.  We practiced today with the full lineup, and will again in one week, and will most of the time.

I agree that there's often no point in rehearsing without the full lineup because you'll have to go over the same tunes again later, although that's not always a bad thing, and you're probably gonna do it anyway.  So in that sense, it still helps.  With this many people, one person not being able to make it is not necessarily a reason not to have rehearsal.  It would be hard to without the drummer, or bassist, but we'd probably still have rehearsal without one of the guitars or singers.

Today we went through the five songs from last time and added keyboards and tuned up some vocals, then we went through five more songs.  We actually did it, and did it pretty well, in about two hours.  None of the songs are perfect yet, but some of them of already pretty close.  When everyone works up their parts separately, putting everything together is so much easier and nicer.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on February 05, 2017, 03:27:04 PM
Yesterday we got together for about three hours and ran through the five songs from last week again, then added five more songs.  Holy crap, we're getting good.  No irrecoverable train wrecks, but since it's rehearsal, we usually started the song again rather than playing through it if things got too bad.  We always like to have at least one time through the whole song without things breaking up too much.  The idea is to pound our way through the list as quickly as possible, then over the next few months we'll keep playing them over and over.  Songs don't have to be 100% locked down the first time at rehearsal, we can and will come back to each song.  But most of the first run-throughs have been pretty clean.  We're getting into some tricky shit, too.  But damn, this is the best lineup yet, in terms of both talent and chemistry.  Right now, that's what keeps me doing it.  Most of the newer stuff isn't really my bag, although it's mostly fun to play, so what the hell.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on February 05, 2017, 03:30:41 PM
Next practice isn't until Feb 25, so three weeks from yesterday.  Some people weren't available Feb 11, which is why we got together yesterday instead.  With three weeks until the next rehearsal, we took the opportunity to put five "all new" songs on the docket.  Songs that haven't been played by any previous version of the band.  We got some Gretchen Wilson (country chick), Prince, Michael Jackson, Pink, and Bruno Mars.  Tough stuff.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: pcs90 on February 05, 2017, 03:35:17 PM
And if it's fun to play, that's really what matters anyway!
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on February 05, 2017, 09:29:19 PM
A good challenge can be fun, and this stuff can be challenging.  But let's not get too crazy, either.  There's still a difference between playing songs I like and playing songs I don't really like but enjoy playing because the band I'm in is pretty good.  We could still be playing more songs that I like.

So my challenge to myself is to see how hard I'll work to learn songs that I don't even like.  And if I do well, I can score some major points with myself.  Then I'll owe myself something, to be named later.  It gets pretty complicated.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on February 25, 2017, 08:10:09 PM
I seem to have scored major points with myself after all.  For clarification, see previous post.

Six new songs, only three of which I'd even heard before, only one which I really liked.  Not my usual bag at all, musically.  But it's a challenge.

Uptown Funk - Bruno Mars
Billie Jean - Michael Jackson
Faith - George Michael
Here For The Party - Gretchen Wilson
Raise Your Glass - Pink
Kiss - Prince

We fucking nailed five of the six.  John kept screwing up Raise Your Glass because he couldn't get the weirdass syncopated chords.  He finally straightened it way out into almost straight 4/4 so he doesn't get lost.  It's a tricky riff.

Lots of keyboards, which is cool.  I definitely had my hands full a lot of the time.  Billie Jean was the only one I liked before, but Uptown Funk is pretty cool, the Pink song is fun, and even though I don't really like the George Michael, I just do the dramatic church organy stuff for the intro, then I'm out.  I'll be filling in some of the Latin percussion.  For a Country tune, the Gretchen Wilson song isn't horrible.  We rocked it pretty good, and I get to do Asian-American-Tonk pretty much throughout, which is fun.

The only one I'm still not sold on is the Prince tune.  Prince has some cool tunes for sure, but he's also hit-or-miss for me sometimes.  But it sounded pretty good.  We rocked it up a bit, made it sound like something.  The original arrangement is so sparse it's almost painful.  Definitely not my normal thing.

I'm madly in love with both of our lead singers, Jessica and Angela.  They're both such babes, so cool and so very talented.  It's a damned good thing that we're all married.  They sound fucking great together.  We could end up doing 100% songs I don't like and I'd probably stick around because I get to stand behind those two.  It doesn't get any better than this.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: pcs90 on February 25, 2017, 08:52:46 PM
Looks like it's a good thing you decided to stick with it!
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: hefdaddy42 on February 28, 2017, 08:07:21 AM
That's an interesting list.  Personally, I would have left out the Gretchen Wilson song (she isn't really relevant anymore - she definitely had a narrow window, and it is closed), and I would have picked a different Prince song for sure.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on February 28, 2017, 10:09:55 AM
We've got a couple of Country tunes on the list, all by female singers (since our lead singers are female), and this one happened to come up first.  I have no idea what's what in the C&W world, so I just worry about the tune.

Yeah, there are a dozen Prince tunes I would rather do than "Kiss" but whatever.  Somehow we settled on this one.  It wasn't as horrible to play as I'd feared.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: hefdaddy42 on February 28, 2017, 03:25:13 PM
You guys should do "Sexy MF" by Prince.  That would be better.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Sir GuitarCozmo on March 01, 2017, 10:44:27 AM
Depending on how rock oriented the rest of the set still is, and though it may be overplayed, "Let's Go Crazy" would be a fantastic opener.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on March 01, 2017, 11:58:55 AM
It probably would, but dear lord, what an annoying song.  Catchy as hell though.

I have very little say in what songs we play, and for the most part, I'm okay with that.  I have no idea which songs are likely to win over an audience, which songs are overplayed, hidden gems, or anything else in terms of loud music for drunk people.  I don't listen to the radio much, and when I do, it's a classic rock station, so I have no idea what's popular.

All I know is what I like to play and what I like to listen to.  Since even the most accessible prog is not going to fly anyway, all that's left for me is whether or not I like playing it.  This is influenced by whether or not I like the song, but less than you might think.  I like to play; I like to interact with other musicians in real time; I like entertain people and be a part of something that sounds good.  And I get to do that.  All through school, I was in the bands, some orchestras, and the occasional vocal group.  I'm in the choir now, and have dabbled in praise bands of various forms.  In each of these, I'm part of an ensemble, a sum greater than its parts, and in each of these, I've had to learn and perform things I didn't like.  This is basically the same thing, and I even get paid for it now.

I know, I've recently whined about not getting to play many songs I like, and that's still true.  Given the choice between playing songs I like and playing songs I don't like, all other things being equal, I'd rather play songs I like.  But nothing else is equal.  You still have to play things other people like; stuff other people like to play, and stuff other people like to hear.  There's no market around here for classic rock bands, and sure as hell no market for live prog.  So this is my gig.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on May 04, 2017, 09:38:20 PM
So our first gig is getting nearer.  June 11, we play a concert in the park, a 90-minute gig with no break.  For that, we figure we'll need about 20 songs.  Last practice, Jess had a wedding to attend (literally -- she was an attendant) so Angela sang both "Barracuda" and "Crazy on You" by Heart and fucking nailed them both.  Holy shit!  John also showed acoustic chops I didn't realize he had, nailing the acoustic intro to "Crazy on You".  We have something like 35 songs now, probably enough for a real gig, but John wants to add two more, just in case.

This Saturday, we attempt "Smokin'" by Boston.  I've had bursitis the past week and haven't played at all, which is somewhat concerning, but John really wants to get "Smokin'" on the list for June because he thinks our keyboard player is fucking awesome and wants to show him off.  I told the group last week that I'd have almost no practice time between then and when we play the song, but we'll see how it goes.  And it's a hard one.

And just to make things more fun, my main keyboard is fried.  My Yamaha POS has 100 or so buttons, most of which I don't use (built-in "styles" and rhythm shit and recording and playback and who knows what else) and a single large LCD display which tells me which patch I'm on, what my settings are, and all that.  Well, the display is what's fried.  It's all a brilliant bluish-white with just a hint of the dark writing that I'm supposed to be able to read.  The thing cost me $500 seven years ago, and some Googling reveals that it still sells for $500.  So that's interesting.  I've never liked the interface, but it was all I could afford at the time.  I still don't like the interface, and it's still all I can afford, but at least I know how to work with it now.  I actually think it's kinda funny that the price for seven-year-old tech would be down, but inflation has countered that, and the price is exactly the same as it was in 2010.  So I'll probably just get another one.

We just received word that we have a gig in July, too.  Another strange one, one of the local shopping malls had a contest where band submitted their "proposals" to the mall Facebook page, and whichever band got the most Likes wins.  We won.  So we play a three-hour gig in July (hopefully with breaks) at a shopping mall.  I don't even know if we're getting paid, but a gig's a gig.

We're getting really good.  I mean, damn.  Our singers are incredible, and the rest of the band isn't too bad, either.  Hopefully these silly gigs will lead to something.  Until then, I'm still having fun.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: pcs90 on May 04, 2017, 10:28:13 PM
I was wondering what happened to this thread!

Re: Keyboards:
If you can find one used, I highly recommend checking out the Roland VR09. All your essential sounds, very easy to navigate, and lots of live adjustments you can do with sliders and knobs (even has all the organ drawbars on it.) I am learning keys soon, and while I don't own this model it's definitely on my wish list once I can actually play fairly well.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on May 05, 2017, 01:29:46 PM
With the lineup stabilized and no drama, there wasn't really much to talk about.  In the past, Anne, Steve, and Pat caused enough drama to keep things at soap-opera level, but we've finally settled on a very good group of people who get along and have their goals aligned.  Good for the band, not so good for drama.

Regarding the VR-09: Thanks for the suggestion.  Looks nice, but I need at least one board with 88 keys.  I still play gigs where I need a piano, or something close enough.  I already have a five-octave board, my Prophet-5.  If/when the Prophet dies, I'll be fine with 61 on top, but the Yamaha is my main board, and I need 88 keys.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: splent on May 05, 2017, 09:13:01 PM
I need to see you guys when you play.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on May 05, 2017, 10:38:36 PM
Splent, you're on our Facebook page.  Get on there once and a while and notice that you're invited to our next Event.  And we'll be putting together another one for the July thing.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Lax on May 26, 2017, 07:38:42 AM
I allow myself to post just to say hi, I like to read this "diary" full of various feelings and moments.

And mainly because I felt you were a little bitter and having a hard time earlier this year because of big changes in the songs and your place in the band.

I'll post in the musician thread maybe our story, because we faced some of the tough situations too, and sometimes it's better to know how to avoid hurting someone (our biggest exemple is that our keyboardist was our temporary singer and now that we found a great singer, he's disheartened).

Cheers ! And in a hurry to read your gig feedback
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on May 26, 2017, 09:53:58 AM
Thanks!  Yeah, I used to pretty much dominate the Chat thread sometimes with all my updates, so I split it off into its own thread.  Then the band self-destructed again and rebuilt with people who actually get along, so without any drama or gig updates, both threads have a lot less traffic, LOL.  But the Internet is a weird place.

I was originally brought on just to play keys, but ended up adding background vocals because no one else can sing, and I can.  Since then, we've added a bassist who can sing, so that's cool, and with two strong lead singers, by time we have one of them doing backgrounds and our bassist also singing, they don't need me, and I'm not sure how I feel about that.  I've gotten to like singing with the band, and (IMO) am better than our bassist, so if it's the good of the group we're thinking of, it should be me.  But he's not horrible or anything, and it's less for me to worry about, so I roll with it.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on May 26, 2017, 10:03:19 AM
Update on my keyboard:  I am an idiot.

John shot me a text (back when the fried keyboard display issue first came up) asking me what the model was, so I told him.  Then nothing.  Weird, and it left my mind going in all kinds of directions.  He's a millionaire and all the band equipment is his, and we're even upgrading a bunch of stuff, so I thought maybe he was gonna surprise me and buy a new keyboard.  The band would still "own" it, but I'd be playing it.  The band I was in back in the 80's had a similar arrangement.  No way could I afford a Prophet-5 synth, but "the band" bought one and I got to play it.

What he did was search the Internet for similar issues and solutions.  I'm an idiot for not even thinking of that; I completely forget about stuff like that, how easy it is to problem-solve these days by just Google-searching.  Anyway, I found a number of people who had similar issues, but the symptoms weren't the same.  Mostly, the screens went dark, or more commonly, half the screen went dark.  Mine got brighter, so bright that I couldn't read it.  After checking through a couple of those online tech help boards, I found one person with the same issue; her screen was so bright that she couldn't read it.  The answer had me face-palming, hard.

"Did you try adjusting the contrast?"
"How do you do that?"
"It's one of the knobs on the back"

I couldn't believe it would be that simple, but it was.  The knob had gotten bumped.  And the really scary thing was that I'd jumped all the way to replacing the keyboard, knowing that it wasn't really that expensive but repairs would be, when all it was was playing with a knob on the back, which I didn't even realize was there.

The good news is that everything seems to be fine now, and I don't have to buy another keyboard.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: pcs90 on May 27, 2017, 08:13:31 PM
Haha!
That kind of stuff happens to everyone at some point. At least you figured it out before you bought another keyboard.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on June 12, 2017, 11:18:20 AM
Gig Report!

We played our first gig in eight months, and the first one with the new lineup.  We kicked off the summer "Concerts in the Park" series in the band's hometown (where John and two other band members live) so it was an outdoor gig.  5:00 to 6:30 pm, no break.

The good:  Under a gazebo (shade!), and plenty of power.  Some thought had apparently gone into the design, with an eye towards relatively big events.  Also a nice breeze which kept up throughout.

The bad:  92 degrees out, and the sun was getting lower, to the point where most of the "stage" was actually in the sun by the end of the show.  I was wearing shorts and I could feel the sun on the backs of my legs.  Temperature was down to 90 by time we finished.

P.A. cut out a few times, due to overheating.  Bass rig finally failed right as we were starting the last song.  This was at 6:27.  We (the bassist and sound man) tried various things, but no luck.  We really wanted to get that last song in, but at 6:35 the guy from the park district came up and told us we should just call it a day.  So we ended with a whimper, not a bang.  Sorry folks, it looks like we're done for today, thanks for coming out.  Found out later than something in the bass amp head had literally melted down.  Casualty of war.

Some fan pics (better ones to come):

(http://imgur.com/WiUd2aA.jpg)

Orbert (hidden behind stack, of course), JT (drums), David (guitar), Jerry (bass), Angela (vocals), John (guitar), Jessica (percussion).

(http://imgur.com/JKPlD2A.jpg)

It was nice in the shade, with the breeze, but some people braved the unfiltered sun.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: pcs90 on June 19, 2017, 05:51:50 PM
The heat is even worse down here in TX. It can regularly get well over 100 degrees in parts of the summer. Definitely not fun and it's easy to start feeling like not doing anything at that point.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on June 22, 2017, 08:26:49 AM
Gig pics!

(http://imgur.com/PEgBl4c.jpg)

(http://imgur.com/sCnHjTf.jpg)

Yeah, hot as fuck, but there's still nothing like an outdoor gig.

(http://imgur.com/JlA6RGx.jpg)

Actual group shot with the entire group.  Orbert (keyboards), David (guitar), JT (drums), Angela (vocals), Jerry (bass), Jessica (vocals), John (guitar)


Our quest to get decent gig footage continues to elude us.  Jerry set up two GoPros, one on each side of the stage, and the idea was to cut between both, and possibly also fan-shot video (there were many friends with camera phones), and add soundtrack from the board.  It would've been sweet; he has access to some pretty nice video editing equipment.

One GoPro completely failed, and the other died after the first 2.5 songs.  The GoPro that didn't die right away was on the left stack, so no Orbert in the shot (of course!), and the feed from the board didn't work.  What the fuck?  So we still have basically have nothing.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on June 30, 2017, 03:24:39 PM
The curse continues.

Today was to be the second gig with the new lineup, an outdoor Friday Afternoon thing with the band set up in the parking lot. A big tent for the band, but nothing really for the crowd, so if it rains, you get wet. As of yesterday, the forecast said 90% chance of showers this afternoon, with some lightning. Owner had to make a decision, couldn't wait til day of, because then he'd have to eat the costs for all the rental stuff. So he cancelled the event. As of this morning, it still said 60% showers this afternoon. Then it said 40%, then...

It's 4:30 now.  We should be set up and getting ready to play the fucking gig.  It is not raining, though it is mostly cloudy.  It looks like the rain won't come in until at least tonight.  Shit!  We could've played the gig.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Sir GuitarCozmo on June 30, 2017, 03:33:40 PM
Very frustrating.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: BlackInk on June 30, 2017, 04:20:19 PM
Was almost expecting  that someone left the band or something when I started reading.

That definetely sucks about the gig though.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on June 30, 2017, 06:39:11 PM
It's 7:30 pm, and it's sunny out.  The sun is starting to go down, but we could've played the gig.  But the owner had to make the call.  He made the right call given the information he had.  We did the same thing two years ago, when we "almost" had our debut gig, then got rained out.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on June 30, 2017, 07:41:27 PM
But we are not without drama!


Our last rehearsal was not quite stress-free.  Things have been really good overall lately, as far as personalities within the band seeming to mesh, musical styles working, basically everything other than musical proficiency level.  We've all gone on record saying that we'd rather play in a band of guys (and girls) that get along than play in a musically gifted band made of up personalities that just don't work.  So far, the compromise has swung back and forth a bit, but right now I'd say it's the best it's ever been.  Everyone gets along, and we're all pretty good, too.  Well, at least no one sucks.  Or so I thought.

So we had one rehearsal to throw 10 more songs together, go from the 90-minute bag that we had to a something like three full sets for today's gig.  They were all songs we'd at least played through before, before we'd cut the list down to the 90-minute set we played last Sunday.  Now it was time to add them back, and see if we have three full sets.  We do.  We got through the songs, not all silky smooth like we would've liked, but close enough for rock and roll.

After running through a song, one of the singers said something about how it felt a little fast.  I agreed, so did a few others.  We run through it again.  Just before counting it off, JT says under his breath "Tempo is not the biggest problem this band has right now" and then click! click! click! click! we start the song again.  What the fuck?  I might have been the only one who heard it, or at least the only one who remembered by time we finished playing the song, because when we finished the second time it was better, and we moved on.  No one said anything.  But it was kind of an assholish thing to do.  If there's something you want to discuss, say so.

After practice, Angela and Jessica tend to be the first ones to leave.  They have the least gear to pack, and also tend to have the most other stuff going on on their schedules.  The girls leave, David leaves, and for a minute it's just me, John, Jerry, and JT, the "core" of the band, the elders.  We have seen singers come and go, and lead guitarists come and go.  JT takes this opportunity to point out that David thus far has not thrilled him.  He's shown himself to be a very nice guy, but decidedly on the mediocre side as far as pure guitar talent goes, and he was brought on mostly for lead guitar.  I have to agree.  So does John.  I don't specifically recall what Jerry said, but he's not an idiot.  So there it is.  My position is that he's not great, but he's not horrible, and we've played one gig together.  He feels a bit unseasoned to me, which is weird because he supposedly has some years in the biz, same as we all do.  But I'm willing to see how much he changes, improves, over the next four to six months.

John called me today.  We commiserated together about today's gig that was cancelled, but that's not why he called.  JT has contacted John more than once, since that last practice, to restate how strongly he feels about replacing David.  Whoa!  I'm nowhere near that point, and either is John, and either was JT or so we thought, but I guess we were wrong.  He wants to pull the trigger, now.  We just fucking finally put a working lineup together again after 8 months, and he wants to find a new guitarist?  Fuck.  I say give him some more time, John says give him some more time, JT thinks any more time we put in is wasted, because he just doesn't see the potential.  I can completely see that position.  I just don't care.  I'd rather play in a band with David, actually play gigs, than replace him and spend another six to eight months not playing, while we bring yet another new member up to speed.  Fuck that.  If it comes to that, I'm okay with David.  He's not the best lead guitarist we've had, in fact he's probably the worst, but he's okay, and okay is good enough for me right now.

I tell John that that's my position, and it is his as well.  I tell him that I'm curious what Jerry says, and I'm sure that Jerry is the next call he'll make (it is), but what he chooses to share with me regarding that conversation is up to him.  We leave it at that.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: pcs90 on July 01, 2017, 11:42:28 AM
The other thing I wonder is, if David stays, does that mean JT would leave the band? Then either way you will need to find a new member.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on July 01, 2017, 06:41:00 PM
True, and I hope that that's not what's going on here.  Last year, I was blindsided at a band meeting when Jerry said he was just about 50-50 on whether he stays or goes, he's so sick of all the drama in the band.  All the behind-the-scenes shit.  Well, it must've really been behind the scenes, because I had no idea.  Just as I had no idea that JT has such a huge problem with David as lead guitarist.  If JT actually draws the line, says that either David goes or he goes, I'm not sure how I'd feel, or how I'd vote if it came to that.  For now, I just hope that it doesn't come to that.  Until then, I learn my parts, I play my parts, I fill my role in the band and then some, and nobody can ever say otherwise.

Next gig is a week from today.  The gig in the shopping center parking lot.  Fuck, look at us.  From a Sunday free concert in the park, to a gig in the parking lot of a small dive in a small town that got rained out, to the parking lot in a shopping center an hour from here.  Trying to stay positive.  I still get to do what lots of people can only dream about; I get to play live rock and roll for people.  Well, when we don't get rained out, and the P.A. doesn't overheat, and the drummer doesn't have kidney stones, and...
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on July 07, 2017, 12:28:08 PM
The gig in the mall parking lot is tomorrow.  There was a "tentative" practice on the calendar for tonight; a few months ago, there was some doubt as to whether or not we could put together enough tunes in time.  After the gig in the park and the one rehearsal where we pretty much nailed down 12 more songs, John started pulling the extra practices off the calendar.  But the gig last Friday got cancelled, so tomorrow would be nearly three weeks since we've played together, and some of the band wanted to rehearse tonight.  John explained that he'd pulled the rehearsal for primarily personal reasons.  He's the one who packs up and moves the P.A., board, and of course all of his guitar gear, and he didn't feel like setting it all up for one practice, then packing it all up again to haul out to the mall tomorrow.  I'm with him on that; I was fine with no rehearsal.

But the singers wanted to rehearse, to brush up on things, David wanted to rehearse, and honestly, more rehearsal is not a bad thing.  It's just the timing.  So we compromised.  Tonight is a "minimal gear" rehearsal.  The old board is still down in the practice room, as are the floor monitors (since we all use in-ears now).  We'll practice using that.  I'm not hauling my synth and sax, just using the Yamaha and bringing my amp.  John has a single-keyboard stand I can use.

And I'd still rather go home and get stoned tonight than rehearse.  I have not succeeded in getting myself fired up for this gig.  I will feel differently tomorrow, of course.  I always do.  Gig day, I'm ready to play.  I have a 100% track record on that.  It will of course turn out to be fun, the weather is supposed to be perfect, and since it's a shopping mall, I'm hoping there will be babes to scope out.  Rock and roll.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on July 08, 2017, 10:24:04 PM
Gig Report

It's called Rock & Shop.  It happens in a pretty big shopping center, not a mall like a big enclosed building with lots of stores inside, but a strip mall, or rather a collection of strip malls covering a lot of space.  Over 80 stores total, T's and L's where the different buildings come together, and places where you drive between the buildings.  We were in a crook in an L, a plaza-like place set aside for such events.

(http://imgur.com/pvTev1A.jpg)

(http://imgur.com/jCL5AT3.jpg)

(http://imgur.com/cxVWLn4.jpg)

I was in my usual spot in the back corner, and behind me was about a foot and a half drop.  Since there were cords everywhere, I made sure that most were on the ground, but kept a line running across the back, serving as a warning track.

(http://imgur.com/wUNsfRR.jpg)

True to the contract, all power came from a single outlet and extension cord.  I honestly did not believe that there would be enough power for everything, but there was.

(http://imgur.com/O3f1yxZ.jpg)

(http://imgur.com/WaL5gqT.jpg)

It got so hot that some of the plastic faceplates on the wireless mic rack melted.

(http://imgur.com/0dXwX8K.jpg)

(http://imgur.com/epTWiVT.jpg)

Of course, they were sitting in direct sunlight for about five hours.

(http://imgur.com/eNejX46.jpg)


Anyway, it was a good gig, a fun gig.  They always are, especially outdoors.  It was a little warmer out than they'd predicted, at least in the lower 80's when it was supposed to be in the mid-70's, but it wasn't bad, and the weather meant that the scenery was very nice.  I mean, it's simple mathematics.  Most people who go shopping are female, and when it's warmer out, they wear less.  Once we started playing, it was like a parade, a steady stream of people walking by, stopping, sometimes for just a minute and sometimes for a while.  Once again, I'm reminded that this is why I love rock and roll.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on September 04, 2017, 08:00:18 PM
Gig Report

Our first real gig.  In a bar, not a park, or a shopping center, but a bar, on a Saturday night.  First real gig for this lineup, anyway.

(https://imgur.com/tV4CC4E.jpg)

(https://imgur.com/l2gfAMI.jpg)

Orbert on Keys, David on Guitar, Angela on Vocals, JT on Drums, Jessica on Vocals, Jerry on Bass, John on Guitar

(https://imgur.com/ITeJ2mB.jpg)

Nice venue.  Two guys own the place; one mostly runs the bar and stuff, the other guy thinks he knows how to run sound and lights.  He does, but not very well, and he doesn't really listen to feedback.

Apparently, "Smokin'" by Boston does not have a minute and a half organ solo, at least not one that anyone heard.  "Call Me" by Blondie does not have a synth solo.  He's one of those that thinks that running sound means playing with the faders all the time.  Asshole.  If you know what you're doing, set it and (mostly) forget it.  Concentrate on effects and staying on top of things.  His idea of effects is putting echo/reverb on everything so it sounds cool to him.

Listen to the fucking song, and listen to the fucking band.  The acoustic guitar came through, which is cool.  Keyboards not so much.  "Separate Ways" by Journey has that killer synth intro, then once the guitars came in, keys were gone, actually pulled back rather than just falling back into the mix as they should be.  We probably could've run sound ourselves from on stage better than he did.  Once you get your levels, you shouldn't have to twiddle with things all night, but he's a twiddler.  And he didn't seem to give a shit about keyboards.

But whatever, a gig's a gig.  They loved us, they want us back, but since the house sound man is one of the owners, I don't know if we even have the option of bringing our own guy.  If we do, it would come out of our end of course, but it might be worth it.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: pcs90 on September 14, 2017, 09:47:06 PM
Probably worth  bringing someone to mix sound if you can get away with it. I mean, a lot of people won't notice either way, but for those who do (not to mention yourselves) it'd make a pretty significant difference I'd think.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on September 14, 2017, 10:06:59 PM
I agree.  We just did a gig on Tuesday, and the sound man is the same guy who worked with us at the shopping center gig.  The difference is like night and day.  When we have the option, we always have someone running sound for us because you can't leave mixing a seven-piece band, including five vocalists, to amateur hacks who only think they know what they're doing.  Pictures from that gig, as well as a writeup, are coming soon.

Our next gig - for better or worse - is back at the same place as above.  We don't have the option of bringing our own sound man, even if we pay for him.  (Owner doesn't want anyone else messing with his gear.)  But the gig is to help support Hurricane Relief, and we're opening for a Led Zeppelin Tribute band, the same one we opened for last October.  They told us at the time that they thought we were great and we could open for them any time, and here we are, doing a benefit thing on the same bill.  So fine, we only play 90 minutes, get some more exposure, and help out Red Cross Hurricane Relief.  I'm not gonna whine about playing there if it's for a good cause.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on October 06, 2017, 10:33:09 AM
Wow, this thread has gotten much less interesting now that the lineup has stabilized and there's no intra-band drama.  I never did get around to the writeup for our last gig, which went well and seems to have gained us some new fans.  We are building quite a following two counties over.  Which is better than not having a following at all, I know, but driving an hour each way to these one-nighters is a pain.  Oh well, it's rock and roll.

Tonight's the Hurricane Relief gig.  They've added another band, a David Bowie tribute band.  We still open, then the Bowie tribute, then the Zeppelin tribute.  We start earlier, and our set has been shortened to 75 minutes, but that's fine.  It just means less work and I get home earlier.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on October 07, 2017, 12:22:04 AM
Pretty good gig tonight.  The last time we were there (which was only a couple of posts ago), I could barely be heard.  Well, we solved that problem.  I ran both keyboards through my on-stage amp, and ran a line out to a single direct box and then into the snake.  My amp was basically functioning as a pre-amp to send more signal to the DI box, and I could still use it onstage as a monitor for just me.

During sound check, I was getting a bunch of noise whenever I'd played chords right around middle C.  Too thick and heavy, something was getting overdriven, so I backed it off a bit, but it didn't help.  They asked me what was going on, why did I keep turing down, and I said it was because of all the noise.  Literally everyone else said it sounded fine to them, in fact the keys sounded great in their ears, so apparently it was just mine.  I never did figure it out.

Eventually I just turned my in-ear box way down and listened through the mains.  I stand right next to the drum kit, right behind one of the guitarists' on-stage amp, and I could still hear myself coming through the mains, bouncing off the back wall.  So I was loud.  I could hear me and the vocals through the P.A., and everyone else on stage, so what the hell, I didn't need my IEMs anyway.  We only played about 75 minutes, then tore down quick and were off the stage in about ten minutes.  This only left five minutes for the next band to set up, sorry but that wasn't really our problem.  It was stupid -- there's no way to completely change out in 15 minutes, but that's what the owners wanted.  Morons.  Anyway, it was closer to 25 minutes between bands, but whatever.  Had like three or four people tell me we sounded great, and a few specifically said the keyboards sounded great, so that was cool.

By time the Bowie tribute band started, I was all packed up, sitting with Jerry and David (bass and guitar, respectively), and drinking a bottle of water.  They ordered food and a pitcher of beer, but I still had a 45-minute drive home ahead of me and was tired, so I just drank water and ate some of David's fries.  Checked out the first couple of songs by the Bowie tribute band.  They were good; the singer sounded very much like David Bowie, only a bit fuller and richer, so maybe even better than Bowie himself, although that's obviously sacrilege to say.  His voice was very similar and he had the inflections and quirks down, but while Bowie's voice is rather fragile sounding, has that delicate control, this guy's voice was stronger, but still with the quirky control that Bowie had.  If Bowie's comeback in the 90's had come with a stronger, fuller voice, it would have sounded like this guy.  They sounded great.

I hit the road after three or four songs, obviously well before the third band was anywhere near the stage.  But I was tired (and still am).  I'll try to remember to post pictures when we get them.
Title: Gig Pictures!
Post by: Orbert on December 14, 2017, 09:03:59 PM
Hurricane Relief - October 2017

We were the first of three bands, big fund-raiser, but we got paid too, which was cool.

David (electric), Angela (vocals), Orbert (keyboards), Jessica (vocals), JT (drums), Jerry (bass), John (acoustic)

(https://imgur.com/N6uQWpx.jpg)


Halloween 2017

Silly little bar in a strip mall, but the money was alright and the crowd was good.

(https://imgur.com/rNLhHyU.jpg)

(https://imgur.com/VxDr5RV.jpg)

(https://imgur.com/9L9U1dj.jpg)

I set up my stuff in the corner as always.  Commandeered a table for my Droid and my Coke, and I'm ready to Rock.

(https://imgur.com/zKuKBOo.jpg)

(https://imgur.com/zetxqAF.jpg)
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on December 14, 2017, 10:15:51 PM
2017 ended up not too badly.  We played six gigs this year, with the current lineup.  Started with the concert in the park, then the shopping center, then four actual gigs in bars for something like real money, counting the Hurricane Relief Event.  With seven people in the band, all busy with all kinds of other stuff, it's amazing that we can schedule anything at all, and we're nuts for even trying it, but players gotta play.  There are worse things you can do on a Saturday night.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: TheLordOfTheStrings on December 17, 2017, 11:42:33 PM
 :metal :metal :metal
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on May 10, 2018, 12:33:12 PM
Warning: this topic has not been posted in for at least 90 days.
Unless you're sure you want to reply, please consider starting a new topic.

Yeah, yeah.  So sue me.

Haven't posted an update in a while, because nothing has been happening, while at the same time, a lot has been happening.  That last post was on December 14, 2017.  I believe it was the very next practice, on December 16, that our band leader John told us that he'd been diagnosed with Stage 4 throat cancer.

Before we had a chance to all start freaking out, he plowed forward.  First of all, throat cancer almost never gets diagnosed until Stage 3 or 4 anyway, because it's one of those that just doesn't have obvious symptoms, and by the time it's diagnosed, it's pretty far along.  But the "good" news (it's all relative) is that cancer stages are all defined by the same criteria, and while Stage 4 sounds really bad, for this type of cancer it is still somehow not too bad.  90% of people with this specific type of throat cancer beat it, and the odds only go up if the person is in otherwise good health and good shape physically.  John is the oldest member of the band (I think he's 58) but easily in the best physical shape of all of us.  He runs every day, works out regularly, and is the band's main roadie.  Anyway, the odds are very, very good that he'll beat this, but it's still cancer and it's still scary.  Radiation and chemotherapy are scary, and even after the physical recovery, the emotional recovery can take up to a year or more.  He was preparing us by basically sharing everything he knew about it.

We didn't have any bookings for the holidays, so between that and John's condition, it was decided that the band take a break for a while, and will resume rehearsals when John feels up to it.

Treatment started within a few weeks.  John's a communicator, with detailed emails sent every couple of weeks, telling us how things were going.  Treatment lasted eight weeks, recovery has been ongoing.  We started band rehearsals again, I think it was in March sometime.  John looks incredible, not much different from how he looked before.  Honestly, if you didn't know, you would never guess that the guy had recently beaten cancer.  No hair loss, lost some weight but he's always been a lean guy, and his voice is kinda funny now but that too was expected.

So we've been learning new songs, and brushing up songs in the bag, with an eye towards getting out there and gigging again.  The temptation was to take an extended break, since it's kinda hard to keep morale up and keep practicing and working hard to learn new songs when there are no gigs on the books.  Actually, we booked a thing in September; John took it because he guessed that he'd be recovered by then, and even if not, the nature of the gig allowed us to back out of it if necessary without it really hurting us.  Other than that, however, John has insisted that we do not book anything until he feels ready to gig again, because booking stuff and then having to cancel is bad and ultimately hurts us more than not gigging at all.

We've learned ten more songs, some of them pretty challenging.  "Carry On Wayward Son" by Kansas, "Never Been Any Reason" by Head East, other stuff with keyboards, guitars, three-part vocals, killer songs.  We keep getting better and better.

As always, we practice a bit, then take a break, eat lunch/snacks, and chat.  Bonding time.  This last practice, JT brought up something that's been on everybody's minds that no one wanted to bring up.  When is John going to be ready to gig again?  He looks great.  But looks can be deceiving.  He still tires easily, and faces serious fatigue by the end of the day.  Emotionally, he's all messed up, because the chemo and radiation have fucked up his body pretty badly.  The cancer is gone.  Beaten, over with.  Clean bill of health.  That's great, we're all glad, and we've been keeping things positive throughout the past few months, while working on new songs, brushing up older ones, and trying to be ready for when we might gig again.  But finally, JT said that it's getting harder and harder to keep doing this with no real payoff in sight.

When we get together and play, it's amazing.  We really are very good.  And it's great playing these songs, some really hard songs, and kicking ass on them.  But obviously the goal is not to just play with ourselves in the basement, it's to get out there, and when is that going to happen?

John reiterates that he's not ready, and cannot say when he will be ready.  It's different for everyone, and obviously he's never been through this before, so he has no idea.  He will not even guess.  He won't say "probably __ months" or "hopefully __ months" or anything like that.  John is in clinical depression, a result of the enzymes and other chemicals that norally keep us happy and mentally balanced being all fucked up by the radiation and chemo.  He literally is not of sound mind right now, knows that, admits it, but still cannot do anything about it.  It's frustrating for him and everyone else, but it is what it is.  So the band is in perpetual limbo.

David has another band, and they're not as good as us (he admits) but they're gigging and we're not.  JT has been picking up gigs here and there when this other band needs a drummer.  They kinda suck (his words) but they're gigging and we're not.  Jerry has another band which isn't gigging.  Angela and I have plenty of other musical outlets.  Jess is pregnant with her first baby, so she's not looking to take on anything else.  But overall, we're all pretty anxious to get out there.  And John does not know when that will be, and cannot and will not even guess when that will be, so that leaves us... nowhere.


Yesterday I got a call from JT.  This other band he's in does kinda suck, but the singer is actually pretty awesome.  JT is looking to put something together because he's tired of not gigging.  The singer from his other band and Angela from our band have already talked a few times.  They will be our vocalists (one male, one female, ironically the same as the original plan for our band), he will play drums obviously, and he wants me for keyboards if I'm interested.  Guitarists and bassists aren't quite a dime a dozen anymore, not good ones anyway, but he figures they will probably be the easiest spots to fill.  And he needs my in because without it, he's not gonna bother.  Way too hard to find a good keyboard player, and he considers me a great keyboard player.  I thank him for the compliment.

He called it a "super group" with the best of the two bands he's in, plus whoever else he can find.  It may take a while to put anything together, and if FlashDrive starts back up, he'll just drop it.  But between the two bands, we know a lot of songs.  He doesn't think I'll have any trouble learning the songs his other band plays (and he's probably right).  It'll be at least a few months before we have anything, but he wanted to know if I was interested, and sure, I'll check it out.  Players gotta play.

So lots of things, and lots of nothings.  We shall see.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on May 18, 2018, 07:28:06 PM
Shit.

Band practice is tomorrow.  John sent out the list earlier this week; no new songs to learn, but 12 to review.  A nice mix of stuff we've learned more recently and stuff we've had "in the bank" for a while, older stuff and newer stuff, simpler stuff and more complex stuff, and I really should run through them all again before tomorrow, because I haven't played some of these songs in months.

But it's Friday night, I worked my ass off this week, I'm already tired right now, sitting here eating leftovers, and I just don't feel like practicing.  It's not like we have any gigs coming up or anything.  Plus, I could show up tomorrow at practice and still not be the least-prepared person there.  It's just my own fucking work ethic that is screaming at me to at least run through each song once or twice.  12 songs.  I honestly like maybe half of them.

Shit.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on May 19, 2018, 06:03:50 PM
I went to bed early.  Tired as hell, I figured I was better off sleeping, then get up and play through the songs once this morning.  I did those things.  Still had trouble getting fired up about packing all my stuff into the car and hauling it all to practice, but that's the life of a keyboard player.  The guitarists leave an amp there at John's and just have to take an axe or two, the drummer has a kit there (he was four altogether) but basically I have to haul everything every time because I don't have multiple sets of keyboards and can just leave one set there or anything.  Closest I can come is leaving an amp and stand there, which I've thought about.  That would be two fewer things to haul each time.  I'd have to get another stand and practice amp, but at least that wouldn't break the bank.

Practice itself went well.  As always, once I'm there, once I'm playing, it's a fucking rush.  It's amazing how we can get together and play songs we haven't touched since last October and still kick them out.  This band is just too damned good to be playing in a basement.  We should be out there blowing people's minds.

We have another possible gig, a benefit for Angela's friend who died a few years ago.  Every year, they have an event for her to raise money for her foundation.  They wanted us last year, but the calendar was actually kinda full last year for a while and it didn't work out.  This year, with us trying to nudge John back onto the stage, it seems like a good way to do it.  Low key, informal, we'll practically be background music.  Big thing, the band sets up at one end, people can dance or check us out, but we're not the main event or anything; we're just there playing.  Oh yeah, it's gratis as well, but whatever.  I just want to play.

And then Angela makes her big announcement, she too is pregnant.  Both of our singers are pregnant.  Did I mention that Jessica is?  Well, she is too.  We found that out a few practices ago.  So we've got a gig on the books for September, three weeks before Jess is due, and now this benefit thing in July which it looks like we'll do.  Jess is already showing, Angela is much smaller in stature and she'll be pretty far along by then as well (she and her husband chose to wait until the second trimester to say anything, so Angela will be 5-6 months in at that point).

A decision is made that considering these somewhat well-coordinated pregnancies (which was not planned, but fortunate in the big picture), that this will likely be it for us for 2018.  A benefit, and a $600 gig at a farmer's market two counties away, then we'll take a break so our singers can have their babies.  We will of course continue to rehearse every other Saturday until then.

After practice, I chat with JT a bit about this other project he's putting together.  Angela will not be one of the singers, due to her condition, so he's got someone else lined up, a girl he worked with in a band years ago who "may still have some psychological issues, but she's a lot better now".  So we agreed that FlashDrive should continue to practice, at least until these two gigs are done, but this means that if this other band gets going, practices will have to work around FlashDrive practices.  Or maybe we don't find a guitarist for a few months, and it's only a thing for a few months.  I want to play, but damn, it's bad enough hauling my shit half an hour away every time.  JT lives two counties away.  He's an hour from John's place, an hour farther away the other side from me.  I hadn't really thought about that when I told JT I was interested.  I still am, but man, not if it means every Saturday is taken, and the other band is even farther away.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on May 30, 2018, 03:33:43 PM
Angela had said that she'd go out to the venue where this fundraiser thing was going to take place, but she hadn't yet.  I didn't think it was a good idea to take the gig without any idea what the place looked like, but she'd held off on confirming the gig until we could discuss it as a group, and they really needed an answer.  For me, a big part of the discussion was what the venue was like.  But we all want to get out there and play, so we voted to take the gig.  How bad could it be, right?

Then this week she finally went and checked the place out, and it's really small.  There's an outside deck and a space indoors if the weather gets bad.  We'd be very cramped in the outside space and just plain would not fit into the indoor space.  If the weather didn't cooperate, we'd be screwed.  Even if we played outdoors, we be crammed into a tiny space, and since we're a seven-piece band, we'd be way too loud to be "background music" for a low-key get-together.  It just didn't make sense.  So she told them that we couldn't do it.

Best band I've ever played in, hands down.  Amazing three- and four-part vocals, two guitars, keyboards, everything from classic rock to country to 90's dance music... and we will play exactly one gig this year: at the fucking farmer's market in a tiny town two counties away, for $300.  And that's if we even play that gig.  Both girls will be huge by then and dropping that gig is still a possibility.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on July 11, 2018, 12:11:19 PM
We have a gig!

This Saturday, actually.  Let me back up a little bit.  A month or so ago, John sent a very excited, very positive email to the group about how "it's happening!"  He thought about our last practice, and how good the band is, and it made him happy.  He practiced the guitar, and it felt good.  He realized that it had been a long time since he'd actually felt happy and felt good about playing music, and this was a sign that the clinical depression was finally going away and he's getting back to normal, psychologically.  I have no personal experience with clinical depression, other than observing a few people around me, so I probably shouldn't comment, but I just have to say that it must be weird to do something, know that it's good, know that at some point in the past that it would have made you very happy to do, and somehow not feel anything.  These last several practices have been weird.  John knows how good we are, also knows when we fuck things up and what to do about it, continues to schedule rehearsals, etc., yet through it all feels no excitement about any of it.  He's just going through the motions because he knows what needs to be done, but there's no feeling behind any of it.

Anyway, "it's happening!" prompted John to call the local bar where we played a few times last year (the place where all the pictures are either blue or red, because that's how their lights are set up) and book a gig.  That gig is this Saturday.

The gig is the "John Kicked Cancer's Ass" event.  Awesome.

So of course, last Thursday, I switch everything on, prepare to practice a bit, let the (analog) synth warm up a little, and no sound comes out.  Lights are on, they respond appropriately to the switches, but nothing comes out.  Change inputs, change outputs, change cords, nothing.  The same cord plugged into the back of the Yamaha produces sound.  I plug it into the back of the synth, nothing.  Fuck!

It is now in the shop.  I hope to hell that they know what they're doing.  They're the top-rated, top-recommended place in the area for repairing vintage electronics (several reviews specifically mentioned older, analog synthesizers), so they're my best shot.  I do not, however, entertain any delusions that they'll have it diagnosed, fixed, and back to me within a week.

Jerry has an old Roland Fantom for some reason.  He doesn't play keyboards, but it has enough electronics and effects built into it that he's been using it as his bass effects "pedal board" for a while, in his home studio.  He brought it to practice last Saturday, I set it up and played with it.  I've been working with it this week, figuring out how to work it well enough to get through this Saturday's gig.  I'm pretty well prepared.

Jess is no longer pregnant.  :(  At a regularly scheduled check-up, they were not able to detect a heartbeat.  This was a few weeks back.  Since then, they have done all the things necessary to remove a no-longer-living fetus from a womb.

This scares Angela.  They're the same age, and it would've been the first child for each of them.  Angela is still pregnant, but now she's spooked and wants to take it easy, not take any chances between now and when her baby is born.  That means no gigging (after this Saturday's gig).  John has been talking to this girl he knows about being our substitute lead singer.  I pointed out to John that we have to be very careful, because for all we know, the position could become permanent.  At this point, Angela expects the baby to be born, and after an appropriate amount of time off, she'll be ready to practice and gig again.  But we all know that having a baby changes everything.  It definitely changes priorities and lifestyles.

This Saturday's gig is on.  The gig in September is now in jeopardy.  John is back and ready to gig, but now Jess is depressed and Angela is scared, both of them quite justifiably, so everything's up in the air.

No word recently about this other thing JT was trying to put together.  I'm guessing it went on hold when John announced that he was back in the New York Groove, but now that everything's in limbo again, who knows?  Who the fuck knows about anything?
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Ben_Jamin on July 13, 2018, 07:14:05 PM
Damn man, hope all goes well. Thats some interesting band bio there though.
Title: Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
Post by: Orbert on July 13, 2018, 10:53:08 PM
I swear to God, you could not make this shit up.